[Although formatted to fit your screen, the poem was originally written in 2014. It’s in the form of a dialogue with multiple speakers: the poet, his divine, various people in the audience, including children, and even a hostile being. Paying attention to punctuation and listening to the poem read, the voices dramatized, play key roles in interpreting it.]
You can see whatever you want.
I’m eraser not found you come in here.
We’re a friendly service.
Pull on it make sure it’s there.
your whole universe.
Wisdom is as free as doorways,
long direction movement
wrapped around your skin.
What the hell is going on?
That facility to hear playback,
all the universes spinning and you got a sound.
We pop in your head.
It arranges things,
continually adds to your bank account.
Completely unborn children
spend all their time
(Alright then I got plenty of time)
warming up to this sound.
It’s their pleasure arrangement.
Like packed honeycombs they are born.
I’m sorry you’re not very easy to control.
The baby knows a greater TV.
It’s his home channel.
We see our voices,
images in the air on the notebook of sight
the inner eye sees.
They’re often read.
Language can’t describe their variety
unless you had infinity’s notebook.
You can open up this vision,
this paper weight of silence
in the magnet of your thinking
that reaches beyond itself.
Large voices will attract,
entertain your ear.
There is no limit to its development.
You can construe it,
order it around,
when you want it to say something.
There’s mixture there,
an unaffordable see.
It costs dearly vision.
This eye of sight
can see the world in view
and work about to change it
starting with you.
It habits this land,
makes it build bridges
to further understanding.
Low and behold a new bridge is built.
We widen our view.
It goes without thinking.
We are in the cockpit of a larger plane
I’m going to fly around.
We silence our music,
give it greater strings to play.
Then it listens further
than the frontiers of time.
I see the images:
a waterfall of words that pressurize silence;
large freedom hills
naked as the Sun;
a camera that reads music.
Those’ll get yah warm.
A greater life is calling.
We seem to think we’re fine.
I’ll destroy your music
If I can’t stomach your thought,
so the Pied Piper says.
Wouldn’t want to hear about it first.
We’re not living.
We’re dead ants.
We suffer our measure
and drink it as wine.
Come to think of it,
Can we escape?
We have this infinity’s ear
that helmets in the sight
to what larger there may be.
I’m giving you airplane.
I mean what stopped it?
It’s not broken.
We can try to remember it
some close to a dream.
It slips in like a spiritual thought
and says something new.
The listening is active but your father can’t come in.
Thought will override the program.
You must keep it on its knees.
We wait our season.
Right in the place where people are talking,
you give it an in-look.
That means you wait for something to happen
in the beginnings of sleep.
His day would go quickly he was trying to clean up.
Not a hat could be found.
He reached into his vision.
Just take that other one.
Just take His one.
I’m not going to talk to you about it
A teacher does my thinking in moments of silence.
He is my vision’s partner.
We dock a few lines.
Ever hear of the master worker.
I’m the arrangement.
He’s actually there.
I can hear a reflex pointing our research first.
It aggrandizes the dime.
This snake has many things
at its garbage disposal.
Open your eyes and smile.
Village your truth.
Do you hear mouth here?
I hope you’re able to separate your hairs,
I mean lines.
A rough text point,
this signals your thinking.
We infinity our truth.
These are infinity’s guidelines.
I hold them out straight.
Infinity would never believe it.
You’re supposed to catch on.
I’ve rounded your thinking
with the history of milk.
You must be a pauper to drink it.
It orders only silence.
You listen in need.
We pull the kid out.
I’m about your thought,
I follow the leader
of what you drink.
There caution sorrow,
if you go off on some tangent.
Listen to spiritual practice.
You’d need to listen wide.
A dream fashions from this same fount,
and you can take us anywhere.
I come from a higher place than that.
I come from infinity’s window.
I’ve ordered your thinking
along these lines:
there is a listening post,
your higher heart.
Sit in there
I can get richer,
but I’ve spent all my dime.
To be read over,
In my last post, “To View the Hunting Design of Mourning”, I examined dreams of the suicide bomber of the Brussels Metro that seemed to show a contact with the heaven of Islam that gave him a divine sanction to carry out his mission. Over the course of years, I’ve had a contact with that heaven that’s of a very different nature, one not from Allah or angels but from a dead suicide bomber. It’s in the form of a poem in which he’s the speaker, and so it’s his words filtered through my creative reflex, put in my language and style of poetry, one which continued to develop over the course of time it took to complete the poem. I haven’t received it out of the blue, just because I had an inner opening that could receive it, nor because I was some good person chosen to show his bad. Whatever we hear or see in vision in regards to other people has a bearing on our own lives, is something we need to see and hear so to become better people ourselves, that someone else a mirror we’re looking into to help us change. This is true for both (inspired) poets and prophets, something neither they nor the people that quote them seem to understand.
The first lines of the poem came among the first lines I received once my muse turned on like a flood, which was in South America in September 2001, and it took me awhile to see the bomber’s voice out of all the muse I was getting. By the time I got to Paris, several months later, I did recognize that distinct voice and organized the scattered lines into a poem, as I did the title (“A Suicide’s Bomber’s Broken Arrow is Broken”) and more lines came, and this earlier form was submitted to and rejected by The Atlantic and Poetry. My muse edited it after, adding more verses and editing the title (“A” changed to “Every”) and individual lines, and I continued to work on it slightly until I posted it on my personal blog in 2015, after submitting it a few more places. The majority of the poem, however, the core, came in those few months after 9/11, as did many lines about Islamic extremism, mixed in with lines about the world harm I have caused, all of which I included in a prose/poetry manuscript I wrote on the island of Crete in 2002 called “Civilization and the Art of Terror” or “The Inspired Word”, which will remain unpublished, though it’s a source of organized muse I draw from from time to time.
Last week, as I was meditating at the Samadhi of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, I heard the lines “That’s got my name on it. / Perfect,” and then I saw a light blue curtain blowing slightly, and then I saw the face of Sri Aurobindo, the age he was in the last photos taken of him, the outline of his face highlighted, and he was right in front of me looking directly at me. I was then told to wait before boosting the poem, to do some purification first, told in lines of muse, the vision of his face having faded. At the time I interpreted that to say the poem would be seen as something he’s behind because I’m his disciple and because of what I’ve written about inner contact with both he and Mother in regards to my poetry and writing in general. Although the muse said “perfect”, it said it a little while after hearing the first line, enough time to make me realize I didn’t want to drag his name through the mud, since I’m considered the worst kind of person on the planet, a minor attracted person. I sat there afterwards and let that sink in. It took the ego out of it, and I’m sitting here now not wanting to be in the shoes I am, but I think I understand.
Do you? Maybe it’s the bad man that can truly show us human evil and how really to end harm, rather than who we normally think can, a good person’s that been burned by bad. To see what I’m saying you’d have to understand higher than good and evil and more integrally than there’s this bad person harming society, understanding that for us to climb out of our wrong we need the goodwill of a good number of people because it’s not something we can do all on our own, why, when it’s all said and done, this suicide bomber’s speaking and why I am. To speak in the terms of the spiritual path that I follow, you’d have to understand something of the great difference between the Supermind and Overmind, the very different ways from each other in which their processes work, to see why someone such as myself would be perfect to post what I’m posting as an outgrowth of my sadhana in the Integral Yoga.
Last night lines came saying it was time to post the poem, but that it needed a new title, and after hearing a few that played on the words I heard at the Samadhi, it hit me that I heard the new title sitting there last week, and that now the poem is perfect, relative to my ability at least. It still means what I originally thought it did, Sri Aurobindo exclaiming that it’s got his name on it, but it’s characteristic of muse to mean more than one thing, be applicable to more than one situation, and so it’s the suicide bomber making that exclamation and also all of Islam, and, in a very real though quite hidden sense, each and every one of us.
Who this suicide bomber is and what bombing he’s talking about I don’t know, but there are vague references that would seem to indicate the attack happened in Israel and killed mostly young people. He describes an after death process that would take a long time by our reckoning, but heaven can open windows on time we cannot, and so this could be what to us would be a voice from the future. It’s important to understand this is a single bomber speaking, with all the things personal to him that would entail, and so each suicide bomber would have a different story of why they became one as much as their general fate in the afterlife would be along the same lines as the one speaking in the poem.
This poem needs to get into the right hands, and as of yet it’s not gotten into even a handful of hands, other than the editors who’ve rejected it and a few other people, and so I pick it up again and try its hand here. Does anyone out there have ears? If you do, please share this poem. Its license is Creative CommonsAttribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs.
That’s Got My Name on It
The world let me come to your room.
a poet’s met greater listening.
Now what did he fish?
I’m not in your reach before.
What is the moon?
Symbol for where I am,
To help you cross the night.
death takes a terrible moment to calm down.
Now I touch you with the real.
I am a dead speaker.
The suicide bomber changes its space,
and everything right now
A story about how long it is.
Give rise to future presentations.
I cry to your hand.
Look at me.
My water, oh no,
I’m sorry to act.
Disappointment knows no greater sum.
Give me the light
of your understanding,
and I’ll give you changed view.
The service there to act the middle road to stars,
the courage there to act.
Each man has a fear, love, dread, and pull to the extreme.
We feel ourselves so different from one another.
The problem’s building the people to be a church
so I can blow people up.
Man is a kicking gale a dozen kicking gales like him.
Can you understand why?
The small raft that conceals us all in bodily harm,
what I was to become in search of myself,
a big wall of religious separation between us,
and the grizzly bodies of adolescents to 13 men to find,
it’s not a secret the whole flesh can discover.
Death was not in my hands.
I exploded immediately.
their voice right there.
We had a pay together.
It wasn’t bright and sunny.
Can we show you nonexistence?
I think I touched her.
You’ve got to fear.
Oh my God,
every finger accusingly sat at me.
This was no paradise.
There are realms in death you understand.
More order came.
I guess all went off to their private lesson.
I winked into hell.
All my mountain said no.
We lingered there.
It was my own order I made myself.
Please arrive me out of terror.
There lessons learned,
deep dark secrets you who understands.
A light found me thinking.
I grasped my neck to myself
and began to see.
I vanished hell.
On my journey I rose to you.
I’ve come up to my Faith.
As it doesn’t have one of the goals reconciliation
this is where Mohammad messed up.
The others I must also treat with light.
To grow oneself in mercy good idea.
Treat them with kid gloves even bad people.
The nature of the Prophet cannot be seen by your calculations.
It is hidden,
in a sense,
This sometimes assailed him,
Have to take apart anger.
I was just mad at you.
Through so much deception and web
the heartbreak was crouched around a day of killing,
terror hush, terror deep.
Tearin’ a hole in the fabric
of what death open
I am the author of a little child of the Furies,
a fierce cartoon within the page of my own age.
Every word easing the spear.
Not a secret a baby can tell.
Muslim doesn’t even talk about Muslim.
God is the veil at which he lowers his eyes.
Adam used to tell his name
unto his soul.
Let me release an air of sin
this cell from within,
right where they told me to explode.
It’s time for them to know:
all the way they cut truly in to a child’s deep identity.
Behind me the spear gave lesson.
I was sleeping –
There are some things that result in our hatred.
These things are ugly on us.
If you can tell the victim in the victimizer
stop the hatred.
That’s the first thing the very first.
No one else can listen.
No one else has ears.
The best place the time would be now,
to bring us into the 21st century.
The future writes this very slowly.
It’s now on the city conscience of Europe, Asia, Africa, and the United States.
It’s so easy to get irked with people about the same faults we have or have had in the past, so easy to forget what we were like when we were young when dealing with young people and the difficulties their immaturity presents. It’s a blind spot that seems to afflict a lot of us when we become adults, this lack of tolerance and understanding for the young, like they should somehow not have the same faults we had at their age. I needed a dream recently to remind me of this. Let me share.
As I’ve pointed out in other posts we have an ‘extended family’ of people we are still involved with in addition to the young adults that reside here with us in our house. One of these young men is homeless, we’ll call him H. for short. H. shows up every once in awhile and wants to stay couple of days, would like to live here actually, but we’re not taking anybody else on at the moment. We have a general guideline that we let people stay two nights per visit, but since H. claimed he had both lost his job and had a fight with his mother we let him stay for four. After those four days both Donny and I, especially Donny, were glad that he left. H. usually keeps to himself when he’s here, but on this particular occasion he was frequently going into Donny’s room and wanting to hang out there. Both Donny and I like our privacy and don’t really want anyone else just hanging out in our rooms so that was bothersome for him as H. couldn’t take the hint. H. was also coming to my room to ask for money and the keys to the moped to go get this or that indulgence for himself, a soda or a snack etc. I’m used to our residents showing that kind of boldness when they want something, but the repeated coming for money on H.’s part got kind of annoying. I think it’s like the saying goes that “the fish had started to stink.” Anyone that we’re not accustomed to being around gets on our nerves eventually. I will say that something seemed to be bothering H., but we never figured out what that was.
A day or so after H. left I had this dream:
I’ve been staying at Billie’s house for a few days, but I’ve decided I’m definitely going to leave tomorrow. I’m pondering how I should spend my last day, and I think it would be nice if Billie and I went somewhere that we could hike. So I go upstairs to find Billie. I tell him my idea and he angrily tells me no he doesn’t want to go hiking. I’m taken aback by this and ask him if this is just because the fish have started to stink. I say “Maybe four days here was too much and two would have been enough. Please be honest if this is the reason so I will know if I ever come to visit again.” In a huff he admits it. I go downstairs and tell his mom Mary Margaret what happened. She says that she herself hasn’t been bothered by my being there, but that “it’s his daughter.” By this she means that my being there is getting in the way of Billie spending time with his daughter.
Back in 1999 I had gone to a Rainbow Gathering in Pennsylvania. When it was over I managed to catch a ride out of there with a group that was headed to Bloomington Indiana, so I figured I would get off at Richmond Indiana where I had gone to high school and see some old friends. The first place I stopped was the home of a mother of a friend of mine, Dave who wasn’t there, but actually living in Colorado. Karen let me stay a couple of days before she drove to Colorado to see Dave, and she made it clear I wasn’t invited though I wanted to go. Next I went to my friend Max’s house and slept on their couch for a few days before his wife told Max to show me the door. So I ended up at Billie’s where I stayed maybe a week, before I took a bus to New Jersey to stay with my brother for a few days before I got on a plane to Europe to go and see the total solar eclipse in Hungary.
Now at the time I was kind of baffled as to why Karen hadn’t wanted to take me to Colorado with her, and also why Max’s wife had wanted me to leave, because I couldn’t see what a mooch and a parasite I was being. Billie was more accommodating probably because he was my hands down best friend from high school. He didn’t say anything, but I surely wore out my welcome there too, eating his food and not contributing much except for buying all the marijuana we were smoking. I’m not sure how annoyed Billie got with the whole thing, but probably more than he let on, though I think he did enjoy having me there. I’m quite sure though that his girlfriend (with whom he was living along with their four kids) got annoyed by my presence.
So when I was looking at this dream it made me take a look at the way I was acting back then, how I’d made people feel the same feelings that came up in me towards H.. There’s part of me that realizes just on general principle that I need to get to the place where I don’t get annoyed by things like this, but the dream also brought the point home that I’ve acted the same way and really have no justification for getting annoyed with people who are still immature in the same way that I was back then. We have a number of people from our ‘extended family’ who come over here just to indulge their vitals and eat our food and don’t give nary a thing back, and if they’re asked to do something they’ll get in a huff about it or do a half-assed job. Our residents aren’t much different. That’s hard for my ego to take, but it’s largely immaturity on their part and I was the same way. The other big factor however is boys in this culture are waited on hand and foot their entire lives as they’re growing up, and feel like they shouldn’t have to do anything even when they’re a guest in somebody else’s home.
This wasn’t the end of the lesson though because a day or so after the dream another young man, we’ll call him Fred as in Right Said Fred showed up. Now Fred isn’t part of the extended family, but a nineteenth cousin or something of three of our residents. Fred is young, and extremely conceited, thinks he’s a big somebody because he’s a fashion photographer and has over 3,500 facebook friends following his personal page. He doesn’t get paid as far as I know for his photographs, just takes a lot of pictures of himself and his friends dressed up with sunglasses, and showing off their six packs if they have them. It’s the sort of thing young Tamils would like, glitzy and shallow, but I will admit that he has talent and thus he’s built his small following. Fred also has an amplified vital and wants a big party whenever he’s here. Usually he comes on a Friday and leaves on Sunday, but on this particular visit he came on Sunday and wanted to stay four days. It basically threw off our whole schedule as far as satsung goes, since our boys (who worship Fred) were running around with him taking pictures. They also bought beer and were drinking which is something Donny and I allow occasionally, but we want to be informed about it, and in this case, as is often the case when Fred is here, we were not.
Fred and I got off on the wrong foot from the get go after I first got back to India when he brought three extra people with him when he came for New Year’s Eve and then proceeded to tell me they were staying for two days when I told him to get them up and out of here on New Year’s Day. He’s just one of those personalities that will push things as much as he can, and the alpha in me doesn’t like being defied by someone trying to come into our house and do whatever he wants. Neither am I impressed with Fred’s 3,500 facebook friends, and find him mainly a disturbance who makes the house harder to manage while he’s here. During his visit this time though I realized my dream about Billie related to him too, and that he was just acting the same way I was back in 1999. Given this it’s interesting that both he and H. stayed for four days just as in my dream I was at Billie’s for four days. Maybe there’s some reaping of what I sowed going on here too. The other thing I tried to recognize is that, although I find Fred’s visits unpleasant, it’s a vital treat for the young men here who feed off his amplified vital energy and ‘let’s party’ atmosphere and who think he’s basically living the dream with his 3,500 facebook friends. I also found myself feeling a little bit sorry for Fred too, since he is good looking and with his swagger he’d do well with the ladies in a more liberal country, but here in India with this traditional culture it’s not so easy carry on a relationship. I guess that may be kind of silly on my part, but empathy is still empathy I suppose. I will say though that in general I feel sadness for the plight of young people here because of all the sexual repression and the archaic system of arranged marriages, but I digress.
I’d be lying if I said I didn’t react to Fred’s antics during this particular visit, but there is a sort of epilogue to all this. A month later I came out of my apartment and heard a very loud voice downstairs that I recognized as Fred and was irked since he hadn’t called to ask if it was all right to come, something we’ve asked him to do as a courtesy. That night I had this dream:
I’m reading an account of something that happened at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, but at times it shifts visually to snapshots or short clips of what’s being recounted. There’s a group of people outside the ashram doing something with the Mother, and an obnoxious jogger passes by and yells “Byyyyyyyyeeee!” as he goes by. Then he stops and gets on the phone at a telephone booth. Everyone is just gawking at him until the Mother comes and tells us to get back to work and stop paying attention to the guy, that he has no importance.
The first conclusion I came to about the dream is that the obnoxious jogger who got on the pay phone represented Fred, who is both physically fit and also always on his smartphone. I took it that the message for me was to not get aggravated by him, see him for the thing of no importance that he is and carry on with my work. Now I think that’s true, but I think at the same time, and more importantly, the obnoxious jogger represents this part of me that reacts to Fred and creates an inner disturbance, because the real problem isn’t Fred or H. or whoever or whatever else I’m reacting too. The problem is my reactions.
I don’t know if I’m cured or not as far as reacting to Fred, but this dream really helped me, and I wasn’t bothered by him much when he was here this time and even felt some good will for him. The thing is though sometimes you have to lay down the law when you run a house like this, but the problem with me is the alpha male part of me overreacts and wants to bring the hammer down hard on challenges to its authority. It’s a continuing issue because if Donny and I didn’t assert ourselves at times our house would be overrun. What I need to do though, I feel, is work on getting a handle on myself in these situation and dealing with things firmly but with understanding, and not let my ego turn things into a pissing contest. Alas, yet another thing to work on and another thing it seems can only be completely solved by a change in consciousness since the human ego self, this way of knowing in which all these outer persons and events appear as something separate and distinct from ‘me’, is a thing of reactions and resistances. I don’t have the feeling though that if you shift to a higher way of knowing that lives in the oneness and unity of existence, that you turn into a passive candy ass. But I do think that there wouldn’t be any ill will or animal aggressiveness when you assert yourself, but rather a sincere compassion even when you’re acting in a heavy-handed way or with severity. Other people might still react to you as if there are still those baser feelings at play in you, but that won’t be the truth, just their reaction and misinterpretation. So I guess the final word is that living in a higher consciousness won’t save you from offending people. In fact, you might offend more people than you would otherwise, but you won’t be acting from ego and that’s what counts.
In my last blog I gave an example of a dream where I feel I had an actual encounter with a hostile being, that is, a being of conscious darkness. I have another example I wanted to share in this post.
This dream happened quite a number of years ago when Donny and I were living in Cusco Peru. We stayed there for a span of months and shortly after arriving we befriended a group of holistic doctors there. Two of these doctors, Carlos and Luis, had a small apartment in Cusco, but on the weekends went to their homes and families in the small town of Urubamba nearby. Donny was a frequent weekend guest at Carlos’ house, and I went less frequently to stay with Luis. Luis had four children who were all teenagers or in their early twenties. One of them was a daughter, Chani, if I remember her name correctly.
The first few times I stayed with Luis and his family, I slept on the floor in an unused dental examination room. On one of those early visits I had a dream I was there on the floor in that room and Chani was on top of me, but fully clothed. She lowered her face to mine and we started kissing, but the experience was rather unpleasant, as she was moving her tongue around rapidly and violently in a circle. I opened my eyes and instead of Chani there was a being like the alien from the movie Predator in the sense that it was transparent, but I could still make it out and see its features to some extent. It was humanoid, but more bizarre and alien looking than anything Hollywood has ever managed to come up with. What I remember most clearly about it though was a small beak like thing it had for a mouth that had a tongue like thing that was circling around the outside of the beak the same way it had been doing in my mouth just few seconds before. Then I woke up and it was either still dark out or dawn was just beginning while in the dream the room had been fully lit.
If I remember correctly I came to the conclusion pretty quickly that the being I was kissing and that had appeared to me in Chani’s form was a hostile vital being. I also realized I had probably been in the cataleptic state back in my body, yet still in the dream state when the encounter occurred. The whole thing made a strong impression on me and I’ve never forgotten it over the years. I’ve also had other dreams where I was kissing someone and there was something unpleasant about it, -usually it’s something they’re doing with their tongue, but sometimes their mouth has a really gross taste- and I’ve wondered if at those times I was kissing another one of these beings in disguise. I honestly don’t know though nor do I know if it’s possible to have intimacy in a dream with one of these beings and have it be marvelous. I just know what I experienced that one time.
Both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother have spoken at length about these types of vital beings in their talks and writings. According to their experience there seems to be a whole spectrum of them from fallen divine beings to small mischievous entities that like to cause accidents. And some classes of these beings it appears are actually spawned from our own lower desires while we’re still alive or from parts of our own vital makeup after we die.1 And for all these types of vital beings their food is the energy we give off during lower vital movements such as lust, anger, depression etc., and they’re pushing our buttons and setting up situations both in dream and waking life to get us to give off these types of energies. My feeling on the matter is that if our eyes were suddenly unsealed and we saw how pervasive their influence is, how much they’re pulling our strings, not just individually but collectively, we’d all be in for one hell of a shock. In his epic Savitri, Sri Aurobindo speaks about their pervasiveness in a very striking passage. He tells us:
Their whispers come, an inarticulate force, Awake in mind an echoing thought or word, To their sting of impulse the heart’s sanction draw, And in that little Nature do their work And fill its powers and creatures with unease. Its seed of joy they curse with sorrow’s fruit, Put out with error’s breath its scanty lights And turn its surface truths to falsehood’s ends, Its small emotions spur, its passions drive To the abyss or through the bog and mire: Or else with a goad of hard dry lusts they prick, While jogs on devious ways that nowhere lead Life’s cart finding no issue from ignorance. To sport with good and evil is their law; Luring to failure and meaningless success, All models they corrupt, all measures cheat, Make knowledge a poison, virtue a pattern dull And lead the endless cycles of desire Through semblances of sad or happy chance To an inescapable fatality. All by their influence is enacted there.2
Now I think it’s necessary to point out that in this passage he’s describing their action and influence in the vital planes or the ‘Kingdoms of the Little Life’ as he puts it. As the passage continues however he goes on to point out they’re doing the same thing here in our material world.
Nor there alone is their empire or their role: Wherever are soulless minds and guideless lives And in a small body self is all that counts, Wherever love and light and largeness lack, These crooked fashioners take up their task. To all half-conscious worlds they extend their reign. Here too these godlings drive our human hearts, Our nature’s twilight is their lurking-place: Here too the darkened primitive heart obeys The veiled suggestions of a hidden Mind That dogs our knowledge with misleading light And stands between us and the Truth that saves. It speaks to us with the voices of the Night: Our darkened lives to greater darkness move; Our seekings listen to calamitous hopes. A structure of unseeing thoughts is built And reason used by an irrational Force.3
Discussing this article with Donny, he pointed out again something we’ve talked about before, and that’s how the knowledge of how much these ‘crooked fashioners’ are involved in our lives and in all the harm that’s done on this planet is something that has to come out on a societal level and be looked at squarely in the face if we’re going to effectively deal with human wrongdoing and evolve to a state beyond these hostile influences. In science fiction there’s the common theme of humanity uniting to face a common alien invasion, and I can see how this knowledge of hostile forces and beings manipulating and controlling us could serve as a catalyst, or one of them at least, that will give humanity a reason to unite and a common enemy to fight against. This would be a battle of a different kind though since the fight would to free ourselves from their influence, the kingdom conquered our own purified nature and we would all be allies trying to help each other win that personal and at the same time collective war. I honestly don’t expect to see this sort of shift in my lifetime, but I do think it’s coming. How it will all be played out though remains to be seen.
Back in 2004 I was living at the Sri Aurobindo Sadhana Peetham Ashram in Lodi California. While I was there we had a weekly dream group, and I remember one meeting very well because both myself, and another resident, Dakshina, had a cold. The dream I shared was one in which a zombie had touched me, and then I woke up ill the next morning. If I remember right Dakshina also had a dream that showed her being attacked and then she came down with the cold, but I don’t recall that for sure. Regardless, all of us there saw the connection between my cold and my dream, viewed it as an attack of a hostile force against me.
Roughly a month ago I had this dream:
It’s the scene from Return of the Jedi when the Emperor shows up in his shuttle at the Death Star. He is talking to Darth Vader telling him some scheme he’s cooked up and wants to show him something that has to do with it. They both board the shuttle and the Emperor shows Vader these two aliens that are basically just heads with tentacles coming off of them. They’re very ugly. I guess they are babies of an alien species, and were kidnapped by the Emperor. Vader thinks this is really cool that they’re going to be watching over these babies.
Now if I remember correctly the day before the dream (Friday) Jana got sick in the afternoon. Then on Saturday, the day of the dream, Dhina caught it too, and Lydia went down a day or two later. Jana and Dhina had it really bad with a fever and body aches, and were spending most of their time in bed. Lydia stayed sick the longest, and had a relapse after initially feeling better. Mugu got it too, and was mildly ill for a couple of days. Donny and I managed to keep it out for days, but then we also came down with symptoms, Donny with chest congestion and myself with a bad runny nose. We were both however only sick for a day. I drank two cups of the Indian version of chicken soup, called rasam, before going to bed and woke up feeling fine the next morning.
Now this dream isn’t as clear cut as the zombie one I had at Lodi, since I myself got sick the very next day, but this illness really lowered the energy of the house and made things difficult since some of the kids weren’t able to give even the grudging help we can normally get out of them. The Mother does say in Questions and Answers that a hostile attack “takes often the form of illness”1, and given the impact it had it seems to me a reasonable hypothesis that this illness, represented by the ugly aliens, was the scheme the hostile forces represented by Vader and the Emperor were hatching. As to why the attack was launched at the particular moment, I would guess it was because it was a few days before a darshan day at the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and I suspect the attack was trying to spoil the darshan for us not just on the level of the individuals, but also on the level of the house itself, since it also is an entity in its own way. Unless you already believe in these sorts of things, there’s no way I can convince you the darshan days observed at the ashram are power days like a solstice or an equinox is, a day where there’s a force available to help you make a progress or have a powerful dream or some other kind of inner experience, but if you can at least accept that idea in theory, then I think you could see why forces hostile to spiritual progress would try to sabotage people in the yoga on those sorts of days.
It bears mentioning that the day before the darshan another thing happened that really lowered the energy of the house, which was getting the house sprayed for ants. Now in the USA when we get that done the exterminator will spray a little poison in the corners of your house and maybe put down some poison bait, and that was what I was expecting to happen. Here in India however they went all through the house spraying poison heavily along all the walls, so there were literally puddles of it all along the inner perimeter of the entire house. The stench was horrible and after the first round had dried they came along a few hours later and did it a second time. That second round took a couple of hours to dry, and then we were finally able to mop the floor, but the smell lingered for days. If I had known what they were going to do I would have never had them come and treat the house except for the ground floor, which had to be treated for termites. I’m sure it was even more grueling to endure for the people who were really sick, so it seems to me that the forces attacking us had a hand in seeing to it that the exterminator showed up on that day.
Now as it turns out I myself still had an okay darshan day, felt some calm that day, but nothing really interesting happened, nor did I have any powerful or lucid dreams. I did have a little inner opening and got a short formation of lines from my muse and then another longer formation two days later before things went back to the way they usually are which is a line or two here and there. Neither Donny or I had much luck interpreting those formations though, since it wasn’t clear who or what they were relating to, but it was nice to get that little opening. So what was accomplished by this hostile attack is hard for me to say, but I know that even though I wasn’t sick, when I was sitting in my room in the stifling stench of ant poison, the energy of the house felt very, very low, and that even the house itself as an entity was affected. None of our young people here are trying to follow the yoga of Sri Aurobindo or any other yoga for that matter, but we still have a collective process here. So maybe it was that collective process that lost the chance to make a progress. That’s just speculation however.
A question though this dream brings up in my mind is how do you know when a symbol in dream or vision actually relates to an illness? In the dream I had years ago in Lodi, illness was represented by a zombie, and in this dream, if I’m interpreting it correctly, the illness was represented by the ugly aliens. In addition, I wrote a blog post a while back in which a zombie seemed to represent a vital movement I was trying to throw out, so there doesn’t seem to be one universal symbol that can be pinned down as always being the symbol for an illness. If there is some way to know though when a dream is forecasting an illness, and that dream comes before the illness actually hits you, you could prepare, but like it is so often in dreams you usually don’t know what a dream means until afterwards.
This post is mainly just food for thought, but the knowledge, however, that there really are hostile forces and beings trying to keep us from progressing is important to see, and it’s something that at some point we’re going to wake up to as a species. The fact that it isn’t known or being talked about presently except on a very small scale is aiding the cause of these hostile forces. So if an article like this has helped someone to see that or opened their mind to that possibility or even just validated their beliefs about such things, then it’s served a purpose.
The Mother, Questions and Answers 1929-1931, pg 55
Recently here at Harm’s End we were able to finally do something we’ve wanted to do for a while which is upgrade our satsung room with some dark blue carpet and a fresh coat of white paint on the walls. We also got some nice meditation cushions, and the final touch was some nice pictures of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo to hang on the walls.
To get the pictures Donny and I went to a place in town called Harpagon Workshop, which is a department of the Sri Aurobindo Ashram, and which has a very large photo gallery with thousands of pictures of Sri Aurobindo and the Mother of all different sizes. In addition to shopping for the satsung room, I was also on the lookout for one more picture for my room, one that would be directly across from me as I’m sitting in my chair. Shortly after we arrived at the gallery one picture really popped out at me of the Mother standing at the top of a staircase. I was drawn strongly to the picture, and thought it would be good one for my room.
Later on, as Donny and I were admiring the picture newly hung on my wall, he told me that this particular photo was the first image he ever saw of the Mother. It had been on the cover of a book called The Sunlit Path, which is a compilation of the Mother’s writings. I was also already familiar with the photo as well as that book, but Donny told me something I didn’t know about it, and that was that it was taken on the Kali Puja day when the Mother came down the stairs, and then gave blessings to all the ashramites. I found that very interesting since I had drawn the card that represents Mahakali1 that day from The Eternity Game, and I took it as confirmation that this indeed was the photo that was needed for my room. I also thought this could herald more involvement from that particular aspect of the Divine Shakti in my sadhana which is good news since the name of that card in The Eternity Game is ‘Power’ and its aspects are ‘Transformation’, ‘Rapidity’ and ‘Height.’ In the description of the card Medhananda states that:
Her way is a rapid transformation by the sudden and immediately effective removal of all obstacles opposing her divine will.2
For that to happen though:
she insists that we take our seat on the highest heights of our consciousness; only then can she shatter our limitations and smallness. Only when our aspiration mounts like a flame will she remove the enemies from our path.3
So getting Mahakali’s help isn’t easy, but maybe I’m nearing the point where that sort of decisive and irrevocable help is possible. I hope so. I did have one experience of Mahakali’s help a year or so ago on a day when I was caught up in a strong movement of anxiety. I had drawn the Mahakali card for that day and remembering that prompted me to call on her for help. It wasn’t instantaneous, but shortly after that the anxiety quickly lifted leaving me feeling peaceful. That wasn’t the end of my trouble with anxiety, but it showed me the possibility of Mahakali’s intervention.
It bears mentioning as an endnote to this post that after these events occurred I saw they would make a good article showing synchronicity, and had been planning to write it over the coming weekend. On Saturday I also drew the Mahakali card, which prompted me to follow through on writing the article, and I also took it as a sign that writing it was timely and fit with my process.
Notes and References
Mahakali is one of the four aspects of the Divine Mother referred to by both Sri Aurobindo and the Mother in their writings and talks.
Recently I attended a conference called ‘Pain: Its Cause and Cure’ at the Sri Aurobindo Center For Advanced Research (SACAR) in Pondicherry India. I had arranged to stay at the SACAR guest house and arrived the evening before the conference began. While eating dinner I got to know a lady from Texas named Debbie who was attending the conference as well. I also took note of a pretty young Indian woman who came into the dining area briefly, but I didn’t actually meet her.
That night I had this dream:
I’m attending a lecture at the pain conference. I’m next to Debbie, though she looks much younger, and we just end up holding hands. I’m feeling desire and thinking we might hook up later. I end up resting my head on our clasped hands, but this puts my head behind a tall guy so I can’t see the PowerPoint presentation on the projector screen.
The dream was a little puzzling for me because, although Debbie was admittedly cute for her age (60), I didn’t really feel attracted to her sexually, though I liked her personality-wise. Anyway, at 9 a.m. we all went into the lecture hall and sat ourselves at two person desks. A very tall Indian woman sat down in the seat directly in front of me, effectively blocking my view of the screen, so that I had to lean to the side and peer around her in order to see it. I was struck by the exactness of the outer event matching what had happened in the dream, and I figured there was some meaning there, but I wasn’t sure what it might be. Arriving a little late was the pretty young Indian woman from the night before, and as is often the case when such beauty is around, my vital wants to eat it through my eyes, sexual staring I call it. It’s an urge that still just comes, like a reflex even though there’s part of me that would gladly be rid of it. As I sat there listening to the speakers, the desire would come in waves, and I would repeatedly have to use my will to keep pulling myself away from it. Later that afternoon I found myself sitting at the same table as her at lunch and found out her name, I’ll call her N. in this article, but I didn’t talk much to her. Then that evening at dinner she arrived late, and she sat down at the table with me and another American man, Don. The three of us conversed for a little while, and I found her quite charming and sweet as well as pretty. There was something too about her vital that my vital really found appealing, and I could feel that vital thrill you experience when you’re interacting with someone you’re really attracted to. It’s a kind of feeding, one you can keep at bay, but I didn’t do such a good job of it here. This thing in her vital though wasn’t anything flirtatious or overtly sexual, but quite the opposite really. She was actually very much a lady, and if you give my vital the choice between the tart and the lady it will take the lady the majority of the time though perhaps not every time.
At some point I excused myself to go up to my room, and that’s when my vital problems really began. What happened was the vital latched onto the idea of inviting N. to my house so she could see the work I’m doing here with some young tamil adults that live in a multi apartment complex with me and my partner in the endeavor Donny. It’s a work that’s been going on for a number of years, and Donny I both feel that what our house needs now, beyond some changes and structure within it, is for people in the community here to come and see what we’re doing. Since I knew I was going to this pain conference at SACAR and would be mixing with a large group of people, I was on the lookout for potential prospects to invite.
So with N. my vital took that ball and ran with it with, producing waves of thoughts and fantasies about bringing her to the house. Most of the scenarios the vital was cooking up we’re just about being around and her taking in her vital energy the same way I had at dinner the night before, but there were to a lesser degree outright romantic and sexual thoughts and feelings. The morning of that second day at the conference it was hard to stay focused because of the vital tumult. I kept trying to reject it, and also to turn my attention away from it by focusing on the lecturers and what they were saying. I’d succeed for a while and there’d be a space of clarity, but then another wave of it would come and it became quite apparent that my dream from two nights before, and the way my view of the screen was actually physically blocked the day before were foreshadowing this vital movement which was ‘blocking’ my view of the conference. And though the love interest in the dream was a young Debbie, it was N. it was referring to.
One thing that really helped though as these waves of desire would come was something Donny and I had been talking about just days before that had come from his muse which said:
What is a victory, getting over a temptation? Getting over a limitation1
These lines may not look like much at first glance, but the idea here is quite powerful. Looking at something as a temptation automatically gives it the association of badness, and creates a resistance or aversion to it that just makes it harder to throw out. Looking it as a limitation though takes that charge away from it. You can still see it for what it is, which is something getting in the way of one’s sadhana and not make excuses for it, but you can deal with it in a more calm and detached manner. Which is what I was able to do.
Now in addition to taking that attitude of a limitation towards the vital desire, I also tried to reason with the vital, pointing out things like the fact that having N. visit the house would mean wrestling with this desire, and the fact that even if she was game and I was willing to put a halt to twelve years of celibacy, my lower back problems would make it impossible to really enjoy intimacy with her or anyone else for that matter. I don’t remember exactly at what point in the day it happened, but there was a decisive moment where my vital basically said “Yeah, you’re right” and let go of the idea of bringing her over to the house. At that moment I felt something lift within me and instantly felt lighter and more clear to the point that when Donny came to visit me at the SACAR guest house late that evening he remarked that I seemed to be quite clear and focused. The thoughts and imaginings of bringing N. to the house still came a little bit, but the vital push and urgency that had been behind them was just a fraction of what it had been before.
The next day however it became apparent that while the vital had let go of the desire to invite N. to the house, it still hadn’t totally let go of the desire to be around her and to interact with her while the conference was still going on. During lunch an Austrian man and I spoke a little Spanish to each other, and N., who was also at our table, showed some interest by mentioning she really likes a Netflix series called Narcos which is full of Spanish. So I took that opportunity to teach her a few words in Spanish as a way to interact with her. That in itself may not have been inappropriate. You can do something like that in the right way and for the right reason, and when I woke up on the morning of the fourth and last day of the retreat I made a strong resolution not to follow the vital’s desire to interact with N. and to try and handle whatever interaction came up in the right way, i.e. without vitally eating.
What was amazing though was that after having made that resolution it seemed like every time I turned around, there she was. So I taught her a number of Spanish words that day as well as explained some concepts in Spanish such as gender and different words for the verb ‘to be’. I also talked about places I’d traveled in Latin America and she told me she had a sister that was living in Mexico. I tried not to vitally eat, but I don’t think I was completely successful. The truth is I still have things to learn regarding the subtleties of when I’m vitally eating or not eating when having these more casual interactions with someone I’m sexually attracted to. Overall though, I felt pretty good about things at the end of the day, felt like I’d been the friend she needed me to be and it seemed that her interest had been perked further not just in Spanish, but also in the possibility of traveling in Latin America. I wondered if maybe that’s something that will be important in her process. That’s just speculation though.
Be that as it may, when I got home from the conference and was reflecting on everything that had happened, I was initially a little disheartened since I hadn’t had the romantic/sexual thing come up that strongly in many years, didn’t think it actually could come up that strongly anymore. I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised though. Even though I’ve put a lot of effort into breaking the habit of following the romantic/sexual impulse in all its forms in waking life, it’s still there. It’s also in dreams too, though outright sexual dreams and nocturnal emissions aren’t nearly as common as they used to be. When the romantic/sexual impulse does come up in dreams it’s usually just on the level of feeling and flirting where often there’s the potential for sex later if I can find myself alone with this person. Even these types of dreams aren’t so common anymore, but even if I were able to free my waking and dream life completely from these movements, they could still rise up from the subconscient according to Sri Aurobindo2. What I think it basically boils down to is that until you reach a certain turning point in the yoga these things will always have the potential to rise when given the right stimulus. And with N. I had a very strong stimulus both physically and vitally that was hitting on all cylinders as far as what gets me going sexually and romantically. I will say however that it didn’t get its hooks into me as badly as it has in the past, and I think that’s because of the effort I’ve put into breaking the habit of following that impulse over the course of many years, and also because mentally I understand I’m not going to get any lasting satisfaction from a romantic/sexual relationship.
Now of course it’s good that I didn’t get as carried away with the vital movement as I have in the past, but it seems like the process of getting free of these things is interminable, like the curve of a hyperbola which gets closer and closer to its asymptotes as it extends into infinity but doesn’t ever actually touch them. So what is the turning point? It seems to me it could be different things for different people. For some people it might be something really major like the vital being becoming fully converted and giving itself wholly to the divine instead of the pursuit of its desires, or the psychic being suddenly and irrevocably coming to the front. A letter I recently reread of Sri Aurobindo’s gives me reason to believe though that it can happen in a more subtle way. He tells us:
By constant effort and aspiration one can arrive at a turning point when the psychic asserts itself and what seems a very slight psychological change or reversal alters the whole balance of the nature.3
Now other people might read this differently than I do, but it doesn’t appear to me that he’s describing the psychic being coming completely forward in this quotation. I think what he’s talking about here is a turning point where the psychic being wouldn’t be fully out in front, but its influence would become more powerful than the resistance of the outer nature. Then it would only be a matter of time for things like the complete conversion of the vital, or the psychic being coming irrevocably forward to happen.
However that turning point happens though, you have to carry on with your effort and aspiration until you reach it, and that’s hard. I’m finding in my own case that the vital has become fairly neutral, and while it’s not opposing the sadhana much, it’s not putting its enthusiasm into it much either. It also gets discouraged and I’m finding the only way is to will myself forward despite movements of discouragement and loss of faith. It’s kind of like walking in the desert, and while you come across the occasional oasis, you wonder if you’re ever going to find your way out of it. I hope one day to be able to tell people what’s it like on the other side of that desert.
Copyright Donny Duke
‘When the waking consciousness has renounced the indulgence of the sexual desires and impulses, these take refuge in the subconscient as impressions, memories, suppressed desires and come up in sleep as dreams and involuntary sleep emissions. If the waking consciousness is not itself clear, if, that is to say, though there is no physical indulgence, yet there are imaginations in the mind or desires in the vital or the body, then these dreams and emissions can be frequent. Even if the waking consciousness is clear, the subconscient emergences can still come for a time, but in time they diminish.’ Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 31 – Letters on Yoga Volume 4, pg 526
Sri Aurobindo, CWSA Volume 28 – Letters on Yoga Volume 1, pg 121