HERE DWELL DRAGONS TRAVELING, AND A DEEPER TRAVELING Komodo Island, early December 1973 I awaken just after dawn in a bony corner of the hut of the kepala desa (village head), surrounded by a chattering clump of staring children. Groggily, I remember my arrival here late last night by outrigger canoe from Labuan Badjo, a tiny port on the Indonesian island of Flores, fifteen miles east. After three weeks of very slow overland travel through Flores (five miles per hour was fast), here I am at last on Komodo Island, less than a speck on a South-East Asia map, and home to the Komodo Dragon, the world’s largest living lizard. …..
Learning to wake up and behave sanely when we’re immersed in the cauldrons of intense reactivity, or in the heatwaves of knee-buckling attraction, or in the chilly pits of industrial strength fear — hard learnings these are, asking much of us, but after a certain point what else is there really to do? How much longer will we keep cutting ourselves excessive slack? How much longer will we excuse our succumbing to the siren call of our habits? How much longer will we continue making a virtue out of distracting ourselves from our suffering? How much longer will we reinforce what is chaining or draining us? How much longer will …..
When the night pulled back the bedcovers And I sat knees-up ashaking Seeking a sign sublime My mind looking for the time My body athrob with an Eternal rhyme The windows did bulge with something unborn Something I could not name Something I could not contain It is understatement in the extreme to say that spiritual opening is not necessarily a benign, nice, neat, or comfortable process. Initially we may flirt with spiritual opening, doing some meditation practices, reading spiritual or metaphysical literature, trying out different teachers and teachings, perhaps hoping that our spiritual experiences will make us happier or more successful, but when we go, or are …..
What do we know about knowing? Much, much less than we think. We do know something about certain functions of knowing, such as perception, and we have before us neuroscience’s latest findings about the brain, but we are still pretty much in the dark about the actual process of knowing, with our explanations only affirming and deepening the mystery of what knowing — especially conscious knowing — actually is. And even when the lights go on, we are not any closer to knowing what knowing actually is. This, however, is not really a problem, but a massive clue — which I’ll detail after a bit more background. …..
“Integral” has become a loosely applied term, supplying a bit of respectable heft to otherwise pedestrian nouns, while sliding toward the once-was-fashionable cultural bin that has all but swallowed up and dumbed down such terms as “holistic.” However, this does not mean that we ought to dump “integral” as a term, but instead, for starters, define it as clearly as possible, both directly and through comparison with related terms. And why? Because what it points to plays a very important role in dealing with and making significant sense, level upon level, out of the rampant self-fragmentation, divisiveness, and developmental dysfunction of our times. As I use it, “integral” …..
Along a colorfully crowded sidewalk I walk, slowly. I feel both right here and all over the place. There’s a very subtle pleasure suffusing each step, starting in the center of my soles, spreading through my feet and up through my torso. I have a growing sense that there’s nowhere in particular to go, no one in particular to be, no pull of any history. There’s a motiveless easing into now and a deeper now, step by step… Abruptly but softly, there arises a feeling of unveiled communion with everyone I see. My heart and belly energetically butterfly open and my back softens and widens between my …..
I had a near-fatal heart attack June 22, 2016. Every day since then, I’ve registered the presence of death many times and in many ways — without trying to do so — breathing easier as this happens, feeling my heart softening and brightening with such visceral recognition. And when the memory of June 22nd surfaces — daily — I am again stirred to gratitude for still being here. And for what is happening to me. I have an ongoing sense of being restructured energetically — like I’ve been rewired. I’m not engineering this, and have no mapping for what’s happening. There’s a subtle sense of soft, silky electricity …..
If we can speak of cancer having an intention, it is not to kill but to avoid being killed, whatever the cost. As such, cells infested with cancer are smitten, to take some poetic licence, with immortality aspirations. Paralleling this is contemporary culture’s commonplace denial of death and accompanying dreams of unlimited growth, whatever the cost. Normal cells, in stark contrast to cancer-ridden cells, are programmed — literally and precisely programmed — to die when they become dysfunctional or unnecessary. The term for this is apoptosis. Once it is activated in a cell, the internal networks of the cell are shut down and a series of enzymatic reactions are …..
Familiarity — how familiar with it are we? Sometimes I’ll be talking with someone, and my sense of familiarity will vanish — and not gradually but in a millisecond. Across from me will be sitting a uniquely embodied sentience, gazing at me as if nothing could be more natural, gesturing and emitting sounds that somehow still make a certain sense to something in me — something that seemingly operates all by itself, even as what’s left of everyday me wonders from afar how I can possibly come up with any response, let alone a fitting one. What immediately follows is that I don’t feel myself generating any response — instead, …..
It’s my first time in an ambulance. I’m in extreme physical and existential agony. My upper left chest, my left-side ribs and arm are massively aching with a deadly intensity. The paramedics are very quickly working on me, to determine if I’m having a heart attack. I am, they say. I am groaning, crying, enduring, too squeezed and crushed to scream, teetering at a very dark edge, unable to breathe or make any movement on my left side — it’s as if an enormously heavy steel boot is pressing down on my left chest. Only a few minutes ago I was standing in front of our house, slammed …..