Out of the Ordinary and into the Real
What do I know of time? The measuring of days, the phases of the moon, the changing seasons, the cycles of history, aging and the natural rhythms of life, they all interweave in my considerations. Memory and possibility play their hands.
During the days before the turn of the 20st century when the idea of time was prominent in the collective mind, the “timing” was oddly perfect that I was challenged with a puzzle. The puzzle was to understand my relationship with time. The challenge was to become experientially aware of my perceptual relationship with time.
In the reflective quiet of an afternoon I was prompted to engage in a series of spiritual dialogues with intelligent Beings responsible for various aspects of the natural world, who were well versed in the history of humanity and who surprisingly knew me intimately. When I asked who they were, I was told they were the Divine Angelic Denomination of Light and I admit I went through all my references of angelic visitations and guardian angels until I realized… I was in entirely un-referenced territory. The dialogue that began that afternoon developed into an extended series of dialogues which lasted for many years. The puzzle is something I continue to work on every day.
I have learned a great deal in my life about persistence, endurance and a flexible kind of continuity since whenever I am finally settled somewhere, something inevitably uproots me, keeping me continually on the move. I have become accustomed to creating a kind of order in these chaotic situations, situations which prevent me from becoming more firmly rooted in place. I find stability in family, in friendship, in being a mother, in nature and even though I am now on my own, in partnership. I will also be eternally grateful that I have two daughters, great friends now they are grown and mothers themselves, who have blessed me with four creatively inquisitive grandchildren. I’ve worked any number of odd and interesting jobs but my energies have remained centered within my family, whether it’s my family by blood or ones created by work or circumstance.
For the most part from a young age Nature has been my constant spiritual companion. I was raised Catholic, gravitated towards Indigenous and Eastern spiritual traditions, although like the rest of my life, none has firmly taken root. I’m naturally introverted and unabashed by the need for solitude and I enjoy working with my hands. I have only begun writing in recent years in order to understand and share this experience. In trying my hand at writing I very quickly discovered a love for writing poetry, which for me is the most natural language.
The dialogues themselves were often in poetic voice, a welcome break from the usual strict formality. I would have been happy translating this experience solely in poetry but in writing this narrative I am following the path taken in the dialogues, convincing me that to the best of my ability this narrative necessitates a specific unambiguous clarity. Finally, I am of the persuasion that it is useless to question why I was asked to engage in the dialogues. Perhaps it is just that I had the space in my life to listen.
In writing this account of my experience I’ve also come to understand the impossibility of describing perception itself in language, since I’ve learned that perception is by nature experiential. In order to acquire a grasp of my perceptual relationship with time however, I was challenged to dialogue in an alternate perception, affording me ample opportunity for comparison. In writing this account I find it difficult, but not entirely impossible, to give an account of engaging in an alternate perception by describing the responses I had in my attempts.
In my search for vocabulary to describe an experience difficult to describe, I have developed a huge respect for shared dialogue. As I’ve been writing my way to my own understanding and sharing my attempts along the way, I’ve experienced that words have the possibility of becoming more than ink on a page when there is shared dialogue. As in oral culture before we developed and began to depend on the written word in order to communicate, by openly encouraging this sharing I am hoping the ideas presented in the dialogues have the opportunity to stay current, to remain alive, and most importantly to find context in as many personal ways as possible.
In all honesty, on a day by day basis, my own experiential understanding of perception comes and goes. Living in our world is complicated and I’ve learned that, although we entertain the idea of enlightenment, there is no such thing as static accomplishment. It requires continual participation, continual acknowledgement to navigate the borderlines of awareness and perception. It is also very clear to me that although we may all be in this life together, our spiritual approaches are inevitably unique even when following a common path.
However, my experience also leads me to acknowledge that even though we are unique in our spirituality, consciousness is relationship and is all inclusive. A door has been opened. When a door opens, it opens for us all.
To be continued….
© Jana H. White
Artist credit: Michal Lukasiewicz