The Vision: A Spirit Journey to Your True Self
(Adapted from The Twice-Stolen Necklace Murders)
Envision yourself standing at one end of an open field in a very remote area. At the far end of the field is the edge of a forest. See yourself moving across the field and toward the woods. As you walk closer to the edge of the forest, see a gap in the trees that allows clear access to a trail. Follow that path through the woods, noticing the sounds along the way. Walk until you reach the side of a small creek bed. Turn to the right and see yourself walking along the bank of a branch, one of those small, usually V-shaped mini-gorges, cut into the ground ten to twelve feet at its deepest, not as much by rainwater as by constantly flowing springs that surface from below. Observe an emerald-green moss that covers the walls and the bed; it seems to shine with a luminescence in spite of the fact that the thickness of the overhead foliage prevents much sunlight from striking the creek bed or the sides of the chasm. The earthen walls look rough-edged, for stones jut out all along the way, their tips exposed by years of erosion. Colors typical of the region come into view along the way: earth-tones, rust-colors, and sometimes blackness, but always brightened by the ever-present grayish and fluorescent-green moss.
As you parallel the edge of the creek on the beginning of this journey, see yourself reaching a place where the land slopes sharply, and the watery swath cut into the earth follows the oblique contour of the land. Next to the slanting branch rests a series of natural, sandstone steps descending to a granite arch twice the height of a human. From the arch shines a pure white light. An illumination this bright should easily blind you, but instead it soothes you. It seems to spotlight the steps, and as you move down the stones, first your feet and then your legs and then your torso become bathed in the glow. Eventually, by the time you reach the dead-flat area at the bottom of the natural walkway, you stand before the arch, and the luxuriance of the light baths you fully in its warmth. The clear spring waters from the branch flow through the archway, and you follow.
Stepping inside, you look over your shoulder to see that your physical body has remained outside the arch. You sense some degree of separation from the material. When you turn to see where the arch has led, you notice that the spring waters have suddenly multiplied into a slow-moving stream. The stream runs the length of a plateau and then cascades over the edge at the far end. You will soon see that the waters drop from the highland and then flow, in waterfall fashion, down the cliff side and into a pool some twenty feet below.
Trees line either side of the stream, and you begin walking through them toward the sounds of the water crashing below. Astonished, you noticed that you are literally walking through the trees. As you progress, fauna of several species join you: a black bear rubs against your leg in the manner of a docile housecat; a cougar does the same on the opposite side, and each playfully swats at the other as if to proclaim dominion over both of your legs; a lamb skips along ahead as a heron brings up the rear. He walks as if on stilts, taking more time than needed, looking rather judgmentally, it seems, at the wasting of energy by his peers.
As you near the edge of the cliff, you walk across the top of the water, not becoming wet at all; your new companions either lead or follow. As you approach the left side of the plateau, the animals nudge you toward a winding walkway of sorts, cut from the stone side of the cliff naturally, definitely not made by man. After swinging down and around and back to your right, you find yourself on a level piece of ground jutting out from the side of the cliff. You see that a pond is overflowing, part of its waters cascading down the cliff side and pooling in another flat below.
That same pattern repeats itself until the waters reach a level valley. You watch the falling waters eventually form a river that winds its way across the desert basin. Along the river has sprung up a variety of shade trees. All else appears brown and dry. Then in the far distance, hills grow into mountains. In the forefront arise huge columns of stone, cathedral-like, forming spires of varying shapes and heights. The colors vibrate with life, offering images of the blues and oranges and browns and beiges like those of Venetian palazzos when reflected in the waters of the Grand Canal.
In the far distance to the left stand even grander mountain ranges. Puffy clouds float slowly across the sky. You focus attention on a fire burning next to the pool, and you feel yourself being nudged there by the bear, nudged in a very persuasive way. Then, from behind the cougar lifts its front paws onto your shoulders, forcing you into a cross-legged, seated position before the campfire. Finally, all four animals form a semi-circle around you, from your left side, behind you, and to your right.
Looking at the animals quizzically, you notice that each is focusing on an object in the distance. Allowing your eyes to follow the path of theirs, see a bird of some kind flying directly at you, drawing nearer by the second. Its speed accelerates as it moves dart-like across the skies, aimed at your chest like an avian arrow. Yet you feel very calm. As the bird approaches closer and closer, you extend your arms and, with the sides of your hands touching and your palms up, you form a landing area for the fowl. A raven, the bird of death that comes from the spiritual realm, now slows as it approaches even nearer. Why had you not made that association between spirit and death and this bird? It swoops upward to curb its flight and, with only a slight, backwards fluttering of wings, settles gently into your outstretched hands. The other fauna watch but do not react.
The bird stares at you, and you at the bird. You sense the bird drawing forth something from within you that is flowing out via your eyes and moving directly into the eyes of the bird. You watch as the bird leaves, but you feel as if you have left and that your mind has stayed behind. A second degree of separation you seem to detect.
The raven soars over the valley, flying high, then flying low, and then flying high again. Its spirit is high. Soon, it makes a direct course for the mountains, for it us driven to try to reach the mountaintop. You no longer watch from the cliff but see everything below through the eyes of the raven. After missing the mountaintop, the raven passes beyond and begins a fast descent toward an ocean which has come into view just after topping the peak. The raven begins to dive lower, and lower, and lower yet. Suddenly, the spiritual exuberance of the high-flying raven seems to be unraveling into an imminent and deadly crash against the ocean's surface. Following a huge impact one that you take to be the end of you the waters first splash upwards from the collision and then fall back into the ocean. Ultimately, the waves settle, and the sea surface smoothes out to a mirror finish. Suddenly, a bird's head forcefully breaks the surface, but it is not the head of a raven. Instead, the head of a gull the bird of ignorance comes forth, gasping for air. You find that you are no longer observing the gull, but have transitioned into the gull. A third degree of separation from what you had left outside the arch, then by the pool, and now through the raven, has manifested.
The gull surfaces further and then begins flapping its wings. Leaving behind the cleansing, baptismal waters, you in the form of this gull fly and play and dart. You feel like a child again, flying high, until suddenly crashing into an eagle. More truthfully, you feel yourself merging into maybe even dissolving into the eagle. For a time, the eagle soars, glides, and mainly just witnesses. You feel the remnants of the gull; you sense the remains of a raven; you look at you seated at a fire and see only a mental image; you look through the arch and see the figment of a body imagined. Another degree of separation.
But now You the Eagle have no time to contemplate, for you feel yourself being pulled deeper into the universe through a clear-walled tunnel in the remotest part of the heavens. You feel yourself accelerating at the speed of light. In fact, at the end of the tunnel, you can see nothing other than light. Your speed now nearly doubles, and just as you reach that point of mach two, with the deafening sounds of the winds racing by your ears, you crash through a veil of sorts and find yourself in a mostly dark, crystal cave. You stop abruptly and then are swooped into an upright position, floating near the ceiling of the cave. You feel at this moment as if you are exactly between nowhere and . . . nowhere. Never have you known such peace. Sensing yourself in only the vestige of a human-like form, you drift toward a lake below that covers most of the bottom of this huge cavern. You experience a fifth degree of separation as if estranged from all illusionary roles, as if removed from a phony world left behind, as if moving closer to a degree of connection with the Real.
Your slow descent allows time to study the cave. Across the way a dome glows brightly, the source of the vivid light you'd seen through the arch and more recently at the end of the tunnel. A huge pipe organ sounds from the highest peak of a cliff on the far left side of the gigantic grotto. To your left and to your right drift millions of forms, and on closer inspection, You see that they are . . . You! Each looks to be a clone maybe a transparent clone but a clone nevertheless of You! As You near the water, You automatically pivot so that Your back faces the opposite shore. Sinking shoulder-deep into the water, You feel Your feet rise. Your entire body stiffens momentarily, Your feet rise further, You float onto Your back and then You bob on the surface of the water. Now relaxed, You begin to be moved along, gently propelled toward the opposite side of the cave. Your movements just happen, no effort on Your part required. The music of the organ ethereal and heavenly sounds softly, beautifully; the waters are now calm and warm.
You float with millions of Your likenesses, or so it seems, flowing toward gigantic, granite steps cut amphitheater-like into the opposite wall of the cave. Yet the likenesses aren't likenesses at all. They Really Are You! The steps ascend from underneath the waters, breaking the surface and then rising and narrowing upwards, converging on one point at the door to the dome. As You near the steps, You feel Your body stiffen again. This time You rotate in the water so that You sail along face down. Just before Your head might have bumped into the steps, You are stopped. Your feet begin to be lowered, and You find yourself in an upright position, standing on steps in chest-high water. You begin to ascend the steps, leaving the water behind. You, and millions of Yous, walk in exactly the same fashion, moving toward the narrowing peak that leads to the door of the dome. You wonder, How could so many be entering the dome? It really isn't that large, now that I can see it more clearly. It seems that much that You perceived as more is really less. But the nearer You All move toward the door, the more You witness a siphoning effect of sorts. As All near the door, All seem to dissolve into a form of light being drawn inside. As You approach, You feel the last remnants remnants of whatever You had formerly thought yourself to be gradually fading away. The dissolving seems to be occurring in slow motion, and you feel ecstatic. It's almost as if You are feeling blissful as your beingness seems to be dissolving into non-beingness.
Finally, You merge with the All, into the light, and it seems . . . it seems over. It seems as if everything is over, is finished, is very near complete. Then some degree of consciousness seems to linger after this additional degree of separation fades. Even without a physical body or an earthly mind or a spiritual body, a subtle body detects a series of chambers leading to other universes. All then fades into light. It is sensed that nothing represented in the vision is the Real. It is understood that only by peeling back all the layers of false identities including the body, the mind, the spiritual identity, the child ignorance, the witness, even the True Self could That Which One Really Is be known. It is understood that what You Really Are Is That, That which is often removed from awareness through many degrees of separation. In the fading moments, as beingness transitions into non-beingness, You come to know that You Are That common building block of All in this universe, in All universes. No wonder some can say, I don't even know who I am. You finally Realize how far removed most are from the knowledge of the original unicity as a result of conditioning, programming, and dogma. Then, before fading into the perfect peace of rest in the Totality, Your last consciousness is of the process that had moved That Which You Are from the rest state in the Absolute, past the non-being and into being, and then into whatever that True Self was. You see how you came to witness, how the learned ignorance corrupted the pure consciousness of the child state, how spiritual and religious roles were assigned, how mental identities were accumulated, and how dominated the existence was by the physical body's fears and desires. You KNOW. And then, even that dissolves. THAT is all there is.