In previous installments of this "Redux" I brought up the need to address the question "Who am I?". This is a common enough question to ask, yet something about it has been bothering me. It seems to me that the "who" part is asking for a personal answer, an identification of personality traits or societal roles. Am I Jeff the Writer, Jeff the Artist, Jeff the Mildly Lecherous but always Polite Gentleman? Do I look for answers to an Enneagram or Rorschach test, a horoscope or a stethoscope, a fingerprint or an EKG readout? Or, when all is said and done, am I Donald Duck?
But that's not at all what I'm talking about here. Personality inquiry is fine, names and roles inquiry is fine, but underneath all of those "who" questions is a more fundamental inquiry, perhaps a more philosophical one - namely, "What am I?". Am I my body, my thoughts, my emotions, my experiences? All of these things come and go, change and develop or regress, repeat like a bad habit or unfold like a spring bud. Yet while all this is going on, passing through like clouds in the sky, what is it that is aware, what is the "I" that is always there regardless of circumstance or emotions or thoughts, regardless of health or sickness, regardless of age from womb to grave, of skin as smooth as a baby's bottom or as wrinkled as Grandma's face?
That's a really, really tough question. And if I'm right our search for the answers will most certainly involve webs of interlocution.
The body is a perplexing thing. Whatever you may think of reincarnation, you must admit you are an incarnation by definition - a bodily manifested something, just as everyone else is. Yet this body changes constantly, it develops from egg to embryo to fetus to infant and onwards. And it does this without our direction or consent, despite our desires or needs. Quite miraculous, really. And then we have this thing we call mind, which seems to some extent separate and distinct. Our body certainly effects our thoughts and moods, yet where exactly are our thoughts?. In our brain's neurons, in our hormones, in serotonin and dopamine? Some think so. To me our thoughts seem to be in some other dimension, some non-material temporary autonomous zone. We build structures of consciousness in this zone, invisible structures that define and guide our very complex notion of, among other things, the good, the true, and the beautiful (or sometimes the badass, the kinda sorta true, and the hot and sexy). Yet these invisible, abstract structures are entirely dependent on the body - in fact, so interwoven with the body that it's very difficult to tell where the body ends and the mind begins, if indeed there is any boundary at all.
And of course, we are imbedded in a web of interlocution with our body. All of our senses are talking with us, our illnesses schooling us, our pleasures delighting us, and our pains guiding us. Constantly. From womb to grave.
Then, for some of us (and I think for more of us than is generally known), a new and entirely unexpected interlocution rises from the body and a new web begins to weave itself. At least this is how I think of the Kundalini process after 5 years of steadily increasing dialogue with the phenomenon. In this unusual web there are new structures being built, both of mind and body, and I have almost no say in the process, nor do I have any idea where it's going or what its purpose is. Yet it seems to be whispering in my ear, just as it did on that fateful day when the first alarming jolt of electricity arose, the simple command to surrender, to let go, to ride the wave again, and again, and again.
Which, to an inquiring mind, begs a question - if this is an interlocution, a dialogue, than what the hell am I in dialogue with? Certainly the body is the medium, the structure, the language through which I'm being spoken to. And it does seem bodily structures are being built - I sometimes feel my brain is being rewired, software downloaded, hardware reworked (I can't prove this of course, though it would be interesting to be wired to some neuronal detection device during an especially intense session). Even as bodily structures are being built, so are mental structures seemingly in parallel with the bodily ones. This is entirely a subjective statement, though I will say that my art and writing have flowered as never before, my focus and concentration are at the highest in memory, my ability to comprehend difficult abstract concepts has expanded beyond my own belief.
All of which is fine, though in a sense secondary. Primary to these apparent changes is the source of these changes - what am I in dialogue with? Even if the medium is the message, there must be a generator of that message, or as I have suggested, an interlocutor. And, to flesh out and mimic my three questions from an earlier installment, "What is it, Why is it here, What is it doing here?".
Could it be that the questions "What am I, Why am I here, What am I doing here?" are somehow intimately connected to this inquiry into the Kundalini process, into its source and means and purpose? And just perhaps, could it be that the questions " What am I?" and "What is it?" are in fact one and the same question?
To be continued...