Being Atypical

I met a new friend today who blogs as Anonymously Autistic. She writes honestly and openly about the challenges of adapting to the world of conventional interaction. I have had my own struggles in this regard. After listening to Amythest Schaber’s testimony of a life spent learning to love herself, the following experiences came to mind. I don’t know if they will resonate with those that are autistic, but I offer them in that hope.

When I went through the darkest part of my life, I went through six jobs in eight years. Job six was a bail-out from my scientific peers at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. It required me to move away from my sons, which was difficult for me.

The interview was not attended by one of the program principals, who was away on travel. He actually drove down Interstate Five to my house (rather than flying) to converse with me. He said something unusual at the time – he said that I have “presence,” comparing me to the great singers that he had worked with as a member of the San Francisco choir. It was the first time anyone had been that direct with me.

The team I had joined worked with a community of information security specialists in the federal government. When the director brought her team out for a program review, we gathered at a winery so that they could meet me (I had not completed my security clearance, and so was not part of the review). When we had been introduced, we collected around the table and my friend, noticing the reactions of the team, suggested “One of the characteristics of autistic people is that they have trouble with personal boundaries.”

Both characterizations surprised the hell out of me. I have since recalled the young lady in college that, after our introduction, held on to my hand and laughed, “You are incredibly dense.” When I protested, she clarified, “No, not stupid, just – DENSE.” In fact, I didn’t encounter somebody that could roil my waters until after I was forty.

Amythest talks about dancing with her hands, and I think that I know what she is talking about. When I was in junior high school, at the dances I would enter into a trance-like state, dancing with an energy that the other students found hilarious if not disturbing. I have since learned to manage that focus. The way that I characterize it, to those that ask me how I dance as well as I do, is that my Higher Self is looking down on me. I actually don’t know what the heck I am doing, and could not possibly reproduce it later. But afterwards people go out of their way to tell me that I am a great dancer.

The point that I am working towards is that when I became aware of how much spiritual energy I was managing (that “density” mentioned by the coed), I spent a couple of years trying to organize it. I began to have burning pains in my sides (often reported by those with shingles) and burning at the base of my skull. When I focused on those side-effects, I realized that I was trying to channel spiritual energy through physical constructs that were simply incapable of handling the load. It was like trying to run 30 Amps of current through a wire rated for 20 Amps. In that instant, I simply shifted the flow out of my brain, and began to work directly with the spiritual structures that generated it.

Amethyst talks about the enormous depth of the love that she feels. My experience causes me to wonder if she isn’t an angel trying to squeeze herself into a representation that people can relate to. Part of that includes forcing her to engage them in the normal way. If she’s in any way like me, however, that’s just not going to work. There’s too much energy in her soul, and it overwhelms her physical apparatus. She needs to find things like ecosystems and cultural moires to channel it into.

Peek-a-boo with the Prince of Peace

When the disciples received the Holy Spirit, they were at the end of their rope. There was no resistance to its presence, because they had surrendered their lives already. There was no place to go but up.

As the repository of truth, the Holy Spririt opens us into understanding that may make our prior lives seem shallow and vain. That was certainly true for the disciples, but it was an experience that they received joyfully for suffering had been their prior occupation. To have revealed the purpose of that struggle was to discover the extent of their own strength.

To understand the mechanisms whereby Christ arranged this transformation, we have to understand the nature of Death. Not “death”, which is the end of our physical existence, but “death” as revealed in Revelation: one of the six forms of selfishness that-  approximately three billion years ago – were released upon the world when the seals of the scroll were broken.

Death is not the destroyer, but a divider. When we die, we pass through a door that human love can rarely penetrate. In moments of intense psychic focus – when our lives are threatened, for example – messages may pierce the veil, but the grieving that survivors suffer reflects the loss of a relationship with the departed soul. Death is the personality that manages that barrier.

Sometimes there is value in separation. It allows us to shed associations that are harmful to us. As suggested in the parables of Hades and the Inferno, that process may continue even after dying, as we surrender to Death the destructive energies we accumulated during our lives. Consider the pride of the pathetic Sisyphus, mindlessly pushing a rock up against the pressure of Death’s will, like a galley slave pulling an oar. This is why the evil fear to die – they know intuitively that their spirits will be broken and repurposed in the afterlife.

So why did Christ struggle for us against Death? Because Death serves no purpose but the spread of its influence. It is a greedy spirit, and loathes to surrender its captives. Indeed, it held sway in the world for a long, long time. The drives of Darwinian evolution are simply an impotent exploration of biological strategies for avoiding Death’s grasp.

This is why the innocent Adam was told “Do not eat of the fruit of the tree [of the Knowledge of Good and Evil], for surely you will die.” The pull of death on our physiology is manifested by a deep winding of its influence within our DNA. When God “breathed life” into Adam, it was to dispel that presence. When the fruit was eaten, we opened our hearts once again to death.

We are nearing the end of the long road of pain and suffering that was set before us. The key is to embrace the Prince of Peace. Looking at the degree to which human history is defined by our wars, we need to step back and consider why that has been so difficult.

The short answer is because it is like dying.

You see, when Jesus took up his cross, he did not conquer death. He confronted it, let it work its will on him, and suffused it with love. Jesus tamed death, chaining its hunger to the service of love. There are things in the world that do not work well together. The tension between Hitler and Stalin is an illustration, as is the tension between freedom and government. To prevent those tensions from flaring into destruction, sometimes things need to be separated. They need to “go to their rooms,” not as punishment, but to give them time to relax and envision a resolution of their differences.

This is the authority that Christ gained on the cross: To turn the talents of Death to the purposes of healing and creation.

The challenge that we must confront is our investment in the psychological practices of death avoidance. For many of us, they define our existence. We create conflict around ourselves as a means of protecting ourselves from loss of life. In a sense, the strong still eat the weak, it’s just that they do it indirectly, using the police to impose the Sisyphean burden on our underclasses. Having acquired that power, we console ourselves with the construction of a facade of elegance and civility, a facade now being torn away most notably by Donald Trump.

So to accept the Prince of Peace is to become aware of that social vampirism. It is to become aware that there are others that need his attention more. It is to become aware that we are the cause of our own pain.

That is why those that have the power to elaborate it instead run from the Truth that transforms the world.

Pity poor Christ in his suffering for the oppressed. Calling out with love to the powerful is the only method allowed to him.