Whoosh, a cool breeze braced my cheek, waking me from mental meanderings. Not surprising, to process what I had learned, I had, once again, drifted off to la la land.
Often is the case when Antonio takes me on a trip. Each journey, he heaps so much information into my head, I find it impossible to advance to the next lesson without first taking some time to digest what I have just experienced.
The sensation of jumping consciousness from one being, to another, and again, always reminds me of bass fishing with my uncle. Whenever I spot a big old bass hunkering down under a log, or one surfaces right near the boat, I seem to be holding a handful of knotted line. Much as I was eager to proceed, I needed to catch my breath from the last trip.
Teasing out the last few big knots in my line; I realised Antonio had whisked me away from the hospital room, then deposited me almost at my doorstep. My uncle's stately old farmhouse stood before me, framed by the rusty brown barn, and the massive old oak, all of which proved a warm sight indeed.
The familiar sound of crushed gravel under my feet, coupled with the scent of a freshly mowed lawn, welcomed me home. Joining in the portrait, a wise old Barred owl hooted at my advance. I smiled, thinking to myself; why do we always assume owls are wise, old, males. Surely, we can assume many are stupid, most are not old, and about half must be female.
From his/her perch, hidden somewhere in the Oak tree my great grand father had planted, the owl seemed to be making a frantic pitch to gain my attention. Although eager to treat myself to a relaxing bath and possibly a shot or two of whisky, I found myself pausing to spy his antics. Head, rhythmically pacing back and forth, he invoked in my mind an image of how the John Elway bobble head doll reacts shortly after my uncle brings his Chevy truck to an abrupt stop.
Transfixed, by the memory of John Elway's head bobbing back an forth, I was completely ill prepared, as well, utterly shocked to discover Antonio had deposited me into the Owl's consciousness. It always stirs shock and wonder when Antonio transports me into a third-party reality; no warning, nor chance for preparation, just bam, you find yourself in another being.
Thankfully, by now, having had many such trips with Antonio, I had become inured to dropping into, or being yanked out of, the world of beasts, birds and men.
Sounds, light, information in general, came at me from the strangest of locations and oddest of sources. By example, I could determine a small vole had recently dashed through some under brush at the very edge of the property.
Heart racing, the little vole was careless to expose his exact location, speed and projected path. This little guy was lucky, not long ago, I, or should I say the Owl I had become, ate for dinner a wonderful rat, in her prime of life, plump, well fed to the point of being fat.
Like this silly little vole, she too had a reprieve. Over a year past, I distinctly recall her crossing the Old Man river at a most auspicious time. The night in question, the moon was in her full glory, a hunter's paradise. We both knew she should not have been where she was. Back then, her little rat life was only spared because, courtesy of the farmer's late-night harvest, I was returning from an all mouse buffet.
I always overeat at those buffets!
Much as I try to limit myself to a few mice, I never seem to know when to quit. Three years ago, I ate over a dozen chubby little mice. So many of the tasty little morsels I consumed, I could barely lift my fattened ass off the ground.
I digress; but I do remember the night well. The rat was right smack in the middle of the river, helpless as a mouse. Even though I could not have eaten another morsel, I thought she deserved a reprimand of sorts. Flying high above, I placed the moonlight at my back in such a way as to cast an ominous shadow of my wings.
She picked up on my presence almost immediately. She was a smart rat, she knew she had been careless as it was a bad night to be on the river. I could tell, by her desperate pace and frantic movements, she expected to be taken at any moment. Answering her fears, I swooped down with speed, talons raised, I sliced at her exposed head. Just before eating her this evening, I observed our portentous river meeting, so long ago, had inflicted a scar she carried to this, our final encounter. You might say, she had been stamped for processing.
Distracted by the squeaky vole, as well, by recollections of my delicious dinner, I nearly failed to realise the extremely bright light which, only a moment ago had appeared at the driveway head. The light was now nearing the house. The being, casting a shimmering glow, had crossed the courtyard and was advancing toward the front porch.
Something about this light being was intriguing, inviting. The experience made me feel like a moth, helplessly drawn toward a dangerous flame. Hooting a welcome, I tried unsuccessfully to gain its attention. Glancing toward the house, I noticed the young girl, sitting by her bedroom window as she often does. Now, she was looking directly at me. She seemed oblivious to the presence of the strange light being crossing the courtyard. I found her lack of observation odd, especially since, I know she witnessed the flash of light announcing the being's arrival.
Humans, their senses so dull, never seem to hear or see anything, unless of course, it happens to hit them on the nose.
Reaching the house, the light being knocked sharply on the sturdy pine door. The echo from the sharp blows reverberated through the house, causing a start in the young girl. Departing from her window perch, she responded to the lure. The door slowly opened emitting the luxurious aroma of fear.
Cicadas chirping, the little vole still running, a pale beat from the girl's racing heart. These extraneous sounds and more were drowned out by the tiny creaks the door made as it slowly yielded to her wish.
I doubt I will ever forget the moment the young girl first witnessed the light being. The blood completely drained from her face as she collapsed from shock. Hitting the floor like a sack of drowned rats; the girl was rendered unconscious. The light being gently picked her up, carried her a few feet to the living room couch, then returned to close the front porch door.
Watching the scene unfold, I noticed a strange occurrence. The usual dampened glow of the girl's appearance had somehow been altered, the light being had somehow caused her to shine with an invigorated brilliance. She did not glow as bright as the light being. Yet, from this moment forward, she always displayed a brighter appearance. Being an Owl, I am very sensitive to the light us creatures emit. I can confirm for you, a light had been turned on in her body the fateful warm summer evening.
Leaving the girl and light being to their meeting, I lifted off the Oaken branch. Soaring high above the farm. Stretching out my wings, I banked to the north, making my way to the Old Man river. The warm night air buffeted my body, invigorating me. Pleasantly content, my mind began entertaining the possibility of a midnight snack. The furry little vole lit in my thoughts the very moment consciousness was unceremoniously torn from my owl inhabited reality.
Being yanked from the exhilarating freedom of a night flight on a warm thermal of midsummer air, proved unfortunate. However, not nearly as distressing as the destination.
Contrasting the joy and freedom of flight; I discovered Antonio had landed me in a big comfy bed. The bed itself was marvellous, I took no exception to its quality. What distressed me was, it appeared, Antonio thought best I assume the consciousness of an old, very old, lady.
Surveying what existed below the covers, I came to the horrific conclusion, this body, I was so fervently fondling, was in fact my own. Having come to appreciate the gravity of the situation, shock immediately set in.
This couldn't possibly be me, could it?
Looking at my hands, veined, saggy skin, small brown blemished like water spots on a yellowed old map.
I must be very old.
Like a crash victim tracing her body seeking injury. With shaking hands, I found myself assessing the extent of age related damage. Frantic as an octogenarian can afford, my trembling fingers investigated my various dishevelled body parts. From head to toe the appraisal confirmed total degeneration. Having estimated my age to be, at the very least, eighty, I sighed with relief in knowing, at least, I had enjoyed a long ride.
My heart wildly raced at a pace not seen in decades. Blood pressure soared, shortness of breath led to anxiousness, followed by extreme panic.
Foreign as this old carcass was, I soon realised, circumstances, in this moment of pseudo reality, were extremely tenable. Mind spinning at breakneck speed, I thought to myself.
Okay Karen, the first order of business is to get a grip on the present reality. Take a slow deep breath Karen, slow, deep. Again, inhale, exhale, inhale, exhale, good. Now, release the tension in your muscles. Feel your body relax, let the tenseness wash away. Like ocean waves caressing the sand, slowly, each wave took me deeper toward relaxation.
Wow, that was close!
Prior to this moment, I had never thought about what old age would actually feel like!
Being deposited into the body of an octogenarian proved a rough transition, even by Antonio's standards. The affront of my present predicament was greatly magnified by the fact, my previous body was an owl. From free as a bird, to life as an old bird stuck in bed. This scenario seemed an ominous start to the lesson.
The world is quite different from this aged perspective. Compensating for decrepitude, I apparently have developed a personal relationship with my organs. When I was a young girl playing with my doll house in the backyard, I never realised, one day I would be forced to develop a deep connection to my heart, lungs and veins.
Appraising the working order of this old body, I was shocked to discover I could actually feel my heart at work. More to the point; there now seems to be serious limits to what the old ticker can, or should I say cannot, manage. My heart and I appeared to have developed a working agreement. I take it slow and steady, then, my heart reluctantly reciprocates by agreeing to keep ticking.
Similarly, I seem to have become quite personally acquainted with my lungs. I never thought twice about how much air my lungs could provide. Such is not the case now, these old windbags seem to have a picked up a few holes along the way.
Making provisions for their long-standing service, I presently feel grateful my lungs have committed to hoovering just enough air to keep this old machine in motion. Blood pressure! Hell, I never knew what that was, until now! Pump and push, pump and push, pump and push.
Somehow, I have become an active voyeur of the relations between my veins and heart. Where once they toiled as silent slaves. Now, they are cheered by an audience of one. The thought of cheering transported me back to mental images of high school. How handy my pink and white pom-pom's might be at this late stage of my life.
Gimme an "H", gimme an "E", gimme an "A", gimme an "R", gimme a "T".
What does it spell?
HEART! GO HEART GO! GO HEART GO! GO HEART GO!
Lying in this bed, immobile as a worm on a hot summer day, I knew the time for cheering had come to an end.
This, I knew was my final hour. Surprisingly, it proved quite agreeable. My surroundings adopted the surreal appearance one sees when looking into a snow globe.
Shake the crystal sphere Karen, Suspend reality, before your eyes, a little girl dances upon a wintry wonderland.
My lungs, seeming to have missed the last hurrah, struggled to provide air. Surprisingly, there was no panic, no despair, nor dread. Slowly, I came to the realisation, I was visiting at death's door.
One foot in the grave, the other on a sheet of winter ice.
Memories, of a life well lived, began dancing across my consciousness. The husband I never thought would appear. Three beautiful children. Even the grace of a little grandson. Rich memories; joyful times with family and friends. Even a few recollections of my trips with Antonio, had filtered into this the final vignette.
My final breath; cool, shallow, strangely invigorating. Just then, an old Barred owl hooted in the distance. Tears of joy trickled down my cheek as the light of this life serenely faded into the abyss.
After my death, consciousness returned within an instant. However, it was not what I had anticipated.
Instead of seeing my dead body below, like so many people expect death to illustrate. I discovered Antonio had again taken me back in time to the moment I first realised I wasn't an owl. The last moments of my life were being relived.
The pantomime I had moments ago experienced unfolded below. Except from a third person perspective.
I could see my arm raised up from the bed, followed by the frantic evaluation of my body. Duplicate events which confirmed this present moment was indeed a exact re-enactment of my death. Looking, from above, I was able to peer into the eyes of my dying self, just in time, to witness the panic of death slowly being replaced with the serenity, acceptance, unity and love which is also death.
During this ultimate personal transition from fear to love, my body blossomed into a spectacular light being. There was no doubt about what I had witnessed. Finally, I was free from the enslavement of EgoSelf illusion. Once again, just like my prenatal self, I was reunited with the joy of GodSelf singularity.
How does one not cry with bliss, when confronted with a vision of a beautiful love, so powerful?
Where did the EgoSelf go?
Did it die or disappear?
Will EgoSelf inhabit another being?
These, like so many questions I have, may never be answered. One thing for sure, Antonio had shown me this brilliance of unity many times.
I know its name is Love.,
This glow illuminating the body below me arises from the pure light of unconditional love. The EgoSelf trickery, which hid my true Godself identity, had vacated.
Unfortunately, it is only before our birth and after our death that we are capable of tasting reality from an unpolluted stream.
Like a massive anchor, Death weighs upon our collective psyche. Freezing us in fear while stripping humanity of its connection to freedom.
Extensive as our fears may be, nothing strikes greater terror into the heart of a human than the prospect of death. Chained to the chaos of illusion, we live our lives ever fearful an untimely death might cut short the unique signature we call "I".
Having invested everything into this chunk of "I", humans find it mind numbing to consider the extinction of self. Seeking to relieve ourselves from the stress of our inevitable demise, we clasp onto all sorts of metaphysical and religious fairy tales. Silly philosophies populate our culture, suggesting a bevy of life extending paradigms. Multiple lives, reincarnation, heaven and hell, are just a few of the vehicles humans are prepared to step into. Anything is better than the prospect of finality.
Antonio has shed an entirely different light on concepts like, self, birth and death.
His journeys have described a reality in which "self" has no beginning nor end, no start date nor ultimate expiration.
In discovering who I am, I have also learned that there is nothing which I am not.
It was not long ago, I could only view my world in the context of good verses bad, right verses wrong, life contrasting death, or the greatest battle of them all, 'self" against the universe.
My lessons have brought to bare the polarity between the GodSelf and EgoSelf realities. I realise now. Every waking moment, I am either choosing to tremble as a powerless human being struggling for survival or I am rising above illusion and ignorance. When I choose to live with light, I express the GodSelf truth of unconditional love.
Love or fear, peace or chaos, I create reality. I am all which I believe myself to be.
Will my path be lit by knowledge, or shall I swim forever in a sea of illusion?
Either way, I am still God, I am eternal, the omnipotent creator. We exist as physical manifestations so that God can experience the wonder of being God.
Truly, if a man were to rape then kill my child. Antonio has taught me, my daughter's death must be viewed as, God dancing with God.
In the spirit of knowing unity consciousness, judgement is replaced with love.
Locked into the matrix of illusion, the EgoSelf weaves blankets of ignorance. It is up to us to solve the enigma, rise above the fear, then discover the beauty hidden in the unpolished diamond. Or, we could also choose to rape and pillage. Either way, we are polishing diamonds. When questioning evil events, many people struggle when asking two fundamental questions. Where does evil come from? Why does God let evil happen?
From where does evil arise?
The EgoSelf must spin many illusions to support this dreamscape playground in which God plays. Without the maya of illusion, we could not exist in physical form. Without evil, the EgoSelf would whither away in a blob of formless singularity. Evil is not sin, it cannot be represented with a scale of right or wrong.
Evil is merely the affliction of ignorance which humanity must suffer in support of the physical duality of consciousness. It behooves us to remember, we do not exist in physical form, we exist as consciousness. The more we embrace the illusion of physicality, the farther we find ourselves from our true GodSelf identity.
The human condition, we are like sailors on the open sea. We can set sail for whichever port we desire. However, we must realise, the closer we sail toward the EgoSelf the wilder, more chaotic, the sea will become.
Why do we live in such a state of utter fear and destruction?
They say ignorance is bliss. Yet, philosophy has taught me, the exact opposite is true.
From the moment of birth to the finality of death, the EgoSelf envelopes us all. I very much doubt we can completely escape its domain. After all, we desire the experience of separation. We thrive in the wonder of an endless buffet of choice.
Who in their right mind would want to forfeit the beauty of a golden sunset, or the joy of embracing the ones we love?
Not to mention, ice cream, chocolate, a beautiful rose, or the endless wonders our world offers. These joyous, uplifting, experiences are equally supported by illusions which enable bombs, bullets and blood.
Fear is the natural human reaction to ignorance, we always fear that which we cannot understand.
Humans, in the face of fear, will invariably exhibit one of three reactions; flight, freeze, or fight. Eliminate the ignorance, then, you will eradicate the fear. Remember, in the absence of fear, love will always prevail. The answer to all our problems begins with the search for the hidden GodSelf within each of us.
If there is a God, why do so many of us have to suffer?
There is a GOD. You have likely always believed, GOD is separate from you. Perhaps you expect he will judge you after your demise.
GOD is not separate from you. GOD did not create the universe. In the form of consciousness, GOD became the universe. GOD became you. Moreover, you are the creator of your universe, always have been, always will be. For that matter, the chair you presently sit in, is also GOD creating the universe.
This is how us Gods roll.
If you cannot see beyond the illusion of your EgoSelf, then, you will create a world where 'you' are a single separate being struggling to survive in a very, very large, alien universe.
The powers that be, they like to see us in servitude. When we are enslaved, it becomes much easier to allow one eighth of humanity to starve. Enslaved people are prepared to turn an eye when the Earth is destroyed by corporate greed. Essentially, in the absence of GodSelf love, you will have become a an empty, powerless GOD trapped in a box of fear.
Without a connection to the power of your GodSelf nature, you will be emboldened with the strong potential to create havoc, chaos, and mayhem, Your EgoSelf will rule the world with fear, desire and envy.
Suffering under the shadow of ignorance, you may survive, even thrive. Yet, you will never release fear, never overcome desire, nor see beyond envy. Choice is the key to your salvation from pain. Each of us can choose to discover our GodSelf. We can choose to lift ourselves above the quagmire of fear. Embracing the GodSelf being within, you will naturally seek to unite with your brethren, love your enemies, offering compassion where judgement once ruled.
Experiencing my own life in the absence and the presence of illusion, has afforded me the necessary perspective to escape from the grip of chaos.
In the light of recent lessons, I have learned a great deal about evil. Where once I imagined evil and good to be forces locked in an eternal cosmic battle, I now understand evil is born and bred from an ignorance of the true 'self'.
Strange as it seems, we cannot discover a philosophy which carries us above the EgoSelf illusions of separation, physicality and death. Our ignorance encourages us to destroy our world, kill our brethren whilst hating ourselves. Our connection to our true GodSelf nature has been severed by the overblown relationship we have with the EgoSelf.
Frightful as is our state of being, this in no way diminishes the truth of our identity. We are beautiful reflections of love.
Truth be told, dear reader, there is nothing for us to fear other than fear itself.
The EgoSelf may have trapped us in webs of illusion. Regardless of our actions, our GodSelf identity remains intact. The GodSelf has absolutely nothing to do with the human body or the events it constructs. We invest all our hope and dreams in this corpse, even though it is nothing more than a vehicle.
You would never blame your Toyota Camry for the state of the world. Crazy as this statement may be. From the perspective of an individual who is free from illusion, it is equally insane to believe the start and end of who you are, is a 120-pound body limited to an 83-year lifespan.
Time immemorial, humanity has been forced to play this game of life confined to a pseudo reality. Toiling under the illusion of separation, the human body bears countless scars. Convinced of our mortality we suffer the fear of loss, trembling in darkness. Hoodwinked and shackled by ignorance, we find ourselves mired in a bog so thick we seem utterly incapable of extrication.
The EgoSelf, stealthily hiding in plain sight, invites us to play a rigged game. Like the blackjack table in our favourite casino, we want to believe the odds are even, yet, we cannot see the lights and liquor clouding our senses assures we will always lose.
I have learned to accept 'self' as the totality of all reality. By giving me the tools to redefine who I truly am, Antonio has offered a clear path beyond the many illusions spun by the EgoSelf.
Trespassing past the limited boundaries of this physical plane, I have left my EgoSelf behind. Instead of living in fear, I choose to embrace my GodSelf identity. The evil I see in the world, I know is still a tangible part of the great "I AM". Although I may describe the evil and chaos in my world as distasteful, I can see it exists as an important reflection of my EgoSelf.
This reflection compels me to seek knowledge, rise above illusion, then discover my GodSelf identity. May the EgoSelf continue to weave its webs, as each sticky pattern challenges me to strive toward a closer connection to the brilliance of GodSelf reality.
Wake up Karen.... wake up.... wake up... it's time to go.
Karen: "I am awake now Antonio."
(Fifteen minutes later Karen is lying on the living room sofa, Spent, unable to move. Barely capable of speech, she looks into Antonio's eyes, then Karen utters a most profound and simplistic statement.)
"In Lak' ech brother Antonio, I am another you."
Antonio: (Knowing Karen had finally transcended the tyranny of her EgoSelf; Antonio replies in kind)
"In Lak' ech sister Karen, I am another you."
Karen: "I know you have to leave now Antonio. Tell me, will I ever see you again?"
Antonio: "Although we may never meet again Karen, I can see in your eyes, you now know we are not two separate beings. Much like light radiates from countless facets of a great diamond, we each shine with a unique and very individual perspective."
"Each of us can learn to cherish our uniqueness, while at the same time, arrive at an understanding of self as a singularity. Truly Karen, we have never been, nor will we ever be, apart."
(Antonio kisses Karen one last time. From her front porch she watches as Antonio walks down the driveway, disappearing in a familiar flash of blue light. Returning to the house, stars sparkling at her back, Karen reaches for the doorknob, a series of parting hoots echo from somewhere in the depth of the stately old Oak.)
In Lak'ech, brethren... I am another you...
(My cat Spot wanted to make the contribution to the story ooooooooooooooooooooooop89nnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnnn)