Sansaku: An Apologetic God
I haven’t been sick, not like this, for a couple of years. I forget until I remember, this feeling of suspended animation. Suddenly old, I watch the outer world spin. I’m going nowhere today.
I feel like those bums in the park, down by the river, sitting peacefully under the trees. It’s how Buddha and his buddies spent their days. They carried a bowl and begged for some food. Who knows if our bums are enlightened, but most of them looked buzzed.
Coyote didn’t need a disguise. He fit right in with the inner-city crowd. Hansel and Gretel walked beside him. They were circling the square.
One of the bums saw them coming. He recognized el Vagabundo and greeted him with gusto. Coyote replied in kind, “And I see you.” Then he headed in a round-about way for a centermost tree. It was an obvious choice and Gretel wondered why she hadn’t seen the tree before. Coyote said, “It’s that eye of mine I gave you.”
The three of them sat, their backs to the tree, looking in different directions. It was the same world, but they didn’t see the same world. Because Hansel didn’t share an eye, he had to ask, “What can’t I see?”
John O’Donohue said the human skin is porous and the world flows through us. Our senses let the world in. Coyote would agree with him, “Be attuned to the body, the earth, and not all the news and noise.” He told Hansel, “You might not have an eye, but you can feel what we see.” He wasn’t sure. Coyote added, “If you can’t, we’ll tell you.”
I went to see a dentist in Durango for a problematic tooth, but after examining me, he asked what I wanted him to do. Usually, they’ll tell you. He didn’t seem to know. I wanted to see someone else.
This was during my gypsy years and a few weeks later I happened to be in Boulder. Irma told me our old dentist had retired and the new one reminded her of me. I gave him a call.
Michael asked what was wrong and I opened up and pointed to the tooth. He studied it. I liked what he said. “Most dentists don’t know how to deal with this.” He passed the test and fixed the tooth.
Michael was an unusual doctor, he asked all kinds of questions. He’s the kind who’s interested in the person, not just the problem. He thought different kinds of people have different kinds of problems.
When he asked about my life and I told him I was wandering, he wanted to know how I spent my time. I briefly described my ritual.
He asked what I’d been reading. I told him The Varieties of Religious Experience by William James. It was a bit coincidental. James used nitrous oxide for some of his mystical experiences. I had an idea.
After adjusting the level towards the high side, he gave me some time to explore. I have no idea how long it was, but I was thoroughly in the timeless by the time he returned. I told him I didn’t need any anesthesia. It’s the only time I’ve ever done this.
I’d crossed over into that inner imaginal world and was floating through the clouds when the drill hit the tooth. That got my attention. Looking down I saw a city. Not quite familiar, I approached. The drill came in the form of tornadoes and wild fires. I grieved for my neglect.
Hearing the cries and prayers, I felt like an apologetic god. There was nothing I could do. The scene was incredibly real and lasted just as long. I told the tooth people, “I’ll do better in the future.” It’s how I’m feeling now. Because I’m sick, I vow to do better.
Was this real? Ask Coyote or the tooth.