Archive for the 'imaginary friend' Category

Flying leaves

September 25, 2012

Shortly after I wrote the post “Against the grain” this morning, in which I mention aeronautics, lift, and leaps, I was staring out my window while brushing out my hair, and I saw two yellow leaves swirling upwards above the telephone and electrical wires outside.  For a moment I wondered if they were butterflies, because they were definitely and firmly going UP, but no, I think they were leaves from the tree next door.  Bright golden yellow.

In addition to the synchronicity of sorts, I had to laugh, because when I was quite young, a preschooler, I had what my family seemed to think was an imaginary friend, and I referred to him as “The Man on the Flying Leaf.”  I said he spoke to me in “Milk-bottle Language.”  My family derided the whole thing, and at some point it stopped.  So I liked the leaves swirling upwards this morning, as a symbol of faith, and also because I like the idea that it would be wrapped up with my Man on the Flying Leaf imagery.

Ways of knowing

August 10, 2011

When I was about four years old, I remember waking up one morning and thinking, “Okay, I’m here, but there’s another place I could wake up to and be in, some other kind of waking up, but I don’t remember how to do it.”  Various family members ridiculed me for my imaginary friend, and that went dormant, too.  My family was, to put it mildly, not religious.  Science and rational thinking were purported to have replaced all that, although my first serious boyfriend pointed out the inconsistencies in my family’s behavior with that standard.

I tried conventional religion(s) as a way back to God, so to speak, a way back to that realm I had yearned to wake up to as a child.  I didn’t get there through learning their belief systems or practicing their rules, although I have found some of these things helpful for interpreting what I apprehended later once I did find my way back.  I can’t say how I managed to find my way back again, it feels more like it eventually found me again, when I was in my early forties (and sufficiently open to it again).

I have the impression that some other people search for this connection through disciplines such as philosophy and theology.  As I’ve indicated before, from my current vantage point, those pursuits seem to use a part of our brains that won’t get us there — they seem to me to be like apples when you need oranges.  They are sophisticated exercises for the intellect, but they lack the bass line, the thread of connection that anchors the whole experience of “knowing.”  That, I think, comes when we have become receptive to it through openness, through willingness, through listening with another part of the self.  I want to say it requires a certain kind of innocence, which, with all due respect to some religious doctrines, can be regained by us flawed human beings  —  even after we’ve left its original version behind as we’ve grown out of childhood, embraced consensus reality, and developed a sense of individual self.  We can go home again, and this time with an intellectual apparatus that we’ve developed with which we can process our experiences in this other realm.  But to try to transmit them to one another purely through our intellectual ways of knowing will not result in their truly being shared and communicated — only the idea of them will be shared and communicated.  To actually help others experience these other ways of knowing, to foster the kind of situations in which such experiences can and will occur, we are better off fostering a society in which individuals can take that personal journey.