What is turning me 'inside out' is reading about my own understanding that has been impossible to articulate. This very articulation by Avivah's work so acurately describes what I experience as a Bi-Polar person. I just read up to page 392 and stopped before continuing with 'The Culture of Playfulness'.
During periods of 'illness', I have experienced all of these described modalities. Loss of self. The extatic merging with God, that has the nightmare of returning to and re-ajusting to a new 'reality'. Apparantly during one of these episodes I call 'Silence', I would actually dissapear to the ward staff. They would go searching all over the ward, and then in desperation start calling for me!
I remember the senior ward nurse coming down a long corridoor towards me calling out my name, and looking in the rooms. I was stood reading the Sunday Telegraph, and I thought, I will just turn a page over to see if she sees me. I did, just as she was drawing close, but she still didn't see me! So I said 'Here I am'. I have never seen someone jump like that before or since! She just said 'You keep dissapearing'.
It's as though I live in two worlds. The internal world that I feel comfortable with and an external world that is a sort of reflection. I often 'feel' invisible, and sometimes things around me do not have solidity. This is when something that should be very hot or cold doesn't feel of anything except it sort of tactile shape. Then suddenly the sensation of temperature returns. Yup, Wierd! (Pity this doesn't happen all the time for both my Husband and me, we would save a shed load on heating bills in the winter!)
I have had to learn to make these transitions, and just 'go with it'. It involves overcoming the fear of 'never being the same'. I kind of learned that my 'normality' is in this constant transition. I get 'ill' if I get 'stuck' somewhere.
I have thought for a long time that what we call Bi-Polar, is our whole spiritual-physical being trying to integrate. As Avivah describes, there is always a bias, or asymetry within this polarity. The essence of who I am exists in the space I create from. Like writing this I suppose, or doing paintings. I did that strange picture I called 'cosmic egg', and I think I would describe the grasp I have on this ever changing polarity in the same way the image grasps the baton in the right hand. It's an axis of orientation. The ability to find a point of balance.
The last time I was in Orchard House, (our psychiatric ward at St Saviour's Hospital), the psychiatrist said he didn't think I had any psychosis or neurosis, and that I was 'abnormally normal'. I quite like that I seem to be one of the very few 'sane' people in the world, and that this has been the result of so much 'insanity'.
I suppose the definition of 'sane' is to know just how 'insane' you are capable of being. What is 'normal' anyway? I am 'nomal' for me, you are 'normal' for you. If I don't understand your 'normality' it is because I do not understand my own 'abnormality'. Most people don't get the opportunity to visit their 'abnormal side', and if we do, the old school idea was to expect a return to the 'normality' we had before the veil of sanity ruptured.
The whole world as we know it is built in terms of these descriptions. For instance I think the way the world is built in this economic political mountain of consumer goods that have been scrapped into landfills (upside down mountains of them), is inversely proportionate to the sense of uniqueness, and purpose each person has the ability to experience.
Those goods that were made with hand and skill, each unique and reflecting the maker's excellence were our passeport to inner freedom. Now that everything is made in a replicated process, by machines or production lines, we no longer have this sense of human acheivement. We have become those machines we created.
I made reference to the Luddite movement a few days ago, where the machinery was being introduced at the start of the industrial era. The machinery was being smashed by the artisans it was replacing. They were put down, and just as the revolutions taking place today all over the world over different aspects of what describes our humanity, from education riots, dissaisfaction with political process, the misuse of the fruit of our labours in propping up a civilisation based on greed and desire to de-humanise the working population... all these things come together in facets of a desire to 'change our clothes'. To genuinely move beyond the strictures that have been created through industrialism.
We are now classified in social economic and political groupings for the sake of a consumer modulated environment to serve 'mass production'. (I actually think this would be better described as 'Mass Anhilation of the sense of self). This has de-personalised our whole existance as the unique vantage of a particular within the integrity of community. We are no longer 'particulate' or 'individual', as we have lost the outer temperence, and inner spaciousness that is created within our relationship to a personal and approachable God. We do not have ways to express this in dialogue with one another.
We have become increasingly spiritually sterile, whilst proliferating into a vastness of human need and demand. We have become voraciously hungry for 'things', which have brought no real satisfaction, or sating of appetite. We have fed a hunger with emptiness. Our consuming does not fill us, but creates more desire for gratification.
We have been educated at school and through media to be like this. We are the product of the industrial revolution. We are simply groomed to become mechanical in our choices and preferences, so that we can be categorised and quantified and 'led' by subliminal direction for marketing purposes. No better than battery hens, or the concept behind the Matrix films.
We have been dissuaded away from genuine spirituality, because the strictures of the religions we have built, have suffocated the scriptures that gave birth to them. It is impossible to 'read into scriptures' what is 'not yet there'. If it is prophecy, it's very nature is an 'after the fact' revelation.
That genuine scripture has this ability to conceal and reveal meaning within itself, and is genuinely unfolding as it is read in a space between the modality of empiricism and the unspeakable, and therefore unknowable presence of God.
That within the text of scripture is this means of revelation that is accessed through engagement is a stunning and never ending dialogue with God in this place 'between the two seraphim'.
That with the combined efforts of commentaries and writings of these discoveries, our spiritual landscape is developed like new land emerging from the volcanic molten rock, that cools and solidifies into emerging form of 'terra firma'. This is how I think of the scriptures as 'the rock on which we stand', not as something that has become vegetated! Keeps my feet feeling very cold in a hot place!
Prophecy has always been destabilising to establishements of religion, it is the crowbar that God uses to pry open the coffins we bury ourselves in for lack of inspiration and vision, and the key that opens the treasure chests of spiritual riches. Like Avivah's book of essays I am reading right now!
Avivah, I will probably start all over again when I have finished, as I have all three of your books, and am very much looking forward to your next one. Spending £30 on a book that gives me this much, is worth every penny!
I don't know if I explain myself very well, it is difficult to know if other people do understand what I try to write or speak of. I think Avivah is giving me a new language to describe my inner landscape.
I know this is really random, but I wonder if this is the 'God Gene'. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?db=gene&term=67888