18DEC08 – Time passes slowly in my little cubical. Hours walk, days crawl, weeks fly, and the Earth turns. I stand up in order to observe the weather conditions outside. It’s 1 p.m. I get off in three hours: the Great Pyramids were built approximately 36,792,000 hours ago. The Battle of Hastings was fought a mere 8,258,808 hours ago, on October 14, 1066.

“I believe it was a Tuesday.”

It took everything I had to wake up this morning. Sleep is one of my favorite things to do in the winter. When I’m asleep, I don’t spend money. I don’t say foolish things to strangers. I don’t use up my supplies. When I’m asleep, defenseless and unaware for upwards of eight hours at a time, I’m screening 35mm home movies on the pink canvas screen of my eyelids, filling the tiny cocoon of my blanket with warm air expelled from my lungs.

No recent dreams to speak of, no nightmares that I recall. Once I had a bad dream about a laughing man who drove an old rocket ship with a steering wheel. He was partnered up with a tip-toe tidal wave that could peek around the corners of buildings, and they were both scouring the city for me. I awoke with a feeling of intense dread, as though something terrible was about to happen because I’d neglected to attend to some minor detail, or had forgotten to accomplish some simple task.

After we reach a certain age, our fears of the dark are supposed to vanish like car exhaust on a cold morning. For me, it happened when I was about 10. Suddenly, the night wasn’t really ‘the night’ anymore, and staying up late wasn’t such a big deal. It was during this time that I realized I’d started partying with the same monsters that lived under my bed. Staying ‘pure’ was out of the question.

As an aside; I’ve been doing a lot of research lately; reading articles about UFOs and Men in Black. I’d like to believe in the supernatural, but I’ve yet to have an experience I couldn’t explain away. Too many of those old UFO pictures look alike! Besides, there are formulas that state we should be up to our ankles in visitors from other worlds by now. Then again, there are formulas that state that if we haven’t received visitors by now, we probably never will. Maybe the government really is sitting on this knowledge. Maybe they’re doing it in order to keep people safe from themselves, distracted from the greater truth, and focused instead on their own basic survival.

Like many, I’m interested in the different levels of consciousness of our world. I think most people, including myself, are trapped in specific ruts of consciousness. Think of them as grooves in the record we’re destined to live in, dance in, and die in. These lies are the only song we’ll ever know. There has to be more to life than this. I know, I’ve been out there, standing in places where I thought I could almost see through to the other side. There were times when I could have sworn I saw the Truth standing right behind me, waiting to mug me and take my wallet.

The first level of awareness is basic consciousness. You know that you exist, and that you are aware. Perhaps like me, you’ve had moments when you realized you were an intelligent being doing time in a mobile prison; a smart cage programmed to age around you, as though you were trapped in a car that was rolling slowly down a muddy river bank into the water. Through the windows, you can see dry land. You can feel the icy water rushing in, and you’re kicking and pounding as hard as you can, but nothing seems to help. The car keeps rolling. I’ve had moments of clarity where I knew it was ‘me’ who was doing the walking, the talking, the breathing, the looking around in wonder. All sentient beings are at least on this first level of consciousness. A baseline, if you will.

People on the 1st level blindly accept most of what we’re told. We don’t question or wonder. We simply exist. There is only enough time in our day to eat, to work, to carry out a social life, to look after our offspring, and do what is necessary to keep things functioning. It takes all of our energy to maintain. We guard our interests with a certain ferocity, a certain degree of selfishness. Deep inside our minds, on the Command Line, we are painfully aware that we each get one shot through the portal. We’re all traveling at the same speed, and in roughly the same direction. We all want the same things; a good job, an attractive mate, a nice place to live, and some sense of adventure in our lives. We clack and bounce off of one another like billiard balls in our pursuit for these goals, passing in and out of each others lives. Many of our actions are emotional reactions to our environment. This is the 1st level, the level of sleep.

The 2nd level of awareness is critical consciousness. Somewhere, at some point, you saw something that caught your eye and made you think. You start to question, and you won’t let those questions be easily waved away. You start to ponder bigger things, like the existence of God, or the need for authority by force. You seek to understand yourself as well. This doesn’t mean you have the answers; residents of the 2nd level are often unhappy. (“He who lives outside the doctrine shall fall upon hard times.”) Most people believe what they believe, and resent having holes poked in their understanding. It’s like swimming in the deep end of the pool, and having someone kick the water out from underneath you. It took all the strength you had just to tread the water of your beliefs, and now you’re choking and sputtering on them. You fight harder to stay afloat, but you’re not really swimming. No one is. Cynicism, bitterness and elitism are earmarks of the 2nd level.

The 3rd level of awareness is that of creative consciousness. You not only realize the problems of existence, you discover the solutions and work towards them. You are an active force for good in the world – not necessarily on a large scale, but most people who know you think you’re a good person. You still don’t have the answers, and you don’t know the Secrets. I think the Big Secret is that there are no answers. Instead, there are 6,602,224,175 possible perspectives to all of our Big Questions, and far too few representatives from the 3rd level. We have to do what makes us happy. This is it, you are live and on the air. This is your fifteen minutes of fame. Once you’re off the air, it’s someone else’s turn.

There may be a 4th level, or even a 5th. I don’t know.

I started life on the 1st level, but soon found myself on the 2nd. While I am fond of saying that ‘a bell once rung cannot be unrung’, I think I’ve fallen back to the first level during this past year. My life has slowed. I feel as though I were adrift at sea with no chart, and no engine. My phone seldom rings. Clearly, I am not making the most of my fifteen minutes.

Every morning, I get up and get ready for work. I stand on the Metro (because I sit all day, performing simple functions on a computer.) I drink coffee, and scour the net looking for articles. I eat granola, fruit and yogurt for breakfast. I eat chicken and vegetables for lunch. At the end of the day, I get on the Metro and return home. When I close my door each evening, I catch it with my foot to keep it from slamming. I make something to eat, usually rice or steamed vegetables. I check my email, and maybe ‘flesh’ out an idea I’ve had, or read a book. If I’ve received any Netflix in the mail, I’ll watch them while curling a 15lb weight. First one hand, then the other. I do this until it is time to go to bed. I feel as though I am an action figure in blister packaging, frozen, awaiting further instructions, waiting for the Command Line to tell me to pack up and move somewhere else.

Like back to the 2nd level. Or the 3rd.



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