Green Eyes: Sixteen

Green Eyes:  Love and Soul


Many times, Anand rode Lightning away in the early light and was gone until dark.  There were nights when he never returned.

He visited her pool and waited.   He would talk to her and pray that she listened and heard.   He shared his heart and unfolded his love for her.

As the love grew, the energy produced within him was slowly swelling into a beautiful blossom.

When I read what I wrote back then, I have to admit I’m slightly embarrassed to reveal the extent of my romantic foolishness.   Probably, because I now know what I must have looked like.

But, I don’t think my personal story would be as meaningful, if I hadn’t have pushed those boundaries.  Like Anand, I kept on crossing lines and limits.   I wanted to know myself.

When I was looking through Schwartz-Salant’s book yesterday, the painting on the cover caught my eye.  Narcissus is at a pool, much like the one I’ve described.   Next to him is Echo.   Waterhouse painted her in the pre-Raphaelite style that has always enchanted me.   It’s how I see the woman with green eyes, and it’s how I see my wife.

Because she approximates an unconscious inner image, it’s hard to separate what is me from what is her. This kind of love comes with the feeling you have known each other for life-times, and it’s a very deep mystery.

Schwartz-Salant said that the encounter Narcissus had with himself at the pool, was one of those numinous and transformative events. “It’s meaning has never been exhausted in literary and psychological commentary, for the mystery it touches upon… is the mystery of identity:  Who and what am I?”

He then goes on to say, “the double seen by Narcissus is properly designated as the Self, the image of the total person and not just the conscious, ego personality.   The Self is at the root, the matrix, of personal identity.”

This myth has been as important to psychoanalysis as Oedipus.   But just as Freud was shocked at the resistance to his sexual theories, Jung was disappointed by Freud’s reaction to the soul.   For Jung the soul was feminine, and it is for me as well.

The single vision had been enough to spark his own self love.   He would make himself beautiful for her.   Each act he consecrated to her and he believed she could see his every movement, every thought.  His most secret longings were open to her.

Were they days or years that passed?   He waited patiently and worked on himself.   He would do nothing untoward in either world that might jeopardize his love for her.   He would take no chances, even though he had risked everything.

He played with the outer world as though it were a game to be learned and mastered. He was cheerful and willing.   He was in love.  People never saw the contradiction, only the maturity and change.

All but Inyeh.   And Inyeh knew and feared.




Green Eyes: Fifteen

Green Eyes:  Contact


Inyeh listened with his eyes closed, and when Anand stopped, he opened them and saw his friend’s head lowered and lost in reflection.

He could not pretend to having understood all or any of what he had heard.  But the words Anand spoke, acted as an incantation, and a part of him knew the truth.

He believed and asked Anand to continue.   Anand, in turn, could feel Inyeh’s spirit and began to speak.

“I saw a face in the water. Her green eyes were looking at me.   They were seeing straight into my heart and very being.

The look was so powerful I could scarcely see her face. But I knew she was beautiful beyond my ability to perceive.

There was an intensity to the feeling, the reality, that I could barely withstand.   And when the first waves of recognition had passed, I looked around to see where the image had come from.  But there was only the pool.

I looked back and the eyes were still deep within me.   We explored each other.   When I tried to speak, her image failed.”

Anand stopped talking again and stared vacantly into Inyeh’s eyes.   He was not asking to be believed; he was not asking anything.   Anand was like one who has witnessed a miracle and wants only to live true to the vision he has seen.

He knew that no one, not even Inyeh, could understand.   He must keep his secret safe.

Slowly he added, “Please, Inyeh, be silent and act as though nothing has happened.   I have to find out.”

The miracle, the vision, is the transformative and numinous event for Anand.   According to Jung, “the term ‘religion’ designates the attitude peculiar to a consciousness which has been changed by experience of the numinosum.”

Schwartz-Salant, in his book on Narcissism, adds this: “The numinous strikes a person with awe, wonder and joy, but may also evoke fear, terror and total disorientation.   Being confronted with the power of the Self arouses just such emotions, which always and everywhere have been associated with religious experience.”

Green Eyes is all about the numinous and the initiation into the inner world.   It has a similar theme to “Jumping Mouse.”  Both are stories about the transformative journey and what it feels like.

After his experience at the river, do you remember when Mouse returned to the village?   He’d seen the sacred mountains, he’d been given a medicine name, and he was anxious to tell everyone about it.   Anand was considerably more sophisticated; he knew it would not be well received.

In “Contact”, the Jodie Foster character travels through a worm hole in space and experiences a vision of such beauty and magnitude she’s challenged to describe it. When she returns to Earth, no one believes her.   She’s a bit like Dorothy waking from her trip to Oz, except she’s a scientist.

All of these stories seem to say, if you go there, don’t expect others to understand.  And even when they try, they’ll tend towards the reductive interpretation.



Green Eyes: Fourteen

Green Eyes: The Mind Voices


Jung often said, “We don’t just have complexes; they have us.”   It means we have all kinds of mind voices, and they are far from differentiated.  We can hardly discern the outer from the inner personalities.

I’d been aware since childhood I could hear the voices of my family and certain others quite clearly in my head.   Usually they sounded somewhat similar, but not exactly.   For instance, my kind and gentle mother voice was hard or soft depending.   And if I had some conflict brewing, I could argue in my head for hours.  I was sure the inner and outer were one and the same.

I had mostly learned not to share this, but my schizophrenic cousin had not.   Still, to my way of thinking, the crazy things she said aloud at the table were far more truthful than the polite conversation.   I let her know, and that’s when she smiled and whispered.

When I was alone in the canyons, the mind voices were loud.  Psychic reality had come alive, and I began to relate to the inner voices as autonomous and free.  It was easy to identify with Anand, but I knew Inyeh well.  At first, I could only see her eyes.

Anand looked at Inyeh and slowly remembered his friend.   He felt their bond returning. 

Until now, he had hidden nothing from Inyeh.  They had grown together and were brothers beyond any blood.

When he spoke at last, it was with extreme reservation.   The deep trust he had for his friend would hold.

“I fear you will try to stop me, Inyeh.   But we have been friends for so long and I can’t hide that something has happened, something very strange and mysterious, very strange.

What I said about the doe was true.  I followed her into the forbidden springs without knowing where I was.   I badly wanted to find her, but I became distracted by the pools and springs, and wandered around like one in dreams.

Things happened; again, as if I were dreaming.  Days and months seemed to pass without the sun so much as moving.   I remembered things I had never experienced or known.   And I was happy in a way that I cannot explain, for there was also an inexplicable sadness to the place.

Maybe I should say I was awakened, and yet I continuously thought how like a dream this was.   My whole life and all that I had learned seemed to fall away like an unreal fantasy.

For the first time, the world was real and I was outside of myself and my thoughts.   It was as if I had learned nothing and now I was truly born and able to use my own senses.

I walked on, deeper into the grove and springs, deeper into the feeling.   There was something pulling or guiding me to a spring that bubbled like a fountain and then ran into a large circular pool that was very deep.

I knew I was at the heart of the magic, but I felt I belonged and had always been walking toward that pool.   It was there I saw the image the priest told you of.”

Anand stopped talking.





Green Eyes: Thirteen

Green Eyes:  The Promise


When I was recording my dream this morning, I realized the theme was familiar:  I was someplace where I no longer belonged.  It reminded me of Mira’s poem and why she couldn’t go back home.

Neither can Anand.  It’s going to be hard to return to his old home, his old way of being.  But unlike Mira, he hasn’t moved on.  Not yet.   This marks the beginning to the third chapter in the story.

Inyeh was waiting for Anand to return. He had waited long.   Time had never seemed so heavy and thinking so hard.   He only wanted what was right.

When Anand opened the door to his room, Inyeh stood and faced him.   Good friends, they looked at each other as strangers.

I know this feeling well, and when I typed that line, suddenly remembered how troubled my parent were when I began to change in high school.   I no longer trusted them with my problems, and knew they wouldn’t understand.

One night at a family dinner, my crazy cousin looked at me for an uncomfortably long time.   Everyone noticed.   And then she widely smiled and whispered very loudly, “I think you’re like me.”  She might have said, “Oh, so you’ve been to the springs and seen her.”

“Anand, I have gone to see the priest.  I told him about the doe and that I had wandered into the springs accidentally.   I said nothing of you.

He asked if I had seen the image.   I was silent and felt stupid.   I asked him what he meant.

Instead of answering, he looked deep within me and saw that I knew nothing.   He asked me who had really seen the deer.  He said that only fate and foolishness brought a man to enter the springs, never accident.

I told him I had heard the old men talking and only wanted to know.   The lie worked.   He smiled and told me to be thankful.   He said that man will always have a longing for the unknown and the mysterious, but some things are forbidden for us to know.  He said that death comes soon enough.

“My friend, what did you see?”

Inyeh had spoken his mind and was now at peace.   He no longer looked at his friend as a foe, but in sincere bewilderment and compassion.   He believed he could help.

Anand was under a spell that need only be broken.   He was still alive; he had survived the first encounter.

Inyeh felt a strong loyalty to his friend.  He would be patient and forgiving.   And yet Anand stood reticent and distant.  The look in Inyeh’s eyes was now one of love, but it only served to remind Anand of the love he had felt from the burning intensity of the green eyes.

“Anand, please, I’m your friend.   Forget the priest, forget everything.   I won’t tell a soul.”

But as the saying goes, you can’t make promises about the night until you’ve seen the darkness.    




Green Eyes: Twelve

Green Eyes:   Following Bliss


Beneath were patterns without form, certainty, or detail; there was a mystery and a dark intensity.   His eyes probed without focusing, and his whole being listened silently.

He heard a story about creation and life beginning in the water.   The pool had become a mirror for understanding, a crystal ball.

And somewhere within this world, beyond the silent and speckled fish, and the water colored rocks and mosses, was an opening into an even deeper world, inconceivable.  The woman with green eyes.

When I shortened Fernando’s name to Anand, it was just by chance.  I did not realize the name meant bliss.  I wanted to differentiate the two characters; I was writing a different story from Becquer.   Where Fernando is lost and drowning, Anand swims and feels found.

This morning, as I was thinking about Anand and his name, I remembered Joseph Campbell and went straight to this: “Poets are simply those who have made a profession and a lifestyle of being in touch with their bliss.  Most people are concerned with other things.”

Becquer wrote his story during the romantic era and he was true to form.  Fernando is a tragic hero and looks like Byron or Coleridge to me.   I came out of the sixties and that vision of the ideal.  It’s probably why he has long hair.  For sure, he’s following his bliss.

He focused his will, sure that he could penetrate the last barrier.   The effort was too much.  The spell snapped.

His vision returned to normal, and he was back within the shallows of his own mind.

She had not appeared, but he knew he had been close and he was certain she had known.

He would leave. There was no need to hurry.   Something else had happened, a faith he had never felt, a patience.   He could leave in peace.

To the present moment, I’m grateful I heard the story this way.  But then his name is Anand.   He’s related to Rumi and Kabir, to Mirabai and the other ecstatic ones.

When I first met Robert Bly, I had practically memorized his Kabir translations, but knew very little about Mirabai.   He told us her story and read a few poems.  One of them, I’ve never forgotten and always remember.

Why Mira Can’t Go Back To Her Old Home

The colors of the Dark One have penetrated Mira’s body, other colors washed out./  Making love with Krishna and eating little – those are my pearls and carnelians./  Chanting-beads and the forehead streak – those are my bracelets./  That’s enough feminine wiles for me.  My teacher taught me this./  Approve me or disapprove me; I praise the mountain energy day and night./  I take the path that ecstatic human beings have taken for centuries./  I don’t steal money, nor hit anyone; what will you charge me with?/  I have felt the swaying of the elephant’s shoulders…  and now you want me to climb on a jackass?  Try to be serious!




Green Eyes: Eleven

Green Eyes:  The Secret


The snake in the garden is the call to complexity.  Once the apple is eaten, things get complicated.   This is the secret that cannot be kept, and cannot be shared.

At the boundary, there is always a gate, seen or unseen, and not all can enter.  Dreams, by the way, counsel beware before we look the dragon in the eye, or eat the apple.  Anand had done both without even thinking.

This begins part two of the story.   Anand has a secret and he has never kept one from Inyeh.   Inyeh has been the one up to now, not to tell Anand.   But now there’s a secret, and it’s loud and obvious.

That single image, where Inyeh heads to the priest and Anand to the woods, signals the change.  The two sides to the story are moving in opposite directions.   This is the conflict, the drama and the tension of opposites.

If you want to visualize this, think of two bodies of water that suddenly come together.   If they are close in temperature, they easily mix.   But if one is boiling hot and the other freezing cold, watch out.   That’s the energy that transforms.

This was not just going on between Inyeh and Anand; it was going on within him, pulling him apart and pushing him together.   Jung said that the experience of the unconscious was a complete defeat for the ego.  Inyeh would agree and Anand wouldn’t argue.  His old self was dead.

We know that Anand is going to return to the springs.   Nothing else holds interest.   He had missed several meals without knowing.

He remembered the way perfectly.  He left Lightning to graze in the same clearing, and followed the trail the doe had left for him.   He felt he was walking within his own body and being.

He found it a wonder, something so close that he had never known.   There was a meaning to his feelings, an understanding of the energy around and within him.   He remembered being an infant and learning to see.

When he came to that innermost pool, there was only water.   The green eyes were not there.  He sat on a rock above the pool and watched the waters. There were many reflections.  The colors of the sky and trees.  Leaves shimmering.

He looked at his own reflection.   He was a part of this elemental world, natural.   He belonged here.

He became lost in the looking.   On the tight-knit surface of the pool, a leaf floated by, golden yellow.

There was still another world, another creation.   Magnificent water creatures and winged insects lived here.   The water was a boundary.   Anand concentrated.  He passed through, beyond the surface and reflections.   He moved deeper.

When I wrote this, I wasn’t seeing any ordinary pool.  I wasn’t thinking about the psyche or how the soul personifies.   I was with Anand and looking through his eyes.   Not only had I seen her, we both knew what to do.



Green Eyes: Ten

Green Eyes:  Love Finds the Path


Inyeh stared hard.  And then, without tone or emotion, said quickly, “What happened?”

Anand listened without seeming to hear.  He knew why Inyeh was here.  “A deer.  I shot a deer and followed it.”

Locked in stalemate, the two friends looked at each other.   Both knew the situation.   Inyeh closed his eyes and chose to be the one to speak.

“You entered the forbidden part, I know.  You act like one possessed.   Have you never heard?  Anand, if you have seen the springs, go and tell the priest.   Confess and be rid of it.”

You can almost hear the thoughts.   It’s unbearable to be the one left behind.   It’s not just that Anand has experienced something that Inyeh hadn’t even known about, but his love energy has shifted.   Anand had always worshipped him.

Inyeh is grieving badly, and Anand can barely feel it.   The grief comes mixed with all kinds of emotion.   Inyeh is angry and hurt, and feels the bitter sting of betrayal.  But he also feels sorry for Anand, and truly wants to help him.   It’s a problem that needs to be solved.

The depth of his grief almost wakes him.

When I first wrote the story, I jotted down the main ideas in less than an hour.   It wasn’t the plot I tracked, it was an idea and a feeling.  I wrote like this:   From where does this come, but from out of the heart.   The moral comes first, let love find the path.

I said, early on, that almost every symbol in the beginning can be taken in a sexual way.   From now on, it’s more about love and needs to be taken in a soulful way.

“Inyeh, listen.   The deer I shot was a doe.   I shot her in the heart.   But this is the strange thing; she had wanted me to shoot her.

I would have stopped myself, I wanted to, but the arrow was deep in her heart before I could think.   There was no mistaking she would die; I waited for the fall.

But she ran.   I followed her, Inyeh, and she led me into the springs.   I wandered there for a long time, and then, realizing it was late, returned.   I had been unable to find the deer.   That is all.”

Again there was silence.   Inyeh waited for more.   He knew there was more.   There had to be.

But before he could ask, Anand was up and ready to leave.   He had been unable to share his secret.  He knew there was no way his friend could believe or understand what he had experienced.   He was unsure himself.

He shook his head and said, “No, Inyeh, there is nothing more.   Now go.   I need to be alone.”

Inyeh left with the fear still unresolved and walked straight to the priest.   If his friend would not speak, he would talk to one who would.   Something was badly wrong.

Anand walked away with an equal intent.   He mounted Lightning and was off to the woods.