The Vision

I write that not as a criticism of our ways, but as a warning. What stood out in the visions leading to this book is that the poison we spread among others is eating away at us. Look around at the amount of alcohol consumed, for alcohol is a known poison. so why do we insist on poisoning ourselves? These drugs are used simply to manage to face daily life, the uncountable people taking antidepressants and psychoactive medication, the suicide rate, the unbelievable gap between rich and poor, the terrible amount of murder and rape – even children – in our society, then decide for yourself if we are not poisoned by the way of life, the attitudes and the spiritual deadness we spread elsewhere. I believe the change we face is the end of an age – the death of a way of life we ourselves poisoned.

But how does a drug deal with drug addiction and enable the person to find healing? Well, first perhaps we need to put our finger on the sickness. Mabit calls it lack of meaning. That only scratches the surface though. If, as I say, we too have been absorbing the poison, what is it and what are its symptoms? Comparing our beliefs and convictions to those people we dispossessed may help with this. It is a fairly accurate generalisation to say that tribal people believed they existed as part of nature and the land. Often they owned nothing and had no concept of ownership.

What is it like to explore your unconscious or superconscious?

In most cases they had no monetary system. Food was seen as a gift from the planet or life, and reverenced and shared. They were certain their earthly life was an expression of a force or awareness far greater than their limited present life, and at death they entered this larger life. Many of them deeply respected their ancestors and could see how their present life and its advantages were a continuum from the past.

For ourselves, our medical and scientific authorities tell us we only exist because of the biological and neurological functions of our body. When those fail we are dead – finished. We have no felt connection with other forms of life in any other way than that we eat them and need them to fulfill our needs. The only thing of any importance is money, because without it you are the lowest of the low – a loser who cannot take any of life’s goods. This is a huge game because everything, if you are near the bottom, is owned by somebody else, and with no money you either have to get things by crime or by obeying the demands of others. There is really no such thing as self sufficiency. It is replaced by dependence unless you have managed to hoard or obtained money or goods in whatever way. But even that is uncertain. Many humans are bred or trained to be consumers or workers, as in a beehive. To gain even a place to live, which so called primitive peoples can manage in a day or two of labour, we have to work and struggle year after year. Many never achieve that. I have seen people in India living in garbage sacks strung on sticks, or in shacks most of us in the west wouldn’t even keep our garden tools in.

It is only with the advent of the organised approach to the Christian experience, and the scientific outlook on life, that the respect and use of personal dream and visionary experience faded into the background. Then the psychiatrists Freud, Jung and Adler resurrected them, but science, looking at these dreams, these visions, only as neurological or physiological phenomena, and modern Christianity looking at them sometimes as works of evil, still largely sees them as random, meaningless, or illusory. This is a bit like looking at the veins and digestive tract of a child and thinking you know what and who that child is. Dreams and visions are far more than any logical analysis or partial understanding of a body system reveal, just as human personality is far more than any medical or psychological diagnosis can say. They connect with all we are. Shakespeare dramatised something of this in The Merchant of Venice when Shylock wanted a pound of flesh from Antonio. But you cannot separate the flesh from the blood, and the blood from the person, and the dream or vision cannot be separated from the whole being. Through them we know something of our wholeness and our connection with the whole.

Social and personal changes in the past, and those we face in the future, can also lead us into the wilderness of our mind and emotions. It is a spiritual desert. In that place the forces of mind and emotion are turned against ourselves. In that experience our will can be broken, hope vanquished and all efforts seem pointless. In the past these depressive powers that can possess a person were thought of as evil spirits. Ancient peoples everywhere found their own methods of dealing with them. They sought reconnection with the life process that had given them existence. Throughout the world and imbedded in language there are different names for this connection with ones source, everything from God to Creator or the Great Spirit. The Naskapi Indians of Labrador called it Mista peo – the Great Man. In their great isolation they depended on Mista peo to guide them through life, and in meeting the difficulties they faced in surviving. And although our rational mode of thinking and problem solving is an enormous aid in dealing with life, it does not connect us in a life giving way to our own roots.

In Peru the local drug ayahuasca is used help clear out the dark fears and life experiences that cloud a life. In Gambia a shrub called ibogaine was employed for the same purpose, to heal and reconnect the person with their core. In Mexico, mushrooms containing psilocybin or cacti containing mescalin were, and still are, seen as aids to the healing of a burdened spirit or to gain life enhancing visions. Other cultures have used an enormous variety of techniques to enable people to break through the limited awareness of the conscious and rational mind to reveal the often wonderful treasures usually held within the darkness of what lies beyond our everyday awareness.

Accessing the power

I said earlier that I observed what shifts were necessary to make in my feelings, body and attitudes, in order to allow the visionary experience. The process so fascinated me I wanted to know more and be capable of more. Besides which, as said elsewhere, some of that impulse was due to my seeking a way out of depressions and physical pain. But the further I went into the territory, the more I realised what incredible possibilities we all have. I cannot claim to be a genius of vision, but I have found healing, and I have found a sustaining peace and readiness to meet each day, feeling I have what it takes to deal with it.

What I discovered was that the different pathways to vision all have a very similar basis when you look at their fundamental process. They are often very different externally, everything from dance to holding the breath. The mushroom or ayahuasca route is not one many of us wish to take, so this other drugless route has become a wide thoroughfare for people seeking healing and wholeness. Some of the pathways have become commercial enterprises, or they claim to be the one and only path. As Suzanne Segal says in describing her own wonderful awareness of the core, ‘If you could see things as only and exactly what they are, you would see that the ‘you’ that is seeing is the vastness itself.’ You are what you seek, and there is nothing you need buy from another. If the doorkeepers of such paths have something of such value, something that places them irrevocably in union with the infinite, they will give it to you with love, or ask you to support them in presenting this opportunity to others.

The many different paths to the one great ocean of Life can be summarised in a simple way because they all have a common factor. It, like dancing or meditating for extended periods, quietens your normal way of thinking and looking at the world. In a meditation seminar I attended that lasted for several days I observed this with great clarity. After three days of meditation I saw my thinking mind faint. It could no longer sustain the continued concentrated pursuit of the question we were asking. In the moment of my rational thinking mind fainting there was an experience of divine Life knowing itself as this man people call Tony. In that state I knew connection with all the people around me, and the birds, trees and earth. For they and I shared the same spirit. I had arrived home at the source of things. That experience, as ephemeral as it may sound, has given me something that strengthened me to pass through big life changes, and travel joyfully into old age.vii

If it is not clear what I mean when I say my mind fainted, it is no big mystery. You do it every night as you go to sleep. What you need to learn if you want to enter that wider life consciously is to reproduce that state of mind and body at will while awake and maintaining focussed awareness. If you can do that you can dispense with all the magical drumming, chanting, wild dancing and shouting, and all the other methods people learn to bring on the experience of this wider life.

When we go to sleep easily, it is because we surrender ourself and let it happen to us. It is all summed up in T. S. Elliots words –

I said to my soul, be still and wait without hope
For hope would be hope for the wrong thing; wait without love
For love would be love of the wrong thing; there is yet faith
But the faith and the love and the hope are all in the waiting.
Wait without thought, for you are not ready for thought: So, the darkness shall be the light, and the stillness the dancing.

In sleep your waking personality drops into that wider life and usually loses itself until you wake or vaguely know your existence in dreams. But as you fall into sleep a very particular condition has to exist before sleep can happen. 

You surrender your will and your body. If this did not happen the spontaneous and unwilled action of sleep couldn’t happen, and the spontaneous and unwilled action of dreams, their emotions, sexuality, movements and sounds, could not occur.

The key words here are obviously ‘surrender, spontaneous’ and ‘unwilled’. The action is to surrender and let go of your waking will.

When you experience your core self it is spontaneous and unwilled. It happens under its own impulse, not because you willed it, decided it, made it happen or created it with your imagination or desires. In other words you have two levels of will, your waking and your sleeping. There is the normal, personal awareness ‘I want’ type of will. Then there is the will or impulse that grew your body from a tiny seed and still maintains all the life functions sustaining your existence. If you have failed to see this before, or haven’t yet acknowledged the extreme importance of this, then it is a sign of the sort of blindness afflicting our culture.

The way to be healed of such afflictions is first to recognise that we only run a very small part of the show, and with the humility arising from that recognition, salute the main and sustaining force in our life. To learn this we need to watch what happens as we surrender to sleep. Learn to reproduce the letting go, the surrender, the willingness to let the spontaneous and unwilled to express without interference. If you can, stand before the unknown of yourself as naked of beliefs and preconceptions as you can.

Life is already your body and soul. It created you. So don’t be afraid to surrender everything to it. Open your body, your mind, your sexuality and emotions, your imagination and memories to that indefinable Creative that underlies your existence.

Gradually or suddenly it will be released from the bonds it has been tied by. It will emerge from the rubble of your life experiences, as painful and full of past miseries as they may be. It may shake you. It may take you on a journey into yourself and your past. It may open your eyes to worlds and experiences you never imagined possible. It may flow into your life as joy, purpose and direction, full of vigour and insight. Whatever it does trust it. The importance isn’t simply to have an interesting experience, it is important because we are, in my opinion, facing a new era of human experience, and the new always grows out of the deeps of the human spirit. What we seek is that touch from our core; the touch that resurrects the old, giving it new life.

Remember, if you do not ready know the wonderful experience of vision, then it is probably restrained, tied up, denied, even crucified and buried – maybe under generations of rubble. It may take time to grow through that rubble till you can actually see and experience its living power. Trust that as soon as you come naked to it, it reaches out to you. How can it not? It is yourself.

When you first start this it may seem as if you are naked before nothing; that despite surrendering all of you, despite being ready to be moved, even shaken, and for Life to flow through you spontaneously, nothing is happening. That may tempt you to do something that appears more proactive, something you are actively doing or in control of, like a goal oriented meditation, a holy chant, a series of exercises or regulated breathing. Believe me, they are amulets to hold while in the darkness of your disbelief and blindness. The great act is nakedness. The great journey begins as soon as you offer what you know of yourself in surrender. The journey started by that nakedness begins to strip away all the old habits of thought and feelings in which you have been encased.

If you can let love flow all the better. Imagine that – a glorious love affair with the very spirit of life! A love affair with the invisible and forever indefinable, the infinitely creative that is your very core. Is that something you can do?”

 

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved