There are transcendent moments, sudden and unbidden, that occur, generally when I’m driving alone. It is as if out of nowhere the long, long running train of all my years clatters out of the darkness and collides with the stationary present and I am – momentarily – overwhelmed. All that I ever was, all that I ever did - wrapped in the pungent atmosphere of its specific temporal and situational context, each minutest aspect and detail illuminated brilliantly – conflates with my acute sense, rational and emotional, of what is so vividly now.This is no random mugging by free roaming nostalgia. I’m not being ambushed by renegade recollection of better times, in the manner of the old for whom present reality is held hostage by growing infirmity. It is more as if – momentarily – I am contained within some swirling, anarchic cloud of unknowing inside which every single electron of self is charged simultaneously: that earliest nameless fear in a dark room with high windows; the pulse-warmth of parental embrace; the sweet pain of first love; the half-forgotten melody heard again in its totality; the glorious heat and light of my children’s worlds, spinning in orbit so close; that first acute apprehension of the proximity of the edges of my own world.
And neither is this is an ecstasy of consciousness, some benign free trip. Effulgence and harmony are effaced by terror and desolation and then supplanted by serenity and concord in a chaos of all that has ever and can ever be sensed and perceived. All of this in the moment and thus absorbed only after it has passed.
This is all I know of what some might characterise as spiritual visitation. And if I am to accept this characterisation then I would see it as speaking to the natural existential disorder and formlessness from which we wrest meaning and direction. And I would see in our fundamental fear of the aimless energy and random entropy that creates and destroys all around us in spite of the bending of our will upon the world, the search for a pattern, the search for God.
So I welcome these micro-moments wherein my own being and doing through all of my time are so vitally – albeit so briefly – apparent. And if I must embrace the chaos that they represent then I shall do so in the light of the only certainty that I acknowledge beyond death – the love given and received that I have carried forward from distant then into vibrant now.