Friday, March 21, 2008

Beyond This World, There Is A World I Want

I have a memory of being about age 6, playing under the porch in the dirt, making toy roads for my toy autos and trucks. The vivid part of this memory, however, is not the play, not the setting, and not my age. Rather, what fixes this memory in my mind is an idea that crossed my mind during that playful moment. It was: “I do not belong here. I belong somewhere else.” There was no emotion attached to that thought, no self-pity, no loneliness or painful sense of alienation. Just a quiet, somewhat detached observation. Something akin to—“Oh, that’s interesting.”

I don’t think I focused on that idea until much, much later in my life—perhaps the past twenty-five years. And it has returned with an increasingly strong intention to focus my attention on that ‘other world,’ beyond what my eyes see here.

There is, however, another vivid memory I have, and this one occurred some forty years ago. I cannot exactly recall the date, but the context and the experience are crystal clear.

Martha and I had built a modern house in the woods above the Hudson River in the Hudson highlands—Garrison, New York. We had just moved in, having left New York City. I was attending to something or other in the crawl space under the building when the doorbell rang. Martha must have been away shopping at the time, so I ascended the ladder leading from the crawl space to the first floor. As I emerged from below, I glanced toward the front door—a huge glass door that revealed a figure standing looking in. It was a lovely woman holding a bunch of flowers. Our eyes met. I was instantly shocked, frightened and bewildered by what happened next. For an intense blue light, like a brilliant ray, shone from my eyes to hers—or her eyes to mine. I had never had that experience before nor have I had it since. I say I was frightened. My fright came from my ignorance of what that phenomenon really meant. At that time in my life I could only interpret the experience as sexual in origin. Sexual because of its intensity, and the fact that the woman was so beautiful. Only much later was I able to see that it was in reality a vivid experience of that ‘other world.’ It was an intense perception of an inner connection with another person on the deepest of levels. For as I got to know the woman, I discovered how deeply involved she was in the study of spiritual matters.

It turns out that she was a neighbor coming to visit, bringing flowers of greeting to her new neighbors. I never mentioned the blue light to her for the next five or six years, until one evening when a number of friends gathered for dinner. During dinner I said to her: “Do you remember the day when you brought flowers to our house to greet us as new neighbors?” She instantly answered: “You’re going to tell me about the blue light, aren’t you?”

I tell the story for it illustrates the truth, the truth about our purpose for living our lives here. The blue light symbolizes for me the truth that we are all connected on another, deeper level beyond what our eyes customarily see—the truth that we are all joined as one on that level. It is a level free of expectations, demands, judgments, fears and guilt. A level free of neediness, exploitation and attack. A level where “light, joy and peace abide.”* It’s a level I have chosen more often to forget than to remember. But when I do remember, I experience a sense of freedom, and a happiness that is difficult to put into words. And what brings me even more happiness is the thought that we are all capable of this same freedom, this same joy, for we are all the same at the deepest level (despite our many superficial differences in form and appearance).

Copyright 2007 Frank West

No comments: