I love the way Julian Wash utilizes a high fever to investigate his life — body and mind and awareness. Kudos! And his use of the word “scab” to refer to a religious belief system trumps my own phrase “conceptual helmet” — because it conjures up a yucky thingie, and because it’s the body’s way of healing itself (from what? in this case, being mentally too open and expansive? Is that possible?) and because it’s a perfect metaphor for a thickness that is both protective (of what’s underneath, our yearnings, our longings for union), and luckily, something that the body sloughs off in time. Is it time?
Another phenomenological study might be one that investigated the moment when, after being down so long, one can feel the life force reignite and start to thrum through every cell. I’ve sensed that tidal turn a number of times (back when I used to get sick, before I started doing urine therapy), and was always astonished and grateful to sense the first stirrings of that primal movement within, the universe rekindling its fiery love within the form we call, while encased in a thick, material body, our “self.”
March 31, 2014
by Julian Wash
Today I wish to return to your awareness an aspect of the Human condition that exists just outside normal body temperature. It’s a boundary where ordinary perceptions are transformed through the errant expression of fever. And in this quasi state of consciousness, there is both challenge and opportunity.
There is no question that the brain behaves differently when accosted by high temperature. It hunkers down into a command-defense posture with much of its processing power relegated toward stabilizing bodily systems. But with every wave of delirium there is an equal wave of clarity. It was this suspected clarity wave I had sought after. And through the herculean effort of the body immune response I was able to observe a “changing of the guard” at the helm of awareness.
On this trip we’re going to turn up the body heat to 103. We’re going to see how the brain responds to the concept of religion while stewing nearly five degrees above the normal mark. When the smoke clears there may be an observation or two worthy of note.
This will only be a simulation of course. It’s quite likely you already know what 103 feels like anyway. As for me, I had recently been met with a rather nasty pathogen that sent me on a blistering ride down fever alley. Conditions were ripe for a perfect storm and nature delivered with full fury. I have no interest in revisiting that physical state anytime soon. But as an observer of the world within and around, I also could not let such an opportunity slip by without some examination.
This might be a good time for a Popsicle or ice-tea. Perhaps a hot cup of coffee should you feel so inclined. That trembling sensation is indicative that the fever is on. So bundle up with an imaginary blanket and thermometer and feel free to count the incremental rise along the way.
Fever Slip and Alien Landscape
At 99 degrees Fahrenheit you may feel awful, but functional. At this temperature it’s a little tricky to predict which way the fever will go. But with every passing minute one can feel the body acclimating to the change of internal environment. While slipping into fever the body becomes curiously alien to the environment it’s in. If 98.6 is your normal expression, then a mere 0.4 degrees above this mark is enough to throw you off your usual footing.
At 100 degrees one may become angry. I did. The triple digit suggests you are indeed sick and not just “brushing” with an illness. At 100 there is still a modicum of functionality available to you. Sleep is the preferred pastime, but conversation and some light duty activities remain an option. The alien landscape becomes harsher, your “bodysuit” is becoming increasingly incompatible with the dynamic changes and temperature fluctuations that surround you.
At 101 degrees some are ready to call it quits. The analgesics come out and combinations of aspirin, ibuprofen and the ridiculously toxic acetaminophen are trialed and tested. But none would be for me. I wanted the body heat. I wanted the pathogens to cook for a while. I surmised there might be other unfriendly microbes lingering as well, just waiting for their moment to blossom. So why not fresh-bake the whole body and start anew.
At 102 I sensed my previous logic was flawed. Or maybe the logic was valid but my thinking was flawed. Could it be that I’m experiencing confusion? Maybe I’m having a harder time making any sense of my situation. Well yes I am, I am having a harder time. Now more than ever I am feeling alien on this planet. I’m feeling alien in my own skin. What a hostile planet. So cold. And the sensory bombardment is relentless with light, sounds and smells emanating from all around. My “new” bodysuit is insufficient for sustaining my comfort level. I am using several blankets now. No aspirin yet.
At 103 I may as well be shivering on Mars. Pharmaceuticals are no longer of any interest to me. It would require lifting my head to receive a dose. This no longer seems equitable to me. I had my chance earlier and I let it go by. This harsh alien landscape is clearly internal, not external. Why should one assume that an “alien” landscape should always be external? I wondered where that thought came from. Not my “usual” thought. Who’s in the room? At 103, I felt a “changing of the guard”—some other aspect of the mind was quietly assuming the helm.
I sensed the aspect we call “left brain.” I felt sorry for it. It was trying to maintain control and order. It was working “feverishly” trying to restore health and vitality to a body that had been stricken. It was too busy to be its normal “control freak” self. The aspect we call left brain is the celebrated hero of the mind continuum. It’s the aspect we address in conversations, in courthouses, in schools and most everywhere we go. The lopsided left-brain aspect is rewarded with complements and accolades for what it can memorize and intellectualize in a rule-based, dualistic world. We live and die in a left-brain dominated culture. The left brain likes rules and order. It’s important for left-brain to remain competent and credible for it is also highly suggestible. If it senses failure, it is programmed for self-defeat. So it was a bit sad really to see this aspect overwhelmed with work. Seemed like a good time to start probing.
Right Brain Speaks
Perhaps it was because I was near the threshold of hallucinating, but something compelled me to call upon the aspect sometimes referred to as “right brain?” Where was this right brain awareness during my hour of duress? I witnessed the heroic nature of left brain trying to regain control. I was reminded of a seasoned airline captain maintaining a steady calm in a tussled cabin. But now the plane was struggling mightily in the thick stormy weather. The captain required both hands on the yoke and a third hand to occasionally dab the perspiration from his forehead. I contemplated on who might be in charge during this melee and confusion. Right brain shyly stepped up and introduced itself. It was smiling.
Well not literally smiling. But the aspect presented itself in a manner as if unaffected by the illness. Left brain surrendered the helm to right brain on condition I would fall asleep. Right brain loves to cover the sleep shift. I wondered how this presence could be “smiling” when the body was in such disarray. But no sooner had the thought materialized than I began to realize a full recovery was just around the corner. I was not going to die. Right brain seemed to know this from the start and was at ease. It seemed bemused by all the concern, drama and physiological responses. It seemed curiously detached from all the mayhem. It was almost chuckling in its own cranium-shell sort of way.
Right brain doesn’t construct word patterns in the same way left brain does. Speaking to right brain without a translator can be a bit tricky indeed. Right brain speaks in broad-sweeping concepts and ideas and seems always one step ahead of the grooming, coaxing process ingrained in the left brain stratagem, particularly when it comes to formulating and articulating questions, thoughts and opinions. Right brain doesn’t ask, it just knows. It considers rote knowledge finite but bundled in an infinite combination of shades. It considers most of the tools used by left brain as woefully inadequate and overly complex. But it does not assert itself either. The presence seems quite content as a spectator. Right brain provides a sense of “all-knowing” without a trace of ego or agenda. Right brain seems to provide reason and purpose for living without any need to validate itself. Right brain is much about “the big picture.”
At 103 degrees, right brain is also interesting to chat with. There is randomness, a non-linear flow in the thought process. It is not like a standard Q&A. But without left brain being there to muscle in on the conversation, to put order, continuity and logic into the process, the savant right brain can be reached.
With what little strength I had, I was able to focus on only one category, religion. I wanted right brain’s unabashed take on the concept. The following details came forward. I’ve tried to remember as much as possible, but I must admit a great deal was ultimately surrendered to the will of that internal furnace.
Kingpin and the Scab
Right brain spoke in images. For reasons still unclear to me I saw religion as thick scabs. This is not intended to sound insulting in any way. It was symbolic. I had a prevailing sense that basic, universal concepts get picked and scratched over and over from one generation to the next until a type of metaphoric “scab” was formed. Then the scab gets picked some more. It gets thicker. I asked why this is so and got a puzzling response. –Because “that’s the way you like it!”
I had to process this image into a thought. Religion is complex “because that’s the way you like it”- or so I was told by the aspect of right brain. Imagine that! From my unbridled perspective, I had already held the notion that most “major” religions shared parallels and consistencies. Change the names and a few other things and you have essentially the same story repeated over and over. But one thing the fever state made absolutely clear is that a “kingpin” holds the belief system in place. Whether one calls themselves a priest, monk, shaman, deacon, rabbi, minister… or whatever, the kingpin is not to be touched! It can’t be touched!
The word kingpin comes from the game of bowling. If hit correctly this pin can cause every other pin to fall. For those who have ever had the satisfaction (or dissatisfaction) of towing a boat or recreational trailer, they would be aware of another kind of kingpin. It’s a simple little connector that literally holds the trailer to the towing vehicle. Without the kingpin the trailer would slide out of its tow harness and turn into a nifty road block. There are usually supplemental chains that keep such a mishap from turning into something far worse.
So the complex “scab” we call organized religion is held in place by a belief system which in turn is held in by a kingpin. The belief system is massive and highly complex with layers upon layers of intricate details, rules and ideology. One can spend a lifetime just narrowing down the basic concepts. Furthermore all these rules are subject to interpretation both on a collective and individual basis. The more complex the religious construct, the stouter the belief. Because that’s the way we like it. Holding it all in place is this little kingpin. Take that away and watch that entire massive load fall off along the roadside and tumble into a burning heap.
So why is the kingpin off limits? What I was able to determine struck me as interesting. Our kingpin of belief keeps us from leaving. We are currently living in a foggy dream-like state we call reality. Waiting just beyond this world is a more vibrant and awakened state. We would surely look back at third density and gasp over our imprisonment. If there wasn’t any mysticism, intrigue or fear of the unknown, then a good number of us would simply pull the kingpin and choose to leave this solid density. The fear, amnesia and mysticism encourage us to stick around for the long haul. No easy way out. You’re here for the lesson.
As the fever cooled I knew I would forget a good deal of what I was sensing. There were odd suggestions such as, every thought that enters your mind is instantaneously sent back out with your influence. This is a passive expression. Once any thought enters the mind, your unique signature or “mind print” is stamped on it and is sent back out to all. This happens in a flash. Yep, that fever got pretty hot.
I entertained the concept of so-called brain exercises such as crossword puzzles or self-help websites like Luminosty.com. The aspect that we call right brain told me that they were all exercises for the left brain only. Don’t be fooled by the pretty graphics. Right brain does not welcome any conventional exercise or thought entrainment process whatsoever. Right brain is connected to source. Right brain was also expressed as a feminine aspect, full of mystery and love as one would expect from such a vibration. The vibration represents direction rather than destination.
It would appear that in the midst of soaking sheets and spastic chills, the mind has little choice but to offer a temporary changing of the guard. As “left brain” became overwhelmed with life-saving efforts, I was able to usher in “right brain” for whatever information I might glean. The results were curious indeed but not conclusive. In this domain few things are. But I do have a new grasp on the belief system and the tiny pin that holds it all in place. I’m now acutely aware that there are major challenges that go with unpinning it. It’s quite okay to observe it. Look at it and know what it is. Unpin at your own risk.
When one is overwhelmed with body aches and pain it would seem unlikely to find any solitude. But just as there are protected areas in a rushing river, there are tranquil pools in the stream of awareness. When the body is burning with fever, it is preoccupied with surviving. It is mustering its entire defense against a virulent strain. But in the haze of confusion, in the chill of the night, weaving in and out from the tapestry of consciousness, there’s a bright and cheerful presence that finds the illness a bit amusing. This aspect we call right brain doesn’t seem to panic or be the least bit concerned. It’s just a smiling brain in pajamas.
That cool breeze through the window tells me we’re over this fever. And not too soon I think. The brain wearing pajamas is thankfully just a fuzzy memory now. You’re feeling remarkably strong and none-the-worse for wear. As you sit up now you see a beautiful glow in the mirror. It’s you looking back at you.
About the Author
There is a certain obscurity that follows Julian Wash. After all, any writer that starts off with “Dear Humans” might be a little hard to nail down. We sense he’s benevolent, a little crazy and we think rather enjoyable to read. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
**This article was originally published at The Rattle Report.**
This article is offered under Creative Commons license. It’s okay to republish it anywhere as long as attribution bio is included and all links remain intact.