Thursday, July 3, 2014

The Hunt for Mysteries and Medicine

Identity is necessary, I suppose but sometimes causes us to trip over our own feet. It’s about self-definition and definitions create limitations. I was just browsing through one of my old journals. The journals are my therapy and I noticed how definitions put flesh on the bones of anything vague. These stories, because that’s what they are, are my therapy. I dig deeper and deeper into the dark. I try on many sub-selves: victim, healer, lover, dreamer, teacher, and above all else, storyteller.

I read books as a reminder of the places I’ve been and as inspiration to move beyond where I’ve been. However, I am still hungry for something I haven’t seen before from the hidden underside of my familiar world. There is a mystery that teases with fleeting peeks and then disappears. Therefore, I go on a search and once with the help of the Dewy Decimal System, and now Google, I find many fascinating resources. The experience however is a bit disappointing. Although I often find seductive titles for pieces of wisdom here and there among hundreds of pages, I find they usually loop back to the head of a path I have already walked. Did I miss some fork in the trail that leads to new landscapes?

I used to go to workshops, conferences and even schools back in the days when I could afford it. It was reassuring to mix with other seekers. I met a few inspiring teachers as well. Yet there again, I found elusive promises of life transmuting knowledge vanishing into ether just at the moment I thought I might catch hold of something important

Dreaming the Universe by Marti Fenton White Deer Song
In the early 70’s a friend invited me to a party held at a warehouse located in an old part of downtown Denver and transformed into a loft. I thought it was otherworldly and magical. The space contained an impromptu theater and dance studio and modern paintings adorned the walls. The couple hosting the party who lived there had divided it into rooms with drapes of tie-dye and lace. I’m sure there was a lot of pot in the air, but I didn’t tune into that, nor did I pay much attention to the food. The whole event seemed other dimensional, but the best part was an old man reading Tarot cards for the guests. I knew very little about esoteric traditions then. He read with amazing insight and depth. I spoke to him later although I was shy and a bit reticent about talking to someone I had so quickly placed on a pedestal. Whatever he had, I wanted to know about it. He mentioned a number of esoteric teachers whose names were new to me, although I came upon those names again a few years later. Life guides appear unanticipated with just enough information to lure us further along a path because a real guide doesn’t speak to our known identity.

It may be that I’m not supposed to keep searching in the outside world. Perhaps this continuous hope to find the great connection to wisdom and the secret teachings of the ages is another form of avoidance. My own life history forced me to explore the highs and lows and unmapped regions of life so intensively that the information I now seek elsewhere is actually more a confirmation than a revelation. How much verification do I need? Perhaps what I consider to be humility is actually cowardice or habit.

A number of years ago I had a dream that finally makes sense in the current context, its meaning obscured so long possibly because it is so obvious. The setting though exotic at the time, seemed very familiar. There was a building of many rooms with arched doorways leading from one room to another. I couldn’t say whether the time was now or two thousand years ago, or whether it was located somewhere in the Middle East, central Asia or the American Southwest. The building was adobe of an ageless but modest design. I recall that I somehow knew that it was an ancient mystery school. The floor was rammed earth and the walls were undecorated clay. As I entered the front doorway, I could see a scholar vanishing through an arched doorway to the right. He wore soft slippers with gold embroidery and a long silk robe but I could only see one foot and the hem of his robe disappearing through the door. I hurried in to see who he was but I couldn’t catch up. He was always a few steps ahead of me walking through one doorway and then another and another, and I could never see more than a vanishing foot and the border of his robe.

The teacher of mysteries and wisdom is always just beyond reach and keeps his identity hidden. When I was young, I had secret fantasies about meeting a flesh and blood master of some ancient concealed knowledge who would recognize that I was a sincere seeker and show me where and how to recover important wisdom. That was a long time ago and now I understand that such teachers exist nowadays on another dimension and demand payment in alchemical gold transmuted from our lifeblood. Such a guide gradually moves in and grows more powerful within the inner world as we seek sincerely to learn the way through each impasse (think door). This isn’t an ego search, but soul retrieval that never ends. This all happens in a Mystery School that presents a very plain facade, is made of earth, exists outside of time and never exposes its core mystery. The pursuit of just the right awareness for this interval is like searching for a lost trail through the densest of forests, but survival depends on it.