Walking along the road a fortune teller calls out, “You’re a very lucky lady”. Really? What gave it away? Was it my white skin and the fact that I can travel overseas to try to heal my body and not work for a year because my money is worth so much more than yours? Or do you know that my face is spiraling and while its not at all pleasant it has shown me things about life that most people will never get to see? “I have no money!” I responded. I am so lucky I managed to momentarily defy geographical truths and lose my bank card somewhere between Nepal and India. “That’s okay.” He ushered me over, “sit down”. I sat down—it was quiet and he seemed a bit bored. “Honestly, no money at all.”
He looked at me and said quite a few things that cut to the core. But he did want my money and I really didn’t have any so it was never going to last long. “A woman has put a curse on you” he said. “I know” I replied. “Come back when you have money and I will tell you your mother’s name and the name of the woman who has cursed you”. Well, I already know my Mum’s name and I’m pretty sure I know the name of the other woman too. My friend said I should have done it to see if he said her name. I couldn’t bear it though. What if he said another name? A lost bank card, a fully twisted body and not one but two curses? No, that would just be too much.
Anthropological theorists come up with interesting and culturally relative explanations for those curious backward peoples who believe in sorcery. ‘Don’t worry, everything can be explained very rationally and everything will make sense again. Obviously nobody is really putting curses on anybody, nobody’s sickness is caused by the strange woman down the road who lives in a tree trunk and eats cats and there’s actually a very interesting and logical explanation for why these funny people think how they do.’
You know what they don’t consider though? That we are actually all putting curses on each other all the time. What’s the difference between not being able to get somebody out of your head and you having let them put a curse on you? What’s the difference between cruel words that get stuck inside you and make you sick and black magic? What’s the difference between emotional abuse and mind control? What’s the difference between unloving words through childhood that lead to self destruction and parents casting spells on their offspring? What’s the difference between the World saying “you are not good enough” and us believing it, and all of history whispering maledictions into our ears? Its psychological trauma, neurological disorder; its the failure of the mind to take control of itself and if the spells are cast intentionally and subtly and secretly then its sorcery.
Words are quite literally exploding my brain apart. And my face. And my whole body. In a spectacular act of self love and desperation I checked myself into an Ayurvedic healing ashram for a couple of weeks to blow my last few thousand dollars in the grand finale of what has been by far the weirdest year of my life. Every day I get a massage and before the massage the masseuse pours oil on my head, places her palms on top and softly chants mantra. I can feel every word that she chants gently unraveling my head. I can feel every word healing me. I can see it too, unspiraling before my closed eyes. After the massage I get medicated buttermilk poured over my forehead. It’s purpose is to open up new neural pathways in my brain that have been long frozen over. It works so effectively that for the first few days I couldn’t keep up with the rate of change it created and was shouting and writhing around, my body constantly and subtly presenting the hidden truth of spasticity that lies underneath every time I failed to completely let go. Now I’ve gotten used to it I can manage it better. Its still uncomfortable but the more I can meditate through it the nicer it feels. I lay there and I say to myself “I am healing. I am becoming centred (if I don’t say ‘becoming’ it is too strong). I have equal vision. Relax, soften, open your mind” and it works. The words combined with the medicine centre me so forcefully that if people were more perceptive they would see it.
I learned the Mahamrityunjaya mantra in Nepal. It is the most magical, incredible four lines of language I’ve ever known about. It goes like this:
Om Try-Ambakam Yajaamahe
It translates to this:
Om, We Worship the Three-Eyed One [Lord Shiva],
Who is Fragrant [Spiritual Essence] and Who Nourishes all beings.
May He sever our Bondage of Samsara [Worldly Life], like a Cucumber [severed from the bondage of its Creeper]
And thus Liberate us from the Fear of Death, by making us realize that we are never separated from our Immortal Nature.
Its nice I think that the meaning of the mantra is to worship a beautiful and gentle-looking man with a snake draped around his shoulders and a hashish pipe in hand, and to give thanks to life and nature and consciousness for the fact that we are here and to try to remember that though we are small we are all made of the same stuff and connected to something so incredibly massive and never ending and that we don’t need to be scared.
But, honestly, it could translate to how there is a two-for-one offer on Cornflakes at Tesco and the effect would still be incredible. If you chant it in perfect time with your breath the sounds and the transition from one syllable to the next seem to stretch you outwards to the max. It’s smooth but it’s hard work. Forget world peace in a generation of meditators, if each of us spent some time every day chanting it to ourselves (even silently), conscious of our breath, our lives would change in six months and so too would the whole world.
I can see and feel so clearly what these sounds do to us. When I tell myself I’m healing and feel it healing me it’s positive thinking but it doesn’t work how we think it does. Its not psychological. Its not “all in your head”. Its not just about neural pathways. Its a physiological change that takes place and some words are really good for us and some are not. If I say to myself in this moving state “you are horrible” it hurts me. If I say “you are beautiful” it doesn’t. And the reason is because of the angles between syllables. “Horrible” is angular, the sounds of each syllable are distinct and the transition from one to the next is harsh. That harshness shapes us and it solidifies us and it does so in a way that when you’ve said it enough it will feel nicer to say “you are horrible” to yourself, than it will to say “you are beautiful”. The horrible path is already there and taking the smoother route that your spiral wants is uncomfortable.
You might call it a neural pathway but it doesn’t stop at the edge of your brain. Your brain is inside your head and your head is attached to your body (or at least it should be), and the vibrations and shapes that come from each word travel through our body and they become us. And they don’t even stop at the edge of our bodies. They vibrate through our world and they create it and they reinforce it more strongly into the shape that our minds have made it. They probably travel out into deep space too. If anyone is out there, listening, no wonder we haven’t found them. They’d be frozen solid not moving for fear that we’ll hear them and want to speak to them. “Don’t move a single one of your ten billion tentacles” they’d be trying to not even think for fear of the vibrations it would create. “These people are a bunch of cunts”.
Angle. Angel. It’s interesting don’t you think, that subtle difference.
Why did Jesus die on the cross? Why a cross? There are so many ways to humiliate and kill someone, why come up with a whole new one? Google tells me that the cross symbolises Self, Nature, Wisdom and Higher Power.
Okay, fair enough. It does beg the question why the people who crucified him would have encouraged such beautiful and perfect symbolism, presumably having not been able to acknowledge at the time that they were killing the Son of God. But true as that symbolism may be, what I think also is that the cross symbolizes the face and specifically that it symbolizes the farthest points of the face that we engage through vibration with our minds when we think a thought or speak a word.
Between the horizontal and the vertical are all the directions the words can travel in. Some words go in every direction, like ‘Love’ and fill you out, some words travel from the horizontal up and down, leaving tension in a straight line through your eyes, like ‘Hate’. Some words like ‘God’ travel vertically and there are certain parts of you that they barely touch. Add an ‘ess’ to it though and its totally different. It goes up and down briefly and then the ‘ess’ fills you out. The ‘s’ is the softest letter and it engages you right from the very centre and gently out to your edges. ‘He’ doesn’t quite get there. ‘She’ does. ‘They’ is different but good – the ‘th’ creates a strong vibration and the word feels complete inside you.
If in the beginning there was the word and the word was with God and the word was God, and if God sent his Son to Earth and His word turned to flesh in the form of Jesus Christ, who then died on the cross for our sins then maybe the sin of the flesh that those prudish Christians are all up in arms about has got nothing to do with sex. The sin of the flesh is the contracted tissue through the body that is created by words that are not thought or spoken or received with compassion.
And Jesus, who spoke of compassion and love and wanted people to try to embody these things, died on the cross so that the beautiful, strange, vulnerable and deep down totally innocent human animals who roam the Earth, could forgive themselves of their sins always. So we could have these thoughts that are not pure and beautiful and loving, so that we could fall into the trap of the ego and we could think unkind things and we could say cruel words and we could fuck up because we are fallible but that we could forgive ourselves and we could let go of our fleshly sins and be at peace. He wanted us to be able to simply relax so we could feel alive.
I think that’s what its about. I haven’t thought of a single nice word that doesn’t soften me. Beauty. Kindness. Love. Joy. Compassion. Softness.
Ugly. Mean. Hate. Anger. Cruelty. Spikey.
Seriously, I don’t think we place quite enough importance on what is happening beneath the surface when we think. The effect of a word with a prefix, ‘unhappy’ for example— ‘happy’ stretches you outward and shapes your face into a smile, but the ‘un’ at the beginning sends energy shooting up and down you against the flow of the rest of the word. One word breaks your body up a bit. Imagine what a childhood in this cruel world does to us. Imagine the effect of thousands of years of human fear and ego programmed into our genes.
I think our language determines absolutely everything about how our cultures express themselves. I was listening to some Japanese women a few weeks ago; that language always makes me smile, I think its beautiful (ie it relaxes me). So many tiny little sounds. All the same same size. All the same length. Good for placing importance on the smallest little detail, just like their ancient traditions do. They’re like ready made pixels, really, aren’t they? They’d probably shape the nation’s mind perfectly for technological advancement and designing robots. Careful though, could make you obsessed with cute things. Might make you want to wrap up every tiny edible bite in plastic and produce absolutely enormous quantities of waste. You might get a bit carried away and lost in it all and feel the need to turn yourself into an anime character.
I think I suck at learning languages because my mind and face and body which need to remember the words are warped and can’t make the shapes properly. I think that’s whats going on with all of us when we are good at things and when we suck at things; it is just about the shapes we can make. That’s why some people just seem to have it sorted. They’re beautiful and nice and “successful” and things just seem to work quite well for them, those lucky fuckers. They are just programmed to be more relaxed than most of us on a subtle level.
So don’t feel bad. I’m obviously not a major fan of organised religion and I have way more to say about all the dudes that represent them but if Jesus died for our sins then let’s take it. Let’s forgive ourselves and each other and let’s relax and learn to breathe easy so we can soften and expand our world.