While on the birthright trip, I encountered a young man. Erick. He seemed different to me, he seemed at peace. He held himself with an air of serenity. Almost instantly, I noticed he was prominently placed anywhere we were. Prominently placed by his own vibe, his own energy. I could sense something that drew me to him. Something that caught my attention, despite the massive amount of frantic energy provided by a group of recovering alcoholics on vacation.
He didn’t speak much, he smiled occasionally. There was something about him and I couldn’t place it. I began to observe him.
We would be huddled and grouped at all sorts of exotic locations. The participants, the staff, the tour guide; everyone seemed to be enjoying each other’s company. Relishing in the experience of a new sight, a new conversation, a new friendship.
Erick seemed to be perfectly placed everywhere we were. He would sit silently, huddled up inside his coat. Hood draped over his head, sitting criss-crossed with his arms placed gently on his lap. Commotion and laughter would surround us and he would stay stoic. Each location we visited, I would spot him near the outskirts of our group, observing the land around him.
I know this is going to read weird, but I felt an energy. A strange sense of awareness and peace, the likes of which I had never encountered around an individual before. It was as if a sphere of “knowing” surrounded him. It’s hard for me to describe, but I felt like he somehow had always been at every location we went to. He seemed natural to the environment of Israel. Saying he was comfortable would be downplaying the effect he had on the many places we visited. Everywhere we went to, he belonged there, he had been there, or he was always meant to be there.
After a day or two, I asked him to have a conversation with me. He had shared a few times during the AA meetings we held, and he spoke with intensity. He spoke with purity. He spoke meaningfully and he projected truth and belief. Everything he said gave me chills, because everything he said, he believed.
I asked him to my hotel room and we sat together. I asked him if I could record our conversation on my phone. I pressed record and we began to have a conversation. I had written notes on what I wanted to ask him…
=Notes for Talk with Erick=
Experience of Spiritual Awakening
The Fourth Dimension of Existence
Mind State When Exploring Israel (meditative).
Ability to influence your own emotions
Meaning of Life.
The conversation we had forever changed me. The lens in which I view the world was sparked by this young man, thousands of miles away from home, on a chance encounter to Israel.
He was able to define for me how I had been feeling. He gave me real world reasoning behind thoughts and ideas I had been complexed by, confused with. He gave me hope in the form of a comrade. For the first time in months, he affirmed for me that I wasn’t crazy. He had felt, and has experienced, the same enlightenment that I feared was an onset of psychosis.
We talked bluntly about the program of AA and the spirituality intertwined with it.
As we communicated, he began to encourage me to look outside of AA for more answers and he gave me resources to tap into. He gave me his own experience. Essentially, he allowed me to adjust my spiritual state into a definable form. I was able to grasp the unknown. I was shown, through his presence, that I was not alone.
There are a lot of big words that are used to describe the “spiritual enlightenment” experienced by an individual. Words that people in AA throw around as often as the word God.
Spiritual awakening, 4th dimension of existence, psychic change; words that held no real meaning to me.
I had heard these words hundreds of times, yet I never felt truth in the people using them.
I had never really FELT that the people sharing in AA meetings ever truly understood what they were talking about. To be honest, it just seemed like people would repeat lines from the AA book that sounded good, to tell themselves, and others, that they had an answer.
That they had faith.
Until I met Erick, I had felt alone.
Until I met Erick, I had no real world definition for these words.
I am going to define these words the same way I do at meetings. When the topic presents itself, when a feeling of anxiety consumes me, I know I need to share. I share my honest thoughts. I speak passionately and intensely, just as Erick had done for me. I do my best to project the truth of my knowledge. The truth of my own feelings and how I think.
Experience of Spiritual Awakening- I can’t pinpoint when my mind shifted to a sense of spiritual awareness. I believe this novel is a documentation of the full effect of a spiritual awakening. Understanding that all of my experiences, my memories, have led me to this moment right now.
A spiritual awakening is a shift of perspective. It can be engaged at any time. The fact is we are existing right now. We are living, breathing entities. There is air to breath, objects and matter make sounds for us to hear. The keyboard provides a sense of feel when touched. The fact is I have no idea how I am able to think, feel, learn, and communicate. It’s almost as if I’m living inside a body that responds to a constant stream of stimulation provided by…I can’t say it. I don’t know if its God. I don’t know what it is, but when I unfocus my thoughts away from my “self” and towards the perfection and beauty of the world around me, I feel calm, I feel centered, and I feel that everything exists for my own enjoyment.
Think of yourself as an observer to your life’s journey. A participant experiencing the majesty of existence. The trick is to let go, and let the world guide you.
Sounds pretty good right? But how do we just “let go”? Its about honesty. Looking inwards and allowing our own gut, our intuition, to guide our actions. Using our morality as a compass to direct ourselves towards the person we want to be. The person that only we can see. The voice in our head that is constantly struggling to break free. To say the thing we wish we could hear.
There is responsibility in action, it’s important for me to remember before I make a decision to share anything….Will this help or hurt? Is this for me, or for you? Am I acting out of fear and ego, or love and grace. It’s easier said than done and I will admit there are plenty of times when I disengage from all thoughts and just project feelings at people, hopefully from an honest place. A real projection of my own emotion.
I’ve found that as I have practiced these ideals, I don’t think about them much anymore.
My spiritual state has become second nature. My motives and my intentions are set. I want to give people me and I hope to get them in return.
The spiritual awakening is only regulated by our own choice in perception. A spiritual experience is defined only by the individual. We make the choice of how we view the world and all the manifestations of it. To view people, places, and things as physical presentations of an intricately developed and sustained environment. A world that is regulating itself, regardless of what we choose to do, or not do. A world that is interpreted and processed within our own minds. A world that provides feeling to an individual. Forget science, forget faith, forget belief. The fact is we are here now, and now is forever.
Psychic Change- this is a term that is used frequently in 12-step recovery meetings. The idea being, one must experience a psychic change to combat the negative behaviors of our past. A psychic change to our behaviors now.
As humans, we emulate behaviors of others within our environment. Subconsciously, our brains adapt and learn strictly based on our surroundings. Whether we are aware of learning a new skill, or not, our brain is constantly processing stimulation and interpreting it internally. If we place ourselves in positive environments and situations, we will experience a shift in attitude and awareness. If we are around people that possess traits we wish we had, we will begin to acquire these traits. We will begin to emulate the people we admire. In sobriety, learning from an alcoholic provides a psychic change. In creativity, learning from artists also provides a psychic change to the student.
The process of experiencing a psychic change, also known as: “learning”.
Within 12-step meetings, the definition of addiction is explained thoroughly amongst members of the community. The solution to recovery is also explored. For me, the road to recovery was facilitated by an involuntary psychic change.
I remember the first time I drank after staying sober in a treatment center. I had spent 108 days learning about Drug Addiction and Alcoholism. I found myself repeating what I thought the treatment staff wanted to hear. I engaged as honestly as I could and attempted to commit to the idea that I was a drug addict, though, I was unwilling to admit that I was an alcoholic. It sounded ludicrous to me. Alcohol had never been a problem. Hell, I had never even blacked out from drinking booze.
I ended up being told that I would need to stay an extra couple weeks for the treatment team to assess me. They believed that I was not being honest about my ambivalence to alcohol. And I wasn’t. Up until that point, I shared with impunity that I believed I could drink again. I could use alcohol recreationally. They told me that I would never be able to. They would not release me from treatment unless I accepted this. I began to “say” that I was an alcoholic, and two weeks later, they discharged me and allowed me to return to university for summer school and football workouts.
On July 4th, I decided to try drinking again. With a head full of recovery, I bought a 12 pack of beer and returned home to drink them alone. At the time, I wanted to be careful. I wanted to experiment. I wanted to see how the affect of alcohol would feel.
I drank all 12 beers. Physically, I was drunk. Mentally, I was stone cold sober. I found no relief in the Alcohol I had consumed.
Over the course of treatment, I had experienced a small psychic change without me even realizing it and….I hated it. The effect of alcohol offered me no relief, and I wanted it badly. I wanted to escape but all I could think about was what I was doing was wrong. In treatment, I had learned all about being an alcoholic. The experience of drinking 12 beers after learning about recovery, drug addiction, and alcoholism was a small stepping stone towards a complete psychic change.
The total psychic change became more frequent for me the more often I attended meetings and engaged myself with people looking for the same thing I was. Sobriety. I have found that a psychic change can be attained outside of meetings as well. In my quest to become a writer, I have found that reading and learning from other writers has facilitated growth within myself. I live and I learn.
In fact, as you read this, you are experiencing a psychic change. The stimulation of your thoughts is being directed by the words on paper(or screen) changing the pace and direction of your own mind.
For example, I was reading Jon Acuff’s book, “Quitter”, this afternoon. I was engaged in the novel and found myself learning through the author’s perspective. I have noticed that my writing since reading has changed slightly. I saw that he would frequently break the 4th wall, engaging the audience with words like “you” or presenting dialogue to the reader in the form of a question. I have found myself emulating that same technique in my writing today. His book provided my mental with a psychic change. A subconscious response to behaviors learned from others.
I like to share in 12-step meetings this fundamental idea. If you are sitting in a meeting for recovery and you are listening, you will be experiencing a psychic change.
To a creative like myself, a student of life, if you are engaged in something that you feel passionate about, something that you want to be able to do, look to others that have done it. Learn from their art, from their work, and if you can, learn from their personal experience.
The Fourth Dimension of Existence- As I understand it, the fourth dimension of existence is “time”. A measurable dimension based upon the moment we experience according to the hands of a clock, a clock that is regulated by gears moving in stable frequency. A clock that taps out seconds, minutes, and hours. Yes, we can measure time. We can allot ourselves a schedule and assign dates to a calendar. All in accordance to the rotation of our planet around the sun.
But, Time is strictly relative to the person experiencing it. Have you ever had a day at work when you were tired? A day where you went through the motions of a work day and time seemed to slow to a crawl? The more you looked at your clock, the more you focused on the ticking of each minute. Time began to inch its way slowly towards the final destination, the end of a shift. A sweet relief from the monotony of an obligatory day at work.
Have you ever had a day where you were doing exactly what you wanted to do? A day spent with your family at the pool, or an evening at the drive-in movies, enjoying a viewing of Stanley Kubricks “The Shining”. Or maybe you were watching the scene from “Twister” where the characters are at a drive-in movie watching Stanley Kubrick’s, “The Shining”. Or possibly, you were watching Christopher Nolan’s “Inception” trying to distinguish a dream from within a dream. A reference within a reference within a reference. As I sit here writing my own analytical inquiries on how film affects my engagement with time, I am no longer in the crease of a clock because, right now, I am having fun and…
Time flies when your having fun.
Let’s try an experiment: I want you to look at your clock right now. Stare at the hands as they tick. Can you feel the moment? Does it feel heavy? Long?
Now, engage the written word. The words that are floating in your mind as you follow my flow of consciousness. This moment is the only thing that is real. A moment where you can connect with me as I write out my experience of living in the crease of a fourth dimension of existence.
Everything that led us up to now is irrelevant, your story, my story…everything written and read so far holds no bearing on what you choose to do with your thoughts. Right now, your thoughts are commandeered by mine.
The trick is taking your thoughts off of the page to realize that time is a current that continues to flow with or without you. A current that we travel on. There is no end destination to time, it just is. We can place our attention on the manifestation of people, places, or things. We can guide our thoughts towards the magnificence of an object. The great conundrum of existence. We can un-focus our thoughts and accept that as we live and breath, we are learning and adapting. Especially if we are engaging our senses.
The movie of our life pauses the moment we fall asleep, and begins to play again the moment we open our eyes. What we choose to do with our time is irrelevant to the fact that we are alive. For me, time is meaningless. It holds no real weight on me. If I’m alive, I’m going to be living whether time is moving slow, or fast.
The fourth dimension of existence is right now. Looking at each moment as a blessing, a moment to learn from or enjoy. A moment to feel pain and remorse, fear and longing. A moment to feel inspired or engaged creatively by others.
Most of the time, for me, the moment is all I am really focused on…
Until my schedule tells me that it’s “time” to be somewhere else….
I’m just an urban kid, who subbed a lot
Blinded by a light view, a right view
Askew, Brand new
Waves of security, sitting in the sand
Phone in hand, one man rock show mental dream of a brand
Fit it together, work it out, my mind is a playground without a doubt
The pieces are there, my mental is sound, disco dub disc jockey, king without a crown
You show the lights flash and the camera roll- not any brighter than the light within our soul- grow for the height of yourself- reach the tallest peak-don’t give in till your best is beat
A lot of times, I write to myself. I write how I feel and what I want. I tell myself the things I need to hear. The things I want to feel. With this poem, I searched for meaning as I sat on a beach.
When I wrote this piece, I didn’t know what my purpose was. I didn’t know what I needed to do. All I knew was that I had “something”, I wrote poetry to engage my mind creatively to try and figure out what that “something” was…
——————————To Be Continued——————————-
Thanks for reading excerpts from my book, “A Glance Inside the Minds Eye”. It is still being written, and I don’t expect it to be ready for publication for at least another year.
My focus now is on the development of our Social Media App (U.I. Minds Eye) it stands for User Interface, or You and I, or whatever meaning you’d like it to be, really…
This week, I have been putting together a pitch packet and developing the blueprints for how the social network will function. I have a meeting with an app developer in a couple of weeks, after which, I will begin the process of looking for investors.
If you’d like to support the pursuit, swing over to www.UIMindsEye.com and subscribe to the e-mail list. That way, you’ll receive an update each time I publish something new. I expect there to be a lot of exciting updates on the development of the app, and I am stoked to be able to share it with my friends and family…
Stay Tuned! And, if you’d like to, you can follow our Facebook page here: https://www.facebook.com/UIMindsEye/
Or my personal page here: https://www.facebook.com/AdamCharlesAbramowitz
From My Minds Eye…To Yours…
Oh. And here is a pic of Erick in Israel: