The first day from the full moon.
I sank, deeply immersed in my spiritual classroom lesson, yesterday.
It was an agenda-less Saturday. I woke up, from a late night, of late nights, sleep patterns anarchical, and drifted. I’m practising alpha-wave prayer which kicks in at my earliest rise so I can hardly recall the specifics. It must have been powerful.
I fell back into heavy sleep until a loud knocking on the front door by the postman (9.30am)
It was raining. The windy rain was welcoming permission for a day of nothing. So I got comfortable, curled up by the glass door on a lounge chair in my warm duvet and fluffy fleece blanket and settled down into finishing, the book.
The book - Solaris
by Stanislaw Lem
My son Lewis, in our rocky passage, suggested that I read his book Solaris. That recommendation was, to my surprise, back in 2017. It felt to me, that year, that he was nagging me. That’s how I experience him in some ways.
I meant to read it. But I didn’t get round to it.
Month in, month out, he’d ask me “Have you read it?”
I kept apologising.
For a while I lost the book entirely.
Occasionally I would hack my way through the branches of a paragraph or two.
It felt like it was one of the only links between us: his interest in whether I’d read it.
Since ‘lock-down’ (12 weeks into now) I’ve seen very little of him. Maintaining an interactive relationship with this soul seems as doomed as trying to sieve larva flow.
I don’t know how to do it.
There seems such a strong apposing inertia, that it seems not meant to be.
It has been a constant wound in my side.
Last time I saw him he asked for the book back. So this is my last chance.
There is some profound gem in yesterdays class.
There was no sound in the house. In the silence I sat and read, and as I read I drifted off and floated back and drifted off again. Everything in me slowed down and disconnected.
I notice there was something in the book, ahead of where I was, by about twenty pages. It was a small handmade bookmark with Lewis’s pencilled, underlined date: 6/10/2017. That’s 974 days ago. So, even at that stage I was dragging my feet.
Solaris is more than a sci-fi to me.
No, it’s not a book I want to read.
And yet it is.
(even writing this triggers reluctance)
It is a grievance.
Rheya? But…..I am not Rheya. Who am I then? And you, what about you?
The movie - Solaris
Director Steven Soderbergh, with Natascha McElhone and George Clooney, 2002
I don’t recall seeing Solaris at the cinema. I probably didn’t like the trailer. How I recall Solaris now, is with the title, in my memory: ‘the last movie I watched with Owain.’
It must have been around 2011, or 2012. By that time I was already a dedicated student of A Course in Miracles, so that the last line in the film is about forgiveness was not lost on me.
So much pain has been wrapped up with that film for me. It has been a symbol. I didn’t realise, until yesterday, how interconnected are the symbols.
I remember that I didn’t like the film. I didn’t enjoy it. It wasn’t saying what I wanted it to say, back then.
I was in a place of immense pain and longing. No description can touch how it feels. It can’t even echo it.
The film, in some strange way, became part of the pain. For me.
So the child in me hated the film. When it reached it’s end I noticed how I felt scorn. It hadn’t fixed anything.
I knew that forgiveness was supposed to be the answer but it was cold comfort to an addict.
Our marriage was going down the pan and I couldn’t claw back the past.
All I wanted was his love and his devotion. I wanted them to myself. I didn’t want to share him with another person.
You are talking from your own point of view. I love this girl. Her memory, you mean?
So the film got hashtagged with #painful and it went in the great not-to-be-watched-again bin.
It’s up to you. But remember that she is a mirror that reflects a part of your mind. If she is beautiful, it’s because your memories are. You provide the formula. You can only finish where your started, don’t forget that.
I’m a big fan of David Hoffmeister. He’s a mystical teacher of A Course in Miracles ACIM. He’s very dear to me. A hug with David is a taste of heaven. So when David uses movies for teaching purposes I pay attention. David luuuvs Solaris.
If you’re gonna be ship-wrecked on an island this is the film to have with you.
I’m not sure how much forbidding God generally does, but I think He should make an exception for that idea.
Yesterday I sat with the book until late afternoon. It still wasn’t speaking a whole lot to me, as a book. It was full of descriptions that were frankly lost on me. I just wanted to get to it’s heart and find out what it means. So I cheated. I got the Movie Watchers Guide to Enlightenment up on my ipad and I watched all the preliminary talks about it by David. I got into the metaphysics. I submerged myself in Holy Spiritiness. And then temptation got the better of me and I swam out into the film again.
The further I immersed myself into the whole experience the more I felt like “I” was in a shifting dream.
It was like being awake during surgery. Well, sort of awake, like when you are lucid but meandering.
I can’t tell them the truth, I’ll have to dissemble and lie, and keep on doing it … Because there may be thoughts, intentions and cruel hopes in my mind of which I know nothing, because I am a murderer unawares. Man has gone out to explore other worlds and other civilisations without having explored his own labyrinth of dark passages and secret chambers, and without finding what lies behind doorways that he himself has sealed.
Gradually over the hours of sitting with it: listening to David break it down, clip by clip; feeling into the past, me noticing the excruciation of past memories; the pain coming up, the sadness and the loss; the vague sense of surgeons operating on me - removing something - a blade possibly? It was sharp and embedded.
It was as if I had not wanted to give up this object.
As the movie climaxed it touched right back into the loss of separation, the tears jerked out of my face, but such tiny drops this time, so far removed from the gushing torrents of the years in between.
I dare not to want him any longer. No, that’s not true. Still.
This time I imagine it possible that we may not have been alone watching that movie, all those years ago. Consider it possible that a young boy might have been watching it with us. Entanglement dancing silently all around.
There are no answers, only choices.
Why has this story been so important? It’s like an echoing mirror: it’s a reoccurring image of itself.
An idol is an image of a thing and not the thing itself.
~ Text, somewhere in there.
Solaris, to me, is about memory. It’s about what we hold on to and what we let go of. It’s about facing the inner landscape and witnessing our choices. It offers a present opportunity to choose resolution, acceptance, release from judgement.
To watch it is to see what I am choosing.
I wasn’t ready. I didn’t want release. I wanted Owain, like Kris wanted Rheya. But who was Rheya? Wasn’t she just a version of a memory.
What I didn’t bargain on was how this movie, this story, plugs into my relationship with my son. I compartmentalise my memories. The whole abandonment tragedy of Owain rejecting Jules is in one ‘Romeo and Juliet’ box, whereas the mother/son story is a completely different scenario. Suddenly I see it isn’t.
It’s a much deeper scar. And it so isn’t healed. Achilles unhealed, I limp along completely unable to resolve that. I feel into something so old it’s ancient. It goes way back before these lives. The word that comes to mind is rejection.
She was standing quite close to me now. I pretended not to hear. At that moment, I wanted to isolate myself. I had not yet resolved anything, or reached any decision. I stood motionless, looking at the dark sky and the cold stars, pale ghosts of the stars that shone on Earth. My mind was a blank. All I had was the grim certainty of having crossed some point of no return, I refused to admit that I was travelling towards what I could not reach.
In the world, I feel that it’s a checkmate relationship, it’s on permanent lock-down, loggerheads, stalemate, catch 22. Nothing works.
This time around I believe that I have learned how to love him. It hasn’t been easy for either of us. All our interactions are strained, and for me, tender. A gulf was planted, so early on, and then just grew between us. All either of us could do was watch.
The lessons about freedom that I learned through Owain I have transferred to him. Parenthood is an unexpected car wreck. Or so it seems.
And yet above the battleground where spirit is one, I pour love into ‘us’, I hold him as a mother with an infant, I shroud him in light, and warmth, and desire for his well-being. He is loved. I trust his path. We both have taken parts in this play. He doesn’t need me. He needs me to be the way I am.
I do not know what pain that young man harbours toward me: what unforgiveness awaits his future attention. There are so many ways to remember the past, and, as far as I can see, accuracy is never of any value on that score. We are all at liberty to paint it any shade we want.
But he gave me that book. Of all the books a young man of 14 could give his estranged mother, Solaris would seem a little advanced.
I don’t believe in coincidence.
I believe we are operating way beyond any version they have around here.
I receive it as a gift of healing. It is part of the healing between us: unspoken; unacknowledged; unrealised, I suspect, by that teenager.
I can’t fix anything. I don’t think fixing is a goal of mine these days.
I will be able to give him his book back and be able to say. “yes, I read it.”
I have come a long way over the last 12 years. I’ve waited in white fire, I’ve been spewed up, I’ve rolled and bumbled over the landscape, I’ve toughened up, I’ve shifted and changed my mind, and I am waking.
All wounds will be healed.
Thus your salvation always has and always will depend on decisions you are making right now.