When You Make Space For It

It’s confusing pursuing the non-material world.

The astrophysicist recently had to ask me to back down because I’ve been barraging him with questions and ideas and arguments about the credibility of objective vs. subjective experience. I trust him more than I trust most people when it comes to knowledge of the material world and he also shares similar motivations to mine in both his willingness and his hesitation to engage with magic, the supernatural, the unseen, the perhaps coincidental, perhaps not. So his responses, his objections, his adjustments, they’re marvelous because he’s simultaneously painting a better picture for me of his own personal ontology here, and helping me test the boundaries of my own ontology.

You know, I keep forgetting that I didn’t specifically set out to find divinity. I’m afraid of something…I’m not sure what…something to do with building up a fantasy world for myself that doesn’t actually exist, that will reveal itself to be a huge sham. No. I’m afraid of trusting in something that might lull me into a false sense of security and then fail me at a crucial moment. This is the knee-jerk fear that is deep inside of me. But it’s a silly fear, because I’ve never traded truth for happiness, and I’m only pursuing divinity because it’s inviting me to and consistently rewarding my efforts.

It’s funny how we can’t stop inventing deals with god. We have this obsessive, fearful need to both prove and disprove the details of our inner world, of our interactions with something beyond us. My intellect keeps begging for more proof. The thing is there will never be enough material evidence when it comes to the non-material. Every now and then there is something amazing and physically solid and just a little too coincidental to discount, but never enough to prove anything.

The subjective is the space where we develop our own dances with eternity. The objective is where we learn to do these dances in harmony. It’s difficult to compare notes when it comes to the subjective. I think that’s why so many people are drawn to religion–it’s so scary and lonely trying to forge a personal practice, a personal cosmology, and you feel like a crazy person because you’ve been taught your whole life not to trust yourself. And your conditioning wants predictable, consistent, material results as proof. And the non-material doesn’t offer that.

What I’ve found it to offer instead is largely random, coincidental encounters with people, texts, experiences, and activities that offer insight into specific ideas I’ve been grappling with. Now that I’m paying attention (when I remember), the physical world around me appears to be constantly collaborating to help me to understand the non-physical.

So, for example, I’ve also been struggling with what love means, what it feels like, what keeps it out, what lets it in. What it means to be true to yourself, especially when you tend to deconstruct everything and/or when you try to be open to every sort of possibility and it seems like the possibility of love is always right around the corner but the reality of it is nowhere. Well, you know. Not romantic love.

And also thinking about how hard it is to walk off the edge of a precipice. How every time you take that step into the future, the void, it solidifies around you and life goes on. And even when you don’t you still find yourself, one step later, on the edge.  And you can look at this as walking on air, as a miracle, or you can look at this as terrifying and unstable, and they’re both true depending on how you’re feeling about it.

And I watched this movie, and it took all of these thoughts, and feelings, and emotions, and offered them up to me in a way that made sense both rationally and viscerally. It met my questions and enriched them and challenged them. It gave me emotional insight into my experience and motivations I haven’t reconsidered in years. Between the timing and certain references, it felt very personal to me.

In this society we only consider subjective experience “true” when it matches up to objective experience. Nothing I could tell you about what I’ve experienced since I began trying to listen to the universe would reassure a single critic that what I’m saying is true. But that doesn’t make it any less true.

When There Is Only Silence

I have been going through a period of quiet. Quiet signals from the universe, or non-signals. When the two are indistinguishable you’re running on faith, and when faith is at an ebb it can be very lonely. My faith is at an ebb. I feel very lonely.

It’s not a bad thing to feel this way. At least I have a sense of the patterns still, of the big picture. At least I know this too shall pass, and while it refuses, I’m growing. I don’t feel abandoned. I’m just hunkering down and keeping watch for the next flowering of hope.

Non-ordinary reality, I think, means this: everything in the physical world is some reflection of the non-physical world. Every simple thing has more meaning to it than we understand. When I begin to be dissatisfied with the quiet assurance of seeing “magic numbers” everywhere, when I have gone a time without my “truth shivers,” or without appreciating them, is probably more accurate, I sometimes forget the brilliant, multi-varied, cohesive reality I have begun to invest in deep down, which tells me that anything I attach meaning to is, indeed meaningful, because everything is holy, everything is friendly and sacred and profitable and divine.

C is silent. I felt her silence welling up even when we were together, briefly, an evening together and a morning together and a trip to the lake with friends. And now it is real. I am full of questions I cannot ask. I want to know if she is okay. I want to know if something I did made the silence necessary. I want to know if she is okay. But it is not my right to know anymore. Her absence echoes the hollow places in me that are filled with her brightness when she is present.

This is what I want: I want to love everyone I can to the fullest extent that I can. The fullest extent I can love c is pretty damn far. Maybe this is why the silence. Maybe the fullest extent is both too far and not far enough. Maybe she wants less and more. Maybe she just needs silence.

Sometimes I wish I could love h further. He is still in my life too. We are very loving and close and we are not having sex anymore. I cannot feel the things I want to feel for him. There is no good reason for this. It is one of those things you can’t control.

Excellent books I recently finished: Just Kids. Cruddy. They are both primers for living in a world that is often not particularly nice. They were both loaned to me by a man who says he is not the type to fall in love with. He says he is the type to sleep with and then forget about. He took me to the Sutro Baths, which reminded me of Hearst Castle. Ruins of extravagant wealth. The most amazing purple scum growing atop the green-grey mold and moss: a perfect metaphor.

This city is so beautiful. There are so many beautiful and good and lovely things. It is so ugly that so many people in the city make the things and transport the things and serve the things and sell the things and can’t afford the things. It’s ugly enough to cancel out most of the beauty.

Rid of inequality this would truly be a marvelous world.

I never finished my piece about Mamacita. I think I’ll leave it that way. If there is a round two, perhaps I will revisit some of the moments from the first time around. In the meantime, all you should know is: I am still learning her lessons. I am still surprised by the patterns I can now step back, recognize, and undo.

In the quiet between the waves, it can seem as though anything is possible, and it can seem as though nothing at all is possible. It can be a painful place to wait for somebody, for something, for a miracle.

The things that are don’t have to be. It is entirely up to us.