This Is the Afterlife
Turning inside out, the young shaman falls though a long swirling tunnel formed of his inverted self, his unbodied mouth and eyes agape in a primal rush toward extinction.
He accelerates through a tightly wound vortex that shifts and bends to accommodate his course, always centred in the swirling tube which never touches his falling, disembodied perspective. The tunnel is made of light, and of his own bloodstream, and of all the memories and unremembered details of materiality and personality that made up his life – yet not merely ‘his’ life.
Every human, fish, bird, animal, insect, cell and blood corpuscle that has ever lived is there with him, all at once – the dying shaman can feel their bright fear and ecstasy pouring through him as they all rush toward an unseen destination around the curving, translucent bends of the primal vortex. Even though every being dies alone - no matter if a multitude of witnesses is present - the moment of death itself is one great screaming orgasm experienced simultaneously by every one, every single thing that has ever lived - all our eyes and mouths and ganglia agape at the same simultaneous culmination of our material existence.
The tunnel is an eternally vivid living record of past events and future dreams, all memories and visions embroidered into the seamless fabric of its swirl – and Ram’yana’s private past and the panoply of his personal memories are displayed most prominently to him, brightly livid episodes which emerge from the tubular walls as he passes. His strongest experiences - the most impressive ones, that imprinted themselves most brightly into the palimpsest of his being - leap out at him in high relief as he turns and twists and falls and flies, a singular eye of consciousness accelerating toward the endless end of the convoluted time tunnel that’s leading him home.
As the world we experience slips past us at the periphery of our sensoria, an ongoing tunnel vision moves with us at the extremity of our perceptions, whether dying, dead or alive. Journeying out of the physical plane, outside the material matrix of the world, Ram’yana is beyond time and the ken of time-bound beings; as he leaves four dimensional Timespace and approaches the speed of light everything twists into a tunnel which lengthens fore and aft.
He sees his grandfather and grandmother, Mickey Mouse and Pluto, all the dogs and cats and mice and goldfish that shared his boyhood years, the smells of his houses and the flavours of his lovers. He hears the laughter of his kindergarten friends, their bright faces visible all around him singing ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’, while pretty little Abigail jumps over a spinning rope twirled by Gina and Hannah, her long blonde pink-ribboned pigtails rotating around the sides of her head.
He holds his mother’s huge hand, grasping her finger through the wooden bars of his bassinet while she sings to him in the sultry evening air. He witnesses the expression of semi-resigned shock on his father’s face during the Cuban missile crisis and again when Kennedy was shot, sees the squashed remains of mosquitoes on the wall above his crib, watches the strange lights moving in the sky while all the neighbours point and speculate, sinks again with a collapsing sandbank on Bondi Beach, swept away with hundreds of panicking faces being pulled out to the deep sea along with him, while hundreds of man-eating sharks are driven off by the beating, splashing oars of desperate lifesavers.
He sees his mother’s eyes for the first time all over again and screams at the hard slap on his bottom as he hangs before Doctor Traub’s thick-lensed glasses in the bright, antiseptic birth theatre. His paternal grandmother smiles at him as she leans over and obscures his view of the magnificent giant yellow flowers of the magnolia tree while she wheels him in his pram; he can still smell the cloying fragrance of the flowers. His mother’s mother screams as he holds a dingo puppy up for her inspection and she tumbles over backward in her bedroom, breaking her hip while his eight year old eyes wash the scene away with tears that burn through the illusory years.
The Cat in the Hat and the Mighty Thor; the smell and Hungarian accent of alcoholic Uncle Tony, putting him off beer for years with his first taste of bitter ale at the age of six, and the bright laughing face of his babysitter Wendy by the blazing wood fire; the spray of blood when he cut his wrist falling onto a broken bottle at the age of three and the dizzying view from the emergency surgeon’s high private balcony; the first time he kissed a girl and the first time he dreamed of kissing a girl, all bound up together; flying through the sky in a propeller-driven passenger plane, watching circular rainbows following him in the clouds below.
White sulphur-crested cockatoos and sparrows circle his yard while kookaburras laugh in the gum trees; the first terrifying time his father holds him up high in the air to place him in the fork of a tree; his first night after he ran away from home, reclining on a beanbag in a Kings Cross commune reading Philip Jose Farmer’s pertinent To Your Scattered Bodies Go - everything is there, each scene and sensation embedded within and revealing a multitude of others. Everything. His dying mind seeks out everything he’s ever experienced, seeking a way back into the womb of living as he falls through something else entirely, riding a rollercoaster beyond the imagination of the most topologically tormented tycoon.
As Ram’yana falls he flashes before the eyes of his whole life – as others fall with him, many others, all others, sharing the time tunnel with his self-judging awareness. In the eternity of the Fall everything hidden or repressed is exposed in the Divine Light of clear sight and each being is their own Judge, emerging from the blindfold of their material existence to weigh their own soul on the ineradicable scales of justice and mercy. Conscience is the soul and the soul is immortally, inescapably honest with itself when released from the fetters of self-deceit and delusion.
Beyond time, at the singular moment of the great primal rush that is the birth and death canal leading from one world to the next, everyone experiences the same thing at the same time. We all come and go together in a mind-blowing orgasm; dreaming or screaming, laughing or crying, all emotion quails and pales before the rush of unstoppable motion that dwarfs any and every trivial concern.
No thought of gods or devils, life or death in the primal scream toward the Light at the end of the tunnel - the only thing that matters is holding onto your headless hat and the wordless regrets felt toward all the people, animals and conscious entities you ever knew deeply, or ever loved – and still love, deeply, tenderly, with a perspective of forgiveness, understanding and compassion never vouchsafed to your flesh-bound, in-coiled, emotion-embroiled mortal personality.
Ram is every human who ever lived and died, every fish ever caught in a current to swirl down into lightless depths beyond its control, every bird caught in a whirlwind that flings it to flinders, every animal diving for cover into cloaking vegetation from an inescapable predator, every individual blood corpuscle flinging itself on the way to the crushing pressure at the heart of its warm, pulsating cosmos. As he pours through the end of the world the tunnel twists and whirls, always hiding the point of it all, the point of no return, the heart of the matter, the source of every thing and being - and his mind expands to simultaneously see his spiraling course as a single thread in a vast interwoven image.
The tunnel is one thread among myriad drab and colourful strands in a great unchartable tapestry, an inextricable part of its intricate pattern. The dying shaman follows the course of his life along its undulating strand and sees that his thread rises and falls above and beneath uncountable other interlocking threads, a spectrum of hues and textures in the enormously unfathomable tapestry. As his thread rises above another he is ‘conscious’, while the thread it occludes is ‘dreaming’; where his strand is covered by another thread, his mortal body sleeps and dreams while the other strand lives their waking life. Everyone and everything is there, all at once, simultaneously, lain out and displayed before him with no need for the flow of time to elucidate the infinite multiplicity of being.
Turn the tapestry around. The thought comes unbidden and the cloth reverses itself around him in a loopy topological twist; the implicately shared complementary nature of consciousness becomes apparent to his blown mind as he sees himself dreaming the lives of others, and others dreaming through his waking eyes and flesh. The intermingling pathways wind around the curving delineaments of their divine co-creation, which turns into itself like a Moebius strip until the beginning of one thread seamlessly winds into the end of another. The falcon is the hunter is the arrow is the feather is the truth. All is alive and whole; nothing is partial or frayed.
The tapestry is vast, but he’s able to follow his individuated thread through the colourful patterns and sees that the enormous conglomeration of dreams and lives is incomplete – not completed by the path of the single thread that is his experience of existence, rising from the tapestry to enter him as him. At the same timeless moment, Ram’yana approaches the plexus of light that is the destiny of all nations, women and men - the future and past of all that are born to fall along with him, minds blown in the blinding light of the immortal portal.
An immaculate blazing white-hot sun glows at the end of the tunnel. He can see it ever more clearly through the transparing walls of the vortex, thinning and fading in the face of the overwhelmingly brilliant source and core of existence. Ram sees the arcs of a trans-finite net spreading outward from the source, sees an infinitude of other vortices approaching its plexus from more angles than he can wrap his bodiless head around. They pass through each other in ways that defy and tease his mortal three-dimensionally entrained mind – but the arrangement makes subtle sense to a higher form of his being, trembling on the edge of an unchartable metamorphosis into something so much greater as to be intrinsically unimaginable. Simultaneously, on another level, the individual personality of the shaman approaches its ultimate rebirth and transformation in his flight toward the blinding light of the central sun.
The source of all is the hot, bright core and central axis of the centreless multiverse, the eternal end of every tunnel; the maw of a transdimensional creature about to swallow him up, the Infinite Light of God and his own silent heart gently glowing in timeless repose. He flies around a final bend in the dissolving tunnel, surging toward the arcane net that veils the core - which flares into him as the tunnel widens, opening into the final straight.
Ram’yana flashes toward the weave that’s flung to the ends of the cosmos, spreading himself to embrace the Light - and as he reaches it, he encounters the safety net. A web-like sieve is strung across the open maw of All, and as Ram’yana passes though it a great, resounding BOUMMB fills the boundless universe – the sound of one heartbeat, as loud as the boom that eternally creates the unborn, ever-living universe; the sound of Shiva’s eye opening and of one hand clapping.
Before your time, he hears and feels, not ready, not yet – unfinished - and he feels himself shrinking toward an infinitesimally small spot in the multitude of multiverses - back into the weave, where plan net X marks the spot where all things meet in his current-bound primate life.
Boumb… Boom…. Boom!
That’s why I’m here, writing this to you ‘now’ - the same ‘now’ that you are reading it in, really. I and eye remember it all vividly, not as something to slowly forget or avoid in the unfocused mind’s eye, but as an ongoing experience that is with me now, always, dynamically imprinted. It is with me as it is with you, when you close your eyes and open your memory to see truly through the waters of forgetfulness, to the infinite waters of eternal life.
Life and death, sensory wakefulness and supersensory dreaming are the same thing, appearing as the warp and weft of the reversible tapestry of existence. And everyone, each of us, is the whole tapestry, inextricably interwoven – everyone is everyone, and that’s about as close as this constraining corsetry of early third millennium Inglesh needs to get at this point in infinite time – xcept, perhaps, for the most important thing of all;
Every one you truly touch and are touched by, in every way, leaves the deepest and most prominent engravings in your heart, mind and soul. What we do unto others is what we do to ourselves - and other living beings are more than mere memory mirrors or handy usable tools. That’s what draws us back for more, and more again – the need to do better by our selves – over and over, until we do it right. Then we get another choice – or another chance to ride the carousel Wheel of Fortune again, if we so choose.
The multiple layers of ascendant consciousness are a self-filtering system of co-evolution - a system of slowly developing focus and perspective that leads our awareness to other dimensions, already inextricably interwoven with the relatively ‘familiar’ bounds of our largely unknown but ever-present reality. There’s no dim-witted hierarchy of order-givers or sword-wielding guardians barring the doors of higher perception – the gateway to Heaven on Earth. There’s just you – and me, and all of us, together. We all have our time to shine, and that time is always now.
Yet Death is not Dying. In the Bardo spaces between thy flowering carnations of existence, all the bright religious hopes and turgid superstitious terrors await the untrained monkey mind in its ongoing fall toward dissolution or reintegration. The Bardo Realms are entire worlds or pocket universes as apparently solid as the full-blown reality ye imagine around thee, right where thou art sitting, right now. How do ye know thou art alive, not dreaming this experience, right here and now? Do ye think that’s air you’re breathing?
Ram’yana floats disembodied, cast up on an immaterial shore outside the local universe, watching it swirl through itself beneath him; the tapestry is a barely discernable, infinitely fine-grained weave forming the matrix of existence, outlining the shape of the universe and guiding its self-sustaining flow through time and space and all the other, less obvious parameters it encompasses. He sees a hazy infinitude of other swirls spreading out in all directions, above, below, to either side – each a slight variation on the one before, all widely separated yet all partaking of the same immaterial dark substance as the tenuous tapestry.
Each swirl is a singular grain in an imperceptibly vast hologram, an infinite regression of fractal vortices; a single word in a never-ending story - and each verse is subtly different from all the other differing aspects of a single singing unity.
His blown mind watches the singular verse nearest him swirling into itself, containing its energies like a Klein bottle pouring into its own interior to define its own recurving, inside-out delineaments. It looks like a giant swirling jam doughnut, or a coiled cowpat, a giant dog turd, a flattened vortex, a topographical conundrum slowly twirling through at least four dimensions. As he floats in a simulacrum of his tattered body and puzzles out the multiplex shape, he’s slowly drawn back toward it, floating down into a singular point encased within its grave, gravitic embrace. He sees one particular swirling spot within a whirling coloured mass and knows that’s the place where his density lies on a bed of warm, cracked concrete.
Ram’yana feels the slow, distant booming of his heart. He gains an inkling of another sound, resonating in the back of his mind - and it expands to become a symphony of intriguing crystalline notes. All around him, bells made of ice are tinkling with the harmonious chaos of twinkling stars.
Ram’yana feels himself rising through the star-flung cosmos while the suns sing a chiming paean to life and, outlined in the far distance above him, a wavering shape begins to take form. He attempts to focus on the vaguely familiar form and rises through strangely layered densities as the tinkling music morphs into more gravelly, clashing sounds.
The slowly approaching shape becomes dimly visible above him as he rises toward it; the shifting outline of a human form, splayed across a layer in the stratosphere of his dreaming mind. The sounds become metallic scraping noises, moving to and fro from side to side. The glowing outline grows more familiar as he floats gently upward through a dimly palpable substance, his ears filling with jangling clashes of indecipherable noise. The approaching form gradually resolves into the shifting white-on-midnight blue outline of an intimately familiar human aura – the invisible chalk-shape outline of his teenage body, awaiting his return to the surface of the world.
The undying young shaman hears the strange sounds shift into a field of white noise when he enters the welcoming shape of himself, as the deafening hiss sloughs away like the parting of waters when the submerged swimmer breaks through the surface tension of the oceanic world-sphere. He bursts breathless into blessedly fresh night air and marvels at his rebirth as he reenters his gasping body from the spaceless spaces beyond and within the dark matter of Mother Earth.
Boumbb! Boumb! Boom!
Ram’s first resurrected breath sucks him all the way back into his body as the skin of the other dimensional space he’s been journeying through breaks all around him, the Waters of Life spraying into the illuminated void. The jangling metallic sounds return and resolve into vaguely discernible human voices, coming to him through the stunned, distended tunnels of his barely functioning ears. At first he can’t make out the words, only recognising the emotional intensity behind the strange sounds as they attempt to negotiate the blocked passages of his auditory canals. Then he recognises Titania’s voice through waves of warbling, flanging distortion.
“He’s breathing – and his heart’s beating again!”
For more see The Shaman of Centraxis at http://centraxis.blogspot.com/2008/01/hole-is-greater-part-1.html - The Prince of Centraxis
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