Wednesday, July 20, 2016

The Red Brick: A Kind of Successful Story

There is the moon.
There is my finger.
There is my finger pointing at the moon.
There is no difference between the moon and my finger.  The moon shimmers under the tears of my bliss.

I stand.  I place my awareness on the breath without even thinking to do so anymore.  It just goes, in this endless fugue of the eternal now.  I experience the world the way that bugs, birds, animals, Bodhisattvas and babies experience it.  I step right.  I step left.  The gravel under my feet.  A sharp stone pricking my heel.  And so it goes.  I am walking - now.  Now - I am breathing.  My mind is silent.  The breeze skims my naked skin.  My phallus rises to meet it.  And so I have my answer as what to do with the demon that is standing at my bedroom door inside the monastic quarters where I live.

At the edge of the garden I see a few shadows watching reverently, who have made a pilgrimage to this place in Nova Scotia to be in my presence.  By the time I reach the glass door that connects the garden to my little  room I am fully erect and I hear the gentle knocking there again, reminding me that the demon is waiting to pay homage to me also and that my last remaining vanities will this night be deliberately cast on the fire.  I disgrace myself without remorse.  I will be hated and discussed among the disillusioned with contempt. No doubt some of them will think it’s a test of some kind of their faith, an act of “crazy wisdom” as if there could be such a thing.  But I will be free of myself.  And I must be free and I must pass this freedom on to my followers.  There are so many ways to be crucified.  Though fearful, it’s very liberating to know clearly one’s fate.

I step through the open glass doors and pass the well turned down bed which one of my disciples tidied,likely  visualizing her body there with me while I was leading meditation in the sanctuary.  They do this from devotion without knowing what a damaging thing to the spirit it is to not let a man clean his own messes.

I pass the bed, still erect below, my cock bobs its head birdlike as I walk to the door of my bedroom.  I can feel the demon on the other side.

The gentle knock again.  The demon is patient.

“Wait,” I say.

“Yes, master,” says the demon


I began this journey as an epileptic, not an ascetic.  I have an affliction known as pre-frontal lobe epilepsy, probably the same epilepsy Dostoevsky and Saint Teresa had.  Of all the neural diseases you can have, it is the most desirable.  I find myself missing it sometimes.  When the fit used to come to me, I would lose myself and, so I’m told, either go into a catatonic, ecstatic trance, or fall on the ground writhing.  On my own side of my skull, I felt myself swept into a state of being so primal, so transcendent, I can’t describe it anymore than I can describe the color blue, except as a state of perfect, agonizingly sweet happiness.  Unbearable, crushing joy, the orgasm of being soul fucked by a god.  It is a transcendent connection to all beings, to the cosmos, of such intensity the mind and nerves simply cannot withstand the lightning bolt of it, roasting your senses alive.  You want to exist that way forever and you are terrified that you will.  And then the ringing in the head begins as though angels are singing to you.  And then thankful oblivion until you wake up covered in your own piss with a stick, or a comb or a wallet in your mouth put there by some vigilant stranger to presumably keep you from choking on your tongue.

I began taking up meditation and yoga at an early age, not to cure myself, but in hopes of taming and provoking these fits at my convenience.  Although I had many spiritual experiences, the fits became more frequent and even more intense.  I feared I would go mad.  I certainly never feared I would become anybody’s idea of a saint.  Though I should have.

As the fits became more crippling I felt myself losing parts of my memory and identity.  The neurologist told me that eventually my situation would become fatal.  Mortality is only a concept until you find yourself looking down the gun barrel of the thing that will probably kill you.
I had lead a fairly comfortable life until that afternoon in the doctors office, discussing my “options”.  From that moment, like Siddhartha Gautama leaving the palace and discovering his first corpse, I began to perceive the world of hurt all around me.  There was a fly in the doctors office, dragging its right wing at a bad angle.  That fly will die, I thought. Does the fly know this?  What can he do except carry on being a fly?  And then I began to see, as though for the first time, the people in the hospital, each with their damaged wings, chained to the earth until something ended their suffering.  This world of hurt existed parallel to mine, and now I stepped over the line into it.  It was my world too now.  Me and the fly.

What is reality?  Better yet, what is the only reality that matters?  Every mystic knows, it’s the reality inside your head.  The only reality that matters.  The series of brain surgeries began retuning that reality for me as parts of my brain were unplugged and carved away.  Parts of me were taken away with it, so far nothing I miss.

But the last surgery.

Oh, the last surgery.  If everyone could have that last surgery, it might save the world.

The left frontal lobe had small changes made to it.  The kind of changes a monk or a nun might meditate all the days of their lives to achieve and never reach.  But me -

I was wheeled in a sinner.  I was wheeled out a saint.  They said I could perform miracles. I don’t remember that.  But a hospital is a good place for miracles.

There is the moon.  There is my finger pointing at the moon.  The moon and I are one.  The breeze and I are one.  All existence and I are one.  The eternal now and I are one in solid residence.  The love I feel for all people and living things in this great wide world of hurt makes me burst into fits of weeping.  I walk above this world of hurt as Jesus walked on the waves.


I had a dream last night.  I don’t remember much of it, but I remember the most important part.  I was in a lush garden, filled with living things, including dangerous animals.  But the animals were Walt Disney animals that talked. Yes, there were snakes too and they spoke to me.  "Aren’t you ashamed?" "Aren’t you a fraud?" Always count on a snake to ask the hard questions. 

And there was a wall. 

It was a stone wall made without mortar, only flat stones arranged in intersecting rows.  The wall rose to the sky so that there was no clue of the other side.  Among the plain stones, in the center of the wall was a single stone of reddish tan, beautiful and smooth, like a river stone.  It protruded from the wall as though offering itself to my hand.  I felt a touch and looked down and there was a large snake with wet human eyes watching me.  “Here may you find the tyrant,” said the snake.


In the morning I stepped into the hall in my white robes and a follower placed a garland of flowers around my neck.  I didn’t recognize him so he must have been visiting from one of the several meditation centers erected in my name around the states and in Europe where my every word and speech is studied like scripture.  As I walked down the hall, a small whispering entourage formed behind me, walking softly as though afraid of touching the ground, the gentle touch and tug of fingers on my robe, reaching out to me as though hoping for some healing miracle.

In the meditation sanctuary the sleepy crowd jumped to their feet, stepped aside and parted for me.  Flowers landed in my path as I approached the dais, and every face dived and became a back as each person bowed in reverence to me.  The dais was covered in plush cushions and garlands and Iseated myself grimly upon it as the room whispered and settled.  But I had nothing to say.  I had said all I was sure was true. 

I dared not look upon them, and then I did.  Their hope.  Their sin.  The self loathing in the eyes of the men and the lean women, longing for a blessing to vindicate them.  Always in the front row, the women.  The young women. The innocent hopeful eyes on me, all with the same message.  Command me.  Pluck me.  Touch me.  I will do anything.

And there among them, for the first time, looking at me with burning intensity, I see her.  My smooth red stone.  If you pull it, the whole edifice comes crashing down.  I began my homily, speaking only to her and felt my cock swell and rise under my robes which I had to adjust. 

Yes, I thought.  Maybe its the right thing.


And so I open the door of my midnight room and there she is, my beautiful demon holding a lacquer tray with a cup of herb tea.  She is wearing a blue loosely woven shift with nothing underneath.  The peaks of her nipples and the inviting shadow of her nether hair show.  Her breasts shift bulkily beneath the blue cloth like forbidden fruit.  We understand each other.

“Come in,” I say, glancing left and right behind her.  She brings the tea and stands with dignity by the bed, undisturbed by my tumescent nudity. 

I glance through the glass doors and see the moon.  There are two people in the garden who can see us clearly and everything that we do. I will leave the curtains open.  Let their hopes break.  Let them tell all the world what goes on.  I lace my hands on her and draw close, smelling her scented hair.

I am Samson and I will pull this temple down. 















15 comments:

  1. Wow...just wow. Your writing lets me experience being a man, for which I'm grateful. And you always nudge me to think new ideas. I love that! What hubris we have, to think of ourselves as anything other than a part of nature. Yet we try to deny our natural selves, then create religions to bemoan that; but at the same time, to deny to any of us the ability to treat sex, the most enjoyable thing anyone can do with a body, as a normal part of being alive. "What fools we mortals be."

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    1. Hi Fiona!

      I've been thinking a lot about Buddhism these days and in particular a guru from the 70s from Tibet named Chogyam Trungpa. I'm still very impressed with his ideas and he was considered to be an enlightened or transcendent master. Then i found out that he drank himself to death. I had to think about that, which is another subject. But in the 60s and 70s there were all these gurus and messiah figures, and they were important in the long run because they introduced traditional eastern belief systems and meditation to the west which has grown into a significant part of our medical and religious culture today. But they're mostly all gone and their cults reduced or disbanded. I wonder and debate with myself these days the question of what spiritual success is and what it would like. The last and fatal sin that destroyed so many of the baby boomer's spiritual masters was the adoration of their followers inflating their egos. I wanted to have a guy who threw that final temptation away.

      Garce

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  2. Such beautiful complexity. Success, at last, must be in the mind, heart and soul, without regard for the perceptions of others. Success as perceived by the multitude can be more of a curse than a blessing. Or maybe my interpretation is all wrong, which is one of the values of complexity.

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    1. Hi Sacchi!

      I don't know your age, me, I'm getting up there. which makes me reflect on my life more and more in the past sense. I wonder what success is too. If I look at my life from one direction, I'm a failure. I'm not successful in my career. I'm not prosperous. I'm not content. As a writer, Giselle's post describes me pretty well. I think I have/had some limited talent, but I never tried that hard to turn it into fame and fortune. By the usual standards of our culture by which men measure their success, I'm a failure.

      On the other hand, for what its worth, I have an interesting interior life. A life of the mind and imagination. Like Walt Whitman, when I look within I find myself containing worlds, expansive and still curious. I have spiritual goals which may be unattainable but are intriguing to me. I feel profoundly alive, and not in any way exhausted. By that measure I am successful. which is most important? It would be nice to have both, but judging by where I've arrived, I've clearly been making my choice along the way and the difficulty is learning to accept the choices I've made and what they've produced and what was left aside.

      Garce

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    2. I was having a conversation last night with a friend about reincarnation, which I'm inclined to believe in. We always assume reincarnation, if it exists, occurs linearly. That is, you're born, you die. Then you're born later as time passes, live and die and so on, in a progressive line like a line of dominoes. Because that is how we experience time. But what if that's a big assumption, that isn't true? What if we reincarnate asymmetrically, that is, multiple incarnations at the same time, not like dominoes but like a handful of dice? While I'm writing this, living this life which is the only life I know, maybe there is another incarnation of me somewhere else in the world writing popular books, with wealth, fame and beautiful lovers. Or even another version of me, living a life of great suffering and pathos. All this going on while I type this. Why not?

      Garce

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    3. It's always intriguing to think about reincarnation, a notion I've always thought made a certain amount of sense. What you describe is more like parallel universes, though. Which also makes a certain amount of sense.

      But if your soul (for lack of a better word) were incarnated in multiple bodies simultaneously, would they all in fact be "you"? What does "you" mean, if not the sum of your experiences?

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    4. That's an interesting question - would you be morally responsible for what they do? Would you benefit in any way? Or is each experience just part of the march towards enlightenment? And if you met a great love and experienced would the experience inspire you in some way in this life?

      Garce

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  3. Gorgeous, and disturbing--as is your wont, Garce.

    But why should his coupling with his disciple bring the temple down? Why should that act not take on the same holiness that suffuses your character's daily existence, the sense of oneness? Surely someone in this state would not view sex as sin. Nor would he have taught this to his followers.

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    1. This is where you might be a little innocent of how these things work. When followers surrender themselves to a spiritual master, often they surrender their judgement too. They feel the master has a good reason for what he does, and the reason may be hidden and its their challenge to figure it out. Or maybe its a sin to question his actions. But doubt and scandal builds. People think a man is holy or a saint they automatically think he has no interest in selfish pleasures of the senses and then he proves them wrong. Then they lose faith. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, who should be credited with having introduced formal meditation to the west, was badly damaged when rumors were spread to the Beatles that he had made a grab at Mia Farrow. It almost brought down his movement.

      Garce

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    2. Would it HAVE to be that way, though?

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  4. BTW... you have never taken any psychedelics, have you? Because I was reminded of that experience by your description of your character's mental state. The term "expanding your mind" was more than just hyperbole.

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    1. I've always been fascinated by this brain condition called frontal lobe epilepsy which results in almost unbearable transcendent ecstasy. If you remember my draft of "The Tortoise and the Eagle", Nixie was afflicted with this form of epilepsy when she was a mortal milk maid. She had intensely erotic religious experiences.

      Garce

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    2. I've never taken psychedelics, but if I had it all to do over I think I would have experimented briefly with LSD just to explore what's out there.

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    3. My mind keeps running back to this post. What if everyone's brain was actually wired for enlightenment--real enlightenment? What if the perception of oneness that epileptics and hippies have reflects some spiritual reality. Maybe over time brain mechanisms evolved to block that experience in most people. After all, it's not necessarily good for the species to have everyone staring off into space groking the universe.

      If this were the case, then epileptics and other neurological freaks would be expressing the true potential of our brains.

      Story there...!

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    4. Hi Lisabet!

      Finding this way late but - I think everyone's brain is wired for enlightenment, that seems to be the final goal of evolution. The problem is that it seems to demand a contemplative life to get there. That may change. I read recently a book called "Buddhas Brain" that explains the physiological changes to the cerebral cortex produced by meditation over a length of time. What if they find a way to speed up that change to the brain? Through some medical technique? Or what if the current generations involvement with computers causes a genetic change to that part of the brain? Could happen.

      Garce

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