Saturday, August 30, 2014

In Spiritual Ecstasy Johnny Law Bites It

"The Law is the Law," Johnny Law said, citing my family for illegal squatting on a reserved picnic site. "You are in violation of Section So and So," he told my mother, before giving her a ticket and forcibly moving us on. We packed our basket and departed, heads hung low in shame.

This all goes way back, being, as I look back, the beginning of my radical spiritual life. Because at that time something new came to the fore, and I knew -- can you ask a five year old how? -- I'd never be the same. All because my mother was the kind of lady who wanted something different for her family, experiences of pleasant outings.

It's hard to believe, but Johnny Law really patrols the parks of the city. I think it's all underground knowledge. The average guy sitting home on his easy chair hears a siren and assumes he's off dealing with serious crime, a bank robber or burglar. When the odds are, he's merely harassing park visitors and moving them on, albeit usually with a warning. Bullies.

Mom got a warning the first couple of times. We were at the picnic site, but not having a picnic. My brother and I sat on the grass, our legs out, rolling a ball back and forth. Mom had a book. It was a pleasant day, the birds singing. The big thing I remember about nature that day was seeing those butterflies, the ones that are little chunks of ripped cloth, flying haphazardly everywhere. When here comes Johnny Law, full siren blaring, flashing the artillery.

Things like this stick with a kid. It haunts your thoughts. I bet for a week there wasn't a night that I didn't dream of it. I'd awake crying hysterically from dark nightmares. I didn't ask Mom if her idea was to help me psychologically, or what, but she kept at it, taking us to the park. Indeed, we returned! Over and over. Sometimes with food, sometimes not, once with wax fruit! And Johnny Law was never far away.

My first magical experience came when I least expected it. I felt it welling up in me, some force going beyond my personal self. I was able to see through to the other side, and yet in some unexplainable way I wasn't me, in the egoic sense. I became alive with sensations of otherness, of rising above the entire world. I discerned things right at the heart of truth. No longer did I see bowls of wax fruit, but everything was fully alive with energy, pulsing with freshness and taste. My heart was afire that day, when who shows up but Johnny Law!

There I was -- in complete prophetic fervor and fire -- when Johnny Law was reduced to crisp. A bolt of lightning flashed from the heavens, weirdly channeling itself through the top of my head and out my eyes. I had no conscious purpose, no conscious desire ever to hurt a living soul. Butterflies flew by without harm. All I know is, where Johnny Law stood was suddenly nothing but a pile of simmering ashes. And his ticket book, which my mother picked up and put in her dress. We packed up, went home, and to my knowledge she never mentioned it to anyone.

About the illustration -- Notice the trees, like the towers or gateways on Tarot cards, meaning entrance to a new future. Then there's mom and brother, almost like Mary and Joseph in the nativity set, with me in the middle. Gifts are before me as I hover between earth and heaven. Mom pours from a pitcher, suggesting new, living wisdom. Brother reaches his hands in the pose of beholding something wonderful. The true Law, the book of grace, is above my head, radiant. The superseded Law -- Johnny -- didn't stand a chance.

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