The Best Sentence

I’ve had my own idea over the years. Perhaps it all started one winter evening in 1973. I was 24 … altruistic, wide-eyed and already tender. I had just watched a live musical in an old Vancouver church – Jesus Christ Superstar. Jesus was crucified on a chain link fence. Both agony and love were on full display.

And there was a song that sung its way into my heart. It was “I Don’t Know How to Love Him”:

Yet, if he said he loved me
I’d be lost. I’d be frightened
I couldn’t cope, just couldn’t cope
I’d turn my head. I’d back away
I wouldn’t want to know
He scares me so
I want him so
I love him so

After the performance, I took a bus away from downtown and ended up in Queen Elizabeth Park. I walked over to a big old tree and sat down. For some unknown number of hours, I rocked back and forth, eyes glazed, and chanted …

Jesus Christ Superstar
Do you think you’re what they say you are?

That night changed me. Love was alive in a deeper way than before. “I love him so” became “I love you”. I began searching for the human being who would answer my prayer. Romantically I discovered Rita, and later Jody. They were receivers of “I love you”.

It took years for such a simple sentence to broaden. I began to include others in my love – not romantically but ever so sweetly. Friends not just for hanging out together but for contact.

“I love you” is still with me but a new softness has emerged. “From whence hath it come?” I don’t know. It’s love without a direction. Not me to you and you to me. It’s like hanging suspended within the immensity of love. Being caressed, being held. I still see the other human being across from me (or the other human beings) but there is a vastness of spirit that covers all.

“There is love”

When I’ve heard those words in the past, I saw them as a wishy-washy version of “I love you”, a poor cousin of the true connection between people. I no longer feel that way.

I’m brought back to Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary. He wrote “The Wedding Song”:

The union of your spirits here has caused Him to remain
For whenever two or more of you are gathered in His name
There is love, there is love

We are gathered, Paul

Day Thirty-Four: Closer

Last night, the Evolutionary Collective hosted an evening in which people could join us and experience what’s it’s like to be inside this shared consciousness together. I was talking to a couple about our work. I searched for a short statement that would sum up the EC’s impact on me. And it came: Now my natural tendency is to move towards people rather than away from them. My fear of differentness has faded away, replaced by an intense curiosity about what others’ lives are like, what their passions are, their visions. I find that when I speak about my journey, things often loosen between us, and the other person goes towards their experiences and discoveries.

My favourite moments are conversations with one other person, followed by three of us, and then being alone. That preference is so bright now. It doesn’t matter the personalities, ages, cultures, situations. Just let me linger in your eyes.

And yet more folks coming together can be magical too. In our session yesterday daytime, we did a practice that deeply hit home. We were in a group of eight – two standing in the middle back-to-back, and the rest of us circled in chairs. Our teacher Patricia Albere asked us to experience the threading – the weaving – of consciousness among us, flowing through both the standing ones and the seated ones. The pair would rotate together to meet the eyes of each of us. If Persons A and B started in the middle, A would sit down after a complete turn, replaced by C. B and C went around together, then C and D, D and E … We became an organism of eight cells, blending, weaving, caressing. It was lovely. It was human beings together rather than separate, each one so vividly particular and yet also breathing in the whole.

I received a compliment last night. I sat with a couple new to this work. She said that I exuded a sweet energy. She had first noticed it when I was greeting the newcomers at the street entrance of the building. My intention was to have each one feel welcomed from the first moment they set foot in the David Brower Center. She got it then … so did he.

I did my usual squirm in response to her words but happily it faded within seconds. All that was left was a beaming “Thank you” and a peaceful space emanating from something far larger than this Bruceness. We weave together … magic emerges … it’s a mystery that need not be corralled.

Mesmerica

There are IMAX movie theatres, where the show is projected onto a huge dome ahead and above. Then there’s Mesmerica, which I experienced today. The six of us sat in our tilted chairs as computerized patterns of light blended with fanciful music. The creator, James Hood, wanted us to experience an altered state of consciousness … and happiness.

There were moments of transcendence. Peacock feathers vibrated above me. Giant discs of light slowly descended, morphing as they fell. It felt like God was embracing me.

On one arm of the journey, a beam of bluish light wound its way through a forest of deciduous trees, over this branch and under that one. I joined in the search, for what I don’t know. The seeking was soft and sweet.

The explosions of colour throughout the hour felt so new. Mr. Hood let his mind open, and fresh air clearly rushed through. What appeared before us just didn’t exist a year ago. What majesty to bring something unknown into being.

Beyond the openmouthedness of it all was the swirl of disorientation. The constant flow of the images brought me to a swoon. I bet I closed my eyes fifty times during the hour. I needed those respites for centering. A wee bit of me felt guilty for missing some of the display but I was happier when I was taking care of myself. The heavens were being revealed above but there was also a heaven inside to be embraced. And the patterns of light found their way through the eyelids and into my heart. All was well.

Consciousness

The field of consciousness stands beyond time, space, or any known dimension and instead includes all dimensions, without being altered by them. The infinite field is omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient and uniquely identifiable as the Absolute … There is no “here” or “there”. There is no “now” or “then”. The totality is equally and permanently present everywhere.

David Dawkins

Alrighty then. Given this immensity, what should I do with my life?

Well, anything that my dear heart desires, while sensing that my mind is in the middle of something vast and timeless. Can I even get my head around a realm that’s beyond time and space? Not really, all that much. But that’s okay.

I have things to do in life, stuff that’s structured within minutes and metres. I better obey red lights and income tax deadlines or there’ll be trouble. But what of the rest of reality? When I’m planning the events of my day, the mind is doing certain things. However, when I’m thinking about someone I love, the mind is in a different place. A very loose place.

Perhaps I’m not just suspended in the huge bubble of everything. Maybe I am that bubble. And there’s nothing outside of that bubble.

I don’t care if I’m making any sense. The bubble is not one of reason. I’m deeply here – in the London Public Library – and everywhere as well. I’m also suspended in everywhen, rather than being tied down to May 18, 2019 at 4:35 pm Eastern Time.

All-present, all-powerful, all-knowing. Not Bruce, but the being in which we all stand. And it’s not a stillness. It’s a moving forward, a being pulled forward into the perfectly unknown. Being at home on the journey.

Could it be that on one profound level there’s no deficit, no problem, no angst? From this space, what can we humans create? What gifts will be given in the coming days? Who is it that we say we are?

It may be simple. We walk together, holding hands and hearts. We gaze into each other’s eyes. We smile.

California

I’m off again, this time for ten days.  My destination is Pacific Grove, California, south of San Francisco.  The Evolutionary Collective is meeting there for five days, starting on Thursday.  We’re staying at an oceanside resort called Asilomar.

It doesn’t really feel like a vacation – or does it?  The scenery on the coast of the Monterey Peninsula is spectacular – crashing waves, towering cliffs, the endless Pacific stretching towards Japan.  But I’m here for the relationships.  I’m here to join with fine human beings in extending love across the planet.  I’m here to look deep into the beloveds’ eyes.  And actually, that does feel like a vacation … from the daily round of daily life.  True contact between people animates us.  It makes life glow.  Sounds like a rejuvenating week to me.

I could turn my analyzing mind on and predict what “growth” I will experience over the next ten days.  What “learning”, what “improvement” on the way to being a better person.  But that’s not it.  It’s really not about me.

On one level, about a hundred of us will turn up in Asilomar to enhance each other’s lives.  But it’s even broader than that.  How can our love reach over the horizon to touch folks in Paris and Istanbul, in Sydney and Morocco?  Is such a stretching outward just pie in the sky or is it true that we are able participants in the evolution of consciousness?  Could it be that every one of us is a blessing, that together we can banish the loneliness in this world?  Can we all belong?

Five days in Asilomar.  One hundred people.  The unknown could very well be unleashed.  And I get to be there.

Day Three: Loving Strangers

Our Evolutionary Collective orientation started today. Thirty-two of us gathered in a hotel meeting room to feel our way into “unity consciousness”, the sense that “we” is so much more powerful than “I”.

I knew about half the people in the room. Many of them I love deeply. I expected that when we’d do spiritual practices together, I would experience big differences in the depth of connection I’d feel with loved ones compared to strangers. The actual result? Not so.

Our first experience centered on two concentric circles of human beings. Our leaders had figured out a way for us to spend twenty seconds with each person, looking way deep into their eyes. Silent communion. Melting. Being with. It was a stunning cycle of love.

Later a new configuration was presented to us. Four chairs made a cross shape. After each was occupied by a fine human, another four folks took their places behind each chair, with their hands resting on the seated one’s shoulders. The lower people each looked into the eyes of the person across the way, while those standing did the same. The seated folks took turns describing what they were experiencing while all these eyeballs up and down met their partners. A multi-level lattice of sweet energy amplified by a sequence of voices. Immense power flooded me, and I was in love with humanity, especially the unique versions in the room.

As the afternoon flowed along, I “saw” a broad ribbon twisting around the room, festooned with all those lines of energy crossing at right angles. At the centre of each intersecting line was a human being and there were many, many intersections. A glowing community of life … stretching worldwide.

After day one, we’ve already created a holy space together. More opening to come on the morrow. To love and to be loved is a blessing beyond compare.

Day One Some More

So many vibrant moments as Scarlet and I wound our way along highways and byways. Imagine this: straight ahead is a roiling grey sky. In the near, however, the sun shines bright, animating two rows of yellow and orange trees. The contrast takes my breath away. I think of the three days ahead of me with other members of the Evolutionary Collective, and how we often reach stunning levels of consciousness.

Speaking of which, I had supper at Crosley’s Pub in Cincinnati, Ohio. John and Rich were sitting with me at the bar. “Why are you going to Asheville?” The most common thing that happens as I respond to a question like this is that my answer leads to an immediate change of subject. Not this time. These guys were interested.

It’s such a challenge to tell folks about “consciousness”. This is usually what I say:

“Let’s say you’re doing some job at work [or reading the menu at Crosley’s]. What’s going on in your mind is nothing special … just ordinary. But what if you’re thinking about someone you love? You want the absolute best for him or her. You want them to be supremely happy. Whatever is going on in your mind right then is different – richer, sweeter. Our group is heading towards experiencing that expanded consciousness far more often.”

Rich and John nodded and then shared moments of openness from their lives. John talked about the ecstasy he feels when playing the piano and I added that he was likely “being played”. We had a fine time.

When they got up to leave, the three of us fought over the bill. John said “You’re the visitor. I’ll pay.” I smiled and let him do that. “Besides,” he added, “you just got bit by a dog.”

Sadly, that was true. I had just settled into my B&B, and was walking down the street towards food. An older fellow came walking along with his mini-something doglet on leash. Little one took one look at a Canadian stranger, rushed me, and set his teeth into my right calf. Oww! Blood dripped, pain exploded and an apology flowed. “I’m so sorry. But you need to know that he’s had his rabies shots.” Yes, I did need to know that. Still, what a welcome to Cincinnati.

On we go. (Scarlet and me)

Day One: The Journey Begins

It’s a journey down roads and across borders … to Asheville, North Carolina. It’s also a journey of the heart. I’m heading to an orientation to the work of the Evolutionary Collective, a network of people from around the world who are exploring consciousness.

I’m a member of their Global Community where we meet several times a week on our laptops and smartphones. We ponder questions: What are the possibilities of relationship between two or more people? What is the future pulling us towards as we evolve? The heart of our work is a 30-minute practice where two human beings face each other and ask the question “What are you experiencing right now?” And on Friday, Saturday and Sunday I get to do this in the flesh, three-dimensionally.

To fall into this loving consciousness for an hour online is a blessing. What in heaven’s name will it be like when we’re in a room together for eight hours a day? That’s twenty-four hours of communion. I can’t even imagine.

I walked into Amy’s Restaurant in Strathroy, Ontario a few minutes ago. They just opened and breakfast beckons. I’m the only customer. A woman who I’m guessing is Amy just walked over to me, smiling. I returned her greeting and turned to face the empty tables.

“Welcome to Amy’s, one of the finest places to eat in Canada. I’d highly recommend you make a generous donation to her in your will since the food is so great.”

Amy just stares, and then breaks into another huge smile. She rushes over and gives me a sweet hug. (By the way, she is indeed Amy.)

We humans touch each other, if both parties are willing. And I’m so willing.

Thank you, Amy. We’re on that precious road together.

A or B?

Unity – the state of being made one; a condition of harmony

Separation – a break; a place where a split happens; an intervening space

Awakening – an act or moment of becoming suddenly aware of something

Dormancy – something that is not active or growing

Intrinsic – belonging naturally; essential

Extrinsic – not part of the essential nature of someone or something; coming or operating from outside

Mutual – feeling the same emotion, or doing the same thing to or for each other

Unilateral – (of an action or decision) performed by or affecting only one person involved in a situation, without the agreement of the other

Emergence – the fact of something becoming known or starting to exist

Stagnation – the state of not flowing or moving

Contact – the act of touching each other

Avoidance – the act of keeping away from

Resonant – something with a deep tone or a powerful, lasting effect

Muted – not expressed strongly or openly; (of a musical instrument) having a muffled sound as a result of being fitted with a mute

Transcendent – describing the rising above something to a superior state

Mundane – very ordinary and therefore not interesting

Include – to make part of a whole

Exclude – to shut or keep out

Love – an intense feeling of deep affection

Apathy – lack of interest, enthusiasm or concern

Allowing It to Emerge

I’m in a global community called the Evolutionary Collective.  All told, there are probably two hundred of us exploring consciousness within a structure created by Patricia Albere.  Fifteen souls were on a live video call this afternoon.

Part of the experience is in pairs, with eyes open and connected.  For ten minutes, one person answers the question “What are you experiencing right now?” while the other silently moves her consciousness inside the speaker.  Then the two switch roles for the second ten.  During the third segment, the partners talk back and forth, responding to “What are we experiencing right now?”

It’s a mysterious process.  It’s easy to rattle on about concepts and ideas, feelings and bodily sensations, but Patricia is pointing elsewhere.  I was with “Mary” today and here’s where I went for my ten minutes:

I’m experiencing a lake, perfectly smooth.  I’m swimming with my head up – it’s the breast stroke – and you’re beside me doing the same.  Our motions are so smooth, so effortless, and we smile at each other.  Ahead is the horizon.  It’s a simple line between sky and water.  There’s no land.  I look around and see the same horizon everywhere.  I don’t know where we are but there’s a great sense of ease, of safety.

And now I’m diving, my hands touching ahead of me … down and down into the dark.  Hundreds of fish, of all shapes and hues, come to say hi.  They dive with me, with little smiles on their faces.  The water is cool and lovely and I can breathe easily.

Soon all is black and I continue to descend.  No fear.  Just a sweet sinking towards I know not what.  And now I’m experiencing a light way down below and I’m excited to see what’s there.  As I near the ocean floor, there it sits – a tiny gold ring.  Magically, I move my hands and arms and head through it and it settles around my waist.

I’m so happy to have found a golden friend.  Yes, the ring is alive.  It holds me gently on my stomach and back, just a tender pressure that’s so comforting.  I gaze down in wonder at the glowing and pulsing entity encircling my waist.

“Who are you?” I ask.

No words come back but the ring smiles just a bit and holds me some more, a touch firmer now.

***

Mary and I don’t analyze.  There’s no figuring out.  No evaluating.  Just the sense of something opening, inviting us to explore.  And we’ll continue to do that.