Undertaker's Daughter

My life and death as spiritual path.

Location: River City, Northern California

Wednesday, April 13, 2005


Nancy Drew called Out in Vain:

Desperately searching the USA channel for the one Law and Order SVU, CI, BMT, SUV, COD -- pick a suffix, any suffix--- that I had not seen yet so I can keep from going crazier than a shit-house rat [don't blame me, I learned this phrase from my mother and it stuck] one more night.

That right, boys and girls, the Undertaker's Daughter has been in that gated and landscaped anti-chamber of Hell-condoplex number 66 called Reducing Our Meds. That's primarily because i was in no state of mental or financial stability for the ultimate sub-basement masochist's dream-- Hades Al Graib special, black hood and electrodes thrown in as a Good Will Hunting Bonus-- known to all who have undergone the "pleasure" as Changing One's Med's. Though not situated anywhere near Condo 66, or Route 66 for that matter, you just add another 6 to the address. But you knew that, didn't you?

I swear I did not plan on the two tornados touching down within the city limits during this period. But I'm sure someone did. Grrrr!

Well, more or less back-- with literally more or less back-- I think I shrunk about an inch from desiccation. I woke this morning with a vile Terri Shiavo joke and decided I was ready for prime time again. Hell no, I'm not going to tell it. Though after what she's been through for 15 years, I hope they are holding her one helluva wake and she's in a scurriliously good mood. I always reacted to coming through the fire with black humor, Literally, when the cabin in the woods, and, um well, some of the woods too, burned to a crisp next to me on a Buddhist retreat, the firemen were suspicious of me leading my friends in a soul-cleansing version of Talking Heads "Burning Down the House" complete with four fat white girls doing the Hustle.

Whaaa? I should have been crying and prostrate on the ground? I think not. I'll probably tell the whole story in a later blog. Buddhist are sooo weird when it comes to crisis. There is such a thing as too mellow. And to get back to Terri for the tiniest moment, if anybody is through the fire, all the way through and out the other side, she is-- no matter what your view on the after life.

So, friends and neighbors, without further ado, the topic for today is:

What is a Mystical Experience?

Thought I should at some point try to explain the unexplainable since I have identified myself as a Self-Cloistered Mystic. It is as one might quess not an easy description. And, like everything else in this slowly oh so slowly evolving world, it lies along a slow continuum of existence. Everyone has had a touch of transcendence when the sunset blasts through it's impossible colors just for you. Everyone has had a touch of immanence when a child's eyes open to a place way beyond mere humanity and you know, God has just looked at you, known you and then, ah then, the blink. And he's gone, Isn't he?

So, I'm speaking, as I always do, whether my audience likes it or not, sorry, to myself reflected in you. And what I'm going to tell you is not the first mystic experience I ever had, nor the last, but one that I saw, not with the inner eye, but with these two biological units plopped in my head, and. . .one, that no matter what, I cannot forget, not even in the smallest possible details. It is a miracle, but it is not miraculous, I can tell you exactly where the images came from and why they were there in real world terms. It is a matter of shadow, wind and illusion but none of this matters because no knowledge of illusion or reality could break it. Then or now. In fact, the more I know about it, the more it grows.

It was night in my master bedroom. I had not had it long. Let me describe the room a bit as it has a bearing on the vision. I had a fire in an garage add-on, the last place in my house that was not on a level, three steps were required to go down into it, and there was no substantial railing to hang on to. It was essentially dangerous and it's destruction was a blessing, but that's a subject for a later blog.

I replaced the termite-infested lumber room that had been my working temple before those three steps, and a couple of laundry room floods made it too inslaubrious for spiritual working, I replaced this with the bedroom of my dreams, a cathedral ceiling, huge-- about twice the size of most master bedrooms today, but don't ask me the real dimensions, I am putting another double bed in it along with the queen sized four poser that's already in it, and I can still maneuver the wheelchair around, that's how big it is. There's a small bow window in the front-- it was a big step to put my bedroom actually in the front of my house instead of in the back for protection. Now it seems like the bow of a boat setting sail for parts unknown. There is only one sklylight-- this is important, on the left hand tilt of the cathedral ceiling as you look from my bed. This skylight in a full moon or otherwise bright night reflects its light onto the right hand tilt of the ceiling, creating a mirror or ghost window.

It is in the Ghost window that the arm appeared.

A few more bits of background: My house is built in a park that was part of a meat-packing estate. The trees, and they are many and exotic, are huge and much older than the post WW2 houses that were built around them. Many were lost in the aftermath of the great drought that Northern California suffered several years ago, when the roots of many trees shrunk and then were overwhelmed with the rains when they finally came and toppled over like so many hollow tin soldiers. Every day we found at least one, two, many in every park, it was a horrible end to our prayers to lose our greatest treasure, our beautiful and sacred trees that had survived starvation but could not survive the feast. Half of the blue fir on my front lawn fell from this, and the rst was destroyed by beetlebark, but my greatest delight, the Tree that gives me and hundreds of robins joy every spring, my huge Camphor tree made it through and when the heavy winds comes through the valley off the river, just a few invisible blocks from me, the movement of air is thundering, joyous and terrifying all at once.

Such was the case this night. No rain, but a bright moon and an enormous amount of wind. The light poured through the constantly moving leaves and mirrored exquisitely onto the Ghost window. I was drifting off to sleep watching it when it changed.

The first thing I noticed was the color. How do I explain it? To call it pink seems trivial, but it was pink, pale rose, that is the root memory. My walls are a very light grey in the daytime, black now, of course and the paler than normal eyes can see Rose was undeniable.

The shape: I can't say the movement of the leaves suddenly flowed into the shape of a gigantic arm-- it would make a very good story if I could, but they didn't. The closest I can get to what actually happened is, I blinked and the arm was there. I sat up. I wasn't asleep-- this lasted about an hour all told-- the arm was still there. I squinted my eyes to see better. I noticed the feathers. There was not an arm and a wing, the feathers were imbedded into the flesh of the very masculine, very muscular arm, very violent arm. The fingers, thick but hairless, were tearing at the feathers and the flesh, The arm was fighting itself, tearing at itself, There was the sense that this was a battle that had been going on for a very long time--as long as Time was, I should imagine, and would never stop.

It was horrible. It was incrediably beautiful. Could I photograph my brain, I could have sold millions of copies. An angel, as I had never imagined an angel, was tearing himself to pieces but nothing tore, nothing ever would. He was eternal, the battle was eternal, The agony was eternal.

I was looking at the reality of suffering. And the first and most important thing to strike me was it's ineffable beauty, transcendant beauty. . . and strength. . . and courage. . . and utter foolishness. I wanted to cry out Stop, can't you see you do absolutely no Good at All!?

There was only an arm thrust through from another dimension, No head, no eyes to see anything, no brain to realize anything, only blind rage, and movement that had always been and always would be. Suffering. God Forgive Me, Beautiful Suffering. God Forgive God who made it and watched it with me. Or was it with me? Perhaps He tore at Himself, with me, in me, through me. For me?

I couldn't tear my eyes away, I could have watched it forever, it was that compelling. I was crying with the futility of it all and the glory of it all.

It you have never seen an angel, I don't think you can understand that glory part. There was in the intensity of the violence, a majesty and integrity that could not be denied or, heaven help the poor soul, stopped.

Now, pause for science and the only pause button I could find for this experience. Turns out that button was within me.

I stopped staring, brought the focus down, fuzzed it, to think for a moment and in that moment, I was able to remember the wind which was providing a backdrop of symphonic grandeur to this spectacle. And -- I don't know how I dared do this but I did-- I pulled back and separated everything I was seeing into its various parts. Leaves, moonlight etc. The angel dissolved, and there was only white leaves moving in the wind.

It was devastating to see it fall apart. All gone. All an illusion. I lay back in bed crying and slowly, as it should have in the beginning if this was going to be a tell-told tale, the arm resolutely rebuilt itself, just as solid and pink as it was before. I focused a bit tighter and there was no essential difference. Oh, maybe a bit more violent, a bit leafy on the edges if I bothered to find the leaves, but finding them this time did not destroy the vision. In the middle the sharp pinions of the feathers still pierced the fleshy arm and were still torn out ruthlessly, only to remain without damage. I did not try to reconstitute it other than give my permission to look closely. It just rebuilt itself.

So. . . It's your call. Illusion or using what tools were at hand? I know what I think. What I know.

And what I know is in the dark a bush can become a bear and a stick a snake. But once you've picked up the stick, the snake never returns. That's what I know.

I also know more about what and who I was watching. I thought I was probably watching the suffering of the Darkness, all the portions of creation we divide up and call The Devil, or Evil or The Shadow.

But this was not shadow, it was light, Pure Light. It was Suffering Itself. And Suffering is mindless, and although they say and, for the most part I believe, that suffering is constructed by our minds, I am no longer so sure it can be deconstructed as easily.

This was not the Devil I saw, nor was it God. It was All of Us. Tearing at ourselves, at our beauty, in our beauty. With our strengh, in our strength. But not seeing either beauty or strength but only weakness and anger and despair.

I was given the grace to see from the outside, and now I know the beauty never leaves, nor the strength, nor the integrity, nor the grace. That's the illusion of the night and the wind that we are less than ourselves, but we are never less than ourselves.

We only see less. Or we see nothing at all. We only feel less. Or we feel only pain. All of our strength of self-destruction and self-hatred does not diminish us. I have seen it and I know. The diminishment is the illusion. This I know.

That is the only illusion. We are never less than ourselves. Ever.

Now I know-- if I could only remember that I know. God give me the courage to remember. Please. I beg you. I need to know that I know-- we all do. In the darkness, when the wind comes up.

I saw the arm, again, a month ago-- because of the medications I take, I don't sleep in utter darkness anymore and these kinds of visions are denied me. They need the darkness. But I did see, and have seen several times since, in the same place, a wing, a golden white wing, no arm, just delicate feathers at rest.

It is not possible to end Suffering in this life-- buddha says it's possible, or at least possible to live with it in a different way-- I only know what I see.

It is possible to let knowing go and rest.

I wish you beauty. I wish you strength. I wish you grace. But above all I wish you moments of peaceful rest. So you can face the wind

Great Spirit, Great Spirit, my Grandfather,
all over the Earth the faces of living things are all alike.
With tenderness have these come up out of the ground.
Look upon these faces of children without number
and with children in their arms
that they may face the winds
and walk the good road to the day of quiet.

- Black Elk (1863-1950)


Blogger Prairie Girl said...

Oh Queri this is astoundingly beautiful. I can't express myself after reading what you have written but it was truly beautiful, beautiful and enlightening. You write such good good stuff!

-- Prairie Girl

12:18 PM  

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