Stairway to No Other Way.

Our personal history
weighs down upon our every present
thought and perception, hiding
beneath every mood,
forever behind all behavior,
at the heart of our fucking everything.

Each of our pasts stubbornly
persist, omnipresent,
driving the future,
gaining weight, evolving structure,
narrowing the cone
of potential routes as it goes
until we are but destined
by prehistory or perhaps reach
the final destination when the clock winds down
as we are cast
six feet beneath, marked with stone,

though could it be that not even the grave
saves us from this situation —
might death be but a transition,
part of a larger pattern
we have built
up through
countless wombs and tombs,
this cycle but another brick to lay
in our stairway to no other way?

A Bigger Identity Crisis.

Psychology seems to imply that identity is comprised of a complex system of habit patterns that arise out of the interplay between genetic predispositions and environmental programming. We are not nouns but verbs, not free but enslaved, not self-governing but habitual. Our evolving identities constitute the unfolding of our personal fate. Identity is our prison and our life is our sentence.

This deterministic outlook conflicts with personal experience, which suggests identity evolves in a more probabilistic manner. From moment to moment we experience electing one potential path among an available spectrum ranging from the least to the greatest resistance. As before, our identity in any given moment is surely the cumulative result of all previous choices, though we do not experience it determining our subsequent choices. Instead, it only determines the level of ease or difficulty inherent in our available choices: we are influenced, though not determined, rendering life a constant battle between the personal fate of identity and personal freedom. We may fight to remain static but are destined to evolve; inner strength can allow you to fight off resistance and take the reins of identity’s evolution, though in such a case perhaps the path of development could more accurately termed revolution.

Whether we submit to identity or fight against it, we feel its force in our lives and our capacity to guide its growth and rebel against it suggests our distinction from it, a distinction we meet face to face with in certain styles of meditation. Three levels of identity, at least in my case, have become abundantly clear: beneath the personality we express in the external world is the personality we express within, to ourselves; beneath the social masque or persona, that is, resides the personal masque or ego, to borrow convenient terms from Carl Jung. Beneath the ego, however, there is yet another level, and it is the same level suggested in our capacity to fight against the identity — against the persona and ego strata of identity, anyway. It is the level difficult to articulate, which is perhaps best referenced through negation, which can only be conceptualized through a process of elimination. It is the aspect of identity that does the identifying; it is the “I” left behind after peeling away all that “I am not.” It is what is often called the observer or witness state of consciousness; that which, once it ceases identifications, is left observing or witnessing but cannot observe or witness itself. Which makes sense, as in order to observe or witness something you must be apart from it. This makes the persona and ego aspects of identity at their very best reflections of the witness; at worst a fantasy we have mistaken for reality, and in either case make them mere masques, as said earlier.

What of the witness itself, though? Is the witness a sort of naked awareness void of identity or does that awareness stem from a true identity — one which we can only accomplish awareness of through the presumed reflections of our ego and persona?

In any case, Dissociative Identity Disorder sheds light on more complications. If alternate identities would only “switch,” for instance, it would be easy enough to conceive: the underlying witness consciousness dissociates with one identity and then associates or identifies with another. Same individual, a different masque. The clear issue is that this is not the case, however; alters can not only operate in parallel but interact with one another. If my conception of consciousness were to hold here, than one individual witness would by necessity be playing the role of two characters at the same time without being aware at either end of also playing the role on the other. This is only a severe case of having an engaging conversation with a dream character, however; it is something that functions in us all.

I of the Accursed Circus.

A naked, levitating eye
spies far and wide
in six cardinal directions,
to find it remains condemned,
cursed to stay self-blind.

This eye seeks
the very eye seeking
to find it forever hides behind
the lids in the midst of blinking,

only glimpsing indirect
evidence of its own existence
through reflections thrown back
from the funhouse hall
of mirrors that make up the mind,
from the swarming hive of eyes
that surround it when outside…

As the eye is,
so am I and every other:
lost in the external circus,
lost in the mind, providing cover.

Of My Stalemates and Unknowns.

Back in high school, my friends and I debated, argued like mad dogs over philosophical notions and whatnot. Over time, you realize that nothing good comes out of these debates. They are divisive, polarizing, and neither party is swayed or even learns much, for that matter, but becomes more or less a parody of a perspective. You get the feeling that your viewpoint narrows, that your stance becomes fixed, that consistency is more important than honest consideration, exploration, research and, whenever possible, experimentation. Its an ego battle; that’s all: I’m right, you’re wrong.

Me? I like discussions. I like learning and exploring new ideas. That’s why I prefer listening to lectures rather than debates. I can consider someone’s point of view, take notes and conduct research on my own and have discussions with others over points that, despite my attempts to understand on my own, remain unclear. Sometimes you need another set of eyes, a foreign mind, as the voices in your head have reached a stalemate. But the arguments in the head can be quite enough. Questioning your motives, your sanity, your grip on reality is hard enough. This isn’t a contest. I just want a greater understanding. And I have no desire to run around in circles.

I don’t see any evidence for any god. I don’t think our culture is healthy for us and a million time bombs are ticking away and it’s only a matter of time.

Most importantly, perhaps: I don’t know if the creatures I have seen all throughout my life are extraterrestrial, from a parallel universe or are mere hallucinogenic exteriorizations of my alternate personalities, but they are real in some sense. A mystery I desperately want to solve.

Bitch of it is, I have the advantage or frustration of being the only one who knows that I am not lying, that I’m not making this shit up; I take things from that point of departure. Its not sleep paralysis or narcolepsy or some mutant form of parasitosis; I know to a large degree what they are not, though cannot be so certain what they are. And perhaps I am stuck in that ignorance. Stuck there forever. But I’ll take my unknown over your circular bullshit.

Of the Alleged Universality of Your God.

People say we have always believed in gods (as if the persistence of an idea suggested its validity), but that is merely an illusion of language. After all, what does one mean when one whips out the word god? A creator of all that is? A creator of order imposed on pre-existing chaos (Timeus)? The entelenchy to which we strive, the inspiration, the god as Unmoved Mover? An object or subject of worship? An object or subject presumed to exist despite lack of evidence and in the presence of evidence to the contrary?

The word god has been stretched, mangled, abused, and various definitions are juggled and applied at the convenience of the speaker. To say god is a universal concept is a meaningless statement in a dozen different ways.

Plague of Noise.

I help make the artery-clogging consumables you mindlessly shovel down your damn gullet. Often I go outside and deliver it to you thankless fuck-nozzles as you sit lazily in your stupid fucking automobiles. In the wake of your feasting in the style of an amphetamine-fueled herd of Tasmanian Devils, I clean up your mess in the dining room. I clean up the bathroom after you take your epic dump, mostly on the seat and floor, and all too often after you smear it all over the wall, Paleolithic-style. I am your slave and I fucking hate you. I hate the world in which I am forced to participate. I hate your stupid fucking wars and crooked social systems.

My mind never shuts up, nor my oversensitive senses.

Life has become too noisy. I hold my breath for my work shift and drive home to exhale: that’s what it feels like. I know I’m not alone.

At home, the door closes. Locked, bolted. Finally, a quiet place. Coffee, smokes, my room. Solitude, silence and insomnia.

Sometimes I fight the sleeplessness, like two nights ago. I decide to crash my spinning head on my pillow a bit early, probably about two o’clock, doing some meditation to help ease myself into sleep. Then someone starts laying on their horn.

Long honks, short honks, a symphony of relentless beep-beep-beeping. It was as if someone were trying to send a coded message to a neighborhood reluctant to listen.

Doing my best to ease my irritation, I let curiosity drive my mind. Maybe someone was raped or stabbed or had their tongue caught off and couldn’t scream for help. They fought off their attacker, perhaps with a spork.

They tried conventional ways to call for help. Predictably, their cell phone wasn’t getting service. So they dragged their mangled body across the house, smearing a trail of blood over the carpet and tiles and finally the concrete as they clawed their way to their car, where they realized, of course, that they had left their keys inside. The doors were unlocked, though, so they climbed in and started honking away, hoping someone in the neighborhood might pay attention and help them. Surely all this damn racket will get someone’s attention, they thought.

How naive.

This went on for at least half an hour and no one in our shit-town of Silver Ghettos raised a voice of protest, including myself. Oh, the shame one feels…

Eventually it stopped, though I had given up on sleep at that point. I went on with my writing, but after the honks stopped for about ten minutes, the intermission of peace and quiet ended. Then the sound of cats began.

This duet of meowing and screeching suggested to me some kinky kitty sex was going on outside my window. Yeah, let’s go to the window of the guy not getting laid and make him listen to the soundtrack of feline hardcore.

This went on for maybe ten, fifteen minutes until I got out of my seat, went to my window, pounded on it with my fist and heard at least two cats screech in fear. I pulled my window shades to the side and looked dead in the eyes of some gray cat just outside my window, staring dead back at me with a look of unparalleled terror in its vertically-slit eyes.

“Fuck off,” I told the cat, and then immediately closed the curtain. The result? Total silence for the rest of the (albeit sleepless) night.

So yeah, I guess if you want to send an SOS, don’t go for the car horn. Crawl to a neighbor’s window and make noises like a feline sex orgy.

As a side note: I hate this town.

Trying to Define the Time Discrepancies.

After some insomniac-driven and admittedly stoned contemplation, it appears to me that my confusion with respect to time as I have been reading about the subject lately stems from the word time itself, which appears to be taken to mean three different things, to refer to three different clocks interchangeably. Perhaps someone out there reading this would care to help clarify any misunderstandings displayed here; hopefully, they do it kindly, because I’m apparently quite a sensitive fuck.

1) Cosmological Time.

The first sense in which the word time is used is cosmological time, the cosmic clock. The cosmic clock is the “arrow of time” that gives events their forward flow.This references an externally experienced world where moments in 3D space are organized in a causal manner from its initially highly ordered state towards the very heights of entropy along the 1D temporal dimension. You cannot traverse these splices at a speed exceeding the 671 mph limit set by light. You cannot divert course from the fixed temporal sequence defined by entropy and experienced as causality. You can only alter the rate at which you do so, accomplished by means of speed or gravity, which brings us to another use of the word time: relative time.

2) Relative Time.

We always have the experience of moving forward in Cosmological Time, even as we time travel into the future — or, presumably, the past, which exposes another kind of time we talk about, Relative Time, or the time of our body-clock. Our body-clock always ticks the same for us, the hands all moving in a single direction. Speed alters the rate of our clock relative to clocks of slower people, but neither you nor they experience a slowing of the rate of your respective ticks from your perspective. As we travel faster through space we move slower through Cosmological Time relative to the clock of some poor sap sitting down motionless on the ground, but all clocks share their unidirectional quality. It would presumably be the same way at every step if you were somehow able to time travel to the past: that is, you would experience the world before, during, and after your travel into history in the same forward-moving manner.

3) Time Perception.

The third form of time is what we call Time Perception. It is the time of our mind-clock. Altered states of consciousness have no influence on the cosmological and relative clocks, but they certainly can with respect to the perceived duration of time.

Scattered, broadened or broken attention leads us to perceive time as going slower outside of us due to our decreased reliance on autopilot programs. This comes about as a result of the presence or anticipation of changes or dangers for which our trusty autopilot has no prepared habit patterns. New information is to be processed. If one takes the time to think about it, time slows down during a car wreck for very good reason, and it is the same reason that “a watched pot never boils.” Fear stimulates our attention so that all hands are on deck with respect to dealing with the perceived danger so as to resolve that fear. Impatience and constant distraction causes us to continually divert and reboot our attention to potential new stimuli that will resolve that impatience or multitask maelstrom. Our attention is intensified and broadened. As a consequence, we’re stuffing more experience in the space betwixt the ticks of the clock. Time perception slows down; a minute by the body-clock’s measurement is experienced as an hour. Time seems to stretch on forever the more we deliberately think or attentively sense betwixt the ticks of the clock. This is why mindfulness meditation, with its focus on Here and Now, moment-to-moment attentiveness, leads to the sense of time slowing, to over-estimations of elapsed body-time.

Ordered, narrowed or fixed attention lead us to perceive time as going faster than the rate of our body-clock, so we experience less time, a contraction of time perception between the ticks of the body-clock. There is an increased reliance on autopilot due to the reduction in new information requiring processing, and as a result: “time flies.” This is why time seems to speed up as we get older and why Ohio summers seemed so long in childhood yet now pass by like a fart caught up wind: we are receiving less new information and are increasingly capable of relying on autopilot, which we tend to do because we’re fucking lazy. It’s the same mechanism behind how time flies when we’re having fun, only it requires the investment of narrowed attention. In other words, though we are primarily relying on autopilot our attention is unerringly invested in building atop those “been there, done that” automatic programs, pushing the thresholds of implicit memory. This is what is often called the Flow Experience.

Again, there is no experiential reversal in the flow of time, merely alterations in the rate at which it flows. With personal time the rate of our clock changes relative to the clocks of others. With time perception our mind-clock changes relative to our body-clock…

Rain of Venom.

Emotion swirls
all around, subtle storms
of vibration
attacking me,
the rain of venom never
fails to saturate,
staining through to the marrow.

My kingdom
for some callousness,
an armor of thick psychic skin.
Sensitivity to this degree
is torturing,
counterproductive
to hope, meaning, pleasure,
whatever remaining threads
of sanity I swing by.

Why do I feel
so alone again?
Why am I so in the grip
of this irrelevant bullshit,
always calling
my own clarity into question
in the midst of this,
my mind plagued
with concerns simply
out of my hands,
so beyond my reach.

Their feelings
are just puppet strings
for me, then in comes the storm
and I’m like a rag doll
in a mad dance, convulsing
in the rain and wind,
lost in that ghastly fucking
darkness yet again.

Aching for apathy,
itching for escape,
locked in the world’s prison
yet in a cell it seems
I’ve made myself.

If I don’t manage
to pick the lock soon,
I’ll blast it all away.
These strings will break
or they will all just drag me down.

There’s nothing left
here anyway
and I’ve grown so tired
of struggling in vain.

For the Sake of a Better Big Sleep.

Descriptions of the “intermission” periods during incarnations (cases which Stevenson and Tucker refer to as CORT-I cases) resonate well with descriptions of near death experiences. In both cases individuals describe two realms: the familiar world we call physical and another, otherworldly realm. Both realms are also described by those who have exosomatic or “out of body” (OBE) experiences. Sometimes they are referred to as the gross or physical plane and the subtle or astral plane.

Religion has set up expectations of what the afterlife will be like based on the kind of person you are through the eyes of that religion. That explains the clear cultural influence and cross-cultural inconsistencies found among and between CORT-I, NDE and OBE cases — revealing them to be dreams. The lucidity that characterizes them and seems to set them apart from common dreams may be a natural result of a disembodied mind dreaming lucidly during an exosomatic state.

Whereas the embodied state of dreaming always anchors you to some degree to the gross world because of bodily sensations and processes, the “collapsing inward” of the disembodied mind, devoid of such requirements, may involve a far more complete state of absorption into the dream material. It may come on abruptly, making the transition from the disembodied state to the dream state seamless in some cases, which may be quite confusing as it would likely take on the form of a false awakening: it would, in other words, provide a dream environment modeled almost entirely by memories of the gross environment you just seamlessly phased out of.

Another possibility is that the transition from the waking disembodied state to the dreaming disembodied state may have a hallucinatory segue where you traverse from the “extra-sensorimotor” system to the “inner-sensorimotor” system in degrees spanning the spectrum. This is sleep paralysis without the paralysis to serve as a telltale sign. These may be the cases in which people find themselves up on the ceiling of their hospital rooms looking down on their dying body and suddenly see a portal or tunnel opening up in the nearby them. These transitions — tunnels, vortexes, doorways, bridges — are what lucid dreamers often use to ease from one dream environment to another.

These may very well be personal dreamscapes, but this need not necessarily be the case. Many cases of telepathic dreams (correspondence, mutual, synchronized) have been reported, as is the case, it would seem, in the dreams shared between the living and the dead (departure, arrival, visitation). There seems to be little reason there would not be such dreams between members of the deceased, and given their are tales of telepathic dreams shared by more than two people, the implications begin to get rather interesting.

To begin with, if the person believes this dream to be his unavoidable afterlife, it would confirm his religion to him and in so doing reinforce the illusions that seemingly confirmed it. This self-reinforcing feedback loop could ensnare a person. They may remain locked in a dream of this type for an untold amount of time.

When you factor in telepathy, the implications get broader and considerably weirder. The telepathic element in dreams of and between either or both the living and the dead suggest that such dreams may not only be dreams populated by one, but many. That kind of self-perpetuating, full-scale, collective delusion might have enslaved entire cultures, be it with a hellish realm or a more heavenly one (to stain my words with Christian influence). In the East, shared beliefs turned into a mutual telepathic dreamscape would serve not so much as an afterlife as it would an existential intermission, as they embrace a belief in reincarnation. Though it certainly shares the deceptive nature of the West, it seems far less threatening in its status as a realm one merely passes through on one’s way to the next fleshy receptacle.

While it seems to devalue the otherworldly aspects of these experiences in a way, it is only because we take dreaming to be something opposed to otherworldliness. Consider that the telepathic element of dreams and our capacity to utilize that ability in dreams regardless as to whether we or our partners are dead or alive seems to render the dreamscape indistinguishable from a parallel world or alternate reality.

Its association with notions of illusion are based upon both its strictly personal nature and its transience, as evidenced upon our awakening and ultimately at death revealed to be, like our consciousness, a mere epiphenomenon. Yet ample evidence (though by necessity anecdotal) suggests that the dreamscape is neither personal nor is it (or consciousness) such an epiphenomenon. Even it’s supposed transience upon awakening may be open to question, for even if a dream is reliant on a dreamer, mutual dreams suggest that you may not be the only one. So long as there is the consistent presence of at least one dreamer in the dream, the dream endures. If there is a great dream population, many could come and go at once and over time and the dreamworld would be as stable as the gross reality.

An element exists in both the personal and telepathic forms of these dreamworlds that makes them seem even less of an illusion. It stems from a notion I first came across when reading William Buhlman’s Adventures Out of Body, and it deals with regarding these environments being sensitive, responsive or reactive to both conscious and unconscious content, which makes it sound indistinguishable from a dream. In that way, it fits snug into what I have already written here, but it adds the important element of habit into the equation. He distinguished between different environments which he believed to be characterized by nothing more than their degree of sensitivity to consciousness. Some were empty voids, others came fully furnished with structures that were easily malleable given deliberate conscious intent, others seemed more resistant to consciousness and so on.

Upon the dreamscape, mind makes reality. With telepathy, minds share the realities they have made. Given reinforcement, these realities stabilize.

If the otherworldly aspects of the aforementioned categories of exosomatic experiences can be explained by personal or mutual disembodied dreams, then conscious lucid dreaming would be an invaluable art to master. Through repeated visualization procedures, one could create a customized afterlife — if serving as nothing more than a personal place to pass time away in the Big Sleep rather than be caged by conditioned cultural expectations. One could also execute more disciplined navigation through dreamscapes in general.