Sigmund Freud called the judge the Superego. For Freud, the superego is an amalgam of the significant authority figures in our early life—taken in, internalized as an active life force inside the psyche of every human being. The superego becomes the architect and active judging force that structures our experiences of right and wrong, good and bad. This judging function has its origins outside the human psyche—it is a Not I—yet, it is taken in and experienced as a formidable character, incessantly controlling and shaping the I of everyday life.
The Shamans of Ancient Mexico saw the Mind itself as the judge, an internalized entity of extraneous origin. Like Freud’s superego, those shamans see the mind as largely shaped by the socialization each human being undergoes from the moment of entry into this world.
Socialization formats perception into a uniform interpretation system. The mind shapes reality. The mind tells us what is real and dismisses, as fanciful illusion or imagination, all experience that does not fit its precepts. The mind acts quickly to reshape and dismiss any perception that defies its definitions of real and possible. In fact, the mind acts so rapidly to forget irrational experience that we are left helpless in its wake. How quickly we forget the experience of the dream upon awakening.
The mind is actually a massive gargoyle that guards, through terror, the entry to the library of true knowing and seeing. Let he and she that transgress beyond its menacing countenance be forewarned: You are on your own! When you suspend the judge, you enter the theatre of the truly real. For the ancient shamans, the theatre of the real is interconnected energy as it flows in the universe.
I stepped out of my office on Tuesday night and into a dream. Almost immediately, a gargoyle appeared out of nowhere and embraced me, seeking my attention. I was caught off-guard by an onslaught of unrelenting intensity; the gargoyle in my face momentarily distracting me. The clock was ticking. I was aware, in some vague, deep place that I was on a mission. I had to gather my energy and maintain my focus. I stepped beyond the gargoyle.
For ten years now, I have not been able to fully recapitulate all that I experienced at the moment of Jeanne’s death. Others have dreamed that dream and reported it to me to jostle my awakening, but thus far my memory of that magical moment remains quite edited. On Tuesday night, I made the decision to go to the hospital to be with Jan. I made the decision to fully show up for death, the most meaningful encounter in life—to see what happens.
I exit the highway at the wrong Rinaldi Blvd. and enter the twilight zone. It’s dark, one way streets to nowhere appear. I’m caught in a maze with no reentry to the highway. I feel the clock ticking. I steady myself, drive the wrong way down a one-way street onto other streets that seem to lead back the way I’d come. Suddenly, I’m in the heart of Poughkeepsie and a sign appears: Rt. 9 South. Okay, let’s do it again!
This time, I exit properly and trace my way to the parking garage at the hospital. I’m met by a powerful river of cars and humanity moving in the opposite direction. I’m swimming upstream, against the current. Visiting hours are over. Will getting in pose a problem?
I enter a dimly lit, quiet lobby and proceed to the desk. Immediately a commotion breaks the silence. Gargoyle #2 is raging. His face is elongated, distorted, his eyes bulging. He cursingly demands drugs for his girlfriend, in pain, “improperly treated in Emergency!” he screamingly exclaims. The security guards and welcoming woman are pensive, seeking clarity, seeking to restore calm, unsure of his next move, seeking to avoid an explosion of lethality.
I remain completely calm. I give him no energy, simply stand quietly, awaiting my turn. Eventually, others engage the gargoyle and the shaken clerk at the desk informs me that, although visiting hours are over, she’s sure I can go up for a few minutes. A phone call is made; a pass issued.
As I get off the elevator, the sign for room 350 points to the left. I walk into a quiet dark area—Orthopedics. Something is not right.
I return to the elevator. The sign now points in the opposite direction. Though I now walk right past the room and must retrace my steps, I finally arrive.
Jan sees me. She is aglow, staring at me as if she has never seen me before.
“Oh my God! Look at you! You’re so young!”
I look back at her and think, “Her energy is amazing!”
We adjust our chairs and calmly await the miraculous. No words are needed.
I carefully listen to the breathing: I know how that works. My attention keeps being drawn to the feet: waving, jostling energy. Each time it happens, my mind wakes up and examines: “No. No movement, no activity,” it states. My perception is cursorily dismissed; my dream forgotten. But, it keeps happening! And each time the alerted mind steps in, reexamines and reaffirms its precepts: “This can’t be happening! Look again, there is no activity, only complete stillness, as expected.”
Soon enough, the final breath comes. Jan and I sit in total calmness, immediately recapitulating our shared experience of the energy body as it exited. The miraculous had occurred!
Carlos Castaneda once wrote that when he finally was able to see energy, he was amazed at the realization that we see energy all the time as it flows in the universe. But then—here comes the judge! And we remember only what it tells us “really” happened, as it rationally dismisses the magic of the real dream.
The mind persists in a steady effort to restore order, dismissing and forgetting what we really see all the time. It’s only through persistent recapitulation that we are able to change the mind, or, in reality, relativize its dominance.
The dream continues,
See also Jan’s blog: A Clandestine Meeting, published earlier this week.