Since anonymously publishing Love in the Broken-Bird World, I have been deeply conflicted about whether or not I should disclose that it’s mine, for the rather obvious reason that I’m afraid of being branded delusional, psychotic, or just a no-account scammer (I am none of those things). I’ve also thought that perhaps everything contained in it was meant for me only, and that to send anything like it “out into the world” always seems to lead inevitably to misunderstanding and distortion (as with, say, for example, religion, to a large degree).
On the other hand, I woke up this morning thinking about something that’s occurred to me many times since the whole experience described in the book started–that perhaps it’s that kind of fear of being labelled and/or misunderstood that has kept people from being open to more than what’s right in front of their faces (or, as the Hopi might say it, “closing the doors on top of their heads”). Aside from a few understandably frightening experiences at the beginning of my own experience about six years ago, the overall outcome of it all for me has been incredible joy, peace, and even bliss (things not normally associated with, say, schizophrenia). There is more about all of that in the preface of the book, which you can read using the “Preview” feature on the book’s Amazon page (see below) without actually having to buy the book.
A little later this morning, I just happened to come across something about Carl Jung’s “Seven Sermons to the Dead”, which I’d never heard of (I’m embarrassed to say that, although I keep meaning to, I still haven’t read any Jung at all). In a commentary I read about the work, I found a quote of Jung’s about the experience that began it all for him. The description was remarkably similar to some of the things that I experienced very early on (there have been many different, and often more subtle, things that have happened since that rather boisterous awakening), and my coming across it seemed to reinforce the thoughts I’d had earlier this morning. This is what Jung said:
“It began with a restlessness, but I did not know what it meant or what “they” wanted of me. There was an ominous atmosphere all around me. I had the strange feeling that the air was filled with ghostly entities. Then it was as if my house began to be haunted….
Around five o’clock in the afternoon on Sunday the front doorbell began ringing frantically…but there was no one in sight. I was sitting near the doorbell, and not only heard it but saw it moving. We all simply stared at one another. The atmosphere was thick, believe me! Then I knew that something had to happen. The whole house was filled as if there were a crowd present, crammed full of spirits. They were packed deep right up to the door, and the air was so thick it was scarcely possible to breathe. As for myself, I was all a-quiver with the question: “For God’s sake, what in the world is this?” Then they cried out in chorus, “We have come back from Jerusalem where we found not what we sought/’ That is the beginning of the Septem Sermones. (Memories, Dreams, Reflections, p190-1)”
(It was in particular his description of the “thickness” of the atmosphere, and the sense of there being a “crowd” present, that resonated with me.)
Finding that led me to look up again something I’d looked into on a number of occasions in the past; I Googled, “psychosis versus spiritual emergence.” This time I found a paper written by Dr. Nicki Crowley entitled, “Psychosis or Spiritual Emergence–Consideration of the Transpersonal Perspective Within Psychiatry” (one could also, of course, read the work of Stanislav Grof). This section also resonated with me:
“Psychotic phenomena such as delusions and hallucinations…follow clinical observations, which in western society are understood as symptoms of illness. This is based on the assumption that we understand the nature of ‘reality’, and that there is a narrow band of ‘normal’ perception, outside of which there is little useful potential. That certain dramatic experiences and unusual states of mind could be more than part of a purely pathological mental state, and hold some potential for personal growth and transformation is the subject of this paper.”
I have, as a result of the things that have happened to me over the past six years, come to firmly believe that we are trapped by just that–the arrogant belief that we are capable of truly understanding “the nature of reality.” There is great freedom in taking absolutely nothing for granted, in not being limited by what others tell us is the “truth” (if there is such a thing), in “not believing everything you think.” I don’t know how to explain that any more clearly; it’s probably something one has to come to on one’s own. (I do want to be clear in saying that I’m not a person who doesn’t believe that there is such a thing as mental illness–clearly, there is, and in most cases it must be utterly terrifying and destructive.)
The latter is also the case with Love in the Broken-Bird World. Although some of the “sayings” it contains are quite straightforward and could possibly be useful to others, much of it seems to be geared solely to me and my understanding of things at the time (within the context of other things that I’ve been hearing or that have been happening). There are parts of it that even I don’t understand, or that can be understood on many levels (or, as one of the sayings in the book goes, “…hearing, within the same song, fifteen different choruses”).
My point here, I guess, is simply that I know at this point that there is much more to things (a clumsy way to put it, but the best I can do) than what we tend to limit ourselves to. As I was often told at the beginning of whatever it is that has been happening to me over the past six years, Let it happen. If the result is consistently love and compassion, trust it (that sounds hokey, but if you experience it you’ll know what I mean). If it’s anything else, my strong suggestion is that you see it as a problem and seek help with it right away, particularly if there is any suggestion at all that you harm yourself or anyone else.