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Apple tree awareness
held in many minds
thinking they are one mind
unfolds form into space
No more tree,
or apple seed,
The minds of all the participants reach a merged state. The next step is insight - looking toward the source, resonating with Her, but it doesn't happen.
Into the harmony hacks Alpha, a jagged note disrupting the flow, and this time Rose is ready.
Rose is leading the group in meditation when Alpha breaks into the room.
Immediately trying to occupy the mind of the closest participant, Alpha cannot overcome the combined strength of merged minds and falls back into his own body. Shut out of an inner attack he tries to weaken the massed consciousness with a sting but Rose, having once felt that pain, is prepared and checks him with a thought loop so he feels the brunt of his own aggression. Frustrated with an entity he has never encountered and doesn't understand, Alpha mounts a verbal assault, trying to distract the group, fragment the merged mind, and attack individuals.
"Pussies!" he transmits to their audio channels, "Snowflakes! WokeTards!" Then he spams some porn to the video feeds but Rose easily traps all the packets and bins them. The collective is still in a deep trance a few minutes later when Alpha finally stops shouting insults.
"Very good," Rose says, in a soft and genuinely unperturbed voice, and begins to teach. "Our prompt for tonight is invective, looking at hate speech versus right speech, and hopefully Mr. Alpha here will be kind enough to lead us." Alpha scowls in anger as Rose proceeds to deconstruct his words and actions, showing great empathy for his positions as she recontextualizes them, explaining the origins of his insults and why they might offend, and carefully deconstructing his lies by pointing out where the truth is stretched and where his perspective makes things he opposes look untrue. Alpha interrupts her frequently by shouting personal insults and hate words.
"This is so valuable," she says to him, "what an opportunity you are giving us to study anger, to practice compassion, and to hold up a mirror to ourselves. Please don't leave!" Alpha turns red, hurls another volley of insults, and blips off the screen as Rose begs him to stay.
The room is filled with full on laughter for five minutes.
Having discovered, while attacking Rose's group, that he is unable to penetrate their merged mind and feeling powerless for the first time, Alpha, humiliated by his enemies, vows retribution on TNAP.
There are three battlefronts where this conflict takes place: cyber, psychic, and physical.
Stopped cold in the cyber and psychic arenas, Alpha leverages OGP's advantages in the physical world to put the squeeze on TNAP. He uses court orders from OGP controlled judges to knock TNAP servers offline, restrict their bandwidth, subpoena laptops, and seize evidence in member's homes - anything to terrorize Rose's followers and interrupt her performances.
So much rhetoric going back and forth every day, name calling, resistance to change, offended, spiteful, hateful, proud, disdainful, aloof, the forces so intermixed, the causes so murky, the positions so unclear, the players so lost at sea that no one knows how far away the moral ground lies.
The environment is dying and not coming back. Sustainability is a wonderful idea that will be subsumed in the teeth of the machine. Climate never stays the same anyway. This is not what Rose is fighting for. Her success is bringing her students to a perspective that remains steady despite global change.
Undeterred by the technical problems that Alpha has thrown at them, Rose's followers persist, regroup, and thrive. It is only through being okay with themselves that they have any hope to make others okay. If they apply pressure, resistance forms, then they have to deal with a counter push.
Their training is not about the damage they can inflict on Alpha but about seeing the dance they are doing with him. A large carnivore is frightening to everything but a swarm of insects. Alpha lashes out but is unable to overcome the masses of TNAPers and begins to get weary and frustrated. Coordinated group effort is a way to disarm a centralized threat.
Is there really a war
being waged right now?
Or is constant struggle
simply life on Earth?
Rose gathers herself, centers attention, all eyes focused, undistracted, relaxed, and open to what arises, they ask Her:
How can we be kind without appearing to be weak?
Can we be open without risking our positions?
How can we welcome outsiders and not fear losing everything?
"If crowds are moved by madness," Rose prays, "Let us be still"
|Out of alignment, discontented, torn between those who control him and where his heart lies, loyal to Marie but in love with Rose, Roy is unable to break free from his programming while sick with the separation he feels from Her. Clinging to what is familiar but aware of what is missing, his life twists around itself and he yearns to fill the hollow space. Because he caught a glimpse of the light but is afraid to walk the path, Roy becomes a battleground where larger forces meet.|
|"But will she love me tomorrow..." Roy wonders as he gazes inward hoping to catch a glimpse of Her.|
Is this a story about human struggles or are the characters only the material traces of energy fields colliding, intermixing, and resolving?
Rose senses Roy approaching. She reads a looming darkness, the continual presence of an other, and feels resistance is inevitable.
"Some people still know me," says Roy, "And are willing to help." but all Rose can think about is what will happen when light and dark meet.
"You are always welcome here," she offers, "but you must be completely open."
Roy relaxes his solar plexus and Alpha sends out rays that simulate divine light. Rose is not fooled but she keeps it to herself, pretending to be dazzled. While she compliments Roy and thanks him for his honesty, her energy quickly weaves a cage, isolating his fibers, and hopefully catching Alpha by surprise.
Catching Alpha was never going to be easy. Rose clings to the light but Alpha lurks in the dark. Sometimes he slips through the cage and stings her. She tightens the cage and begins to deprive him of energy. Roy turns pale.
Each time Alpha rattles the cage it tears at Rose but the real damage is happening to Roy's energy body. Rose created the cage to feed on Roy and it starts to suck life out of Alpha, too. Feeling trapped, Alpha tunnels through a fiber and Rose is stung at her core. Her grip loosens and Alpha slips out of the cage. W is there to pin him down again but they know this won’t last. Abandoning the power defense, Rose and W change frequency and merge into Roy's subtle body.
Please don't imagine that flesh and bone bodies are being put through these contortions. In the energetic world everything is a field - each person is like a uniquely colored light filling space. The human bodies of Rose, Roy, and W are lying on the floor of a midtown studio apartment in NYC but their collective energies are flying through walls and furniture like cell phone signals; existing everywhere, arriving from nowhere, and only interacting with the right receivers.
The outcomes we want
and the outcomes we don't want
orbit like stars
caught up in each other's gravity
And the only escape
from this endless unrest
is not to get caught
in the outcomes
On what plane should this story be told?
From a meta perspective, humans can be seen inflicting physical and emotional pain on each other, acting out of fear and greed, grabbing and pushing away, and needing attention.
You want details from the plane of the battlefield? Rose has proven herself up to the task of confronting Alpha, a force for dharma clashing with one dedicated to the opposite, and the struggle revolves around itself. Rose makes an agile and clever attack and Alpha counters in a surprising way.
At the unconscious level the story feels cyclic, a sense that this is only a snapshot of a much larger system we long to master. How do we see more than a few glimpses? How do we gather insights if our brains can't process the signals, if our senses won't measure, or if the information never arrives? Incompleteness is part of the process.
Human eyes can't see microwave radiation but anyone who heats up leftovers for dinner knows microwaves exist. What other realms lurk unexplored, just outside the capabilities of our senses? Could we become attuned to these worlds? How much did their awareness expand on the day when animals first got eyes? What realities opened up for them?
Rose's eyes have now been opened to the reality of non-human entities; sentient energies, not bound by bodies, feeding like parasites on prana. The introspective mind training that taught her to seek the light must now be turned around so she can see her enemies hiding in the darkness.
The tension between Rose and Alpha is holding the system together as much as it is keeping things apart.
On the edges, between the petals, and in the roots, Rose diligently searches the darkness. Patient and guarded, Rose and her bunch sieve the ethereal spectrum for forces hiding just outside of plain sight.
A bare patch of lawn where life was drained from the grass is where he rested and fed. The glitchy sensation in her solar plexus means that someone is scrying her location. The big picture shows everything coming up roses on a sunny spring day.
In the good times the shadow almost never appeared and we sometimes thought it had gone away for good.
When the weather turned nice Rose ventured to the park with W; never thinking that Alpha might also enjoy the light.
Meeting in the park, sitting quietly together and talking, Rose and Alpha are in a stalemate. Their animosity will not dissipate. They cling to their beliefs. Perhaps if they were to experience each other's presence for longer and without words a softening would occur. Instead their discussion outlines the terms of engagement for what they both foresee as a significant, imminent conflict.
The Headmaster peers into his scrying mirror and doesn't like what he sees. He hardly recognizes Rose. This fine warrior couldn't be the daughter of his cook, could she? The girl he remembers scurrying around his school centuries ago? But her vibratory signature is unmistakable. How could he have overlooked such a pure signal? Back then he led an academic culture that was not capable of taking a promising female student seriously - to his peril now.
The Headmaster lines up his forces around the perimeter, ready to strike Rose down, but can he really order her destruction when the only thing he wants to do is spend time studying and appreciating her pattern? He loses himself in a reverie and by instinct dips into the mirror and takes a quick sip of her prana. Heavenly! The source of her energy is otherworldly. He must possess Her alive.
Preparing for battle, Rose basks in Her light, exploiting the direct connection she has to source. While in this deep trance Rose feels a slight pinch, some tightening of the fibers, a leak? The answer comes swiftly from Her as the defensive membranes tighten all around. High alert! They simultaneously realize that someone is spying on them.
Alpha is not strong enough to overpower Rose and not clever enough to outwit her; even using all his non-human abilities.
Marie/Gyre know it is time to take over the fight. Marie carries the ideals of OGP wrapped in her personal trauma. Caught in her own delusions, Marie plans a face to face meeting with Rose where she wants to use political muscle to force her to cease the performances. Gyre is a master of the fibers and during the meeting plans to disrupt the network of Rose's followers knowing their input is her source of power.
Rose knows that neutralizing Alpha is not the end of the attacks on her and suspects that a more formidable foe is coming. She doesn't want to wait and be surprised. She and W strategize how they will encapsulate and reverse OGP's impending attack. They have no doubt that their enemies have a connection to source the way they are connected to Her. Their goal in the next battle is to trace that connection and sever it if possible.
Rose and W surround Alpha, trapping him in a mystic frame, and begin to dissolve the fibers to his source. Heart chilling screams arising when the first strands pop, followed by the tremendous force of his recoil, and Alpha saying over and over, "No! No! No!" give them pause. The fiber gets tougher the further they cut until they can't remove any more.
Is this cruelty still dharma? Is it inhumane to sever a creature from source? Is it possible? Rose and W reside in human bodies with mirror neurons and can’t help sharing Alpha's suffering. Rose realizes torture is not the right way to Alpha's boss. They need a new plan.
Arriving on the scene in no mood to be laughed at, still merged with Gyre, still drunk with the power she thinks is hers, unwilling to tolerate losing Alpha and Roy, and ready to dish out payback, Marie sends tendrils into Rose hoping to quickly drain her life force.
Rose has the physical strength to fight off this invasion but she is distracted; still feeling guilty about torturing Alpha. In this momentary lapse, Gyre finds an opening and gains a hold on her. Cries of pain resonate in her network as connections start to pop. A response forms but can Rose's followers pull off a rescue if all their links to her are gone?
Growing darkness obscures the light.
The parasite known as Gyre attaches to Rose and begins to feed. Rose uses her psychic strength to try and repel the invading fibers, her concentration skills to summon more power, and her two fists to take swipes at Marie hoping to distract the attackers, but nothing works to her advantage.
Determination weakening, vision noticeably dimmer, and her attention drifting, Rose is barely able to stay alive. All she can feel is the pulsing sensation of Gyre sucking prana out of her body. Placing her attention on this physical mantra and feeling the energetic field arising from the movement, a new idea appears in her mind and suddenly she has a plan for a counterattack.
Paralyzed with pain, all Rose hears is the steady beat of Gyre removing her life force. Instead of fear or panic, all her years of training have taught Rose to slow down the moment, open awareness, and recognize the obvious.
When Rose matches her heartbeat with Gyre's steady rhythm she feels a measure of constructive reinforcement. Opening further she finds other cycles whose frequencies can be tuned to resonate along:
- the cyclical dopamine shot from the movement of attention to and from her phone several times a minute
- steady cortisol bumps from bills that need paying, emails needing answers, stress about when to leave for meetings, traffic, subscriptions, money, relationships, weight, age, health; all traces of these patterns aligning now and coming to her rescue
-her breath, ever steady, creates a focal point
-the vibrations of the microtubules in her cytoplasm fit inside her heartbeat in perfect harmonic ratios, allowing her to gather support from all her cells
Every cycle she adds from inside her body increases positive feedback in her system and her strength stabilizes.
The desperate vibrations she transmits stimulate her network to vibrate back, enabling Rose to regain her thoughts. Every butterfly wing flapping, every simple cycle, and every positive gesture from a follower gives constructive reinforcement to the larger wave building in her until Gyre can no longer claim complete control. Her network acting in unity gives Rose the power to change the world.
One idea now, one meme to unify her followers, one spark to set off a roaring blaze, Rose transmits a message across the fibers, "The consciousness in one of us is the consciousness in all of us." The message is clear, transforming the listening collective. The network self-realizes and wakes up.
Gyre loses his grip and leaps, Marie scrambles, confused and scared, and Rose lies shattered on the ground.
Entering the light
Her network of followers is self-realized - one last gift before death - and through this new entity, Rose lives on.
The awakened network intelligence doesn't function like a committee, there is no leader, no meetings, and no votes, missives aren't circulated, and opinions don't need to be shared. The networked mind that woke up and knows it is awake emerges because so many people realized at once that their true nature is unlimited and indivisible.
Even after Rose has been dead for a year, W feels the blow like it happened yesterday...
A year of mourning for Rose passes slowly.
W stays well hidden and offline. He chooses to work with the grief by meditating and by making small impermanent outdoor installations out of leaves, sticks, and flowers.
The autonomous networked intelligence. having grown stronger and more confident (it knows it knows), begins to establish a new identity by rebranding TNAP into tNet, keeping W as a close ally. W relies on the living network to spy on OGP and to be ready to help him when it is time to take revenge. tNet needs W because he is the only remaining living connection to Her.
Gyre is unable to forget the feeling of being challenged for the first time by another powerful entity and almost getting annihilated. He does not sit still. Having learned that a collective can also accrue and wield power, he restructures the hierarchy of OGP and reorganizes the network into small working groups, finding that it is easier to solidify a message among self reinforcing pods. Learning from the tactics of Rose, he can now call loyal troops to action with simple resonant messages that they all believe and repeat.
tNet contracts, contemplates,
exhausted, distracted, disgusted,
over the reality of the struggle
and loss of innocence
After the adrenaline,
they reach the flats,
an endurance test
for clarity and devotion
Wanting peace of mind
but accepting vigilance,
tNet spends the year between
anxious mind and hopeful heart
One Monday afternoon on 8th Avenue near 22nd Street, just outside of the Venus Diner, W and Marie cross paths, exchange glances, and don't recognize one another, but share an unusually strong attraction.
Thursday evening, both downtown having a drink with a friend at Florent, for a few moments across the crowded room their eyes lock and they feel the same tug.
Late Saturday night in the pouring rain, leaving a meeting with members of tNet, W spots a cab about to let out a passenger and crosses the street to grab it. Just as he arrives the cab door opens and Marie exits, glances back, smiles, and dashes off before they both get soaked.
Instead of being mad at missing an opportunity to speak to her, running after her like a stalker, or trying to play it off as another coincidence, W relaxes for the ride home and has no worries he will see Marie again because, he thinks, "This inescapable convergence obviously operating will inevitably pull us together." Marie, walking dreamily to her apartment, now enjoying the wetness of the warm rain, thinks exactly the same thing.
Ready to resume the mission, tNet begins to practice with their secret weapon: a network coordinated sympathetic vibratory resonance meditation that Rose imparted to them during her final struggles. Becoming a force for good requires connecting with many people in a way that constructively reinforces the network. This harmonic unity is hard to maintain without dogma or an outside enemy but tNet members may think for themselves, question authority, and resist policy.
The success of tNet will not be judged at the level of political power but by the degree to which each member is willing to compromise so the group can maintain a dharmic path. The strongest weapon Rose left them must be grounded in dharma practice to work; naturally aligning ideals and action.
Old Guard Patternists believe strongly in the memes that stir their passions but whose origins they cannot fathom. The Patternist's stated objective is to preserve the pattern. Seeing any shift in the pattern as a threat, they cling to losing, dishonorable positions without employing reason, discernment, or consideration of context.
Marie sets the strategy and loyal followers execute, long on enthusiasm and short on critical thinking. But even Marie, deep in the dark and Gyre, who lurks inside and empowers her, are shaped by the larger frame formed by the Headmaster. Narrowing the scope of their interests to physical pleasures, draining their intelligence for his food, and gathering them together for groupthink, he builds a grassroots movement: first loyalty, then fear; easily steered once in motion. Headmaster wants a herd and not a community, a breeding stock and not a population, a labor force and not innovation, unquestioning consumers instead of do it yourselfers, and everyone endlessly entertained hating everything.
Marie takes calls all morning in her apartment, leaving after a light lunch to meet the marketing team in person for a video edit. The numbers they show her are convincing: once someone surrenders to the OGP mindset they almost never switch positions. The videos she and her team create plant dark seeds in the viewers cognitive cycles. The videos make the viewers feel good about their beliefs and offer guilt free, even humorous, ways to hate on others.
The basal code words the videos implant are "haw, haw, haw" being the level of laughter one experiences when an enemy is publicly humiliated, giving the viewer a peak feeling of superiority. This peak shift from winning amongst equals to eliminating the other fertilizes the OGP grassroots movement.
From an edit suite on the thirtieth floor of a midtown office building, the codes are built that will make suburban parents into zealots driven by fear. The path is so clear, the message so easy, the audience so begging for a concrete message to believe in, that all Marie has to do is nod, laugh, and rake in contributions.
tNet seeks light while OGP prefers shadows.
W brings dharma to the living network and wonders when he will cross paths with Marie.
Marie appropriates patternist contributions to her personal bank accounts and wishes she knew more about W.
Neither can see the connection.