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Fw: Pt. 2 Bardo- A Walk Along the Interstate

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  • Starving Buddha
    Life is indeed a journey; a one-way road-trip traveled only once (although we may be born again, we can never live the same life twice...). The sights and
    Message 1 of 1 , Jul 1 10:58 AM
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      Life is indeed a journey; a one-way road-trip traveled only once (although we may be born again, we can never live the same life twice...). The sights and scenes of the rolling landscape leave an indelible impression on one's mind... We then call this: the life experience...

      However, journey's are nothing more than the traveling from one place to another, they are the transition stage of moving from one state of existence into the next. The Interstate...

      Due to our human experience of time (that is: the way a human experiences time...) and the appearance of how slow it seems to move, we lose sight of the fact that we are indeed in this constant process of moving. We become complacent with existential world-events, habituated to what seems to be a static environment... Familiarized with our surroundings so much so that we then id-entify who we are by this apparent constancy.

      Even as we age, and elements of our environment visibly change around us, we incorporate these changes into our id-entities, so that we see the world move, yet our id-entities remain the same, even though we are a part of this same movement.

      From our individual perspectives, we are always who we are, though, as we ride, the vista outside our window of sight may transform from say: the mid-western plains to the higher altitude-regions of mountains... Although we may look upon a desert valley bathed silver beneath the summer moon, or observe the play of glinting sunlight upon the sea from a vantage high above the shore; these experiences are always made into parts of us... We make them into ourselves; we make ourselves from them... In this way, it would appear that at least in our own minds, we freeze time, if only for a moment...

      It is only at the moment of death that we are faced with the reality of how far we have traveled, faced with the fact that we have been traveling ever since we began, and faced with the truth that our journey, having started so far back at our birth, has finally come to an end...

      If 'life' were to be analogized as the experience of a day, birth- the dawning of the sun; then dying is the evening twilight approaching, and death the cover of night descending to veil that experience... Although in the night there is still much to see, what is seen then is a new experience altogether...

      ****

      Day One of the After-Life...

      Emerging from the darkness around me, a fearsome skeletal face appeared, white bone shrouded in the gloom, as if rising from the depths of the murky deep. A gaunt countenance of absolute lunacy; crazy black eyes blazing with a madness, an insanity that seemed balanced on the verge of being loosed.

      For many long moments the silence weighed heavy as the face quietly stared at me, although the maniacal expression screamed as if it would explode with a violent rage and devour me utterly.

      Then, a voice was heard to issue forth from the face, though the lips never seemed to move... The voice was as soft as a whisper, and almost impossible to hear for I concentrated so intently on the horror of the visage as it ebbed there in the darkness...

      'You are here to be judged, and it is I, the Lord of Death who are to judge you... What say ye?'

      I trembled, for the fear that filled me was as such that I had never felt before. If the judge that was to preside over my soul-hearing was as terrifying as this, then how much worse the punishment would be... I lied: 'I have committed no sins!' I cried...

      'Look there-' the face said.

      An oval light began to swirl between the face and I,

      'This is the mirror of your soul-'

      Ripples of luminescence refracted to my eyes. An image slowly began to materialize within the mirror.

      There, at a table sat two beings, one a brightly lit angelic form that brought a slight peace to my anguished spirit. The other, a form that defied sight. Its shape absorbed any light into a cold hole of blackness that was its silhouette. A feeling of shame that quickly became panic filled me, buckling my knees, causing me to fall. I sobbed uncontrollably...

      In front of the two beings, sat piles of stones. The white being of light counted out white stones. Each stone brought with it a vision of a good deed performed by me...

      The voice of Death said: 'These white stones mark the virtues that you've accumulated.'

      Then, the black form began to count out black stones. Each stone counted was followed by a vision of something I wished was forgotten, or never imagined would be remembered... Things I wished I could deny, or at least lie my way out of, yet there was no possibility in turning away...

      The voice of Death said: 'and these black stones are your sins...'

      I was forced to face the truth for it was all there in black and white...

      The mirror vanished along with the forms therein. A rope was then around my neck, it constricted tightly suffocating me entirely... I groped frantically to loose its grip which only made it squeeze tighter...

      The face of Death began to recede into the darkness, a whispering chuckle echoed around me, the rope grew suddenly taut as a force unseen drew me towards it... There was no fighting against it, it was a force so much larger than I, it brought me off of my knees and pulled me along on my belly.

      The laughter grew in intensity and volume, it was now more than one voice... A multitude of voices, laughing mockingly at my desperate position.

      My vision opened, broadening to see an arena of sorts, the stands filled with demons and creatures of terrible appearances... I lay there in the center of the arena, the rope now slackened... Out of fear and natural instinct, I tried to flee towards a doorway at the furthest end of the arena, the rope grew tight, drawing me off my feet with a sudden jerk... As I landed in the dust of the arena floor, the roar of laughter from the stands intensified...

      The shrieking vultures flew in circles over head. Below, a lone wanderer urged his way along a deserted strip of highway.

      Lizards scurried from rocks on which they were being sunned. Jackrabbits fled in sudden leaps. The shells of scorpions cracked under the weight of his worn down snakeskin boots.

      Where he had come from no longer mattered, and where he was going could not be seen... On this forgotten highway, there was no end in sight. He felt his past dissolve into his future as both became integrated into the present moment.

      He sheltered his eyes as he looked up to the circling scavengers overhead. In this unmerciful place all that matters is 'now'. There's no sense in looking back cuz it looks just like what lies in front of you. He gazed over his shoulders to see the purple mounds of mountains faded slightly in the distance, a ring of ranges that enclose this valley plane. Ahead, the mountains look exactly the same.

      'Hell, I'm not really sure if I'm even going in the right direction. For all I know, I may be walking back on the steps I had already taken... But what is the difference? The way that you go isn't what counts, it's only that you keep on movin' cuz in this place, (above, the vultures made a squawking sound, as more joined to circle round) to sit down and rest your weary bones is to let the desert reclaim the dust of it's ground.'

      Ahead, the pavement shimmered in radiant mirage. A glimmering suffusion of earth and sky where both melted into a mirrored horizon line. The future is a reflection of the past, and both are indiscernible here in the intensity of the present.

      The burning fingers of the high-noon sun smeared away the color, leaving the vision of the day a dull, earthly grey. He wiped the sweat from his brow with a dingy stained handkerchief, the moisture dried immediately, as sweat instantly surfaced once again to drip stingingly into his eyes...

      It comes down to a test of wills... He could feel the presence of all the desert fauna awaiting his giving in, vermin and insects, carrion and carnivores, all anticipating his surrender. Living is a lot like imposing your will over the ubiquity of nature's will... There is so much out there that waits to devour you should you let your guard down, should you let nature prevail. She wishes for nothing more than to take back what is rightfully hers, what was taken from her in the first place. It is entirely selfish to keep yourself from her... But she cannot retrieve what you hold back, and as long as your will remains firm, she must acquiesce.

      Ahead, a coyote chased and caught a desert hare... Following a struggle, the coyote emerged from the cloud of dust holding the limp body of the hare in its crushing jaws...

      In this way, we share something with all living things. It is the will of each individual against the will of nature, a holistic whole that yearns to bring back into itself that which wishes to not be reunited... To all living things, nature means death, and death is perceived as a painful and frightening experience... But only man can conceive of the horror that living things face each day living... Nature is cruel, but the intent of her cruelty is not to cause pain, but to administer mercy, mercy from the pain of being alive.

      Here, within this infernal habitat, one's thoughts dematerialize from self-concentration, as one no longer sees one's self separate from the environment, but one that, like all the others, are all at the mercy of the world one finds oneself imprisoned in. One's thoughts mutate then from slavery to the world, to finding freedom from it... We begin to ponder a means of achieving liberation...

      'But even still, after all this, I cannot sit down and rest, for I still have many miles to cover before the sun sets.' he thinks to himself...

      The blanket of night brings about an entirely different species of existence in the desert. At night, the nocturnal prevail over the ferocity of nature, but even then they still perform her work of reclamation...



      Then, from the doorway that I attempted to access, a large human-like creature with the head of a bull (the mythical Minotaur), entered the arena to the cheers and applause of those monsters looking down from the stands... In the Minotaur's right hand it carried a large halberd, the edge of which glinted razor-sharp from some unseen light above.

      Behind the Minotaur, a legion of monsters entered in a single -file line, an assemblage so terrifying that it seemed as if the blood in my veins froze still simply because of my gaze.

      In their right hands they held human skulls from which they drank blood gluttonously till it streamed from the sides of their mouths. They held in their left hands, swords stained with blood and crusted with black chunks of drying flesh. They encircled me, threatening me with words and swords... Deranged eyes spoke volumes of a hatred that raged wrathfully behind...

      As the Minotaur approached me, it snorted angrily from its already fuming nostrils. It made squeals and grunts, lunging at me enraged like it no longer could be contained...

      Then, from behind me, I was grabbed and lifted up to my feet. A chopping block was brought out by two little imp-like demons who glared amusingly at me.

      The executioner ran his finger across the sharpened blade of the halberd drawing blood to his satisfaction. I was then forced down with my head dangling over the edge of the block. The feeling of crevices against my neck inspired a curiosity: how many times have others been here before me... I fought unsuccessfully. The hold of hands held me still. The executioner loomed over me looking down at me with infuriated eyes... He positioned the blade on the back of my neck, I felt the weight of the weapon bite slightly into my skin, a taste of what was to come

      There is a moment of respite near the end of the day... The moment of twilight when the dangers of the day are coming to rest, and the perils of night are beginning to awaken.

      It is at this moment that one can sit one's weary bones upon a rock and ponder the day that has just passed. The strain of the day exudes from one's flesh with a numbness, the relaxing muscles throb slightly, pleasurably... One almost feels that this is a state in which one would like to remain in.

      However, it is not long after sunset, that one is reminded of the phase approaching. The sounds of the night arise with the silver disk of the moon. She presides over the night-activity with an indifference as if the actions below are occurring solely for her amusement. There is a coldness in her gaze that warns: her beauty is not meant to be endeared, but feared...

      At the time of twilight, one's sight diminishes and one is most blind. One's vision is tangled in a weave between light and dark. The light obscures the darkness while the darkness diffuses the light. Night and day are enmeshed in a knot of confusion that vision cannot adjust to...

      One therefore, is most vulnerable at this stage, however, because this is a period of transition one is also safest... Though not for long...

      As the blade cut through the sinew and flesh of my neck, I was suddenly released... My head dangled over the chopping block by tenuous fibres (it was not a clean cut!), slowly stretching, dripping, it then fell to the floor accompanied by a heavy, squishing 'phump'...

      I felt my soul loosed and rising, yet Eye was still confined within the space of the arena, Eye witnessed in horror as the demons from the seats poured riotously over the edge of the arena. The hordes fell upon my dying body with a lust. The top of my decapitated head was ripped open and an enfrenzied gang fought fervently for the soft, pulpy brains inside, as if the mind were the most cherished prize...

      The lifeless torso that was me was ravaged as my limbs were torn effortlessly from my frame.

      Even from my elevated vantage, and seemingly free from the activity occurring beneath me, Eye felt within all the excruciating pain of the actions occurring below.

      Eye felt as my stomach was eviscerated, not cut but torn open, Eye felt as each strand of epidermal fibre snapped... Cell by cell ripped, and my entrails torn out and stretched between two demons in a morbid tug o' war. My flesh quickly became an unidentifiable mass of bloody jelly as there was no longer any way to envision that what the demons fed upon had once been human.

      Then just as quickly as Eye was torn apart, Eye found myself whole again, being feasted on by the same insatiable hunger of the demons, repeating the process of dismemberment over and over again... My vision of self then faded in an overwhelming wave of extreme stimulation. What began as something painful soon changed to pleasure, and what was at first pleasurable transformed itself into pain... The furthest reaches of sensation were reached, the extent of any and all sensation dulled my senses as Eye fell numb and ceased being who I was... All that remained was the echoing sound of laughter reverbing within a sense of hearing...

      He watched the perishing glow of the sunset bleed into a dark crimson as its vignette receded beneath the silhouette of the distant mountains...

      His fire began to illuminate a small sphere in the darkness. The eyes of the wilderness looked on, reflecting back tiny luminous dots.

      It is as if the darkness were a wave of sorts, that always threatens to crash in like an avalanche should the light be extinguished... Like now, it is the light of the flickering flames that holds the weight of the night back... But as the night wears on, and as the fire dims, like water displaced by the imposition of some foreign body, the night will eventually flood back to reclaim its autonomy, its sovereignty...

      The fire spit embering pops, sparks that rise like excited fireflies reaching to the dark skies above.

      In the distance a coyote howled, its call echoing through the canyons and dry washes... Its sound etching a course like a river through his mind as he looked deeper into the dancing flames, becoming lost in a trance of simple transcendence...

      As if to mock my unfortunate circumstance and best illustrate to me the folly and ignorance with which I had pursued life vigorously, my severed limbs were re-attached in an ad hoc sort of way, then, veins and ligaments were used as strings and I was hoisted up like a surreal marionette puppet... The strings jumped and slackened, and my body, the bloody spectacle that it was lept and twirled in a macabre dance that was not only painful to watch (for having no eyes to close, my sight could not be averted, and Eye was forced to observe), each and every jerk was registered with feelings excruciatingly poignant...

      Episodes of my life, and its sinful content were re-enacted with exaggerated clarity... A satirical comedy being played out there before me... Seeing ones body abused in such a way, was more painful than the feeling of the abuse itself... How, Eye thought to myself, could I have been so stupid?...

      Limbs fell out of socket and were quickly rammed back into place... Joints popped and cracked into inhuman posturations... It appeared as if I were a doll with its stitches coming undone at the seams, and instead of stuffing being lost, my bowels dangled and bounced with the obscene movements of the ligamental tethers...

      Soon my senses swirled from over-stimulation... My hearing dulled from the ferocious roar of the demonic crowds laughing and cheering at my un-intended performance... The only sound heard was a muffled rush, a hum, as if a torrent coursed by my ears if only Eye had ears to speak of... My sense of feeling anesthetized by the extremities to which I was subjected... Touch was reduced to a desensitized numb... My olfactory senses were inhibited by the ozone-smell of a highly charged air... All of which made me un-aware, lost in the turbulence that was my final undoing... All Eye could do now was watch, and even then, as Eye thought more intently, sight was being lost to me as it began to recede away...

      Eye was rising then, my broken body below, seemed a world away. All tactile senses were contained within the dead remains of what used to be me.

      Vision turns away from the events below, to look above and there is seen a barely perceptible glimmer of light as if a subtle sun reflecting off the surface of an ebbing sea.

      The vehicle which moves encapsulates, vision peers out as if through a prism... Rainbows scintillate from the light above, almost blinding in its tranquil warmth. This jewel vehicle continues to soar upwards, a smooth transit as if the medium of movement were of no substance at all.

      The nearer is approached the glimmer of the light, the brighter the light becomes, yet it is not as if the light consumes, but envelopes the jewel vehicle of movement.

      Vision and residual mind integrate into one as thoughts become visions and truth begins its revelation. Soul becomes Spirit, the infinite truth, Perfection, the concept thereof, becomes reality as reality is lost to the myriad worlds turning below.

      ****


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