Spirit as Imagination

Spirit is pure wave, potential, the dream of a child: all of which, I argue, is imagination.

Few who wish to connect with spirit would be comfortable equating it with imagination. I want to make it clear that I am not downplaying the reality of spirit in any way. For it is also true, as Schrodinger might tell us, that all unobserved things exist solely as waves, solely within potential, solely within the imagination. Yet unobserved things are generally maintained to be as real as observed things. Your partner remains real when she is not in view, as does the rest of the world.

All fiction is merely a reality removed from our sight, but alive some world away.

All that is possible in imagination becomes material, somewhere, somehow. My metaphysics of creation speaks of a great love affair between potential and actualization. Nothingness abounds with absolute potential. Nothingness is a cauldron of roiling imagination. Meanwhile Everything roils with being. Everything and nothing are lovers whose passion bears both being and imagination, the world of Something.

We are children of Everything and Nothing. Our five physical senses tell us of the world of Being, and our imagination is our sensory apparatus of Potential. We live with a foot in both worlds, though many choose not to recognize it.

And when your own being passes from this world, rest assured that the imagination of you – your spirit – returns to the womb of potential until it passes into being again, somewhere, somehow.

Of course this is all my own fancy, and my aim is not to convince but to suggest, to spark someone else’s own ideas. Naturally, I believe that spirit lives in all forms we imagine it.

Ritual, Story, and Reality

To me, ritual is a story enacted with the intention to activate it. Ritual brings story a step closer to ordinary reality and a step away from extraordinary (fantasy) reality. When we talk about thinning veils this is, I believe, what we mean: accessing elements of the extraordinary by transporting them into the ordinary. Or, when a shamanic practitioner journeys, she may look for elements of the ordinary world amid the extraordinary realm of spirit or imagination, so she can bring back answers about daily life. But nothing we can experience is wholly ordinary or wholly extraordinary. It is always some ratio of the two.

So ritual is one means of changing our relationship with the ordinary and extraordinary realms. Yet my previous understanding and experience of ritual leaves me uninspired. I dislike the heavy use of rules and symbology that doesn’t resonate with me. In fact, I dislike practicing anything that doesn’t come forth from my own spirit and imagination. So I need to work on my own concept of ritual.

For me, ritual ought to be used to enact prayer, petition, and spells (things that I wish to happen). If I wish to have a particular relationship with spirit, for instance, I ought to enact that story as a ritual. I believe that ritual can be as symbolic or literal as one likes. Imagination takes centre stage here. Let’s not continue to beat down the imagination for being useless fantasy, and instead value it as our sacred sense of possibility. I want to use my imagination in ritual to enact an extraordinary story, and thus bring it closer to ordinary reality.

In one sense, this might seem to “demystify” ritual, or even reduce it to child’s play. Yet I believe that child’s play is the most powerful magic of all. If ever someone could will themselves to fly, I believe it would be the child who runs off benches, always thinking maybe this time.

For me, ritual is at its best when the practitioner can remain emotionally involved with the story of what the ritual aims to accomplish. So excess obscurity is not helpful. If I cannot find the emotional connection in ritual actions like tying cords or lighting candles, then I ought not to incorporate them. This is not to say that ritual need be emotionally overwhelming or intense, but I cannot go through it like a robot either, distanced from what it is supposed to mean!

So now comes the hard part of deciding what is most important to me spiritually that I would like to create rituals for. What stories do I wish to activate into reality? For now, I think simple things are where to start. I want to activate the reality of being mindful, focused and alert. That would be an excellent morning ritual. I want to enact the story of my deepening relationship with spirit. I want to activate the reality of being grounded and connected to all things.

All these, of course, are merely my own conclusions. I am always interested and respectful of other peoples’ beliefs and practices. I would love to hear what ritual means to you.

Mindfulness

It happens to us all — we struggle to drag ourselves awake in the morning, we get the afternoon slump at work, and feel completely without motivation in the evening. Something keeps us near the dreamworld of sleep, and the waking world is a real downer.

For me, I easily drift into sleep. I always have; I’ve always slept very well and I fall asleep almost instantly, whenever I want to. I also tend to shut down in certain situations — like at work, later in the afternoon, when I’m in a lull and bored. I will literally slump forward, my muscles half-paralysed, and slip into a dream for an instant. And even without falling asleep, I can get spacey and trancey. This dissociative state drags me down. It numbs everything: emotions, energy, motivation, and passion.

I hate feeling sleepy or numb. It’s torture keeping my eyes open when they are closing on their own, and no one wants to go through life disconnected from everyone and everything. So I’m trying some more “out there” techniques for wakefulness, mindfulness, and awareness. It’s about changing my consciousness to be more alert and engaged in the moment. More alive.

For me, true mindfulness and awareness is not found by focusing on my breathing or my surroundings alone. Awareness is being sharply conscious of the outside world, yes, but it is also being conscious of my inner world.  The shamans say we dream the world into being, so it makes sense to me that one ought not seek to empty the mind, but to quietly accept and understand it, just as one accepts the noises that creep from beyond one’s room.

When I look within, I have a very detailed world to visit. I have made it so as a tool to understand myself and my parts (for I identify as a multiple, being composed of many many distinct and individual parts). This way I understand the full complexity of the moment. When I know how my part Pomona wants to meditate quietly, meanwhile Electra and Shiva are riding horses at breakneck speed with Phoenix leading on her griffin, meanwhile the kids are parading with their spirit animals, playing and interacting under a crisp blue sky, I understand how I am really feeling. There is too much in a moment for me to say that I want any one thing at all.

Then, I ground myself in the outer world. I feel my feet flat on the floor and extend my energy to entwine and flow with the Earth’s. I have a small rattle that I can use as loudly or quietly as I like, and I carry it with me always for the purpose of awakening my senses to physical reality. I also have a stone with one side beautifully polished to look like ancient paintings on a cave wall, and its energy is grounding to me. Sometimes I run through my 5 senses, focusing on each one for a moment to really feel what I am seeing or hearing or touching or tasting or smelling. I move my body through space too — grounding shouldn’t be such a still or stiff exercise. Space is an experience we have in the physical world, as is time — trying to experience time more deeply can be mind-bending but fun.

Feeling grounded, I peek again into my mind. I feel more secure and satisfied, seeing that my parts are living a rich inner life.

Inside, Robert helps Branch and Field take out their frustrations on an image of their perpetrator. They yell and raise their weapons high, charging. Meanwhile Alexa wanders off with Carrie to see the faeries and make offerings to the coming Spring season. Colin makes breathtaking, unique birdhouses and Allan wants to make a full-size train system — but to where?

I come back to my surroundings, my feet on the floor. The rattle in my hand. I feel excited by the possibilities life holds. I feel refreshed, and I have an understanding of what I want in all its fullness. I honour my parts’ wishes even though I’m at work and can’t do much for them — I can at least honour their wishes by knowing them and feeling them.

There is a level of self-honesty here that I can’t live without. I can’t pretend that my rich inner world is any less than the real world – for imagination and reality curl around each other in complementary contradiction, each needing, birthing and eating the other.

 

Summerlife

The leaping is easy: suddenly

she inhabits

no worlds, but vaults

their gaps; she sails

a life’s span, teasing

fear with homeless feet. Concealed

time-spans and space-spans await

her, promising to hold

her the way she dreams:

bound and unbound

all at once.

 

The Great Explorer

Self snuck into the toddler’s mind, louder

than jungle-cries. Here, without contradiction

from other selves, the wild child discovered

everything herself. Her senses crept

out like vines, genderlessly, mythlessly,

felt along branches and grasped

hold of the world. Dreams lived

her soul’s other lives, night by night, while jaguars guarded

her body from above. Their eyes never blinked;

she knew rather than believed.

Fundamental Motion

 

Everything is

a shark, moving for a living.

The day you froze, place lost

its room and time lost

its patience, only to snatch

you out of space. You translated

into perpetual light, unseen

like the gaps found

between film’s still frames, dead

but chasing the unborn.

Here in this nowhere, you linger

never and always, spread

into everything and nothing,

as only spirit stops.