Last time: #5, “Klargog Space Pirates“
Look, Ma – my first-ever animation! The closing hatch doors was the most basic kind I could come up with – the animated gif is composed of only three images.
As I’ve previously explained, I’m using the Chimera Spoor site as my experimental laboratory to chase a vision of a webcomic that is more dynamic than anything I’ve tried previously. I don’t want to dive into full animation – I’m obsessive enough without committing myself to thousands of more drawings. This stuff is labor-intensive as it is, believe me! But I do want to add just a touch of animation here and there if I can figure out how.
So I’m trying to see if it will work to use the animation as a sort of recap of the last Pause & Reflect Comics installment. Did I mention this was all an experiment?
Oh, and what the @&$% does this stuff have to do with the Dharma or Buddhism? Well, have you ever had a “mystical” experience? I have, several in fact, long before I knew diddly-squat about Buddhism and I’ve had some since. I suspect they are more common than one might expect. They can be hard to pigeon-hole or classify and even harder to describe. In Edzl’s case, the ineffable, noetic experience has the effect of kickstarting his curiosity. What is this thing called reality, anyway, and where do you find the answers? Are there any answers? What’s the meaning of this apparently messy, confusing existence and who’s on first? I think Edzl and all of us have to figure this out for ourselves. It might be a good idea to uh…pause and reflect, y’know?
My first “mystical” experience (or whatever you want to call it) grabbed ahold of me the summer of my 18th year. A couple of friends and I went camping in the upper peninsula of Michigan. We were walking by the shores of Lake Superior. I was lagging behind my friends, just sauntering along, looking. There were leopard frogs basking in the sun in little pools on the shore. I came upon a beach of small pebbles, about the size, shape and smoothness of marbles. I was a biology major and had a particular interest in spiders. I was watching tiny spiders crawl in and out of the pebbles. Then I looked up at the lake, the horizon line, the sky – my eyes trying to encompass the universe around me.
Abruptly, it seemed that the universe was looking through me. My inner dialogue, the part I thought of as “myself,” had vanished. In a second, or less, I was back to my “normal” self, bewildered. The memory of the experience, as with all my memories, wasn’t the same as the experience; I couldn’t relive it, it was gone. The verbal description I concocted didn’t convey it; I don’t think there is any way words could.
What did it mean? I had no earthly or unearthly idea. I didn’t tell my friends about it. I kept it to myself. I wanted to treasure the experience, to believe it made me “special.” I no longer think that’s particularly true. At the time I knew zilch about any kind of mystical experience. Later I read Alan Watts, and Castenada and many others, including accounts of some experiments with mind-altering drugs like Aldous Huxley’s Doors of Perception. I’m quite sure my experience was not the same as awakening or enlightenment as the Buddha spoke of it. But I never was able to dismiss it as a hallucination or a fluke of some sort. Like Edzl it awakened my curiosity.