As Jack revises his novel in the mid 1980's he gives an account of some of his night time dreams that show that there is no seperation between the boy who dreams about becoming a writer and the man who writes about the boy.
"We have a physical body and it has its demands. They are encouraged and influenced by the society in which we live.
"Hush der dem. Be present at every breath. Do not let your attention wander for the duration of a single breath. Remember yourself always and in every situation." As I read these words where Bennett compares the spiritual techniques of the Sufi with those of Gurdjieff, I wonder what it would have been like if I had Remembered Myself as I fell to sleep in that Montana bunkhouse some twenty four years ago. Remembered that reality is here and now, where past, present, and future come together. Remembered that there is no separation. Though the hints that I had about, "the work," in my limited Trivia reading experience, had not yet penetrated into my consciousness, it was back then that "the work," had really begun for me. Begun on a subterranean level where it has never ceased to flow.
After all, wasn't back then an excellent situation from which to Self Remember? My body nearly exhausted from unaccustomed work, long hours, and new surroundings. My instincts raised to a fever pitch through my love for Anne. The truths that Vance and I had been kicking around playing on my thinking center.
Yet, instead of being conscious of these forces, if I remember correctly, I fell to sleep telling myself, Shut my fucking mouth, huh? I'll show the cocksucker.
Ill never talk to him again as long as I live.
As I write about those days and nights in Montana, as I get a taste of my time body, the dreams that I experience, now, show that there is no separation from the boy who dreamed about being a writer and the man who writes about being a boy. And the days and the nights do not close off the life of a man on this earth. And the years and the decades do not separate.
It's somewhere near the end of August in the year 1985. I'm standing in front of an enormous castle. It's around four A.M. Not a soul in sight. I see an iron gate around the grounds and tell myself it's certain to be locked to keep intruders out. I lift a stone slab out of the ground and urinate in the hole that it leaves. Returning the foot long slab, I spend some time studying the museum-like castle, and then, have the urge to urinate again, but tell myself, It's not right. Wait 'til you get inside, somewhere.
I'm in front of the castle door, not knowing how I got through the gate. I try the huge doorknob certain that it will be locked. To my surprise, the door opens. I step into a large sguare room. All four walls are hung with eighteenth century oil paintings. The room in furnished with elegant pieces from the same period. A large brown dog comes out of nowhere and rushes to me. "Nice dog. Nice dog, I say happy that it is not going to attack me. The dog ushers me across the room without a sound. At the far end, I open a door and step into a room which looks just like the first, except the paintings and furnishings are different. I stop to focus on a dark eighteenth century portrait, and a second brown dog rushes to my side. He ushers me through the room like the first did. I enter a third doorway into a room the same as the first two. As the third brown dog walks by my side, it flashes though my mind that this is very like the De Young Museum.
I open the door to a fourth room, and discover six large quilt covered beds. Closing the door, and seeing no watchdog, I decide to take a nap until the museum opens. All the time I've been very fearful that someone might catch me inside where I don't belong.
It's later the same morning. I've returned to the front room where I see several visitors examining a landscape. The dogs are nowhere in sight. Figuring it will be safe inside, now, I begin to study the detail of a hunting scene still life.
Two days later, I find myself on top of a twenty story building in a strange city. Huge jet fighters are sweeping across the rooftops firing shells the size of small bombs. I raise my head and see a woman get up to run. A strafing jet cuts her down. Dozens of people are laying flat spread out across the roof. A second wave comes over. The roar of the planes is deafening. I'm thinking if a shell hits me, it will take my whole leg off. Another wave passes. After several minutes of silence, I stand up to look around. Everyone else on the roof is blown to bits. The building is leaning to one side ready to collapse. You'd better get down from here, I tell myself wondering how I'm gonna make it. I find a stairway and start down. At each level, I pass through a doorway until I reach the sixth floor. Here, the door is jammed shut.
I find myself in a shell of a house with only the four walls standing and no roof. On one wall, I see two beautiful patches of wallpaper. They are both about twenty feet wide and run all the way to where the ceiling should be. "Those are really nice patterns," I tell Vance who suddenly appears beside me.
"Why don't you buy them?" he asks.
"What do you think they're worth?"
"Offer 'em twenty bucks each," Vance tells me.
A man enters and tells me that he is the owner's son. I ask if the paper is for sale and make an offer. He begins peeling the paper off, while I'm asking myself where I'm gonna hang it.
It's early October. I have to pick Anne up for work in a half hour at five thirty. As I look around, I see that I'm on Market Street in downtown Philadelphia. I step inside a theater lobby. Several well dressed men and women sit at bar watching the film. I tell myself that maybe I should treat myself to a half hour in front of the movie screen, but think I'd better use the restroom first. I remember that this part of Market is frequented with perverts and queers and think I'd better be really careful. I push open the door to a large lounge with round leather couches and chairs. Several middle age blacks sit on the couches in various stages of undress, showing their privates, playing with themselves, and jerking off. I enter a stall, close the door, and sit. One of the men slides his dick under the door and nudges my foot. Before I can even move, several plain-clothes cops rush in and drag the man away.
It's the next evening some time after midnight. Anne and I are in a strange apartment. We walk into the kitchen and see Mark sitting at a wooden table. "Take a seat and copy exactly what I tell you," he says without a word of greeting as if there had not been a quarter century gap between now and our last meeting. I begin to copy on a sheet of binder paper. As I examine the broken words, I can't make heads or tails out of what I've copied. I tell him he'd better write it himself, and get up to take a look around the place. When I return to the table, I find that Mark has painted a picture in blue and yellow ink. Just like him, to play, and let someone else do all the work, I tell myself and bend to take a closer look. I see seven priests in yellow habits standing before a dark blue sky. The priests have triangular bodies and round heads. A bright orange moon lights up the starless sky.
Anne is in the next room with a teenage girl. As I approach, the girl is wiping tears from her eyes. She tells us that her uncle does sexually abuse her, but that she can take care of that, now. She does want us to do her a favor, though. She says she's expecting a baby. She wants me to write down the date of its birth. Remembering the trouble I had copying for Mark, I tell her, "Just give the date to Anne. I'll copy it in my notebook when I get home."
Why was I placed on this earth? What is my purpose for being here? This is the number one question, I tell myself when I awaken for a moment.
It's the next morning. I'm walking through a marina where a number of large pleasure boats are docked. A policeman in blue uniform approaches me with an angry scowl on his face. He tells me that my daughter wrote, "Vickie was here," on the hull of his boat with her sanitary napkin. "She can still come on the outing, but it was a nasty thing for her to do, he says.
Seething with fury, I tell him to take off his gun and fight me like a man. I shout at a number of business dressed pedestrians, "He insulted my family. He owes it to me to let me fight him!"
The cop keeps backing away until I have him cornered against the wall. I'm surprised that none of the on lookers are rushing to restrain me. He pulls out his handgun and gives it to me butt first. I could shoot him, I tell myself, but instead toss the weapon as far as I can throw it. This makes the officer furious. Im thinking that maybe I've gone a little too far as we rush for each other's throats. We wrestle to the ground and roll over and over. I fight blindly with a mixture of fear and exhilaration.
I'm off the ground brushing my hands. A nine-year-old Vickie runs up to me. "We got'a get out'a here," I say as I lead the way down the street to our hotel. Vickie runs ahead, spins around, and slam-dunks a rolled up piece of paper into a trashcan. I'm telling myself that the cop might come after us and wondering if we'll have time to pack our things.
Vance appears at my right hand side. "What's your hurry? This is a good place to hang out. Remember, we're trying to get a birth on a ship," he tells me.
Several evenings later, I find myself in a strange house trying to learn the lyrics for a musical. I have a vague sense of others around me, Casey, and Alex and also Vance who is sometimes Alex.
I'm in a college frat. house working on the lyrics. I realize that I'm trying to learn a piece from an opera. I'm thinking how difficult it is to learn the words and the movements at the same time. Other students in the house are singing their parts in operatic voices. I think how far ahead of me they are.
I'm walking with Vance and his college roommate, Sage. We're somewhere out West on a dirt road that goes through fenced rangeland. Vance and Sage are in a deep philosophical discussion. I can't make heads or tails of what they're saying. I climb on a fence post and begin to walk the fence leaping from post to post. At the same time, I focus on the rangeland and butte like mountain background. Vance and his friend are so engrossed in their conversation that they don't see a thing. At least I have a picture of what it's like out here, I tell myself.
I'm climbing a wide stairway that leads to the massive dark doors of a church. I open the door and walk right inside as if I belong. An elderly conductor is leading a choir of college students who are dressed in suits and ties. Everyone stops to look at me, and I realize that I'm not wearing a shirt. I leave thinking I could have stayed if I had on a shirt and tie.
A week or so later, I'm shoveling wheat into a small conveyor belt. I put down my shovel and follow the belt into a small wooden shack. My foster father stands on top of a funnel shaped bin into which the wheat is pouring. He shovels the grain into several small conveyor belts that run in different directions. I see that all of the belts run to an elevator shaft that goes up to a high barn like loft. This isn't at all like what I remember from Doc's ranch, I tell myself and begin to examine the red metal bin, the cogs and wheels, and belts more closely.
Another couple of weeks goes by. I'm at the Kwikway Drive-In at On Grand Avenue in Oakland. It's the end of our shift. The guy I'm working with has just finished cleaning the grill. Vance, Sage, and several other college kids walk in half shit faced singing songs and fooling around. Vance throws a couple steaks on the grill, and asks the others what they want. I'm dead tired, and pissed off at Vance for bringing his friends at the end of the shift.
There's a green tank marked helium where the milk shake machine should be. I put on the attached mask and breath in deeply thinking a hit of helium might give me the surge of energy that I need to keep up with Vance and his friends. There's a yellow tank marked oxygen next to the green tank. I wonder if that wouldn't be a better choice, but stick with the helium.
The door bursts open, and several girls rush in. "Hey, lets party!" Vance yells. I grab a dark haired girl and begin to dance to an up beat Latin tune. Vance and his friends look on in amazement at how well the girl and I dance together. Her black eyes flash in excitement as our bodies rock in rhythm to the music.
Next afternoon, I'm at a campsite with Alex, his daughter Cassie, and my brother, C.C. We've already set up camp, and are spread out along a dry creek bed digging for gold. I scoop out several handfuls of dirt and discover a buried shelf of books. Reading several titles, I see that I've dug into an elementary school library. Worthless, I tell myself and move to dig elsewhere.
Growing bored, I leave the creek bed thinking that we will never find gold digging like this. I join C.C. and Cassie who have already left the creek to start dinner. On the other side of camp, I see that Alex is fishing at the river. He's hooked an enormous fish. Im wondering how his line can hold such a monstrous thing as he reels it closer and closer to shore. Christ, it's over six feet, I realize as I approach the riverbank. The fish sees me and leaps three feet out of the water.
"Stay back! You'll frighten it. She'll break the line if she gets too excited, Alex tells me. I freeze in my tracks, and the fish calms down. Alex continues to work it in. Off shore, a half dozen fish around the same size are leaping out of the water and watching the struggle. Soon, the creature is flopping on the bank. "Pull her in. Pull her in," Alex shouts as he backs away to keep the line taut.
I rush to the water's edge and grab the fish around her middle. Pulling and pushing, I work her farther and farther out of the water. Smoked salmon dinner, I'm telling myself.
The fish sits up and looks me in the eye. As she does, she turns into a mermaid. "I was just getting my son ready for bed. He and my husband will really miss me. Please put me back," she tells me in a soft human voice.
I lift her on to my shoulder and struggle toward the water. "I'm putting her back," I shout at Alex. He nods his head in agreement. I lean my shoulder to the water and the fish flops in. She speedily swims to her friends off shore.
"I wish everyone was as gullible as you," she calls back when she reaches her friends.
Yea, but she does have family and friends, I tell myself.
It's eight A.M. the first of January 1986. Anne comes in from her trip to Scotland. I'm really pissed when I discover that her plane got in at eight P.M. last night. "It was a new year's eve. party. I couldn't just leave.
Though it was kind'a uncomfortable when everyone started making out around midnight," she tells me.
I'm wondering how much she made out as she describes how she drove one of the older members of the party home and had to keep brushing his hand off her leg. I tell Anne I'm going for a walk up in the badlands and take off even though she's pissed at my leaving.
I'm with Vance and a stranger in a foreign country. We have just killed someone and are running from the police. In the stranger's apartment, I rifle the closet looking for a shirt and jacket. I have a feeling that it's all over. It's only a matter of time before they catch us, I'm telling myself.
"Maybe we ought to split up. They'll be looking for two Americans. What language do you speak?" I ask the stranger.
He and Vance wave for me to hurry after them. I slip on a jacket and rush down the stairs.
We are at a coffee house hang out. "This is the first place they'll look for us, I tell Vance and the stranger as I shot a glance at the in crowd seated out front wondering if plain clothes aren't here already. The stranger orders a burger for himself and one for me while Vance goes out to mingle with the crowd. Well, maybe we can catch a quick burger, I tell myself, not knowing when I will ever eat again.
I'm going across the front yard of my foster parents farm at a dead run. I brake to a stop at the back shed that leads into the kitchen and see that they are just finishing dinner. My real father comes out of the shed with some food for the cat. Im wondering why he came down from Philadelphia. He nods hello and explains that he always feeds the cat. "You feed the cat and you have a friend for life," he tells me and goes into a story he read in the newspaper about a cat that saved his master's life when a fire broke out. I tell him I can't stay, and take off again. I'm running hard when I see the path that leads to the badlands. The cops 'll never catch me up here, I'm telling myself.
I'm in an enormous basement running on top of huge bales of cotton. I see the edge of the bales and realize that I'll have to jump down to a lower level. I jump a hundred feet or so and get back in to my pace. I'm running over pallets of hundred pound burlap bags filled with coffee beans. I come to another lower level. This one is made of square packing cases about six feet high. I jump down and continue to run.
At the southern end of the basement, I see a small window. I grow very excited thinking it will open up to a path deep in the badlands. Instead, I find that the window is blocked by mound of grass-covered dirt. I have to run all the way back to the front of the basement and exit by the stairs there.
When I climb the stairs, I find a path that leads through a very beautiful small town that I've explored in other dreams. I see a pair of black kids shooting hoops, and remember that there is a small ghetto section that I have to skirt. I turn the corner expecting a majestic view of the mountains. Instead, I find myself on a narrow street that is blocked by two cowboys who are loading an expensive looking saddle into a van. I edge against the wall of a leather goods store, and tip toe by. As I do, I step on the toe of the closest cowboy's pointed boot.
"That didn't work did it?" He asks with glance of superiority.
"Sorry," I answer in a humble voice.
I continue down the street and
enter a large department store followed by a number of my six grade students. A young clerk calls down from the second story. "I have to check out some things on the computer and then I'll be right with you he tells us. I'm thinking there might be a lot to see in a store this size.
Consciousness is time-space, I tell myself as I sit on my spot trying to Self Remember. We enter it just as it enters us. We are, in fact, one with it. All that we know of consciousness, of time-space within the limits of our five senses is but a single dimension. Do not think for a moment that we are the center of the universe. All around us are other dimensions. One of these is the psychological dimension. Remember, everything in our psychological world is also laid out in time-space.
Once you enter the fourth dimension, you travel through a world that is not limited by linear concepts. You get a stepped back view of all time-space. It is here that we find a different reality. We approach the world of the miraculous that is entered through higher centers. It's a place where Jack finds different laws. It's the top of the beanstalk where laws no longer conform to the limitations of the five senses.
"To stand alone, without being committed to any course of action, to any conduct, to any experience, is essential, for this alone frees consciousness from the bondage of time, says Krishnumurti.
If anyone had told me forty years ago, that I would be still writing this story in the year two thousand, I would not have believed them. Nor would I have believed that a man could learn so much about writing in one short lifetime. When the rhythm of this final revision catches up to me, my dreams are still telling the same story.
I'm driving on Schilling Road somewhere this side of Bull Creek. The road is dry and Im kicking up a little dust. I feel very groggy. I'm afraid I might fall to sleep at the wheel. I ease to a stop, and look out at a wide expanse of open rangeland. Not a sign of human habitation for as far as the eye can see. All of a sudden, I spot two gigantic brown bears. Only they're not brown. They're a light reddish color. As they rise above the roof of my pick up, I'm both fascinated, and frightened. Behind the bears, low to the ground are two weasels. They snarl and rise on their hind legs more ferocious looking than the bears. A third weasel comes scrambling up and attacks the first two. I feel very frightened. Focusing back on the bears, I realize that they are right outside my door. I'm thinking they could tear it right off the hinges if they wanted to. I ease off the clutch and slowly continue towards the pull off at Bull Creek.
It's July fifteenth in the year two thousand. I'm talking with Mr. O our computer teacher. He's showing me a map of the entire cosmos that one of his students has drawn. As I look more closely, I see that's is more like a watercolor which charts the course of man's destiny on this planet. It describes every detail of the evolutionary process in drawings and words. Going up the left side of the three-foot chart, I see, "Buddhism," "Christianity," "The Age of Reason" "Origin of the Species." "The Theory of Relativity" among hundreds of other words and allusions. Yea, I understand all that, I tell myself.
Then, I work my way down the right hand side. I see a drawing of a jazz musician, a swirling figure in black ink playing a muted sax. The rest of the page is a lot of formula, math, and computer stuff. "The one thing I regret in my life is that I never learned to play a musical instrument. I never understood music. A friend had to go through a great sacrifice to retain his musical talent. He said it was worth every bit of the sacrifice," I tell Mr. O realizing that I haven't mastered any of the skills on this side of the map.
"What you are saying is very true ," he answers. I see that he has lost a lot of weight and looks like he has gone though some hard times. I remember that Mr. O is a concert violinist, and wonder what keeping his music has cost him.
I'm at the front of the computer
room waiting with a group of kids for the bell to ring. I look at the clock and think it should have rung at 2:35. The bell goes off, and Mr. O. dismisses the class. I see by the clock that it is 2:43. They cheated us out'a eight minutes, I tell myself thinking I could have put those minutes to good use. At the end of the hallway, I sit down on a cot and begin to undress. I lay for ten minutes or so, but cannot fall asleep. Several students walk by. I'm thinking that I shouldn't be sleeping out here in the open. I get up and start to dress. As I'm putting on my pants, Mr. O. and several students walk by. "Just caught a ten minute nap. Now, I'll be ready to go all night," I tell them not letting on that I'm just a little embarrassed at getting caught like this.
It's a week later. I'm in a middle school multi-purpose room. Half of the students are standing on a large wooden stage. The other half is sitting in the audience. Our principle, Mr. Limpkey, is leading us in a spirit building activity. With one part of myself, I'm conscious as a teacher. But, most of the time, I feel the events as an eight-grader.
The principal raises his right arm and holds it in the air. We all follow in perfect unison. He calls me to his side, and explains that he is going to demonstrate the correct way to dress. "The first rule is to button your shirt all the way to the top," he says and fastens my third button down. When he is at that button, I'm looking out as teacher. By the time he reaches the second button, I'm a student. As his hands fumble on the top button, I see that I'm wearing my long sleeved red plaid cotton shirt. The collar fits tightly and he can't get it buttoned.
"Here, let me get it," a beautiful eight-grade girl, Matia, tells the principal.
"She can do it. Her fingers are smaller," I say as she fastens the button. The girl is one of the most popular in the whole school, and I feel very self-conscious standing next to her. The principal ushers me a couple steps forward, and extends his arm to point me out. I feel like a complete nerd. But, in the next moment, I am a teacher again. Mr. Limpkey is pointing out at the audience. "You see how well behaved they are?" he asks. I look out and she rows of boys and girls dressed in cheerleader garb, and football uniforms. They're jumping over the seats and acting rowdy. I shake my head and look again. Everyone is dressed is shirts and ties and sitting with rapt attention.
Music begins to play, and Matia and I are dancing. I get really into the up beat tempo as I discover that the girl is an excellent dancer. I get really into the swing of the music and the feel of our swaying bodies. We circle out towards the back of the stage, and I almost bump us into a table. I have to break my step and we lose the rhythm for a minute. This happens a couple more times, as we whirl around the floor, and I'm hoping Matia won't think I'm too uncoordinated.
A really fast jazz piece comes on and most of the students stop dancing. I hold Matia in my arms as we pick up the beat. I'm thinking I can show off some moves right now, and give Matia a twirl. She begins spinning faster and faster, and leaps off the floor onto a platform about twelve feet above the stage. I'm thinking she was embarrassed to dance with such a nerd and that's how she planned her escape.
I'm walking along the back edge of the stage arm and arm with Matia. "I've really been working on my Objective Consciousness," I tell her.
"You're into levels of consciousness?" she asks with an excited tone of voice.
I'll make a really good impression on her now, I tell myself and ask what she has read on the subject.