Seasons of the Heart

john longing 3a

Uncharted Hearts

We were once two spirits,
Lost and wandering
Amid the ancient mists of
Mornings long forgotten.

Our souls were drawn together
By the tides of our unspoken longings.
Hands and hearts awakened,
We danced to the music of the ages.

As we swayed in bliss unbridled,
Our two spirits merged amongst
The towering pillars of heaven,
And upon golden meadows at dawn.

Waking from this mythic dream,
We were torn asunder, losing the
Future thread to the labyrinthine
Paths of time and tide.

Eons passed while the future slept,
Waiting for the here and now
To once again fill our lungs
With the sweet air of life renewed.

Passion drives the winds of fate
To uncertain shores and fatal flaws.
True love brings us forward and home,
Into the gentle comfort of destiny’s flow.

Could our hearts ever know again
The grateful joy of affection shared?
Is it madness to suppose you
Might hold me even closer than before?

I long to see you once again
In the ancient morning light,
And dance with you as we rediscover
The sacred union of our spirits.

© 2014 by JJHIII24

Since beginning my journey of discovery, searching as I have for so many years for some kind of resolution and for the answers to the questions posed by my experiences along the path, I’ve begun to think that there are certain elements of these experiences which contain important aspects of the correct resolution, but which, for some reason, are not themselves the answer to my longings. One might view the existence of these partial answers as an intimation that, at some point, the aggregation of all the parts of the answer might amount to a complete answer. The frustration comes in when I consider the inner certainty I have when expressing my genuine feelings, compared to how the circumstances have sometimes played out. If I felt so sure that I was on the right path, and ended up in pain and without a resolution, how will I know when the actual resolution appears?

I have come to understand that our most personal and intimate longings are spiritual at their core, but since we exist temporally at present, they must manifest as temporal phenomena, in order for us to comprehend and fully experience them. As human beings, we are, in my view, a temporal manifestation of a divine nature at the heart of the universe. Consequently, it seems reasonable to conclude, that our longings are also spiritual in nature, but become manifest in the temporal.


The connection between two spirits naturally migrates to the temporal, since we are temporal (corporeal) beings. Passion is spiritual at its core, but is represented and fulfilled in the physical world through biological drives that govern our instinctual needs. Intimacy with kindred spirits is desirable because it is the closest we can come to the spiritual in our corporeal lives. Passion for a particular individual temporal being indicates a spiritual connection of some sort, which may only be possible to fulfill in a physically intimate setting. If intimacy is not possible, some alternative arrangement must be found to satisfy the longings. The most difficult circumstance is when intimacy is necessary to fulfill the longings, but is not possible temporally. There must be an alternative that can assist us in overcoming the limitations of the temporal, without sacrificing the necessary fulfillment issues.

john longing

The movement is sometimes subtle. Life doesn’t always hit you over the head. It’s possible to get bogged down. Sustaining momentum can be difficult, especially when the world conspires against you. Pain doesn’t have to hurt your body parts to be real. What is most unsettling about all this uncertainty is that I have had moments where I believed I was pursuing the correct course so strongly, that I was willing to risk everything to pursue it. It wouldn’t make any sense to abandon our lives, such as they are, without some extremely powerful and significant cause, not to mention at least some degree of optimism in even a remote possibility for success. Once I begin to feel that I am approaching an important possible resolution to this dilemma, I generally allow myself to follow my instincts. I try not to question the course I’m on too strongly, and just let it flow as it goes. It is my belief that creative endeavors generally, and poetry in particular, frequently address the “ineffable mystery” of humanity’s spiritual nature. It is not necessarily a religious question, but rather a question which surrounds the incorporeal aspects of being human. Some time ago, I wrote about this connection to the ineffable:



“There is a connection to the consciousness of humanity, and to the interaction of emotions and cognitive functions of the brain, with an essence that is clearly transcendent of human nature. Our natural inclinations, particularly with regard to the arts, demonstrate a capacity within us that has as its source, a force or character that is inexplicable in terms of neurobiology. The ineffable aspects of our existence, and their connection to our very human nature, driven as it is, in large part by biology, are very likely never going to yield to empirical scrutiny, no matter how profound the comprehension of our biology becomes.”

While this attempts to address the ineffable, it actually only describes the problem, and expresses the heart of my concerns with regard to finding a path to explain my heartfelt feelings. In light of recent conversations with individuals who embody the essence of this matter, I have begun to understand a bit better, and hope that I can pursue the matter further, without endangering any of these extraordinary and cherished relationships. It is impossible to estimate the value of my emotional and spiritual connection in this circumstance, and I hope that by speaking to the relationships without identifying them, I may be able to shed some light on how important they are to me, not only from a deeply personal perspective, but also as a profoundly illuminating demonstration of my ideas.


I can recall a handful of times when a developing relationship with a particular individual moved me to the point of producing creative work. In every case, the individual affected me in this way effortlessly and profoundly. I inevitably found myself so enamored of the individual, that being creative eventually became part and parcel of the fabric of our moments together. Although I did not immediately recognize the importance of this connection in every case, it was clear almost immediately that there was far more going on below the surface. Restricted by social conventions, it sometimes became necessary to temper the passionate connection to the spirit, with the considerations of practicality and propriety. In spite of these limitations, the creative spirit within me reached out to the beautifully luminous spirits before me.

The sensation of longing has existed since the beginning of life on earth. It has penetrated time and space, and continues to issue forth across the timeless waves of eternity. Our connections to other spirits today must, in a very real way, be similar to those of intimate spirits since the beginning of time. Spiritual longings, in all their variety and intensity, frequently take us by surprise, and we end up searching through our own lifetimes for ways to satisfy them. Reluctant to expose another to our private pain, we frequently endure the longings in silence, patiently awaiting some comfortable resolution in the privacy of our own thoughts.


The real power and strength of passion is most evident in the silences between words. It has always been my belief that a genuine feeling is best expressed with our eyes. There is no better way to discern the veracity of our feelings than to look directly into the eyes of another, and see how we appear to them. We sometimes express our affection in familial terms, and in terms of friendship, when in fact the union of spirits is far more complex. We have to be cautious when we attempt to explain the inexplicable. Our compulsion to direct our energies toward the like-minded spirits we encounter is completely understandable in a certain context, and only crosses over in to more ambiguous areas when we attempt to explain in more intimate terms.

Our capacity for affection is boundless, but as we age we have less time to appreciate the seasons of the heart, and acquire the kind of passion that our spirits seem to long for. It is mostly in the deepest recesses of our thoughts, and within our heart of hearts, that we sense both the beauty and wonder of our longings. Coming to terms with the spiritual connection of both emotion and consciousness seems like the only sensible approach to resolving the conflict.

Entering the Inner Fortress


“Awakening to that mystical dimension where the very essence of self is suddenly perceived to be one with the ultimate forces of nature, is at once the secret and the transforming journey of human life.” – Joseph Campbell

In my last post, I introduced the story of how I began the journey of discovery which is now unfolding here on the pages of my blog. It was, in many ways, a tumultuous and transformative time in my early life; a time when my temporal life was in a bit of a tailspin, and when my inner world was finally free to expand in whatever direction seemed right to me. Although I had no preconceived notion about just what direction I might go, my awareness of a transcendent aspect to my world of experience had finally been released from the confines of my earlier restrictive religious background, and with those restrictions no longer in place, it seems my inner world, which had been more like a fortress against exploration, now had become my “inner fortress” of my experience of consciousness.

According to specialists in cognitive studies, there is a stream of consciousness within each of us that never ceases, regardless of whether we are awake or asleep. Exactly what is responsible for our experience of consciousness and a comprehensive explanation of its functioning are still subjects of considerable speculation and study. Assuming that we continue to expand our knowledge and insight into cognitive functioning, it seems reasonable to conclude that we will eventually gain a greater comprehension of its workings, perhaps resulting in a greater degree of access to this stream. We must therefore seek it out, and nourish our individual paths which connect us to it, and also be open to what we uncover as we search.

The nature and study of human consciousness has been a compelling subject for me for more than twenty years. I have spent a great deal of my time and energies trying to come to terms with my own very particular “inner experience” of life, and to somehow understand how the events and flow of my temporal life have directly been influenced by the workings within. Sharing what I have come to understand about my own “Inner Evolution,” has tasked my intellect and communications skills in a big way. I am only just beginning to feel confident enough in the results of my study and contemplation to bring out into the open, the many various aspects of what I have uncovered within myself. I am hopeful that my own subjective and personal experience of my own “human spirit” will resonate with others, and encourage them to explore their own.

Way back in 1973, as a young man embarking on the journey of a lifetime, I experienced what Carl Jung described as “the eruption of unconscious contents,” which compelled me to seek the path I continue to pursue to this day. The path of discovery has led me through an astonishingly diverse range of explorations in philosophy, science, and religion, as well as the many compelling ideas in the literature and scriptures of the cultures of the world. There is, in my view, a compelling thread made up of components of each, that runs through the fabric of life.


The awakening to the knowledge of the transcendent within each of us can be a difficult, dangerous, and deeply personal undertaking. Without a sense of urgency that we can reconcile against the relentless struggle to survive and maintain our daily lives, many of us never even attempt to access this knowledge. For some of us, the awakening can begin without a conscious choice.

Forty years ago, as a young soldier stationed in Massachusetts, I experienced what could only be described as a revelation. I was off-duty in the base cafeteria near the post exchange in the middle of what had become my traditional Sunday noontime meal. As I sat down to begin eating, there was no reason I knew about for that Sunday to feel any different than all the others which preceded it, when suddenly I was struck by an overwhelming sense of being unable to control my body. Fearful at first that I might be ill, I tried desperately to settle my mind, and I began to tremble noticeably. Reaching out, I spilled my drink on the table. The harder I struggled against the experience, the more difficult it became to remain calm, when I was inexplicably overcome by a sudden, compelling urge to write something down.

I got up from the table, went into the post exchange, bought a notepad and pen without waiting for my change, returned to my table in the cafeteria, pushed my meal aside and began to write. What disturbed me the most was that I didn’t seem to have any control over what my hand was doing–it felt more like I was outside of my body watching someone else writing.

Sweat dripped from my forehead onto the pages, smearing the words in several places. I was writing frantically, cramming the words onto page after page. The resulting text was incomprehensible to me, and I was in such a state of excitement that I found it impossible to concentrate. I can only remember wondering what the few people around me must be thinking about this nut, spilling drinks and writing like a madman.

As suddenly as it began, the frenzy stopped. The pen dropped from between my fingers and I went limp. I lifted my head, now throbbing with a headache, and looked at the clock on the wall. Nearly two hours had passed since my arrival at my table around noon. Shaken, but slowly calming down, I had to drag myself away to the men’s room to throw up. When I sat back down at the table, I turned back to the first page of the notepad, having half-filled it with what looked like scribbling. The initial pages were only marginally legible, but as I gradually turned over the pages, I was able to make out most of the words. It seemed like a description of a journey, but the terms were suggestive of travels not found on any map. The language seemed almost surreal and incoherent to me. The single item that made any immediate sense was a name–Jonas Rice.

Deeply disturbed by the incident, when I returned to my barracks, I ripped the pages out of the notebook, put them in an envelope, and hid it under some clothing at the bottom of my closet. I told no one of the experience.


The following weekend, I bought a bus ticket to the nearby city of Worcester, with the intention of investigating the name and whatever else I could find to help me understand what had occurred. Without fully knowing why, I felt certain that I could resolve the matter, even though I had no conscious knowledge about the city of Worcester prior to that day. Upon my arrival, I immediately set out walking, simply moving instinctively forward toward what felt like the center of town. I shortly came upon the city commons, where I noticed a collection of headstones marking the graves of prominent former citizens, interred there in the 1700’s. My heart began to pound wildly as I stood in front of the headstone of Jonas Rice.


Photo by Susan Fenner

Momentarily dazed, I found myself gasping for breath, unable to speak or move. Only with great effort was I able to gather my wits long enough to suspend my state of shock long enough to walk away. I realized at that moment that I was dealing with a phenomenon of an extraordinary nature, and unless I could come to terms with it somehow, it would be difficult for me to find any sort of peace of mind. I managed to find my way to the public library, and began what ended up being decades of investigation, which included life in colonial America, psychology, mythology, philosophy, and a whole range of religious and metaphysical subjects, trying to understand the experience, and the nature of what had been thrust into my consciousness.

Subsequent to the initial episode in 1973, I occasionally experienced recurrences of lesser intensity, which seemed to point me in new directions as the research progressed. Over the years, I began to view my research as part of the process of awakening, and kept a more detailed record of the significant events and important milestones, hoping to incorporate the essential information into a more comprehensive narrative at some point. Without fully understanding why, I nonetheless submitted myself to the unfolding drama, at times, overcome be a sense of powerlessness to stop myself. The resulting path of discovery and illumination brought me face-to-face with a fascinating and perplexing inner world.

**Somehow…this posting was deleted by It was originally posted on January 1, 2014**

Awakening and the Fall


The Fall of Icarus by Peter Paul Rubens, 1636 Musée Royaux des Beaux-Arts, Brussels, Belgium

A form seen in the distance
Becomes clearer the closer we get to it.
If a mirage were water,
Why would it vanish when we draw near?

The farther we are from the world,
The more real it appears to us;
The nearer we draw to it, the less visible it becomes,
And, like a mirage, becomes sign-less.

Translated from Sanskrit by The Dalai Lama from the Ratnavali (Precious Garland)

A recent comment by my friend and fellow blogger ptero9 on my recent posting (link above) brought me to consider more deeply the nature of the journey upon which I embarked so many years ago, and upon which I am still traveling, and it pointed to an interesting aspect of that journey which may illuminate some of the darkness which still surrounds it for me, and, perhaps, for some of my readers.

We can often view our relationships with others as both problematical and enriching, depending on where we are along the path which includes them, but many times, it is either in the consummation or in the elimination of those relationships where we discover their true value, and both extremes may prove painful in some way, no matter if we continue to nurture those connections, or find ourselves apart from them. There often is no way to know with certainty, which outcome might serve our aims more readily, and how enduring the pain which we experience in both cases might lead to a greater understanding of ourselves and our journey.


It is in this context that I began to consider the Middle Way, as described in my previous post, and my investigations, which were inspired by the comment by my friend, led me to consider more deeply, the principles upon which the “Middle Way” is based. According to the Buddhist text, “Setting Rolling the Wheel of Truth,” there are two extremes:

“Indulgence…in the objects of sensual desire, which is inferior…and leads to no good…and devotion to self-torment, which is painful…and leads to no good. The middle way…avoids both these extremes; it gives vision, it gives knowledge, and it leads to peace, to direct acquaintance to nibbana (non-attachment).”

Of all of the experiences which I have detailed so far, the awakening which began in Massachusetts on a sleepy Sunday afternoon so many years ago, pressed me into following a path which included many unusual and startling events, and it has taken me these many years in between to begin to see how it all fits together. Along the path, many new experiences steered me in different directions, some of which were enormously painful, and others which were enriching in ways that I never suspected were even possible. As I progressed on my journey, all along the way, the experience of these extremes pressed me inexorably toward the middle way, although I was not fully aware that it was doing so.

The experience which I describe in “Transcendent Awareness,” was a powerful and emotionally challenging one, but as I reflect upon it, and on many of the others that were similar as I traveled along this path, it seems very likely that they served a greater purpose than I ever could have known while enduring them. As you will see, in the postings which follow, I began to find my way and to arrive at a place where I could attain the “vision…knowledge…and peace,” promised in the attunement to the Middle Way.


“If Mankind is to achieve spiritual growth, the first essential is that the human units involved in the process shall draw closer together, not merely under the pressure of external forces, or solely by the performance of material acts, but directly–centre to centre–through internal attraction–unanimity in a common spirit.” – P.T.Chardin from “The Future of Man.”

After a meteor shower–a dazzling display in the wee hours of a morning not so long ago, I was moved to write about an ancient connection that illuminated aspects of one in my current lifetime:

“As I cast my eyes skyward, I sense that doing so is something I have done in some previous incarnation. It is familiar in a wonderful way, mysteriously, silently and lovingly, I am reminded of doing so centuries ago. For a moment, I am transported to a time long since past, where the inner knowing of just how it felt to be so enraptured by the sight; almost in a trance as result of concentrating on the sky in just this way. The memory of the pain, being apart from the one I loved, however undeserved that love may have been, and regardless of the pain it wrought, I wanted it no less.

To know love’s agony so well, and still wish for it, if it means knowing, even briefly, love’s ecstasy, is genuine love. The mystery that is love, with all its attendant joys and sorrows, successes and failures, realizations and disappointments, hopes and disillusionment, is one which all of humanity has hoped to solve, in one way or another, since the dawn of time.

I have tried with all my strength to maintain the connection without imposing myself. This has proven to be a formidable task. My ineptitude in presenting my thoughts that convey the deeper meaning of my attention, to bring the interior closer through a direct appeal to the core matter expressed through sensory appeal, has plagued me all along. Once I became aware of the connection, I fell headfirst into the abyss, and barely escaped with my life intact. As difficult as it is to distinguish always between what is true and what is simply desired, between what has substance and what is fleeting, attending to the sensory manifestations of the spiritual core, can often produce a positive energy that illuminates the interior world–and provides a connection to a much greater world of knowledge.”

“Every grain of matter, every appearance is one with Eternal and Immutable Reality! Wherever your foot may fall, you are still within the Sanctuary of Enlightenment, though it is nothing perceptible. I assure you that one who comprehends the truth of “nothing to be attained,” is already seated in the sanctuary where he will gain his Enlightenment.” — from the Zen Teachings of Huang Po