No Local Vertical

Thanks to Spider Robinson where I first read this concept, and then belatedly (and posthumously) to the immortal Robert A. Heinlein and his Waldo & Magic, Inc.

“Oh Great Wave, wipe away, wipe away my false face.
Awaken from my sleep the Radiant Light.
Touch me! Touch me! I am once again beyond the beyond.
I am that I am.”

sung by Scott Medina

At the end of the Quantum Wealth workshop (www.quantumwealth.com), Steven told how he met a monk who could do that harmonic toning thing with his voice. He asked how they learned that. The monk said that they tone and the student listens. Then the student tries. And on like that until one day the student does it. Apparently, it takes a long time. Steven just said, “Oh.” A couple of days later, he did it. He called the monk, did the tone, and the monk said, “Oh, that is very good.”

He told us we had received the transmission.

I am not sure how many times I’ve taken this workshop, and I imagine I may do it again. It’s a great time. At the same time, I’ve received the transmission. Going to the workshop again or calling Steven up today could be one of my favorite ways to recreate the familiar sense of “me” that I was not recreating so much during the weekend.

Pondering this, I have not gone for a mocha, not left the house, not called Steven, not had breakfast. I did finally eat 2 pieces of chocolate and half a cup of the chocolate-laced Bolder Breakfast Tea. Yum.

While I waited for the tea water to boil, I made a to-do list. I had to laugh. Apparently, I had a few next steps, none of which were chocolate, Steven or mocha. I’m still leaning toward the mocha. Phooey. Because I know if I ingest caffeine, next I’ll crave salt. Sigh One thing at a time.

I put on Scott Medina’s chant CD, too. At first the words seemed to be getting in the way of me-being-with me, another of those things I tend to run from. We all do, but that doesn’t stop me from wanting to stay with myself. I let it play while I took a hot bath. Even the bath was pulling me out of myself this morning. When they CD got to “Oh Great Wave” I dropped in. deep breath

Calling people is another way I recreate that familiar sense of “me.”

Yesterday I resisted one of those for hours. Hours and hours. Finally, around 2 pm, I just let go into it and decided I wasn’t going anywhere or calling anyone. I was just going to sit there and be with me. Guess what? Someone called. Funny how these things work.

So, why did I call this blog “No Local Vertical?”

Because it is my sense of things that Spider Robinson uses the idea of no local vertical as a metaphor for not recreating that familiar sense of “me.” Maybe he does. Maybe he doesn’t. But intentional or not, it works anyway, reading his Star Dance trilogy (which I highly recommend to your attention!)

In Star Dance the author talks about how few people can live without a sense of local vertical. You try it. I cannot imagine living in free fall. I can’t even ride a bus without getting seasick! I don’t know what I’d do if suddenly there was no up or down, no floor, no ceiling… and no walls!!!

Yeah, no walls. Between me and me.

And by extension, between me and you.

When those walls drop and I drop in, I think I have a taste of what Spider calls “no local vertical.” I don’t know which way is up. I’m free floating . . . but without the anxiety.

I met a friend for brunch one Sunday morning in that state. I looked into his eyes and for a split moment I couldn’t tell who was who. I drew away from the intimacy of it. My walls went blammo! Back to that familiar sense of self.

And yet I spend a lot of time and money seeking these experiences. Up until 1985 I did it with drugs. Pot, acid, ecstacy, mushrooms … oh mushrooms. Put a few chemicals in my body and the walls came down. But the anxiety stayed. In fact, if memory serves (that was over 20 years ago), if memory serves, the anxiety went up not down.

Now, when I . . . hmm, meet myself, so to speak, without the chemicals, the anxiety is usually absent. When it comes back, boom… there I go, off in search of any of those famous ways to find the familiar local vertical, the familiar sense of “me.” Which, by the way, is contracted and tight and scared and none of those things I know in my heart of hearts that I’d rather be: expansive and relaxed and alive and aware.

Somehow this weekend I got an even deeper sense of the “looking forward to” that Byron Katie uses in the Turn Around for Question #6. (If you don’t know what that is, look it up on www.thework.org) or keep reading.

Question #6 is “What is it you never want to experience with that person again?”

Right now, I might say that I never want to experience anxiety or running from presence with myself or using coffee, chocolate, phone calls and emails to recreate that familiar sense of “me.”

Is that true? Check. No, I get a contraction in my solar plexus.

Can I absolutely know that that’s true? Nope. Very tight. Clearly I’m lying to myself.

How do I react when I believe that thought or story or . . . lie? Make a list.

Oh Jesus.

I eat chocolate. I crave mocha. I crave teriyaki chicken. I call people. I email people. I take workshops. I read books. I turn on music to drown out my thoughts. I stress. I think poorly of myself. I think poorly of others. I have long arguments in my mind with myself and others. I obsess. I have sex. I run from myself.

Who would you be without that thought or story or lie?

High as a kite. Expansive. Relaxed. Open. Clear. Available. Unafraid. Peaceful.

(“Is that all?” we ask with a smile.)

Turn it Around (to self, other or opposite)

I am willing to experience anxiety or running from presence with myself or using coffee, chocolate, phone calls and emails to recreate that familiar sense of “me.”

Is that thought at least as true? (as the lie . . . lol)

Yes. Definitely. Why not? It hasn’t killed me yet! I actually enjoy some of those things sometimes.

Can you find another turn around?

Sure.

I look forward to experiencing anxiety or running from presence with myself or using coffee chocolate, phone calls and emails to recreate that familiar sense of “me.”

Is that thought at least as true?

God, yes. Doing that shows me the next step to take, gives me gifts of expanded clarity beyond the beyond. I am that I am.

“Oh Great Wave, wipe away, wipe away my false face.
Awaken from my sleep the Radiant Light.
Touch me! Touch me! I am once again beyond the beyond.
I am that I am.”

sung by Scott Medina . . . and me!

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One Response to “No Local Vertical”

  1. julia Says:

    I totally love this one! I can relate to it all.
    Thank you for putting into words this whole back and forth thing we do
    with ourselves right up until we do it no more!
    Not resisting the resistance—there’s a wild bit of permission to ourselves!!!
    Love, Julia

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