Sunday, May 22, 2011
Words that go in opposite directions...
Anyway, I was looking out at the grass and onto the field with it's thousands of dandelions, wild violets, the forget-me-nots that each year sneak stealthfully into the yard from the garden and my first thought was "Jesus, the guys should have mowed the lawn last week, it looks like crap." And I had that sinking, anxious feeling that I get each spring when my husband's messes crowd out the beauty of the place and my angry meanness tortures him into cleaning up and putting it all away and I am left with an ugly feeling inside... So I took another gulp of my coffee which I no longer drink with sugar (I need the sweetness lately) and I just gazed at the profusion that is always the result of the luscious Vermont rains and gave it up. I began to feel better. I noticed that I still didn't feel the light, it didn't engulf me as it has in the past...clearly I have been away too long...but I did feel better. It suddenly occurred to me then that I had used the words "seen the light" and I realized that my interpretation of those words were so different from the traditional, judgmental, "HAVE YOU SEEN THE LIGHT!!" that I have, in the past, been attacked with on college campuses and in airline terminals, that I was appalled that I would even think to use the same phrase.
But, wow, maybe without even knowing it their interpretation is just an over thought bastardization of the pure experience that I think of when I think about the light. (See now I am being judgmental because I don't think you should force these sorts of things on other people. Sorry, no apology, just admission.) I think of it quite literally. It is a light. It starts out small and grows. It is like no other light in the world. Lots of movies have shown it when people die so I know others have experienced it. I know that lots of people who have had near death experiences have felt it. I have only seen it in two dreams. But it isn't the seeing that is like no other thing in the world. It is what it feels like. I feel it .... or I should say, I used to feel it often. The first time I felt it was under excruciating emotional pain and I was praying (or should I say begging) frantically for help. And it came. It was as if someone had been dispatched, very practically, to help. There was a presence, I don't think someone I had known...but maybe slightly...and then a cloak of the most unbelievable comfort engulfed me. It came around me and entered me and suddenly I felt the most amazing sense of peace (not like any earthly peace) and it just held me, infusing me with this feeling that is truly inexplicable and unexplainable but so powerful that I have never been the same person since. I had the experience once more under similar circumstances and it was just the same. I had it twice in dreams where I saw the light. After that I used to try and look for the feeling. For me it hides in the tiny little oneness of immediate experience, almost exclusively in solitude. I have felt it through the pure wonder of children..when a child leans down and places his sweet hand in a new clear puddle of water, enchanted by the ripples that flow out from his fingers. I feel it usually in nature. I have found a watered down version in meditation. I can't force it...I can look for it. Sometimes it finds me. Sometimes I know the presence. Catherine once held my hand. It was so real, that it brought back the memory of her as if she had never gone. I could feel the slightly pudgy, glossy softness of her hand in mine, a certain firmness of touch that was exclusively Catherine's. I do not think it was imagined. I wasn't even thinking of her but I was sad and she was reassuring. It was gone in a minute. I can't hold on to it. I think it is a gift. A short visit from a friend you loved dearly, who still loves you despite all your flaws. Flaws don't matter in the light.
This all has nothing to do with religion. I feel strongly about certain things as a result of these experiences but I know that I know nothing and won't until I die. I am convinced that it is completely beyond our comprehension. That we live tiny narrow lives with pin point vision, locked in our own silly convictions and we will not know anything until we die and then with the light, the feeling of the light, none of it will matter anymore.
The only reason that any of this is worth thinking about is that the feeling of the light is so euphoric, it changes perspective so greatly about the whole world and it is so easily lost, so fleeting, that I think staying close to it is important. I'm pretty sure most of us don't do that. I don't. I am fragile. I need a special environment for it, I think. But I don't really know anything, just like everyone else.