A Journey of a Thousand Tongues
(reading the first two parts, Posts 11 and 12, fills in blanks)
The Guests of Unseen Egypt
Walking my dogs where I’ve been walking them for about the past 4 years, I came across a DVD in the middle of the road on my way home. It’s rural India, although it does border middle class India, and only one other time have I encountered a DVD in those dozen or so acres, a piece of one at any rate. What struck me about this DVD was it was the English film The Gods of Egypt. While it isn’t out of the odds of probability to have found it where I found it while I was waiting for word to begin this story about Egypt, what are the odds of doing so? Now I can’t get my hands on the horns of your reductionist materialism with this little example, if that’s how you bag the world, the universe, and everything, but neither do I apologize for the magic which my eyes see in the placement of that DVD.
The last entry from a travel journal written as a report to the world called “The Overthrow of I Am at the Equality of Soul” that chronicles an art action of posting poems of mine in Old Jerusalem, on the top of Mt. Sinai, and at the Great Pyramid:
The Great Pyramid, Egypt
I am sitting in the bottom chamber of the Great Pyramid in Giza where I have paid a policeman three pounds to come down here alone and write and meditate. I am beginning to feel the power of the this place and am seeing much auric light. I will leave two poems down here, “The Overthrow of I Am” and “The Reincarnation of Adolf Hitler”.
On Thursday the 17th of August I posted the poems on Mt. Sinai. As soon as I began taping the 1st poem to the granite, a small boy began to ring the bell of the chapel. He rang it for several minutes, and for a moment or two I thought he was doing it because he saw me begin to post the poems. It turned out he was just being a boy, but, though he was acting randomly, the two events were connected. It was as though the mountain was paying attention to my action. I did not feel at all that the mountain was opposed to my movements. Quite the contrary, I felt as though I was being carried and sheltered in the lap of the mountain, and, especially after the friendly dream, I felt very much as though I was following the process of the mountain. As soon as I put up the last poem on the top, I looked down and found a nice fat joint just half smoked. I didn’t bring any grass because I felt if I was to smoke while I was up there, it would come to me, and it did, but after I finished my work there. Then, high and happy, I went down to Elijah’s Valley just below the summit and meditated for a long time. Then I explored some and placed “The Overthrow of I Am” on a two or three hundred-year-old tree, with tape so as not to harm it.
After, I went down and got my things in the hostel next to the monastery and began to walk to the village. As soon as I got out of the gate and entered the road, I met an Israeli teenager who was very much a part of the peace fast in Jerusalem. He is very, very involved in photography and took many pictures of Lars and I and our camp. Needless to say he was very surprised to see me again. It was a good thing. I needed a chronicler. He was a connecting link to the two phases of this poetic odyssey.
I cannot even begin to describe how incredible this journey is becoming. It is as though I am flowing in the very movement of the world, as at every turn there is someone to meet my needs and help me along the way. If I were to describe to you every incident there is no way you would believe me. This has gone far beyond synchronicity and has reached the level of participation. My soul, my larger real divine self, is directly participating in the movements of my surface life, and it’s the most exciting thing I’ve ever experienced.
Here at the pyramids I plan to finish this writing, but I’d much prefer it to finish itself, because it will be difficult to wrap things up.
I’ve moved to the King’s Chamber and spent a little time lying in the sarcophagus. I don’t think this was a burial chamber but a place used by the living to perhaps touch death and other places. I would very much like to spend the night here. They tell me it’s now closed for the day.
As I left the Great Pyramid I put “The Last Man on Earth” inside the sarcophagus. It seemed very fitting there. I’ve walked around all three pyramids and have stopped at some rocks between the two smaller ones where a large whirlwind captured my attention with its intensity.
This journey is far from over, but this stage of it is coming to a close. It seemed impossible when I first conceived of the idea a year ago. I had just suffered one of the worst defeats of my life, and the idea of taking my poems and my defeat to the ends of the earth at first seemed absurd. To take my weakness, pick it up, and show it to the world appeared a fool’s task. I was Don Quixote, and these places would be my windmills. But there is a strength in weakness, especially when, from constant handling, it becomes weak enough to break open. Then it spills and shows itself for what it really is, a way of becoming strong. We are taught, in our society, to hide our weakness and to be ashamed of it, and that it’s not supposed to be. I think though, it’s the very reason we’re here, and that the nature of the world can be found in the nature of our weakness, and if one of us, with a big enough weakness, one that touched every member of the human family, were to stand up unashamed and uncover their mechanism of weakness, their process of darkness, that everyone within hearing, whether they acted upon it or not, would see not only that one’s weakness but theirs as well. If large numbers of people began to see their own weakness, so much so that they were unconcerned with another’s, within a very short time the world would transform and darkness would leave the earth and not return.
While writing the last paragraph an elderly man, the most distinguished looking of the ‘tourist guides’ roaming around offering their services, sort of like flies buzzing around uncovered food, found me where I was hidden among the ruined walls and leaned down and tried to tongue kiss me, although he’d first given me his hand to kiss, which I had, thinking it was some Egyptian etiquette. I was so overcome with the fact that I was writing about moral weakness—and here was a striking example— that I wasn’t the least bit offended, but I did stop him immediately, warding him off and excitedly telling him he was acting out what I was writing about. Perhaps because my refusal carried no anger or hatred, judgment or self-righteousness, or even any victimness,—although I was still able to nail his behavior on the head by calling it moral weakness, he being an elder Moslem man, and gay behavior is forbidden in mainstream Islam— he stopped throwing his surprise pass, obviously cut to the core, and he straightened himself up and apologized profusely, telling me I was “just so beautiful.” The dignified manner in which he apologized, the look of regret on his face, the pain in his eyes, still stand there in my memory mitigating what would be called sexual harassment today but wasn’t anything that grave. He seemed to be suffering from his pass much more than I, mad at himself, embarrassed in front of me, afraid before his God.
I was dressed like a fruitcake, but for some reason on this creative odyssey many people, especially Moslem men, found me oddly attractive. Maybe my outlandish king-like attire somehow matched the ancient atmosphere of these places I was posting poems at and writing my report. At any rate, why ever they did so, people rolled out the red carpet much more than they showed me the door. I had long flowing hair that came well past my shoulders and wore a wide beaded headband that had beads that sparkled when light hit them. It was Native American and featured a wolf on the forehead. My beard was long, full, and untrimmed. I wore a purple hippie hemp shirt and baggy patchwork hemp pants of different shades of purple. On my feet were of course sandals. The only thing missing was a staff. I was 33.
At 56, I groan now thinking about how I looked, but I have to admit I’ve always been half crazy. It’s actually a bit mad to be telling you now this story in light of the new morality that’s more and more occupying us the more the world goes online. I can only hope it’s not death by social media. Today, if a person is posted on Judgment.com they’re probably finished, that site wherein their moral weakness is in sight of that critical mass of people who, if they react with a fit of hatred and anger, have the power to ruin your life (not in principle all that unlike the power those little girls in Salem had all those years ago when a person accused of being a witch was put before them). Because hatred and anger are the only socially approved reactions to moral weakness, how everyone is expected to react, conditioned to I’d venture to say, reactions that are the backbone of the new morality, more black and white than ever, no one visible on that pandemic site stands a chance.
Meanwhile, back in Egypt, I was a popular hit with many if not most I came into contact with, or a shock. I ended my meditation in the sarcophagus of the King’s Chamber, which I’d walked up into after meditating and writing in my report in the subterranean chamber, when two ladies came in, having been alone in the chamber until their entrance. Hearing them enter I sat up, as I’d been lying down in it unseen, whereupon one of them screamed like she’d seen a ghost, and she told me afterwards, in quite halting English, that she thought she had seen one because of the way I was dressed, like some ancient pharaoh. They were Eastern European, and there was a language barrier between us, but they understood my reason for being there when I explained it to them, more by action than by words, and they took my picture as I taped the poem inside the sarcophagus. As I was doing so 2 or 3 guards came in to tell me I wasn’t supposed to get into it, and that it was time to leave because the pyramid was closing. I reasoned that they must have a camera and had seen me laying down inside it and wondered if they saw me take a piss in the bottom chamber, but I couldn’t see any camera looking around for one. In any event, they were not rude and seemed more amused at me than anything else.
I really didn’t mean to pee inside the Great Pyramid. I meant no disrespect. I just really had to go after being so afraid on the crawling trip down into the bottom chamber. I was overjoyed that I’d been able to bribe the guard to go down there, but that joy quickly turned into fear when I saw the narrow 345 foot passageway that sloped downwards uncomfortably into the distance. It was lighted all the way down though. I had a panic and started to return to the main passageway, already making up the excuse I’d tell the guard, but I swallowed the fear and began the descent, first stooping because there wasn’t room to stand up, then crawling on all fours. Swallowing all that fear was like drinking a couple of liters of water, and I had to pee real bad, although I tried my best to hold it until I left. I explored a bit and sat down to a meditation, but there was no way I could hold it, and so I peed where the floor is uneven and strewn with crumbling debris, ignoring the idea to pee into the well that had been dug to explore possible hidden subterranean chambers, thinking that would be just too much of an insult. I apologized to the pyramid and did my business, greatly relieved, and wrote the last entry in my report, taped the two poems on the tallest things I could find there, and went back up and into the King’s Chamber, as I’ve explained, to meditate there.
Going to see the pyramids was long grooved in my life. On my 12th birthday cake was a very inexact rendition of the three pyramids at Giza, and it had taken awhile to talk my mom into having one made like that. She did not do everything I asked for that cake though, did not put “happy birthday archeologist” as I’d requested, telling me that was just too ridiculous. For the next Christmas I had gotten, among other things, what I’d asked for, two books of Peter Tompkins’, Secrets of the Great Pyramid and Mysteries of the Mexican Pyramids, two very large volumes that sat wrapped under the Christmas tree their secret identities exposed because I’d poured over them in the bookstore so many times. As it was I only read the first one all the way through, but in my journeys after Egypt I did make it to a few Mexican pyramids too.
I also read The Discovery of the Tomb of Tutankhamun by Howard Carter and Arthur C. Mace, which I’d checked out of the school library, and the librarian refused to believe I read it in full, but I’d read the whole thing, every detail it listed of every artifact they took out of it. I had wanted to be an Egyptologist for awhile, but with the passion of an early adolescent, and that passion was focused on the Great Pyramid primarily, which had captured my imagination like the way a sports star or other celebrity did other boys my age. I still wonder over it because I’m convinced when science finally cracks its secret it will have to redefine the world, more in magical terms than material.
Today, you are billed a crackpot or New Ager if you think the Great Pyramid was used for anything other than a tomb for the Pharaoh Khufu or that it’s older than 4,500 years. Flinders Petrie, an English Egyptologist who is credited with putting Egyptology on the right foot, a purely material one, is quoted as saying in regards to the function of the pyramid, “It is useless to state the real truth of the matter, as it has no effect on those who are subject to this type of hallucination.” The book Secrets of the Great Pyramid examines all the theories up to that time in regards to its function and details the history of investigating the pyramid, from the point of view that, whatever it was used for, it wasn’t used simply as a royal tomb. The book is considered a New Age classic and its author, nowadays especially, an uncritical, unscientific crackpot, though an entertaining one.
As a kid what seized my imagination in the book were the descriptions of Alexander the Great and Napoleon spending the night inside the pyramid and getting the daylights scared out of them, both coming out in the morning visibly shaken, but neither said what they experienced. It was reported that on his deathbed Napoleon was asked what happened in there, and he went to tell the person but then said to forget it because they would never believe him.
Good God what was it I asked myself many times when my boyish thoughts turned to the mysteries of the world, hitting in their rounds that pyramid. In the leave no stone unturned and earth uncovering nature of the net, except of course those stones and that earth in our blind spots, it’s come out that Napoleon’s chief lieutenant in Egypt is quoted as saying unequivocally that the emperor didn’t even enter the pyramid much less spend the night in it, and that Alexander the Great couldn’t have either because there was no way inside it until a way was blasted into it in A.D. 820. It’s interesting to note that Napoleon didn’t just take his military into Egypt but also a small army of specialists to examine her antiquities and ancient monuments, so it stands to reason he would’ve had a keen interest in the Great Pyramid and would want to see and experience it, but maybe he didn’t, and maybe Alexander the Great didn’t either, but that wouldn’t mean there’s no mystery to discover inside, no secret the pyramid hides.
It’s probable that, if the actual names are incorrect, people of some note did sleep in there and got scared shitless, since legend often has some basis in fact. A couple of years before visiting the Great Pyramid I did read a factual account of someone more modern spending the night inside, Dr. Paul Brunton, a traveler, mystic, spiritual seeker and teacher, and the account of his experience, chronicled in his book A Search in Secret Egypt, provides some clues as to what the pyramid was used for if you are subject to the type of hallucination that makes you refuse to believe it was just some ego-monument to a pharaoh, a tomb of ridiculous dimensions painstakingly aligned with the heavens and positioned on the earth just so.
Dr. Brunton believed Atlantis was behind the building of the Great Pyramid. For many that would be akin to saying aliens built it, what’s popular to say nowadays, but either way, to credit anyone else but Egyptian architects and slaves, who lived at the time of the pharaoh Khufu around 2500 B.C., with the designing and building of the Great Pyramid, is considered unscientific and just downright dumb. Analogies are by nature usually inexact things, but the following one isn’t. If you lived in Medieval Europe and believed that anyone besides God was the father of Jesus you would be best to keep your belief to yourself or face the consequences. Now, I don’t know who built the pyramid, but I don’t believe regular people did, and nor do I believe it was made to be a tomb for Khufu, and, as a consequence, this story will be put on the nut side of the net, and scientific-minded mainstream-type people won’t take me seriously, and they are the gatekeepers of contemporary literature, and so stories like this one don’t get in. When it’s all said and done they might be considered the ones who wouldn’t face reality as it is and not how they wanted it to be.
There is still so much we don’t know about ourselves, still so much that we can know relegated to things to believe or not to believe in, but although we have the ability to know things we think are only matters of belief, to gain that kind of knowledge requires a hands on investigation into your consciousness that’s not even part of the program of becoming who you are and learning about your world, and no world authority, religious, scientific, or political, will encourage you to make such an inner exploration or generally even tell you it’s possible to make one. To get to that place of knowledge of what once was only belief, where you know for example there’s life after death, or that God is real, or the soul too for that matter, requires a conscious attention on your inner life far beyond what’s considered normal.
You have to have enough conscious contact with those nonmaterial things that you know them as intimately as you do the outer world and its experience, which means a great deal of contact and experience, and that takes a lot of time away from the things of the outer world, and consequently you aren’t going to appear so normal in the first place. Still, society allows this search, quest, school, whatever striving forward you want to call it, in the individual here and there, if there’s some hands on fruits from the oddity. I suspect, especially in the ancient past, in places such as Egypt for example, there was a whole class of people doing inner investigation state-sanctioned and financed, however much they were also made to investigate within set doctrinal and ideological boundaries. I’d venture to say that no one does the beginner’s mind, open ended exploration even today.
Dr. Brunton was a person making inner investigation, trying to be original and open ended about it, though he did start somewhere, a noteworthy and trustworthy individual among people who have made that kind of exploration, but his theory of the function of the pyramid, based on his account of spending one night in the King’s Chamber, which at the time of my visit I took as a prime example of what the pyramid was used for, has not stood the test of time in my own inner investigation. Just as I feel it wasn’t built to be a tomb, I also feel it wasn’t only or originally meant to be a place for initiation into the ancient mysteries, what Dr. Brunton concluded by his single experience. While it does fire the imagination, it’s inadequate to be used as any definitive example of what the pyramid was used for.
Things hide on my way to plain sight. Somehow the co-allusive is real allusive. That’s my muse, inner voice, speaking as though Dr. Brunton is speaking. After an out of body experience inside the King’s Chamber, his inner voice, spoken as though a high priest of ancient Egypt is speaking, which he can see in vision standing in front of him, tells him that he’s “now learned the great lesson,” which is that man has and is a soul, and the soul does not die. At the time of writing his book he saw that lesson as the main object of the ancient mysteries and it seems the greatest lesson life has to offer, but, if my muse is correct, and, as his later writings indicate, he would come to know other lessons equally great.
Be that as it may, I highly doubt the pyramid was orientated towards the discovery of spiritual truths, although in its chambers one might encounter them if one were so aligned because, as I see it, it was designed to exploit the powers of consciousness. It’s interesting to note that, although Dr. Brunton’s great lesson is about the soul, at no point in his experience does he cease from being the ego Dr. Brunton and become his soul, only becomes a pure mental being as he explains it. Although many might argue to the contrary, he doesn’t have a spiritual experience but a metaphysical one because he doesn’t experience ego loss or leave ego consciousness and enter momentarily a higher or deeper one, what in my opinion distinguishes the former experience from the latter. He doesn’t experience a change in identity, only experiences a much broader range of being Dr. Brunton.
In popular imagination ancient Egypt is associated with magic and not spiritual enlightenment, and I don’t think it has it wrong. It errs, I feel, in the kind of magic it imagines, that kind that seeks to overcome the laws of matter such as making objects appear and disappear, transmuting one physical thing into another, and other (pretend) feats associated with the common magician. It seems to me that ancient culture, or more specifically, its class of people tuned into the inner life, was into learning to manipulate consciousness. As I’ve suggested and will now explain further, it’s my opinion that the pyramid was used to enhance the powers of consciousness, powers natural to us but ones largely unknown and unused by the great majority of modern human beings, powers most would call magic they so far exceed our use of our consciousness today, powers that enable one to see and communicate at a distance beyond physical means and project the consciousness to distant locations, not only locations on the earth.
Victims of the quest of magic.
What that victim?
All these monsters
The usage again
to put a man in space,
can you count it?
when it’s the right entity –
a soul rise.
(my morning muse)
Who in reason is in their right mind? As we sit here, me writing and you reading, inter-dimensional extraterrestrial monsters smarter than us are pressing for an inner life hegemony on the earth, the real ‘child molesters’, while other aliens, also from another dimension, this one of mind, beings so far advanced in terms of consciousness we call them gods and divine beings, are both preventing that inner conquest and aiding us to advance, within their limits of course, and all this is going on right under our noses and directly affects the inner life of each and every one of us, and, consequently, the make and motion of our outer lives individually and collectively. And that’s not all, far from it, but that’s enough to bring into the picture so to get the picture we as science are missing something critically important about the world. We apply that ignorance to everything, the function of the Great Pyramid for example.
After spending some hours in the pyramid grounds at night after closing, I decided not to seek permission to spend the night inside the big one. I basically chickened out, although it’s doubtful I could’ve gotten permission to do it anyway. The whole experience at the plaza, the day part and the night part, was all a bit much and on the negative side, especially after the second sexual pass I had to thwart combined with the feeling that murder was on the man’s mind and the long unlit walk out I made through an endlessly stretching graveyard in order to avoid the guards and get away fast from Mr. Grab, what happened in the night part, which I’ve yet to relate. It all backed up the overall feeling that had been creeping up on me during my short time inside the pyramid: this is not the safest of places.
Besides the lascivious men, other-worldly things crept about and could get you if you got inside stupid enough, and what I mean by stupid is at a depth you can’t handle, hands on spirit real, and you don’t have enough of a grasp on spirit to protect yourself. I had enough of a grasp to know I could really get into some serious trouble. I knew non-material beings and places are real, and I sensed that inside that pyramid was a sort of ‘manmade’ portal to other places, where one might encounter creatures from another world, although I didn’t formulate it then as specifically as I do now as a doorway, but I did know back then I could really get fucked by something really fucked up if I opened up certain doors, and so no thank you summed up my decision not to spend the night inside the Great Pyramid.
I was also still somewhat embarrassed with myself for peeing in it, knowing that meant something not so respectful, necessary though it was, but I was thankful I didn’t have to take a dump inside, which would mean something much more disrespectful, like shitting on it. You would wonder though, at what it represents in the story of redemption itself, the impetus to this creative odyssey, if you’ve read the preceding parts. I can perhaps put that as taking a piss on our sense of mystery in the world, our belief in magic, our feeling that God is real and the soul true. It would’ve been really bad if I had to take a dump.
Regardless, there at the pyramids, not yet aware of all the implications and meanings of peeing, I feared by taking a piss I might’ve offended whatever it was that met you inside it, not looking on it as something compassionate and understanding if you know what I mean, and I didn’t want to start with that handicap. I opted for doing a meditation inside one of the smaller ones at night, one where I knew I wouldn’t be disturbed and I could meditate as long as I liked, although for me they did not generate the same aura of mystery the great one did. I was going to use the meditation as a gauge to see if I wanted to try spending the night inside the big one.
A night meditation in the smaller pyramids wasn’t permitted, at least in its normal operation and as a normal guest, as the whole place had a parameter and was guarded, but it was possible if you made prior arrangements with one of the grassroots tourist guides, and I had done that with a young Moslem man slightly older than I if I remember correctly.
I had thought he’d wait until after the laser show to sneak me into the smaller pyramid because it meant climbing the side to get to the entrance, since we couldn’t just walk up to the entrance in plain sight from the front. The guide insisted we do it soon after closing, and that meant during the laser show. That meant skirting the searchlights to get to the pyramid and climbing the side in sort of a leap frog wait here and minute manner because colored searchlights swept by us every minute or so like they were searching more for escaping prisoners than providing entertainment, how I experienced it anyway, with both the thrill of escape and fear of capture. The booming recorded (English was it?) voice accompanying the searchlights, so civil, slightly excited even, did help to dispel that feeling of being an escapee, but it was a bit out of this world too under the thrill and dread of the circumstances and didn’t really help to make me feel better about being there in the first place. The guide seemed to know the routine of the lights and hence where to be when, and we got in without being detected.
I don’t remember how far we went in before he stopped and we sat down, him wanting a massage of all things at such a time and place. To him I probably looked more like a flaming fag than an ancient pharaoh, or even a fruitcake, with my long flowing locks of hair and baggy purple clothes, and he had other things in mind than just me doing a meditation. Struck by how odd it was he wanted one, but having lived the past couple of years in a hippie community where massages and hugs were as common as handshakes you took and gave, I began to rub his shoulders, but doing it with hands that did not carry emotion in them. He was a man, and I had no attraction to him in the least. My willingness to touch him he took for permission to grab my crotch, which he turned around and did, a bit forcefully, and I had to pry him off me.
Being a man back then that looked quite feminine, in a freakish sort of way, and being a Western tourist, and someone just passing through, I’d gotten my butt pinched a few times in the old city of Jerusalem by Muslim men, enough to suspect I was looked at like a woman by more men than those who pinched me. Just outside the old city, one Muslim Palestinian, accompanied by a small group of men, had threatened to rape me, as he put it, “drag me in the bushes, fuck me first, then kill me,” as I relate in the first story of this creative odyssey, “Behind the Mask Jerusalem.” Here in Egypt it seemed no different, and it made me wonder if I would’ve gotten the same treatment anywhere in the Muslim world as diverse and multi-cultured as that world is. One thing common throughout, of the societies where Islam is the dominant religion, is that access to women is restricted, and in some cases even just looking on their face or at their hair is forbidden to do in public, something debated quite a bit today. Somehow I doubt Islam would be willing to admit more prolific homosexual behavior as a result, of the casual kind, not the kind where a man identifies as being gay. The kind where one would let a penis and an anus do.
Telling this story 23 years after the events related, try as I might I can’t remember everything that happened inside that pyramid that night, or even which smaller pyramid I went into, only the massage and sexual pass the tourist guide threw and shortly afterwards being in a situation where I felt he wanted to kill me. I don’t remember the journey to a room of almost total darkness we ended up in, but I do distinctly remember I sat with the man near a large hole in the floor. He’d said beforehand we couldn’t use a flashlight because we might get detected, and so it took my eyes some time before I became aware we sat before a large dark hole in the floor that I could not see a bottom for. He was telling me to blindly jump in that hole and do my meditation. It was a chamber he told me. I argued with him, by this time paranoid he was trying to have me jump to my death, and I mean, under the circumstances and the huff he was in for being refused his sexual advance, it would be natural to assume you are at least in big danger. I did not make the jump, much to his disappointment, and we left the pyramid, and I don’t remember the journey out either. I just vaguely remember breaking off with the man once we got outside the pyramid, abruptly, and heading for the graveyard that bordered the plaza on the Cairo side so to get out and not the way he wanted to take me.
Once inside the graveyard I regretted my decision. In my travels I’ve slept in graveyards because they are usually quiet, clean, grassy places where you can be relatively alone. Doing that and being a mystic, I’ve had a handful of encounters with the spirits of deceased people, only one menacing. Here I had not started off on the right foot, and I was on the run from the otherworldly, and going from the pyramid plaza to a cemetery at night just did not lift me out of that worldview. It’s an old Moslem graveyard of a more modern era, and maybe some graves are a couple of hundred years old or more, but I don’t know if that’s the case. I didn’t look at gravestones. I just ploughed ahead dodging graves and statues as best I could trying to get to the end of the thing as fast as I could without outright running. After what seemed like an hour but probably was more like 20 minutes, I began to doubt there was an end to get to. Finally, there it was.
Getting back into normal civilization, in this case a greater Cairo neighborhood, did not get me out of the woods. It was late, somewhere around international closing time. I didn’t wear a watch back then because I didn’t want to be a slave to time, and I don’t now, but things have really changed since then in regards to what keeps the time on us, and I’d have to explain I don’t carry my cell phone everywhere nor reset the time every time I drop it and the battery falls out. The street was deserted, and I knew the buses would not be running too much longer, and I had no idea which one to take to get back to my hostel nor even where a bus stop was. I began walking down a street that was lined on both sides by residences stacked high one on top of another no break in-between them, looking for a bus stop. Before I got very far a man spotted me from a slight distance, the only other person on the street besides myself it was so late, and he came directly up to me, smiling a big smile. He asked if I were American, and I said yes, a bit wary of course. He was being such an excited kid about meeting an American he put me at ease. He invited me to his house to meet his family, especially his young son, who really wanted to meet an American he told me, and there I was again before an abyss being urged to jump in.
You would expect me to politely say no thank you and make a quick exit from the conversation in light of preceding events, in light of a lot of things, but at that moment I remembered Alison, if that was indeed his name (over the years it’s people’s names that escape me most), an 18-year-old boy from Amsterdam I traveled in Israel with after the peace fast and poem postings in Jerusalem. My memory involved watching him follow some men into a cave without the slightest hesitation. They had invited the both of us to see something ‘very nice, very nice” inside, not knowing enough English to say much of anything other than that. The entrance was a dark rough-hewed opening of a tunnel on the side of a small mountain where there was a mikveh fed by a spring issuing from it. I did not know how far into the mountain the tunnel went or where it went. I did not know these rough looking Israeli men. I had 700 shekels in my pocket I’d spent weeks working for doing daily labor in Tel Aviv. I was also very stoned on some strong skunk the men had smoked with us, and I was very paranoid.
We had been picked up by one of the men while hitchhiking to Jerusalem from Tel Aviv. In the car the man turned to us in the backseat and asked, more in sign language than with words, if we wanted to smoke some pot. We really did look the part, and we really did want to get high. Yes, yes, yes was our excited answer. We waited and waited for him to spark up, but he didn’t. I got a little edgy when he pulled off the highway and onto a dirt road, but we came shortly to an abandoned village and parked, and since there were people milling and sitting about, not a lot but enough to know they weren’t all related, I relaxed. He took us to a spot under the trees where his friends were waiting. They had a large vicious-looking dog tied to one of the trees. They did not appear, how would you say?, refined men. They got us high and urged us to come with them to the mikveh, obviously wanting to show us something. Whether or not it was an idea that popped into their minds as result of getting high, or it was a preplanned maneuver take us somewhere so to knock us over the heads so to take our money, I could not tell. Stoned and under the influence of pot paranoia, I was leaning towards the latter. However much a peace pipe it’s billed to be, pot doesn’t oftentimes give you such a friendly feeling. When I saw it was a cave’s mouth they took us to, I was convinced they meant us no good.
They stood a minute or so outside the entrance to the tunnel motioning us to follow and repeating over and over, “very nice.” Obviously they knew how it looked. They went in, and I couldn’t believe Alison just followed them inside. Well, actually, I could believe it. In Tel Aviv he had succumbed to a temporary malady affecting especially adventure travelers: going off the deep end in the absence of any real social structure. He’d stopped saying more than a few words at a time, stopped bathing and changing clothes. His hair was a mass of mad curls and sand. I had taken him under my wing and was making sure he ate and didn’t come to stink too much. I was also watching out for him because he was wide open to anything and anybody. I tried to stop him from going inside the tunnel, but he ignored me completely. I danced on one foot then the other for a few seconds, and then I followed him inside, sure I’d meet a knock over the head.
You had to slightly stoop to walk through it, and it went in straight and narrow some 10 meters or so directly into the mountain. It came out into a large roughly oval shaped room aligned top, bottom, and sides with shining crystals. The ankle depth water flowing around about gave the place a magic feel, what with all the dancing of the light reflecting the crystals in a darkened cavern-like space. The men were obviously proud to show us this, and greatly pleased to share it, and they took the kind of pleasure that gets the biggest kick out of you feeling it too, sharing the experience with you, as they were as excited about our pleasure as theirs. They did not want a single thing in return except to share that with us, and we were complete strangers to them from a different land and language. As I see it now they were very refined men, and they were kind.
The experience, happening just weeks before coming to Cairo, had been a lesson for me that sometimes you just go with someone no matter what it looks like because it may have something for you you’ll both greatly enjoy and highly need, like it’s something from the divine or something setup-wise so good it is to you. Maybe I missed a great meditation not applying that lesson to jumping in that hole inside the pyramid, but that was just too much of a test of how much I will trust. Here with this friendly man, it was easier. So, remembering Alison, I politely accepted the man’s invitation to his house and followed him down the street and onto a side street and up flights of stairs to a small apartment full of the warmth of a smiling family wanting to meet an American. With him I smoked a hookah (tobacco) for the first time, and tasted again Arab hospitality.
After a short visit, where he made sure I was refreshed and ready to travel on, he took me to the bus stop and waited there until the correctly numbered bus came, and he put me on it and waved goodbye. I think it was the very last bus of the night, and I returned to my hostel feeling much better. The following day I went to the Museum of Cairo. The ticket taker let me in for free, I think just for being different. That was good because at that moment 10 pounds was a lot of money to me. Inside the museum was like touching a circle together, as I saw firsthand many of the artifacts I’d read about when I was 12. And on those higher notes of hospitality and a 12-year-old’s wonder, I left Egypt on the bus for Israel, and a week later I was in India.
Time has killed the sense I had then that I was actually posting good poetry. I’m embarrassed to have thought that. It’s in the over simplified language of a nursery rhyme, but it’s meaning is quite dense, too dense in meaning and too simplistic in form to call good poetry, but maybe with the very short and to the point attention span of the net, and it’s love of simple shiny device, it might be appreciated at least as poetry at its most puerile, as doggerel poetry. The ideas and ideals the poems embody, however, aren’t infantile, and they might even be appreciated as high ideas and higher ideals that do us good to read, and, despite everything, net readers also like a good read. I wrote these poems and similar ones before I discovered my own muse. After years of developing that inner hearing discovery, I’ve had to throw out the idea that I have ever written or ever will write good poetry. I still have the same flaw of cramming deep ideas into shallow language, in this case conversational English with a twist, but now it might work a better and more lasting poetic spell because it’s how it’s meant to be, what comes naturally, not what I make up to try and sound poetic.
As I relate in the first story, the one set in Jerusalem, I began this creative odyssey as a result of tripping over my penis in a small community where I had come to some measure of prominence for grassroots social work and community level dreamwork. The journey of posting the poems and writing the report was something I did for that community more than for the world at large. I sought redemption, and I saw myself as doing penance for my wrong, and it didn’t escape my notice, nor should it yours, that often along the way I encountered situations that reminded me of my wrong, made me face it from the opposite direction, not as the wrongdoing, but either trying to protect myself or someone else from being sexually violated or being a victim myself, as defined by the new morality at any rate, but none of what I encountered as unwanted sexual advances, even the death threat one related in the Jerusalem story, caused the degree of trauma that would make me a victim in the sense of what that word implies, that someone messed you up. It seemed to me, and still does, that embarking on that odyssey involved surrendering to the powers that preside over such journeys of penance and redemption, divine powers as I encounter them and as they operate, a willingness to sacrifice even my life if necessary, and those powers took on my case and had me go through the lessons and hardships I needed so to give back to my community what I took from it: it’s faith in itself, it’s willingness to trust and believe, it’s dare to hope, in short, it’s innocence.
I made the mistake of only communicating with a single person from the community, and only with him for the Jerusalem part of it. I figured he was the best person for the job. He had helped me get out of town so I wouldn’t be beaten up, escorted me to the bus. He was centrally located at the only bookstore and was a dedicated 60’s style community activist in a place where that still fit. It happened he lost my correspondence and told no one about it nor about the journey of redemption. I had especially wanted it read to whom it most concerned, the person I tripped on, but he didn’t read or give it to anybody, just left it among all his papers under the counter until it was lost, what he said upon my short return some two years after I’d left. He did say it made him cry it was so honest and heartfelt, but he stopped communicating with me after that brief visit, and so you have to wonder if it was all that ‘strike the cords of sympathy’, ‘I hear you guy” as he said it was. At any rate, I’m telling the story again 23 years later, though this Egyptian part of it I’ve never written down until now. I’d like to believe putting it on the world wide web will make it easier to identify. I can only hope it’s not like believing in Santa Claus.
The greatest fact of our material existence we are all but blind to. We don’t even have a practical language for it it’s so unseen, and yet we live in an ocean of one another, are so into each other’s stuff it’s not even funny, inside and out, cannot even tell the difference between ourselves and others sometimes we so live and breathe one another. Inclusive terms and words such as civilization, society, culture, humanity, the human race or species, etc. group us together as separate individuals within the larger group, but they don’t give the hands on idea the group is a holistic entity that each individual is an integral part of, imply no sense of intrinsic oneness or underlying unity, no notion of a shared common identity. I say the greatest fact of our material existence because this common shared identity does not stop with just other humans but includes all things, God even, but in the material field, in the world, it’s other human beings that are the most immediate to our experience in terms of the dos and don’ts of our daily lives, the think and act feel and be of our mutual existence, inside and out, where it is we begin seeing the underlying unity, right here at our own house in human unity. The moment we got our hands on that, as my muse puts it, even a tree would not sink from hope.
We do have a hands on sense of a shared identity, but more in negative terms than positive, in ways that bring yet more division and polarization within humanity than unity, such as the outrage we feel when someone has violated someone else, the sense that now they have a debt to pay back to everyone and not just the victim, or the hate or mistrust we feel for other groups in humanity because we so completely identify with our own, be that a clan, ethnicity, nationality, race, gender, sexuality, religion, political party or particular ideology, or even a friendship circle. The results of this negative sense of human unity can most clearly be seen in the behavior of a mob intent on hanging someone, which happens every day on the net, or an individual who’s strapped a bomb to their chest or put a gun or knife in their hand or murder on a steering wheel hell bent on killing everyone not in their group, which happens every day on the earth. We literally can’t see the forest for the trees, and at just about at every turn, we throw out the baby with the bathwater, as a point of pride in most cases.
Between the time I posted the poems and now the Internet has intervened, what I did not foresee, what has made my journey of redemption basically null and void since the net has so amplified our negative sense of a common identity, to the nth degree. It’s polarizing us in ways we would not have thought possible before its advent, and it’s creating a new morality, one even more black and white than the old one. What was once frowned upon before the net is now intolerable, but, if you did it when it generated only a frown, you’re held accountable for it now when there’s zero tolerance for it, which means you’re ruined. The gravity put on speech and act, the dead seriousness given to the least little gaff or moral blunder, is making the human condition more and more illegal. Nowhere is this more apparent than in regards to sex, what I’ve argued elsewhere is the heart of our morality, why it’s centerfold on the net. Today any unwanted sexual advance on any person of any age is being reduced to rape such is the gravity we give it. God help you if you’ve fondled a child.
I sit sometimes so surprised at all the smart people, journalists, politicians, professors, scientists, doctors, religious leaders, and the like, even artists, who sit at their computers and overreact no differently than the average Joe or Jane. The Internet has put a microscope on us, and being the hypocritical moral-minded creatures that we are, we’re focusing in on the dirt. Although the net has amplified it, we are not looking at anything that hasn’t been in humanity since the beginning of history. Seeing it up so close and in such ugly detail, our first reaction is to stop it. ‘Not one more time!’ rings the hastag.
Our reaction is not unwarranted or uncalled for, because beneath that dirt hides so much pain and suffering, for all parties involved, victims and victimizers alike. It’s just that it’s self-righteous, hypocritical, and blind, is not a reaction based on true values and real identities, isn’t founded upon the underlying reality of unity but on the belief of the separate individual. Get that guy! It’s the way we have always dealt with wrongdoing: react, accuse, and punish. If there’s one thing the net should teach us is that the way we try and stop it only adds fuel to the fire, however many bad actors are taken out of the picture. You just have so many rising up to take their places.
Overcome the prejudice of seeing the bad guy.
This is a non-judgment veggie.
It wasn’t the world over.
It was right in front of you.
Imagine a world where every person put humanity and the world where people now put their family, nation, race, gender, sexuality, religion, or whatever have you. It’s the global identity being bounced around here and there, but no one in any position of power is taking it seriously. What gets the press are the hundred and one problems that result from not having such an inclusive identity. It would be where, instead of being told and taught from birth onwards that you’re first a Jew, an American, Chinese, Russian, white, black, a Moslem, a Christian, a Hindu, a man or woman for that matter, you’re taught you are the world first and whatever else second, and just like you can still be an individual within your subgroup, you can still be one with all the trimmings in the original main group. You might can see how many problems get solved if everyone on earth would look at the world and humanity in that way.
In practical terms, where we really get our hands on the thing, that would mean each and every human being is as intrinsically important as any other, regardless of their position in society, not the same in the sense as being the same or having the same abilities, capacities, development, or needs, but as important as anybody else, the serf as important as the king, the poor as the rich, the woman as the man, the adult as the child, the violator as the victim, and on and on, which is what the higher ideal expressed in such sayings as all men are created equal and love thy neighbor as thyself is getting at, oneness. It’s not ‘there I go but by the grace of God’ when looking on someone less fortunate than yourself, but there I go.
In such a personal set of circumstances, not just feeling empathy for all but a living sense of a shared identity, you’re not going to just walk away and not help someone, whoever they are. You also wouldn’t get offended by their mess, if they’ve made one, and with that non-judgmental understanding attitude be in a better position to help convince them they need to clean it up and let you help them do that. When you apply this attitude to criminal behavior, sexual or otherwise, you have what’s been missing in the formula crime and punishment, what would make it more equal to stopping crime.
It’s really common sense if you look at it. Not knowing where it comes from because we are all but unconscious of the intrinsic oneness, we have the expectation that people should treat others with respect, be empathetic, not look on women for example as objects of sex, not take advantage of the innocence of children, and so on, all a part of the general human-wide expectation that you should be good to others and not bad. We believe it’s some code we adopt and follow at the same time we feel someone should just naturally assume this attitude towards others, in other words, have it innate. People who do not have empathy for others, disrespect and harm others, we look at as more animal and less human, call them monsters, predators, and what have you. We are outraged at their behavior, hate them, disrespect them, and have no empathy for them. We just want them to pay for what they have done. We never ask ourselves how can we expect them to have empathy for others, the kind that you feel for everyone that keeps you from harming anybody, the kind that makes you feel remorse if you have, when we have none for them, and they’re somebody. Is the violator the only one here acting like an animal? Isn’t it supposed to be a preexisting empathy for all?
We come to my redemption. I’ve kind of let that go for the most part because I have to face the facts, but, like I still write poetry although I may not be much of a poet, am even writing an epic poem that I’m unlikely to finish or is even likely to be an epic, I’m still writing my redemption. And I do so knowing that in today’s morally indignant world it’s more likely to bring me ruin than redemption if the story were to get out. It’s gone beyond that hippie community. I’m half mad, like I said, to tell such stories today.
I can take comfort in the fact there seems to be a moratorium on my web work, due either to it being too low in quality to attract any attention, or for the opposite reason, and it’s just over everyone’s head. I’ve posted some pretty controversial stuff over the years, the kind that explodes so easily on the net, but in my case nothing detonates. I am actually thankful for this, and I hope it stays this way.
I do believe in miracles though, and anything is possible in this worldwide movie we are all starring in unawares. If I’m able to do anything at all with my net footprint, it’s give some sense that the world goes deeper than we even dare to hope. I’m not talking grave here, about heavens and hells, gods and devils, but about who we really are, each one of us, outside of the movie. It’s the greatest fact ever. We are not our name. We are not what happens to us wearing that name. We are not even what we do. We are more than the world, go higher than heaven, and greater than the universe, are actually actors upon a stage, avatars of a gamer, or, if you like, do live in a computer simulation, all apt symbols for the unknown we are using the known to figure, and if we can but get some sense of this, we wouldn’t take ourselves so seriously, would be able to take what comes much better, be much more resilient, not so prone to suffer strong and lasting after effects when something happens to us shockingly real. In this world something like that eventually does.
What the fuck?
Leave ‘im alone.
That means not gonna hunt for you.
Thanks, real nice of ya.
Questions and Answers
hefty in your conversation.
- https://www.nytimes.com/1971/09/12/archives/secrets-of-the-great-pyramid-by-peter-tompkins-illustrated-416-pp.html A review of the book by The New York Times
- My own experience with out of body travel in the article “You’re Like Wow, That Really Was Enchanted by a Rock” suggests this possibility of leaving the earth, but, as I was unsuccessful in my attempt, it would seem more is needed to achieve it, using a carefully constructed ‘launch pad’, the Great Pyramid for example, could help facilitate it. And, although it’s not included in the text, the pyramid might also have been used to travel in time, within limits of course, and I base this possibility on an out of body experience I had where I traveled in time, related in the article “The Epic of Man”.
- Sri Aurobindo expresses this same idea in his writings, but it came to me soon after the experience of Supermind, years before I read Sri Aurobindo, and so I don’t credit him as my source for the idea.
- The articles, “The Sponsored Man; What’s Bigger Than the Universe? Hang On, What’s Bigger Than Anything?” and “Help You From the Rear View Mirror” amply elaborate on this movie theme as well on what identity is beyond ego.