Through hypnosis I have been able to recall very early childhood, even infancy. In one memory I am very young, with no shoes or socks on my feet, and my father is picking me up into the air, making sounds to match the feeling of flying high into the air, and then landing me safely on the carpeted floor. Under hypnosis I was able to see as an adult that the sensations in my bare feet as they touched the bristle-carpeted floor were so pleasure filled that it made me scream with the joy of it. So, too, was the intensity of pleasure in my ears as it vibrated to the sound of my father’s voice. Still further, I was able to see that the very light of day that entered my eyes made such pleasure on the backs of my eyes as to dazzle me. From this memory I was able to realize many things. One realization that came from this experience was that fear has methodically shut down all of our senses and converted what was sensual ecstasy into functional and matter-of-fact utilitarian information gathering. From this I understood that the absence of fear is ecstasy.
Some of us may be able to recall when that moment occurred when the sounds that vibrated our ears shifted from pleasure of pure sound vibration into being words, such as: “Come here! Now!” It was that instant where ecstasy was superseded by fear. Similarly, we may recall when the amazing shapes that were a pleasure to look at suddenly spelled the word CAT or BALL. Before that they resembled ^L+VVM+. The pleasure of seeing, pure and simple, was replaced by the pleasure of understanding. While this is essential for acculturation into the human race, it is also opening the door to the shift from what we actually behold out there in physical reality, to what exists only inside of our thoughts and nowhere else. This transition is so celebrated in our society that many of us are swept into believing the world of thought is actually superior to physical reality. Since we have lost the sensual joy of seeing and hearing to the intellect, we can easily lose our way in the world of mind, and begin to wonder what life is all about. What is the meaning of life, our thoughts ask other thoughts? Hmm, a fascinating question, answers our thoughts to our thoughts, and the endless dialogue begins. We become lost in thought, as they say.
The truth is the realm of thought which asks that particular question is not the holder of the answer to that question. The answer lies in the senses. This is where artists and spiritual teachers come in. It is the job of the artist to reawaken the sensuality of the senses, through paintings, music, dance, film and even through literature, which, at best, often uses the realm of the intellect as an ambassador to lead us back out of the intellect and return us to the opened heart, and back to our body and its senses.
The phrase “coming back to our senses” means to withdraw our identity and consciousness from the world of thoughts and invest our consciousness back into our body and looking, seeing, feeling with our hands and feet and sexually. How may we find the door from thought to sensation, so that we may understand the meaning of life? In other words, how can we find our way back to ecstasy and away from the world dominated by fears that have shut down our senses? If we approach this with efforts to return to our senses, we may find that we quickly return to our thoughts. The way that seems to work best is not to approach returning to the senses head on, but rather by returning to the state that restores our awareness of the constant ecstasy that is always in the background. This foundational ecstasy is usually smoke-screened by emotional and intellectual noise.
In order to achieve this, let us imagine that our fear is like a great and heavy magnet that attracts all manner of scrap metal as we go though life, causing it to become heavier and heavier as our life moves us from experience to experience. Each time we interact with anyone or any event, we habitually lift this chain-wrapped, ever-heavier mass of fear that has been given to us throughout our upbringing and life. We agreed to hold onto it because those who gave us bits and pieces of the heavy metal objects that cling to it would have felt hurt, our thoughts carefully inform us, if we had either ignored it, given it back, or refused to accept it at the time. It was an act of misguided love that we accepted it. Often we accept other people’s fear because we prefer to imagine that it is their love or friendship we are being given and not just a spill-over of their fear.
The next time we engage with anyone, rather than lifting this burdensome conglomeration of heavy metal fear, simply leave it wherever it is. Don’t lift the fear. Just respond as your Self. After all, most of the fear load came from others’ fears, not our own. When we recognize our Selves, we have no fear, because we know that we are not in any way vulnerable. Only our identities can crash and burn, and they, too, are hand-me-downs. Our true Self IS no identity whatsoever and is therefore indistinguishable from the rest of the universe. Our true Self is simply and purely the ability to see, feel, hear and bear witness to all that is before us, including thoughts and emotions. We are that ability, and as such we are timeless, “spaceless” and without beginning or end. Therefore, what in the universe should we fear?
By no longer dragging our fear around wherever we go and in any interaction we have, we slowly or quickly return to our reawakened senses that are normally filled with pleasure. This answers, in no uncertain terms, the question of why we are here. We are here for the sublime pleasure of moment-to-moment, ecstatic being. We are in a universe that benevolently teaches us, on whatever terms we can or cannot handle, that love rewards us and fear does us harm. Could the point of life be clearer? Could the path that we should take be more brilliantly illuminated before our eyes? By being too exhausted to lift fear and drag fear into every perfect moment, polluting each pristine moment with fear, we return to our quintessential ecstasy, and remember who and what we are.
Painting “Sublime Star” and article by:
Ross G. Drago
Paint Rag Magazine