Isn’t There Anything Else?

I walked on Combe Martin beach this morning
With my dog Tramp.
The only other person on the footpath
Around the rocks
Was the local Baptist Minister.
I was in a thoughtful mood, noticing things.
And what took my attention was
That not once did the vicar meet my eyes,
Even though at one point we were
Only three feet apart and I was facing him.
Did this mean that God was ignoring me?
Or was I ignoring God?
I had been ready to meet Him,
But apparently nobody was home.

So much has dropped away from me of late.
Desire for money,
Motivation to be anything,
Belief in an external God.
Even my usual defences have melted.
That’s what happened
To me when I discovered
I haven’t any meaning,
And there’s no real point in existence.
Not that I have feelings of suicide.
Just that the illusions
We usually give ourselves meaning with
Have dropped away.
Or perhaps I have seen
What a show shadow show they are?

I wonder if this is what it feels like
To drop out, to give up.
But I don’t feel like that.
I know there isn’t any reason,
Any God to give me purpose.
But it is a state of beauty,
To stand alone in the midst of
This grand mystery and opportunity
We call Life,
And know that life within me
Is my strength, my God,
And my infinite potential.

Jackie and Steven were on the beach
As I walked back toward home.
I felt relaxed and open,
Talking with them.
Jackie was carrying her child on her back.
Then she moved the sling,
And I knew she wanted me to look
At the baby she had helped create.
Some people would call
Jackie and Steven dropouts.
But they looked me in the eye
And shared who they were with me.

At home I realise I am
Searching for myself.
At least God,
Desire for money,
Fame, or sexual conquest,
Give a meaning and direction.
Without them,
What is left?
Feeling so empty
Leaves me wondering
At the smallness of my life.
Isn’t there anything else?
Is this it?

The house is empty.
I sit listening to music.
Suddenly I remember a dream
From several years ago.
A monolithic stone of huge dimensions
Rises up from the earth.
It was unfashioned except at the top,
Where a strange and beautiful design
Was worked on it.
I had never understood this dream,
But now I knew with certainty
The great stone represents a human life,
Raw and natural except at the top,
Where conscious endeavours have left their pattern,
Making a wonderful blending of nature and individual will –
Of the unconscious and conscious.
I am that Rock
Shaped by the unimaginable ages
And rising up out of the earth
To stand erect
By my innate strength.
And I am of the very substance
Of the Cosmos.
My personal strivings
Leaving their art
Indelibly in the
Rock that is life.

Wonderful – and yet.
And yet I feel so lost!
I feel angry because
There is nothing to hope for.
Without God
There isn’t any light except myself.
And although I see that –
I don’t want it.
I don’t like it.
It was so much more comfortable
To have a mother or father
To come and make me happy –
Or a God to look to for salvation.

And I –
Well – I
Am cynical and unhappy,
Not wanting to move
Out of the habit of waiting for
Mother, Father, God
To direct me,
To bring me joy.
I want something outside of me
To give me meaning.
To stimulate me.

And I –
Well – I
Won’t let my light shine
If I have to do it all myself.
It is so difficult to let go of childhood,
And BE oneself.
Then I remembered Jackie and Steven on the beach,
Realising how they had looked at me
Like I was some sort of father.
Well – with five children I am.
But I don’t want to be a father anymore,
Giving people things to do,
Acting as strength for them.
Yet people need attention
Or direction,
Just as children do.
Is that what the minister does?
So why didn’t he look at me?

I turned the music off.
It was a distraction,
An outside noise.
But its absence didn’t help.
So I walk upstairs
And take all my clothes off
Standing naked before a mirror
Wondering who I am.
My body looked hard and lean,
As if I had been working hard of late.
And my right arm,
The hardest worker of all,
Hangs heavy and big,
Like a powerful piece of equipment
Or a tool I carry about.
My arms reminded me of
The great claws the fiddler crabs have,
One larger than the other.

Then I got into bed.
If I can no longer
Look to mother, father or God,
Or even circumstances to give me direction,
I must discover who I am,
And what shit or glory
I carry inside me.
And what hits me immediately
Is that I want to suffer.
Nobody is going to take that away from me.
No bugger can stop me suffering.
It’s mine to have if I want it.
I guess I am like a kid
Whose lollipop has been taken away.
I can’t have the fairy tale world I wanted,
So now I am going to sulk and suffer
Just to make you unhappy.
Strangely – there is only me here.

Oh yes –
That was the world I lived in.
I lived in a fairyland,
Tiny tots sort of place,
With a storybook happy ending.
Looking back,
I have an image of myself
Appearing so lavender and lace and gentle.
I was trying to be so beautiful.
But what a lie,
And how castrating!
As a youth in London
I had seen so much suffering around me
I had shut it out by going into the beautiful and spiritual.
Everything was okay really because God
Had a happy ending to this fairy story of life,
Even if we had to find it at death or in future lives.

Now the doors within me began to open,
And I could see
How I had closed my eyes to the suffering in the world,
My own suffering, and other people’s.
I felt I could never find a plot to write about,
But everywhere is an expression of a plot.
There is Polly, killing her husband,
From the inside,
Then suffering guilt and destroying herself with it –
Other men giving her sexual pleasure,
A momentary relief from her guilt.
There is Angela, an old woman,
Frustrated and lost in her thoughts,
In her philosophy, her make-believe.
For some obscure reason hiding
Her desire to be fucked and touched.
And underneath it all saying –
“Touch me – fuck me.”
All the people I have ever met are stories.
My own life, with my hiding from reality,
My avoiding sexuality and responsibility.
My flights into fairytale land,
So I wouldn’t see the human suffering around me,
Or know the violence and desires in me.

But as with the mirror,
I am now standing naked
In front of myself – and I can see!
I see the drama of human passion
As it is enacted daily
In marriage, work, politics.
In religion, riots and war.
Underneath the surface actions
Rage the desires –
Raw, urgent and powerful.
I see we are slaves to these
Incredible forces,
Driving us like gods
Making puppets dance.
They lead us into soul-destroying work,
Hateful relationships, even murder.
And I see how those live
Who prey upon us.
Delicately or brutally manipulating
Our desires, fears and dreams.
When I look at the human animal,
We are not a pleasant sort of creature.

For some reason I remember
My youngest son, Quentin.
When my father died,
Quentin came with me to view my dad’s body.
I had said to Quentin,
“We are going to look at grandpas body.”
Afterwards I asked him what he thought.
He immediately said,
“That wasn’t grandpas body.”
I thought he had rejected dads’ death
And was going to fantasize,
So I asked him what it was then.
“That was grandpa,” he said.
I guess Quentin faces reality
More head on than I do.
Recently Quentin watched the Muppets on TV.
One, in the form of a monster,
Gobbled up another one.
This scene stayed in Quentin’s mind for ages,
And he sang the song,
“I’ve got you under my skin.
I’ve got you deep in the heart of me,”
That the monster sang.
Quentin, even though it frightened him,
Was facing the reality
Of creature devouring creature.
Our small turtle,
That swallows other small creatures alive,
Has illustrated this to him recently.
Perhaps I have noticed such things in him
Because of my own difficult adjustment to reality.

Reality though, is a minor problem.
I couldn’t even accept
Myself as a man.
I didn’t want to see
My animal lust,
My violence, and treachery,
Or that I was castrated.
Pilate might just as well
Have asked of Jesus,
“What is reality?”
“Who are you?”
Or more to the point,
“Who am I?”

The question releases a mass of desire,
And I experience vivid sexual fantasies
About several women.
One person, I feel, wants it up the rectum,
Because it isn’t nice having straight sex.
So I agree, but manage straight sex
By saying, lets sin and do something to wallow in.
The others just want it straight in.
In this I know the primacy of sexual desire,
And know that I can have many women,
With just a little concern over their sensitivities.
Without that sensitivity,
Whether as manipulator or manipulated,
The poor fragile ego
Could be damaged or shattered.
Isn’t that what is happening?
How many people do you know who
Are needing medication, alcohol
Or street drugs such as fags,
To make it through the day?
You must break gently through
To those basic urges.
And with this
My body arched
And moved with sexual pleasure
Until I experienced an orgasm
Deep in the images of a woman’s body.

I felt, I saw, I experienced
A magnetic pull, or flow,
A vibration throughout the universe.
After my orgasm my genital area
Was experiencing the
Continuous buzz of this pleasurable vibration.
Everything is separate in time and space
Like separate pieces of sand or iron filings,
Yet the invisible vibration
Moves each separate being
Into an expression of this overall tone,
This trembling, just like sand forms patterns
When a note is played,
Or filings form the patterns of the magnetic force.

And it is this buzz, this zzzzzzzt,
Leading people to mate and long and love.
The buzzing fills me
And is singing – AUM.
I can feel it
In every tiny cell.
I can feel the zzzzztt vibrating
And living in me as pleasurable sensation,
And in being aware of it
Come to know the universe,
The fundamental condition,
Had at one time learned to zzzztt –
And so liked it, that throughout existence
It continued everywhere
And in an amazing variety of ways
To zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzt!
I am that buzz, that AUM made flesh.
Yet I am what?

A quest rose in me.
What is the basis of my being?
Am I the sperm,
The sexual act?
The buzzing flow
Is an expression of the root of my being,
But is not that thing itself.
I don’t know how to make this clearer,
Because the basis of my being was, I felt,
Eternally unknowable,
Yet eternally experienced as Myself.
I could go mad trying to know what I am –
Yet I AM forever THAT.
And I know that all form, all relationships,
Animal variety, sexual variation, longing,
Waiting, caring for offspring,
Is an expression and exploration,
A bubbling up, tumbling, playing,
At buzzing – the AUM.
Everything wants to zzzzzzzz.
The sexual longing I feel
Is this fundamental buzz as expressed by me.
It is like a slight out of phase current,
A feedback, or disharmony in basic being,
Like in an amplifier causing a hum.
I don’t have the necessary concepts
To explain in any other terms
What I am experiencing.
But I feel the basic being,
Not A basic being,
Learned to do this,
And liked it so much it continued.
This basic situation had once been a totality,
But had learned to separate itself into polarities.
These polarities created tension
That was released when the polarities came together,
As in sexual relationship,
Or the flash of lightning.
And the universe so likes this
It does it over and over again.
Oh fuck!

I once read that linseed oil molecules actually learn.
They respond to light quicker
At a second and third exposure,
Or something of that nature.
Perhaps that is purely chemical/biological –
Isn’t the brain?
And what is the learning process?
Anyway, the universe liked buzzing
After it discovered how to do it.
And living creatures, their form and sex,
Arose out of its continuance.
This buzzing penetrates all matter
Like an all-pervading hum,
I can feel it now in my being.
I can see how all creatures,
All tumbling, sweating, loving, laughing,
Born and dying humanity
Are an expression of this fundamental zzzzzz.
I see how all conscious life is unknowingly
Living out this great buzz,
Like the iron filings moving into position,
Or sand dancing in the vibration of music.

Yet each man or woman fails
To deeply acknowledge
How they are a fragment
Tossed up on the great buzz.
Whether we like it or not we zzzzz,
Or are involved in buzzing.
We rationalise it, or claim it as ours personally,
We deny it, channel it, forbid it.
We symbolise it religiously.
We fear it, murder it, chase it,
Or attempt to forget it.
But it is all buzz – the AUM.
What seems to us as choice,
Are usually magic lantern shows.
Is that it?
Isn’t there anything else?

Those questions had burned in me for years.
Underground seams of coal,
Hot, flaming, trapped heat
In me seething.
Is there nothing else in human nature
Except buzzing, except being enslaved
By passions and primal urges from the great buzz?
Must we be forever lost in the illusions we use
To cover up how we are merely vibrating fragments
Of sand in the great impersonal buzz?
Is there something more than
Manipulating the urge in others
To buzz, to fuck,
To find a safe place,
To have a shelter from fear
And experience love?
Must we forever profit from the
Vulnerable humanness of others?
Must we remain sheep in the hands of the manipulators?
Is that it?
Isn’t there anything else?

A flash of insight into my own youth arose.
I was trying to be so spiritual,
Yet at the same time dealing with homosexuals.
I profited by selling pictures of young men to them.
At sixteen I acted as an agent for Ray
To visit a German homosexual.
But I didn’t want to see how I could manipulate.
Unconsciously I knew human weaknesses,
Through my own weakness.
Immersed in the life in London as a youth,
Surrounded by homosexuals,
Prostitutes, thieves,
Ordinary men and women in their millions,
I unconsciously realised
That unless I could gain some measure of control
Over my own desires, fears, and urges,
I would be at the mercy of others
Who may be unscrupulous in abusing me,
Using sex like a baited hook.
So for survival I struggled
To learn how to control my own urges.
That gave me the edge with others.
It is a powerful thing to have the same weakness,
But be in control of it.
Then you can play another person like a puppet.
Knowing this, I saw, with a flash,
How, because I appeared so clean and spiritual,
I attracted people.
They desire to be free of that ever persistent buzz.
They want to find liberation and happiness.
And that is another direction manipulation takes,
Using the force of their desire.

This is the story of the holy man who,
Representing this freedom and purity,
Suggests to those who come to him,
That purity comes by avoiding the desire to fuck.
How pure and high and holy he is.
Yet restrained desire builds up like a power,
And where that power flows –
To the guru – money flows.
So flows millions of dollars.
Have you seen the marble temples in India
Built with the mighty dollar?

And the images rolled on and on.
The Pope and all the heads of religion,
Living in palaces.
What strange humanity that is.
What wonderful manipulators.
But isn’t there anything else
In this crazy world?

I guess even my bicep
Is a symbol of strength.
Strength to hold, to protect,
To fuck, to hurt if not compliant.
This great thick arm I was seeing in the mirror
Is like the crab displaying his claw,
Saying look at my power.
It’s like a wrench or spanner
You hang on the side of your body.
Mine has slightly twisted my body
Because it is so heavy.
Useful though, like a mechanic’s tool.
So I know I can manipulate others if I choose to.
I have the symbol of dominance,
The strong arm and strong body,
With the alert mind.
But is that what I want to do?
If not –
What do I want to do with my life?

I see that while I hide so many urges from myself,
Such as lust, desire to manipulate, fear, and pride,
I cannot see those things clearly in others.
But if I avoid the manipulation,
The using other people’s dreams, and fear,
Their hopes and weaknesses for personal profit,
What is left in this world?
There is enslavement of others,
Manipulating them to their detriment,
And there are those who,
While an animal themselves,
Yet have regard for others.
So is there another side to humans?
Is there something else
Other than being lost in defences, illusions and fears?

What is this other thing?
I can see that in the past I felt towards
This mysterious ‘other’ quality
That I must have that too.
Not only a muscular arm,
And the power over
My own urges and weaknesses.
In teenage I recognised that
I must have dominion over myself.
It was seen unconsciously, instinctively,
Like an animal might
That had to survive in that situation.
I saw it was necessary
If I was going to survive in the world.
So I fought for it, developed it,
Just as I fought and struggled to develop a strong body.
There are so many paths one could take.
I see I have justified my own strengths,
My masculinity, sexuality,
And my relationships with various women,
On the grounds that within my territory
I would give them freedom.
I offer you freedom under my dominance.
Is what I was really saying.
I would not enslave them by their weakness.
What a preposterousness standpoint.
What I would really be saying was
I will give you freedom
If I can have sex with you.
But what would really be happening was
That I would be the prisoner of my own lust.
They would be manipulating me by the balls.
As I said to Quentin afterwards
About a picture in one of his comics,
The hero saves the woman
And she keeps him as her pet.
He laughed like mad,
But Leon said, “That is not funny.”

So I come back again to the question – what else?
I still feel my penis is a channel for a river of life.
It is flowing all the time.
And underneath the flow
I feel the basic reality, from which all else arises.
All else is a sort of fantasy, a weaving or playing.
So I ask myself what that reality is,
And I stumble upon a deep stratum,
As an archaeologist might stumble
Upon a great tomb.
And in this tomb I find the relics of a hero
Who gave himself in sacrifice for his people.
As I touch his bones deep in myself,
I sense – or perhaps remember –
That humanity in its history,
Came upon a terrain in its development,
Where it didn’t have the qualities necessary to go on,
To develop further.
We knew in our dreams,
In our unconscious, what those heroic qualities were
That were needed.
But the dreams had not incarnated
Into actual ability in the race.
So there we were,
Stuck in the bog of our own petty grasping.
And as I touched those holy bones
I was that hero, that heroine.
Over and over I experienced
The drama of being a sacrifice.
I as the hero expressed the new conception,
The new consciousness,
The new way of life,
I was beaten and smashed to death
Because I was a threat
To the old instinctive order.
But the fragments of my strewn body,
My flesh, were eaten by those who had killed me.
And my flesh was like Seeds
That grew within those who devoured me,
And became in them the new awareness
They had sought to destroy.
I was a willing sacrifice.
I knew that through the stress
And ritual of my willing death,
I would receive the new consciousness
And bring it to my people.

And so I stand before them,
Laughing at their fear of death,
The tiny world of mind they live in.
And I – I have flown now like an eagle
Into a great expanse of spirit –
Released by my willingness to die,
To let my past self crumble,
As it must if we are to move on.
And my laughter frightens them as they break me.
But it is the seeds of their redemption.

I released my hold on the holy bones.
What an amazing experience,
To know the past of my race.
To understand the turning point
Where we stood on the edge of self-awareness
And held back.
And the coming of a Messiah
Gradually broke into the age of
Lust and slavery.
It was not ‘a’ Messiah.
For I had seen the Messiah,
The Saviour,
The Avatar,
Was a dream, a longing,
A sure knowledge of our need
Growing in each of us.
A need we were all trying
To give birth to
For our own deliverance –
And we are trying still!
But there were some who lived it.
And with their lead
We have hope to
Move beyond ourselves,
Just as I am trying to
Move beyond myself today.
But we must die to do that.
I must become my own Messiah,
Take on the life of Krishna,
And bring into this body
Another type of awareness,
That I, that mankind
Have been struggling for so long.

This is the mystery
Of the birth of Christ
This is why there is no real historical Jesus.
You and I are it.
For the age of slavery is still upon us.
Slavery to our fears,
To old habits and outworn social codes;
Slavery to work and money –
Drudge to sexual need,
To figures of authority
And the money they demand.
We are slaves,
And this order must die,
And we with it.
But here I am,
Still wondering what to do with my life.
Every cell in me still buzzing
With the life of me.

For I am the eternal AUM
And know at last what I had read
And never before understood or agreed with.
It doesn’t matter in the least
That mankind go on procreating.
Our physical life is only a bubble,
A twist of sand following the course of the wind.
The reality is the wind.
And the wind exists
Whether the sand follows its course or not.
Knowing my essence I know
It doesn’t matter whether I exist.
And that brings me to a crossroads.
I have become a sanyasin.
All that I so treasured has been dropped.
Not in strong willed renouncement,
But in easy letting go
By seeing the emptiness and illusions
Of what I had so treasured.
Sex, children, work, fame, money –
They are all now, as motivators, without reality.
They are all real things.
But with this wider view of no real self,
Of there being only the motiveless
Flux of swirling energy/awareness,
Behind which was nonbeing,
It all seems so shallow and pointless.
And I have lost nothing.
This personality –
What is it?
A muddle of desires and opionions.
Pains and hopes,
Habits and fears.
Nothing permanent or wondrous
To grasp so tightly.

But I had always thought and felt
That to leave everything,
Becoming a sanyasin,
Was the renouncement
Of one inducement or reward (the worldly),
For a greater more eternal reward,
The spiritual awareness.
But now, as I stand at this Crossroads,
Having left everything behind,
There is no inducement whatsoever ahead.
But I must find out if this is true.
For that is the nature of ego,
It must forever test its limits
Until it knows for certain of its non-existence.
And so I walk this Mountain Path
To find out where it leads.
Still a hope for God,
For that grand resolution in ecstasy
That will transform me into an angel of delight.

So I climb up that path
Coming to an edge, a precipice.
And beyond – beyond –
Is a vastness incomprehensible;
An ever moving sea of cosmic swirl.;
Without centre, without goal,
Without beginning or end –

And I –
I want to run back to the foot of the path,
And hammer there a notice saying –
Abandon hope all ye who enter here!
For everything is taken away here at this edge.

Instead I sit upon the ground looking into the void.
Sit, as I know, so many have before me.
Sit, empty of trying, of searching, of hoping.
Sit in complete abandonment of motivation.
There was no ahead, no reward, no goal.
There was only the recognition that
What I had so sought in the past,
In the world and in spiritual goals,
Were of no account, illusions.
And in my emptiness came – Bliss.
It was the joy of freedom
From all that had held me in thrall.

And I stayed pondering these things a long-time,
Going deep into myself again and again,
Looking at my being, seeing clear consciousness,
Experiencing my state of just being –
Sat Chit Ananda –
Being – Consciousness – Bliss.
I sat reviewing the possibilities of life.
I could stay in the game,
As the rhyme says –
On the bridge stood the duke of Buckingham,
Watching – the stunts of the cunts in the punts,
And the tricks of the prick’s that were fuckin ‘em.
Or I could, as I had seen earlier,
Continue to create my own suffering.
Perhaps you know the feeling –
“Sod it. If the universe isn’t about anything,
Then I’m not going to fucking well play!
If it’s not about something,
With some reward somewhere,
Then I’m not going to get fucking well involved.”

But from my new perspective
I laughed at myself over this.
There is just consciousness.
I am the creator,
And if I want to be miserable – great!
If that’s what I want to be – I can go ahead and be it.
This freedom gives me the ability
To be what I want to be,
Without all the hassle.

Slowly another possibility clarified –

Freedom within limitation.
An amazing sense and experience
Of this freedom came upon me.
It was more rewarding than
Any strange spiritual experience,
And it has infinite possibility.
Life could begin in an entirely new way.
Relationships could be things of depth,
Of variability, and beauty,
Once freed of the shackles of the eternal desire to fuck.
Yet sex is not forbidden.
And work can become a joy and a game,
Instead of a struggle and a task.

I have got the key to the universe.
In its simplest form,
The key is the recognition
That thoughts, emotions and feelings
Are never anything to do with reality.
To mistake our thoughts and emotions
For reality enslaves us
As surely as if we were locked behind thick prison bars.
So I do not have the key in any
Space travel, science fiction, futuristic sense.
But as an open door to exploring my possibilities
Within the realm of what is real.
This is a great gift, but I am only on the very fringes of it.
Perhaps my journey will enter me into it further?

Art by Caroline Atkinson

Copyright ©2003 Tony Crisp

Copyright © 1999-2010 Tony Crisp | All rights reserved