When I imagine myself to be living in a cave, where passing a day and night sleeps like a single moment stretched across the vision of a beetle walking sideways over the back of my own unrecognizable hand toward the firelight of the unconscious, I’m reminded of those whole lifetimes I spent wishing as a kid that the backyard could feel like my bedroom.
Looking out onto the light world that always seemed way too bright and visible to be safe to the seven year old me who’d learned to confuse hiding inside himself for a water balloon fight with friends, I communed with those parts of myself to prove it was possible to be imprisoned by an uncontrollable parental power, and still find someone to play and grow with.
Then in third grade a classmate told me there was a cave over by the drive in out behind Manchester Street that had stalactites and some unthinkably terrifying creature living somewhere in it, and I thought maybe this thing was once like me, and actually just needed a little coaxing to join the rest of the world in the sun.
We started to make a plan with flashlights and pocket knives, etching the way into our psyches like followers of an ancient vampire cult reading Cuneiform tablets into a relatable language in hopes of discovering where the first one lay, and awaking it for the sake of a few lives that might lead to an extended rainy season.
Well, that ended just as soon as it began, when, upon hearing my classmate tell me he’d made it all up because he’d just watched a horror movie that was sweet and couldn’t help himself from imagining into the world part two. I internalized the whole experience immediately, transmuting my disappointment into something pleasantly blinding, as was my way.
The truth is, I had no idea I was so into waking up those lost parts of myself that really ruled my consciousness, or that I would spend decades of my life shaking off scarabs of thought while seeking the original self only a noncognitive feeling and sensation can open a door to.
If I knew this was the way things were going to track for me I would have left my dark night of the soul and found a tree or bush to sit under and stay there until I either dripped backwards with enlightenment or somebody’s parent came running over with a blanket with which to cover my shoulders, before carrying me off and placing me on an unfamiliar bed, then standing back to watch me stare blankly at the space between myself and the wall, which is where I felt most like me, and how I often wondered who the first parent was.
This I hope you’ll see the point of, when I say that, despite my friends and advisors referring to me half-jokingly as a kind of mystic over the years, I know I’m not John the Baptist reincarnated or Hildegard of Bingen or Buddha or Merton or like any other spiritual figure known for discovering some aspect of wisdom mind or godliness through a trial of overcoming self-aggression to the point of a gentle spear that can never penetrate too deep and draw the self out onto a pool on the never holy enough ground that mine as well be a toilet.
I’m just some ordinary guy from no one knows where New Hampshire, and who like countless others, had a rough childhood and barely made it out alive and somehow stumbled through the world of the self to arrive exactly here, so that he could constantly remind himself of how unbelieveable it is that the mind can be so unkind and still beautiful, how each moment it’s a hole in the bottom of nowhere and yet still a place to get warm and talk with a friend, still a place to fall back in love.