Imagine this: you are omnipotent and omniscient but deeply flawed by the absence of genuine love. Just because you are so powerful and all-knowing you cannot love, nor be loved freely, and you have feelings about that knowing that to be genuinely, authentically loving and loved you have to relinquish your knowledge, power and control and become naked mentally and physically. Like the famous naked rambler whom I saw from the cosiness of my heated hire car, walking amidst snow flurries along the A82 last January, beneath and between the mountains of Glencoe, wearing only big, chunky walking boots and a well-used back pack. He looked absolutely invulnerable striding purposefully through that valley with no clothes on. And absolutely vulnerable.
Please now actively imagine the reverse – you are powerless and know nothing but the fact that at your deepest, truest sense of self you have love to give. You are now wearing no clothes yourself and you find yourself in another snowbound glen. The sun on the steep white slopes of the mountains around you, is glorious, blinding. You wonder how to cover yourself and, now snowblind, you wish that at least you had a white stick to signal your blindness to others. The incongruity of the thought of a white stick invisible in an empty, whited-out valley prompts you to laugh out loud. Your laugh is immediately nullified by an overwhelming rumble louder than thunder. Terrified, you realise an avalanche is now roaring down at you from every slope above. Your body is instantly buried mountain-high, deep beneath tonnes of rapidly impacting snow. But you are still laughing! And shooting like a firework into the sky, your consciousness is transported into the future as your body below passes into history. You have become as innocent as a new-born child, yet also as experienced as everything that has ever lived. You have arrived at the lonely pinnacle of all creation. You become a gigantic star exploding in on itself; a supernova transforming into a so-called black hole. You realise, as you transform into the gravity of that hole which you now know to be a door, that only love provides forgiveness and the apparent hubris of forgiving the life force itself for subjecting us to suffering and death as the price of existence, is actually time-transcending humility.
Nevertheless, even as you transform you find this concept of forgiving that which most people call God, objectionable and unfathomable in a context of world suffering. You just don’t agree with your ‘realisation’ at all. Your tears of distress, frustration, anger and helplessness about the ubiquity of suffering, flow like rivers from your eyes and nose, choke you. They don’t stop. You begin to drown in them and be swept away by them, aware that the act of awareness of what is happening, itself enables you to recognise you are being carried along by an irresistible present process. So you don’t let this process exclude residual cynicism and mistrust about it. Water always finds its own level and you are washed down the drain into the underground systems where the cracks in sewers and the porous rock below, seep you down into the ocean at the earth’s crust. Your eyes clear and in the pitch black darkness which is lifting with your arrival, there is a safety in numbers, a sense of peace, reconciliation and healing of conflict which you can feel is shared by all the billions of others here. There is a kind of Elysian space for all down here, (if it is ‘down’ because looking up you can see the sky), and it brings a profound comfort like being safely, deeply asleep.
Except you are awake. And it would be easy to be overwhelmed as you can, sense everyone’s stories are available here in the so-called underworld, and feel everyone’s shared understanding and compassion for one another. You sense that separately and together you are all the very source, the ultimate truth in the history behind each and every one of the living on the earth’s surface. You see that ‘down here’ is everywhere, including ‘up there’ and, impossibly but truly, everywhere is within you. You see that all of you here, which is everywhere– really not an underworld at all, are, to those living on the surface, all dead, unborn.
Nonsense, you think. Utter nonsense. You shake your head to rid it of this religiose, if not downright psychotic guff…
So here I am again writing this, recognising it for imagination. I can hardly believe I truly did pass the naked rambler in the snow last January. All I can feel is a sense of disconnection and loss from what I am beginning to unremember, to forget in the heat of this beautiful September day. I think about time, about my love of physics and the theory of the block universe. Just passing through, I tell myself. The briefest of sojourns in being embodied and experiencing attachment and love in relation to others. This is what matters most to me. As I live.
I shake my head trying and failing to rid it of the last fragments of memory which I have described to you herein. But I cannot. All I can do is recognise the contradictory, oxymoronic nature of my consciousness and unconscious systems and how they are shaped by the dead, by the living history stored by every one of us in the hippocampus; and rest on the fact that that small certainty, held by love, is all I am capable of.
Now I’m going out to feel the sun and the air on my face.