ROOTS AND WINGS: adventures of a spirit on earth, part 1, chapter 1, by Jack Haas

Part one, chapter 1

Out in this world, in this impossible world, in this crazy, mysterious, magical world. Out into this world I came, like a wild thought fleeing its captor. Out and out I plunged, never towards but only away, as if I was born solely to become what God had not yet made. As if life was my way to expand the miracle, to make it more than it is or has been, and to seed that new realm even though I was lurching forward with all the grace of a limping man in a blinding sand storm, who yet was filled with all the privilege of a knight sent in pursuit of the Grail, because I was a seeker and I was the sought, and yet there was nothing to find in life that was better than creating what had not yet been.

To do this is to embrace the making instead of the made, and so to serve the Self like a polished magnifying glass making focused light of the giving sun. To be one with the Creator is to have entered into the stillness of the living word become flesh, and to be that living flesh also; it is to be the gold which is not gold but rather the condensed light of God formed out of the archetypical blueprint and into the eternal liquid structure of the ephemeral day.

And for this have I lived in our implausible world as if on an endless tightrope strung between the pinnacles of confusion and wonder, while hovering over an infinite abyss as full of joy as it is of sorrow. For there was a time when the yin and the yang, if there be such divisions, were stretched apart to their furthest dimensions within me, leaving my mind in the lofty reaches, and my heart in the pit of hell, so that I was ripped open by the insoluble feud between them. Which is why it seemed that nothing worked, because I was composed of two perfect halves, but I was not whole, and since the agony came with the ecstasy, the tug-of-war between the two halves became the goad and the leash from which I sprang forth only then to be hauled back again with ignoble regularity. And thus I was forced out into life, to take it in, enjoy it, despise it, correct it, and destroy it, and was then pulled painfully back again, withdrawn so as not to be petted nor fed. As if to enter the banquet, to drool a bit, and then be pushed quickly out the other side, in a neverending chain of engagements, was my destiny, so as to live and to not live, to die and to not die, and to always be given and never to have, which was the only way I could learn how to not-exist while existing, to enter the jail without being taken prisoner, and to fly without growing wings, so that in the end I could live free upon this earth only by continually wriggling out of my old self, and becoming what I had never been.

It was this pendulous oscillation, which in its singular turn drove me nearer to myself by the same distance it tore me apart, that broke and also mended me together. How else could I describe it? How else could it describe me? Others called it life. I didn’t know what to call it. It was all very strange. Very, very strange. I never knew a damn thing. No one ever does.

And so I had to learn to embody all of my own contradictions: I had to accept and deny myself; I had to have faith in God, and I had to rebel; I had to love and also abhor the flesh; I had to strive and not strive, be and not-be, do and not-do, and take on all of life’s imperfections knowing that they were somehow perfect.

I had to always be coming, and always be going. And in that provincial domain of our feral aristocracy, where the duty and dreaming mingled into an indivisible one, nobody could have told me what I would find when I ceased living with expectation, preconception, or need. No one could show me how to get no where. For throughout those formative days of my so-called separate existence, there were many seemingly inexplicable and yet undeniable preconceptions, synchronicities, exuberances, coincidences, messages, voices, wonderings, and dreams. Good God there were dreams. Night after night did I writhe upon the mythical membrane in between consciousness and sleep, where the greater and lesser forces spun webs of unspeakable drama throughout my defenseless becoming, while obstinate realities took refuge rhapsodically within me.

I did not know then what life’s reckless meaning beckoned, for I recognized no impetus behind my manic actions other than flight and boredom, though I knew not why I was bored, nor what it was I fled. In fact, I did not at first seek truth, only a complacency to dispel such arduous yearnings. Every act was an escape from myself and the mind’s implications. I was made stable by the force I exerted against what opposed me, and not because I could stand. And that is that.

Never let it be said, though, that my despair outweighed my euphoria, or my agony my bliss, for I have gone down into the belly of the beast, and there I howled with a woe and tremor enough to chill the gods, and there I also laughed and roared with a rapture enough to cause them envy. And there it was that I gathered up both sides of that rope strung between everything and its opposite, until I pulled the chasm into me, filled that hollow with my own emptiness, and caused my divided world to merge the darkened moon into the light of the sun.

But in order to do this I had to learn to sit with the disquiet, to feel it, accept it, and then throw up my arms in resignation, and hallelujah, for it is a crazy path which the spirit partakes in its breathtaking descent into the earth. It is a perilous dive into the catacombs of the flesh, wherein the transformations are as fast and furious as the raging seas of spirit all around. And it was only in the release of all that refuses to fall that, paradoxically, I learned again how to fly. Which is to say, it was only when I allowed fear to become loneliness, loneliness to become acceptance, and acceptance to turn into wonder, that …that I became the unknown God.

This came about because, in the intimacy of all our absences, where the self assumes no borders, and form shatters without breaking, I remembered …how to forget. I forgot, and that was enough to release me from woe. For only the unadorned Self can slip through the membrane of matter and into the void of the One, because you cannot get to the other side by trying to get there, but only by letting go of what holds you, and floating away though yet planted amidst life’s pervasive glue.

For me there was no other option. I had to leave, and I had to stay. And in the violent collision of these two necessities, in the wash and fire of the spirit’s healing, in the sacrificial evisceration of the mind, in the fiery assumption of the grosser self, when I knew I was done for, and the Word itself hovered hopelessly above the willess flesh, at the crescendo of my dismemberment, I suddenly came to peace because I finally realized that everything in life was wrong, that it was intended to be wrong, that God was insane, that men were as devils, and that it was going to get far worse before it got any better. And, given these unequivocal suppositions, easy enough it was to recognize life as naught but a terrible joke. But, then, after all …a joke it was. So with that matured understanding it occurred to me that it is up to each one of us to choose how we take that joke- whether we walk through our days with a foul and bitter scorn, or skip merrily through life with a hearty chuckle. That is what I came upon. And what happened to me is …I began to laugh.

And in that jocular twist it seemed as if everything wrong had suddenly vanished, and the only thing to remain was …the inexplicable. And so all I was left with was a formless, passionate, intimate …faith. I have no better way to poorly describe it. All I was left with was the madness and mystery called life. And that was enough, for if truth be known, the last straw does not break the camel’s back …it gives it wings. And so my cup had gone from being half empty, to being half full, and the cup which is eternally half full, is the same one which forever runneth over, for appreciation is one of the symptoms of heaven, of that terrible, agonizing gratitude, the kind that bends you over weeping and then grabs you by the breastbone and lifts you up in joy.

Gratitude. When you sift out the trials and struggles, the loneliness and perils of existence, no matter who you are or how you got there, what’s left in the end is the privilege of life.

It was through that privileged and pathless mayhem that I came like the mountain wind, without warning or direction. And the curses and blame did not end nor impede me as I went on beyond the God who is and the God who is not, beyond what the powers made of me and what they took away, beyond all way and connection, beyond where they caught me and where they tried to make me stay. I went on. Up, and up I climbed, to where I could not climb back down. I climbed up and up, alone and not wanting to be alone, until I chose once again to reverse my course, and took that desperate mad plunge back down, down through the sky, through the earth, through the mind, and into the soul, for though I no longer cared to be in this realm, I also cared to be here, despite the love and sadness of it all.

For that is the heart and the reason I came here. To dive in, and descend, and never look back with regret, nor with worry. For below the waters of life is the same Self, as above that wild surface.


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