#9 My Re-enchantment story


I took the photo last night around 8. The temperature hovered still, around 100. I wonder how heat affects the color of light.

Years ago, during my obsession with Richard Jefferies leading up to the book Terry and I did together, rediscovering The Story of My Heart, I came across the book, Cosmic Consciousness, By Maurice Bucke. In it, Bucke writes about his relationship with Walt Whitman and comes to believe that he, Whitman, had ‘cosmic consciousness’ (CC).  I believe I read in his book, that Bucke felt that Whitman had saved his life. I wasn’t sure why or how. Bucke, defines CC as “a higher form of consciousness than that possessed by the ordinary man”. Using Whitman as an example, Bucke more or less quantifies the attributes aligned with CC and includes biographies of people he determined also possess it. Jesus, Gandhi, Mohammad, Buddha, are included, among others. Jefferies, Bucke thought, might have achieved CC had he lived longer (Jefferies died at age 39.) Steve Jobs, Alan Watts, often referred to Bucke’s book. For me, there’s something to it. Since it’s now occupying enough of my time, I need to follow it into whatever rabbit hole it takes me. First thing I did, was learn about “Beautiful Dreamers” a 1990 movie  about Bucke’s and Whitman’s relationship. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lap-qPUMlOg). I loved the movie, which centers around Whitman’s “Leaves of Grass”, which was banned when it was published for its “sexually charged poems” and probably is now by school districts across America. “There something for me in Leaves of Grass,” I thought. That I even found it in our library is a sign. Now, I’ll sit quietly for a few minutes, clear my mind, then open the book to the passage I need. Page 265 (In this particular edition/every edition is different). Here’s the line: “Be not disheartened, affection shall solve the problems of freedom, yet, those who love each other shall become invincible.” Although Whitman was writing about the Civil War I think, this certainly applies to me, now. “Affection” and “love” and becoming “invincible”. I need to remember this. “Cosmic Consciousness” and “enchantment” must somehow be related.