[This was taken from a journal entry that was written on October 21st, 1997. As always, Jay’s current thoughts about this entry are in the post script. Enjoy! ~ Dawn]
We all move within cycles. Cycles within cycles within cycles. We can see many cycles, and often believe we therefore know who we are. However, these cycles hide cycles which we do not always see… and these cycles hide cycles which we seldom see… and these cycles hide cycles which are almost never seen. Each and every level of these cycles determine who we are as much as the previous, as much as the next…
Here’s the kicker: There’s no such thing as a cycle. Every cycle you live, seen or unseen, is not a cycle at all… it is a spiral. When you look down at a spiral, you see it expanding outward or inward, depending on how you look at it. If you look at it from the side, you see it going up or down, again depending on how you look at it. This is what our cycles do, it is the very nature of what they are. They either expand outward, or confine with every ring. They either climb to new highs, or sink to new lows… every time any cycle is repeated or acted upon.
Now we’ve all heard of someone’s lifestyle or habits becoming a “downward spiral.” If you haven’t before, you have now. It’s often drug users that get labeled thus, with good reason. One can go from being rich to poor, kind to cruel, secure to desperate, very easily, under the influence of drugs. What seemed unthinkable yesterday can easily become your reality today.
This doesn’t just happen to drug users. Drug abuse simply speeds up the spiral so it becomes obvious to everyone not involved… even to those who are involved sometimes. These spirals are in all of our lives, on every level. Most of us are stuck in many such downward spirals that are simply taking years or decades instead of days or months.
Take the aging process, if you will. I know this is one most don’t think is up for debate, and any debate is likely to be rather controversial; two excellent reasons to make an example of it. The aging process is first an upward, outward spiral; then it becomes a downward, inward spiral. At some point in nearly everyone’s life they decide (albeit subconsciously) to begin growing old and decrepit. It’s such a commonly held belief that society doesn’t even begin to question it… it actually encourages it. Those few who still look great and have plenty of energy in their fifties and sixties are branded as lucky. And they are… they are begin given the hint to a higher truth… they could stay lucky (youthful) as long as they desire. They needn’t ever give in to old age. Nor do I. Or you.
We needn’t ever grow tired. We needn’t ever be unhappy, even for a moment. We needn’t ever feel pain, except perhaps acute physical pain which could either be avoided or quickly healed. We needn’t ever step from the Light of Love, which means we need never feel anger, hate, insecurity, pity, unhappiness, etc. We need never grow old. We need never die.
This is the first hints of me starting to see what was really going on within me; and consequently, around me. I was amazed at the complexity of human behavior, but even more amazed to see common underpinnings in what often ended up being quite different behaviors.
The first time something happens, it is fresh and new and demands your attention if you wish to fully experience and understand it. I remember some of the menial jobs I have worked, being surrounded by a whole new environment and a window into a whole new world. By lunchtime I would inevitably be bored with making boxes or culling trees or cooking eggs or painting airplane parts, and by the end of the week I would be wondering what the hell I was doing with my life.
It was a different experience to step up and into realms where some knowledge and skills were required that I couldn’t learn in a day. The temptation to learn one or two things well and just do those one or two things every day was strong, digging a comfortable groove into the vinyl of my mind that was alarmingly easy to simply hang out in.
It helped to see that guy working beside me, in many examples, doing one or two things over and over every day for five years, ten, twenty… I could see the grooves in their thoughts and the lines on their faces, and it was enough of a cautionary tale to make me want to keep forming new grooves.
I tried for a long while to eliminate routine entirely. There is more than one philosophy out there making a whole lot of sense in espousing being present in the moment. The easiest way to do this is to never do the same thing twice, or never do something the say way twice. The trouble with this easy path is unfortunately at least two-fold: First, avoiding routine inevitably becomes a routine; second, the moment you are staying present in is bound to become more and more animalistic as you pursue avoidance of routine. You can only approach your home in so many ways before exhausting all possibilities; then you have to find a new place to live or be homeless, both of which can quickly become routine as well. The avoidance of routine can become a full-time job which by definition builds no foundation and eschews all structure.
Thus the pendulum swings, and the realistic perspective takes the knowledge gained from routine avoidance into a new and better routine. It is obvious that certain routines are necessary: breathing in and out is a routine cycle that my body cannot do without at my current level of consciousness. Knowing that, I see I need to learn more about breathing. Rather than attempt to avoid this cycle, I instead look at ways to improve and ultimately perfect the way I breathe. Neglecting this area of inquiry is neglecting the foundation of my physical health, sending this necessary cycle into a downward spiral that inevitably leads to health issues and premature death. Learning abut breathing puts me on an upward spiral that improves my physical health and prolongs or prevents physical death. Cool. I’m in.
On to the next cycle, then; and good-bye to soda pop and hello lots of water. But what kind of water, and where do I get it from? And how much? Too much or too little is literally fatal to the human body, so what is optimum?
On and on it goes, examining every cycle that is necessary and trying to optimize it. You find out that the people studying this stuff are all making outlandish claims about aging and death being a result of improper breathing, diet, emotional programming and exercise regimen; and you wonder if science is once again getting around to proving all the crazy ancient religions correct.
Cycles aren’t just natural, then; they’re necessary. And cycles don’t exist, I agree with that. Every cycle is actually a spiral that either expands outward and upward or inward and downward. Over fifteen years after writing this entry, I look back with gratitude on this thinking process I forced myself through. The only waves I have ridden consistently have taken me to places greater than I could have imagined when I first caught the wave.
Living for an indeterminate amount of time in this body without physical degradation continues to fascinate me, and finding more and more claims to it in my studies continue to confirm my intuitive suspicion from so long ago. The strangest thing I have learned about physical immortality is that most people don’t want it. I’m that weird guy who talks about this kind of thing to the intelligent people I find, and the thing that has baffled me most over the years is that people are much more willing to contemplate their demise than consider the infinite possibilities that await down a different path of thinking.