Posts Tagged ‘consciousness’

Months ago i set out to write about the energies and spirit of place but what this blog has ended up being is part travel journal and part a chronicle of my moods and emotions and has rarely achieved its purpose. I know that the story emerges as you write, but at the same time i want to try to get back to some of the original intent of this blog.

However, the more i become aware, the more i realize that it is impossible to separate the ‘i’ from the place where ‘i’ am, or even the place i wish to write about. especially now – as i realize the importance of the intangibles of a place – its spirit – not only in nature or in elements, but that which lies behind or beyond the 3D – the spirits of the human presence – of love, fear, caring, conflict, closure, that can be felt and that linger on – and the spirits of the elements and that which we have created in the material realm.

For with everything, our perception is selective, and i can never be sure – is it the place or is it me? Especially when i visit places that i have been before, and that have been significant to me, for part of what lay there is ‘my’ history and the remnants of my own thoughts and feelings are part of the energies that lay there. At times i talk to others and hear a confirmation of what i feel – but other times there are a multitude of feelings about a given place – or occasionally a dichotomy, of perceptions diametrically opposed. And what is the relation between the actors and the locale of the action. Thus all i write is selective, and can change from day to day.

Places have a mood and an ambiance beyond my personal view of it – and in all i am an actor and not merely an observer who stands outside. What is the relationship between the ‘i’ and the locale – how much of the ‘i’ is projected, and how much does the locale impact the ‘i’? How much are ones vibrational patterns in or out of sync with the dominant vibrations in a place. And at times i still must wonder if all is but a dream. Why is one drawn to a place and what pushes one away. And just what do ‘i’ focus on? what is filtered through my lens? what energies do i attract, manifest or push away? For the interplay is continuous and multi-levelled – in terms of thoughts, feelings, experiences, consciousness, and energetic or vibrational interchange. There is so much interplay of which we are barely aware, but that is no less real. And of what are we consciously aware – in terms of sight, smell, sound, touch, taste, feeling, vibrations – and how much more do we register inside.

What is the relation between the material, and that which lay beyond the five senses with which we are accustomed to perceive? Every place has its histories, and how much of it is felt in what one experiences now – and in what way does one feel the impact of what has gone on before though one does not ‘know” and what does it mean to ‘know’ – like those times you have had a feeling and only read or heard something later that confirms what came to you. And what is more enduring or cyclical as if “belonging” to the place, and what is much more temporary “belonging” more to the moment at hand. Then again, what is ‘a moment’ and can you separate time and space?

Precisely what does one mean by place – where do the boundaries begin and end? For within every place there are a multitude of larger and smaller overlapping zones, and there are zones that encompass many geographically dispersed physical places – each similar but unique. And what about places without a physical locale – for instance, the zones in cyberspace. What is the relation between the places we encounter on the material realm and those in other dimensions?

So i guess this blog will still be haphazard for it is so hard to bring it all together. And i know i will continue to write my feelings, memories and about the mystical/peak/trancendent experiences i have,  – but hopefully without getting too caught up in the “me”, and about the material world and  dimensions  and the spirit of a place. soon i hope to have a focus and to write some more of my generalized thoughts, insights and philosophies.

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I went into the realm of the intelligentsia the other day, that place of devotion to the mind. While my visit took place in the physical realm, a given place and time, it was also a journey into that head space that i know all too well. It was a journey i had looked forward to, to a place i felt cast out of, and i place i thought i had unwillingly left behind. But it was a room filled with mirrors, my reflection all around. Although i felt disconnected and critical of what was there, like i did not belong, and i also saw myself reflected in so many of the mirrors. Upon reflection i did see, that part of what i was rejecting was me, and i also saw the reasons why i had to move beyond. And the answers, subject to change, were not those that i expected to find.

The physical place was an office loft just down the street from Pioneer Square. The purpose – a “house party” for an evolutionary worldview seminar from Enlightenment Next magazine. It sounded ideal, a place to gather in the study of consciousness. I arrived just at 8am, or 11 eastern time, when the conference was to begin. A thin woman in preppy dress let me into the building and i took the elevator upstairs and walked down the hall into the office loft where the party was about to begin. Comfortable blue cushioned stacking chairs were set out in three rows in front of the projection screen, and a couch stood on each side. I walked in and looked around, was barely greeted and sat down. The people, a mix of men and women, were neither young nor old, but seemed all unto their individual selves, notepads out and staring at the screen. The tone was understated, the men all had short hair, the women wore little if any makeup, and all wore sensible expensive shoes. And i recognized my face in theirs. One woman played on her laptop, i thought to get the image on the screen, she seemed frustrated, and so I offered that my link was in my email. We have the audio, she offered up, i’m just looking for the interactive page. I was surprised to learn that this was an audio rather than a telecast.

The conference had just begun, so i listened in to the introductions that seemed to go on and on. It was weird staring at a screen listening to disembodied voices chatter on. I told myself if was like talk radio – CBC or NPR – talk shows which i miss – but then as the day progressed, i felt more and more something amiss. The introductions and the first talk were long, and despite all the words often nothing was really said. It had been a while since i had been around the chattering class, and while the term escaped me for a while, i understood why it applied. It took forever to get to a point, if one was ever made.

Instead the speech was full of repetition of the buzz words – evolutionary, post-modern, leading-edge, to dialogue, transcend, cosmic, consciousness, shared cultural values, complexity, irony and more- and at least two adjectives or adverbs proceeded every noun or verb. But it is the vocabulary and jargon of the class, the syntax or i forget the word, that defines who is on the inside and who is out. And i remembered how this academic vocabulary often bothered me for they formed the walls of the ivory tower and helped create a disconnected insular world – a world that called me but that also left me feeling separate from all the was around – for we would study and pontificate but really never join in or truly understand. It is a world apart though enmeshed in the whole.

And as the dialogues went on, responses from the audience began to fill the screen – twittered or tweeted or otherwise chatted in, and a globe with flags showing where people were listening from appeared on the bottom of the screen. Perhaps i am no longer of the post-modern world which they seek to grow, for i wished to focus and listen and not multi-task shifting my attention from the voices to the written words and the images that filled the screens. At the end of each segment a few phone calls would come in, and a conversation would occur, but within the room people did not chat or otherwise connect. Photos would occasionally pop up of the house parties around the globe and they appeared very much the same. But to me all felt so disembodied and disconnected, despite the apparent interaction, cut off. Or is it just me who is disconnected from this world – or am i. For in the realm of the intelligentsia interaction occurs more with ideas and knowledge rather than with people per se.

But is this what interaction and connection has become about in the post modern age, and maybe they are correct and i have fallen behind the times – for there is more connection that before, and it is i who feels so cut off. I sit in hostels and many city centers and all are in front of their laptops, something that i have recently joined in and people do not really connect with the others in the room, but spent their times on facebook and more, connecting so much beyond what i do. And they twitter and chat on the cell phones, connect to the world through technology. And it is just me who stands outside again, not connected in this way.

And many of the ideas, while not revolutionary were certainly worth pondering, but i felt it was mainly coming for the head. Is that what consciousness is all about?. But i look at myself and i see how i lead my life in that way too, and maybe what i see is more a reflection of me, than just what is going on. Or did i join with my peers, who are similar, gathering in this realm. For some are connected personally. One man was desperate for human connection, kept pushing for a time and place to meet, the answers he was given were evasive, never really coming to a point. The people who are here want to join in something larger than themselves, for what would be the point in coming here, if not for that. But i left alone and as isolated as when i arrived.

It is critical and i became a judge, judging others as myself. Few looked alive, with tight-drawn faces, sensible shoes (the uniform that i just bought) and clothes, which for women have the correct amount of flare, the intellectuals where life is lived in the head, more khakis – reptilian people. Short hair, but not too short, on the men. And maybe that is what turned me off, but i recognized myself in many of their faces. But the smooth voices and philosophical language helped place me on the outside. And i realize that is what i have always been an outsider who has wanted to climb in – or have i. am i one who they know will rock the boat, criticize and poke holes in the new paradigm. For i always said i wanted a sociology outside the academic walls, but also of the walls of the cultural class. But at the same time i know i feel the pain of not being let in those very walls that i wish to knock down, for it is not necessarily the inside that i wish to eliminate, but the walls themselves that divide us all, and that separate me. The talk of the complexity, but i feel they complicate all with the nuances of speech, but then i too get impatient with simplistic answers.

The focus is on the creative impetus, for we are creators of our world now and in the future. But with the primacy on creation there is a dismissal or disrespect of those who serve, reflected in this ideology and in our society as a whole. For the talk is of leaders, creators, but those who do the daily work left by the wayside. And in our society the great divide, those who serve downward wages, and the reciprocity of roles diminished – the cooks and clerks and cleaners and drivers of the world, those who silently work to look after those who create. And it is not just monetary but in attitude. I have felt it as I slipped on down (see look how I phrase it) the belief that is felt that the “others” do not know and in doing so there is a creation of the others. And some of it is related to the feminist revolution, the movement away from being a caretaker to a creator, and not realizing there are many who still do, and the relations are now distant, no longer intimate. And is not serving a giving of the heart?

It was out here, back in 2001, that I felt the divide, and the view that there were coming to be two types of people. was it greater here, or that I had left my comfort zone? The citified thin people well dressed in new cars, and those who lived in run down bungalows and trailers around, in sweats and jeans, and larger form, not seeing then the energy stagnating within – for the roles were lost, not only monetarily, but a role of fitting into society. Or is it a lack of respect for all i see, by those with power and money?

But the areas that belong to the cultural are often beacons of light, they are not just the new condo lands, soulless, like belltown, soma, yaletown and more, but also homes and gardens and food and events. And as I discovered yesterday, are pretty too. but not just the post-modern role, for have been like this for different incarnations – maybe not just monetary, but those who are allowed to create. Is this just my own bias, for there also live there many who serve, but who serve from above and not below.

And it seems ironic that I experience this here in Seattle which has seen the waves and the fallout of the shifts – from transport and a port and shipping and a gold rush town to Boeing and aerospace, to the computer revolution, green and rise of the cultural creative class. As they say in the spiral of development many sectors exist simultaneously, but in the evolutionary paradigm, with the idea of levels they are at the top, the pinnacle of what is to be achieved.

And the gaps i see in Seattle help show what the best ideas can do if they are merely from the head. And maybe this is the mirror i saw, overdeveloped in the head and less in the heart – the knowing what is right, but without always the feeling. The reserve and the constraint i sense in this environment a result of this, not feeling too hard or much – yes, shut down the darker side, but is merely repressed and that repression shuts out the light as well. The control, the clippyness as all brews beneath the surface, out of touch and knowing it, could it be the grand waking up. But without love and the heart there is little to be achieved, and i wonder if this was what was missing here – some discussion but more as a sidebar.

And with the discussion of evolution and stage of development, with hierarchy where one stands above, the cultural creatives, post-modern beings on top, i could not but help if what they wanted to create was the post modern version of the Leninist vanguard of the proletariat, a revolution to serve all but with intellectuals at the leading edge. Or is it a movement, possibly unconscious, for those who thrive to maintain their leading place. In a world where many feel lost, is this not intellectuals carving out a role, a break from tradition, but a continuation of the same. The talk was for evolutionaries the leaders of the new post-modern enlightenment. And does not the vision of a leading edge create the us and them that a unified consciousness transcends – for we all are part of a whole.

Evolution is defined as a developmental process, a transition of the view of the world as static and unchanging to one that is in process. But I wonder who they argue against; I know the enlightenment thought that ruled for so many years, but in many ways was just the blink of an eye in human history. what is new is not the idea or change, for instance Buddhism says that all is temporary, but what is still new is the idea of direction, and one that as humans that we can control – but can we control it?.

But the evolution of today is that which lay within, and not just without. The issue is when he talks about the shared cultural values, the perspective of all becoming more complex, and the new impetus and technology that allow us all to share. While that is true, but the emphasis on sophistication, self-aware being and levels of development leaves out and behind the greatest energy of love.

they talk of the leading edge as what began in the 1960s for those with privilege, wealth, education and freedom and the focus on the individual, the big me. and is not this paradigm shift a message to those of us who caught in the dialogue that the isolated me is but a myth, and so many never went here, but is it a stage of development, or is it a sidebar in humanity. the me generation removed the shackles but is now feeling lost not knowing the next step. But the impetus is to keep on moving, though still really not knowing how or where. But you can’t go back, and that is true, but how much can you pick up of what was thrown away. So the next steps are but a continuation of the path you have set yourself on. In the traditional world view you knew who you were and what your purpose was here on earth, but as we broke off the shackles that were destroyed and not so many are wandering lost.

and am I just a prime example of the post modern dilemma – of someone who got lost along the way, and are not my movements not just indicative of the times, and some will argue a time I chose to be born into. And that is what they define – the post modern individual. The opening of the interior landscape but when is it just narcissistic self obsession? And how to we move beyond to truly connect?

There is a focus on expanding knowledge, but what is defined as knowledge is according to the existing paradigm – it is the history according to one particular class, but given that all is intertwined many live it, but there are many other knowledges that exist outside, maybe not accepted by the intellectuals whose roles as they see it is to guide.

many worldviews exist in the same culture, in the same locale, and thus within us too. the traditional, empire, modern and post-modern all exist simultaneously and are interconnected. But when we speak of levels of development and talking to their needs, yes need to acknowledge all, but is it to lead people to the next stage, or to integrate and value what is there, not as behind or in the past, for in doing so are we that different after all. I look like a lot of the people, people who rule from the heads instead of the hearts, the intellectuals of the world, and that is why this focus on consciousness is as so. And I wanted to write that it is stripping the spirituality away, but is that it? And are those I judge like myself, trying to move away from the intellect, growing slowly with a heart consciousness, and I believe some are. Or was my trip there to show the limits in the intellectual focus I desired and had.

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I am in Port Townsend and i feel like i have entered a time warp. It is not merely the historic downtown with the old brick buildings that line the main street or the victorian homes that dot uptown, or the emphasis on historic preservation here, that makes me feel this way. Nor is it because of the predominant vibe – a crunchy liberal in moderation one or what appears to be the average age, older than the norm, but not yet a seniors community, nor the traditional mainstream churches that exist in old buildings on many corners uptown. It is not the old Fort Worden, now a state park which houses the hostel where i stay along with many arts insitutions, and was made famous by that movie, an officer and a gentleman, that was filmed there now many years ago. nor that it is in many ways an ideal small town, with a downtown lined with cute independent shops and restaurants, safe tree-lined streets with older homes and sidewalks, a pretty mainstream arts scene, active marinas and boat building, an independent food coop, and community events all around. It is a small town that works, not swept away by the times we live in now, with a middle class that participates and while many are poor, there is not a visible underclass, or maybe that is because the town is extremely white. Port Townsend seems set back in time, the ideal(ized) place that is now rare to find, but it is also i who has stepped back in time.

My feeling that i have stepped backwards in time, has more to do with my return to this place, than the place itself. I am not only conscious of old memories returning, but also old emotions that come swooning forth, in relation to both what is remembered and in reaction to what is happening in the here and now. I find myself reacting in ways i once did, ways i thought i had dropped, and wonder what part of me it this which is coming out.

Not only do i walk down the same street or sit on the same bench as i have the times before, but i found myself picking up some books of the library shelves, and remembered i had looked at the very same books last time i was in this town. thought patterns come back too, not in relation to the here and now or the past, but also towards the future and my life situation. I feel like the same person i was back then, facing the same dilemmas and looking in the same old places with the feeling that i cannot crawl out again.

While part of the reason i came up here was to write about my journeys in these lands, knowing i would pull up old memories that were held in this place, i never imagined that i would relive so much of what has happened before, for it seems the past lived here has slipped into the present. In many ways it seems like i have never left, and that all the intervening chapters of my life have been erased of were but a dream. It seems like i have entered a container, or a parallel universe where time and space are but one.

The memories are contradictory, both soaring highs and crushing lows, and i still find myself experiencing both. But while the emotions are so real, consuming my being for a short time, somehow feel like i have stepped outside. In watching all this am i the witness they talk about, becoming more aware and conscious, or am i a ghost who has come back to live or am i just losing it? What emotions that i feel are endemic to my presence in or relation to this place, and which are triggered from memories? Am i here to become more aware or am i just playing a dangerous game?

For i feel that i have stepped backwards, gone back to a previous time, not only in terms of memories but in the way i react and that i feel. And i ask myself how i ended back here though i see both the steps i took and warning i received. Why didn’t i listen i ask myself now, plummeted down into depression again focused on just how can i get out, and with the return of the feeling there is no where for me to go. Why didn’t i let go, and take a leap, out to the future, unknown and open, just what was it clinging to me. Did i come back to let go, or did i come back to relive once more. If anything this trip here has helped bring some of the shadows to light, but have they been brought to light before.

I  reopen once familiar neural passageways – and have forgotten all else i have experienced. And i feel that i have not learned, that i have just willingly stepped back into a rut, one that i imagined that i was moving beyond. I am back in a place, not only physically but mentally, emotionally and spiritually too. And can i step outside for i feel that something has grabbed onto me or is there a certain alice that exists here.

While i have stepped out of the time warp, another haze hangs over me, keeping me separate from all around, and leading me to flicker in and out of this place. I am caught up in thoughts, those that were held here before, and which greeted me with open arms on my return to here. And it is those thoughts of not belonging to this place, and being outside, those of sadness and hopelessness and anger hanging on, and this is what i see. What i experience now, is it new or am i wearing an old lens? For the emotions occur in reaction to what has happened now, or did these emotions create the experience? The outside is as blurry as the time warp i experienced yesterday, but it is that mental haze – the being that greeted me.

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I write several stories about my life and places i have been and passed through, stories of how i arrived and left, and how i shrunk and grew. But as i write, all seems different as i reach the end. Through writing the story i have interpreted the events through yet another lens.

Now living and telling/showing of a place are two very different things. In recollection you see all with new eyes, like coming back to a place after many years away. You are familiar with what is there but you seen it in light of where you have been. You know what happened and you know the outcome. You see the experiences that were to come as a result of being where and who you were. The living might have happened a few minutes, hours or years before, but in some ways does it matter, the time elapsed, for the remembering is never the same.

What is more real and true, the version as it happened at the time or the one that you tell about. For at the time you often were unaware and now write with the power of hindsight. And what is the story that pushes you along, the scene that happen, or the plot you now write. For often much is forgotten and details embellished along the way – but that is “truth” you live by.

I have found that when i return to a place, all is not as i remembered it to be – yes things have changed, and so have i, but what was it really like at the time? Is it that i have forgotten, or did i not notice in the first place. But as i come back to a place, memories and feelings return to me, some are familiar, but others were buried somewhere inside. And some are welcome, the times you smiled, but others you had pushed aside, and when they arise, you wish that you had left them behind. I have also found that when i return, the story in my mind is just that, a story that i wrote.

And i also find, when i leave a zone, part of the story is left behind. The details that were so clear seem fuzzy and far away. The passion i had and the clear lines and insights i recorded in my mind are faded, only possibly to return someday.

Even more is revealed to you when you write the story and you go back and edit each line. But how many times can it be revised before you need to say enough is enough and just move on. When is the original experience lost in the telling of it? Like when you tell a story of many years before, and someone points out something else or tells you how you were. When does the story take on a life of its own – with so many sequels based on that plot you wrote? But you write anyways, knowing that all is only partially true, for all is interpreted in the first place. And maybe it is not the events or places that shift, but merely the lens it is interpreted through. But that shifted lens also provides the theme for stories yet to come, and in writing them you alter the lens once again. All entries are partial, but my goal is to record them, though they might be reinterpreted several times over.

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I walk along the street by Pikes Place Market. I feel as if this is all a dream, an illusion of my mind. Somehow all does not seem quite real, but fuzzy and hazy like the day. It feels like a bubble floating in space with the container made by the low clouds. The air is heavy, all moves more slow. I feel like i am in twilight zone. Maybe it is because that is the colour of the day, but i feel that i have entered another space. A fog merely created by my eyes.

Clouds loom low. Air is dense  – I feel like i am pushing through its thickness. All is unreal though i walk on the sidewalk, people pass by, clearer and crisper than the rest, tangible in 3D and i hear the sounds of cars. The buildings and more seem untouchable like a backdrop to a stage, only as dense as the air around. And time moves so slow.

I enter into a zone of darkness and another life. In some ways feel like i have returned to a nightmare. It is similar to the what happened in Yosemite, but the mood is oh so different.  I have returned to another dream – left one behind, and now find myself here, slower, and thicker i push through the air. For as i leave one zone, and enter another, i remember only fragments of that which lay before; like waking up in the morning and remembering bits and pieces of your night dream.

And i wonder i all is really an illusion, a fragment of my mind. The aborigines have said that life is but a dream, and in some eastern philophies all is maya, a grand illusion and more and more that is the way it feels to me. Something i have created, a lens i have made up, all around just a physical manifestation of my mind.

I wonder if i am not a “ghost” ,if i am really here, if i have passed on and cannot let go, if all is an illusion in my eyes. If i am but a soul left behind. The moment has the quality of the motion pictures when a ghost shuffles by or one enters another zone, And for a moment i wonder if this is so. And am i just going through visiting places of my life, a type of purgatory where the visions seem so real. Or maybe why these visions come more and more to me, is that i am getting ready to leave.

And maybe we all are “ghosts” souls from somewhere else, just visiting here in a nightdream of a much longer day. And are the different parts and places of my life, which sometimes seem so disconnected, but parts of different ongoing dreams.

As i type this i have stepped out of that space, sit inside, where all feels material and i know that in this life on earth there are real material things – food to quench my hunger, money to live and the dampness that enters my bones. And although i have once again returned to this plane, will i ever truly see the world the same again. For i have tasted this before, and pushed it aside, but these revelations, i can no longer deny.

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I journeyed up and through Yosemite National Park . I have been here before, so what i experienced was not with fresh eyes. i was not only brought to this time and place, but had memories come up of my visits before and was taken to lands far away with thoughts that floated on through.

And i know this is the monkey mind that is refered to in meditation and other practices of consciousness, the mind that jumps around, from branch to branch and tree to tree. And as i experienced the wonder and all else around, i could watch this monkey of mine from a distance, let the thoughts pass on through, come in and out of consciousness. I began to wonder what we bring into our experience when we come to a place? Can we view anything pure? And what does experiencing a place bring up in us? So the story of my visit to Yosemite in April 2010 covers many years and miles and this is some of it.

My journey here really began when the bus pulled out of the train station in Merced. There i was leaving the flatlands behind and going to the mountains. The bus drove through town past older houses, some of wood, with porches and yards and trees, on streets with sidewalks, different from the new developments i had passed by (and which i remembered) and i thought of small towns with pedestrian friendly tree lined streets, towns up the coast and across the county where i have been. The streets were empty, a few cars on the road but devoid of people, a woman carrying a bag from a house to a car, a man cycling down a street, and then finally as we edged near the end of town, a lone figure sitting out on his porch on a warm sunday morning just after 11am – and i thought of suburbia and all those empty communities, housing people but devoid of life.

Outside of Merced strawberry fields dotted the road, baskets beside the rows of the low-lying plants waiting to be picked and i thought my times picking strawberries and how my back hurt. As we road towards Mariposa, past the flatlands into the foothills where black cows grazed on green hills, no trees to be found, i thought of Ireland, where cows grazed on similar terrain. When the grass and fields turned to majestic oak trees, i thought about driving up to Clear Lake with Robert on the way here in 2008. and the first time i saw these trees. And i thought of our drive here on route 49 where colored leaves still hung onto trees, feeling like fall in December.

As the oaks made way to pines i thought of the Sierras, not only here but further north, Sierraville – my time spent there, Lake Tahoe (though that does not look the same), and a hike near Armstong BC where there were a lot of pine trees, and other places with pines, and the way they blew in the wind when i camped at Sierra Hot Springs and other drier mountain ranges in general. We came to Mariposa, a gateway town with hotels, services and shops, and i thought of other mountain tourist towns. Fernie, BC and Canmore, Alberta – the gateway to Banff, came to mind though they are larger and much more developed near higher mountains and ski hills. And the landscape is harsher here than on the coast and i thought about places i had been in the Canadian Rockies. And i thought about Canada, and the north – places where the land is not always so kind.

I got to the Yosemite Bug Resort in Midpines, the place i was to stay. I got off the bus and remembered my previous time here, and getting off the bus then, and the month spent driving around California with my father and how frazzled i was when i had arrived. I had to lug my bag up the hill, and felt a tug in my back , and i remembered carrying it across Fishermans Wharf that morning – how heavy it felt, and how the strap on the back had snapped leaving Monterey so it was even less ergonomic than before, and how i carried extra food and the times i had done that before. I stopped to look at an orange flower that grew by the road, and thought of the California poppies along the harbour in Victoria. I looked at the view, the road below and remembered coming up here before and i felt the weight i and the heat of the sun, and i thought of longer uphill walks with my bag and how it seemed easier then – the four km walk up mountain roads by Kootenay Lake when i was hitching up from Nelson BC from Ainsworth Hotsprings to the campsite back in 2005, and then of my walk down 20 miles of the Oregon coast less than two years ago.

And when i got into the Bug Backpacker resort with the cabins and dorms, restaurant and “spa”, and saw their own tour bus, i thought of other places like this, in the Iguana Perida in Santa Cruz Guatemala and El Retiro in Lanquin, self-contained backpacker resorts, and i looked at the private rooms and fancier cars, and thought about Harbin. I walked a small trail down to the creek, and then up to the upper parking lot which provided a view, and it did not seem as clear, and i remembered there had been no leaves before.

The next day, i rode the YARTS bus up to the park, and remembered much of my journeys there before. The sun shone into the valley and lit up the mountains. Wildflowers of yellow and purple covered the sides of the hills and i thought about wildflowers in alpine meadows and realized i did not know any of their names and remembered walking by the shore in Monterey where the flowers had been as abundant but different, and i was frustrated because i did not know their names either. As i watched the rushing Merced river, tumbling over boulders with the spring thaw, i thought of other rivers, across Vancouver Island, and times on buses i wished we could stop and get out to look at them. And then as we passed the juncture where highway 120 merges in, i remembered i had been able to get out of the bus one cold morning at look at the river as the bus stopped, road construction or plowing up ahead. And i thought of how Robert and I drove in along the other route, and i thought about him.

Finally, i got into the park and Yosemite Valley. I looked at the views, and wondered if my eyes were jaded for i had seen it all before – but every time is different, and i saw some anew, still i know that i compared and contrasted much to my previous visits there. The sun was at a different angle as i made a hike – days much longer at this time of year. Snow was absent from the valley floor. Waterfalls ran full, powerful and mighty, and some appeared where they had not been before in the early winter before the snows after the summer had dried all up, or earlier in march when all was still frozen and snow packs up top had barely begun to melt. And i thought of the power of water and how it carved out the land. Of course it was much busier than before, and i remembered emptier trails and camping with Robert in the almost deserted campground. My mind flung forward, and i wondered what this place was like at its peak, overcrowded and more and was thankful that i was here on this perfect spring weekday.

But my mind not only wandered in time, but in space as it had on my journey here. As i passed through the village and saw the rangers in uniform, i thought of national parks in general and other places i had been. On the crowded shuttle bus where the driver stopped and paused for a while, i remember the free busses in Acadia National Park and how i had to show one driver his route, and how the buses were so empty in the Grand Canyon in February 2002. The bus was full with women from a seniors group in Roseburg Oregon, and i thought of the retired communities on the Oregon coast.

I was hot, still hadn’t taken off my coat, saw the dry landscape and for a moment i was transported to a hike outside of Radium hotsprings, the day much hotter, the grass crackled, and grasshoppers made their special sound. I looked at the falls streaming down cliffs, and thought of other that i had seen – and a ride near Hope BC (i think) where water fell down the mountains around.

I stood in the mist of lower Yosemite Falls, in their full glory,much stronger than before and i could not walk up on the rocks where i had gone and loved. The path and lookout at the bottom were wet from the spray and i thought of the mist at Niagara Falls and how it had been redirected over the years. And when walking up the Vernal Falls trail with the rocks and boulders all around, i thought of rocky trails on the Bruce Peninsula and the rock formations down in the Niagara Glen.

And i walked on the wide trail to Mirror Lake and the crowd petered out. Only a single couple walking towards me, so tiny it seemed, dwarfed by the majestic pine trees that grew especially tall in this place. And i thought for a moment of large trees, the sequoias nearby and the redwoods, the giant cedar, hemlock and spuce further up the coast. My feet began to hurt and i remembered the feeling I not had in some time.

And i thought of how this place acted like a springboard for memories, and i then thought of a professor in grad school who gave us one text and asked us to use it as a springboard to explore social theory. My background was limited and i did not know where to jump off. I realized that the more experiences we have had the more we bring into a place, knowledge and links to all that can be related. How difficult it is to see the world afresh, as if through childrens’ eyes.

I had been wondering how different it was for those who were here for the first time, or how it was for me my first time here when i saw it with fresh eyes. But are the eyes and mind ever fresh, especially here, for who has not heard of Yosemite National Park, and how many images of this place exist in the public consciousness. It was not only memories that came to me, but associations made far and wide. I brought in experience of similar places i had been, pine trees, mountains, dryer landscapes, national parks, waterfalls, people, and more. And do we not do this with all, often unaware. For it is how we learn (this is a tree (oak), that is also a tree (pine), a tree is a plant, this flower is also a plant and so on) and negotiate the world. Everything comes in to how we perceive a place, all that has happened, all that has been experienced, is brought forward and caught in place.

Being here also brought back memories i had long forgotten about, just below the surface, something in this place activated then. And is that why we return to, or avoid, different places, to reopen neural pathways in our brains, to experience not only what is there, but all the associations we have made.  Much of my usual chattering ceased, worries and cares, yes i still had some negative thoughts, worries, quick judgements and more. And thought about writing this.

A few times i caught myself, a few minutes on the path, when i got caught up in one of the images and stories and was no longer where i was, no longer in the now and here. And i thought, now that is the monkey mind taking over, removing me from the here and now. Was my monkey overactive that day? Or was i merely able to stand back and watch it at work? It can be tamed, or merely observed, but can it be erased? And should it be for it shows how all is so connected and interlinked, different and yet the same. And i think of another national park, Manuel Antonio in Costa Rica, where i watched the monkeys play in the trees.

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I sat on a boulder at the side of the trail and felt i was transported to another dimension. Though i knew that i had walked up there, all for a few moments felt unreal. And i wondered after the moment had passed, if this what Yosemite was really about, if this was why it was called a sacred place. If this connection to the beyond was what really drew people here, though many were not really aware of just what it was that brought them here.As i had not been myself.

I’d been thinking of coming to Yosemite since i arrived in San Francisco about a month ago. But at times the hostel was full, or rains and storms predicted, and i had other places i also had to go. But this time the doors opened up and i was on my way. On my journey here, in the night before in Midpines, and when i arrived in Yosemite village i wondered if there was something so special about this place or if i were caught up in myths or repeating journeys i had made before.

My body was tired, back pulled out a bit, but still I had to make my way up the Vernal Falls Trail – something called me there. I had almost got off at the YARTS bus stop in Curry Village, closer to the trail head when we first pulled into the valley. But i was hungry and made my way to the centre to get a breakfast sandwich at Dengans wondering if i should go to Yosemite Falls while it still basked in the sun. But the Vernal Falls Trail called as it had before, and i made my way back there.

I have hiked this trail three times before on my previous two visits to Yosemite and i knew there was something special about the place and remembered a perfect view. My first time here, two years ago, i had been up twice – once above the bridge and high up into the snow, falling down and almost spraining my wrist as i turned back on another barely used trail, Last time i was here, a warm December with Robert in 2008, i insisted that we make the hike, almost causing a fight for he did not really want to go to the special place i wanted to share. I know that his mood changed as we went up all the way to the falls, the Mist Trail had been open, the waters were low and the snow had not yet come, and it was he who pushed me further up and along. And raced back down, not wanting to pause at the stops along the way.

As i approached the trail head i remembered this and debated about going back there yet again, But it was a perfect warm day, the sky a bright blue and the sun shining bright, so despite my fatigue i slowly made my way up and up the paved trail. The park was more crowded than that it had been on my previous visits. It seemed that so many people were coming down – families, small groups and many in spanking new full hiking gear. A couple beside me oohed and aahed at the river rushing along between the pine filled banks.I felt disillusioned, thinking its nice here, but is it really so special after all. I kept on and paused at a place with perfect lighting where water trickled down a boulder covered with bright green moss and began to smile. Still, i was looking for a place along the trail, the most beautiful local in Yosemite from my visits there.

I turned a corner and the vista opened up, steep granite cliffs, the river tumultuous far below, crashing over and around boulders strewn in its path. Off it the distance on the other side, a waterfall streamed down the mountain, and a smaller on also appeared directly across that had not been there on my visits before. I saw the beauty of the valley off to the distance to my right. I took pictures and had my photo taken, and watched and listened to the water stream way down below. I felt much better, my body no longer tired though i had just walked uphill. Was it the ions in the crashing water, the bright blue sun, the steep granite walls and the mountains that surround?. This was the place i thought, and stood there for a while. But others came through, their turn to take pictures, and i walked on up ahead.

I turned yet another corner and stepped into a zone that felt like a bowl at the conjuncture of Merced river and Illilouette creek. A waterfall ran full down a mountain across the way, steep cliffs all around, you could no longer see beyond the mountains in any direction, not the way you came in or out.

A pile of boulders sat beside the path a result of a slide eons ago. It was a perfect place to sit in the sun, a clear vista across the path and i remembered that i had sat there before. I hesitated, which one to sit on, one looked good but hard to climb, so i picked another, just a rock and sat in the shade. A squirrel ran up to me and i chased it away. I looked across the path to where the view was clear and then it happened.

As i stared out at the breathtaking view – steep granite cliffs, skinny pines, waterfall tumbling down, snow at the top, sky of blue – the place was transformed. The mountains across suddenly seemed unreal, so crisp and clear like a photograph or backdrop to a film or upon a stage. The granite cliffs seemed almost flat against the blue sky. Actually everything beyond the trail that was in front of me appeared as but a glorious illusion, flat but with incredible depth, so close but so far away. They seemed light, only as dense and heavy as the air and the sky above. And although all appeared to belong to another world, i felt that if i could get there, i would be able to walk through what once was hard granite stone.

It seemed all stood still, though i heard the sound of the powerful falls across the valley and the stream or river that rushed down beneath, and saw the heavy flow of Illilouette Falls. But all else around, even the pine trees, was still, and almost unreal. Was this all real, for it felt like i was glimpsing another dimension. I an actor upon a stage, all else untouchable by me. Words cannot capture what i experience, they can only provide a glimpse.

The others who walked in front of me making their way up the path appeared in 3D but all around seemed as i belonged to some other world. I don’t know how long i spent in that zone, it felt like hours but was probably only a few minutes. I wanted to write it down, so i unzipped my backpack to grab some paper and the squirrel ran up to me, and i returned to where i was, but took some larger feeling with me. I looked up once again, i was back and connected to all.

Still i was unsure was the world but a collective illusion as some philosophies said, but i knew the mountains and all around were in the material realm. I had been up on the top of one at mountains at Glacier Point and looked over the valley below my last time here. But could it be both, both material and in the other realms. And did the circle as visible from here act as some kind of portal. And right then i knew that this was the very locale i had been looking for. And i remembered that i had a similar experience my first time here.

I got up and walked along the trail to the bridge above, passing out of the special zone, As i walked i one of the boulders along the trail to make sure that it was “real” it was hard and solid and felt like a rock. I touched a small patch of the bright green moss that grew on it, and that was spongy and soft. I reached out to the textured bark of a pine tree, and dug my fingernail in.

I made my way up to the bridge, and stopped where the mist trail was closed, ate part of a peanut butter sandwich and made my way down the same way. And stopped there again – and once again all stood still, only the largest pine tree, much larger than the rest seemed “real” and all else like a crisp clear picture again, a world apart from the here. I took several photos but the do not do it justice – there is something beyond the view. While hikers pause to take in the view on the way to somewhere else – the destination of Vernal Falls, i wonder how many have felt as i have here. And i saw why Yosemite is such a sacred place. And wondered what had gone on here so many years ago.

Yosemite has powerful energies, i’m sure in many places, and that is what inspires others beyond the sight of the Sentinal, Half dome and the waterfalls. That something you cannot put a finger on or capture in a photograph or purchase from a store.

But i also wondered about other portals, for as i walked along a bit further down the Merced River and sat down upon a log, a feeling a dread and agitation came over me, in a location similar to where it had before. It grasped onto me, came out of nowhere, and was difficult to shake off. Was that just memories, or another current of energy that flowed through the place?

Later that day i went out to Mirror Lake – a place i vaguely remembered as special. It too was busier, as people picnics and some kids swam. The water was a murky brown, and the creek that emerged ran slow. I walked beyond where the crowd was and sat on some steps and ate my peanut butter sandwich. The view was nicer from here, looking out at Werther point and Awhali dome across the edge of the pond they called a lake and i took a photograph. A woman stopped beside me, took out her phone, some pictures to send back home she said. as she walked away she said “it’s so perfect it almost seems unreal” and i looked up again and all across stood clear and still as part of another dimension.

It is just the places? Something special about Yosemite? It has been so often called a sacred place and has captured that imagination of so many. Even the “town” near the entrance gate is called “El Portal”. But i also know that i have had similar experiences in less grand, more unknown locales, each one different, but confirming to me that there is so much more beyond the material reality. And it does not exist somewhere else, but in the now and here. Does this place contain portals to other worlds or does the magnificence and wonder around merely help remove the veils and open my eyes so that i can glimpse for a moment what is all around. Is all but an illusion? Still, there is something very special about that place on the Vernal Falls Trail.

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I spent 10 days at Harbin Hotsprings, a special place, but posted so little of what i wrote. I wrote and felt so many things while i was there, thinking and feeling more than actually writing – so what follows was written over many days and has been pulled together and is somewhat contradictory. And it is unfinished, but i feel that it must go out, so that i may move forward, and leave the need to finish this writing and the focus on my time there.

Then again, Harbin hotsprings is in many ways a contradictory place, like the new age movement as a whole. A place apart, and yet so intertwined. A place that has called me, transformed and this time i believe brought me down. This was my third journey there, and it had been calling me for a while. I felt the waters in my imagination long before i arrived, pictured myself in the big pool, all the stress inside letting loose, that rushing that i felt on much of the journey for the past while. But once i was there i realized, that for me, they are only a small part of what calls me there.

But they are so much a part of the place, the central locale, and may be part of the reason i fail to write. For the relaxation that i imagined went too deep. They pulled not only the stress and tension from my bones and soul, but something more. Something more vital leached out, the intensity and drive that pull me on. The intensity and drive to write. Perhaps it is because the place is more unplugged, with few laptops to be seen. Maybe it was because i started to look inside, and became oblivious to that which was around. And maybe that is what it is best to stay only a short while. But as i write this i also see, this calmness that has come over me.

1) I am back at Harbin and in some was it does not seem like i had ever left, though at the same time i know that i am not the same person that i was the first time that i arrived, the first time that i stayed just over a year ago. And people see it in me too, my face has changed, and my body too but i do not ask how. And my feelings about this place are as mixed as ever.

My thoughts change as i enter a different place, those of yesterday seem far away, and many that i have had here before and have forgotten return to me. To be processed once again or just to float on through. To dance on the spiral for i know that i have changed, and remember the condition i came here in, the same condition i was coming back to in myself.

This place called me and i hesitated to return and almost did not come. hesitated on my return as well and wondered if i would be let in after my time in sierraville. But i was, and welcomed by some, my name remembered, and i felt good.ran into one from the other place, the conversation continued as if it just were yesterday. On the way up, at the bart station in the early morning, i met one who had left, a resident no longer. In this chance crossing of paths, I questioned what i was doing, if i needed to come back to this place.

Though in some ways it is like a return – people greet you, people you know and catch up with, people you recognize and who remember you. And in that way the place holds energy, of yours, of theirs, of relationships, and of place. And it does not feel that i have been gone so long. And i realize that it was not the introspective nature of the place that brought me alive, but its sister in connection, for when i first arrived, i spoke with some, and connected more, though on a superficial level, than i had in a long time.

And that how it is when you go home again, or return to a place. And it is a return, to similar conversations, activities and thoughts and a return to old habits, at least temporarily. It is like the labyrinth i have walked many a time, spiraling in and back out again, the centre remains but it changes. I have not walked the labyrinth this time here, there are many activities i had not done – not hiked the spirit path with its views down below, feeling less restless than before- or is it more tired and worn.

Harbin is a place i have been, a place where i grew and was transformed. Although i have only visited twice, it has a sense of home. but like the return home, it will also be different, for i have changed, and time has passed, and you can never expect all to be like when you left, and you cannot expect your reactions to be the same to what seems unchanged.

I have seen those who are giving, those who live here and give it all to those who come here in need of healing, for there are many, or just as a form of release. Yes, the devil does his dance here but there are angels who shine, and i feel their shine, many of those who live and work at this place. Those who heal not only with their touch, but with their smiles, who accept what comes their way, and who take care of the place. Who make it possible and who make it happen.

the place has changed, i hear them say, it’s not like it used to be. And how many of the people are new, of a different ilk, and how much is it that he people have changed. A bit of both i believe

Used to be a place of volkswagons buses, and now it is more BMWs i hear them say but i wonder how much of an exaggeration it is. And the place feels rich on a Saturday night at people from wine country come up to play, the people from marin and the tonier, but greener, places around the bay. The place where life is good, the land of the bohos. And i feel it here, like a poor cousin, looking on from the edge.

In the pools we are the same, the differences created by the clothes we wear have disappeared – or not. It is an accepting place as people of all shapes and sizes and ages enter in, and are welcome there from the twenty-somethings with perky breasts and butts, and firms skin that glows, to those beyond middle age with skin that has begun to sag, from the buff and toned, to the truly obese, we all gather in the pools. And you can see some differences in the styles of the hair, both on the head and down below, the tattoos, and where the signs of wear might be. And you can feel it in the energy too.

But still there are some who wander, who make their way here, stay for a while and some for a lifetime, The residents here have limited income, just getting by on the money plane. And before i connected with more who wandered, it seemed like more of us here – camping outside, cooking our meals, and taking avail of what was free. And there i shared my stories, with those in transition, for it is a place to be for a while.

now i feel the need to explain the vagaries of my journey, I feel so poor compared to those who say i am lucky to be here so long, But i think of their warm rooms, the meals at the resto and the home they go back to. And i know im not fair, for many struggle by, and this for them is a cheap retreat as it is for me – a place to go, to unwind and refresh, before they go back outside.

Some come to recharge, some come to escape, some come just to be. Some come to heel, some come to indulge and some come just to play. Some come to run away. Some come for time alone or with that special one and others come to connect and reconnect. And yes some come to get laid. And there are many communities here. It is a microcosm of the world outside, or certain segments within.

How the place has changed
i hear you proclaim
you have not been up in several years
life gotten “in the way”
maybe you still come often enough
but the tone to your voice has less regret
the beat old vans are gone (look around there are a few, and some of the new looking SUVs are really not so new)
replaced by BMWs (and exaggeration but..)
and you regret the loss
of the place i never saw
of what was
the loss of your youth
and has it changed
or have you

You pick me up hitching in your nice new car
or i talk to you on the deck
and you tell of your restaurant meals
and the comfort of your room
and you talk of the days
you almost lived up here
your second home
summers camping on the beach
a long time ago
when you were younger and free
the days you no longer live

it is still here but maybe more lowkey
in the campground and on the sleeping deck
so many wandering, lost, found, and transforming
so many on the path
But if it were only like that
full of those who wander on the path
dropped out, the “hippies” of today
the kids you see on the street
and those who live in beat up old vans
if that were the dominant vibe
would you be here?
Have you outgrown those days
a brief trip on a vacation from your career
that may be your calling, involve ideals from your youth
but maybe never quite lived up to the dream
tied down to the responsibilities of home
or has that collapsed
and now you journey back?
In search of something
that you no longer find?

And i see the wealth, the rich who come to play
to be pampered for a while
and in some ways i wonder if that is what the movement has become
integration in a strange way
and what ideals have been compromised
as the symbols fly in your face
the clothes you wear and food you eat now status symbols
proclaiming how enlightened you are
as spirituality is for sale,
and in the domain of those with the funds to buy
But there is much here,
and those who have managed to live out the life
and those who seek it pure
and those who give to help others through

Where do you look and what do you see
for all is at play
ill never know how much has changed
and what has remained the same
but the people here are still people
with all that entails.

4) For as there are angels here, and those who share and care, and they are truly special and shine a light, and i have felt that light lift me up and seen it in the eyes of so many. i also feel the devil at play. The focus on the body, from acceptance to indulgence in all that feels good. The workshops on tantric sex and ecstasy abound, by outside organizations it is true, but where does it slip over the border. Where does the healing stop and turn to indulgence, when does babylon replace the temple?
When does self-care become self-indulgence and absorption. There is a delicate balance between the self-care needed for health and the inward motion needed for quietude, and that which becomes self-absorbed and indulgent. When does the bubble that is created at times for the centre you need, begin to cut you off from the world outside and you no longer see or acknowledge those around. When does a place where like minds and kindred souls are valued become an insular crowd? And when does an opening up to the body and the messages it holds, releasing what was held and repressed turn to a focus on the body alone, and a hedonistic play of sex?

I look at one side of the board with harbin events – yoga, and movies, meditation in the morning, sweats, sound healing and more, and then at the other with the workshops – a list for the school of shiatsu and massage, but also those with photos of couples engaged in coitus or more.

5) I have now been here for a few days and it seems different that it was before. How much of it is i who have changed, and how much of it is the place. Or am i just processing through it more quickly, feeling now like i did when i left, when i was read to leave. The bliss has past, and the critic in me comes up.

The focus on the body turns from healing to mere , ecstasy and indulgence, from a healthy relation to one where the body takes hold. The body is our temple, and to care for it, but not lose sight of what lay inside, not lose sight that there is so much more – yes, the great cathedrals are to be admired but no matter how ornate or splendid they are they can be destroyed by a crisis of kind, one that takes you by surprise, and shakes you to the ground as i learned visiting the ruins of central america. What matters most is that which lives beyond and yes it needs a home on this earth and plane, a home that is healthy and lets its life flow. One that does not constrict or constrain, or take up all ones concern and time, No, the home should not be neglected and needs to be maintained, honoured and built, but as castle is empty if there is no life inside.

The last time i was here i was so out of touch with this body of mine, as i had been for so much of my life. Through yoga and soundwork and breathwork and soaks, i learned to open up and release some of what was held for the body holds emotion frustrations and more, and i began to open and release what was there. The home i have for my soul i began to clean and then felt i was neglecting my soul itself.

And the focus on the heart, opening to love, has shifted to a focus on sex alone – it was here before and has not changed, but this time i see it most. i feel my heart opening a bit, and see connection on many planes, the conversations and more, the caring around, but then with some i back off, what is it that you want from me?

6) I look around and i do see that god has answered my prayers. i wanted a place where i could feel safe and that i have found here. The mountains around this narrow tight valley, a valley above the town below, acts as a cocoon and insulates me from much of life outside. I walk the trail alone in the dark from the pool back to the platform by the creek where i camp alone, I walk the roads, and go to town by sticking out my thumb. All feels safe. The waters to soak, the temple where the ceiling spirals up to heaven, yoga and more.  A livingroom where i sit and write, and diversions all around. I have food to eat and still can see the stars that shine at night. I am out in nature but with creature comforts and there is nothing i need to do. Still i have time to write and write i do, but often i just sit. I have the safety and the peace, a place where it was safe to let go, and lord i pray i continue my journey home.

7) But i feel alone amongst the crowd and today i wander lost. I was glad when i came and i met some i knew, who welcomed and greeted me by name, and i have talked to some others on a regular basis but there is no one with whom i share. And in that sense of god i feel alone, though i know that it is i, in some part, who holds others at bay. I wish to connect, to let down my guard and to open to those around.

I also feel, as i did last time, that i am on the winds without a role – i come here to be, but i need to give, let energy flow the other way. When i left here the two previous times i also felt that way. To go hand in hand, to give and take, and both are needed for me. I would like to give, i would like to share, but again feel so out of place.

8) But this valley of green has drawn me in and i know that you look over me. i feel energies flow and i am grateful. I walk along the spirit path and look down at the valley below. and feel the spirit within me move, and the energies that are here. I turned inside and now i move without

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She spoke her truth, something i have not done. The auditorium in the library was full at first, people trying to find a seat, some to hear the speech, and others just to get out of the rain, but willing to listen to what was being said. The talk was billed as what is the message that the UFOs have for us now. I was curious and i wanted to hear. She talked about visits,of life on other planets, a new teacher for the new age of Aquarius that has come upon us, of crop circles, of different levels of matter, of cover-ups and more, of sharing, of the group she was with SHARE International, of poverty and nuclear waste and while most of what she touched upon made sense it was brought together in what i thought was an incomplete way, one that was forced. 

The audience began to lose interest, and as many removed their energy and attention, i could see her face become duller and her voice begin to sink. but she carried on. And while few probably took her message as a whole, she may have opened minds, and lines of possibility in many. Yes, one man muttered, she is wrong, she is wrong but she spoke what she believed. 

Yesterday, as i went walking, i met two older women on their Jehovah Witness rounds – there was no answer at the door of the home they were knocking on when i walked by, so one of the women spoke with me, offered me a guide to the bible, which i took, and then another booklet which she went over, and which i read. We talked a bit, she asked me if i lived here, and i said no, i am a bit of a gypsy. She smiled and said i used to travel alot, rode the greyhound across and over the land. And i could tell, she had lived, and perhaps lived hard, she wore a dress but it was probably used, and her teeth exposed much gold. Yet, she went door to door proclaiming and sharing what she believed was the way, sharing the message she felt that she was meant to give. While there is much in the Jehovah witnesses beliefs that i believe are constricting and short-sighted, at times their pamphlets have led me to think and question and taken me to the bible and to life questions that are important. And while many may deride them, they carry on. 

And as i write this i think of the man who has stood for years at the cable car turn around at powell and market with his jesus loves you sign. He comes every day to share what it important and to fulfill his mission. 

I write this on Easter Sunday, and i think of jesus, who spoke gods work and did not run away or back down from his call and purpose on earth. Who stepped out of the bounds in the land where he lived, and was persecuted for what he did and preached, who died on the cross for our sins. Who believed, and died for it – and yes, rose again, and whose spirit lives on. And i think what if he backed away or down, or changed his message of god’s love in order to be acceptable? And what if the apostles had clung onto their day jobs and not followed him, for fear of safety, for fear of leaving what was known – or if they had only partially followed – one step forward, two steps back? 

What is Mary did not believe in angels, and could not hear the voice who told her about the child she carried, and lived as a single mother cast out for the child she carried. Or if she did not trust the voice, and dulled herself with drugs, prescription or otherwise, to block out the wisdom from a higher source? What if no one heard their voices and dismissed them as delusions or oral hallucinations. If Paul did not hear his call, and if so many prophets dismissed their prophesies and left them silent. 

I think about the talk today, and how many have been persecuted for talking about UFOs, crop circles and more, have been silenced or have been told they were crazy, and how many others have not believed in their own experiences. for we have been taught not only to disbelieve what we cannot see on the material plane (out of the belief that the material is all that is real) but have also learned not to believe what can be seen, and by more than one. And I think of those who have experienced some of this and have not known how to interpret or be with what they have experienced, and have let it go, or not known what to do. 

And i think of the energy that has been pulsing through me, of the inklings i have had, the visions and the knowings that have come over time, and that i have not embraced, have feared because they were out of the norm. Energy flows in spurts, there is more than meets the eye. A change is coming, we do not truly know when or what it will entail, and there are many around who believe. To follow the knowings, yet share and love in this dimension and not be afraid to embrace what i am being shown. 

I think the issue is that i have held on, and i have not let go. And why – fear of the unknown, fear of being cast out, fear of taking a stand, fear of being deemed crazy, fear of going over the edge. And i look around the room, and see many who have fallen over the edge. I think of my other fears – fear of homeless, fear of the street, but what really do i have to lose?, The reason that i, and others, have lost it all, is not because we let go but because we have hung on to what we knew to be not true, and were afraid to listen. And i will listen with open ears. 

I am in a city with a diversity of lives, ideals and more but also with the concrete blocks the focus on the material, on shopping, on matter. It is a city where many have come throughout time to live out their lives, breaking the boundaries and limitations that held them caged. And i know that there is more than meets the eye, and at times i feel that here has become part of the old, part of the limitations of the material only realm, of staying safe in the world we know. Then i think of the financial district, and the economy, and all they deal with are blips on a screen, the currency of our collective belief, not backed up by anything concrete or tangible. And of communications, of silicon valley nearby, and how we communicate with disembodied others through space and time. 

The lecture took place in the main library with its collection of books and more, a collection of ideas, beliefs, stories, myths, information, data, and knowledge. it is one of the few public places where all may gather, may come to sit and read and explore. it is a place of many voices, written, spoken, muttered, and inside heads – a place where many come in off the street to connect and sit and read. And while there is so much knowledge and wisdom not contained in books, available from the universe at large, i wonder where we would be if people had not pushed through with new knowing, had not pushed through the unknown, had not pushed through through disbelief and doubt, with that which should not be spoken or written, with that which may not be complete or absolute or that which might even be heretical. 

And i think of the woman who spoke today in the auditorium, and the woman yesterday by knocking on doors, and the many who speaks through a sign on the street. They are all speaking of a higher calling, in the manner that is available. Their truths may be incomplete, and contain much which is false, but the speak out and follow their call, a higher call. And for the moment i have spoken my piece, which is partial and changeable and maybe no one will hear, but i have put it out. 

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i escaped the clutches of the lake, or that is the way it feels. Felt it dragging me to its depths at times, to that which lay below and within. At times it shown brightly at me, like the day i watched the sun or something sparkle upon it, in lines and geometric designs and across the shore, lighting up strands of light in the morning sun. I would visit it several times a day and it would reveal its mood to me, at times still and calm in the morning, other times dark and choppy, in the afternoon. Still there was something powerful there, something that left me ill at ease, and unsettled energy, and something revealing its depths. A wierd swirl? A container? A vortex? or just me?

It was an old volcano, and i saw one at the bottom, something down there something waiting, coming up, something more. She, the woman who runs las pirimides meditation centre, had asked us to visit the pyramid at the bottom of the lake, one that exists in another dimension. While i never visited it, in any type of travel, i believe and felt there was something profound there. But as i said in my previous blogs, something about the energy of the place felt out of kilter, and brought up alot in me. Or was it the town of San Marcos, or the centre of Las Pirimides, or my room or me or as i believe a combination of both. And the lake, surrounded by mountains and several volcanos in the mountains itself acted as a container, for the energies above and below and within.

The lake has become polluted, still used for swimming and irrigation and water and more, and the algae bloom that threatened it had died down but it is not clean, the water no longer pure. and it is not just the physical effluent that comes into it front the towns and villages that surround, but also the psychic effluent that comes in, from the history of the place, and from those who come to clear their energy, or party and live hedonistic lives, dumping it into the lake, and it has become magnified. Depending on the day, you can feel both. But there is also something more.

My world shattered as i stayed at the centre one where i feel that the energy has been removed from and the critic in me came out. The place seemed off kilter too, and it ws not just i who was – the garden seemed to lack life, the plants did not seem vibrant through in the main area the foliage was bright. And i felt caged of sorts, the lush plants blocked out the sky – both the sun and the stars – a mini-world from which you did not look out. The energy of the retreat, exploring through yoga, metaphysics and meditation, encouraging one to crawl inside while reaching for the light, and crawl inside i did – at times to my room, a larger dark room, with a single low watt lightbulb, stone floor, wood walls, and windows that faced an outside wall, i would crawl into that world, hiding beneath the covers in my cocoon, creating another container.

At times i would sit on my bed, watching the flame of the candle, making designs, beems of light in star formation, sending the light to me, or angels in the flames or pairs dancing, or a pane of ochre yellow with primitive designs and bubbles – it had its moods, like i and the place.

and i yearned to leave and i wanted to stay – the energy of the lake wierd, at times rough and choppy, dreams intense and my emotions bounce like the lancha on the water in the afternoon swells, other times solidity seemed to vanish as i entered another dimension, or the place did, in san marcos and in other communities – the ground less solid, i sway, all sways, time changes – slows and quickens, i cannot describe it all now. The day i went to san pedro and time stopped, and all became a blur, or the other day when i rode across to pana and the hills glowed in psychedelic brilliance, and i sat still, so still, mesmerized by the beauty and crispness of it all, apart looking on like in a film, a film set, but so much a part of it at the same time.

I went to the lake, down the narrow pathways, and sat to smoke (cigarettes only – despite how wierd this seems no drugs are involved in any of these perceptions) – by the dock in the morning as the sun rose and the sky turned pink or in the evening as darkness descended, and to my other spot, where i once watched light play, and sat in the sun at 9 am. Still, i never entered into the water, never the urge, though occasionally feeling that it was the thing to do.

And i sense the energies – not all clear, not all benign. The clash between the town above where the evangelicals would broadcast the gatherings on loudspeakers, many were annoyed, but i loved the alleluia and the praise to the senor dios, the womans unique voice calmed me even more than the aums (oms) we would sometimes chant. And the dogs in their own world, the barking at night, at nothing or something, the doggie spirits. and we practiced looking at another one day in meditation, staring at the third eye, and then seeing past lives of the other – i was sceptical, but then faces began to flash in front of my eyes, quickly, variations, some not quite human (and this happened to us all) – but taking off my glasses to see energy (as i often do out in nature) i began to see other faces or faces of others transformed, and it was not always wonderful, at times i wonder if i saw the other side, other variations of people or what we came from. Yes, talk of atlantis and angels, and i could see beyond out dimension more than at any time in the past. And where were we going, and was this in the name of god or not?

But for most of my time there i could not see the energies of plants or the mountains, except for the few brilliant flashes, and that bothered me, for i often can when i sit calm, look with my real eyes, and not the lenses that cover them to enable me to see form crisply. But my eyes were clouded much of the time there, as my ears were and at times my heart and soul. But i also had knowings and strange fears and emotions. Something awoke and something broke. Still it did not feel entirely safe, a safe place to explore that which i had been longing to for so long.

An i processed so much energy from within – my body rocking back and forth in meditation a swaying that i was doing – unconsciously – that seemed to take hold of me, and a twitch or loosening in the shoulders, and movements felt in the brain as pathways becoming restructured, and the blinking to clarity that i had only experienced in one other setting after sound healing and the movement of energy within and without. And occasionally a stiffening. My last days i felt sick and i knew it was not just some bad food but all that moved within me.

The day i left i descended to tears – ¨i dont want to go, i dont want to¨ i cried to myself, my bowels gave out so i did not go for a long walk to san pedro with others, i felt heavy and deadened barely able to muster a word, drained in tears, feeling alone, caught in some wierd vortex.

But once i left i felt a release. I did not know where i was going -to pana i thought, but as we crossed the water, i could not go back to noise, so got off in santa cruz where i had stayed before. I felt brighter and lighter. In santa cruz i saw the birds fly around a corn plot, and butterflies in the trees, and more birds singing and the plants and hillsides seemed so much more vibrant and alive and so did i. I was back in a different zone, saw the small gallery and in it some paintings that reflected the energy of nature, and at night i slept in the open dorm, feeling the air upon my face, the life pass through, and a cat crawl in with me,

I pulled myself away from the lake – back to antigua and saw some beauty i had not before.

Was i transformed, was it a wierd vortex, a container of energy? the energy of the place, or me, the interplay between it all.

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