O dear God...... let the silence reign. Wow, that's a lot of noise coming out of the Himalayas. Then of course...like I've thought before.... has any of all that actually ever been written in the Himalayas? There's still no knowing who's behind it all.
What's Joe's faxed letter done for me? It's all so very weird. Here I am surrounded by BLACKNESS....and it's got very cold again. The snow has frozen.......I've got a candle flickering behind me....I'm standing up writing on top of the cold turned-off metal-covered computer......which I have no inclination to turn on.
Talk about the manic noise of the merry-go-round. All those agitated viewpoints. So now we know what Tim was trying to do. Give us an overview on what he calls `the conned-senses-mind'....which I agree, does seem to be the maker of the whirld. Well, I'm still not sure that I like any of it. Like I'm not sure I like being here on my own any more.....I mean am I savouring the quietness...relishing my solitude? That's what I meant by `weird'. Soon this quietness will be wrecked by Mary phoning up....and I'll be in another whirling whirld. So why have I switched the phone and fax on again? Is it because like Arnold says about himself..I'm split?
Tim's Master is right...I'm afraid of missing out? Suddenly another storm begins outside. More snow and drifting. It was minus 23 degrees centigrade this morning. Missing out? Why have I got an I.B.M. computer in the middle of this impeccable quietness? Like Tim said, I've brought fear into a perfect world. But in truth I've not really discovered its perfection. I'm living in fantasy.....because I'm still frightened of death. Or do I mean I'm frightened of Mary? What I'm frightened of is my own sexuality waking up.....because nothing disturbs me more than sexual desire.
Without that DRIVE life has seemed......O.K. Or has it? Well I'm sure I wasn't as confused as this before Mary first phoned up. I tried having a wank like Mary suggested but I couldn't make it. It all seemed so artificial....so plastic....I found Mary's imagery ridiculous....and couldn't in any way get into it. I was never a page three devotee. I've only ever been into honest, open, spontaneous sex. But why am I so uptight? Because I've been denying parts of myself. Parts?
"Phil, what happened last night?"
"Nothing. Why what d'you mean?"
"Your phone and fax was off. I couldn't get through to you. Were you avoiding me?"
"Yes I was. I found Joe's letter and the last installment of Tim's novel a lot to swallow....so I got stoned and did some thinking......and then went to bed."
"Phil you sound so dreary. What have I got to do to cheer you up?"
"Mary, I don't know what to say. It's true..a dark cloud has descended on me. I feel life-less....and at a loss to know what to do about it."
"Just feel your life-less condition....like Molly had to. Don't be a coward Phil. You can't escape your own reality."
"I don't know what is real and what is not real."
"You may not know what is real in your life.....but that doesn't prevent you from feeling your real condition. You'll discover who you are through exploration. I'm not going to say anymore on that subject. So you've done some thinking.....so what do you think about what you've read so far...including Joe's faxed letter?"
" O.K......I was very struck by the information about viewpoints. I've had to look at what my concealed viewpoint is? It seems that I'm looking at life from a little-boy lost position. I know it sounds pathetic...but it explains a lot about how I've wound up here...living in isolation....believing I would have no problems if I never saw anyone."
"So have you recognised that your viewpoint is the cause of your anguish?"
"Yeah...it's a position which is actually self-destructive."
"So have you let it go?"
"I don't know....I'm working on it."
"Have you worked on waking up your fuck energy?"
"I tried but I'm convinced that wanking only reinforces the drive to be separated from a real relationship. It only amplified my isolation. I can't get into fantasy fucking. It's a very sad occupation. In fact it feels like opening oneself up to be occupied by a dark consciousness. I'm sorry Mary."
"Why are you saying sorry to me?"
"Well I know you want me to be lustful and carefree...and I just can't make it."
"I just want you to be honest with yourself.....and with me....which means stopping your pretence to be a self-sufficient hermit."
"Mary I'm really letting that go. It strikes me that you're coming on to me a little bit like Molly's behaviour towards Arnold."
"Well all good alive women try to show men the way out of their self-centred trips. It's not easy. Are you satisfied now that Joe really exists?"
"Look Mary....I'm a doubter through and through. It's what gives rise to my rampant paranoia. I'm a nutcase...I really am. So I still suspect that you've written all of it...and are still writing future installments....and that talking to me is giving you ideas for the next chapter.....but I also doubt that as well. You see there's nothing I think that I can't doubt....but then I doubt my doubts.....and so on and so on."
"It sounds like a miserable life Phil darling. Can you imagine how miserable Joe could make himself if he was on the same number as you? But on the contrary Joe's pulled his socks up and doesn't play with doubt at all. For instance he has no doubt that he had no choice but to kill Stuart. He had no choice but to give himself up to the law and tell the truth of what happened. He didn't argue with his sentence....although he wasn't expecting fifteen years in Dartmoor. Do you get it Phil...fifteen years in Dartmoor...and he's now living there ecstatically.....without doubt...in solitary confinement."
"Well that was my dream......but unlike Joe, I'm not enlightened."
"Well the way to get enlightened is to absorb the transmissions of those who are enlightened. That's the purpose of Tim's novel and why you're the right man to edit it and publish it."
"Look, I'm not going to edit it."
"Why not?...You have a talent for literature and you could also add your comments on each instalment I send you."
" I suppose I could. Look, really Mary.... I haven't got it into my system yet....that I'm actually going to publish Tim's novel."
"Really Phil...you do need a good...warm...energetic fuck."
"Maybe you're right. Is that an offer?"
"I'm not going to see you until you've read the whole novel and put it in writing that you are going to publish the book."
"Well I could put that into writing now."
"Wow, you're suddenly in a hurry. Well we'll see."
"What address shall I send it to?"
"Box XBL 9964, BCM, London."
"And who do I address it to?"
"So you're living in London?"
"From time to time. You're not going to track me down Phil...so forget it. I'll see you in your place when the time is ripe. So bye for now. Enjoy the next installment."
But she was gone.
`Throughout the twentieth century Western thinkers have offered their readers a wide variety of explanations concerning the problem of alienation. Most of the blame is targeted onto Rene Descartes--generally regarded as the god of dualism....a doctrine which asserts that the mind and the body are two discrete entities. According to this view the mind is in the same league as the Divine.....whilst the body, and hence Nature,are mindless mechanisms like motor cars which are not made to last. Mind and body can never be joined.
Have any of these critics of Descartes passed through the point of realization reached by the French thinker? With the possible exception of Heidegger I doubt it. I think the line taken by all those who put Descartes down runs through their basic misunderstanding of what Descartes meant by his famous slogan 'cogito ergo sum '. He discovered the divine nature of awareness.'
Simon put his pen down and looked out the window of the small Dan Air jet. They would be landing soon.....he could see the snow covered blunt peaks of the Cairngorms. Why was it, he thought, that every time he was in the air he wrote philosophy?.......or about philosophy......or is that what philosophy is?...or has become? He remembered the time when he'd said `all we ever do is talk about our relationship.' Simon was convinced...or used to be....that Descartes had discovered what he also had discovered. The real Self. You can doubt everything but it's not possible to doubt the existence of doubting......whilst doubting. Doubting is the proclamation of existence. Then comes the thorny bit. What doubts? Of course the common sense answer is I doubt. So what is this I which doubts? Well, thought Simon, .......and wondered if he should write down `The I can not be described because it is not an object. Only objects can be perceived.'
He decided to not write it down......he'd written loads on the way down to the funeral.....even though writing philosophy made him feel intensely uncomfortable. Sometimes he attributed this unease....to the thought that no one would bother to try to understand what he'd discovered. Usually he managed to temper this fear with the notion that philosophers, like Heidegger, must have transcended the expectation that their work would be subjected to endless superficial...shoddy examinations. Then he managed to shift to a different position and wrote ` Real thinking is developed by the observing Self. Such thinking deepens the mind's awareness of its true source. If it celebrates its realisation of eternal life...it creates poetic speech out of thought. Why poetic? Because it handles language from the perspective that nothing ennobles the ephemeral better than it's ability to reflect the eternal.'
He reflected upon the awful.....dreary drawn out funeral......an apt ending to someone holding a view like Lance's. Someone? There was no one there. Some body. A body he'd been trained to refer to as his brother. Brother John. John was actually his first name....but for some reason Lance....the name his father gave him....stuck. His father? my father. Jill....Lance's widow....looked more pale than Lance when Lance's French mistress strolled into the funeral. Simon changed tack....or tried to. Now was not the time to dwell on Anne-Marie's impact on his vulnerable imagination.
The last time he'd spoken to Lance was after their father's funeral. Held in the same concrete crematorium. Concrete? Granite. Creepy. Squeaky clean. Deathly....freezing. Simon could feel the radiations emanating from his memory of the hollow speeches about Lance's contribution to theoretical physics. Whilst some academic arse-hole was eulogising Lance's character and career...Simon was recalling to himself the incident when the seven year old Lance had demonstrated to the five year old Simon what happens to a Red Admiral butterfly if you pull off one of its wings. The poor, delicate insect kept spiralling down to the lawn...and was then launched into the air once again by the budding scientist. Simon remembered feeling deadened by the cruel demonstration.
Lance said real people have to sacrifice feelings of being upset in order to help man find out the best ways to survive. What about that poor butterfly's survival? Simon had tried to stop Lance's destruction of the beautiful creature.....but Lance had just scoffed. How many women had Lance de-winged? Unbalanced? How many children had he suffocated with his horrible description of the universe? Yet in a very strange ....deep way Simon had benefitted from Lance's over-active atheism.
It suddenly struck him that Lance had given Simon his soul. As if Lance had decided...around the time of the Red Admiral incident....in the huge front garden....that he had no use for a soul. It was an un-necessary inconvenience to the serious business of becoming an influential scientist. He needed a VOICE...not a soul. Yes, he didn't need a soul because he was already committed to the business of destroying man's knowledge of The Spirit. And Lance was a glutton for work. The work of perfecting his cold clarity. And why did he so much `enjoy' his coldness? His distant viewpoint? Because deep down he felt anguished to the core by his own ` vision ' of existence.
After their father's funeral some ten years back.....Simon and Lance had walked back `home'....(Simon wondering about how mother could possibly live in Fairfield Grange alone).....yes they'd slowly walked back beside the dark slow moving very wide river. The old muddy path was much the same as they could remember from their childhood. Suddenly Lance was in tears.....confessing to a weird sense of feeling he was made of plastic tubes! Then he became ...desperate and said his profession was in reality a black hole gobbling up his life. Simon had felt elated in that moment....he had waited for so long to see Lance crack up....and had immediately thought that this was his chance.....and so suggested they both dive in naked.....and change their lives... together.
Lance stopped crying whilst Simon told him that this was his chance to let his heart take the lead. There was a long silence. Then Lance screamed ` No you fucking virus! You will not take over my life!......and with that butted Simon in the belly. That was it! Simon had had enough of being bullied by Lance.....so he really pitched in with all his strength....
and so a really ferocious punch-up went on and on and on and on with them both ending up brawling in the river dressed in their black funeral suits......slogging it out...up to their waists.....in sudden embarrassment. God....so that was our last encounter. Poor Lance. God.....Dad's death completely unglued him....for that moment. In dad going....he felt the black hole pulling him.....down. Dad ....the famous Darwinian biologist. The great Cambridge Don. Atheist. Egotist. Six foot four. Womanizer....and Lance echoed Dad in every way he could....except Dad emanated a real deep gentleness...... which Lance was unable to parrot.
As the bright silver plane circled around once more over the Moray Firth.....because they were waiting for room to land.....Simon changed his mind.....yet again....and decided that Lance hadn't really given his life to Science....instead Lance had used science to build a wall of ice around his embryonic soul...to keep out the warm influence of their mother. It was like Lance had said...` Dad can live through me.....but certainly not mother. If you want mother to live in you Simon...so be it...but I'm going to grow up to be a real man ....like dad....not a sissy like mother would like me to be.'
Lance thought souls were manufactured by mothers. No wonder he tried so hard to influence children to become....unfeeling.....cynical....calculating....robots! Simon did what he was told and fastened his safety belt....again....then as the silver dragon tilted to dive.....he scrutinized the dots he could see on the distant tarmac....wondering whether Shanti.....waiting for him to land... for a long time...was now looking up....viewing the underbelly......
Fuck fuck fuck FUCK! hissed Shanti flushing the unsoiled water as she came....in the airport loo. The other cubicles were still empty....she'd made sure of that before whipping up a storm.....but she still controlled her sound level....whilst masking it with the sound of the flushing...a technique she'd learnt at the convent school. It hadn't been....exactly..... her intention to have a wank when she went to the Ladies. It was just that she'd felt like having a piss when the P.A. announced the plane...which could be seen glinting from time to time......would be landing in ten minutes time........but then whilst pissing in the squeaky-clean pan she couldn't outflank the images she had created of Arnold and Molly.......together in Molly's bender. She hadn't seen anything......but she had definitely heard......Molly...very clearly...in the middle of the night...after Simon had left...and turmoil...right there and then......had erupted inside her...?...being?...and proceeded from that point onwards to take over large swathes of her attention. Large swathes of her view on...?...actually everything!
Everything...that was the problem. She didn't want to meet Simon charged up and focussed in this way......focussed like...like...Molly...Bloom!...God...not that again...Mrs Bloom's soliloquy had had a tremendous impact on Shanti when she was fifteen...and had just discovered how to do it herself...of course she didn't use the word wank in those days...let alone masturbate...which sounded incredibly ugly......and didn't match in any way the marvellous excitement she was able to generate all over her blooming athletic body....but it became an obsession...an obsession very much cranked up by Joyce's famous passage...because it didn't take long before literature became mere foreplay...then middleplay...in the midst-play...from Joyce...to Miller...Anais Nin...The Story Of O...then slowly literature passed over the steaming horizon as the Hite report took away vestiges of shame...and Shanti moved onto Nancy Friday and hard porn...when ever she could lay her eager hands on it...or even get a glimpse of it in the playground...and yes...she was so excited and bold with it all...that she was one of the contributors to the famous OZ school issue. It was not until she met Simon that she faced up to the fact that she was an addict...a fantasy addict...an exhibition addict...a sex-distance addict...for the only thing that had ever really turned Shanti on in those days was being watched......from a distance...or glanced at...from time to time whilst the other...and it didn't really matter who it was...yes whilst the other read to her one of her favourite erotic passages...whilst she perfected her solo performances.
But then a new boyfriend...Al....had taken her routine...one summer afternoon...miles around the bend...and into a new way of...?...?...living...of being alive. Al...suddenly without warning...completely overpowered her...physically...meaning he threw her onto his highly polished brass bed...and tied her up...or rather tied her down...with rough hemp rope...then ripped off her frilly knickers...and calmly returned to his desk...with his back to her ...and worked on his novel! She had been so shocked....and of course incredibly excited...and she hadn't known him very long so had no idea what he would do next?......He did nothing. The room...his flat...was surrounded by mirrors...God can I remember those mirrors...He had my legs tied...so wide open...each of my ankles tied very tight to the corners of the wide sumptuous bed...yes so open I could not escape staring right into my wet pussy...and it was so wet...I could see it actually dripping. Touch me I begged him...please touch me!
When had I ever begged like that before?...never...I was amazed by what I was capable of...I'm going to scream this flat down if you don't touch me...go ahead he replied I like to hear screaming...and the flat is totally soundproof...I screamed and screamed...but he was right...he loved my distress...O.K. I pleaded, just let me have one hand free...and I'll do anything for you...but that didn't move him towards my desire one bit...instead whilst still turned away from me he began reading out loud a passage from that wildly erotic novel he was writing...and he read very slowly...and the passage he read was an exact description...in incredible detail of the scene I was...at that moment...fully involved in...immersed in...describing my exact pleadings and...my unvoiced anticipations.
Al...O my God Al...he was absolutely all I had been looking for...someone I could not corrupt...who on the contrary was capable of accelerating my eager imagination. Suddenly the scene in his novel went beyond my experience, my past, and revealed my future...which generated enormous fear...and hope...both forces blending in a wild electric storm...and eventually I broke the membrane of my reservation and screamed out `Al....do it! Do to ME what you're reading out ! Please!...Whip me whip me whip me...please!'
So Shanti, at the age of eighteen was initiated into those very secret ecstasies which can only be enjoyed on the other side of pain. To start off...how he squeezed...and squeezed my pussy lips...squeezed so tight I almost passed out...but instead I passed into a space of utter warm tranquillity...and it had nothing to do with the hash which we'd smoked before Al tied me up...so beautifully...so expertly. Then whilst in that ecstatic tranquillity...he untied me...and turned me over...and then tied me down so I was sort of on my knees with my ass exposed...and then he gave me what I'd asked for...with his leather belt.
O Jesus did it hurt...but unbelievably after each strike...I felt nothing but gratitude...yes real gratitude...and I could do nothing but thank Al with all my heart...and tell him how wonderful it was to be tied up and whipped by him...yes he showed me the way into that secret garden maintained by those souls who have passed through the pain barrier...that garden which lies on the other side of the crucifixion.
It was then that Al told Shanti that the paintings of The Crucifixion were a key for those who knew...that passing through pain was sacred and had nothing to do with the cheap porn ideas found in the newsagents...or Mrs Grundy's ideas of perversion...
You're not a pervert Al told Shanti but a warrior....breaking out of the stupid pig-trough world......O Al...so impeccable...so...erotic...so powerful...you who made me feel so female...why did we come unstuck?...God...for years I was a ghost haunting the discoveries I had made through Al's ingenuity...until I came to live in England and met Simon...who turned me on to a very different way of moving out of the focussed condition (pain) into the unfocussed (warm tranquillity).
When Shanti and Simon were alone together for the first time...Simon refused to enter into any of Shanti's repertoire...but before she'd completely flipped...he explained that the natural condition for the mind is to be unfocussed...and this unfocussed condition...as she'd already discovered...is not only like being a foetus in the womb...but it is the means by which the soul stays aware of The Divine...the Tao.
Focussing on the mental image of the body...which is how we are linked to the whirld...lessens the soul's awareness of the Divine. If we were completely committed to being natural and healthy...we would only focus the soul on the mind/body world when it was absolutely necessary to our survival. A healthy human's soul/mind goes from unfocussed to focussed...and then returns to the natural state of being unfocussed...and therefore tranquil. But, as we all know...Western Society has misunderstood what the ego...the soul-seed requires in order to develop...and therefore be healthy. Instead, a psychological system of conditioning has been created whereby the soul is continuously called upon to be focussed. And what does it focus on?
Food...danger...sex...etc...etc...? Not at all...but on the images of food....danger..sex....etc.etc. One image calls to mind another and so the soul is held captive...focussed on an unending sequence of imagined needs. Then Simon pointed out something really...tricky. One can grasp all that...but then fall into the trap of trying to focus on the Divine. Anyone who tries to do this, has not woken up to the fact that the essential existential error...is the soul, (mind), holding itself in an un-necessary condition of being focused. This trap is difficult to get out of because it is necessary to be aware of the Divine...but this awareness can't arise through the activity of focusing. On the contrary the Self...in its embryonic state...has to let the Divine seduce it into being unfocussed...relaxed. But the difficulty is...that the soul/mind has to keep in keen contact with the senses...so that it can...if needed...immediately focus on what's required! In other words a healthy evolving soul can freely move in and out of the time-frame...can be in the Divine...yet be able to see the world inhabited by the real body...not its image.
Western people are deeply sick...Simon had told Shanti...because they are afraid of being unfocussed. That's why The Establishment was so terrified of the Flower Power Revolution. Acid offered the uptight mind instant relaxation...and once acid started snowballing round the globe...Establishment egos got the horrors. After all...if the majority of souls on Earth refused to come out of the unfocussed condition...unless it was absolutely necessary...the whole human society would transform...because it would be in harmony with the after-death state...where really wise souls refuse to focus on the many calls they hear for them to focus on the world...until it is the right moment for them to be reborn...and that's when the right parents are ready for them...but...staying in the after-death state indefinitely can also be sick...because it's another form of being fixed...fixed in Nirvana. To be fixed in any condition implies judgment...not freedom...not freshness.
But, thought Shanti whilst washing her hands, as an over-made-up stewardess marched into the cubicle Shanti had just vacated...it's all about the freedom of real choice...and you can't really choose between Nirvana or being re-born...or between inaction and any action...if you can't see what the outcome of either choice is...and it was something like that which she had said to Simon that first night as she undressed...in the dark. Simon had come back with the statement that the only way anyone could DIGEST this knowledge about focusing...is to absolutely refrain from all forms of compulsive behaviour...all habits.
Shanti smiled at herself in the mirror listening to the suited stewardess pissing...and was tempted to make a loud shocking comment...but nothing really funny came to mind...so she slowly made her way outside to meet her teacher.
(END OF FAX TRANSMISSION)
Mid-winter spring. Sudden thaw. Half of Western Europe under water. To think Tim wrote that scene in a cave in the Himalayas. What did his alchemical Master think of that? He could hardly have been unfocussed when he wrote that. On the other hand he would have been at least free of the temptation of focussing on The Divine.
I wasn't prepared for that! My dad would have been rattled if he'd read this last bit. Rattled me. wham!...Tim's pricked my bubble. My male idea of how it is. I don't know exactly how he did it...but I've crashed into my...body. Yes,my male body...sat on this huge sawn pine log beside the bottle-green Norwegian wood-burning stove. Tim...I don't know...I've got no mirror...I can trust.
Mary! Mary! Where are you? I've got no mirror...I can trust.
I imagined Tim's Master saying `work it out for yourself.'
Meanwhile I frequently return to imagining Simon...very serious...on the path to enlightenment...high up in the clear blue sky...circling above the snow covered mountains and the airport in that silver jet...his neat notebook crammed with important philosophy statements...to be read to Shanti...in their teepee...whilst back on earth...laid-back Shanti...keeps blooming in the loo.