What I Learned from "Drowning" in Japan
I relate this story in Frequency, and it illustrates a few key ideas I've been thinking about lately: 1) that constriction and contraction often predate an extremely useful insight, and though we think of this tight state as negative, it actually draws in and makes meaningful something we need in order to move forward, 2) that the Flow has its own perfect intelligence, so much better than what the mind alone can contrive, and 3) in order to access the entire revelatory process, we need to get out of the mind's way of knowing and controlling reality and into the body's way of knowing.
During one of my early visits to Japan, I'd been doing in-depth life readings for clients every day without a break, and was standing at a crosswalk at lunchtime, a crowd of fifty people waiting with me, with a similar size group on the other side. The light turned green and the two groups fluidly passed through each other like two schools of fish. I, being the only blonde in the crowd, drew a subtle kind of attention. No one looked directly at me, and they hardly touched me, but they were "feeling into" me as though my insides were an open book. After weeks of this kind of invasion, coupled with a deep daily contact with the Japanese subconscious mind, which I had discovered holds a great deal of sacrificial energy, I was wearing down.
I became feverish and overwhelmed, had trouble breathing, and was on the verge of fainting. I wasn't sure I could maintain my personal space and reality. One night, alone in my hotel room, I was flooded with images of the crowds and all the stories of all the clients I’d seen, and felt I was drowning. A "hand" came up from below and dragged me under. And finally, I let go of resisting. In a vision that lasted only a few seconds, I felt myself drown in a sea of watery energy. I died out of my old American, individualist reality and "came to" in a new one. I was totally submerged, swimming in an ocean of fluid awareness like a dolphin, where everything and everyone was interconnected.
I could stretch up out of it without leaving it, like a cresting wave, and take different shapes; I could be me, or a client, or a person on the street, or a tree. When I rose up inside other people, I knew them as if I were them. Then I could relax back into the energy ocean. I suddenly understood the Japanese reality from within it. From that day on, I didn’t feel crowded because I didn't feel contained. My temperature went back to normal and I felt connected and happy about everyone I saw. They all felt like family and I could see that in this inner reality, everyone knew about each other and took care to protect each other because one person's pain affected the rest. And that was why the Japanese placed such a high priority on "saving face." This experience changed me totally. It demonstrated a truth about human interconnection that is today beginning to be experienced by everyone, not just Asians, and which is a big part of our future reality.
In addition to gaining a great understanding of fluidity, I also came to value the reality where we "live from" a collective consciousness rather than an individual consciousness, where the whole is valued sometimes more than a single part. It's so different from the Western world view, but works just as well. East and West represent ways of understanding and making reality happen that actually dovetail; taken together they round out to something truly whole.
I've always been intrigued by the dragon image and symbology: in the West the dragon breathes fire, lives in caves in the earth, and is seen as a dark, dangerous force guarding a treasure. In the East, the dragon flies through the air, is associated with water (especially rivers), and is a light, lucky force offering a treasure. Together, all the elements are covered, as is the yin and the yang.
If we combine the value the West places on the individual and the value the East places on the collective, and let it stew a bit, might we not come to a new way of living that benefits us all, globally? A way that takes care of the "I am me" experience, then the "I am us" experience, and lets both be critical to the success of the other?