Tuesday, July 5, 2022


I believe many things that can’t be proven. In fact, I am not a person who has much interest in proving concepts. I’m much more interested in exploring them than proving them. I’m inclined to see any conceptual construct as having many perspectives that will shapeshift through the eyes of the beholder. I’m one of those Mercurial minds that enjoys romping through the mysterious forest of possibilities. It is life as alchemy. This way of approaching life began in early childhood. I spent lots of time alone encountering the world around me with little interference from adults. My mother was sick most of the time, and everyone else was worried about her and what was happening with the war (WWII). I did a lot of observing and exploring but I wanted to read. Reading seemed like the magic power that would allow me to travel without a physical vehicle, and learn about the strange world adults kept to themselves. No one would teach me to read, telling me "you will have to wait until you go to school." When I finally entered grade school, I was profoundly disappointed by the fraud it turned out to be, and the total lack of exploration into the mysteries of knowledge. Learning to read would take years, and I would have to put up with Dick and Jane indefinitely, in addition, our first grade teacher seemed to hate children and demonstrated it with a frown and a stick.

 In despair, I came down with every childhood illness on the list, at least once, plus numerous flues, colds, and stomach upsets. Public school literally made me sick. To escape as much of this poisonous environment as possible, I learned to fly with the wings of imagination through classroom walls on the magic quest to anywhere or any time I wanted to visit.  I created dramas audible and visible only to myself.  Later I hid a notepad for illustrating my adventures inside the boring textbooks. I took lots of library books to school, so that I’d have something interesting to read . I assumed school was a concentration camp for brain washing children and wondered why some kids seemed to be okay with it. At the end of the year, I was faced with a D minus and the prospect of an added year in jail, so I usually made a deal with the teacher to do some special projects to make it possible to squeeze by with a passing grade.

Although I didn’t know it, I was learning a form of alchemy. Alchemy whether a literal technique for turning base metals into gold, as the medieval alchemists attempted, or using the concept metaphorically, is the essence of a purposeful journey through life. In fact, it is life! Do you really believe you are the same entity that emerged from your mother’s womb? Perhaps because the metamorphosis is everyone’s experience from conception to grave, we seldom think about it as an actual alchemical event. Even to the medieval alchemists, the multidimensional revelations involved in alchemical transformation were often more important than achieving the physical goal. Only memory, although somewhat capriciously follows us through birth to death. And death may be yet another stage in a metamorphic process. The alchemical Negredo, the black stage of disintegration to ash happens at the end of each process as we work toward the incorruptible state symbolized by gold (a non-corruptible metal). But oh, how difficult it is to trust there could be a transformation after accumulated experiences have burnt us into black soot and opaque smoke. It took me many years to find the gold beneath the ash and I still feel despair now and then if I indulge my small self when comparing life outcomes with someone whom I consider closer to the gold standard.

Social pressure often muddles our perception as we stumble along in our meat suits through this three-dimensional phase of transfiguration. Then I remember; metamorphosis is a trans-galactic process. Butterflies and supernova have nothing over us. I will interject the probability that The Great Mystery didn’t create us or the cosmos once-upon-a-time. Time being a construct to help us dance in rhythm with Sun, Moon, and Stars. I’ve come to believe that we humans are among God’s many instruments for crafting this world and other worlds, all transcending time. Yet, while immersed in time we become lost in mundane cliffhangers. Will help come before the princess is torn to bits by a fascinating robotic dragon? Will she recognize help, or will she succumb to Stockholm Syndrome?

When I first moved to Taos, I got lost every day, at least once. It was like participating in creation-light. Lostness, opens the way to awesome new discoveries.  So many mysterious, nameless trails and roads await exploration. The adobe buildings might be 300 years old or 20 years old. They looked the same. Often, except for an occasional car, there was also no indication of time. As soon as one left a state road, one left the world of time, and enchantment took over. in other words, reality, which is usually disguised as something prosaic, when actually it is this magical multidimensional dance. Clocks and calendars are handy tools but deceptive if you mistake them for reality.

As I write this, I’m listening to the gentle drip, drip, drip of another rain after a two-month drought. The grass turned green, and the flowers surged up to kiss the raindrops. Taos looks again as it did when I first arrived almost 30 years ago. I’d begun to think, "I will never see this place green again." But there are cycles and cycles within cycles. Even if it ends tomorrow, it was wonderful to know it can still happen and there is more than one kind of drought. Does the sky also respond to the human state? Are we all one with ascending and descending patterns through multiple layers of quasi-reality? Droughts come and floods come. The world of humans is also experiencing extremes. It’s breaking out in wars of all kinds. Is the Devil a projected antidote to God’s unrequited love? Maybe we should take notice of all the ways we are killing our souls, by killing the soul of our Mother Earth.

When I was a young child and teenager, my daddy cut down my beloved cottonwood tree, tore down the silver lace vine I loved, poisoned a pet cat, thought my art and books were a lazy waste of time, and generally disapproved of everything I loved. He did to me, in essence what had been done to him. This is the endemic human approach to love starvation. That is why Jesus said, “do unto others as you would have them do unto you,” rather than, “as others do unto you”, which is how it usually goes. Love insecurity, to paraphrase a popular phrase, is by far the most dangerous disease on the planet. It is far deadlier than COVID19, and it seems to be running rampant. It can never be cured with more of what caused it. Have you noticed that wars are never actually won. They are like those trick birthday candles that fire up again every time you blow them out.

As a child, I fantasized blowing up schools, churches, and meat packing plants, and then burning down the housing developments that were destroying the natural world that had once surrounded us. It seemed that humans could only take away the life and beauty in our world. I would express my fear and anger about the destruction human culture foisted on the natural world and my dad would say, “you can’t stop progress”. Of course, what I saw was destruction not progress. But he was right about the subject being unstoppable.

 Although I fantasized destroying the rotten fruits of greed and exploitation, and agonized over human indifference to the fate of our world, I calmed myself down knowing at heart that a war against exploitation would never work beyond briefly satisfying rage. The exploiters held the hunger for power and uninformed hope on their side until they didn’t. Such power inevitably  falls to nature because it consumes its source and runs out of fuel. I don't believe we will abuse Mother Nature much longer, There are ample signs that she is fighting back and she lives inside of us as well as surrounding us.

Sometimes I wonder if with our current trajectory as a species we will reduce ourselves to a few small tribes, learning again to cooperate with each other under Mother Nature's rules for life on a planet. Nature is clearly upset with us and is reacting to the arrogant fantasy that we are independent from her. Another possibility is that the surviving nature within us goes rogue and destroys us for the good of the planet and our own souls? I pray that forest fires, floods, pandemics, hurricanes, tornadoes, droughts, earthquakes, volcanoes, and mass extinctions will get our attention before Mother Earth has to demote us back to a single cell ameba, or less. I wonder how many times we’ve done this in the history of the planet and gone through a hard restart.

There is an inspired receptive way to be lost in awe of the Great Mystery, and a blind stubborn way to be lost because we refuse to admit we made a wrong turn. This world is a school so this grade can be repeated.