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We were at Arik’s Cebu City apartment for supper. He often had these dinners to teach and allow questions. Tonight, we had the Bridge exercise. Several students were present, Nyle -a young physician, myself, and another young woman named Zybel, (Zee for short), and Ylime. Arik had his cook and housekeeper Ylime prepare us pork steaks, Panzit, Kalamoongi, tomato and okra soup, and, of course, the buckets of that dam white rice Filipinos require for survival.
Ylime has been a long-time student of Arik’s dating back to his Manila days. She lived in the small apartment next door. Arik had watched over her for decades; it was a purely platonic relationship. She supported herself also by cooking, housecleaning and taking care of other people’s children. I guessed they had been together since around the late 1960’s. Arik said she was a teacher of ‘special’ Filipinas in spirituality.
A fascinating account of how Ylime met Arik:
He had rescued her as a 9-year-old child- from a flash flood and a mudslide that killed her mother, her father, her grandmother and two brothers while they slept.(!). Her entire family was wiped out! I guess a massive wall of water had pounced so quickly- it had drowned anyone living near that river. Arik grabbed her out of the water when he saw her clinging to a large wooden bench while being carried downstream. She had nearly drowned, but Arik dragged her to shore.
Tragic, I thought, 5 family members and her whole village destroyed. When we had talked about it once with her I asked how she ever got thru such a terrific trauma, she replied, “Not so bad – the long time ago. I very happy meeta Arik and iskool”.
After supper Arik’s large round wooden table had been cleared and all five of us were sitting comfortably, he began, “Tonight, we work to reach the Bridge, and how to allow your Free spirit to cross it. I know you’re here because you have found that real self-knowledge can defeat any darkness the false person tries to trick you with. You also know you have a Free spirit that has been around this planet and has seen nothing really satisfying for it anywhere. This is a very good thing, because your wish to grow-up has makes your Free spirit crave Real Life even more. The Free spirit is needing more wisdom than your ordinary mind and the ordinary laws of this planet can provide.”
“The Free spirit is very curious and attracted to the Bridge, Arik continued. “It wishes to really LIVE, to obtain more blood of Life across the Bridge where true Life lies, and also from where it thirsts to see objectively and impartially. It grows tired of being in the mule, and relying on warped, time-lagged information and knows they are lies. It is weary of repetition and thirsts for the Truth. It hates lies! The Free spirit remains trapped in lies so long, that it has to move, and the Bridge allows it to escape.
The bell of Truth, your right choice, is sounding so loud and clear to it, it has no alternative but to move up to the Bridge. As long as your physical energy fuels your Free spirit, it will and must find a way out— and the Bridge beckons it with correct freedom and objectivity. It is only logical.
The growth of the Free spirit seeks to replace the lies and imagination of the false person, so a civil war of sorts is started in your body called Jammed. The Free spirit steadily fed with the blood of Life, and a sincere wish on your part begins to force the false person out. Very slowly at first, though; it squeezed out.
When and if it succeeds in crossing the threshold of the Bridge -timeless wisdom is revealed. The ‘time’ it can spend across the Bridge, to give Truthful information -is dependent on its own development you allow. Initially, Free spirits can only cross for a flash or a fraction of a second. Of course, time has stopped for the Free spirit and it seems like much longer. The vision is intense at first, and it’s body has difficulty absorbing the shock.
Just to gaze from the bridge for any length of time is a marvelous event. Many times a human being may get a flash of this perfect Awareness. The ‘time’ spent there may be lengthened according to surge the blood of Life gives to ones Free spirit. As one continues to wish to reach the Bridge, there begins to be an expansion of the blood vessels of the Spirit of Life’s circulatory system from the surges of blood coming from the blood of Life from one’s own physical heart.
So what is happening is the Free spirit develops the beginning of a new circulatory system from your physical heart pumping the blood of life.
You have a definite new Being growing and being fed by the blood of Life. This is the Real You. It has a potentiality to live many centuries after your mule dies, because it has tasted eternity. The bridge is your ticket to objective, impartial information about the world and yourself. Time is cancelled. The blood of life serves and perfects the spirit of Life, so it’s Natural Knowing is amplified. Your mule just thinks like a machine, after-the-fact, and relying on your billiard-ball mental associations.
Now, we try with this method to make the false person be temporarily immobilized, and the pit of pain traversed. If you’re lucky, you can look at the wonders beyond the bridge. The bell of Truth clears the way for the Free spirit. And the Free spirit can follow the bell’s tones to the threshold of the Bridge. Here your consciousness and conscience are fused. Be prepared for what you see.”
Zee asked, “Arik, What am I doing wrong? I’ve been doing these exercises many times and haven’t been very successful. How exactly can I lift the Free spirit up to the level of the Bridge?
I understood Zee, because I had been doing these exercises many times also without much success.
Arik hit the table and shouted, “Your Attention and Wish is not strong enough!
“We summon all the energy of wanting it; the strong want is a magnet. How much do you really wish to have this thing!? How much do you wish to operate from the Free spirit? It must be strong and persistent deep yearning from the depths within your heart!
Your brain, your heart, and the nerves of your spine must be aligned in this whole-body-system-effort-desire. All of your body, mind, heart have to be connected. Your breath must be focused on this effort as well. You inhale, you see your breath-wish fill your brain with ‘light’, then to move it to your heart -then thru your spine to your entire body. We repeat this over and over while we sit here.”
This exercise is difficult to explain. We have done this multiple times, and Arik patiently took us thru it. He would show us how to breathe. He sat comfortably in his chair. He would breathe in slowly and deeply. He said he would then become Aware of being Aware, including his whole body. The breath would then “light up” the head—>next the heart/ solar plexus region —>then, next up and down the spine radiating out to the entire body. We’d repeat this over and over with successive breaths so we’d actually ‘visualize’ the luminous quality, and definitely feeling our blood’s circulation.
Here’s Arik’s description, I wrote this down once and reviewed it with him so I could practice on my own.
“The breath travels to your brain- you summon Aware of being Aware. Then allow the light to travel down to your chest and heart. Here, inhale and summon a great Wish to fill your heart and chest with light. Then allow the light to flow up and down your spine- then out thru your arms to your fingers, thru your trunk, hips, legs to your toes. And return to your head-brain.
You sense the arms and legs position from the inside, and light up the area
We do this over and over until the body is ‘lit’ and we know the blood of Life is circulating.
We keep our mind where our body is -to keep it still- do not try to think.
Simultaneously, we feel our skin, we feel it with the impression of the sandalwood incense smoke. The gaseous-cloud-vapor covers all of our skin. Feel the touch on your skin hair. We keep our attention divided between inside and outside of the body.
Then we repeat the breaths and the exercise again and again.”
So Arik started us, “Keep your eyes closed. Do this now.”
Ylime had lit up many sticks of Sandalwood incense and placed it into the sand of a large bronze burner. Arik kept this burner on a small table.
Arik said, “We use this incense smoke as a tool to cover our mules (our body’s) with a vapor-cloud impression that allows us to Sense our entire presence. Now, sense your skin everywhere. Sense your face, look at your face! We did this, all-the-while keeping the circular breathing and lighting up inside to proceed.
My attention was divided inside and outside my body, and from my head down my spine. I could feel the vapor of the Sandalwood all over my body’s skin. It was tricky at first to divide attention inside and outside the body, but I had done this with Arik many times. It seems complicated as I write this, but I’m astonished how, liquidly, easily and fluidly we were able to track all of this—inside our bodies —as well as outside.
Arik said this division of Attention was an important function to remember. And we should practice this everyday. He told us this exercise is the most important for Free spirit growth and development.
My body kept getting infused with a light with each in breath. Each taste of the incense kept the smoke impression sensing each inch of my skin. I noticed my attention had to be divided in many places.
Arik had told us inhalations helped the ‘pulling’ the blood of Life from the depths of the heart. Before, I had tried to picture this internal process and wanting to diagram this. Arik said not to ever imagine doing this, because that was just my regular mind trying to keep itself active instead of allowing the Free spirit’s vision to operate.
This time I had no idea how it happened! I felt my body ascending! My eyes were closed, but, Wow. I felt a joyous feeling in my stomach as I flew upwards. There was a dim light I ‘saw’ on the horizon as felt myself being pulled upward. As I relaxed, I seemed to fly faster and smoother. This must have been what Arik had emphasized about ALLOWING.
Then I stopped flying with a sudden bouncing jolt, and found I could see in all directions at once, a landscape and sky, 360 degrees, eyes in the back of my head. An astonishing panorama!
How could this be? Shut up your mind, Max’!—-silence.
Then it happened. The sky opened from the top like a giant camera aperture. There came into view large grey monoliths every direction, dripping a darker grey material, then from the monoliths, a huge multi-spiked head. Dozens of super-sharp spikes protruding from a head with my own face on it!
I knew it was me, and it came rapidly towards me —i could FEEL it.
I felt like I saw my being all at once; it was excruciating!
Then, suddenly I felt myself falling back into my chair.
I was thunderstruck and speechless, I opened my eyes.
And then became bewildered. “My God, was that me!?”, I stammered.
As I opened my eyes, I also felt Arik was standing by me. The others were still sitting quietly about Arik’s round table with their eyes still closed. Arik was quietly laughing as he pulled me away to another chair across the room.
“Looks like your boy needs some cleaning up, eh?”, he grinned. Did he know what I’d experienced?
“I saw me, Arik!”, I hoarsed. “It was awful! Only for a second or two, and I couldn’t stand it anymore! Why…What can I do!”
“Yes, that was you, but not really. That’s the paradox and the relief. As soon as your free spirit is developed, you won’t be like you were. You cannot do a thing” Arik said, “but, you can allow your Free spirit to be clarified to transparency. Everyone who takes this path and makes it to the Bridge— and sees themselves —it is horrendous at first. But, you crossed the pit of pain and perceived from across the Bridge tonight, my friend, and that is a marvelous event for you. More hard work still awaits you in any event.”
“Whoa, why is this so hard, Arik!”, I exclaimed.
“All your life you’ve lived in sleep, your let the false person spin you into imagination about a ‘merciful and just god’ that will coddle you, and bring you out of the darkness without any effort on your part? Which is it? What did you expect? Can you take the truth?”
“Now, you work at transparency of your Free spirit. We will utilize the Drum for that, later, with the cave and the bell of Truth. We will clean your life; you can repair your past.
You also found you could not endure the view for too long, maybe a fraction of a second. Talking of time-measurements is only for practicality, this is all NOW in reality. You will later be able to hold your view longer when the bell of Truth purifies your Free spirit clarity
You saw a projection of what you are all-at-once. Everything. Many people accidentally see this and lose their minds or suicide. The bell of Truth and the Bridge are compassionate- the Angels really care about men, but men almost always throw them in the gutter. Innocence cannot take our fakery and lies, and want nothing to do with our evil; but they give us a means to reach them despite ourselves. That is what true mercy and acceptance is.”
Remember, I told you that they want you more than you want them? It is hundred times that. But, man is so buried in his hypnosis, like a pig in the mud. All a man does is self-reference himself. He doesn’t know he has an false person -an imposter existence and has no personal headquarters. Once you wake up and are thru the Bridge, it will only seem like so much feces you’ve cleaned off from yourself.”
Arik smacked my knee gently with his fingers as he rose from his chair and solemnly said, “If you can take it, Max, you will be a hero to our Father Creator. Remember, you must know everything about evil -as you begin to know everything about Good. That is a permanent principle of His teaching.
Study evil as much as you study Good, remember that.”
We all had finished our task and were sitting again at the round table.
Zee admitted, “Maybe I was trying too hard, I was lit up and felt my skin but I saw nothing except darkness.”
Arik had mentioned that my Free spirit had viewed from the Bridge.
Zee playfully stuck her tongue out at me in mock resentment. I laughed.
Nyle said I was now truly his brother, but also called me “a very stupid jackass” They all laughed.