December 17, 2021

 I keep getting reminded how naive I am about these journeys in the Imaginal. Whoever is in charge (that a partial jest) seems to be sending me on progressively more challenging forays. The one that started a few days ago is no exception. Remember how at first I wasn’t sure about the race of the man I was sent to help? He was caked in white clay or wax - I couldn’t tell. It took me a while to realize he’s African American. The white clay/wax was sort of a red herring at first but it finally became clear this morning what it was.

Yesterday, while I meditated, I was surprised that he was still with me. I thought the reason I’d been brought to him was to reunite him with his daughter. But when I sat down to meditate, he was there. His body was mostly shrouded in darkness and I could just see his back and torso. I tried looking at his face to see his eyes but was somewhat taken aback when I realized his eye sockets were black. They sort of shone with shining blackness so they weren’t holes; still, it struck me as odd. Definitely not normal.

I was kind of a mess yesterday and sort of fell apart. Life this week in the physical world has been more challenging than normal and also I was feeling the pressure of my fixation (I’m an Enneatype 3) and feel pressure in the Imaginal to live up to an image of being together. Yesterday, I realized that’s a bunch of crap. It became clear that my role isn’t to be a teacher or even a guide. My role is to fall apart, to be vulnerable, to be essentially helpless. To not know. To be radically open…or at least as open as I can be. 

There was still tension between me and the man whom I was supposedly sent to ‘save.’ He doesn’t trust me and isn’t very open. He is suspicious and guarded. Still, I got the feeling that he softened somewhat to me yesterday when I fell apart. I clearly wasn’t a threat and also wasn’t stylizing myself as something I’m not. He even allowed me to lean against his strong, beautiful back. It was a weird experience for both of us and left me wondering what the eff was going on.

Today, when I sat down, I felt like I was drowning. I was in blackness again but it was stifling, thick and gooey. It filled my mouth and lungs when I tried to breathe. I would have panicked if I wasn’t grounded in my meditation. Of course, I knew that there is no need to breathe in the Imaginal - that’s a physical world thing. In the imaginal, I could let my ‘lungs’ fill up with black, viscous goo and not worry about dying. 

I kept breathing in my physical body and allowed the blackness to overtake me. It was then that I figured out what the black stuff was: Tar. I was being drowned in tar. And, of course, *I* wasn’t being drowned in tar, he was. I was reliving this big, strong black man’s experience: He was covered in tar when he died.

He was lynched.

The white clay or wax was probably flour. I think he was ‘tarred and feathered,’ but instead of feathers, they used flour. Or that is what seems the most likely. This is why he appeared the way he did when I first met him. This is why I couldn’t tell what race he was.

There is no way I can capture the feelings of this meditation. There was just too much going on. Suddenly, I understood more fully why he doesn’t trust me. There are so many reasons, but being white is probably the biggest one. I have more affinity in some ways with his murderers than I do with him because his murderers were most assuredly all white. 

This is a full-body experience of racism and white supremacy. I am deeply confronted at every step with my collusion. Even though I have never participated in a lynching, I am still guilty. There is no way I can fully understand what it’s like to be black in America.

Which is why it’s so weird that I was called here in the first place. What can I do? I have nothing to offer, I am nothing to this man. It’s so difficult. I feel torn apart. I am right in the middle of it, unable to do anything, unable to make it better.

Maybe that’s the point? Maybe there is nothing to do. Maybe it requires me because I am in the middle. I’m definitely not neutral. I’m no catalyst. I am being torn apart here just like everyone else. I am far from impassive and impartial. And I am lost. I’m just as lost as the man. How is that helping anyone?

As the meditation continued, I realized that the man’s lynchers were present as well. They, too, were stuck in the horror of this murder. And I was stuck with them. It was like being in a war zone and I kept wondering if Apis (my term for the mysterious entity on my left) would step in. But Apis seemed unconcerned. He was perfectly happy to leave me alone in the middle of this horrific and painful situation with no way out.

So, I just stayed with it as best I could. I didn’t try to make anything happen. I didn’t offer anything but I didn’t withhold anything, either. I can see there is nothing I can do here but I also see that I can’t leave yet. I won’t be allowed to leave until something unknown occurs. What that is, I don’t know. I will just have to wait and see.


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