“Art… how are you feeling? You’ve been asleep for a whole day, love…Are you OK? …Art?”
I feel the soft touch of Dawn upon my shoulder. I want to move, to tell her I am all right but still very tired. I want to speak – to touch her…but I cannot.
Layers of quiet thought, like the enfolding petals of a dark flower, encircle and close one at a time around my conscious mind. I sense an opening, a deep tunnel turning downward. My awareness drifts there as if riding a descending wind.
Faster now, down through a shimmering well of images, I pass successive stages of awareness. I hear the mantra of my meditation echoing through the chamber for a brief moment. It is soon replaced by the ancient Vedic vibration I learned in my youth and have since trained myself to recite repeatedly in my subconscious mind.
I pass the brilliant floral gardens, smooth cobblestone steps, and forest paths conjured up while moving through realms of imagination and self-guided visualization. All my metaphysical practices exist at once here within me. They slip past my inner vision as I come ever closer to what I comprehend as the center – the space of non-duality and pure awareness.
As time slows to a stop, I am confronted by the sight of myself lying in the bedroom, between the sheets. Hovering somewhere up near the ceiling, I peer down at Dawn by my bedside. She leans over and touches me. Mia is walking down the hall toward my room. She arrives at my side. Dawn tells her I have not stirred, even though she has been trying to awaken me.
Suddenly I see my eyes open and my lips move. I say I am feeling well but that I am still very tired and want to sleep a while longer.
Then I lose sight of them both. Swept up into a whirlwind of energy, I am propelled outward, right through the roof and over the house. Gazing back toward the Earth, I see our moonlit valley shrink to a pinpoint of light in a swath of nocturnal woodland. I am carried far out into the blackness of deep space.
In this moment, there are no distinctions between myself and my experience. The only identity I feel is the universe itself beating like a dark star-studded heart in an infinite empty void. And the pulsations I feel are those of my own heart beating. And I am born. I am a child again. I live a billion lives. I die a billion deaths. There is nothing but this moment. I am you and you are me. Things are just the way we want them to be. We are the result of our desire. We are doing what we always do.
I know this now. And because you are here with me…reading this…you know it too. You have always known this… you have been waiting for me to say it… and you know now that I will say it …I am going back…back in…back inside…back to my body…back to life…
I open my eyes.
You are here.
I love you.
Image: “I Heal Myself: Part Two,” digitally altered original painting by Tullio DeSantis, 2009.