Tuesday, October 11, 2011

The Re-Enchantment Dialogues, Part 3: The Migratory Essence


I apologize for not posting the past few days. One of my cats- Ootschka aka Orange Cat- is terminally ill and it's been very stressful and upsetting for me, as are the usual freelancer tax-time follies. Ootschka was a real trouper for a while and her illness allowed us some very deep bonding experience. But now she's suddenly stopped eating, and seems to be looking all of the time at something the rest of us cannot see.

I've been through this a lot-- Mrs. Wibble and I have always had lots of animals (we had 8 cats and 4 dogs at one point). But this seems to be particularly hard. It may be because Ootschka has bonded to me so strongly-- last week she slept with her arms wrapped around my hand like a kitten-- but also because I've been exploring the deeper realms of my unconscious through visualization and meditation (as well as beginning some creative projects which we can discuss later), which has tied into our discussions recently.

So I've been wide open in a way.

But the injustice of it all is painful as well. She's only nine years old-- the Wibbley One and I gave each other Ootsch and Tricky for our 15th wedding anniversary -- and she's always been the sweetest thing you can imagine, unlike our other cats who can be real brats sometimes. Our vet-- who's also our friend and neighbor-- fell in love with the Ootsch and told us it's always the sweet ones who get it the worst.

Ootschka in her kittenhood.

Doesn't that just figure? It's as if this fallen world-- and its blind, insane, idiotic demiurge-- delights in torturing the most innocent. A while back I wrote of how my world was shattered when one of the boys in my extended family of theater brats died a violent and unexplained death three days after Christmas. Nothing was ever the same again for our little tribe.

It was then that a long-held suspicion that there was something fundamentally wrong with this world became a certainty.
I was eight years old.

The day before 9/11 my best friend called to tell me that his cancer has returned after the doctors had told him it was in remission. In the chaotic autumn of 2001 I watched him suffer and wither away in agony; a big, strapping, whipsmart and cocksure 32 year-old, and I saw that same look. The look of someone who sees something the rest of us hope we won't be seeing anytime soon. He died at the beginning of 2002, a year that would end with Joe Strummer dying. Just before Christmas.

All of this would be too much to bear if I didn't know-- and I mean know-- that these physical bodies of ours are merely vessels for energies that are eternal and immutable. I don't mean 'ghosts'-- I don't think that these energies define themselves as "Chris Knowles" or "Ootschka" after the physical body breaks down. A lot of who we think we are is a construct of genetics and environment and really has no bearing on this essence.

OK, so maybe we haven't figured out this soul thing yet- how long did people theorize about the atom before it was discovered? Forever, maybe? And we still haven't figured out what consciousness is either. Maybe this migratory essential energy I'm talking is the source of consciousness, and genetics and the rest of it is just frosting. Think about it.

Read it.

I can't recall exactly how now but I remember having all of this basically wrapped up when I was in my early 20s. I read an Alan Watts book (called appropriately enough The Book) and basically settled a lot of questions that vex other people. Then it became a question of which part will I play in the great drama.

This might be why my attempt to return to the Church wasn't successful. I wasn't interested in being Chris Knowles after I died, sitting around and telling Jesus how awesome he is for the rest of Eternity.

Of course, those of us who have had experience with certain entheogenic compounds also have seen Eternity-- or at least some glimpse thereof-- and aren't so troubled by it. Getting over that existential fear was the basic purpose behind the Mystery cults. Hopefully, we can get back to where we were before the drug warriors and-- let's be blunt here-- Timothy Leary mucked everything up.

There are certainly plenty of other things to be troubled by, but worrying about what will become of this energy-- which I believe is essentially migratory-- when Ootschka or you or I shuffle off the old mortal coil is not one of them.

I realize this is an extremely incorrect belief since we're supposed to have left all that behind along with truly fine art, meaningful philosophy, and teenagers that can construct a complete sentence, but tough shit. If any of this causes skeptics and atheists to think they're above me, below me.

One other powerful lesson I've gotten is perhaps a kind of refresher course in the power of compassion, which means shared suffering. When we care for those who are suffering it not only helps ease their pain it also lifts up something deep inside us.

Our mechanized health care system has lost sight of this, as med schools pump out doctors with the bedside manner of plumbers. The next great wave in health care science will be the rediscovery of compassion, whether the skepdicks and the so-called "quackbusters" like it or not.

Now if you all will excuse me, I need to go spend some time with Ootschka.


NOTE: I'll tell you what- since I've already been crossed off Richard Dawkins' Darwinmas card list, I'll do you one further. I wrote about this here a few years ago, but I'm beginning to suspect that animals at least definitely reincarnate. We lost Mister Bones- the big old Bostie up top there- a few days before Christmas (of course) in 2004 and we were devastated.

And then a couple years ago my son was driving home with his girlfriend and felt as if he were being summoned to the same store where got the Bones. They went in and left withthis little maniac of Bostie- a girl-- who couldn't have been less like the Bones at first blush. But since then she's become his spiritual doppleganger and has the same attachment to me that I suppose her previous incarnation had.

SECRET SUN READING LIST