Stop! If you haven’t read the previous Delivery, you can find it here:
And if you are wondering what this “Archaic Concept” stuff is, why not start at the first Delivery?
The old man closes his laptop and sighs. Done. That entire thread of his life is now documented. Documented as fiction, as allegory, but documented.
And he is glad. It could be an ancient story of a man he once was. But, it seems to have happened to another person, not himself. So he wrote it like that. And he meets the fictionalised man in himself, for in a deep part of his soul, his own actual first experience of love always resides. As it perhaps does for many of us.
He lets a tear fall down his face. He feels the heart-mind-state behind the tear. He is long past the need to resist a tear. Nor to resist the feelings arising in the last few weeks as he typed his story each afternoon alone in his office. He welcomes each feeling as it comes. And welcomes the next one just the same.
He cannot separate himself from the fictional characters he created. He lives inside himself the lives they lived on his screen as he wrote. He recalls Aleena’s smile. And her brusque way of dismissing the fears and anxieties he held at the time. He also recalls, almost recalls, the last time ever they made love. And of course he knows that at the time, neither of them knew that their communion was drawing to a finalisation. And he also knows he invented the story. It never happened.
He sits in silence for half an hour. Just letting his gaze fall on the trees outside his window.
Then the door of his office opens slowly and his wife quietly enters the room.
She pauses, seeing and knowing the beautiful state he is in. Then she softly speaks.
“I’ve read it all now online, in my own room. As you typed those final scenes. It is good. It is very good.”
He smiles. Yes, it is good. Those people are like ghosts now. And yet, they made me who I am.
She pretends to be jealous of her husband’s fictional love. “Aleena made you who you are?”
His eyes wrinkle and he turns towards her. They have talked many times before about how real his characters are to him. They play with this.
Aleena carved the first bits off the stone that had me entrenched inside. Susan also helped in that, as you know. And that other one. And a few more.
She laughs. She knows it is all not quite true. But she also knows he is teasing her with facts. The actual women in his past who were as real as she is. And they loved him as she loves him.
She raises her arm as if to slap him, but then rests her hand on his balded head and says, “I wonder how Aleena is doing now?”
I wonder too sometimes, he replies, with a huge grin.
He whispers, well, actually the story is not quite over. Tomorrow I am going to recall, and type, the afternoon I met her so very long after we parted. I have told you the story of that afternoon of 12 years ago, but tomorrow is the day to write it.
After that we will go to the mountain shack for a few days, and then when we come back here I will perhaps begin to write the feeling of the next era of my life. Or the previous one. I am not sure quite yet.
But, I know I have to write it all. Whether fiction or fact, or pure emotional resonance, I have to write it. The doctor called me this morning, he confirmed again the results of last week’s tests. Maybe 2 or 3 more years, and that’s it. But we knew that already. Seems I may not be with you to celebrate my 85th.
She turns her head away and he hears her begin to cry. They sit together some more in the silence of their accomplished intimacy, then she stands and leaves the room, saying, “I will make tea”.
And indeed the next day he types the final entry in the story of Stuart and Aleena, as his wife reads it , live, on the cloud, in her room. And she watches her screen as he iteratively backtracks to edit his prose meticulously:
I was in my favourite cafe in the city. I was reading the morning newspaper. I heard a soft cough. I looked up and I recognised her immediately. Even though it had been almost 40 years since I last saw her face.
She stood there rather demurely. I invited her to sit down. I folded up the newspaper carefully and we sat in silence for a time.
She spoke first. “Stuart, I am sorry. Really sorry. I realise now what a pain I was. I know it was hard on you. I know that now. I regret my decision in us parting, but… it was… I felt it was… the only way in front of us”.
I nodded my head as if to acknowledge her apology and also that there had been no other choice. I felt in my heart to meet her at 50%, and murmured, I am sorry too. I could not relax into myself enough for you to be able to trust me with your deepest soul.
She bowed her head for a few moments. And then looked in my eyes and spoke. “Yes, that is so. You seemed to be always fighting with yourself, and I could not help myself from feeling that meant you were also fighting with me.”
She went on. “I lived with Morris for 7 years, so longer than with you. Then I left him too. After that I was alone for a long long time. Before I found Mike. Mike and I are married now and live in the countryside, raising horses. I often have thoughts of you. I loved you so much, but I could not face that love. And I could not face your pain. I could only face my need of being right. And my need of a man to be next to me, not ahead or behind. Do you understand?”
Yes, I said. I understand. We were young. We had no idea of each other’s deepest souls. We only knew what we presented to each other. And even though that was often very good, we each were starving for deeper love. I gather you found that deeper love and I am happy for you in that. I also found such love.
She looked sad for a moment. “You found your forever love?”
I nodded my head again.
She smiled a mischievous smile. “However did you manifest that?”
I caught her self-depreciation and I replied:
I did not manifest her, any more than I manifested you. I only know we met, and found our way into each other, and could totally relax in that meeting space.
Or, perhaps, Aleena, over time I gave up trying to be anything other than who I am.
She nodded. She was silent.
I said. Aleena, on the day you left, and wrote me that letter, with the kind words, I felt that I had just received a Tryer’s Prize. Which of course is what teachers give to the students who are not winners. The losers. To encourage them to keep going.
I want you to know, that I carried – and even valued – that prize – in my heart – for a long long time, before one day, as I was walking past the house we lived in for those special summers, I opened the letter box and I motioned as if putting that prize inside. I walked on. Thank you for having been with me when I was still to learn how just to relax and be me. I was beginning in that with you, but I had a long way to go.
That… that time with you… I still deeply value. But… the Good Lord knows, as I do, that I am not a loser.
She stood. She put her arm around my shoulder. “Stuart, you are a good man. And I am a good woman. We may never meet again. So long.”
And she just walked away. I saw her reach into her handbag for a tissue as she walked.
The old man’s wife comes back into his office.
She puts her serious look on her face. “Do you lay next to me in the night and think about her?”
He reciprocates the play and puts his gravely insulted look on.
Angel, she is a ghost. And a ghost cannot satisfy a man like me. You know that.
She has heard that answer before, many times, but it still sends ripples up her spine. She tacks into another well worn play-issue between them.
“And tell me again why you did not skip that Aleena Ghost. Why did you not claim me in the Eighties instead of accepting what the hand of fate gave you!”
He sighs, and motions for her to sit as if to settle into a long explanation. She sits on the 3 legged stool next to his office chair. He begins.
Angel, if I had gone after you in the Eighties I would still be in jail now. You were just a child. You know that.
She pretends to be surprised. She loves this story. She has heard it all before.
And, Angel of mine, I’ve told you many times, my story is not all fact, although the feeling of the story is indeed fact. The feeling is a fact in my mind, in my heart, even in my soul. Or all around me. Yes that’s where feelings live. They live all around me and resonate inside me. Or perhaps the other way around. And then the story arises from all that.
Although… Yes. The feeling of this story began in me in the actual 1980’s, in various places I lived, and yes, my first love is in it, um… my first loves are in it… all mixed up together as Aleena, but … not all the things I write actually really happened, or they happened very differently. Actually most. Most of it just did not happen as I wrote it. You know I write metaphors, and, yes, the metaphors appear in my mind as if real, I see them, in a sense, even though I have aphantasia.
I know you know all this. I just love to talk. I’ve been inside my head with this story for so long. Can you listen some more? Listen to things you already know? Are you okay?
She nods her head. Sometimes she is the one to go on and on. She understands that 90% of love is listening to each other.
He acknowledges she is okay to remain in listening space. And continues.
So you know her name was not actually Aleena. You know that. And you know there are 3 or 4 women from back then who I have conflated together into the Metaphor Named Aleena. And I added in even others out of my imagination. But, Aleena is real in the sense that she is a metaphor for the manifestation sub-culture that drew a lot of us in at that time. We really went around saying the sorts of things I had this fictional Aleena say. Her dialogue is what conveys what it was like in the 80’s. Well not for how it was for everybody. Maybe only some of us. It was very real to us consciousness explorers. As self-defined… Most people just went to work and the cinema I think. Anyway… God bless them…
Yes. The majority who were alive at the time never even knew the Heart of the Eighties. The going deeper. Although many knew it as the New Age, of course. Anyway. It’s all gone. Gone, gone gone. Or perhaps not?
I think actually it lives on. There is a flavour of the 80’s in collective consciousness even now. Even now. And it is still growing. And this is one reason why my story is relevant. It is not history, it is current. People are arriving into consciousness not knowing that the interior life has to be explored, and lived totally, not resisted, not diminished, entered into, as if building up an inner muscle… before… the awareness of all of that interiority grows, and before… …before, yes. Before the whole of existence begins to make sense.
The journey together that Aleena and Stuart took may look like a failure but how can a journey towards integration ever be really a failure? They make that journey together. They do change each other. Perhaps it is why I wrote it. I really began it as a love story. But, it turned into an exploration of a young man’s inner journey. I suppose people got rather bored with Stuart along the way. That’s okay, the Reader is a Bonus, not the raison d’être.
He pauses. He is always embarrassed at his pronunciation of foreign languages.
But, … Aleena. She was always trying to be bright, so… I suppose the Tryer’s Prize really should have gone to her. Nevertheless, she is gone.
So, no need to worry about a Ghost.
But you know all that Dear Angel, and you know I love to deliver my seminar to you… Please sit longer.
She smiles. She has no inclination to leave. There is nothing else in her soul left to do than to be present with the one who loves her to hear his words. As she loves him to hear hers.
He sees her attentive in the soft relaxed way that endears her to him.
His heart is wide open with her.
He continues. Developing his theme as if on the podium of a university lecture theatre, a position he stood in many times in his younger years.
The Eighties is just a metaphor for a certain way of thinking, a certain way of perceiving our place in the world, and above all a birthing of self-reflection capability. In my story the Stu Guy is thrusting his way out of that birth canal. While Aleena – the metaphorical first love of mine – is dreaming she is empowered whilst in reality slumbering still in the womb.
In reality, in the metaphor.
He cannot help himself letting out his outrageous Guffaw that comes spontaneously each time he is proud of his original expression. “In reality, in the metaphor”, he echos. It makes perfect sense. To me.
She laughs. She loves his inability to control his own conceptual self-tickling. She knows him so well that she is sure he has already stored away in his mind that phrase, as title for a future story. “In Reality, in the Metaphor”.
He continues. As if glancing around at the students, ascertaining who is paying attention and who is not.
Yes. The whole story is a metaphor for the arising of self-reflection. The pain of it, and the mystery of it, and the way it begins to guide us towards completion.
Stuart is Adam – yes Adam of the Genesis Garden – alone with a snake. The snake of introspection. The snake can easily kill him. With an Apple. Metaphorically. Along comes Aleena. The Eve of that Biblical Garden.
Adam harbours the snake inside himself while the only man and the only woman establish themself in the Garden. As does Stuart as Aleena arrives in his life.
And as their biblical descendants begin to replicate, they invent the metaphor of God, as something outside themselves, to tell them that whatever else they may do, they are not to welcome the snake. They are to work and play in the outer world, but not to focus too much on their own inner world.
But, the snake is alive and comes and goes as it will.
So the Genesis story is really the story of the self-generating arising of self-reflection, that begins to make humans out of dust. And the resistance of dust to go that way. For it hurts, it really really hurts, to fully experience the journey towards individuation.
The Biblical story takes place in a Garden where Adam is at first alone. Then, in the story we are examining, it continues in the house with a balcony overlooking the sea. A bit of a jump there but as we know, time is not linear.
The story opens with the allegory of the privileged couple living by the sea but not quite entering it. “We marvelled as rays of fresh sunlight entered our bedroom window from over the bay. That light reflected from our crystals and dream catchers and from our eyes as we gazed lovingly into each others’ souls. We knew ourselves as privileged in our balconied and engardened beachside cottage.” See I remember it by heart.
I do not need to remind you Dr Green, that your hero Jung often used the symbol of the sea, or the ocean, as a metaphor of the unconscious. Hence the ocean returns periodically in the story, to indicate that deep primal stuff is being explored by this couple. Primal, I say. Primal. Don’t get me started on the Primal Groups of the Eighties. I purposefully left them out. Aleena and Stuart lived a privileged life, the most radical thing they did was some Mindfulness Evenings. A lot of the Eighties went way beyond that.
They do not entirely live in the 80’s. They did of course. In the story. Um, well I did and I met a lot of people there. It was hard to bring them all into this story. I had to leave some out. But, the metaphor of Stu, who seems a bit like I was, back then, in some sense, the guy working out his options in life, and the metaphor of a woman hooking into that, into that, .. mind field, both finding love there, definitely finding love, but not quite as comfortable with themselves as …. Where was I? Am I repeating myself?
She is listening intently. She knows his rambling thesis could go on for an hour. But she is, as if, one of the doctorate students in the front row, fully attentive.
They did of course, live way back then, really not just as story, half a century ago, but not only.
Out of any notion of linear time, they represent the tension between the rational mind on the one hand – the primal conscious in us, that believes we have ability to control and manifest. If only we can get our own mind – and the mind of others – into the right pattern. Or wants to believe that. And there is a lot of truth in that view.
And the opposing force,… the trust in the deep archetypical grooves that arise long long ago in the dawn of time, and are delivered to us through our ancestors. Something that arises by itself, with no need of our interventions. We might call that, intuition. And there is a lot of truth in that view. Also.
And, at a certain point in the evolution of each of us , as we deal with the tension of rational and beyond rational, that is inherent in each of us, – in both Stuart and Aleena of the story – we may spontaneously begin to continuously self-reflect, like spontaneous combustion, and at that point, at the point of prioritising noticing of that self-reflective process, we can begin to claim we are fully human.
Yes, I know you see my view in that as arrogant. Let’s go back there another day.
She laughs. She knows he accepts her views as just as valid as his own.
Where was I?
And like all births it is traumatic. It is not easy, to pass through the self-reflective birth canal. Some never do.
Those who do have the possibility of merging that self-reflective mind with the transcendent ever-present archetypical mind that Jung called the transpersonal. Well, maybe Jung did not call it that. I forget who did. But he has his words to describe what I am talking about… Now Dr Green do not interrupt me, I am well aware your Ph.D. was on the Implications of Jungian Psychology on Genealogy Practice. You know his writings forwards and backwards.
She smiles. She knows he is well aware of her specialty.
My own doctorate was only on the The Nature of the Timeless Enquiry into the Bardo Experience.
He looks sad.
She knows he wants to write into that particular work another 100,000 words, but he does not have very much longer.
Where was I?
Ah, yes, Self reflection is not the end of the matter. Just the beginning in a way. Stu was a beginner. His self-reflective activity tormented him and brought him to his knees. And, Angel, we know that falling to our knees is a metaphor for the entering into the unconscious.
As the story reached towards its inevitable conclusion Stu did not pray to a god, he fell down on his knees in front of the Ocean.
He uttered, “I do, I do dare to enter”. Not a question. Not a seeking of help. A statement of his power. A statement that he knows now that he is entering into his own individuation. Even if he had never heard that word before, he knew what was happening. And yet, his own expression surprised himself. Where did it come from?
And yes the reader is left confused for, as is apparent by then, his marriage is about to end. As you know, the reader is sometimes confused. But that is life. We are all confused at times. Where was I?
Ah, yes, Stu deeply understands by then that he can trust himself. Even though on the surface he is still wrestling with himself. In that final walk along the ocean, he gains an understanding that all is OK. And yet, he is deeply saddened. He can feel both in parallel.
She is about to Badge Him as a Loser with the Tryer’s Prize, and yet, he already understands he is a Winner. Not because of his relationship, or because of anything else than his own arising of watchfulness, and his consequent connection with the metaphoric ocean.
But, her perception of him is part of his own soul now. For they did, Angel, they did join together deeply.
And that is the metaphor Angel. The metaphor is of self-reflective process as journey. A bit like the Bardo really.
And it is also why it makes no sense to ask me why I did not claim you instead of falling in with Aleena. Why? Because it is only a story. But… a story of individuation.
She claps loudly. “Aha!”
And, yes, as you know, some of this did also actually happen in the Eighties. When you were only 13 years old. And had no idea of the tremendous changes in collective consciousness that were arising across the globe.
“Enough!” she declares. “This could go on for hours.”
He laughs. Yes, pack our bags Angel, we leave for the mountain shack this afternoon. I have more stories to write when we return. And maybe this time I will catch another Mountain Trout.
Deliveries of this meta1-series will resume in Mid February 2023.
The 2023 sequence of deliveries has the over-arching title: Like the Wind
Say good bye to Aleena and Stuart. They were only metaphors in an old man’s mind. And the Old Man is but a metaphor in the Delivery Author’s mind. And who knows, perhaps the Delivery Author is but a metaphor in the Mind of Creative Spirit.
From Delivery One of ‘Like The Wind’:
“She accepted that her increasing trouble with depression was best dealt with by pulling herself up, getting over it, and immersing herself in the fun of the group. But she was always just a little out of her comfort zone. And as she approached 18, she found no comfort at all in the group activities and increasingly isolated herself, in the little flat she had moved to when her father and mother had separated.”
Say hello to Celia, William, and Ken.
- meta: 1. Meta means “about the thing itself.” It’s seeing the thing from a higher perspective instead of from within the thing, like being self-aware.
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