I suppose experience is what I’ve been after all along. Back in the day, during my college years, especially at the HBCUs I’ve been blessed to attend, I’ve seen more than my share of fights, comprised of individuals and groups, although I’ve been doubly blessed to be a peacemaker rather than a warmonger. Whenever the masses would run away from the gunshots or surging crowds, I would run to them. Whenever an argument would break out, I tended to seek resolution rather than further animosity and chaos. The experience was visceral and real, requiring me to be totally present in those moments of conflict. The same emotional highs that create vivid memories and the addictive need to experience them again and again also act as markers in our mind’s eye, drawing us back to them for the reliving, again and again.
In those days when experimentation was the goal, rather than the method of intoxication being the most important aspect, it was the friendships and the journey itself that provided the experiential manna, which is why that time period came and passed in my life as a phase, one which I look back on and do not miss but appreciate, for the experiences and memories both good and bad. Attempting to hold on to experience and to keep memories alive are both banes of the dope fiend seeking to escape experience.
Being caught up in sensual experience is also expressed by the pleasures we accrue as we age, the food and drinks we like, the television shows and movies, the drugs, the sexual positions, all remnants of previous experience. For example, I love McDonalds Big Macs because they’re good. I’ve known they are good since the first time I ate one and they taste the same today as they did back then. Experience. I eat them now seeking that same taste, comfortable, familiar, without mystery. I watch science and speculative fiction television and movie shows because I seek a return of the familiarity of youth, the books and the comics I used to read. These movies, with this new technology brings these things to life in ways that were impossible to do just a decade ago and it is a joy to me to see the characters I could only imagine by animating a 2-dimensional comic up on the big screen, their muscles just as taut, their exploits just as superhuman as I remember. Experience, albeit more cerebral than actual.
At a certain point in life, experience becomes stale. Most people, when this occurs, take refuge in the fact that they’ve always done it before so they continue to do it, even though every fibre in their being is telling them that it is not working anymore. As with dope fiends, the high doesn’t get you as high anymore. With food lovers, the big mac doesn’t please your palate the way it used to, even though it tastes the same, something is missing, the enjoyment, the pure, sensual satisfaction.
Rather than look at these thoughts, examine these feelings of discontentment, we seek to drown ourselves even further in a miasma of sensual experience hoping to find that dish that reawakens our passions, that sexual position that takes us just a bit closer to the perfect orgasm, that drug that makes us just a little bit higher, that takes us away from the underlying realization that none of this experience is enough to truly satisfy something within us, something that is telling us that there is more, that we need more, that we have to have, more.
For those to whom these feelings overwhelm, experience steps in and they/we create, consciously and unconsciously, conditions in their/our life that send them/us spiraling into the dark night of the soul and the supreme realization at that point is that change is an experience. That, perhaps, there is more to life than what we have previously known, that perhaps drugs aren’t the way out at all. Perhaps there is a bliss beyond the sexual orgasm, a physical contentment beyond that provided by the comfort foods that we consume daily. That experience is not bounded by what we’ve experienced before. That there are new experiences out there, new forms of perception, new forms of sustenance, new forms of living, of loving, of experiencing life in its variagated aspects.
The transition from one perceptive narrative to another can be immediate or transitional, can occur in an instant or take a day, a week, month, year or decades. But whenever it occurs, at some point you stop and realize that you are not in the same place that you were, that you are not the same person that you used to be and that something happened at some point to make you different. Meditative journeys into Self confirm this realization and you begin to trace the path back, into your past, noting the milestones and important events that changed the course of your life to its present one, morphing your perception of yourself and the world into the one you currently possess, or are currently in the process of formulating through your own unique experiences.
When you realize that you no longer need the crutches of the past, that you no longer smoke the cigarettes or the weed, that you no longer watch Jerry Springer or engage in the neighborhood or workplace gossip, that you no longer seek outside of yourself – in another person for instance – for completion, the quality of your experiences take on an entirely different tone, and your worldview expands as you become aware of alternative perspectives and the interconnectedness of humanity as a whole.
Life being comprised of successive experiences, being a collective experience in and of itself, I suppose what we’re all after is experience. I’m not special, or at least, any more special than you are. Being consciously aware of our movement through the days and years of our lives becomes a paramount accomplishment when we finally realize that each and every event, each and every choice is meaningful and that the quality of our lives is dependent upon these decisions that lead up to and make up our individuated life paths. In this viewpoint there are no bad decisions, no negative occurences, because every, single thing that happens to us has meaning and leads to further movement, evolution, and even, change.
Change is a good thing. Clarity of mind and the purification of the body/temple go hand with the shedding of the past in the attempt to create a present and future of light and love. The importance of finding one’s life purpose and living in accordance with the truths we discover on our journeys of experience cannot be understated. Change is inevitable, the removal of the physical, mental and spiritual detritus that obscures the perfection of our conception is evolutionary in nature and will occur at every level of Creation as a condition of life itself. Growth, movement, experience. In seeking the light, what further evidence of Divinity’s perfection do we need, other than the proof of our own experiences?