This week, my sweetie has started knitting a series of very odd, funny yet slightly disturbing scarves. It all started when Sweetie discovered “Epic Meal Time” a “cooking show” series on You Tube that involves an obscene amount of meat, to which they do unspeakable things. I watched a few episodes and I just couldn’t pick my jaw up off the floor. Then I made a huge amount of popcorn, drenched it in butter and covered it in bacon bits, which is what you do after seeing things like the “meat farm” episode.
Sweetie is vegetarian herself, and has been ever since she saw the movie Babe while eating a ham and bacon pizza. She was, in fact, vegan when we started to date, but I corrupted her with my copious consumption of ice cream.
Bacon just isn’t on Sweetie’s list of things to eat, but since watching Epic Mealtime, she’s become rather meat inspired.
She started by crocheting a Bacon Scarf. She surrounded herself with photos of bacon, laid out all of the colours from her yarn stash you never realized existed in bacon until you looked at it closely. Some of this yarn is shiny, which she uses to indicate gristle and fat. The width of the scarf bulges and narrows, like a strip of bacon, and she’s somehow made it ripple, like a glistening piece of half-cooked meat. She’s left it unblocked so that when you hang it around your neck, it curls just like cooked bacon. I swear it makes my neck feel greasy.
But this bacon scarf is only the beginning. She is now working on what she calls “the Knit Meat Series” which is all at once funny and horrifying. Particularly because she’s vegetarian. Judy Chicago would LOVE Kat’s work.
While Sweetie creates these darkly humourous domestic art pieces, she listens to mind-expanding podcasts and spiritual lectures. The man of the week has been Alan Watts.
He was a British guy who spent a lot of time in Asia, then moved to California, and brought a lot of ideas about Buddhism and Hinduism to western audiences in the 60s and 70s.
In this lecture he’s talking about the nature of the universe in Judeo-Christianity. He says that we take it for granted in the west that the universe is a monarchy, with a god at the top, and that we’re ruled and judged by this god like royal subjects. We kneel and bow like we would to a king, and our churches are constructed like courtrooms, and we show up to be judged.
Really interesting stuff. So I’m like, “I need to talk to this guy at some point”.
And there he was! He’s like, “What is it you’d like to know?”
(Sweetie seems to have a knack at calling up almost anyone famous from Heaven. John says it’s because in Heaven, she’s “famous.” I wondered if he meant that ironically, but I’m beginning to suspect he’s being literal. Sweetie’s email continues:)
I’ve been wondering about that idea of dimensional shifting. Is it even possible? What happens to our bodies? Can we really move physical objects from one dimension to another?
So I ask, “Can we transcend matter?”
And he says, “Do you mean ‘we’? Or, do you mean ‘I'”?
I was not sure. I’ve been thinking about the idea of consensus a lot, is it necessary for everyone to be in agreement in order for anything to change, or not? Is a critical mass necessary? Or is that all illusory anyway — do we each create our own reality? But then, isn’t our separateness an illusion, anyway? What do I even *mean* by “I”?
So finally I said, “Well, ‘I’ or ‘we’, it’s really the same thing, isn’t it?”
And he says, “There! You’ve just transcended matter!”
Which is absolutely true, and pretty funny. But it didn’t really clear up my underlying question.
Of course these Zen guys, they never just *give* you a straight answer, you know.
He hung around and continued to talk to me all morning. I know what he said is technically right, but it seems too simple somehow. I took the Bonus dog out for a walk and sort of let it sink in. I had to wonder whether he didn’t understand my question, or whether I didn’t understand his answer.
As I walked, he started talking:
“You are always transcending. It is your state of being. Whatever ‘it’ is, you’re doing it right now, you just don’t recognize that you’re doing it. It’s not an action, it’s a state of being. It’s not something separate, outside of yourself. That which you are, you are”.
So I’m thinking, “Okay. So if everything is, and is eternal, then what are people talking about when they talk about liberation from the cycles of birth and death?”.
Alan says, “You are all things. If you *know* that you are all things, why are you hung up on this one little part that is ‘you'”?
I’m like, “Because I only experience this part. I don’t want to be trapped forever experiencing this one little part”.
He says, “You can escape that anytime”.
It’s interesting, this guy is coming through very clearly for me, and I’ve only very recently been exposed to his work. I normally need to be in a liminal sleep state to get these kinds of lessons.
After reading this, I asked my Sweetie:
Allan says, “You can escape that anytime”. How? By understanding that it’s all about the “big picture”? But, but but, what about life plans? What about coming here to learn and all that stuff?
Are you able to opt out of your life plan at any time? Are you able to simply halt the learning process, if you desire? Is that what Eckhart Tolle did when he sat on a park bench blissed out for two years? That’s all fine & dandy for a weekend, but what about when you run out of money and get hungry?
Why is it so damn difficult to integrate this concept?
It is a simple answer. Simple, accessible, powerful. So why am I having to do mind yoga to get my brain around it???
I sent this message off to Sweetie and then went to the grocery store. At the grocery store and I hear “Let it be” playing, and the line that jumps out is ‘Whisper words of wisdom”
I laugh, and after “Let It Be” finishes, “Knocking on heaven’s door” comes on.
John has some follow up to our email conversation. Here he goes:
About transcending matter – this is something we quickly learn to do again immediately after death. He says it is possible for angels or spirits to manifest themselves in bodies, to help lift cars or carry someone through a river. Physical force can be exerted, physical bodies can be manifested, yet it takes energy, conscious effort, to maintain something that has been manifested – it’s your will that’s bringing together this series of molecules out of the air. If you get tired, if your attention shifts, the molecules will return to their previous form. It’s like being a shape shifter – you have to “hold it”
There is this tendency, in addition to thinking of Heaven as a monarchy, to think that what we see happening is the WAY IT IS. Well, here’s one particular spirit who manifested himself a body with physical age 18, and he hung out for quite a while. He did it, it is possible, it’s just not the most common path that we see or experience.
And by the way, John says, just because you encounter someone at the grocery store doesn’t mean they were born in the same way you were. Any number of people around you “could” be manifesting their forms, and in fact, they are. This is what people are talking about when they say “aliens in human form, walking among us, learning.” These are simply beings who popped in, ready-made, and will pop out after a while.
John later told us of a story: A friend of his in heaven who had never experienced an incarnation on earth was talking with John about earth and what it’s like here. John says it’s great for learning various things, and so his friend decided to pop in briefly by manifesting a body and see for himself. (I say “him” although no gender was indicated.)
So this friend manifests himself in some sketchy neighbourhood in San Francisco, and is promptly mugged! He disappeared shortly thereafter, a little miffed with John but with a better understanding of earth and the lessons to be had here. This friend has not expressed further interest in incarnating on earth, for some reason.
So this is why you, me, John, everyone else we’ve spoken to mainly incarnate in bodies that are born from other bodies. Bodies that are born from other bodies already on this vibration have a very easy time perpetuating their existence on this level. When we occupy such a body, it’s much easier to maintain, and it allows us to forget things like how to transcend matter so that we may learn other things, other ways to learn by creating lives, challenges for ourselves that we “can’t” instantly manifest our way out of, although we will ultimately learn that we still are manifesting our own solutions and our own problems to boot.
We occupy bodies that exist on their own. Bodies of this density were created so that we can experience this vibration – the bodies help anchor us here for long periods of time. Or “Time” as I’m tempted to quote. Gotta love metaphysics – you start to want to put quotes around everything.
Yet, we leave our bodies all the time. We return “home” all the time. We just don’t always remember it, and every day we make the decision to keep on living, every day that we wake up because we returned to our bodies. We may not see this as a decision. We may even want to die despite returning to our bodies every damn day. I keep seeing Mocha, and how her body suddenly changed, stopped breathing, when she jumped through the portal to heaven.
Our bodies can die and kick us out. We can leave our bodies behind and they will die without us. We are not our bodies, and many of us already know this. Bodies are the tools by which we experience our lives, they are not our prisons. I know it may feel that way sometimes, but they are not.
In this way, our life charts don’t really exist either – we recreate them every day we continue to move forward with them. If we wanted to, with our hearts and all of our SOUL, we could utterly change the course of our lives at the drop of a hat, regardless of our charts. Our charts would change in that instant, and they would have always been thus. The new chart would erase the old one’s existence.
The whole idea of our life chart – it’s the formality of our decision to manifest particular challenges.
It’s like when you decide to start a business and you write out your business plan. Your life might not exactly turn out as you life-planned it, but you will find the lessons are learned, and ultimately you always accomplish what you set out to do. It’s just if your spirit is trying harder to manifest a challenge than your consciousness is trying to manifest a solution (ie – when is the money coming to make my movie? Why isn’t it here? Why can’t I manifest it?)
I read this in a Gail Bodine novel: “Things happen just as they are meant to happen, because that is how they happened.”
She was Quaker for a while, and an ancestral elf, I believe, just as she believed. Her novels are published as fiction, but I think there’s a lot more to them than that.
I wrote all this out and sent it in another email to Sweetie. She replied:
Ohhhh! Yeah ok — that all makes so much sense.
I was just thinking about John, actually, wondering what he might have to say about these ideas but not really having the mental energy to try to talk to him at the moment. Wondering, do these ideas conflict with the ideas that we’ve already been exploring? Because it seemed true from all points, yet I couldn’t reconcile it.
Also this guy Alan Watts talks in a few lectures about “transcending the ego”. I heard John mention in an interview that during a period around 1967 he’d been doing too much LSD and “destroyed his ego”, so when he’d go into the studio with the Beatles he’d just be like, “Oh, whatever you guys want to do is fine”. So I thought he might not be too keen on the idea of ego transcendence.
I personally take a different view of it, that transcending the ego is not about not giving a shit at all, but about doing your “work” (whatever it is) and engaging with the world, but not mistaking your work for something that is “yours”, because there is no “you”. It’s all an expression of the whole.
(Although I suppose if I took that idea to heart I’d have to let go of any ideas about whether art is “worth” making, or not…)
Okay, my mind hole just exploded.
I’ll interrupt Sweetie’s message here for one of my own:
As I write this entry which should have been posted on Friday but is now getting posted on Monday, I realize that I received some clarification on the idea of ego over the weekend. Egos are not problems. They are not things to learn to master or completely transcend. Egos have purposes, and indeed they help us to learn and to help others.
Egos are part of what helps us to define our consciousness as separate from everyone else. As though, in the sea urchin consciousness of the universe, we are a small, individual piece. This experience of separateness is completely valid. It is exactly what we’re supposed to be feeling, day to day. Yet, it’s useful to understand that there could be no separateness without the grand unification of all energy everywhere. So my personal goal is to understand my ego as a tool that helps me to define my personal experience, but to be aware and not allow my ego to attempt to define SOMEONE ELSE’S experience. We are tempted to do this by insisting other people agree with our point of view… particularly if you’re an Aries, like me.
Back to Sweetie and her Knit Meat series:
I was working on my meat scarf and watching an episode of this series Alan Watts did in the late 50s called “Eastern Wisdom and Modern Life”. He does a divination from the I Ching, (this blew our mind later this weekend when the I Ching came up in three other unrelated circumstances, including Linda Keen’s third book “Intuition Magic, 25 years later”.)
Divination can involve casting coins, and Alan starts explaining in detail how the whole thing works. At some point I sort of stop listening and drift off, wondering if I have enough space between the raw layers and the cooked layers of my meat scarf. And I start to think about what I want to make next, and decide I should look through that book “Li: Dynamic Forms in Nature” and check out some of the organic forms for inspiration.
And I’m looking at a section on nebulous cloud forms, and a picture of metal impurities in jasper.
At that moment I snap back into watching the show, and he’s saying:
“And so, we come thus to a conception of the order of nature that is one of the most important words in the Chinese language. And that is a word which originally meant ‘the markings in jade, the grain in wood, or the fibre in muscle’ — and it’s pronounced, ‘li’ “.
And he’s drawing these symbols on a paper board with a brush.
And I just, like, shrieked, and dropped my crochet hook.
I replied to Sweetie:
Wow! Alan is a really intense teacher, eh? He was totally poking you to look that stuff up in conjunction with his lecture.
Amazing, sweetie. Maybe you should call your art show of meat scarves “Li – Dynamic forms in nature”
It’s true. I think they’re laughing their asses off up in heaven, actually. I think John might have had a hand in it as well: “You really want to freak her out? Tell her to go look at her book!”
Because I went to have a shower after that experience and get my head together. And then I started hearing Instant Karma:
And then John started saying something like, “I know you understand your interconnectedness on that level — because you can see it. You can see how all the little forms in your body mimic the forms in the outside world. But when you experience your interconnectedness first hand through synchronicities, you get scared sometimes. But it’s all part of it”.
Which is a really good point.
So that’s it for our late edition of John Lennon Friday… are you as confused as we are?