The following was posted on the Lifewriting page:
“Wooosh!!! Anybody ever get that intense feeling of euphoria when a moment of insight from what you’ve just listened to or watched connected major parts of your story by growing a whole new thread and exposing a trait of your character you couldn’t quite put your finger on!? Man I love that!!!! I’m not even on anything and I’m so riding high right now lol!!!”
I love it when my friends or students share insights like this. The energy comes from resolving the dualities. Simplifying the model. Seeing that what you thought were many different things are actually different versions of the same thing. From one perspective, the energy of an orgasm comes from dissolving the ego boundaries. The energy of art from dissolving the subject-object relationship. We invest HUGE amounts of energy in doing this, and every time we escape one of the illusions, we free up the energy we used to construct them.
SEEING THE CONNECTIONS. This is precious.
About twenty-three years ago, living in Vancouver Washington, I was stuck on a story point, couldn’t figure out how it all fit. While in deep meditation a vision came to me: of the chakras (a metaphor for the multiple levels of human existence or focus) as the vertical axis of a sphere, and the Hero’s Journey as a horizontal axis. Some force I’ve never quite been able to label is the third axis, and rather than try to “understand” it, it is better just to flow with it.
I could see it, feel it. A dynamic sphere of character interaction. A danger on the level of survival triggers a “Hero’s Journey” and as soon as survival is assured, sex and physical comfort become the next major issues, each of them demanding their own journeys. In complex stories, multiple levels engage at the same time, so that there are inner and outer journeys. Further, different people can have different priorities, and the same person will have different priorities at different points of life.
Even a movie as simple as “Die Hard” has an outer journey (defeating terrorists) and an inner journey (healing his marriage) with the two journeys linked through action and emotion.
More complicated stories are complex skeins of tangled emotions, but this model, something that started as a circle but kept manifesting as a dynamic sphere, allowed me to understand my story beautifully: the character was at THIS point of a journey at THIS level, but THAT part of a journey at THIS level, and…
It was glorious. And it jumped my writing to another level. But then about six months later I had another flash. It was so obvious, in retrospect. If the chakras were a model of humanity that I had appropriated for use in fiction…and the HJ was a structure of fiction I had appropriated for life…
And I’d just applied both of them to fiction, mightn’t I also apply this new model to life? This “dynamic sphere” to real world interactions and real flesh and blood people?
The idea hit me like a thunderbolt. It was too complicated to really hold in my mind. I’m not that smart. But…out of the corner of my eye I could see it, an almost infinitely complicated web of desires on the levels of survival, sex, power, emotion, communication, intellect, and spirit…
And human beings struggling to navigate them by confronting challenges, dealing with fear, taking action, finding allies, gaining powers, failing and dealing with depression, struggling to renew faith, dealing with success, and moving to the next level…
Oh My God. I could see it all…but only in peripheral vision. Only “grasp” it all emotionally, an utterly humbling experience. The “Chakras” and the “HJ” are only maps. I say they are the best maps in human history, but they aren’t a fraction as complex as real live human beings. But…but…
The test was: could I disprove this? Could I find human interactions that didn’t fit into the model? So far, I’ve not. The test is “is it true? Is it useful? Is it kind?
Well…I may not be able to prove if it is ultimately “True”.
Useful? The combination is probably the most useful tool I’ve ever found, offering insight into every human interaction, hope, dream, or goal anyone could mention.
Kind? It suggests a path to understanding the unity of humanity, the connection between all of us, and the reason to be gentle with our brothers and sisters, each of whom is doing the very best they can with the resources they have. If they could do better…they’d resolve their current issues and pop right up to the next level of challenge. Everyone is dealing with all they can handle…at the moment.
But it also suggests, clearly, how we can change and grow…
The implications are massive: IF YOU WILL START ORGANIZING YOUR MODELS OF LIFE ALONG THESE TWO AXIS, you will slowly begin to expand perception and intuition, to function with wisdom and clarity that you are “borrowing” from millions of past sages and storytellers.
The results, over time, are startling.
Now…if I can just figure out what the third axis is…naw. Let it go. Mystery is a good thing.