How much time had passed?
This is not where I was a second ago.
I had moved through the rooms of someone else’s house. Each room was sparsely furnished, a strange mix of smells and showing its age. The walls were covered with ink and paint in bizarre forms inspired by figments and monsters. The tenants of each room lounged as close to the floor as possible as the smoke piled high above them, almost obscuring the ceiling. Perhaps a party that has progressed too far, been pushed too long, or else perhaps this was a tweaker pad or squatters’ dominion. I don’t know why I was there.
Suddenly I wasn’t. I was in a hospital. Strange things were happening on the top floors. I wasn’t there; I was in the stairwell, but somehow I knew that the man at the topmost room was flailing violently, half dressed in his street clothes he managed to find with the upper half of him still donning the hospital gown. He was shouting incoherent phrases and gathering ‘weapons’ in a paranoid attack. In my mind’s eye, I saw him fill a bath tub while scrambling to pull wire from the lights and the ceiling. He stepped one foot in the tub as it overflowed and the room filled with white, crackling electricity. Nurses and doctors clamored to get up to the room. Every one of them would be more than a minute late to save his body; they were already months late to save his sanity and years late to save any shred of what could be identified as the man’s Self.
Why is he walking away? What happened?
I try to get him to calm down. My car is still running outside, but I leave it to pursue him, another composite image of all the faces of when things went sour. Apparently we had an argument, but I don’t remember it. He pities himself; he is huffy with me. He pushes me away, saying that he will walk ‘home,’ whatever that tone in which he says the word is supposed to connote. I try my pleas a few more times, but to no avail. I get the feeling that this (whatever it is) is irreparable. I tell him so. “We’ll never get over this, you know that right? It will never go away. This will be the breaking point.” He acknowledges the statement with no more than a shrug. He walks off callously, licking his imaginary wounds. Feelings of disdain and resentment rise up in me; his exit strikes me as unjust.
I am sitting in the car (I think… the images are like ice melting downhill). I am also walking through a different apartment that is supposedly mine. I am also in the pool, talking to high school varsity swimmers. In the car, we are talking about the recent events, about missed meetings or opportunities. In the apartment, I am observing the pieces of furniture that I don’t quite remember. In the pool, I am training the swimmers. The events I mention seem to elude my partner. I am lost in the apartment. The swimmers look a bit rusty. Everything seems strange and off. I start asking questions, giving myself a reality check. I find out that it is the beginning of June, not the end of August. (Is it all the same year?)
I’ve lost time. No, I gained time.
In the car I realize that I have to repeat all the work I just put in, but my vacation and meetings are still ahead of me. Things can be done in a different manner perhaps, but is that appropriate? And how do I know the reset button will not be pushed again? I am filled with conflicting feelings of defeat, anxiety, and intrigue.
From the apartment we can hear a scream from down the hall. “Maggie! NO!” We run to the old woman’s place. We can help save Maggie. This would have never been possible in my other timeline. Maggie was a ferret that had ingested ball bearings, and now she was choking. I was entrusted with her while the woman fetched her keys and my friends tried to get things in order to go to the hospital. She ate 5 ball bearings, and some were lodged too deep for me to work out gently with massage; while she was no longer choking, she needed surgery. It was chaos getting her to the hospital, but I knew that because of our efforts, Maggie would be ok.
With the swimmers, I saw the opportunity to help create a stronger team, one that could succeed where their other timeline failed. I got to know the girls afresh; I got to know what brought out the warrior in them. This is what was to be used to make them unstoppable.
Alejandro Jodorowsky’s Holy Mountain has many lessons and revelations packed densely within the art, the symbols and the spoken lines of the film. One of my favorites (paraphrased) is: “It is the Master that seeks the Student.” It occurs in a point in the plotline after the apprentice has completed many lessons from the Master. They have just finished the Student’s study of the Tarot. They stand on a rotating platform, surrounded by corrupt politicians and industrialists that represent the planetary influences in their most perverted forms. The music has faded out, and in the brief pause, the Master reveals the truth to the Student: that he has chosen the Student as an apprentice, not the other way around. Essentially, the interpretation can fall a number of ways:
1. the Student should guard against the temptation of hubris as if the Master is telling him: “Don’t flatter yourself in your ability in finding a teacher like me; I sought you out.”
2. the Student should be aware of others in the world that wish to capture him. “You were easy to bait; all it took was some knowledge on your psychology.”
3. the Student will one day be able to choose his Students at Will when he becomes a Master. “Once you are a Master, realize and exercise your Will. You know more than Students, and Students are plenty. Choose who suits you and your path; choose those whom which you sympathize or to which you are drawn.With your enlightenment, you can see who needs your help.”
The statement is simple, but yet we find numerous interpretations, messages and layers. A talented Master would speak in levels but would not shy from the truth. Speaking in levels is not the same as ambiguity. The statement that the Master makes is not ambiguous; he flat-out tells the Student that he has chosen him. What is the Student to feel about this? It is ultimately up to the Student. Furthermore, as the Student makes progress, he will be attuned to numerous potentials, equipped to recognize the layered structure of all communication, and, in fact, all of life. Part of the journey is learning to attune one’s mind and also to filter. It can be easy for a less advanced Student to become wrapped up in all the possible negative interpretations of the statement. “Did he mean that I am stupid? Is he saying that I once was that unaware to not recognize when I was called somewhere when I thought I went there of my own free will?” Likewise, it an be easy to become lost in all the positive interpretations: “He likes me best. He must have chosen me for my *insert positive attributes here*. After becoming Master, I will know more than my peers because I am the Chosen One.” Neither extreme is beneficial to spiritual progression as both are rooted in Ego and cyclical in thought patterns. We must realize that we are always in control of the interpretation when greeted with neutral statements. Additionally, we must realize that some statements disguised as neutral, may indeed, be passing judgment. This is where reading nuances and sniffing the air become important. Discretion is a trait born out of experience. It is my opinion that a benevolent Master heeds discretion. As Masters, we must bear in mind that power is not a toy, not unlimited and that we are always Students under another Master, whether it is human, inhuman, elemental, conditional, etc. Masters must always respect the free will of the Student. As Students, we are privy to remember that we always have a choice; we are not bound to the Master (even if we may be bound to the lesson, message or journey).
“Good” Students vs “Bad” Students and “Good” Masters vs “Bad” Masters
Lies. The terms “good” and “bad” are too broad and ambiguous for evaluating Students or Masters. A “good” student may be one that always obeys the Master without question or one who is diligent in his studies. Perhaps a “good” student actually questions authority or the lesson rather than acting as an unthinking doll. “Good” to one person may mean a nurturing and caring Master that looks after his Students, while to another person it means a competent and skilled Master, the best of his trade. For a Master to call his apprentice a “good Student” (or vice versa) is inherently meaningless without knowing the Master or Student personally or knowing the context of their relationship or material studied.
Perhaps one of the first indications of whether we have found the appropriate Student (or Master) is when one evaluates the other. Say you have just emerged from a ring of terror and are badly wounded. Your Master says “Well done. You are a good Student.” How does this make you feel? Do you agree with him? Do your wounds and efforts please you? Have you truly learned something from the ring of terror, or do you feel that you have been subjected to unnecessary, unjust treatment despite what lessons you may have learned in the pit? Is your Master “good” for throwing you into such a trying situation and trusting you to come out on top? Or is he a “bad” Master due to his negligence and obvious callousness towards your emotional well-being?
Every trial is an evaluation period for both the Student and the Master. Despite the common notion that the Master tests the Student, and the Student answers by performing. They both test each other, and they both respond. Essentially, once a Master accepts a Student, a Master is introducing another lesson to himself: how to instruct, how to guide. He is a Student of these processes, and the Student (his progression, success, attitude, etc) is ultimately the one to determine the Master’s success. In this way, the Master is the Student. Once a Student accepts a Master, he takes on the open role as a Student, but what is implied in this role is the ability to be Master of one’s Self. The Student dictates what and how he should learn, and from whom (if anyone) he will learn. In this way, the Student is the Master. A Student is necessary for a Lesson to occur; a Master can be found in forms other than human (and many times is). Yes, a human Master seeks the Student. Do abstract “Masters” seek Students out as well?
I know the place. I’ve come upon it time and time again. Within the last couple years, its occurrence has coincided with the presence of a close friend.
Did I wake up in the old, burnt-out school? I’m still unsure why I’m called back to it so often. Perhaps the eyes that opened in its windows a decade ago still have me in their sight.
It is night and I am looking up at vast skies with quickly condensing and shifting clouds over pinpoint stars and a last-quarter moon. The air is chilly. It must be Fall. The school stands in front of me, with its hollowed innards breaking before me. Open purulent wounds reach for a way to fill the school’s gaping soul.
The experience of it, being near it and in it is hazy… the inhabitants, the spirit, the time loops… all a seeming fabrication of a drugged mind.
And then I am out. I am in another Haus, one filled with young people joyously intoxicated, dressed in bright colors and hemp jewelry. I savor the twilight, the cotton-candy clouds bleeding into the sky as it phases out from red to blue.
Music is playing. People are dancing and laughing. The time stop-starts as images and moments are stretched and condensed, whisked and revealed, made inconsequential or marvelous. Conversations whirl around my head as I float from room to room, landscape to landscape. I cross open fields as I hop discussions. The sky changes before my eyes as my friend stands close to me and we say some words. Something begins to unfold… another world, the sequence of time disrupted and re-established so that one world is a few seconds ahead of the other. The sun had set, but stopped before whirling around to a noon-day position. I see it frozen, not emitting light or exchanging gas, just stationary in its position. A second sun, completely identical except for the position in time and space, meets it at the -2 position. Time elapses before me, accelerated to meet the point in time that my friend talks to me. It is night and both the suns have set.
The Haus and the school blend, and I am unsure what sun I am following. Perhaps I cannot handle the -2, 0 (or 0, +2) positions simultaneously. Perhaps I can handle it all too well, colliding realities into a superimposed collage of shifting opacities. He is with me in the Haus, in the school, in the -2, 0 and the 0, +2. I watch the suns move under my eyelids with my eyes open to catch the transgression of events and people. Two houses, two suns, two times, two of us to move throught them all. 2 on 2 on 2 on 2… I get lost in the multiplication and grin like the Chesire Cat.