Saturday, 14 September 2013

A Fearful Warning, Part 2 of 2

My Vision of Torment

There have been very few times in my spiritual life when I have felt truly afraid. This was one such occasion. It occurred at the time when I realised that there was no future in my relationship with the person in my life, suffering from advanced alcoholism, unless I could effect some changes. As it happened, the following two weeks were to show me that there was to be no future with her at all. But that is jumping too far ahead. At that time I could only see, but dimly, a few hours ahead at a time. Without going into any more detail, I will return to the guest house where I was alone in my room.  I seemed to be so very wide awake........   

"..........I stood, alone, watching the cosmos from a circular window in space. Galaxies wheeled in disinterested splendour, stars shone in self-contained aloneness. And I looked into the depths of silence. To one side hung a huge baggage of energies, and heaven alone knows what deeper aspects of my Self, parcelled into four bulging quarters with strangling cords. Every now and then lightning strikes ripped inwards causing the baggage to throb with frustrated fury, eager to break free. To my left, a green and golden curtain forged from hexagonal, carbon-shaped, molecular links rippled gently as if rhythmically disturbed by a cosmic breeze.
  But ahead floated a figure, terrible in his strength and determination. Garbed in the light brown habit of a monk, he watched me with a frightening intensity. As my gaze travelled downwards I saw that his body was becoming extended and his legs stretched and drawn. Below him whirled a cosmic maelstrom. Horrified, I felt the silent vibrations of millions of stars being ground into oblivion in a voracious, black hole. I looked up again into the face of the monk, and I felt so deeply, so terribly afraid.........."
 (From my private diaries.)

That experience almost defies explanation, except that it was clear that I was in great psychological danger. I needed, regardless of all my struggles to understand, simply to observe and accept what I saw. Somehow, the experience went beyond any form of inner language written in imagery. It needed to be accepted in its own right, on its own terms. Any attempted interpretation would have intellectualised and thus degraded the experience. Somehow, something seemed to be attempting to communicate with another and inner part of me, desperate in its need to warn me of my extreme danger. So it is that I have presented the experience just as it happened.

Interestingly for me, that was the first time I ever had such an experience, but it wasn't to be the last. It seemed as if, in my extremity, something needed to make itself known, and having done so I was then able to engage in the imaging process I have reported in my posts, almost at will. Indeed, from that moment onwards, I was never truly able to stop the imagery appearing whilst simultaneously maintaining a meditative state, or to prevent being overwhelmed whenever that inner 'presence beyond the veil' required my attention. It has been called a gift, and I think it probably is. It is also a privilege to be invited to converse, even if only one-sidedly, with my deeper Self.

The following weeks were to be a time of great spiritual turmoil and pain, in which my personality was dissected in painful detail. Gradually I learned to see myself as I really was, rather than how I had imagined myself to be, and out of that experience came a recognisably spiritual need, a drive to Be. Having learned something of the egoistic falsities of the life I was living, I began to long for something deeper, more true and worthwhile in life. Beyond those longings I could not know what it was I was really seeking. That was to come later. It was the beginning of a journey that I have never for one moment considered giving up. It has had its moments of difficulty but also times of great joy and exhilaration. Yet the living of this Way is not something that I have, because there is always the possibility that one can lose a possession. Rather it is the Being of the Way that is important, and my being, in all its totality, will not be lost. 


  1. There is more, of course in response to this Tom, yet the strongest impression this morning seems to be awe at the ultimate indifference of the universe.
    Not sure whether that is sad or somehow comforting.
    At any rate, thank you.

  2. Halle; As I do not believe for one moment that the universe was created for humankind, the indifference of the universe comes as no surprise to me.

    Of course, the universe that was part of this 'vision', if I may call it that, exists inside me. It is therefore part of me, and every feature in it also is part of me. I would suggest, therefore, that the apparent indifference that these images may suggest is more in the nature of a 'no shit', tough love. And that I find very reassuring.

    Let me put it another way. I would not have wanted to be fobbed off with a sentimentalised view of my condition at that time. It would have done me no favours, nor any inner part of my soul. My inner Druid is of the same ilk, and I have come to trust her even when she makes the rare mistake. For me it isn't a matter of 'sad or somehow comforting', but that it may be both sad and comforting.

    Looking forward to any follow up you might wish to give.

  3. Tom, just looking at those two images conveys to me very well the kind of unearthly fear you must have felt.

    I wonder if perhaps the visionary 'seeing-within' that you are evidently gifted with is only a stage in your spiritual journey, one that leads on to seeing the outside world in a new and revelatory way. Do you think that may be the case?

  4. It's interesting that your posts are ones that I have to sit and consider for a good long while before I can begin writing a response. With the understanding all human emotional conditions are relative (as well as fleeting), this post has reminded me of a traumatic time in my life when everything that had formerly appeared to be fairly stable suddenly went over a cliff. That was the most frightened I've ever been. Admittedly, it wasn't my spiritual life since up to then I hadn't really felt the need of one despite my occasional interest in esoteric subjects. Without warning I'd found myself facing the abyss that had always seemed like an intellectual exercise when I'd encountered the concept in books.

    I won't go into the painful details but what did happen was that those events provided the impetus for me to undertake a much deeper interest in my own spiritual well-being. I do meditate and occasionally have clear visions but my imagination is such that I immediately fear they're my own inventions and block them. So far I've never experienced the kind of intense meeting you've described here but I do understand the overwhelming nature of such confrontations. You have my deep admiration for the efforts you've made and your willingness to share your experiences.

  5. Natalie; My answer to your question is simply that I do not know, but it's an interesting idea. If it does happen I'll certainly share what I discover.

  6. Susan; That my posts require lengthy consideration before a comment can be made I take as high compliment. Thank you.

    It is a mystery to me still, how even in the best run lives - at least for many of us - there comes a moment when we are obliged by circumstances to examine our lives afresh. And it usually involves some form of trauma.

    I too have sometimes wondered whether or not my imagery has simply been part of a process of making things up. Once I realised that inventing images is part of a process of thinking, of intellectualising, that question has disappeared. By trusting the system and not analysing it 'in process', so to speak, but simply observing, the reality emerges. Of course the ego will insist on playing games if it wishes to divert attention from something painful, difficult or threatening of its existence. These tendencies can usually be discovered by keeping accurately recorded diaries. If you do start inventing things, it then becomes a matter of dismissing the inventions, gently, and starting again.

  7. Truth hurts and truth sets you free?

  8. The struggle to survive and to help another, a loved one survive the crushing fate that is alcoholism in its most active and destructive forms is not easy to share unless one encounters others with similar burdens. It took my wife eight years to die. This was so grossly unfair a fate that I did not and do not fully grasp it yet. She died alone of complications in 2001. The nineties were beyond bearing and we separated attempting to save lives. Mine was saved. Hers was not.

  9. Christopher; Thank you for your very moving comment. And it truly is that this sense of inner devastation can only be adequately understood by people with similar experiences. And no-one ever wants to be the one to draw the short straw, but we must live (or regrettably die) with the consequences.

    I would like to say so much more, but I fear I must leave it there. I'm sure you understand.

  10. Succour. With such words, I tend to spend time together with German words. It's much easier for me to ponder on these deep subjects in German, my mother tongue. I find it interesting that the word 'help' or 'aid' is translated with a long list of words. But type succour into the online dictionary, and you'll find a much shorter list. Beistand, meaning to stand with, or to stand by. Succour from the Latin is an active word ... to run to the rescue. The German word is actually the result. You're there, at the side of the person you ran to help. But what is when the cosmos is churning and all this activity happens within?

    These thoughts came to me after reading both of your posts and pondering, pondering ...

  11. This may seem to come from 'left field' but it is what your posts here have taught me.

    It seems to me the universe is chaotic as are many of our internal processes. The human mind is a specialist at making everything mean something and it is the content of our life at that moment that is fodder for this process. That is why dreams can be a window into those needs and fears we sometimes hide from our conscious mind.

    Only the individual can make use of that as information. In my case, a very disturbing dream from months ago might be making some sense because of what you have shared here, so thank you once again Tom.

  12. I feel inadequate to respond to the deep inner journey you are speaking of, Tom, so I will just say that I am continuing to read, to ponder,and to admire your courage.

  13. Rouchswalwe; Firstly, please excuse the delay in answering you. Lucy and I (with under-the-weather Moll) have only just returned from a three-day getaway.

    I had never thought about succour, help and aid in quite the way you describe. Yet your description suits that which was offered to me better than my memories of that time. All I can really remember is the powerful sense of being carried, but by something that seemed to be drawn out from within me, a loving power that truly astonished me.

  14. Halle; I find that I am in agreement with much of what you say here. If in return you find something that is of help in any way, then I am very happy with that.

  15. Beth; Thank you for your comment. I cannot ask for more than that.

  16. to, you simultaneously make me want to start meditating, so i can find my path, and to never ever take it up at all for fear of what i might find.

    i am a big believer in listening to that inner voice, but sometimes our sense of comfort with things-as-they-are can be a great big muffling force. over the years, i have found myself to be a slow learner, someone who takes her sweet time getting where i'm going. usually, it takes the things-as-they-are becoming so unbearable that the frightening alternative becomes the easier way.

    i wish i could get there quicker, listen better, whatever, but there it is. at least i get there, i suppose.

    thanks for the inspiration.

  17. Hullo Agnieszka; Welcome and thank you. I agree that one's comfort zone can be more appealing than the seemingly cold, lonely places 'out there'. But we know the safe places all too well; that's where we got into difficulties, or felt there was a better way to be travelled.

    I imagine most of us are slow to respond to life's messages, and only learn that to face appropriate pain is the only way to avoid unnecessary pain. I too wish I could get there (wherever that is) quicker, with less time wasted. But have you not considered that you may be where you're supposed to be, watching with an open mind and heart?

    Thank you again for your thoughtful comment.

  18. ah tom, but to say that i am "where [i'm] supposed to be, watching with an open mind and heart" presupposes that there's something out there that wants me in a particular place at a particular time, and i'm not sure i believe that. i think that there is no meaning other than what we make.
    or am i wrong in assuming that your sentence implies some sort of outside agency?
    i suppose, in the end, we're always exactly where we're "supposed" to be, because, hey, there we are. and then we need to make the best of it.

  19. Agnieszka; When I spoke of being where we are supposed to be, I wasn't measuring the spot to the nearest metre, so to speak, but rather on the right path. I think in order to fully realise ourselves, we need to be in a certain place. If we are on a path that leads us to that spot then we are where we are "supposed" to be. [But yes, to whose agenda are we working?]

    I disagree that there's something out there that wants me in a particular place at a particular time. Without getting too deep into metaphysics, "That" which wishes me to be here/there/wherever lies beyond description deep inside, not outside. To become aware of that seems to me to require an open mind and heart. That awareness is stifled when our choices are constantly ego-driven. We are so much more than our ego-consciousness. We need, in my opinion, to try and hear what the rest of our Being is saying.

  20. thank you for clarifying. with my religious youth behind me, i am always nervous when talk turns to god, or things like god. if we're talking about something inside us, i agree.

  21. I long ago formed the opinion that the trouble with "God" is the idea of judgement and the whole God-enforced morality thing. God either is or He isn't but there are many frames in which He is envisioned. Many Buddhists and Taoists frame a spiritual universe and even a dialogue of sorts within it without bringing a fully formed Person into the mix. On the other hand Hindus tend to cover the whole gamut from millions of divinities to none at all. I found out I was free to form my own conception since there was such a broad vision available. I prefer inclusion to exclusion so I get nervous with the idea that God excludes anyone. We either all go to heaven or we don't. It was then a short leap of soul into realizing that there may be some way in which my own destiny is my own judgement, but that who I am when I judge is not the who of me in my mundane existence but what my soul is like on the other side of things, so to speak, where I can be much bigger and wiser than I am here. God seems to just sit there all infinite like beaming life rays and only diddling with things when absolutely necessary (whenever that may be) because one of His major commitments is to not interfere in free will unless there is absolutely no other choice. Which has undoubtedly happened before and will again.

    On the other hand, there may very well be some of us critical to the outcome of the whole thing who are elevated momentarily or longer into positions of spiritual effectiveness, perhaps without much awareness of it by anyone at all...

    So humanists have some basis in the truth of it as well as theists and for that matter because no one knows for the most part, then atheists and agnostics, all have some purchase on the truth of HOW IT ALL WOIKS!!! All this seems to be immensely interesting in an amusing sort of way to God, who absolutely LOVES a good pratfall.

    Just my opinion.

  22. Christopher; A very enjoyable comment. And I have always thought God had a well-developed sense of humour. Well he'd have to have, wouldn't he?