Doorways to Vision

First of all: apologies! For the long gap between posts. I have been out of commission for reasons that will be revealed below…

Today I want to talk about visionary experiences.

These are not always the easiest things to come by in life and yet they have been sought out by humans throughout the ages. Whatever one’s motivation – to commune with one’s god or predict the future, to escape an insufferably mundane existence or even to save the world from a looming catastrophe, we humans have persistently sought the threshold places that separate ordinary from extraordinary realities.

These thresholds between the worlds can be accessed in any number of ways, but usually there is a trigger event that will throw open an inner door, allowing us to suddenly see what was not visible just moments earlier. Despite their difference, these triggers always share one thing in common: they all come with a price tag. So the old adage that warns that ‘there’s no such thing as a free lunch’ is quite apt here. The secrets of the invisible realms do not come cheap, but the cost is never monetary.

Near-death experiences, spiritual or psychological crisis, sensory deprivation processes, initiatory rites and even extreme sports can induce within us an altered state of consciousness, a portal to visions. And, of course, even drugs can do it, whether produced in a clandestine laboratory or harvested in the natural laboratory of the Amazon.

The price seems to vary depending on the motivation of the one seeking the threshold. Time-honoured processes such as vision quests and sweat lodges seem to be amongst the safest approaches. I have personally sat or facilitated many hundreds of sweat lodges and have taken part in half a dozen vision quests. The price here seems to be physical discomfort and endurance. Heat and darkness in one, hunger and sleep deprivation in the other. Through these two vehicles in particular one must push against the barrier of persistent discomfort in order to break through into a place of ecstasy. And like the old Native American in Little Big Man said to to Dusting Hoffman, “Sometimes the magic happens, sometimes it doesn’t”. There are no guarantees.

Probably the most frightening path towards such experiences is the one that involves the use of substances. In a way this is the path that is most congruent with the “buy now, pay later” malaise of the age. Instead of putting up with all the discomfort that can lead us to have experiences through the chemicals that naturally arise within our bodies, we pop a pill or a tab or inject something in our veins that will, enhance, numb, slow us down or speed us up, as we desire. The price that comes through becoming addicted to these substances is horrific. Lives can be shred to tatters, the addict may find themselves prepared to cross any line in order to secure the next fix, we have all heard the stories and have had at least some experience of the devastation this can cause.journey withinEven fevers can serve a hallucinatory role. Once I used to look forward to them, now, as I’m getting older, I find the appeal is somewhat lessened… even so during a recent fever I had quite a mystical insight into a plot event of Keys of Awakening, the second volume in the Destiny of Fire trilogy. Sometimes, during illness as well as in dreams, if I don’t jot down the insights or revelations immediately, they turn – like fairy gold into autumn leaves as soon as its daylight. Not so this time. The vision was so strong and clear that it inspired my writing for the next number of days.

As a result I began raving about the value of fevers to all and sundry and then, out of the blue, I was struck down again – a nasty virus this time. No visions, no thresholds, no gifts to bring back from the other side just fever, pain and sleeplessness and the reason why this post is so late.

It was as if the Universe had heard me and said, ‘Claudio wants more fevers, lets accommodate him’. Well, Universe, fevers have now dropped down many notches in my esteem. Thanks for that but I won’t be lodging any more requests…

There is another, more mundane way, that opens the door of inspiration and creativity and reconnects me to the flow. There is an old adage in writing, it goes something like this: “If you wait for inspiration to write anything, then you will never write anything at all.” The understanding behind this is that the muse is fickle and she comes at her whim, usually when you least expect it. Because of this we need to treat writing like any other job: get up in the morning, shower dress, have our coffee and then sit in front of the computer. Then inspiration and revelation do come, suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere.

And when they come, ah what bliss! Like suddenly stumbling across the meaning of life or reconnecting with a beloved.

The reward makes all the ordeals and difficulties vanish in the proverbial puff of smoke.

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The DESTINY OF FIRE trilogy is now available!

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Posted 15 December 2017

The Final volume of Destiny of Fire is now in print and can be obtained HERE