August 19, 2023

 It’s been a quiet week on the Imaginal front, not because it’s not available to me but because I’ve been working on stuff related to the heart and perhaps the sexual instinctual drive. As students of the Diamond Approach know, the three instinctual drives require a lot of work and clarification. In fact, they require a lifetime of dedicated work to clarify and I’m not sure if we ever completely clarify them. Maybe after several lifetimes?

I’m most familiar with the self-preservation instinct because I’m a Three on the Enneagram and therefore my Soul Child is a fearful Six who has very little experience with what the Diamond Approach calls Basic Trust. (Basic Trust is the soul’s ability to trust in the benevolence of True Nature, that Reality–if we are attuned to it–will naturally provide us with the inner stability and knowledge to deal with whatever comes our way.) The other instincts, the sexual and social drives, are territories I haven’t explored quite as fully.

I’ve been aware of my heart center, particularly the Essential quality of Merging Gold. Merging Gold has been problematic for me because I associate it with being punch-drunk with love and have learned that I cannot trust in the objective clarity of my perception when I am experiencing that quality. Merging Gold, for me, gets mixed with a lot of ego-related heart stuff. 

I’ve noticed that, in the past, when the sexual instinct is dominant, my mind is frenetic and there is a breathless quality. Sexual desire becomes a potent, driving force that takes over and I am hungry for elicit experience. Desire is a wheel, a hunger. It turns to the soul into a lusty animal with hunger pangs that have to be gratified.

This week, the experience is different and it has me curious. There is a full-bodied, lustiness to my experience that is very pleasurable; however, the drive and hunger are lacking. I feel full-hearted, like my heart is overflowing with sensuousness. My body feels very alive and throbbing with heat. I feel I am a sexual being. However, there is more clarity present and my mind doesn’t feel pushed to the side. I feel like my actions are more or less appropriate to the specific situation; i.e., I’m not in danger of doing anything stupid in my heightened state of sexual exuberance. I’m not running around naked or trying to seduce anyone or engaging in prurient antics.

That said, it’s sort of a half-state of clarity because the arousal is powerful and potent, like a heady perfume. It requires the stability of my belly and the clarity of my mind to be as fully present as possible so I’m not swept away in a flight of fancy. Because my heart center is so activated and Merging Gold is flooding my experience, I feel a sense of hesitancy and skepticism. I know how potent the sex drive can be and don’t wish to be seduced into believing that it’s not controlling me.

Is it? Controlling me, that is. I don’t think so. At least not completely. But I still don’t trust that my perceptions are 100% trustworthy. The sexual instinct, like the other instincts, can make me blind to its effects. So far, though, I don’t feel like it’s blinded me, although I still suspect the trustworthiness of my perception.

This morning, I became aware first of a golden sunrise in the midst of a dewy field. It’s similar to past experiences in the Imaginal with the gold light of the rising sun limning everything in brightness, turning every dewdrop into a shimmering jewel. The spiderwebs glowed golden in the tall grasses, weighed down by dew.

There was a black hole in the ground. It was a cave of sorts but not natural. I later understood that it was the entrance to an old mine. (An adit, I recall from my crossword-solving days.) I entered the blackness of the adit, the golden sunlight trickling in to reveal the edge of an old mattress. It was weathered and mildewy and laid atop a pair of narrow-gauge train tracks, the kind used to move the ore trolleys in and out of a mine.

On the bed lay a man. At first, I couldn’t even tell he was a man because he was covered by something. Was it an animal? The immense thing was certainly hairy enough to be an animal. It was mounded on top of the man, almost smothering him. After staring at it for a while, I realized it was a bearskin rug. It was black, hairy and heavy and completely covered the man beneath it. I knew, of course, it was much more than a rug because the connection between it and the man was palpable. Even though I didn’t understand the connection fully yet, I knew that I would soon enough.

I sat down on the edge of the mattress and pushed back the bearskin rug, revealing a somewhat heavy man with black hair and a black beard. He seemed to fluctuate between different ages as I gazed down at him, finally resolving himself into a young man. He was handsome in a plump sort of way, I guess. More than anything, though, he struck me as basically an everyday Joe. This was clearly a working man, a man used to using his hands and doing manual labor. Perhaps he had worked in a mine which was why we found ourselves in the entrance of one?

There was no particular need to rush. I had no clue what exactly I was there to do anyway. All I could do was sit with him. Gradually, he became aware of my presence and his eyelids fluttered open. There was a heavy grief about him. It was just about as heavy as the bearskin rug smothering him. I felt it; it passed over me in bitter waves, leaving me in tears.

After a time, I urged him to stand and he sat up and, wrapping the rug around his sturdy shoulders, led me deeper into the mine. Not far inside was an enormous, hollowed-out chamber. It glowed with a silvery blue light, although I wasn’t sure what the source of the light was. Fungi? The jewels embedded in the walls of the mine?

We stood there, gazing into the beautiful splendor of the glittering mine. The chamber was truly enormous. The tram tracks stretched out before us, branching into numerous other tracks, some leading deeper underground and others leading upward to the walls of the cave.

I sensed a delaying tactic because the big man seemed reluctant to explore the cavern, especially the far end which was pitch black. Because of this hesitancy, I knew this was where we needed to go. So, I took him by the hand and led him forward into the utter darkness.

We entered the Absolute blackness, allowing it to erase us. We emerged on the other side, seeing a night sky filled with stars above us. We were still within a cave but it wasn’t the same one. We walked uphill to the entrance of the mine. As we ascended, I noticed that the bearskin rug on the man’s shoulders was gone and instead a huge, black bear lumbered along beside us. 

I have to say that I don’t fully understand what the bear represents for the man. Is it some sort of guide? Or maybe a spiritual friend/guardian/daemon/totem? Perhaps an angel taking an animal form? I suppose it doesn’t really matter if I understand its significance or not; it clearly was significant for the man and that’s the important thing.

We emerged from the mine to find ourselves looking down upon a dark, wooded valley. There was no moon, only starlight and the distant lights of a city. This city, however, wasn’t a normal city. It was a sort of spirit city and it was separated from us by a wide, glowing blue river that was rushing across the valley below us.

The vista was quite beautiful, almost transcendent. I knew this blue, glowing river very well. I’ve referred to it as a Soul River in these entries in the past. It seems to serve two functions: It is a flow of human souls stripped of their egos and left translucent and it also makes anything–well, ok, most everything–that touches it forget. In this way, it’s like the River Lethe. I knew that I could ford the river and not forget but I also knew that the man and his bear could not so without forgetting their past. Alright, to be clearer, the forgetting isn’t permanent but it takes an awful lot of inner work to be able to remember your past after you enter the stream.

The city with its mesmerizing lights beckoned to the man. I knew that he wanted to go there badly but he also was afraid of forgetting his past if he did so. The only way he could go to the city, though, was to pass through this glowing River of Forgetting.

“You don’t have to do anything right now,” I told him, sensing his reluctance. “There is no rush. It is beautiful and quiet here, looking down upon the valley and the city. Why not stay here with your bear-friend until you’re ready to cross? You don’t need me to do that.” When he still hesitated, I added, “Remember the Truth can never be forgotten forever. Someday, if you remain true, you will remember everything.”


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