We are led to believe a lie (2): the eye altering / alters all

by everlivingpoet

Medicine is an interesting word, here, because (speaking of adventures in the spirit world) once some years ago a friend invited me to experience his own personal path of learning, the Native American Church. And, because I knew what an intelligent investigator he was, and what genuine respect he was showing me (without the slightest hint of wanting me to join his path or be converted to it) through the invitation, I easily accepted.

It involved sitting in a teepee all night, as the medicine, water drum, and rattle was passed around and each person led the medicine songs. The songs were incredibly beautiful, and only grew in beauty. Leading the songs was an old Lakota roadman, who dressed all in black and joked about being a scarecrow, because if he walked around in full regalia, people would all keep staring at him. This way he was anonymous. Just an old Native American truck driver. In the center of the teepee was a bright beautiful fire that burned down into a bed of living red coals, like the pulsing heart of the planet. At one point I looked down at the grass and dirt under my legs, and I saw an inexpressible tapestry, in precision detail, of every form of animal life on the planet, all flowing one into the other. A few hours into the night, I was so absorbed in the songs that I literally had no consciousness of time and self. It was just like a flowing ceaseless river, older than the beginning, but ever new.

Suddenly I was nothing but a bodiless mind at the top of the teepee, looking down at everyone in the circle below. Laughter welled up, wonderful mirth, and there was a realization (I can’t say I realized, because an “I” can’t realize this, constitutively) that all my life I’d been looking at the world backwards and upside down, identifying with the little me in time and all of its identifications and attachments, instead of with the spacious awareness unbound in time. Choosing bondage not freedom.

When Blake spoke about believing what we see in “Auguries of Innocence,” that’s what he meant. The eye can alter, if we allow the “I” to be altered, or allow ourselves to see:

He who doubts from what he sees
Will ne’er believe, do what you please.

If the sun and moon should doubt,
They’d immediately go out.