Live Through This

Now! Now! Now!

My not-so-successful adventures with astral projection, good vibrations, and Being Here Now.

Ilustration by Allegra

Ilustration by Allegra

Last year I visited a spiritual commune in the Sonoran Desert. The people there were super into VIBRATIONS—by which they meant exploding your ego and reaching higher dimensions and communicating with higher-dimensional beings, all through meditation. The experience was intense, to put it lightly. I gained a lot from it. (I also threw a lot away.) The best thing I learned was how to see life as an act of constant meditation by keeping your senses attuned to your immediate surroundings and being hyperaware of the present moment, the ETERNAL NOW (a big catchphrase on the commune). I haven’t decided whether I think this is a good way to walk through life all the time—like an animal, just constantly focused on the NOW. OK, I don’t think it’s a good way, at least not for me—but it was certainly a fun thing to do while traveling and writing, and it’s good exercise for your attention span.

What follows is an account of my time in Arizona and what I learned, interspersed with journal entries I wrote while I was there, living and writing in the Eternal Now.

(An apology in advance: In this piece I allude to Eastern philosophies that I have immense love and respect for. I did not meditate or seek to reach spiritual enlightenment in a serious way: This article is about my goofy experimentation with “being in the now” and is not meant to make light of serious spiritual practices.)

***

Journal Entries

February 2012

Imagine the space between yourself and infinity. Imagine the space between the Milky Way and yourself.

Now imagine the silence—all that silence—between the space between infinity and yourself.

Imagine yourself. Imagine the space between the joints of your fingers. You have three joints. Three. Now go through each joint. The first joint. Imagine the space within the first joint. The silent space…

(The chorus repeats. Cycles through the second joint, the third joint.)

Now imagine the space within yourself. Imagine the Now. Imagine yourself as the Now. You are the Now. Imagine space. You are space. You are the Eternal Now. [1. Me trying to repeat the guided meditation on the Open-Focus Brain CD.]

***

“Lynne,” I said. “Is it true that for this New Age to come in, two thirds of the population will have to die?”

“Listen,” Lynne said. “You can get so caught up in that stuff, those prophecies. Putting out that negative energy. It’s true there’s going to be a lot of galactic movement this year. With that movement, there’s a lot of energy, and with that energy, with all that energy, there’s power. Power, movement. Floods, earthquakes… But all those galaxies—you’ve got to think—all those galaxies will be there with us, supporting us, smiling down at us….” As she spoke she smiled at me kindly and poured her soul through her eyes and spilled them into mine, pouring her soul kindly down my throat.

***

This was the first commune that my then-boyfriend, Nigh, and I visited last year. The folks there devoted their days to meditation—or, to be more exact, to heralding the New Age by vibrating at high levels and attempting to communicate with higher-­vibrational beings. The de facto head of the commune welcomed us by handing us a DVD about the Global Domination Agenda; the kitchen walls were covered in photographs of crop circles.

Initially, I wanted out. But we decided to stay for a few weeks, why not? In an effort to preserve my sanity—so that I would not spend all my time there snarling judgmentally at my hosts but might instead learn something from them—I decided to suspend disbelief and just be swallowed up by their theories. I played that funny balancing act of believing in something wholeheartedly while knowing somewhere deep inside that I would eventually stop believing. I watched the Global Domination Agenda DVD and took notes. I danced the Universal Dance. I looked my dance partners deep in the eyes and bowed and told them they were a flower, a flower. I was swept up.

***

BECAUSE WHAT IS EARTH EXCEPT SPACE. VIBRATIONS. AND WHAT DID WE COME FROM EXCEPT THE BIG BANG WHICH IS WHAT? WHICH IS AN ATOM WE CAME FROM AN ATOM NOTHING EXCEPT FOR AN INFINITE AMOUNT OF EMPTY SPACE, AND US. HAVE YOU IMAGINED WHAT IT IS LIKE TO HAVE YER EGO EXPLODE. YOU CAN ONLY IMAGINE. IMAGINE: BECAUSE IT’LL ALWAYS BE AN ILLUSION WHEN YER DOING IT AND AS SOON AS YOU DO IT YOU’LL FALL BACK TO OUR EARTHLY VIBRATIONS WE ARE VIBRATING AT A FREQUENCY THAT ONLY WE CAN UNDERSTAND.

***

1. Everything is energy: everything consumes and shits out energy

2. Energy is VIBRATIONS.

3. We exist on one dimension; there exist others: THESE OTHER DIMENSIONS ARE ACCESSIBLE THROUGH VIBRATIONS. If we could VIBRATE at different levels we’d be able to “do things” that are not HUMANLY possible:

like part the Red Sea

like levitate

like travel to other dimensions/communicate with spirits

like have the ego explode

IF THERE AREN’T ANY GALACTIC CATASTROPHES BETWEEN NOW AND THE NEW YEAR I’LL BITE MY TONGUE. BUT TILL THEN: I’M SENDING OUT THE GOOD VIBRATIONS. [2. Before I went to the commune, I did not realize the weightiness of the term GOOD VIBES. I thought GOOD VIBES meant having a good attitude. GOOD VIBES means all that but there's also this idea that by exuding Good Vibes one can literally raise the consciousness level of the earth which, if you’re trying to bring in an age of higher spiritual consciousness is Very Good.]

***

I can’t talk about being in the Now without showing pages from Be Here Now, a gorgeous and mind­blowing book from 1971 by the Harvard psychiatrist turned spiritual guru Baba Ram Dass. I read these pages over and over.

ramdassgrid

I continued to play that tricky act of believing wholeheartedly while knowing (somewhere) that my belief was apt to change. Nigh and I consulted Ram Dass daily, but I knew that someday I’d stop treating Be Here Now as a bible. Someday I would believe less.

There was something irresponsible about my method. I was trying on masks, dabbling in faiths. I knew that I was engaging in something fishy at the time, but I could not (and still can’t) put my finger on why or exactly what that was. Plus, I really was swept up: the “tricky” part about living my life as an experiment, a game, is that it was still my life, and I was still living it. It was fun. Beautiful.


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13 Comments

  • loonylizzy May 29th, 2013 1:18 AM

    This is amazing! I’ve been putting a lot of thought and energy into living in the here and now lately, because stressing out over the future landed me in the hospital last month. I’ve really been trying to get rid of all the “shoulds” and “coulds” in my life and focus on just BEING. It’s a lot less stressful and it helps you find peace within yourself, even if you’re not into he whole hippie vibes thing. Thanks for the awesome article!

    http://www.theflightoftheflamingo.blogspot.com

  • Sophie ❤ May 29th, 2013 6:43 AM

    All I can say is that this post is really simply FABULOUS and amazingly written!

    -Sophie

    http://plainlysophie.wordpress.com

  • normaliswack May 29th, 2013 10:23 AM

    This post was really powerfull. I thank you for taking the time to put this experience into words.

  • Tara A. May 29th, 2013 12:02 PM

    This post was really interesting and well-written. Thanks for sharing! I loved the journal entries (:

    http://www.unlockingpandorasbox.blogspot.com

  • kolumbia May 29th, 2013 4:44 PM

    I’m always so excited when I see a post by Anna! I get so stressed out about wondering if I’m being present, and being mindful, and feeling like I’m wasting my life. I wonder what kind of art I could make if I didn’t have to worry about schoolwork, and high school social dynamics, and my job. And then, there’s stuff I don’t have to worry about but I do anyway, like my blog, and Facebook, and driving. Worrying about all that only makes me feel more like I’m not being present enough. Sometimes I feel like things would be better if I could just get away from everything. I would love to live on a commune, I just wonder if I’d be brave enough to.

  • kati May 29th, 2013 5:51 PM

    i liked this article very much :)
    the thing is.. i’m from latinoamerica, and (at least in my family and friends and teachers) this kind of belief (vibrations and such) are the norm. And it feels a bit like you didn’t get what being in the moment really means.
    It’s not about being selling your stuff and not being responsible. Is about experiencing things in the present. Like, if you’re eating pizza with your brother in the couch you don’t think “this has calories i should go to the gym i have homework” but you think “mmmmmmmmmmm this pizza is amazing it feels so good in my mouth, i love my brother he’s amazing thank god i’m living with him and he’s so funny”
    that doesn’t mean you won’t do your homework that means that you will think about that when you’re experiencing it.
    Also, sending good vibrations is not about isolating yourself and lecturing your parents. It’s about sending them love and peace everytime you think about them, and when you see them you hug them and kiss them and tell them how much you love them.
    In conclusion, i feel that it IS possible to live this way in the city and be responsible. It feels like the people you met didn’t quite get it because every phylosophy of this kind is built upon BALANCE. If you go overboard you’re doing it wrong.
    I’m not trying to be mean i really liked the article but i needed to share that

    • lxmldrt May 30th, 2013 12:12 PM

      I agree! And i think that is why the NOW EYES can be applied to life in the city, and should! Big cities are in an urgent need for good vibes.
      I’m really interested in the idea of a different kind of “hippie” lifestyle, a sort of internet/city/hippie, not isolated from society (which is a reality as well). I stongly believe in the power of now, in the appreciation of real things and sensations, in all the things in the cosmos as being conected, in energy. But i also believe that we need to embrace and make the most of the new digital world, the life in the city, technology, instead of just turning them off.

      Isn’t also the internet a sort of beautiful energy field?
      I don’t know, i’m just trying to figure this all out.

  • barbroxursox May 29th, 2013 10:52 PM

    Thank you for this! It’s hard to think just about the now when you are deciding what college to go to and sticking to a very rigid major and your parents telling you what to do with your future. But this is exhausting and leaves little time for the now. I definitely have tried to live the “I am young and wild and free and should live in the moment” kinda lifestyle (YOLO, I’m very, very sorry) but lately I’ve been kind of ignoring that. I liked how you included the relationship between the NOW and with reality like paying rent and having a job. I definitely think we should think about the present, but we cannot ignore the future completely, because we need shelter and food, or some unexpected health problem or something might happen. But I do think it’s good to think about the now and not have anxiety over things in the future all the time, which is something I struggle with.

    http://lizard-onawindowpane.tumblr.com

  • kirrileebailey May 30th, 2013 1:48 AM

    I love this article x

  • AidaA May 30th, 2013 10:59 AM

    i love this piece. It’s really well written and your pictures are great! x

    http://sunshinesuperwoman.blogspot.co.uk

  • shin o May 30th, 2013 2:24 PM

    this is what i’ve been trying to do for months now, to totally absorb the beauty of environment, air, etc. one of the things that inspired me for that is the latest post in Tavi’s blog. which was just really magical. idk. i just try to live my life in a context in which i don’t necessarily do outrageous one-of-a-kind stuff, but just by appreciating life as “-life-” itself. (ugh did i make sense?)

  • Glenny July 17th, 2013 3:10 PM

    ANNA I am eternally grateful for all of these pieces of yours, especially because I’ve been trying to fix my way of thinking to make my writing “more accessible” and less heavy-handed. You’ve inspired me to write in the way that I think– through feelings.. THIS IS PERFECT YOU ARE PERFECT BLAHHHHH I think that we are soul sisters and I’d love to meet you and learn from you. I will find you and pick your brain some day. Some day. Some day.

  • pendulous-threads July 31st, 2013 2:13 PM

    Anna, you are such a powerful being and I’m so grateful that you’re able to share these valuble stories with people like me who are endlessly interested in your experiences and just your style of writing. Hopefully I can fully understand what it truly means to “be here now” but I’ll try, and I’ll keep writing, and I’ll keep loving everything you churn out onto Rookie. If only I wasn’t typing/reading this through my office cubicle. Can’t wait to say sayonara to this internship!