Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Hot Leads - Reprise

Michael Keaton as Beetlejuice

Michael John Douglas (born September 5, 1951), better known as Michael Keaton, is an American actor, well known for his early comedic roles in films such as Night Shift, Mr. Mom, Johnny Dangerously, Beetlejuice, and for his dramatic portrayal of Batman in Tim Burton's Batman and Batman Returns, as well as lead roles in other films including The Paper, Jackie Brown, Jack Frost, White Noise, Cars, The Other Guys and Toy Story 3.

I think I looked a little like Michael at one point.

I have direct experience of altered states. It was a long time ago, November, 1966. It was also not fun. I did not do drugs for fun, not after this certain change, this turning point. At the moment of the change, something else happened. This was not only LSD. I have been working hard ever since, casting out what needs to go, keeping what needs to be kept. I share what I know by writing poems among other things. Here is one side of the experience. If encountering raw spirit is much like grabbing hot electrical leads, then one could surmise some things.

A spiritual event is not always like that. The encounter with spirit can be amazing and easy, peaceful, full of love, and the first of the two that happened to me was just like that. But it can also be a dangerous matter, and the continuation a couple days later blew my mind out. The Bardo Thodol was written as a guide for Tibetans who might enter demonic realms in their spiritual passage. And more. Because the wise will point out that the bliss of spirit can be even more dangerous, entrapping a soul short of the mark.

The biggest thing to know because raw spirit can burn you, get a guide. Also, if there is such a thing as insulation, then get some of that too. Another thing to know, if spirit is stronger than you, then beef up. These images have actual counterparts in the spiritual disciplines, all of which offer techniques and living conditions, teachers and communities which offer protection and training. The only reason to strike out into the spiritual wilderness without discipline, training, guidance, fellowship, tradition and practice would be a direct call of spirit to do it, or as happened to me, by "accident", meaning spirit comes to you.

But that accident was no easy thing. Destined or not, I nearly paid with my life, also with my sanity. The next thing that happened to me was four months in an institution and two more years in exile and on antidepressants, and at least some of that really needed. I have journals from that time. It is amazing to me that I have this double vision. I know I did not feel depressed. I was really excited, chasing spirit, hoping to learn what happened to me, and being convinced it led further than my insides into direct connection with what was central and happening in the world. Even though all this excitement and dedication was true then and now, when I read those journals, I read the work of a depressed young man. Wow.

Hot Leads

I asked if I'll snap
Stretched like this. You said, "Maybe".
That's just friggin fine.

I've been here before,
Took me years to untangle
And stitch a new seam.

This spiritual stuff gets me
All riled up, hair stands on end.

Like grabbing hot leads
And power searing my soul,
I just can't let go.

January 4, 2009 9:14 AM
First Posted Tuesday, May 19, 2009


  1. Like the poem. Going back in old journals does sometimes help us see what wasn’t in our past.

  2. Drugs seem to be a shortcut to the unconscious but it seems a dangerous route to take, as you say, you are unprepared. I don't know, I have no experience with drugs.

  3. Another poem which I printed for keeps. I love it Christopher.
    It spoke to me today. It really meant something. Thank you.

  4. Anthony, I tried to answer at work and something in computerland blocked today. I don't know what was or wasn't there. I believe my vision from the outside is real enough for now and my inner state was real enough then. I had no way in those days to understand depression very well so I saw the world without that category for the most part.

    Lilith, I tried to point out that in my experience the particular thing that happened to me was not actually the LSD. I had many LSD experiences and never had something like that again. There is an entire story involved and LSD is secondary in that. I was indeed unprepared. If it had happened without LSD, I would have been equally unprepared.

    Annie, Hi! I am pleased that you find my stuff that good from time to time. That lifts my heart. I am in difficult health just now and I am grateful for every lift. Thank you.

  5. although it seems that it was accidental that it found you perhaps it wasn't. and this doesn't even mean that whatever it is it is conscious. it might just mean that you were an attractive conduit and so it was drawn. just guessing but reducing everything to energy itself seems to make sense to me. it might just be a childish diorama but for me it works right now.

    funny - i just wrote a post about burning journals and here i am wishing you would give us a glimpse inside of yours from that time:)

    much love, christopher

  6. Me too Christopher. From my heart to yours, feel better soon. And you know...just so we're positively clear, I have rarely, if ever, found your poems to be anything but exceptional. Your commentary quite often speaks over my small brain, but your poetry sits very squarely between my shoulders and whispers in one ear, shouts in the other.

  7. (((Erin))) I used the word accident in a special sense, that I was unprepared and unconscious at the time, having no idea of the possibility of spirit even. First there was no God then there was. I could not have been more surprised. I could never have dreamed this up. It is in that sense accidental to my life. It could not have been more unplanned by me. Any planning was wholly on the other side of this experience.

    (((Annie))) Thank you for your kind words. I have no idea how I am supposed to do any more than settle into this new life. I think I have received the key to the mystery of the changes of the last several years as this heart thing clarifies. I realize that more of my discomfort is explained in the coming and going of heart trouble undiagnosed.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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