Me lovely wife CaroI and I had a place built where we can bring in speakers and others to give workshops. I recently gave two talks about my “high strangeness” experiences and how they transitioned into “new normal” experiences. When I speak publicly I don’t mind taking questions here and there throughout, if something is really pressing on an audience member’s mind and they feel the need to blurt it out, lest they forget. But as a rule? I prefer taking questions after the talk because the talk is a performance in that there is an ethereal bond between audience and speaker in a certain headspace formed by mutual interest and the sense of something important communicating there. It’s like being on high alert, or at attention, in the now-ish, and when butting in becomes a feature, the bond breaks. Often, as in my case on both days, the bond isn’t broken innocently.
At least I can take solace in the fact that the offending audience member didn’t break the bond until after I finished the talks. For the entirety of the talks, I held the audience in the palm of my hand, as the saying goes.
No, that saying isn’t right. That’s not really it. It’s that the moment held all of us.
But the moment was… momentary. Broken soon, on both occasions, by the same audience member who simply had to pull focus to herself the second she could get away with it. Whatever I had just said was completely unimportant and not at all the reason she was there. She was there not in the communal moment, but in her time. It must have felt achingly, painfully like forever watching the clock, waiting to clutch the moment and squeeze it to death in the palm of her hand. She sat there both days, hoping to talk about herself so that everyone in the room would know how powerful she was. She wanted the conversation to be about her. And it’s funny when this happens, always happens, because it is the most powerless move of all. It’s insecure. It’s obvious.
How can anybody be so unconscious of themselves that everyone else in the room understands their motivation to speak better than they understand themselves, yet they are (considered) otherwise sane?
The mind boggles.
Even so, on the second occasion, the audience/speaker spell was broken and the conversation got sucked, as if through a wormhole, out of its natural dimension and back into the normal, bland language of conformist New Agers. The aliveness of the room died the second her hand went up and I called on her. And I knew this was going to happen. I had expected it even the first time.
She glanced past the last hour-and-a-half of depth and honesty with a dismissive, “I’ve had experiences exactly like yours.”
Her experiences are nothing like mine. Her experiences involve direct communication with spirit guides and angels, a Christianized, sanitized stained glass mural of her personal unconscious, her desires and defenses, painted over the deep unconscious of native Hawaiians who know they are still and always with their deceased elders. But her experiences are exactly like mine in that they don’t matter to anyone except the experiencer. They don’t hold impersonal meaning, except to say, “This is us.” She, like so many other versions of her out there, does not know to differentiate the personal from the impersonal. Every dream of hers, every moment of silence with her, for her, in her, must go out there as blather that anyone within earshot must find relevant at worst, the most amazing words spoken at best, or all is lost.
She is lost. Lost in her self-satisfaction, which stems from years of being told she’s a pile of crap from her husband, and whatever stuck them together in the first place. She, like most of us, is lost in herself.
The audience goes along with it. Why? Because they are back to normal. The depths they were just in are gone now and they are back to their language, the one in their heads. Back to all depths being treated as equally shallow. They are not living the depths, just visiting. Popping in and out. Bringing back what they can talk about and use in the shallows. We are a schizophrenic ocean, most of us.
And I can see some of you now reading this getting angry. Because you see this as a judgement and an unfair one. Because you see I in these words. Because when an explanation of what is is I, it feels offensive. Indeed, it is. Disease finds medicine a horrible bully. Disorder cannot stand order. That, not kundalini or any other so-called “spiritual” testimony or mystery is the real taboo topic.
Kundalini? What’s kundalini? I’ve had those experiences and more. It’s nothing. I’m everything. Look at me. Look at me. Look so that I exist.
And yet there are a few, always a few, who continue to ponder within themselves what has been relayed. Through the chattering winds of their neighbors, clucking away the fear of their own depths and excited to get back to normal, they sit with the stillness they’ve been in for the duration. In that few there is one, always one, who asks an honest question, a quiet question, that is to me but not to me. From them and beyond them. An appropriate question that is a marker of a new beginning within them and, if they don’t go running back to fear, as them. A question like a spark of life, a mystery from Mystery, from themselves. My clarity. Their obscurity. Their clarity, too, if they stay out of it.
And that is why we talk.