I have two messages about light and dark today. The first concerns the coffee stains on the backs of my teeth. At my last cleaning the dental hygienist scolded me about brushing better. Her criticism stung. First of all, I am a diligent flosser and brusher. Second of all, I’m not the only person in the world who drinks coffee. I’m sure a lot of people have stains on their teeth. Third, I don’t like her very much. I miss my old hygienist who told me I was doing a good job and didn’t torture my sensitive molars with her water pic. None of this has stopped me, however, from completely changing my oral hygiene routine in an effort to impress this woman at my next visit, which isn’t going to happen because I still have four months to go and the stains are back. I feel like Lady Macbeth. “Out! Out damned coffee spot.”
Then, on the way here to share my coffee stain angst, I read that Charles Manson died recently, at the age of 83, roughly 48 years after orchestrating a killing spree in California. My first thought was that the last thing we need in heaven right now is more crazy, dark energy. Sometimes the things I think catch me by surprise so I backed up to take another look at that thought. What did I mean by that?
It has to do with my personal views on life and death. I see life as energy and I imagine that when an individual life ends, its energy leaves its shell and is drawn to a larger mass, the power of which influences the universe. When I think of heaven, this is how I picture it-a return to the mother ship, so to speak. This body of energy, in my mind, is constantly flowing; rising, ebbing, shifting and releasing, to accommodate the process of living and dying and living again. When I read that Charles Manson had passed, I thought of several other recently departed, tortured individuals. I pictured all of these souls merging together and of that roiling, dark energy slithering towards the heavenly mass of my imagination. I pictured the light rearranging itself to absorb the chaos; to contain it without being tainted; to clean and dilute it before releasing it, eventually, back to the earth, because that is the nature of the flow-it merges and releases, merges and releases…and that is why I thought that Charles Manson dying is the last thing we need right now. The thought of any of his darkness making its way back to us in any way, shape or form, makes me a little anxious.
Fortunately, I have a trick for releasing anxiety which involves widening my perspective. I picture myself from the top of a building, then from the top of a mountain, and then from an airplane, and then from the moon and then from a star and then from a spaceship in a galaxy far, far away. I lose site of myself pretty quickly, and then I lose site of my house and then my town and my state and then my country and my planet and…well, you get the picture. By that point, all of my little anxieties seem trivial, funny even, and it’s easier to let go of them, which is totally what I did this morning. Charlie’s afterlife is not my concern.
And as for my less than pearly whites, I’d rather give up my hygienist than my coffee.