Friday, December 09, 2005

How High?

"I am not less poet; I am more conscious of all that I am, am not, and might become."
(Jean Toomer, Writer-1894-1967)

Jean Toomer was an American writer during the Harlem Renaissance. He would become famous for his book, Cane in 1923. It consisted of short stories and poems that was inspired by his 4 month stay as a Teacher/Principal in Sparta Georgia.

Jean Toomer was born December 26, 1894 here in Washington, DC. Although Toomer's racial mix included Dutch, Native American and a couple of other spices from the mixing bowl he was classified Black by law because that mix also included African blood. This little racial misunderstanding would bug the hell out of Toomer for the rest of his life, but that's another blog. Today I want to briefly touch on Toomers quest for higher consciousness under the teachings of philosopher, George Ivanovitch Gurdjieff (click title for more info). In 1926 he had an out of body experience on a New York City subway platform. Yeah, I know that doesn't sound too out of the ordinary for New York, but this experience gave him a sense of higher consciousness. In other words, he became acutely aware of his spirit as something completely separate from the physical. He had a sense of becoming one with his spirit while navigating through his physical body. He compared it with being his own puppeteer that was controlling his every move. He also became aware of others who were experiencing the same level of consciousness (I know that this sounds a lot like some really good "smoke" or weed but it isn't). 

He could quickly pick them out of a crowd and the two spirits would connect for that moment. He described it as a strangely wonderful feeling. This is something that is often experienced by different people on different levels, but Toomer's experience lasted 2 weeks. I challenge anyone to attempt to see themselves and others beyond the physical. I've done this on occasion and, for a moment, it makes me forget about color and ethnicity. It was weird because I began to see the body as simply a host to something that is beyond my comprehension.

Works Cited
Toomer, Jean, and Frederik L. Rusch. Jean Toomer Reader: selected unpublished writings. Oxford University Press, 1995.


Bougie Black Boy said...

You love yourself some Toomer! I got Cane at home, the first book I'd read of Toomer. Very well done. . . I may have to read it again so I can have a better discussion with you about it.

Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful said...

What things would one have to do in order to see themselves and others beyond the physical?

For starters, wouldn't that require developing deep relations with people?

Stephen A. Bess said...

Haa haa! :) I know. Did I discuss him in a past blog? I probably did. I feel connected to him through his work. I've read about his travels from DC to Georgia, Chicago, NY and his quest to find his true voice as a writer and it has inspired me. He's also one of our few famous Washingtonians so I'm proud. He tapped me on the shoulder today. I think that he wanted some recognition today. Yeah, revisit Cane so that we can discuss it.

Stephen A. Bess said...

Yes, and I think that it would require one to discover or rediscover their own spirituality. I truly believes that it starts with being in touch with ourselves spiritually and not so much on a religious level.

Waddie G. said...

interesting post...I see you have a knack for history...

nikki said...

very thought-provoking post. there have been times when i've 'elevated' like that, only i didn't consciously do it. it just spontaneously happened. afterwards, i would always try to analyze the experience to figure out how it happened. nothing triggered it, though. it would just happen at random.

Anonymous said...

thanks for the link, I dont think I know this philosopher. you can teach me....glad I found you. I would like to find a way to LIVE in this state of awarness.

Jenell : BlakIzBeautyful said...

How would one do that?
How would one know when they are in touch with themselves spiritually?

I don't know if I am. I know I got the religious thing downpact, but I'm not sure about the spiritual.

J. Andrew Lockhart said...

good info and ideas----

Stephen A. Bess said...

Yes, I love history. I think that I should've been a History major in college.

Yes, I am only able to experience that in moments too, but it's always nice for those few moments. It reminds you that you can, if possible, utilize more of your brain power.

tu s tin-
Thanks, you are a new friend that is welcome to stop by anytime. I hope that I can learn from you as well.

It's always a challenge to move beyond the religious experience into a higher spiritual realm, but believe me you will know when that moment happens. Always a pleasure.

J. Andrew Lockhart-
Thanks, I hope that you'll stop by again.

crallspace said...

Has anyone here heard of salvia divinorum? Now THAT is something worth writing home about.

Rose said...

Thanks for that information

Stephen A. Bess said...

I was looking at some info on the net about salvia divinorum...very interesting herb. I'll have to look into some more. Thanks for that info.

Hello. Thanks for stopping by.

Sumeeta said...

Sorry, I have posted for a while, but finals week is a killer!

Anyway, I think it is easier to see ourselves in a different light than it is for other people. Unfortunately, we usually define ourselves as others see us. That is our tragedy.

Hopefully, I will have a decent post tomorrow!

Stephen A. Bess said...

Great to see your name. :)
That comment is so true. It's very difficult to break yourself from other people's perception of who you are. We just follow the lines and try not to mess up.

I know that you can't wait for exams to be over. I figured that it was work/school. Take care.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post Stephen, very thought-provoking as well. Sounds more like flying in your dreams, only certain people experience this dream, and it's often difficult to explain the actual feeling to the next person. Especially, if that person never had the same dream before!! I am tonque-tied about the issue of spirituality because it's Godly, it's beyond our human cognition. It is about the Creator of the Heavens and the Earth, you feel me? I mean it's beyond all that invalid Darwinism fluff!!

You share some heavy stuff on ya blog Bro :)

Have you thought about being a Missionary?? Seriously!!

Did you say your next publication is in progress??

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