Transcendent Awareness

ImaginedWorld

“The transcendental law, Emerson believed, was the ‘moral law,’ through which man discovers the nature of God, a living spirit…The true nature of life was energetic and fluid; its transcendental unity resulted from the convergence of all forces upon the energetic truth, the heart of the moral law.” — excerpt from The American Tradition in Literature, Vol. 1, W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1967

“Undoubtedly, we have no questions to ask which are unanswerable. We must trust the perfection of the creation so far as to believe that whatever curiosity the order of things has awakened in our minds, the order of things can satisfy. Every man’s condition is a solution in hieroglyphic to those inquiries he would put. He acts it as life, before he apprehends it as truth.”— Ralph Waldo Emerson, from his introduction to “Nature.”

With milder temperatures and the blossoming of the natural world underway, I am reminded of years past and the turmoil within me that has always accompanied the onset of Spring. Each time the Earth is in renewal, the passage of time seems more pronounced as the clearly defined changes of the season manifest all around us. All throughout Winter’s cold and extended hours of darkness, we long for the warmth and the sunshine to come. We huddle together against the cold in order to survive. When we first feel the warm Spring air blowing against our faces, and witness the plants and trees begin to sprout their leaves and blossoms, something within us also stirs. Our hearts and minds acknowledge this transformation not only by sensation, but also by intuition.

spring flowers

Somehow, I have been brought to this day and time to fulfill, what must be, some discernible purpose. My heightened sensitivity and enhanced intuitive senses since the events in Massachusetts blew the lid off my steaming pot of consciousness, and I found that I was no longer able to contain the inner struggle. It was a gradual process of unfolding, after the initial burst of energy that one Sunday afternoon, but the flow has been maintained these many years by determined effort to unravel it all. In my temporal world, it seems that life continues to plod along relentlessly. But within me, on rare occasions, particular individuals continue to evoke an awareness of powerful longings, and in several of those instances, it became clear that the consciousness within ME, was connected intimately with the consciousness of the other. It seems, in view of the existence of these intimate connections, that consciousness is a word that describes a transcendent awareness–a manifestation of a non-physical source. By this reckoning, the Universe itself must also be a physical manifestation of a non-physical source. Human consciousness must involve a transformational process through which our transcendent awareness is expressed.

dandelion

During one such experience of transcendent awareness, one connection in particular struck at the very core of my being. Although it seemed on the surface to be a formidable task to reconcile my temporal existence with this connection, I made every effort to maintain the connection, in order to convey the deeper meaning of my attention. In my previous post, I acknowledged the struggle between my heart and mind, trying to distinguish for myself the true nature of the connection, and wrote what follows.

Declaration of Affection

I will never forget the joy and unbridled energy of the first days of our acquaintance. Whenever I close my eyes, I can see you clearly in my mind as you looked on the day when I first saw your face–a shy and giggling gem glittering before my eyes. I remember thinking how beautiful you were; your gently flowing hair surrounding your radiant face and your exquisitely grayish-blue eyes–with a smile that seemed to fill the room with a glow that lingered long after my eyes could no longer see your face. The image of your face will never leave me now.

At first, there was only unencumbered joy when we shared conversation. Your heart and mind were totally open to me. Each new day brought my heart and mind within proximity to a miracle. Your spirit was so dynamic and wondrous, that whenever we spoke, my very life force seemed to tremble, as though I might, at any moment, leave my body and fly swiftly to you. The first time I looked deeply into those eyes, it only took a moment to realize that the world would never again be the same. After several starts and stops, far removed from the everyday routines, when you finally opened your heart to me, my own heart was flung wide open, and pumped wildly as I held you in my arms for the first time. I wanted that moment to last forever.

beginning

The chaotic chain of events that followed made me feel like I was hanging off the side of a moving roller coaster. I can scarcely remember anything from those days other than being with you; as if life began when we were together and was suspended when we were apart. Every encounter with you made me feel intensely awake and alive. After one particularly intense moment of sharing, I realized for the first time, how much you meant to me, and I knew at that moment, with absolute certainty, that I loved you. And yet, even as I contemplated the mysterious swirling hurricane that had become my life, the winds of change had begun to stir. All I knew, was that the feelings evoked by our connection were unlike any feeling I knew or had felt before under any circumstances. When it all fell apart, I was unavoidably altered and shaken to my very roots.

The unfolding of events since then do not fit neatly into any sensible or clear explanation, nor do they seem to lead to any satisfactory resolution. The reality of the temporal world has slowly steered us away from the magical world we had once inhabited, and left us in a twilight world of uncertainty and solitude. How the fibers of our mutual memories will weave themselves into a future cloth is hidden from us now. But one thing is abundantly clear. In any Universe, there could be no greater world than the one that includes your bright spirit. I pray that both of our spirits will endure and remain connected to the wisdom that brought them together one beautiful day, not so long ago.

Friendship and Pain

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The sun had barely awakened the new day; its first efforts to bring light back from beyond the night had only just begun, but I had been unable to settle down to sleep since just before dawn the day before. My heart and mind were heavy with an inner turmoil, suffering from an enduring doubt, and a persistent heartache that would reappear each time I opened my eyes, even after an abundance of nearly sleepless nights, filled only by a relentless repetition of tossing and turning. The memories of a life lived, of dreams forsaken, and of hope renewed, only to be stolen from me at the height of its promised return, filled my inner world as I endured my deeper thoughts alone; miles away from everything that had come to matter to me.

window

The light that had sparked this hope appeared at a time of desperate emptiness, when I was feeling as though I might survive, but not thrive. Held fast in that place by a twist of fate, I had no expectation at all that my abundant thoughts and feelings might find their voice, and as I lay exhausted in the early light of a new day, I reflected on my human frailty, prone as we are to characteristically human drives, weaknesses, and tendencies. I dragged my battered heart and mind out of my bed, casting a backwards glance at the unmade bed, and saw the very emptiness and disheveled disarray that was my life.

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Sometimes, when your life feels like it is falling apart, a close friend may be all that stands between you and despair. But, when a cherished and close friendship falls apart, whatever else might be happening in your life may suddenly not seem to matter so much.

Usually, there’s no single reason for such a friendship to fall apart. After all, close friendships only happen when there are multiple layers of commonality and affection between two people. Even when you have a bad argument with a close friend, you know that you won’t be angry with them for long. After the dust settles, the first thing you’ll probably want to do is talk to them and make it right again. You may even wonder to yourself, how it was even possible to be so upset in the first place.

Life is not only about just one thing. It is possible, at times, to live our lives in a routine way–almost by instinct–when the days don’t contain anything that rises to a particular level of strength one way or the other, and for a long time, we can almost sleepwalk through them; blissfully unaware that anything might be wrong. But then, when we aren’t expecting it, life can take a turn, for better or worse, and we can either find ourselves in the grips of great joy, or suddenly standing alone, with no idea which way to turn next.  At times like these, the people who matter most in our lives can make all the difference in the world to us. This is when that close friendship really counts. But what do you do, when it’s that close friendship that takes a turn for the worse?

far away looks magritte

As the story unfolded, it became clearer that my heart and mind were struggling badly to work through the chaos and the confusion of what had become a vital part of me, calling for some sort of drastic re-evaluation and some attempt at resolution. Never before had I been so intensely compelled by my heart, and so resolutely restrained by my mind. The tug-of-war within me came to a standstill. The longings in my heart were formidable, but the restraints imposed by circumstances could not be overcome. In desperation, I called for a truce–what was needed was intimate diplomacy.

heart and mind struggle2a

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After a long struggle, I managed to get my heart and mind to the negotiating table. There they sat, arms folded, silent, staring at each other across the table. I began to attempt opening a dialog between them. My logical, methodical, and eminently pragmatic mind made several quite reasonable statements and salient points on the side of stability and propriety. My emotional, spontaneous, and notoriously intrepid heart, threw caution to the wind, advocating a campaign of reckless abandon and unbridled indulgence of desire. Rollicking heated argument ensued.

The terms I offered in mediation were met with skepticism by my mind, and with impatience by my heart. Negotiations seemed to be breaking down, and all my attempts at mitigating the circumstances seemed unlikely at best.

Until yesterday.

Yesterday, my mind was a little more rested and relaxed than it had been in a while, and in a moment of compassion, my heart made an overture to my mind regarding a possible cease-fire. While my mind listened patiently, my heart spoke to two areas of mutual agreement. The first was an acknowledgement of deeply felt and clearly present affection. Although this was primarily the domain of the heart, its existence was indisputable. My mind recognized this aspect of my heart’s argument, and agreed that it was genuine and enduring.

The second point of agreement was the certainty of a profound sense of connection to a kindred spirit, perhaps, even a soul-mate, potentially brought together for some great purpose as yet undetermined. My mind concurred that the connection was real, and while reserving judgment as to the precise nature of it, wholeheartedly embraced the definitive nature of the connection, suggesting further exploration of it. Encouraged by this progress, my heart motioned for a declaration of affection, calling it, “…a reasonable consequence of our recent attainment of a consensus.”

My mind was impressed by the wisdom and the skillful analysis presented by my heart, but countered with a reminder to the heart of the recent change in the frequency of encounters with this kindred spirit, and of the character of the few that had occurred in recent times. My mind asked that these factors by considered in the preparation of the declaration. My heart consented.

….next time…..The Declaration of Affection…

Deep Forest Vision

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In the light of day, I traveled to a remote forest area several miles from the base in Massachusetts. I had driven-by the turnoff several times before while navigating through the surrounding areas, and the entrance always caught my eye. Curiosity got the better of me one day while I was still in what they called a “holding company,” where you always waited for your permanent assignment to come through. Without really knowing why, I felt compelled to turn off the highway and explore where the road might lead. As I entered the area, the afternoon was still in full swing, and there was no one to be seen anywhere along the way, so I kept driving slowly forward, deeper along what now appeared to be some sort of logging trail more than a road designed for a car. The sun was warm on my face, and the road ahead was strangely compelling in spite of having no real idea where I was going. It was early in May, and the weather was favorable enough to ride with the windows down. I had brought along some water and something to eat, hoping to make an afternoon of it. I had no where to be for the next few days, but fully expected to return to the base that evening.

The road narrowed and rather than risk damaging my brand new car, I decided to pull over and walk for a bit. I had followed the main path all along, and thought it wise not to venture too far from that point in any direction, and made a serious effort to orient myself to my surroundings, and get a firm grip on where I was parked in order to find my way back. I set out with my backpack and walked into the dense forest.

tree fall new

The trek was pleasant enough at first and offered some quiet solace for my mind to wander as I walked. I had no particular thought or emotional state to dwell over, but I slowly began to feel a bit uneasy as I walked further along. I gradually started to sense something odd about the surroundings as I approached a clearing up ahead. Even in May, most of the trees had already sprouted new leaves, but as I got closer to the edge of the clearing, there seemed to be far fewer leaves as I walked. For most of the path, the surrounding trees flirted with the late afternoon sunlight filtering through the branches and sending fluttering beams of light into a scattered patchwork all around me. Now, the entire area ahead appeared to be glowing and unnaturally bright. When I arrived at the center of it all, I looked up and noticed a large tree which had no leaves at all.

bare tree black white

I immediately felt a sensation of warmth throughout my body. It had been mild all along, but I seemed now to be standing in the sun directly and I attributed the change to the bare branches allowing more sunlight to pour through. I found myself squinting for some reason, even though I was looking away from the sun. I thought to move a little further along, out of the increasingly warmer area, but for some reason, I held fast to my position. The background murmur of nature in the woods, which I had only noticed peripherally before, was suddenly absent. I could feel my heart throbbing in my chest. I suddenly felt as though I could sense the blood pulsing through the veins in my neck, and the rhythm of the beat gently throbbed in my ears. The inner conversation I was having for the last few minutes, trying to figure out what was going on, suddenly stopped. There were no birds tweeting in the background. The gentle wind which had previously been periodically rustling the leaves had fallen silent as well. Not a single sound seemed to be detectable.

I tried furiously to shake it off. Beads of sweat were accumulating on my brow as I struggled to get a better grasp of what was happening. I dropped my backpack to the ground and grabbed each side of my head as I fell to my knees. There was a moment of panic right as I tried to look around to see what might be causing my predicament, when I heard a voice call out my name. I jumped to my feet and turned around to see what appeared to be a lone, hooded figure suspended in the air several yards ahead of me. It seemed impossible, but I was now staring in disbelief at the silhouette of a man floating just above me and my first thought was to run–to escape–but I found myself frozen to where I stood. It had to be that my eyes were failing me or a sudden fever overcoming me, but I could not turn away or awaken from what seemed like a daydream gone terribly wrong.

hand split

I raised up my hand to block out the abundant light surrounding the figure and noticed that my hand appeared to be in several places at once in front of me. As I tried to clear my head momentarily by blinking my eyes, everything started to move very slowly, and I felt my body tighten as it seemed to come to a grinding halt. Although I couldn’t hear a thing, I suddenly began to sense words coming into my head. They made no sense to me, and I wasn’t able to rearrange them or put them in any sort of logical order. Gripped in a strange sort of paralysis of mind and body, I seemed to be witnessing the event from outside of myself. After what felt like only a few minutes, my body collapsed and everything went dark.

dense-forest2a

When I came back to consciousness, I was laying on my back on the ground, and felt chilled to the bone. I was trembling as I sat up. It was nearly dark, but I was able to stand up soon enough to see that the last few lingering hints of sunlight were slowly fading, and I grabbed my backpack and sprinted for the car. I drove quickly away from the area, driving a bit erratically at first, breathing heavily, and trying slowly and deliberately to calm myself as I approached the highway. I took a few deep breaths and turned the car in the direction of the base. I didn’t know what to think or do, but when I got back to my room, fortunately my roommate was out, and I sat down at the desk and wrote these words in my journal:

“The path you must travel expands far beyond today, reaching for tomorrow, its foundation in yesterday. Consider all that you have learned here and you will find the Beginning of the path. Recall all that you are and you will discover what is contained in the Foundation of the Fortress. Meditate on your dreams and you will gain the knowledge which leads to the Entrance of the Universe. Know that all people are concerned. You will find yourself at a time in the future, where the energies of those around you now will manifest in people visibly marked with a sign of the purpose. You will know them by a swelling in your soul. The vibrations of their undying desires will reverberate inside you and you will sense their presence whether they are near you or not. Do not fear this sensation for it will guide you to those who will aide you in your journey, provided you give to them of yourself totally. Some may not recognize you or be able to freely open themselves to you. Your challenge will be to receive from them the energies needed to succeed in your journey and fulfill the purpose. It is a difficult path to walk, and you will face many diversions along the way, but you must not allow them to overcome you.”

Powerful emotional, psychological, and intuitive forces had now risen from within me. I seemed to become gradually more and more aware of what others were feeling, but in particular cases, moments of recognition and acknowledgement of a sort of kinship would be especially intense and dynamic, spurring in some cases, feelings of great joy and of an intimate connection that would stir me deeply and irrevocably, pushing the very limits of my endurance, and grow in strength with each new day.

….more to come….

Journey of the Human Spirit

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“Once we find the transcendent experience and open up to a greater flow of spiritual energy and security within, something profound begins to occur. We begin to see ourselves and our behavior from a higher perspective, from a viewpoint of our more energized higher self. Our sense of identity moves past the insecure reactions of our ego self and assumes a witness viewpoint, identified now with all of divine creation and able to see our socially defined self with a new objectivity.” — James Redfield from “The Celestine Vision,” 1997

The developments surrounding my experience of what Jung described as”an eruption of unconscious contents,” while poorly understood by me at the time it occurred, set the stage for an extraordinary journey of the spirit. The beginning seemed to be traumatic at the time, and it struck me without warning or my own intention to undertake such a journey, but it felt almost immediately like I was destined to begin it. When the original episode took place, I have no recollection of actually seeing anything in my immediate conscious state, but images figured prominently in the document, which seemed to come in three sections. Most of what I have deciphered came long after the document appeared, and as I will recount in my subsequent assignment to the base in Massachusetts, an extraordinary mystical experience filled in many of the gaps the document contained from being illegible due to the frantic manner in which it was recorded. I eventually incorporated several excerpts in this version that were, to the best of my knowledge, part of the original configuration, but were unreadable when it was created originally.

Dreamscapes #1

It was in a dream one lonely night that first gave me the clue which told me of a life lived in the past–the existence of one unfulfilled life by some cruel twist of fate; some unaccounted for incident that survived the ravages of time–transmitted into the future by an unknown force or energy that permeated my every waking hour. The document was written in a trance-like state, and upon review of the writing afterwards, I realized it was an account of a journey, but not to a place that appeared on any map. The excerpts seemed almost like a commentary by the entity named in the document as Jonas Rice.

The Beginning, The Foundation, The Entrance.
By JJHIII24

The Beginning

Raging seas, darkness, the gap between appearance and reality, and the finality of the good earth.

Emotion has been the first of the significant elements involved in the purpose. An ocean of emotion reflected in the mirror of existence, observable only in the conscious mind inside, invisible to the world.

Years pass and the masses see only the surface. No exploration for fear of discovery. Torturous hours, lingering for an eternity, serve only to irritate and inflame the water’s rage. Pain is washed ashore and left to keep alive the disturbance, while the tide is out. Travel is the only temporary and eventual escape.

Sensitivity increases the spectrum of its effect. It lures and repels erratically, ever changing. Continuity is destroyed, forgotten and flung beyond recall. Destiny is playing his fiddle, inviting, then demanding compliance with his tunes. The weak fall prey and only the strong survive. The moments tell the story; the thoughts display a reality and truth–unacceptable–yet, escape is impossible. The blind go unaware and the sighted are driven to the edge, clinging to the branches of light that only truth can provide. The search appears endless, yet is known to be finite in a reality which cannot be confirmed.

(Consider all that you have learned here and you will find the Beginning of the Path.)

(It began in the year 1770, with the birth of an ideal, the arrival of the correct moment in time–the beginning of an era. The settlers of the new colonies were more than just pilgrims in a new land; they were pioneers in a new world–newborn babes of a destiny not yet realized in its entirety.)

The Foundation

Blackness, darkness, a void–uncertain. Faith flickers in the distance. Defeat is in the air, polluting while defenses weaken, threatening the footsteps. Motivation building a path, shedding an amber light on the doorway to the surface. Time and endurance, hand in hand, break the chains and grapple furiously, transported momentarily to green pastures and blue skies, with the light of day surging through the bloodstream, providing the sword and armor of power, strength, and humanity.

(You are to go forth from this place and seek the Fortress which holds the hidden purpose for existence. You alone are capable of this deed and at this precise moment of your life, as you would not have been prepared to assume the burden of these tidings were it any sooner.)

(Recall all that you are and you will discover what is contained in the Foundation of the Fortress.)

The Entrance

Oh, the joy, the courage and stability. Pause.

Placid sea.
Love rippling.
Its presence, once recognized
Brings sustenance, completeness.
Fullness and solidity appears
As a finely sculptured entity,
Focused to perfection,
Flawless in its detail,
Unsurpassed by any existing structure.
A FORTRESS among fortresses.
Soon to be seen and understood;
Glorious, yet, not divine.

Set apart, protruding on a level far beyond earthly significance. Relating humanly to encountered sameness and varying differences. Strength to friendly, open souls. Menacing to the fearful, the ignorant, and the superficial. Distant from the souls lacking completeness.

(Despite efforts to avoid the purpose, I am compelled to seek it out. Nothing else matters. An overpowering inner drive pushes me toward the mysterious, unknown end, lured to it like the sirens who once lured the great Ulysses. Even now I sense it coming. Distant footsteps echo in the halls of my inner world. It ceases–then begins–and ceases once more. The event of my life is upon me.)

Beginning, Foundation, Entrance documents–© 1973-1975 by JJHIII24

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The spiritual nature of the journey of Jonas has now become the focal point of my investigations. The awakening to transcendent knowledge is a most difficult and deeply personal undertaking requiring a sense of urgency that will prevail in spite of the relentless struggle to survive and maintain our daily lives. The leap from the physical to the metaphysical can be the most difficult leap of all, even realizing the potentially profound consequences of neglecting such a vital aspect of our existence. In order to begin, it was necessary to strive toward achieving a level of awareness I had never even imagined was possible. The pursuit of the achievement of higher levels of consciousness is uncommon in our current culture with its emphasis on materialism and the advanced technologies growing exponentially in the 21st century. Ironically, the advances in technology provide a larger number of people with access to the world of information and global educational opportunities, but promote the tendency to provide only the most popular or immediately beneficial of those possibilities, adversely affecting the dissemination of the more long-term essential aspects of those available–aspects which require more time and effort to become evidently as important.

Ancient Mountain of Memory

“Memory performs the impossible for man; holds together past and present, gives continuity and dignity to human life.” — Mark Van Doren, Liberal Education, 1943

“In a large sense, learning and memory are central to our very identity. They make us who we are.” — Eric Kandel, In Search of Memory, 2006

“Has it ever struck you…that life is all memory, except for the one present moment that goes by you so quickly you hardly catch it going? It’s really all memory…except for each passing moment.” — Tennessee Williams, The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore, 1963

As I contemplated the landscapes along the highways on my way across the United States in 1975, I began to sense more than just the wider world through which I was passing, and often found myself absorbed by persistent thoughts in my mind, still bubbling from all that I had experienced in the extraordinary hills and valleys of California, and still haunted by the traumatic events in Massachusetts. The world had suddenly become utterly incomprehensible in some ways, and every moment of the journey held another new experience–each equally fascinating from my perspective as a traveler, and oddly troublesome in the degree of uncertainty I felt as I approached the unknown.

desert view

The stark desert scenes along the way through the American West were startling to me in a way that felt both unsettling and wondrous. Traversing the sweeping desert vistas of New Mexico and Arizona, I often felt the urge to pull the car over and just stare at these scenes. As oddly as it seemed, they felt familiar to me. I couldn’t understand the feeling at the time, but somehow knew that it would all start to make sense before long. The stunning and occasionally unnerving dreams that had been pervasive and even intrusive in Massachusetts and California, subsided during this trip, and I slept peacefully most nights in a way that seemed to escape me at all other times.

john home cali2f

My arrival back on the East Coast was triumphant in my mind. I had survived the dark night of the soul, and the threat of death, and journeyed thousands of miles across the USA in a remarkable and healing transitional experience. For a short time, the dreams that had interposed themselves in my psyche faded, and I was able to recuperate, and reclaim some of my previous confidence in going forward to the next stop along the way. Visiting with my family was always restorative and rejuvenating; an oasis in the desert of uncertainty that I always seemed to find myself in those days. As the time for returning to military service approached, I felt compelled to review my writings, and as I did, new images and thoughts started to appear in my nightly dreams. In the excerpt that follows, I begin to sense a connection to the “ancient mountain of memory,” and prepared to go deeper into the abyss:

forest within

The Forest Within

“Away from the routines of the everyday, I find my heart in turmoil, withholding the silent sound of my true voice. I can hear the strains of music that have sparked hidden fires, whose embers refuse to be extinguished, nor can I seem to leave them undisturbed long enough for them to simply run out of fuel. The spirit that embodies these fires haunts me in the tremulous strains of familiar and beloved memory. Held at bay by the thinnest of barriers, my most persistent attempts have failed utterly to relinquish the wisps of flame that languish in the furthest reaches of the forest within. The trees grow even still in splendor that penetrates my visions of centuries past, and through the countless millenniums of ancient memory.

When not persuaded by necessity to avoid them, I walk these woods, through dazed states of mind and melancholy. Occasional streams of sunlight peak through the dense forest canopy to reach my face and my heart. Echoes of ancient music reverberate through the thick layers of trees and against the faces of the great cliffs of stone, which hold the forest to the earth. Every so often, the strains of a familiar pattern of notes catches me unaware, and I am transported momentarily to that place–the clearing at the center of the forest–where I find the living memory itself. Each time, I am undone by the clarity and the durability of these memories, and each time, they penetrate deeper within, and stay hidden longer.”

jonas settler

Jonas Rice lived in colonial America, and was one of the founders of the city of Worcester, Massachusetts. He served as a soldier in the struggle of American independence and made important contributions to that effort. Jonas and I came to be linked when his name appeared in the writings that burst forth from me during what Jung describes as an “eruption of unconscious contents,” that brought forth the original document from that experience. My discovery of his tombstone in the center of Worcester literally took my breath away, and I could not shake the sense that he was a part of me somehow.

In those early days, before I had a clear idea about what was happening to me, I felt as though Jonas was alive in me. As a member of an active continental regiment with the U.S.Army, I felt certain that my role in that organization was part of my destiny. There clearly was a purpose to these events, but it was clear also, that it would take time for me to understand it all.

…..next time….the document itself…

An Angel In Bloom

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An Angel in Bloom by JJHIII24

Fragments fallen from impatient daydreams,
Like the motion of two blissful dancers;
Longings once taken from hearts long ago,
Awaken as eternity answers.

Eyes once astonished and endlessly searching,
Now settle like gentle spring rain;
Patience endures in reluctant darkness,
To shield us from each other’s pain.

Intimate spirits commune in rare kinship,
Beneath preferred explanations;
Mysteries yield with permission now given
For compassionate exclamations.

Sensual fullness in measured proportions,
Blossoms in secret anguish;
Heartfelt wishes for closeness unbridled,
Become fleeting shadows to vanquish.

Hints of our passions are found in the silence,
When all of our glances are whispers;
A union of spirits, uttered as friendship,
Expresses affection like sisters.

But you don’t have to be a woman to see,
How a man with a vision could love you;
Of all the spirits that dwell in this world,
None compare from below or above you.

The world could never hold beauty enough,
To conceal what is seen in your eyes;
A dazzling beacon in a wildflower’s field
Understates, but reveals your surprise.

You glow like a rose, an angel in bloom,
The spark in the hearth of your home;
Your strength is hard won, but your heart just might be
As fragile as bubbles in foam.

I dare not to feel, for in time am I lost,
The ages are clashing like thunder;
In nearness to angels we oft lose our way,
For our spirits are captured by wonder.

© February 2014 by JJHIII24

In love, as in life, there are many possibilities, and many different layers of understanding, caring, loving, friendship, and togetherness. Living our lives in a way that keeps us “open” to the many layers of our nature as humans, whether or not we meet up with a “soul-mate,” or “kindred spirit,” or someone from a past life, is essential in order to grow and flourish.

I am not suggesting at all that I somehow understand any of this any better than anyone else does. The mystery that is life, and the sprawling chaos that love can sometimes cause in our lives, prevents most of us from getting a firm handle on understanding.

We must try to attain the most fulfillment in life and in love that we can…life is brief…there is no time to waste. If we are fortunate enough to meet up with someone with whom we can share our lives, even from a distance or for a brief period of time, that experience will bring us closer to an understanding of what our lives and loves are about.

We have to be grateful for whatever time we get with them, and live in that moment as fully as we can, especially knowing that we only travel this road for a limited time.

We all see the world through our own eyes, and bring to it, all of our experiences, emotions, and expectations. How we meet life and how we experience love, regardless of the circumstances, depends a great deal on how open we are to the many possibilities they represent.

Wishing everyone the fullness of life, and of love……John H.

California Impressions

arrive calif2ajohn hat2a

 

Traveling back in time, as I seem to do when I examine the images of my younger self, has always been interesting from a philosophical viewpoint, but it also can be a little disconcerting when I consider my choices regarding headgear. In the military, there is no choice in the matter, and whatever uniform was chosen for that day at battalion headquarters determined what you looked like on any particular day. For some reason, toward the end of my duty in Massachusetts, I had taken to wearing what was then called a “safari hat,” which typically you might see on the protagonist in a movie where the action took place in a jungle. The photo on the left above shows me in my uniform of the day, shortly after arriving in California, and on the right, a photo taken right before I left Massachusetts, where I had modified the hat to position the front rim of the hat upwards, and I held it in place by a medal I received as a marksman in basic training. From going through my photo archive from those days, it seems I must have worn it just about everywhere I went when I wasn’t required to be in uniform.

movie calif3a

About halfway through my tour of duty in California, in the summer of 1974, I happened to attend the new Mel Brooks film, “Young Frankenstein,” at the John Steinbeck Theater on the old Cannery Row in Monterey. Much to my surprise, waiting to go in to watch the film, I ended up standing behind a very tall and very conspicuous, Clint Eastwood. He seemed to be quite relaxed and was patient with several moviegoers who asked for a snapshot with the famous film star. It took me a few minutes, but I finally found the courage to introduce myself, and I told him I had always wanted a hat like the one he wore when he appeared in “High Plains Drifter,” one of my favorites. He said the studio ordered from a well-known country outfitter in Flagstaff, Arizona, and he told me the name of the place. I thanked him for the tip, as the doors opened to enter the theater.

defense language2

As a German linguist-in-training, at the prestigious Defense Language Institute, I was subjected to a fairly rigorous schedule of language training in the service of my expected assignment, which would take place in what was then described as the “Federal Republic of Germany.” Germany was a divided country in 1974, and our mission in “West Germany,” required military linguists to monitor what was going on in “East Germany,” a satellite country under the control of the Soviet Union. It was a serious business at the time, and the wall which separated the two halves of the country, would be an ominous sight for a young and free American citizen and soldier.

Still reeling from the events in Massachusetts, I plunged myself into the training regimen with my whole being, and tried to keep myself focused on the work for the first few months, but after a time, as the opportunity came up, I would venture out and explore the area surrounding the base, and eventually was able to purchase a privately owned vehicle, or P.O.V. in military jargon, with which I could extend my range of exploration considerably. I was situated in one of the most beautiful places in all of California, just a stone’s throw from the Monterey Bay, and just down the road from Carmel, which was the location of the famous “seventeen-mile drive” along the California coast. For a time, it was absolute bliss, riding along the coastal highways, visiting Big Sur, and watching some of the most spectacular sunsets available anywhere in the world.

coastal hwy2

Traveling along certain stretches of the coastal highway during the day, especially as the sun was preparing to sink below the horizon, hundreds of people would be parked alongside the public access areas, enjoying the beauty, and sharing with a community that always seemed to be present on the beach, but with even more people arriving in preparation for the end of the day. I quickly became one of the hundreds of others who appeared there, and attended to this ritual whenever possible. It never even occurred to me that there might be danger waiting for me. But it was waiting.

car crash calif2

One late and very rainy night after a double-feature at a nearby movie theater, I was on my way back to the base in my little Volkswagen Bug, and I was coming around a blind curve on the two-lane coastal highway, when I suddenly found myself staring into not one, but TWO sets of oncoming headlights. I remember how time suddenly seemed to slow down a lot, and in the few seconds I had to make a choice, it seemed to me that driving off the cliff on the left, and taking my chances trying to stop in front of two oncoming cars were the less desirable options of just turning the car into the side of the mountain on the right, and I turned the wheel sharply to the right, expecting to come to a rather abrupt end. Imagine my astonishment when that little bug suddenly had me driving sideways along the surface of the mountainside. As the seconds ticked away slowly, I remembered seeing both sets of headlights go by me on the left, and for a brief moment, actually thought I might escape injury altogether, when time suddenly sped up again as a telephone pole in the middle of the hill seemed to enter the car right before I blacked out.

The sequence of events that followed made no sense to me at all, and awhile after I had sufficiently recovered, the doctors who attended to me explained that they had not expected me to recover initially. All of the normal procedures for determining the extent of damage in a head injury case produced no results. I was alive, but I was unresponsive. Unknown to me at the time, I was in a comatose state for nearly 48 hours. I had been wearing a seat belt, which saved my life, and because I was so tall, my head missed the windshield and instead struck the top frame of the windshield. They estimated, based on the time the movie was over, and the time I arrived in the emergency room, that I had been inside the car for nearly forty-five minutes after the accident. The people who caused the accident did not stop. An emergency medical technician on his way home from a date had stumbled upon my car, upside down on the side of the road, and somehow managed to get me out of the car and to call for help. No one at the hospital had asked his name, and I never found out who it was.

I never fully recovered my memory of what happened, and the bits and pieces I did remember combined with what people told me, helped me to put together most of what happened. Those forty-eight hours were like a Fellini film. Images moving in front of my eyes, faces appearing and disappearing, and what I thought was my first clear memory, did not actually take place in temporal reality. I thought I was awake, but apparently I wasn’t. I was laying in bed, in a room with white walls, underneath white sheets, and could see a window painted white, and the sky was white. The only color was the green tip of a pine tree. I felt no pain and could not speak or move. I lay there for what seemed like days in that state, seeing no one.

When I finally saw someone, it was a police officer, asking me what my name was. I heard what he was asking, but I couldn’t answer. I wasn’t sure what to say, and my mouth didn’t seem to be working. The nurse told him he would have to come back, and then turned toward me and smiled. Then the lights went out again. I had been sedated. The next morning, I knew I was really awake finally, because every muscle in my whole body ached with pain, and the same nurse was talking to me again. Her cheerful greeting barely registered. She said, “Welcome back, honey, how you feelin’ today?” “Not so good,” I reported, surprised at being able to speak. “You gave us quite a scare,” she continued. “Doctor says you hit your head pretty bad.” I couldn’t remember anything at all. It was a complete mystery to me what had happened. I looked around the room and there were paintings on the walls, buildings outside of the window, and a blue blanket on the bed. It took me awhile, but I started to remember a little more every day.

I had missed several weeks of school, and there would be other consequences from that night on the highway…