In 1992 we lived in a funky, turn-of-the-century, downtown home. I worked night shifts at the hospital while our son was growing up. Daytime sleep could be disorienting but this was unlike anything I'd ever experienced, asleep or awake.
[Warning: Read this strange story at your own risk.]
Part OneFrom the midst of deep sleep, in the middle of the day (inside a quiet empty house), something woke up. But it wasn't me.
There was only infinite, dark nothingness and IT was awake. This dark nothingness was Aware. IT could sense. IT could register impressions. IT could see. There was nothing else. IT was enough.
This empty darkness was formless but IT could recognize shape, because . . . from out of nowhere, something else materialized: solidity, texture, color. No idea what it was or why it suddenly appeared. Then, confusion registered and a question floated,
"What is this?"
In its path was a tall thin strip of wood--the molding along the side of an open door frame. But IT had no concept for doorways or wooden frames. IT did not comprehend manifest reality. Yet IT was attentive.
"Does this have anything to do with me? Is there something I'm supposed to know, or do about this?" the question wondered.
This sense of curiosity turned to bafflement (from being face-to-face with an unfamiliar enigma). As IT pondered the 'strange thing' something else arose: a note of concern--almost panic--a thought surfaced, "Something seems to be expected here and I don't know what it is..." The thought was believed. Feeling followed: "...please tell me that no response is necessary!" Division was emerging.
I remember--out of utter blankness--feeling the full weight of terror as resistance arose, with the insinuation that form might demand something in response. What was form, anyway? Why did I need to care? What if "I" was somehow involved with this alien thing? I did not want it to be so. Identification was solidifying.
A voice spoke clearly, saying, "Don't worry, it has nothing to do with you."
This assurance brought great relief. I trusted it on a deep level and everything in me softened. I became slowly aware of sitting up on the edge of a bed. The heaviness of being body, and the weightiness of movement (propelled forth into space), felt utterly foreign. The doorway before me started coming into focus. A mighty tug of war ensued between the Great Empty Darkness in its innate state of deep potential, and a mounting sense of urgency to decipher the strange scene in its immediate path. Dread and resistance held hands with innate curiosity.
I stood up but was still in deep sleep--a hybrid state: half-dark void, and half-human being. With the herculean effort of taking a step toward the doorway, I began to register these bizarre surroundings as 'a room' and there was a hauntingly familiar sense of deja vu--as if I did know this place somehow, after all. Human identification was returning to consciousness.
Seized by a sense of betrayal, I felt waves of disorientation. Various impressions swirled and collided. It appeared that "I" was not the darkness (so empty and formless, and 'at home' as nothingness). It felt like the reassuring voice had misled me: These surroundings had everything to do with me. I began to realize that MUCH was expected of me. Far more than I was remotely capable of--as 'The Darkness' (which still laid claim to me). I had become fused into being that darkness. It felt so perfect and true--as if there were nothing else whatsoever, in existence. Ultimate freedom.
Seeing myself as a limited, separate being again, was traumatic. I was just beginning to feel 'at home' as a unified field of great empty Stillness. Now I was reorienting into a 'somebody' who had awakened from deep sleep. Keen disappointment arose with the thought that I was not the still dark void, after all. Insecurity arose along with this 'return' to conscious habitation of a 'limited reality'. I simply did not know how to do it. Contraction was taking hold of me, like it or not.
The room I entered as I stepped though the open doorway, was my son's bedroom. Each step I took across the floor was like walking through thick jello, taking me deeper and deeper into my waking life. An acute sense of being caught between two worlds stopped me in the middle of the room. I felt deeply let down by what I was 'losing' with each step I took into my known life. At the same time there was delicious reverence for the amazing privilege of inhabiting this life, which I now took to be "the real me".
Each step was a miracle. Every object in my son's room sparkled with Life-force and meaning. Through that lens of innocence--the vantage point of timeless dispassion--all perspective was devoid of impression or concept. IT allowed me to view my old life with new eyes. Kaleidoscopic diversity unfolded. However, the impartial neutrality of all-consuming no-thing-ness rapidly receded and my 'known life' re-possessed me, bit by bit.
What was it that woke me up?
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