Sunday, November 16, 2008

Something We Saw on a Mountain Path

I have a friend who lives in Bulgaria and I went to visit him a while back. He lives in the Stara Planina. My friend is an alchemist of sorts. I might also call him a curious collector and a person around which ordinary things can take on entirely new dimensions of appearance sometimes. Anyone who has read Pantanjali’s Yoga Aphorisms would understand how this could be possible although they might not be able to do it themselves.

Certain mountainous areas in the Balkan Mountains are famous for mysterious characters and tales about brotherhoods and such. Peter Dunov lived there as did his disciple Mikhael Aivanhov before he went to France.

My friend, let’s call him Gregor, took me for a walk one afternoon. First we went through dense scrub which gave way to a kind of dwarf pine and then into massive arrangements of rock with scattered foliage that was made possible by collections of dirt that has traveled on the air and over time collected in depressions and after that, seeds followed in the same way.

At one point we came upon something lying on the ground which looked like it could be phlegm from a traveling rock troll who had been through there the night before. It could have been something that leaked from an industrial container or it might have been any number of things; something that had been eaten and which proved to be unsuitable to the digestion. There were a couple of suitable rocks very near this item and Gregor said we should sit there a moment and study this phenomena.

There we sat, neither of us saying anything. That strange thing that sometimes happens around Gregor started to happen and this congealed substance began to move like some small creature shifting in its sleep. It was a subtle thing. Maybe it was moving and maybe it wasn’t. It was changing too. The color deepened and the color changed as well. To begin with it had appeared to be a combination of muddy browns and degrees of red with some yellow and patches of white. Then the red became black and the yellow turned brown. Then the brown became yellow again.

It was just a patch of something unattractive. Some of it was wet and some of it looked crusty. As I studied it I kept getting the sensation that I had seen that shape before. It was hauntingly familiar. I was thinking that it was so familiar that I was going to be mentally kicking myself when I finally discovered what it was reminding me of. This is the sort of thing that happens around Gregor. Sometimes, something gets revealed that you probably would not have seen and other times, something you would have caught right off gets veiled.

I should mention here that although I’ve had these experiences with Gregor before and there would have been no chemical reason for it, there were also times when he fixed me something from his collection of teas and I would find myself crossing from this terra ordinaire into some dreamscape. Such was not the case on this afternoon.

“Give it time.” Gregor said. “It will come to you.” This is another thing he did with some frequency; show up in my thoughts. When I am on psychedelics I can do this. I can read minds because, at those times, I am well aware that there is only one mind so that mental conversations pass through my head in a way that is similar to how physical conversation passes into my ears. Gregor seems to be able to do this all the time although he never comments on it much. He doesn’t say much at the best of times and you can’t get a straight answer out of him about anything. It’s maddening on occasion because you know that he could give a simple and illuminating answer to some mysterious complexity but he never does. He almost always answers a question with another question.

Now this makes me think about the technology of the one mind and how, since Gregor is in my mind when he asks me a question, the answer is there too and... as it’s one mind it’s there for any of us to discover.

“It’s a little frustrating.” I said. “It’s one of those things that should be obvious and I can’t make the connection. I’ve gone from wondering what it is to wondering about the shape. It’s the shape that’s puzzling me.”

“Look deeper.” he said. “Look into it.”

I did this and ...this splatter, whatever it was, began to increase in size until I could see tiny forms moving in the mix. Some of them were absorbing others. A time would come when one of the objects would expand to absorb everything and there would be only a single color and then it would break up again into some large number of pulsating items. When it was like this there was a great deal of movement as if someone had flattened an anthill. When some large form was absorbing the other larger forms, that had also been absorbing others, the movement became much slower. When the largest item became the only item there was a period of no movement at all.

It was during a moment when the most recent, single object had broken up again that it came to me. I was looking at a near perfect representation of the United States. What I said was, “Where’s Canada?” We both laughed. I was laughing quite hard. It seemed really funny to me.

Gregor asked, “Do you think it would have looked or acted different if it had been Australia or somewhere else?” “Probably not.” I replied. “It’s feeding on itself isn’t it? It’s feeding on itself but it’s still there and there’s still the same amount of it as always.”

“Would you have expected it to be different?”

“I guess not but... that’s the thing, isn’t it? It doesn’t really go anywhere and it doesn’t disappear just because it consumed itself. It’s that serpent with the tail thing. Life, the culture especially, is sort of like a ravenous, chemical sludge. Out here in the raw materials section there’s a pristine and endless waiting to occur. This is like a pottery shop waiting to happen and then someone makes a pot and they mix some ingredients in the pot and then it gets poured out on the ground and the components of the mix start to devour each other. We’re just bacteria aren’t we?”

“Wouldn’t it depend on whether you were down there or sitting here?” Gregor got up after he said this and we walked on until we came to the place where the mountain had fallen away and tumbled for many hundreds of feet to the valley below. There was a large village there which had been built only a few hundred yards from where this portion of the mountain had completed its fall. I looked at the village and thought about the pulsating stain we had left behind us. The village looked quiet and welcoming from this distance. I said, “I guess it depends on how big it gets... how viral it becomes.”

Gregor didn’t say anything for awhile. Then he said, “Wouldn’t that be a parallel to just about anything? ...your own life... the amount of things in it and how they react with each other... the contents of your house... your mind or your heart. They might be very crowded and busy and then again the front door could be hanging from one hinge and there could be only a single chair by a window that looks out on something like this.” He gestured at the scene below. I could hear a dog barking, very faint and far away. Was the dog barking at us?

Neither of us said anything further and after awhile we turned around and went back the way we had come. When we got to the place where that mysterious substance had been it wasn’t there any more.

Visible sings: Color Ball by Les Visible♫ I'm Coming Back ♫
'I'm Coming Back' is track no. 4 of 12 on Visible's 2007 album 'Color Ball'
Lyrics (pops up)

Color Ball by Les Visible


Anonymous said...

Sorry I sent this over to mirrors when it should have been posted here--even before I read your latest petri--that will teach me patience--I pushed it, wanting it to he seen and commented on.

I was listening to Mary Chapin Carpenter this morning while having my coffee and blowing smoke up the chimney but that has nothing to do with what I am writing here.

That the first flakes of snow were falling and disappearing when they reached the ground-- didn’t matter.

I had all of these thoughts, as I often do, running around in my head. Couldn’t wait to get to the computer to write them down and put them in some sort of order for consumption—my own, and yours. Miracle of miracles, I decided to write them down on my to-do list pad using a blue pen. Seemed appropriate that they be on the same pad as “clean out cat litter box”.

I thought I was going to write about “truth” the elusive holy grail of being when it hit me. “Truth” is based on facts and perception of facts or lack of facts by each and every one of us. There is no absolute truth other than how each one of us perceives it. The sky may be blue but is it “sky blue” or “teal blue” or does the sky start at the horizon or 10,000 feet up? What is great music, what is great art, what is great writing? What is truth to a banker or a dictator? Is their truth any less “real” to them than ours is to us?

We have been so inundated with “what is truth” from the day we were born. Religions, the education system, the history books, advertising lies, fight and die for your country.
When polled, people always say that jazz and classical music are their choice for listening yet, no one buys the stuff—must listen to it on the radio or something.

Facts are just form—even truth seems to be form if it is about form—more limiting than freeing—just more stuff. Facts and truth only gains you something temporarily and then it’s back on the merry-go-round—

We have worn out the word “truth”, whored it out—it has lost all but relative meaning.

So you have “your” truth, I have mine--so what?

What is intelligence? Is the guy who can split the atom smarter than the guy who can eek out an existence in the desert and feed and protect his family?
Is the team that built the Hubbel Telescope smarter than the guy who just looks up at the stars, laughs, and says “holy shit”.

As a people, why are we not amazed by anything any more--when it’s so simple as an individual-- just by looking, laughing and appreciating—and maybe saying “holy shit” from time to time.

The majority believing in something means nothing, as the majority can’t see out of the crowd that surrounds them. It’s like walking through Manhattan and not having a clue as to what it looks like to the north or south. The crowd keeps shuffling along and you just hope the cliff is not 50 feet ahead. Even if you do see the cliff just as the person in front of you falls over it, it’s too late because the guy in back of you and the thousands behind him have their ipod earphones and bluetooths turned up too loud and just keep pressing in the direction the crowd moves them. Bye-Bye—but it’s not about them as those we choose to look at and say what we think they are doing wrong, or not seeing the same way that we do—that is one of the things that those who think they are smarter than us look at us and say too—touche’.

I digress—or not

So, for me, it’s not truth I seek any more. Truth is an interpretation of something, and always will be—every time it gains something—it loses something.

Even most “alternative teachings” get lost in the details. Lost in the sideshows and flashing lights promised by the carnival barkers. Just put your quarter in the anointing machine and press the button. Yes, go to the mountain and meditate—which mountain is for you to decide grasshopper—but there is only one mountain that will bring you what you seek—sound familiar? Eventually, you come up on something you can see in the distance—it’s getting clearer—clearer—and then you realize it’s you in the same pair of pants you wore 2 years ago…you’ve been going around in circles and run into yourself from behind—man, my ass used to be smaller.

I don’t want to get lost in the details again. Lost on the Merry-Go-Round of life that just drops you off where it picked you up.

I think I’ll stick with joy and peace…maybe throw in some contentment even though we are told that contentment is lazy and shows no ambition.

Most of my hand-written notes never made it to the computer--must have fallen off on the way up the stairs.

As a side not, regarding the commune—even though I may not have been invited-- I don’t think I want to join the band—I’ll just sit in the back from time to time and enjoy the music—it’s all about appreciation of the music and the appreciation of the musicians that someone is listening.


Anonymous said...

I love this article Les. Not only does it reflect universal truth but also the immediate and physical now!
I'm sure you have read recently articles re the dramatic effect of a shifting earth core. The sun exhibiting non-cyclic events- a few years ago wild huge sunspots, the past few years quietness and now returning to its normal? cycle. I think a few years back most of the planets were aligned.
Last year everything is melting, this year we’re freezing!
All of this exerts unusual physical pressures on our habitat; it’s always been so.
When you see things like the Ache tsunami and the 2008 Sichuan earthquake, over a short period of time, logic says changes are afoot.
The Chinese landscape looked as though the area was picked up and shaken through a sieve.

kikz said...

We’re just bacteria aren’t we?”

“Wouldn’t it depend on whether you were down there or sitting here?”

i've run the same conclusions... micro/macro.

the span of view that brings it into focus for me...

galaxies/blackholes. ...the latest revisions on string theory,the 11 dimensional parallel (superimposed) universe scenario, and the late postulation that 'our' universe has a membrane, which encounters other universal membranes...

the galaxies remind me visually of cellular effluvia. this all takes me to the galactic game of marbles, played by the aliens in the movie "Men in Black" and "Horton Hears a Who".

i just hope we don't someday find alfred e. newman peering back at us from the Hubble or it's decendents :)

Ben There said...

Reading this made me think of the dialogues between Don Juan and Carlos Casteneda.

Good stuff.

Visible said...

It's an odd thing Ben. We never know what people are going to like and I'm almost always wrong. I was thinking about moving more in this direction which also includes the latest at SM but maybe not now.

Visible said...


You're going to have to go to Visible Origami for my response to your comment because I did the same thing you did.

Anonymous said...

Kind of you to say so Les.

I see more and more what you mean by origami and petri being your favorites/calling/passion.

I also understand that what happens at mirrors has to happen and is needed but I've been there...done that, and will only contribute as the spirit moves me....which I guess is the same for here and origami when it comes down to it.

Thank you for the music that inspires me to write lyrics.

Much Joy to you and Susanne.


Anonymous said...

"Does anyone know where the love of God goes
When the waves turn the minutes to hours?

Gordon Lightfoot
Edmund Fitzgerald


Visible said...

There's a new posting here Visible Origami