One aspect of the trip involved a sort of ongoing dialogue or fixation
with Richard Burton. Or rather it was as though I was carrying on a
perpetual monologue such as Burton might have recited in a theatrical
setting. There was an endless store of poetry coming to my awareness.
I suppose I was also pondering the question of what kind of man Burton
was. What was his heart like - was he a good man or was he overcome by
I played the guitar and sang for quite some time. It felt good to shed
tears – something flowed out of me which had been plugged up for some
time. A tremendous release. There was a constant surge of energy
flowing through my body, bedded in my lower spine.
I thought a lot about where my life was headed, whether to go to
Berlin or Los Angeles. I thought about my family and friends. I felt
pulled towards LA and thought about how fulfilling life might be in LA
because it would be a returning to my roots in a sense. And of course
the ocean was there.
Much of my time was spent outside, wandering around through the
neighborhood and parks. One profound impression was this: I crossed
Lake Washington Boulevard and discovered a lovely path (‘how had I not
seen it before?’, I thought) which ran down towards the abandon
freeway bridges hovering over the lake. I looked up at these enormous
trees, the wind was rustling the leaves. The sound of the leaves was
like a crackling fire, the colors were radiant. As the trees swayed I
stood staring into a timeless dream. There are no words for it.
Throughout my trip, a radiant light seemed to be flashing somewhere
from my periphery – it was so bright that sometimes I would quickly
look over my right or left shoulder to see where the light was coming
from. I realized it was emanating from within!
I searched my heart and saw that at my core self, I cared deeply about
the world and people, I felt love for all beings. I saw that
tenderness, passion, and sensitivity were fundamental characteristics
of my heart. A deeply felt preciousness for life.
I experienced many encounters with animals. They seemed to be
hyper-aware of my presence. For instance, while I walked along the
sidewalk, a cat looked at me with a wild insane look, a look of
recognition that connected us to the spirit world. Later at night a
raccoon startled me for a moment. He glared at me – and I thought
about the Great Spirit of the Native Americans and how this raccoon’s
expression had been etched on totem poles. I watched several crows
cawing and flying around a tree near my window, making quite a racket.
It was as if the crows were inside me – they seemed related to the
intensity of my inner world. On the Bridge of Globes (an old bridge
near my house with globular lamps) there was a fascinating moment
where I was staring at this lamppost watching the moths and insects
flying under the light and suddenly I noticed a great brown owl, which
had been sitting motionlessly on top. It suddenly dove straight down
towards the ground, into a thick bed of grass and ferns. It laid there
for sometime with its feathers all flared out in the grass and then it
flew away. Very strange behavior I thought. Perhaps it caught a mouse?
My eyes rested again on the insects hovering under the lamplight and I
became transfixed, mesmerized by a large spider. It had caught many
insects in its web, rolling them into little sacks to be eaten. The
spider was illuminated by light and I watched it spellbound for a long
time working its magic. I leaned upon the stone rail of the bridge and
enjoyed touching the velvety patches of moss with my fingers.
There was an aspect of my experience that is hard to put into words.
It involved the unraveling of my thoughts, an opening into the
interior of my personality. During my trip I wrote in my notebook,
'you've ripped yourself apart’, meaning that the veil which typically
covers one's consciousness was torn asunder. And I saw into the deeper
layers of myself. I saw into the very fabric and structure of thought.
This was utterly fascinating. The inner world was a boundless forum of
ideas and inner dialogue. Truths concerning the nature of my self
revealed themselves. Secret thoughts sprang up from the depths like
revelations. Self-epitomes. I observed this inner theater as if it had
an independent life of its own.
Throughout the trip I found myself listening intently upon the wind
blowing, listening to the silence. I became attuned to the silence. I
did not listen to much music during the experience but preferred
listening to the subtle sounds coming from outside. When it started to
rain I was so grateful – it sounded wonderful, the trickle of the
rain! A kind of peaceful calm came over me as I stared out the window,
watching the leaves blow while the rain lightly fell. This sense of
listening brought me deeper into a certain way of being. I remember
walking along the sidewalk late in the night and telling myself ‘if
things start going wrong just listen’. I realized that the receptivity
that comes through listening brought serenity and joy. I felt that if
things began to take a bad turn I could protect myself simply by the
act of listening. It was a tool, in other words, I could use to regain
In the forest I felt the presence of many animals living in the trees.
I became aware of them and they became aware of me – and I reflected
on my relationship as a man to this primordial realm. The awareness of
these creatures in the trees was so strong that I could almost hear
the animals inside me. I could sense fear and power in the forest and
I called this presence the "Great Spirit". It was a very real
presence, this primordial domain. I observed how I would feel safer
when leaving the woods and heading back to the neighborhood. And yet I
was drawn to the woods – I felt free and wild, a primitive strength
growing inside. I saw how man has become domesticated and lost his
primal sense. While walking through the dark woods I discovered
something of what the Native Americans must have felt for nature – a
reverence for the power within, a super awareness of all that stirs in
the trees – a direct relationship with animals, and the sincerity and
humility that comes from that awareness. I reflected that man has a
certain sense of godliness because of his role in nature – in his
power and strength which all creatures are aware. I wrote in my
notebook later that night ‘god in flesh, the sacredness of his
humanity’. These phrases are merely signposts for something
fundamental I was trying to understand, to realize in regards to man's
relationship to nature. I saw that a schism has severed man from his
rightful domain – that we have lost our connection to the primitive
world. Man's world has become one of domesticated comfort, a tame
world with TVs and automobiles, etc. As soon as we leave our homes and
stop and listen to nature we can reconnect, become aware again of the
powers that our ancestors knew so well.
There were trying and difficult moments as well. It wasn't all bliss.
Luckily the darker moments were rare and would pass, and then a fresh
wave of eternity would brush over me again, swelling, vibrating, the
universe was kind. In these dark moments I saw into the loneliness of
my life – into an empty void. And I felt terror at the thought: what
if this feeling lasts forever? At one point I stood frozen, on the
verge of panicking, as if I was trapped. But how suddenly things would
change and a new episode would begin and I was ever so grateful for a
change in climate!
In retrospect, I am grateful to have severed ties from a past that had
become redundant and mechanical, and break open the ever flowing
wellspring of life.