happened again late last night. I awoke with a start, feeling
as if a great weight had been pressing down on me, like a huge
cement block had somehow been laid on top of my entire body and
was slowly crushing the life out of me. I was covered in my own
sweat, so I got up, washed myself, and began to walk the quiet
country road. I’ve been doing that a lot lately. More and
more often, in fact.
You see, there are these bright flashes of colored patterns that
seem to open up right in front of me. And the fact that the clouds
above me seem to part and dissolve when I look into them intensely.
And then there are the voices. And the lights. I want to talk
about the lights.
I’ll be walking along (it almost always starts when I’m
walking), and suddenly a point of space about ten feet in front
of me and belly-button level will begin to vibrate and shimmer
– not with any particular color at first, simply as if the
invisible essence of the air itself gets set in motion. Do you
know how the desert shimmers? Or the highway on a hot day? Or
city lights through heated smog? It’s like that, except
that it’s so close, it couldn’t be caused by heat
reflection. Even at night it happens, and this shimmering space
moves along in front me. If I turn a corner, it precedes me, sometimes
sooner than I know I’m turning. I don’t even want
to think that it may be leading me. No, that is too much to consider.
I adjusted to the presence of this shimmering space. In fact,
I began to enjoy its company. I am not what you’d call a
social creature. I’ve been called a loner more than once.
But it bothered me when it began changing. No longer a shimmering
stuff, it began to take on an amorphous color. Sometimes rose,
sometimes a violet hue or a bluish tint. Then pulsations began.
Calmly at first. Rhythmic throbs – reminiscent of a heartbeat.
Then the thing was vibrating more rapidly. Sometimes it repulsed
me, making me feel sick to my stomach. Other times it attracted
me, and I got rushes of energy up through my body, like pre-orgasm
shivers. Those changes began accelerating. New rhythms appeared,
and new colors, orchestrated in unbelievably complex patterns.
I became mad with excitement and confusion.
This changeable thing (I cannot name it because it is not a something,
but a growing process) appeared only when I was alone. As if the
presence of others inhibited it, or inhibited my ability to see
it. Yes, I think the latter, because at times in a bar or dance
hall I would catch a flash of it being there – just under
my ability to perceive it. When I wanted to be rid of it, I would
go to crowded places. But mostly I desired its company and wanted
it near me always.
It was as if it were teaching me -- not in the sense of school
learning (which I always despised), but in the sense of a teaching
machine, one that takes me as far I’m possibly able to go,
then stretches me a bit further in order to expand my limits,
until I am going further out than I thought possible. The patterns
were getting far too complex for me to comprehend. I was experiencing
sensory overload – it was just too much, too fast. At one
point, I almost screamed with confused frustration, and then,
suddenly, in a completely unexpected way, it collapsed up into
simplicity. I was hearing and seeing patterns at ranges and with
perspectives I had not previously known.
This comprehension spread throughout my auditory and visual world.
Music has since taken on new meaning, as if my attention has more
depth. Beethoven and Haydn are comprehensible now, and the simple
beats of rock, which I formerly enjoyed, seem juvenile and stupid.
I notice moiré patterns on fences as I drive or walk by.
A yard of green grass undulates with the wind like a field of
ripe wheat. Colors are bright, the world sparkles. I can actually
comprehend the songs of birds, not with any anthropomorphism,
but in pure appreciation of patterns, pitch, time intervals, and
echoation. How did I miss these things before? Was I completely
blind and deaf and dumb?
The conversations of people around me seem so inane, so empty
and nonsensical. They carry no meaning, no breadth of character.
I am frustrated by my attempts to communicate this to anyone.
I feel so alone, yet so alive. And I cannot reconcile these opposites.
And then three weeks ago, a door opened. My teacher, this movement,
this mad machine, was performing in myriad color pattern changes,
like a sophisticated kaleidoscope. I was doing my best to observe
with focused attention. Quite all-at-once, the mandala-like patterns
did a sort of dimensional flip, and the amorphous mass of color
turned into a narrow, horizontal, beam of neon-like blue light.
A narrow, horizontal, neon beam of blue light. Another dimensional
flip. Horizontal collapsed in on itself and became vertical. It
stretched above and below my transfixed vision. Color slowly changed
to violet, and like an opening slit, widened to a body-wide opening
into – what? I saw what could have been described as a road,
it if had had substance, but it did not. I saw what would have
been sky if it had had depth and color, but it did not. I saw
what could have been called a mountain if it had had mass, but
it did not.
I stopped and stood silently, peering in through that doorway.
My peripheral vision saw the world around me, but my attention
was captured and drawn into this other world. It stood waiting.
My next thought was that I didn’t know whether my eyes were
closed or open. I shut my eyes but it remained there, completely,
within my vision. I saw this opening so clearly that I was spinning.
I knew I could walk through that doorway. I knew that there might
never be another chance. I vacillated. My lessons flooded over
me, urging me to take this leap. My mind screamed with resistance.
I felt frozen in indecision. Should I enter an unknown world or
remain here in this known world? Leap or crawl away?
If there had been a way for me to know what awaited me, I might
have walked through that door. The complete unknown was too much
for me to face. I stood watching, waiting, ashamed at my inability
to jump forward, as the door slowly closed, collapsing into a
shimmering point of space, and disappeared. I realized then that
I had blown this one and only chance -- that I would never see
this teacher or this teaching again.
And for the past three weeks I have been looking in vain for that
friendly shimmer in front of me. I have tried every method I knew
for enticing it back into my life. And I have felt incredibly
and unutterable alone. That’s the worst part. I feel like
I have lost the best friend I’ve ever had. It hurts. I’ve
been crying a lot, grieving over this unnecessary loss.
And late last night, it happened. While I was walking. There was
a point of space in front of me that began to vibrate, and shimmer….
2002 by Lion Goodman
Here to Download for Future Reading