I drive down a long dirt road through a magical forest of dark twisted trees and sunshine. Butterflies and bees flutter and buzz through the late golden and green light. When I wonder if the road will end, it does and there is a squat castle of stone and glass.
The castle is full of sweet blue smoke. I listen to the wind beating at the walls. It’s night and a lone ship on the ocean shines a bright light into the castle. The smoke becomes a shadowy robed figure who offers me a crystal cup. I drink. It tastes like a mouthful of soy sauce.
I lie on a soft bed and the smoke figure begins to pace and sing. I wonder what I’m doing there and if I’m supposed to do something. The song continues and I feel it in my body. Notes thrill up my legs. Pure excitement and joy builds in my belly, my solar plexus, my heart. It’s like being a kid on Christmas morning but more and better.
I start to shiver and twitch uncontrollably. I’m laughing. I didn’t know the human body was capable of feeling like this. It’s overwhelming and explosive and too much and sublimely perfect. My body rises up off the bed, drawn by the star newborn in my solar plexus.
Every sensation is overwhelming and joyful and perfect. Each one is another distraction, tumbling my awareness on and on. This must be what it’s like for a spirit incarnated into a body for the first time, I think. And that thought is perfection. And so is that one. I spiral in and out, folding and widening over and over again until I am almost at the centre of the universe. I reach for the nature of being but it is so, so intensely joyful that I laugh and the laughter tumbles me back through the sensations, beginning the cycle again.
Just as I am about to joyfully shatter into the endlessness of spirit, the smoke figure appears. She stoops over me. From her lantern spills a rain of sparkling starlight. Each soft silver drop that falls on me lightly presses me back into the bed, quenching the fiery star in my solar plexus, easing the pressure of purest bliss. A brilliant woman of bright white light and lightning tendrils withdraws. I had not seen her there before.
The smoke figure offers me another drink from the same crystal cup. I am nervous and reluctant. It tastes ever so slightly different. I lie on the bed again but now it is hard and scratchy and uncomfortable. The smoke figure sings again but it is grating and annoying. The noise jangles and clangs and I shudder again and again. It feels like my body is trying to get away, piece by piece, organ by organ, bone by bone.
I roll over and over, trying to get comfortable. It is the same bed but not. The ship’s light now glares in the darkness with bright white hate. I am afraid of it and keep to the shadows so it can’t see me.
The smoke figure is making me choke and gasp for air. Its sweetness is gone. A woman made of long, hard spiky green leaves steps forwards. Her thorny tendrils encircle me, cutting me off from everything. I mourn for the loss of bliss. This must be what it’s like for a spirit incarnated into a body for the first time, I think.
Somewhere outside someone is crying. I feel pity for them but irrational hatred for the sound. I wonder why the smoke figure does not help them. But she is standing over me, a red nurse in a red surgical mask, attending the green woman of spikes and thorns.
The red nurse stabs me with her silver scalpel, hundreds of tiny pricks and jabs.
This must be what it’s like for a spirit incarnated into a body for the first time, I think.