Sunday, July 20, 2014

In Search Of Lost Timelessness

Marcel Proust ate a cake, called a "madeleine," and experienced a powerful influx of energy that brought up memories of his childhood. And so began his "search for lost time" À la recherche du temps perdu (known in English as In Search of Lost Time and Remembrance of Things Past). Proust's taste bud moment was clearly a form of Kundalini awakening. The fact that the trigger was a taste indicates that Kundalini was aroused erotically, in his genital chakra. (The novel is about love, as much as time.) The chakras are real, and perceptible to honest introspection. They are areas of metaphysical resonance within the body. Each chakra vibrates along with a specific sensory function. The chakra at the base of the spine, with smell. The genital chakra, with taste. The belly chakra, with sight. The heart chakra, with touch. The throat chakra, with space/time. The forehead chakra, with mind.
À la recherche du temps perdu
Marcel Proust as a Young Man
Perhaps different people experience the past in different ways, through different senses. Maybe memory operates in different chakras, in different parts of the body, from one person to another. I seem to remember in my throat, through my sense of space. Even when I'm thinking about someone I loved, or someone who made a deep impact on me, I remember a place, not them. I'm by a campfire, or on a clifftop, or in a room, or the back seat of a car. The person whom I'm remembering isn't there. They are a tangible absence, a ghost hovering above a scene. I used to feel bad about this — why aren't I picturing faces, words, personalities? — till I realized how close this spatial awareness is to erotic rapture, the moment, during physical love, when bodily separateness is overcome by sheer presence. Something happens to space and time at this moment, and it's something that stays.

Proust embarked on a long journey of recollection — from being sent to bed by his parents as a child, to wandering the mist-filled streets of Paris during the First World War (and stumbling on a brothel.) He reclaimed his lost moments, and brought them back into the present instant, distilled by his mind's urge to be all-encompassing. He carried (or forced) the past from the genital chakra to the forehead chakra. There's something inhuman about the process. When Proust's lengthy contemplation of his lover, Albertine, is done and dusted, she conveniently falls off a horse, bangs her head, and dies. The process defies logic. Wandering through the foggy streets in search of a sit-down and a cup of cocoa, Proust mistakes a brothel for a cafe, and, instead of resting, wanders up and down its many corridors till, through the open door of a chance bedroom, he happens to see Monsieur Charlus, the embodiment of his own refined homosexuality, chained to a bedpost.

Kundalini defies logic, and can seem inhuman. This is because Kundalini turns the power that brings the world into being back on itself. The only thing that exists is the present instant, yet the present instant is what I experience least. It's like a pressure lamp, lighting the past and the future, which have no reality, throwing them outwards at so great a pressure, it's impossible to see the lamp itself. The present instant is a powerful absence, no longer even a place, where I, like the people I try to remember, hover like a ghost. When Kundalini awakens, this changes. Sheer absence switches to sheer presence. The closer I come to the reality of the present instant, rising from chakra to chakra, the less there is to hang onto. Even my body, and the bit of space closest to it, becomes an avoidance of entering the present instant. Asleep, Kundalini is an absence flowing outwards into space/time; awakened She flows backwards towards the present instant, returning everything to sheer presence.

1 comment:

  1. This is a beautifully written and powerful piece by Paul Lyons. Although I didn't understand all the references and nuances, it brought me momentarily to an awareness of Presence, and later a realization that in the absence of that awareness, I've no choice but to cling onto memories and memorabilia on the one hand, and hopes and plans on the other. So thank you!