“Consciousness is a fundamental property, like mass or charge. Wherever there is an entity with multiple states, there is some consciousness. You need a special structure to get a lot of it but consciousness is everywhere, it is a fundamental property.” Giulio Tononi, neuroscientist
Consciousness is everywhere. Pause for a moment, and let those words sink in. Your brain doesn’t produce your experiences; “you” are not an epiphenomenon. Consciousness is a state. You need structures (brain) to process it or reduce it to something intelligible, but it’s a never-ending resource. I remember reading this lovely comparison of the body to a vehicle that you (consciousness) can enter and use for the time that you need it. Dying is like leaving the car behind, because you no longer require its services. Another metaphor was shedding a coat when you no longer need it. In both cases, “you” are not the physical material that is so often confused with ultimate reality or absolute necessity. I suppose that another metaphor is the ‘house’ vs. the ‘home’. You should not confuse the house—that physical, material entity—with the ‘home’, which travels with you from place to place and that you create. Real estate agents have long known this, as have banks; they know (banks, that is) that people confuse house and home all of the time, and that is why desperate property owners will empty their savings accounts and raid their 401K in a desperate bid to save a home, all the while not realizing that ‘home’ is a concept and a creation, not a place.
I have been very confused of late, since selling my home yet continuing to live in it. I mean, my house (still waiting for EvilMac and MeanTree to approve the short sale, however). I love to explore houses of all kinds, and since I have spent much of last couple of years searching for the Perfect Rental, I have seen many, many houses in a variety of places. I am particularly sensitive to the energies in abodes, and that energy comes from many places: the people who lived there, the spirits who are still attached to the place and the interaction of the living with the house’s consciousness. Mix into that the energies of artifacts and objects in the building and the history the home witnessed or helped to create. So, the simple dwelling-place becomes an extraordinarily complex site for me. It takes time and energy to disentangle the emotions that the living leave behind.
Particularly difficult is the fact that I fall in love with many homes. I don’t always know or understand what I am falling for, whether the house itself or the energies of the family that lived there, or the spirits of the past, or some conglomeration of all of that. I have found myself hopelessly enamored of more old houses than you can imagine, and I could see my family in all of them. So, it’s strange that I chose a new house for my family. It has a rather lonely energy to it, that of an abandoned dream. I tried to sleep over there during this long transition between two houses, and I couldn’t—I tore out of there at 12:15 AM and drove back to the old abode. I keep seeing in my mind’s eye the figure of a man staring at me from the doorway to the bedroom. I wish I understood this better, but the hallway is the only active area in the new house. There is no good reason for that, as far as I know. But I avoid the hallway whenever possible, to the point of walking from the master bedroom, across the patio, and into the kitchen.
The office is fine; my kid’s room is fine; the hallway, not fine.
My impression? The house is replaying the story of its recent past, which includes an unhappy marriage, schemes and shady dealings, affairs; the usual sadness of relationships gone terribly wrong. There is also a massive difference between the daytime hours and the evening hours. During the day, that house is happy to see me. We plan and decorate, feed birds and water plants. But at night, everything changes. An old heaviness returns, and I feel things moving around the hallway, pacing, thinking, processing heavy emotion. I never feel uncomfortable at the original house, and I don’t think I have ever been afraid at the Woodland Hills pad, even when our ghosts were making a racket (this is all documented with photos, video and audio clips from numerous investigations there, but for obvious reasons, my husband has asked that I keep all this to myself). My old house is very active, but it never really scares me. So what do I do?
It doesn’t help matters when moving involves discovering old boxes of stuff that you haven’t opened since 1998 (the year I moved from Appleton, Wisconsin to Long Beach, CA). All the loss of the last 15 years comes spilling out like fresh blood from old wounds. Suddenly, I am confronted with the deaths of two friends, Lisa and Rebecca; the beginnings of the end of my first marriage; the loss of my tenured job at Lawrence University (I left voluntarily, the first time anyone in their 170 year history to quit with tenure); the people I loved who have utterly disappeared from my life; the work of decades, all for nothing. I think of all the homes I moved away from starting in 1998, with the sale of my Victorian farm house on El Dorado Street: the apartment on Orizaba; the house on Vista Street; the perfect Craftsman on Molino (I spent about five years mourning that loss); the Vose pad (that one I don’t miss. Winnetka is not a great city); and now, the hardest one of all, the 1920s hunting cabin in the Santa Monica foothills. I searched for that home for years, while trapped at Vose Street. I have never, in all my adult life, lived anywhere for seven, straight years. It was my longest and most heartfelt commitment. It was the home where I realized that I could be a good parent in spite of the horrors of middle and high school, and where I understood that love can last longer than ten years.
But if houses are only the physical manifestation of the concept of home, then it should be easy to recreate home somewhere else. At least, that was my assumption when I started writing this post. However, I’m starting to see that the issue is slightly more complex. Consciousness, as Tononi states, truly is everywhere. That means houses do not, cannot, limit it. I may create a new consciousness of home somewhere else, but I have not annihilated the home I created before. Nor have I vacated the other homes where my life played out with such drama and passion. Add to that the fact that all the other people who imprinted their emotions, beliefs, actions and passions are still there in some sense, and you have a potent mix of human energy. I see all this as different frequencies operating in a home, something like multiple channels that someone with big antennae can pick up, as if tuning into a station. Everything that happened in a building is always still happening, because the concept of time doesn’t apply to consciousness.
Consciousness is atemporal.
Perhaps that is how I have changed through years of fine-tuning my sensitivities to other realities. When I trigger a memory through reading an old notebook or journal, I don’t experience it as “past,” but as happening right now. Lisa just overdosed. Rebecca just drowned. Robert just moved out. I just returned from seeing my kid in the hospital. We just lost Kenny. The list goes on and on. This is a peculiar aspect to my being that others have noticed in me since I was a child. The word “memory” implies that something is over, but for me, nothing with strong emotion attached to it is EVER OVER. I don’t ‘recover’, really, because these events just keep happening. Of course, I have to learn to live with these multiple and competing realities and I have to accept this personal “multiverse,” because otherwise I would lose my mind.
This is what has been happening for the last several weeks. I have “tuned” into all the grief and trauma of the last fifteen years (actually, it goes back much further than that) and all of it is hitting me at once. Add to that the new feelings to process in the future home, where the past is also replaying itself on a less intense (because I did not personally experience it) level. This is the side effect of working so hard on my consciousness: now I can pick up on everything that is playing itself out around me, including future events that have already happened and past events that are about to happen, and current events that are all superimposed on each other like some bizarre, space collage. Who said that time and space are the same thing? Einstein, I think, maybe that was what relativity was all about . . .
Originally, when I started expanding my ‘cosmic consciousness,’ I wanted to overcome my fear of death; I discovered that ‘death’ as a concept is very limited to the physical nature of the animal, which doesn’t really interest me all that much; only insofar as death implies loss of material experience. Conscious experience, on the other hand, doesn’t ‘die’ or disappear, because it is outside of time and entropy. The problem is: how do I stop experiencing every reality at once? It isn’t that I am losing a home– it’s that I have too many homes and too many Kirstens living all the versions of my life that have been or will be. I have to bring down the walls and establish the boundaries, but the process of moving has ripped away the veil between this world and all the others, yet again.
Erin (my Paranormal Housewife sister) and I have both moved in the last few weeks (OK, so I’m still working on it), and our recent investigations have been extremely intense in terms of spirit activity—perhaps due, in part, to the upheaval of relocation. Erin, however, is a master of shielding herself from precisely all the realities that are bombarding me at the moment. I don’t know how to protect myself from these multiple worlds colliding and interacting in strange ways. I want to shut the doors without locking them.
Does anyone out there know how to do that? I could use your help.