I blogged several months ago about “the unity of all things.” It probably will continue to be a recurrent theme in my life as I see…and feel…its truth in the whole of my life. And, with my heart being more open now, I have intuitive knowledge that I was intently conscious of this unity very early in my life, much longer than one should if he is going to “join the human race” on schedule. (That is a story for another time.)
This discovery in my adulthood can probably be attributed to my marriage in 1989 at the age of 37. I think marriage for both of us was the onset of an exploration of the phenomena of “otherness.” This exploration is a boundary issue, a daring pushing of boundaries in a new manner which has led to profound changes in my life, changes in the depths of my heart. The Universe offered me a little hint at what was coming in the Spring of 1990 when I plucked a lovely tulip in our front yard to take in and give to my wife. The thought immediately flashed through my mind as I plucked this tulip, so taken with its exquisite and intense and beauty, “I don’t know if I’m plucking or being plucked.”
Immediately I knew this flashing thought was “interesting” and revealing. I thought, “Oh, wow! This is psychotic” for my knowledge of psychology had given me the awareness that this was an experience that could be the onset of a psychotic break. But, at the same time I was not alarmed in the least for I knew that I wasn’t psychotic but that this experience merely reflected that my boundaries were beginning to become fluid, that the rigid distinction between “me and thee”, between “me” and the object world was becoming less pronounced. I also knew enough about linguistics to quip later, “My signifier is beginning to float!” My life since then has been a steady but mercifully slow story of my “signifier” learning to float and my learning to adapt to the resulting duress of a new view and experience of the world.
Just last week I was having coffee with a new friend of mine who has had a similar experience in her life.. She is a retired corporate “uppity up”, highly intelligent and accomplished, and with a keen spiritual intuition. We were talking about this phenomena of boundary subtlety and the complicated nuances of having this awareness. I shared with her my tulip anecdote and some other similar “adventures” and she shared similar anecdotes, all in the context of a discussion of spirituality. Suddenly, I abruptly noted, “You realize that someone listening in on this conversation would say that we are psychotic?” She paused briefly and then noted, “Yes, but there are layers to reality but when I experience the unity of myself and a tree….for example…I simultaneously know that this is not how the rest of the world experiences it and also know that if I went around announcing it everywhere I went I would get myself into a lot of trouble.” Our discussion then ventured into the multiple dimensions of reality and how that “common-sense reality” allows only one, one that can be summed up as that of time and space, a linear and thus sequential world.
Reality is multi-dimensional. Yes, my experience with the tulip was a valid and meaningful experience but it is fortunate…and a sign of mental health…that I had the immediate understanding that there were other ways of looking at my experience. There are always “other ways of looking at my experiences” and learning this has helped me to be a little more open-minded and more tolerant of difference, or “otherness.”
To summarize, a tulip spoke to me! Now if I ever feel that a tulip literally speaks to me and perhaps communicates to me, “Don’t pluck me! Don’t pluck me,” I’m gonna be alarmed! In fact, I will go down to “Wal Marts” and buy me an hypodermic of industrial strength Haldol just in case! But the tulip did “speak to me” in a powerful way, a message that has reverberated through my life to this very day.
And each day the whole of the world speaks to each of us, every bit of this beautiful world offers a word to us–flora, fauna, fellow man/woman. All we have to do is listen but to listen we have to first realize that we have a deep-seated inclination to not listen, to pay attention only to the self-serving whisperings of our own unconscious needs. We have “ears to hear but hear not, eyes to see but see not.” And truly understanding this wisdom of Jesus is something we just don’t like to acknowledge, even we Christians who love to quote it!
One caveat here. Now suddenly if the whole world opens up to us and speaks to us, if it suddenly cascades in upon us, all at the same time, you might want one of those aforementioned hypodermic needles! This could be a psychotic break. We merely need to be aware of the need to listen and to observe and at specific moments we will have the opportunity to listen to and see the subtleties of our world. The rest of the time we will dutifully go about our day to day life keeping this dog-and-pony (linear) show afloat.
Here is a link to a BBC story in which the interconnectedness of the forest is explained, illustrating one dimension of “the unity of all things.” http://www.bbc.com/earth/story/20141111-plants-have-a-hidden-internet
For further explanation of “floating-signifier,” you might see the following link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Floating_signifier
Here is a beautiful description of the sense world collapsing in upon the ego, and the ego being saved from catastrophe (psychosis) by poetry:
bewildered with the broken tongue
of wakened angels in our sleep
then, lost the music that was sung
and lost the light time cannot keep
there is a moment when we lie
bewildered, wakened out of sleep
when light and sound and all reply
the moment time must tame and keep
that moment, like a flight of birds
flung from the branches where they sleep
the poet with a beat of words
flings into time for time to keep
words in time by archibald macleish