Jessica senses someone coming up behind her. “Arlo?…”
“I suppose that you will be looking for two points on that quick exit, huh?” a game voice says from the dark.
“You have to admit that it was an interesting approach,” Jessica responds.
Arlo sits down beside her. “You know after you left, eventually I caught up with myself in the bathroom. I didn’t really need to go as it turns out, but I found myself just standing there at the urinal. Strange reaction.”
“When I came out, I paid the bill and suddenly had this inkling: parkette. The failed tinkling was really an inkling.” They laugh together.
“That might be worth two,” Jessica offers with a smirk.
“You know when I got a look at this inkling, I found that it was actually a smell. There was this instinctive smell. I could smell you.”
“Arlo, you were standing in the john, and you smelled me? Charmed, I’m sure.”
“I wasn’t in the john and besides it was an inner smell. You know what I mean.”
“Thanks Arlo. You’re sweet.”
A woman laughs out on the street. A man makes a whooshing zoom sound like a special effect from a sci-fi film as he passes. Evidently it is very funny.
Jessica shifts the conversation back to the question of the night. “I remember having this deep feeling of the need for change, it must have been over ten years ago. It was just after Eric and I split. I was standing in the kitchen of my apartment, that place I had in Parkdale. I was staring out the window. My suffering was intense. Fragments of conversations and lost moments were rioting in my head like a Parkdale Saturday night. I stood at the window looking out on a clear summer day, but I was in touch with nothing of it. I had put security bars on the window not long before, and I saw that I had put the bars on my own prison.”
Jessica speaks to the sky, a murky soup of halogen glow and something resembling the night, mixed together into the colour of day-old coffee. Arlo looks at her in profile. She continues with a gentle purse of her lips.
“Then all of a sudden there was a separation between the riot in my head and the actual feeling of myself in my chest. The feeling was a burning ache, but it was not in riot. It was deep and resounding, standing on its own. Strange, but in that feeling there was incredible strength and resolve. It was the real core of my suffering, but it had nothing to do with the voices, the pictures, with the apparent circumstances of my suffering — you know, the story of my suffering. It was something deeper, essential, from a different time or place altogether.” She pauses to let it collect in her. “I spoke from that feeling, ‘I see you, and I do not accept this.’ By which I meant the rioting voices and the whole craziness of it.” She turns to look at Arlo. “Something changed or rather I made contact with something in me that has the power to change. I draw on that moment like a talisman.”
Arlo nods, lets the silence linger and then gets up to walk. Jessica follows. “Listening to your observation I heard something about the importance of working with so-called negative emotions. You know I’ve seen a lot of nonsense in the so-called Gurdjieff work around this topic — verging on the maniacal.” Arlo pauses to sidestep a teenager on a skateboard. “Anyway I don’t want to get into all that.” He gestures with his hands. “Perhaps I was connecting to the idea that everything is connected to everything else. At any rate, what I heard goes something like this: When we’re swimming in our negative emotions, we’re swimming in shit. So, okay, we learn to see this or not. But let’s say we do. The seeing of it is already a new understanding, and let’s say from this other things come. Perhaps it opens onto getting some real method for transforming this. We learn to actually take a psychological shit, as it were, and let go of the toxins. We eat and digest impressions, sometimes very poorly, very haphazardly. But we can learn to become better eaters and digesters, mostly because we’re tired of living in shit. So then maybe we think it’s all about feeling good, feeling light, moving on. But everything is connected to everything else. The point is that this process has a cosmic connection. It impacts us, our relationships, it affects the planet, history, the balance of energies. It’s really this last part that I heard.”
Jessica nods. “You know Arlo, before you came out, I was sitting on the bench working with the hucha exercise. You know transforming heavy energy into the earth and taking in fresh impressions from above. Maybe I picked up something in the café maybe it was something deep in me. Anyway, I needed to work on it.” Arlo nods. They turn a corner off Bloor street and walk up one of the quiet, treed avenues heading north. “Just in finishing the exercise, I had this image of people in the future learning these kinds of techniques en masse, learning to manage their psychic energies. A mother walked by with her baby in a stroller, maybe that was the trigger, but it was more than association. It had substance. Gurdjieff and Bennett must have seen this kind of image too, people learning to take the quality of their inner state seriously, I mean not just for themselves but for the cosmic harmony too, but in a practical, grounded way.”
“It’s a powerful image,” Arlo says. “Yes, perhaps more people are starting to see that the outer chaos we see around us, the incredible density of violence, is the reflection of the collective inner violence that we have been programmed to accept as reality. Phil Dick’s experience was that ‘The empire never ended.’ By which he meant, I think, that the matrix of violence covers over the living essence. It’s amazing how much talk there is nowadays about waking up, about getting out from under. Some of it is crazy probably, some of it may well be the wolf speaking as the sheep, but there is a real energy shift taking place. We are living at a time when the reality of being more intelligent about inner energies is possible, even necessary.”
“Sitting there Arlo on the bench, working with this probably very ancient technique, I felt like the future was searching for me.”
the end (for now)
– for a relevant audio track, see the future is searching for you elsewhere in this blog.