These feelings of otherness and alienation came to me quite early in my life-even before my teenage years. Compared to a lot of other gay women and men I have talked to over the years I don't think my particular "spiritual crisis", alienation-whatever you want to call it was born much at all from my very early in life realization that I was homosexual. I don't know exactly why this didn't add to my sense of disaffection with the world-it could have been that as a lifetime member of a club called "Bookworms", I realized from an early age that I was not the only gay guy in the world. A man I talked to in the 1980s told me that he actually felt he was the only homosexual in the world back when he was growing up in a small Kansas town.
One of the ways I remember feeling that did begin as a teenager after I had begun to know just a little about what the adult world was like was along the lines of "Gee-if I work hard and behave all my life will I get something resembling a big fucking hunk of cheddar cheese at the end-like a mouse or rat rewarded for running through a maze?" The 'values' and 'enchantments' of modern life seemed horribly empty to me. It seemed -to me anyway-that at the ass end (or would it be the mouth?:-) of capitalist consumer culture that there was this wide chasm of terrifying proportions. It appeared like the maw of this beast of 'wants' and 'needs' (needs have always been somewhat confusing to me-for I have known people who consider a Mercedes-Benz or a Mont Blanc pen a 'need' like a man dying of thirst needs water) would never be fulfilled. Perhaps this was the whole idea? So many people seemed hypnotized-entranced by this ravening beast of desires -but I only saw an unspeakably horrifying abyss and emptiness that would never be sated.
The situation in consumer-mass production society reminded me a great deal of the realm of the "Hungry Ghosts." These hapless beings (also from Buddhist thought I believe)that are supposed to inhabit this most unfortunate level of existence have huge bellies to fill, but only tiny mouths and long thin necks. So they are never full and without want. I actually wonder if some people when they pass from this life that are addicts and the like are where the reports originate of some ghostly and paranormal behavior. I think the "out of body" or OOBE investigator Robert Monroe claimed to have seen many departed spirits who were in places like bars trying to pick up a 'real' glass which they found they couldn't --but it didn't stop them from trying-and he also saw other spririts frustrated in their attempts to smoke cigarettes and other things that cause addictive behavior.
And added to this was the hugely 'introspective' 'intellectual' and 'questioning' nature of modern culture itself (sarcasm)-especially in the United States. Of course I will admite here and now that I was guilty of partaking of its 'insights.' I can still remember watching the "Who Shot J.R." episode of Dallas. I had always thought and hoped it would be Sue Ellen, played by the lovely actress Linda Gray-but this is probably a topic for another post:-)
However, I wasn't without ideas or notions of what i could fill my empty soul up with. The names of the two 'friends' who came to my 'rescue' in this matter I will call by the pseudonyms Stoly and Dick. I will say a bit about these two vacuum filling entities in the next post. Before going I would like to give a quote from Breaking Open the Head from page 15 that I feel is very relevant to the feelings that started me on my spiritual journey: "As I wondered the streets in a desolate funk, I would ask myself the impossible, the embarrassing, the ultimately childish question of Why?-Why this city? Why this life? Why anything? Of course I knew that why was a question you were supposed to stop asking around the age of ten, but I couldn't free myself from it."
I would love to hear from any readers who may have felt they have gone through a kind of spiritual "emergency" in their lives and if they were able to remedy the situation. I do not have any idea when the next post will be here and don't worry it will not be so much about me-but it may contain examples from my life about the theories of the soul and reality I am trying to bring forth in this set of posts-anything from near death experiences, reincarnation, psychedelic experiences, ghostly encounters-you name it. For some reason I feel a great need in my life to be surrounded by the ineffable, magical and the unexplained. Thanks again for all of your thoughtful, insightful and intelligent comments! OOOPS I did it again. I am trying to edit HTML to take out stupid space at top-there are two "div" thingies-when I try to delete these blogger gives me the message: Your HTML cannot be accepted: Closing tag has no matching opening tag -and then it gives me another "div" symbol I am afraid to put here to mess it up even more haha-O well its not as bad as some of my other multiple image efforts:-)