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Alternative Culture Magazine

Surfing Time

Particle and Wave

I was going to say, “The true nature of things is chronogical” ... based on the image of water running downstream, taken to be universal. Or the storyteller’s mode of narration: “I smoked a cigarette; then I went downtown.” This linear abstract, of time like a railroad track, is an abstraction of the conscious mind. Time is as meaningless to the unconscious mind as space is in the void of darkness. Still I seek narrative weight - as if by the vector of gravity - to add to this journey deeper into my self-nature ... a journey that gradually dissolves the boundaries of my smaller more insular self (itself a conceptual construct) opening my sense of larger self to the whole universe that I may imagine, or that may imagine itself as a conscious mind.

Thus Olatunji told me once, “Follow your destiny like a river to the sea.” Being human, that destiny is a process and not an end-state, and so I strive and sometimes struggle to attain for “my life” those things and experiences that make me feel both more human and more divine.

On the human side, I contemplate, and partake from the mezzanine, this ongoing drama created by the ironic wedding of female aspirations for wealth and the male weakness for beauty. The irony sets in when men of greater age have greater wealth to attract the objects of their desire; and they are rewarded by the vain beauties who compete for the richest price. The end point of this fairy tale is the deathbed of the silver-haired benefactor, as his now 30- or 40-something mistress prepares to enjoy her dowry.

Free to seek my own nature – beyond the foggy or overanalyzed dilemmas of winter residence, rusty car, bypassed propositions – I depart from the selective projections of the future, the brooding recapitulations of the past, and even the succession of thoughts flowing through the equally fast-moving present tense. Here is a clue: perhaps the very concept of time is tied to our manner of thinking, speaking and writing. We string together words, moving from one to the next effortlessly or haltingly ... and so progresses the apparent movement of time. As we think or describe our perception of a series of stars blinking into and out of existence, even in this cosmological overview we fall prey to the abstract notion of time by our choice of the word series.

Theoretically it is possible to imagine such a concept as “no time” or “all time,” whereby all stars forever blink in and out and we don’t need to arrange them in any neat order such as sequence. Yet from such a state (or non-state) there is nothing to say. Or, we might say, there is everything to say. The problem is, whatever we say will refer to limitations, because thoughts and words are inherently, intentionally, limiting devices. Words are designed to define boundaries. Forever has little meaning to us, because it is limited by our normal operations in the realm of time, to mean “all time” which as a phrase is itself compromised by including the messy little child of All, Time. Likewise, such seemingly innocent words as in and out suggest a duality every bit as unforgiving as quantum physics: where our lust for perception forces the choice between wave and particle at every turn.

Thus potentially divine, I am still acting out the life of a human, to some degree either consciously or unconsciously striving for the goals of the bounded life: a stable home, a reliable car, an attractive mate. Meanwhile I set in order the details of my progress to date, with full disclosure of failures and anxieties along the way. These are not inspiring in themselves, except to illustrate the possibility as I discover it, to move past them into more expansive territory, of openness, warmth, joy, ecstasy.


He plays what he feels.
The music plays itself through him.
He is playing for himself, for the music, for everyone, for everything.
His music encompasses the world because it is the voice of the world speaking through him. He is exemplary because he has removed himself from the channeling of this spirit through human form -- yet in doing so, ironically, the channeling that results is colored with his personality, style, creative individuality and essense. He is the point of the wave.

I Am That

I come back to the present time, forward into the space before me: The Southern Ring Nebula (NGC 3132), shining with its brilliant center star or galaxy, in a tropical sea-blue egg-shaped core, banded around with Kansas-clouds brown-red, like a hole through the top of Dorothy’s tornado and a glimpse at the land of Oz ...

“That” is what comes to me now as a metaphor, but in the moment (that initial now where the big bang of instant realization hit me), “that” was the unadorned image of the nebula, and “I” an all-embracing concept of unity proven, instance by instance like this one (that one), by the truth of identification: I am that; and that, and that, and whatever you put up on the screen to show me, as if it’s “out there.” It is “out there,” and so am I, as I expand not only to that thing itself, but further, to all things; and also, from “all things” back to that thing ... or the next, like the following shot of waves breaking on a beach in New Zealand or Bali or Maui or south India. Each wave is another “that”: I am that, and that, and that ... The I that approaches each wave approaches not only from the point of my distinctly individual self, but from the Universal Wave that generates all waves. The phenomenon in the middle, whether nebula or wave or screen of present text, is a slice of All-Life, and as such it can represent a mirror of my individual self or a sample filter of the whole picture of existence.

Come to think of it, I don’t even need such an “external” image on which to focus. I can view myself also, whatever this individual slice may be at the moment, as yet another “that” with which to identify. Putting my self-slice in the middle, the observing I then retreats further at the self end of the spectrum, seeing the normal version of self as a sample “I” that I am -- but by no means the whole I. The whole I comes from a more inward place, which, like the tornado, is a tunnel opening further into all-embracing unity. That place of universal presence is reached from within, or it is the starting place as a larger “I” looking upon my personal slice-self as if from above, afar. Really the outside starting place, and the place reached through the inner tunnel of self, are the same. The personal self, or the particular nebula, or the chosen wave on which to focus or surf, is a metaphor, a sacrament, a representation, an example: a single manifestation of all-possibility. It is a point among an infinite potential of points within the Universal Wave of possible existence. It is a grain of sand on an endless shore.

Finding Ecstasy vs. Pursuing Happiness

Paths of action, even as they are aligned with the chakras, are not ends in themselves, but spokes of entry to a common state of union and unity with all creation. Such union is achievable equally by nondoing or doing. Both ways are best seen as full-hearted, one-minded. In between, the limbo state, the place of indecision, stress, tension, anxiety, is the place of separation and ego-identity. This middle place has however creative potential to move by doing and inspiration to the place of union; and likewise the middle state, when brought on by injury, limitation, or fatigue, can proceed (if such conditions are embraced) into the full state of unified nondoing.

Focussing on any activity does not mean automatic connection with union or unity consciousness. In fact the temptation and habit most of the time is to get lost in the details and concerns of the activity itself, forgetting about its true nature as a road to the divine. Paradoxically, the divine points back to the specific activity as an example of itself. But it says, “Don’t forget me. Don’t forget to come back, or to look in my direction, or best yet, to see me inside the thing that is occupying your attention.” Similarly, I myself as an identity habitually stay confined to the small image of plans and preoccupations in my control and exercise, forgetting the larger context, purpose, fabric, identity -- of which that smaller self is but a mirroring grain of sand.

I suppose that in still focusing on “my favorite things,” even if they are only seven in number, I am missing the larger point of happiness which is ever-available ... even in the fluorscent lights and tawdry plastic christmas knicknacks and syrupy songs, or garbage on the streets of India, or mosquitoes in Fiji, touts in Bali, tourist ghettoes in Thailand, or even, the latest rumors of war in Washington.

Which reminds me, what about this famous “Pursuit of Happiness,” the heart of the American Dream? It’s all wrong at the outset, you see: “pursuit.” In seeking, one goes away from the finding. In seeing happiness even in the trees and birds and flowers, as Osho says in the holiday email I got this morning from Heather and Paulo, there is finding it all around us, and inside my present situation whatever it may be.

This realization is bad for shopping; but good for happiness in all-existing Unity. And actually, in that spirit, shopping is allowed too. The difference is: allowed, not required. In fact you could say, to sum up this principle of freedom for the conscious person dedicated to life and liberty for all:

Everything is allowed, nothing is required.

Of course this doesn’t work if the motives are selfish: which is another reason the American Dream got derailed into soulless consumption and exploitation. As usual, the fundamentalist position wins out in habitual practice; whereas more enlightened understanding brings compassion to all action, and freedom to do either anything or nothing at all, as a contribution and further channeling of the ever-circulating current of life energy.

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