What an extraordinary mind that can produce such a text as this. Every sentence is loaded with mystery and symbolism and challenge. A profound pleasure to resonate with and sink into. Thank you, Brian.
Many thanks! This is one of the prose-poems from The Preexistent Race Descends—hope this title won’t get me into trouble—a book I just finished revising a few months ago. The earliest versions of many of the pieces, however, go back quite a ways. There is line in one of my essays that reads, “The shortest distance between two points may turn out to be a labyrinth.” I only wish this were not so true. While I can write pretty quickly when I want, it can sometimes take three or four decades for a work to go from inception to completion, even a piece as short as this.
In 1984, I published—for friends—a book called X: Revenge of the Autogenes. I was happy with it, and it got an enthusiastic response. The book was the culmination of six years of creative experiments and flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants spiritual explorations. Spiritually, though, I had gone as far as I could go on my own. For the next six years, I studies yoga and meditation with a variety of teachers. Sadly, nothing I wrote during this period really came together. My attempts to create a literary/visionary synthesis, to use my writing as a kind of yoga, came off as laborious. Then, in August, 1990, I received an initiation in Kundalini Yoga from Anandi Ma, and things began to flow.
The problem was, this flow had no fixed boundaries, no beginning or end, and my explorations sprawled in all directions. One poem, To Akasha: An Incantation for the Crossing of an Ocean, which is now 38 pages, had to be cut down from several hundred. Dozens of pieces were started; not even one was finished. On a visionary level, the poems worked, and I was enormously grateful to Anandi Ma for prying my energy open. On a literary level, the poems were more like creative ultimatums, or seeds. It was only after I started to write prose, after my father’s death in 1998, that I could begin to see them more clearly, not that this did much immediate good.
The updated problem was that I couldn’t find a way to bring my editorial and visionary selves together. My attempts at surgery did produce many new variations, some of which sort of worked. And then, over the past three years or so, the boundaries between the different aspects of my consciousness came down, and I was finally able to “walk and chew gum at the same time.” So far as I can tell, all of the pieces started in this period have now reached their final form. I hope to publish a book or so per year. If you are interested, the foreword to The Preexistent Race Descends was published in Dark Mountain last December under the title “Entering the Tunnel of Time in Cappadocia.” (Somewhat amusingly, the blog editor, Charlotte DuCann, asked that I come up with a half-dozen possible titles, all of which she ignored. I found out what the essay was called the day that it went up.)
Image: “Homage to Dhyanyogi, number 10”–from a new series of oil pastels