Here, Above and Below

Photo: ‘LEVELS’ by Maike and Björn Bröskamp – Pixabay

It seems that at every level—both seen and unseen—a few shapes and patterns are repeated. That could be due to (especially in regard to the unseen levels) my applying the interpretations I’ve adopted to deal with ordinary life to other less ordinary dimensions which I don’t really experience directly.

So what are some of those levels and dimensions, which I’m speculating I organize by applying categories from my immediately accessible environment? And do I believe that these consonances and resonances between here, above and below actually exist; or is my mind just another casualty of metaphors run amuck?

Take for instance air, water, fire and land, mountains, rivers and oceans. And what about the inter-dynamics of heart (moving blood around the body like a FedEx delivery van with 30 billion cellular customers who have all ordered water and have ready to send by return post the waste products of their day jobs?

And then there’s that other delivery system, UPS (AKA the respiratory system) which delivers oxygen from the world outside into the body (hitching a ride with Fed Ex to deliver oxygen throughout the body, including to the heart so that it can keep moving water to all the cells). And of course, the spent oxygen of all the cells is exhaled back out into the world as carbon dioxide.

And that’s not even mentioning the solar system whose solar plane is like a billiard table, with gravity acting as the billiard cues, striking each ball with just enough gravity to keep it rolling toward the side pockets. And just as each cell in our body is one of billions, our billiard table (AKA our solar system) in one of billions in the huge pool hall we call the universe.

I will never be able to venture, even in imagination (which I’ve tried) into the currents of my own body, as in the film (“Innerspace”), nor will I take a trip to other galaxies, but what about right here and now, in what I think of as my own daily life in the world? Are my understandings of my environment, my objectives, and my relationships with people and things, also a web of metaphor and inter-defining interpretations?

I seem to be trying to maintain a relationship with the here and now, within a wider realm in which clock time and objective ‘reality’ ease into a feeling of having somewhere to go beyond the visible and substantial, and things I hope to realize in a realm that seems intrinsically mysterious but sometimes accessible on its own wavelengths. Equally mystifying, there seems to be a realm that is always disclosing itself—in the breath, heart beat, feelings of pleasure and pain, mood swings between acceptance and doubt, love and fear—but which I have learned to ignore on behalf of self-protection and a regime of intellect. This intellectualizing is not equivalent to intelligence (let alone understanding). It’s a tendency to think at the expense of feeling.

I’m trying to bring these three levels into a better relationship with each other—or rather—to allow myself to recognize their several voices in the harmony of natural life. Sometimes I catch snatches of this melody in the sound of the wind as tree branches speak of a greater world, which extends over the horizon of my personal experience.

About Michael Gray

I first started studying TSK in the mid 1980's and have since attended a number of retreats and workshops at the Nyingma Institute, in both TSK and Buddhist themes. I participated in the life-changing Human Development Training Program in 1991, and upon returning to Albuquerque co-founded an organization, Friends in Time (with a friend who has Lou Gehrig's Disease), which continues to serve people with similiar disabilities. I contributed an essay to "A New Way of Being"--the last one in the book--in which I describe how learning to honor who I have been has broadened and deepened my openness to present experience. I live in New Mexico with my wife and two sons.
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