As Above, So Below
Feelings yawned and stretched awakening from some long, deep slumber. Memories of the outside world still permeated my mind with a postcard-like ‘wish-you-were-here’ sentimentality. Why did everywhere seem better than where I always was? Suddenly the sensation of bugs crawling over me, my skeleton, in me and through me made me cringe. Instinctively, I sat up, arms held high, like a baby beckoning to be picked up by its mother, by anyone … but no one came. Why out of all the reactions known to humankind did I have to have that one? Embarrassed beyond belief I blushed profusely. I listened for an answer, but the deafening silence reminded me how alone and unloved I’d become.
I sat and stared.
From deeper within unknown movements tore at my being sending rocks falling and dust billowing. I sat motionless clinging to the ground for dear life. A huge, primitive, stone-faced mask dislodged from some immensity and leered at me in a most knowing and contemptuous manner. I knew it well, for it bore my disdain for the world and its mindless minions. With my eyes wide open it floated effortlessly out of sight. I instinctively lunged at it like a child having its favorite toy taken away then stopped. Maybe losing something like that wasn’t such a bad thing after all?
I sat and stared.
Another mask, ribbed with intense black lines of jealousy tore at my being sending my life force along with it. Its grotesque, contorted expression laughed at me, looking into me and into more places than even I knew or was willing to admit. With my stomach dry-heaving, I grabbed onto the ground and gasped. Unable to comprehend the forces I’d unleashed, I prayed to God it wouldn’t come back. Relief, if a moment’s peace in hell could be called that, was short-lived. Other masks flew off one by one, each smaller renditions of the first containing familiar themes of shame, hurt, pain, suffering and the like. I searched frantically for any order in the chaos while trying to not get lost yet aware of how liberating it felt to let it all go.
I sat and stared.
Through the swirling debris emerged a single figure . He was young, dressed in a white robe with long curls and a golden complexion. He turned to look in my direction before glossing over me. Rejected, I looked back again to see a smiling face. He knew I was there, yet unwilling to give me the attention I wanted just added to the confusion, games and pretense. Trying one more time, I looked him straight in the eyes and came face to face with a pair of fish eyes. They were mine all right; I knew them well! I often used them to look at things I wasn’t ‘supposed’ to, or to avoid people and bad situations. Through my fears, I saw incredible warmth in his eyes and felt instantly loved and lovable. It was almost as if he’d been waiting for me, or, dared I say it, expecting me. It didn’t make sense, but that was okay, it didn’t have to. It just felt good that someone or something actually cared about me for once.
Breathless, speechless and senseless, my heart exploded and I involuntarily smiled back lovingly. Unable to believe I was capable of such an incredibly profound sense of love, he lit up and we fed off each other’s love. Tears fell, but not too many – that would have caused a scene. Lost in oceanic feelings of love, I marveled at his mannerisms and quirkiness, his faults and failures, his triumphs and tragedies – all packaged within a gentle, lovable frame. He reminded me so much of … well me. It was as though he was me, or some other part of me on some other level of being somewhere in some other dimension. I wanted to be there with him, to get away from wherever I was, but I knew I couldn’t, at least not yet anyway. It wasn’t that simple. Despite the gulf between us, we were both exactly where we were supposed to be. Yet, I still felt grateful for having met him if only for that brief moment in time.
My energy purred like a cat – I loved it when that happened. The air, people, cars, grass, garbage, everything glowed in a soft white light. I thanked God I wasn’t too high to witness my first aura. In an eternal moment, time passed and nothing changed. I listened, but there was nothing to listen to. Nothing, no thing, no sound, no movement not even from my own mind! Everything was as it was, left alone and untouched by me and my senses. Cocooned in my serene, warm and comfortable bubble of contentment, I could’ve died and not blinked an eye.
I sat and stared.
How ironic I should feel so good with such a bad life, but for once I just went with it. Everything was so still, so provocatively unmoving, so just waiting, but for what? Then I saw it. I was the provoker of it all. It, everything, was just waiting there for me, pouncing at me with its stillness. Yet, I couldn’t handle it and pushed it onto things, people, everything else, anything but my undeserving self. Marshaling all my forces, I stopped myself from thinking anymore and immediately felt better.
People passed by and my mind wanted to toy with them, provoke them into reacting. That way I could blame them for my reactions and validate how pathetic I really felt inside. Why couldn’t I get on with my own life and leave others alone? Surely they had better things to do than wait for me to fuck up or was this part of the blame game: not being able to trust my own thoughts and feelings? The answer was easy: I was a shit disturber plain and simple, but that didn’t explain why.
People began to look, but by not allowing them rent space in my head their looks became their own. I continued to observe until I saw how I was trying to make something out of their looks in mid-flight. Unable to take ownership of my own thoughts and feelings, I re-interpreted theirs looks accordingly in an effort to make them responsible for me. But which was the right reaction if they looked first: nice, kind, sad, angry…? My energy waned, head throbbed and I fell into a dizzying gulf of not having answers to any of my problems.
If all my looks were mine, could I choose how to look back at them – but how would I know for sure which was the right one? Now surprisingly, my mind didn’t hurt, yet behind the confusion was immense fear and confusion. I tested the waters and looked at someone innocently. Then I kept looking, sneering a little, then a little more until I stabbed him with my will. He kept on walking as if nothing had happened. What if he was just ignoring me or didn’t see me or just didn’t care? Why did I care? I tried again and leered at someone else. That time he turned and appeared to lunge at me. Startled, I jumped back only to find that he hadn’t really lunged at me at all. What if I’d misread the situation and made it seem like he’d done it? I didn’t know? I felt myself seesawing between ownership and the inherent fears of personal responsibility. Like I had the power to choose!
I locked my emotions inside and barricaded the door. I felt trapped like a monkey in a cage, but now something was different – I could actually see the bars! Still, it was better to feel like a caged monkey than a free and hunted one wasn’t it? I didn’t know, but right there and then I didn’t want to know either. I was way too afraid, but of what exactly I didn’t know. I turned to logic for help.
If physical bars blocked physical sight, wouldn’t perceptual ones block perception such as the rigid beliefs of mind? If they were subsets of perception just like physical bars were rigid subsets of matter then, theoretically, looking around them should’ve enabled me to perceive things outside of my rigid belief structures. But I didn’t know how to do that. I recalled Krishnamurti‘s story about a person in prison. From what I could remember the story was based on the idea that the individual was the prisoner, jailer and warden rolled into one. Was this also true of me? Alone, in my self-created prison was I thirsting for freedom and a door to be opened that might already be unlocked or if it wasn’t because I already had the key! Then I saw it. It was better to believe the door was locked and stay imprisoned inside than to face up to my fears of going outside and into the unknown. Krishnamurti had also said that “there is no fear of the unknown, but fear of giving up the known.” Would I do that to myself? How would I know for sure? The truth was I didn’t.
Okay, so if I didn’t know whether the door was open or not. Now was an opportunity to find out. I felt stupid pushing open a perceptual door, but luckily I’d had lots of practice at feeling stupid. The door swung open and I sat and stared…. Nothing happened. A few minutes went by and I was still sitting in my self-made prison cell unable to move by the sheer gravity of my paralytic beliefs.
I’d never given much thought to what my beliefs were actually comprised of let alone what they looked like. No, I’d spent too much time preaching and denying them. I got in touch with my mental reserves and tried to form a belief, but without a seed was harder than I thought. Then out of the ether something began to take form, but without clear intent was as solid as it would ever get. The current of time carried me downstream. The formless belief-structure now was in the past and not the present. Did it always have to be like that or could they be dismantled on the fly and rebuilt when needed? It seemed like such an overwhelming task, but the alternative was a ball and chain of conflicting and out of date thought-processes. As my intent waned, beliefs began to dissolve into the ether, which would’ve been fine had I not felt part of me dissolving with it.
I sat and stared.
Left alone, naked, scared, empty and undefined, my beliefs stood bare like the Emperor’s New Clothes: invisible and made up. But he was stupid. He’d got caught and been misled. I wouldn’t let that happen to me. No way, not me; I was far too smart for that. I gulped; I knew better than to think like that. I tugged at my clothes verifying my clothed physical existence. My brain began to hurt as though something was trying to get out – or even worse in! Sometimes seeing the truth was not always a good thing. I’d used and needed my beliefs to maintain a sense of identity, substance and communication. Now they formed a cat’s toy of twisted and frayed string bound together by need, desperation, despair even ignorance. With me at its center I stood alone, my ball of string a protective shell. Inside this cocoon of beliefs was the real me, the I!
Arrogance arose to compensate for my misidentifications, stupidity and wants. I felt sad to have wasted so much energy on beliefs about myself rather than the real me all those years. Angered, my temper flared and I stepped out of the cage into the unknown. I froze; I’d forgotten about the potential risks, but it didn’t matter anymore. There was no warden, no riots, no alarm bells, no sirens, no gun shots, nothing. Nothing happened just like Krishnamurti had said!
Feelings of rejection arose from the overwhelming anti-climax. I wanted to be seen as scared to validate my beliefs, concerns and fears. I mean what was the use of having fears if they weren’t real or to be feared in the first place? I felt so ‘cow-like’ that I wanted to crawl back into my prison and throw away the key, perceptual or otherwise. Then I saw the difference. People and things weren’t the problem, neither were my reactions to them. No, it all boiled down to what they represented to me – my interpretations of reality. Through the lens of hurt people became constant reminders of what I hadn’t been able to hold on to, what I’d lost, the failed potential and symptomatic guilt, shame and other ‘negative’ emotions I didn’t know how to deal with.
My vision refocused smearing me onto a microscope’s slide. Jealousy flared, but how many more times did I need to be reminded of what I wasn’t, what I didn’t have and what I could never be? Somehow not knowing what I was or had made everything so unreachable! Perhaps there was a connection, I didn’t know. My first impulse was to crawl back in my cage, but I resisted the flight mechanism. Something didn’t feel right. In fact, I didn’t think I could feel anything anymore. With feelings silent and asleep, I felt cold, alone, even dead-like. Nonetheless, I seized the opportunity to explore jealousy. All I’d ever wanted was to belong, play and be accepted by people, but I didn’t know how. I tried to be like others – oh my God how I tried – but I always got lost and ended up feeling even more alone and isolated than before. My master plan was to acquire every ability, every quality, every talent, everything everyone could ever have, so there’d be no way I couldn’t fit in and not be liked. Yet what worked for others didn’t seem to work for me no matter how hard I tried. Worse than that, I’d forgotten what I was good at – if I’d indeed been good at anything at all.
I shook my fist at the universe, at God for His so-called gift of humanity. It’d made me do things I’d have killed Him not to do, but, lucky for Him, I was a mere mortal and incapable of immortal sin. There, slumped on the ground, my humanity sat reeking of hypocrisy, failure, disease, shame, guilt, greed and lust in a seemingly endless list. I hated my body, my nose, my mouth, my hair, my chest, my dick, my feet, my arms, the way I walked, the way I talked, the way it carried the lies, greed, selfishness and hypocrisy around…. I hated feelings and emotions with a passion. I hated having to feel them, having to put up with their invasion, having to react to other people’s feelings and having to hate them. When they said jump, I said how high? I hated my mind. Thoughts were like swarms of unruly children at recess, screaming away happily. Thoughts, so many, so fast, conflicting, destructive, condescending, hateful, sexual, revengeful and hurtful, yet, all reminders-full of my unworthiness. I wanted to be perfect – I had to be perfect, to make up for my shameful failed attempts at not being perfect in the eyes of myself and humanity; to be accepted, or at least to make it back to zero. Zero was better than a ‘less-than’ in a quantifiable mathematical way. I wanted to be just like you, I had to be like you, but I couldn’t. I was always different and that was my curse.
I sat and stared.
It wasn’t easy to just sit there and take it. Each revelation impacted me like any beating I’d ever had in my life. Like the Sex Pistols who’d puked their way to America, I’d puked my way magnificently along the red carpet of my life, all the way to the premier of my own karmic tragedy. I shuddered and cursed my mind for reminding me of the truckloads of karma I’d yet to pay for, not to mention the stuff I’d conveniently swept under the carpet. If only I’d started when I was younger, if only I were dead, if only….
I held on; I wasn’t about to cry, not yet. In a fit of rage, I told regret to fuck right off and slumped to the ground, hurt, wounded and spent. A fear so profound descended and implanted itself in me. Its roots delved into the depths of my being and fed on the energy of inadequacy like a cancerous shrub. No wonder I hadn’t accomplished anything in life – I couldn’t. I’d been too busy second-guessing everything that there’d been no room for construction – only accumulated destruction. Nothing had changed; I was still as scared and destructive as ever. Welcome home, Mike. I’d come full circle, yet again.
Energy folded over and over again like the kneading of bread dough – sourdough no doubt. I laughed bitterly. I now knew what they’d put on my tombstone: Sarcastic to the Bitter End.
I saw the futility of it all, sighed, then let go. Unaware of just how unaware I really was, my mind roamed freely. Information became visible and took form. I sat breathless as it flowed into channels of other information before morphing according to its internal coding and becoming new output, then into new input for other cosmic laws. It was a surreal cosmic dance that wove a mind-shattering intricate web of interconnectedness. In the three-dimensional plane, they were crystallized into biological, financial, technological, social, judicial and other transactional layered conduits of life. Ultimately, organisms of such incredible complexity were woven into existence, which propagated along the hierarchical ladder of life to the meta-being or God, Him/Her/Itself.
Within the framework known as me, objective information became subjective. Messages were sent and acknowledged via a biochemical superhighway that made any modern operating system seem like a child’s toy in comparison. I laughed out loud causing passers-by to stare, but I was way past caring. Of course, why hadn’t I thought of it before? My operating system had been corrupted! But where would I go for an update or did I have a built in self-diagnostic program like Star Trek’s Data? I thought so many years ago, but like everything else it remained just thought. Reaching in and out of me at the same time, I sat in awe; I sat with God.
Frustrated by the sheer dimensionality and immensity of it all, everything was so large in comparison to my smallness. Torn between leaving the life I hated and the new heavens and hells opening before me, I wanted to let go and find out what was on the other side, to retrieve any available information, but didn’t think I was capable of bridging the two without getting lost. Yet the way I was vibrating made it abundantly clear it was worthwhile hanging around for.
Everything brightened and became crystal clear. There was always more knowledge, more everything, so when was enough, enough? Taken, knowledge was power, or so it was said, yet memorizing facts versus empowering people with the discipline to generate the facts only reinforced the futility of modern education systems. If knowledge also came from experience, it explained why, as an addict, I experienced next to nothing other than the search to enable my addiction. No experience, no knowledge, no power, no responsibility, no problem….
On the hunt for truth, I seized a hold of the concept of knowledge and traveled backwards from its possession to its classification, to the discernment of what was and wasn’t worth holding on to, to subjective information itself, to act of sensing information, to my sense organs themselves, to my machine in the wait-state, to awareness, to realization, to passive-awareness, to objectivity, to objective information, to the source of objective information, to the information behind the information, back, back to the shipper and receiver of all information: that which we call God, the Source of All. God, I saw, was The Sum Total Experience Of Experiencing All Experiences. The Sum Total Knowledge Of All Experiences was then The Full Power of God, but for what purpose did this serve? What did He do with that Power, that Knowledge? Somehow I was sure He/She/It had better things to do than simply go shopping like mere mortals!
The underbrush of my mental landscape blazed, fire leaped from tree to tree as my mind raged like a forest fire. Yet, I wasn’t scared. There’d be new growth – there always was. I could see now how I’d shut down and was at an evolutionary dead-end like the stunningly beautiful nautilus – unless…. I smiled at the imperfection of my perfection.
Everything, absolutely everything: the universe, the Earth and all its creatures great and small had evolved from those immutable sacred laws so preciously coveted by religions. It was our duty to discover, learn, make use of and share them, so that we could experience the purpose and richness of life, of God, the Creator, the Divine, It …. I had to work with them, not without them, or against them. I mean did a house get built by following a How-To-Build-Anything-But-A-House – For Dummies book? Such a book would be too big to read because there were far more ways to not do something! I listened, felt the slow turning of the cosmos and tapped into how even the largest entities were bound by those same laws: As Above, So Below. I now knew what that meant!
I sat silent and humbled. Habitual self-doubt appeared and tried to shake my resolve, but its pettiness folded into the unfathomable depth of the cosmos. I came face to face with myself – again. I too had evolved from those same laws! An incredible sense of belonging emerged, yet also confusion. If I was them and they me, why was I having such a hard time living? I saw myself as an embodiment of all the known and unknown laws of the universe, at least to the level of evolution I had attained. Arrogance aside, it made perfect sense. Somehow, either the unknown laws were making my life a misery or my inability to handle the known ones were? Instinctively, I knew it was a mixture of both.
A clock struck the hour. The immutable laws of the cosmos became like gears of some cosmic machine. They turned slowly, turning others in unison, activating gears and cam shafts all the way up to the one single gear I sensed was God. Beautiful, almost heavenly music played in a grand-unified orchestration of existence. If I was a part of that orchestra what instrument did I play? An immense gravitational force compelled me to my knees and I lay prostrate before All. Like H.P. Lovecraft‘s Erich Zann, I was always out of tune regardless of the song I played.
© Michael J. Varma, The Gong Show, 2011 –
Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Michael J. Varma and The Gong Show with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.