I am telling you now, don’t read this post.
I make a big deal out of my spiritual path, my journey, my longing for the mystical union with the source of what is, my fervor for enlightenment, the fire that burns in me for the love of God, for the pursuit of the holy and ineffable and numinous. I make no apologies for that. It is in every particle of my being, this longing for union with what is, this desire to pierce the veil of confusion and see the true glory of each and every moment, each and every being, and to give myself in the worship of that glory. I cloak it in the Buddhist garb because that is my language, that is my path, but this is only an artifact, it isn’t the thing in itself.
I say this by way of preamble for what I’m about to describe, which is utterly unbelievable and which was given to me and which probably cannot be transcribed.
Yet I feel moved to attempt to do so.
Since my wife’s terrible tragedy I have been moving eastward, compelled to reunite with her, to bring her home to her, to be of comfort to her in her loss, and to generally come in and be of what service I can be while she is burning herself on her own pyre of service. And this mission has led me across the nation and I find myself in the near middle of the state of Texas in the near middle of the nation at this hole in the middle of nowhere- the Caverns of Sonora, Texas. An RV park and campground and astounding cavern tour.
I read about it and wanted to go, wanted to be here in a strange way. “Of course.” I said to myself. “This is just the thing.”
So I drove 250 miles from Marfa to Sonora and paid my 25 bucks to camp and my 20 bucks for a tour of the caverns. I was there late so the last tour had already left, and there were two girls there and one of them had to take me on the tour. One was sweet and cute, and it was her turn. But she needed to go home to her babies. The other girl was tattooed and rough and loud and she was all over it- she wanted to take me on this tour of the deep underground. Her name was Arlene.
And I went with her.
I cannot begin to describe what happened, although I will try. We started on this tour- it’s two miles of caverns, deep underground- hot and muggy and there is a whole well-rehearsed spiel that goes on. But very quickly, since it was just Arlene and me, she opened up and threw out a lot of the script and tried to give me whatever kind of tour I wanted.
I was transported.
She talked and talked. Of the limitless, unimaginable time periods for the formation of these strange underground formations. Of the geology and chemistry responsible for what we were witness to. Of her time in prison, of her lost daughter, of her abusive husband, of her love for the caves and her sense of purpose there. Of her love for Christ and her longing to be of use, to be of service. She told me that when she was 13 she prayed to Jesus to be of service, to be a vessel, and Christ told her that she would have to endure these many trials in order to have the life she longed for, and she, at 13, said yes.
She talked of being in prison and touching so many lives that she never would have been able to otherwise. She talked and talked and talked. And as we walked underground in this cavern of wonders I knew that I was experiencing a visitation. Arlene was my Beatrice and I was Virgil. She was Christ incarnate in the form of an ex-con from Louisiana, and I was her student and willing follower.
I’ve never in my life been in such a strange place with such a strange thing happening.
And she saw me. She saw me. She was Christ looking at me and seeing the Christ in me. I mean, what the fuck? I’m a goddamned Buddhist, thank you very much. But I couldn’t utter a buddhist word to save my life. It wasn’t what was going on there. What was happening down there was Christian fellowship of the most ancient and pure variety. A couple of hardened sinners celebrating Christ’s love in the middle of a deep, dark hole in the earth.
You pray and pray for a thing and then you get it and you don’t know what to do.
I’m glad, though, that I understood what was happening- the real thing that was happening, and not the tour. The tour was happening, it was real, but the real thing that was happening was vastly, vastly, vastly more.
This is why you shouldn’t read here. I’m nucking futs. I’ve lost it. But i’ll be damned if I can say that what happened was anything other than a fellowship of Christ. Maybe there’s enough broadness and openness in my approach to enfold her Christian beliefs in the vast arms of the Buddha, but maybe that’s just me fooling myself with my own provincialism. What I do know is that I will treasure that encounter as one in which the true Christ came to me and talked with me and held my hand and visited with me. And the feeling was that the whole world had turned in it’s eternity to bring me to that moment, to that meeting.
To be a mystic is to accept the love of God utterly and to abandon doubt.
I feel so impoverished at this attempt in relating what happened. But I offer it to you in the hope and fervent prayer that you open your eyes and your heart to what is being said to you in this moment, in every moment- that you are perfect, that you are loved, that you are needed and essential in this whole endeavor. You are already what you seek and what’s asked of you is only your participation and your willingness and your perfect, essential self with all of its blindness, brokenness, and seeming limitations.
For you are Christ, you are the Buddha, you are just what all of us, what the whole world needs.
I have been blessed by all that is, I have been touched by it and I cannot be now what I once was.
Namaste. Forgive me my excesses.