The Reign of Mind is Over

Hey Soulmate,

The Escape: Guide to Big Sur
Harpersbazaar.com

Something changed these past few weeks. I got bored with my mind. It feels like the final baton hand-off from my head to my heart. The reign of mind is over. Phew. I’ve been trying to figure it all out. The big IT, ie. what is it all about? Who are we and why are we here? I thought that if I could figure that out then I could finally relax and just be. Be ok with the world as it is. Only then could I really play. The baton pass was catalyzed two weekends ago at the end of the spiritual seeker rainbow, the Esalen Institute in Big Sur, CA. It was there in the 1970s that Huxley, Maslow, Leonard, Murphy and others gave the finger to conventional society and explored the big IT at every level. I was there for a weekend retreat called The Return, led by the Founder of Esalen’s son and healer in his own right Mac Murphy and Zach Bell, an experience maker and entrepreneur. Together they are curating a conversation around the next chapter of the Human Potential Movement. It was magical and idyllic and hot springs full of naked people.

One morning we went on a guided hike into a canyon where our guide, imagine Hemingway goes to Burning Man, placed each of us in a “special spot” under the trees to meditate and write on the question, “How can community support our individuality?” The first ten minutes of my hour meditation was spent paralyzed by a voice inside my head pressuring me to, “BE PROFOUND!”

Then I gave up and wrote:

Huxley at Esalen

“You call this a “special spot”? Pfff. This spot is a mound of dirt and I can feel rocks poking me in the ass. This spot is right on the path with loud hikers and two kids shooting a sling shot. Is that a freeway I hear? This is not the spot I imagined. I’d like an aesthetically pleasing spot that really inspires reflection and truth please. A picturesque spot I can Instagram #unfiltered. The perfect spot would be completely private and covered in soft, plush, bug-free moss. Nature’s mattress without the pea. In this spot I could rest, quiet the mind, take off all my masks, and be free. But not this spot. No, definitely not this one. I want a luxurious pain-free spot with occasional back-rubs and a view of the ocean. In that spot I’ll find enlightenment and total freedom. In that spot I will no longer care about what spot I’ve been assigned! Who says I need to take what I’ve been given, fuck that! I deserve a better spot. There is a spot by the river where someone just left. Maybe I should take her spot. Can I ask for another spot? If I tell you I want another spot you will judge me as superficial and spiritually retarded. You will tell me I am suffering from victim consciousness and tell me to leave and demand I find another spot elsewhere. Then, I’ll be alone. (Tiny pause) Wait, who are you to tell ME upon which spot I should sit? Do you know who I am?! You have no idea the badass spots I’ve sat in. The spots I have seen. Wow, such incredible, mind-blowing spots. How lucky I’ve been. Ugh, you are right, I should just appreciate the spot I’m in. I’m being an asshole. Listen to that creek you selfish little brat. Suck it up and be grateful for this spot. I probably don’t deserve it. Who complains in a glorious cathedral of ancient trees? I wish I could tear this part out, the part for which no spot is ever good enough. Wait, do you smell that? It smells like pancakes! Whaaat? Where are the pancakes? I’m in the woods! The smell of pancakes and a perfect sunbeam hitting the green leaves to my immediate right. This spot rocks!”

Once I allowed the mind to swing from one extreme to the other, I was able to break from the rabbitty mind fuck of ego/judgement itself. Ugh. I’m exhausted. I could smoke the proverbial cigarette. Ha. The idea that one spot is greater or lesser, a five star portal to freedom. As I sat in the space just outside the mind spin I could feel the undercurrent of fear fueling it. The tension of deep longing to connect completely to you Soulmate, to community, to God and the equal terror of losing my perceived “special-ness”, my individuality, my me-ness. And under that of course is the fear of death and a sweet layer of grief that is worried that if I’m not special and no special soul remains, then there is nothing left of my father. He wouldn’t be special either. And that I can’t abide.

In the end, Soulmate, who the F knows? Who knows the answer to the big IT? So sweet (and intense) is the mind’s longing to figure it out, to beat the video game. To be both player and played. To be both breather and breath. I like to fantasize that once we die we wake up in a rad realm laughing at all the things we believed over here. There we can project any character we have played throughout our many lifetimes and feel connection in dimensions beyond what our human mind is capable of perceiving.  For now, I’m going to go see about the pancakes.

Love, B

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The Reign of Mind is Over

Where the F are you?

Hey Soulmate,

I gave a TEDx talk a week ago in Phoenix! It is a super vulnerable, rock bottom to recovery kind of talk about addiction to work and external validation. It is also about the time I was hijacked by my soul and rerouted toward a sense of inner fulfillment. The internet will soon be the judge. When I got home I felt a little high and speedy and then I started a swift and humbling descent. Something was brewing. I started to feel agitated, hungry, and horny. I found myself back on Tinder, Hinge, and OkCupid, judging and swiping away. I ate a giant Cinnabon. I don’t eat Cinnabons. Three days later I went to see my therapist and surprised myself by bursting into tears talking about you.

A new waving of longing was moving through. Longing for you. The return of this longing made me realize that I have been without it for the first time in my entire life these past six months. I was floating in a space of fulfillment and faith that I would find you. I was free.  So when the wave of longing came through I judged it. “Oh no, not again, no more longing.” I thought I beat it. It became clear that the particles making up this wave of longing are all the rad, life moments spent without you. I’m sitting Shiva for all the memories we could have shared. For example, I would have liked for you to have been there in the audience when I gave my TEDx talk reminding me that if I peed myself and burst into tears your love would remain same-same. I grieve every missed New Year’s Eve, my best friends’ weddings, and waking up with you in the middle of the Serengeti on a crazy, awesome Safari in Tanzania. I grieve all the moments I could have been touched by you. I grieve all the “yous” you have been as you stretched into manhood. And the weddings of your best friends’ and siblings and possibly their first born. Most of all, I grieve the relationship you would have had with my father. He would have breathed a deep sigh of relief to see me loved by you. I grieve the marriage he will never witness and the speech he will never give.

This longing is sweet and animal and only knows longing. I know it well and in all its forms. Right now it is about you but it is just the aching, empty space that follows any desire. I think, next to death, it a universal human experience. I can’t beat it when the wave comes through and instead of distracting myself with real or virtual sugar and judging it, I want to harness it. According to Einstein, “Feeling and longing are the motive behavior behind all human endeavor and human creations.” So even though I can’t wait for us to project things each other and realize it and make-up and have tons of sex, I’ll lean into this longing and see where it takes me.

Miss you.

Bristol

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Where the F are you?