Tag Archives: Religion and Spirituality

Let’s Hotbox and Talk of Parallel Universes

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its too late

its too late (Photo credit: smokershighlife)

Clam-Baking, or what is now called “Hotboxing”, was a way to get higher on dope by shutting the Air Conditioning and rolling up all the windows in a car, then smoking as much ganja as possible, letting the car cloud up so that one would be breathing in THC infested soot with every breath.

My friend and former drummer, Duane and I would get together often at 10:30pm on weekends to devour hot fudge sundaes after a clam-baked car ride.  We’d cloud up the car and inevitably stumble out like a couple of circus clowns stumbling out of a Volkswagon Bug, a thick fog of vaporous, toxic smoke traveling out of the car doors behind us.

We’d come up to get a table…  Duane would murmur, “Uhhh…  two…”  to the hostess.  To which she’d reply, “Smoking or Non-Smoking?”  We’d both grumble, “Uhh… smoking… yeah thanks man…”  (a true wanna-be hippie kid uses the word “man” as a noun, adjective, exclamation and verb… the same goes for modern hipsters or whatever you want to call us)  We’d then sit down to an endless cup of cheap, burnt, caffeinated brown water and begin to chain smoke, spouting out one wild psychadelic idea after another, and sooner or later, we’d eat a hot fudge sundae or something else that calmed the craving that pot often produced (which is aptly called “the munchies”).

Duane and I were always interested in the spiritual side of things.  Marijuana certainly fueled our out of the box ethereal pursuits.  Once Duane and I were talking over a hot fudge sundae, stoned out of our minds on dank weed.  I had what I thought was a profound revelation…

“So check this out Duane…  seriously man!  Listen to me dude!  I’ve figured out the answer man.”  I exclaimed.

“Yeah…  what?”  Duane replied somewhat apathetically, yet with a gleam in his eye.  He knew I loved to think and say totally insane things, and this was definitely going to be another one.

“Like did you ever think we were totally on an atom man?”

“What?”

“An atom bro, like an explosive little sphere…  a MOLECULE!”  It must have looked wild to have my eyes open up so wide when they were so beet red.

“Uhh…  ok.”  Duane muttered.

“Yeah, like we’re on the earth…  right?”

“Yup.”  Duane inhaled a huge hit of his Winston cigarette and blew it out.

“And like, when we die…  if we’re like filled with good karma maybe we go to this next race man…  This race of giant DEMIGODS man.  And THOSE KATS are the ones that LOOK DOWN on OUR UNIVERSE as like a LITTLE ATOM!!!”

“Wow man, that would be crazy man!”  Duane’s interest perked up.

“And guess what too bro, guess what???  Like there could be MILLIONS OF ATOMS in that dimension…  earths just like ours man!  PARALLEL UNIVERSES!  In fact man, in fact bro- think about this…  THINK ABOUT THIS!  What if in ALL THOSE UNIVERSES- two dudes like me and you are having this EXACT SAME CONVERSATION RIGHT NOW!  Isn’t that frickin’ crazy man?”

“Yeah man, and like there’s another dimension beyond that and another beyond that!”

“Yeah, and another below us and another below us!  The atoms we’re looking at in a microscope are like LITTLE UNIVERSES with little beings like people that we CAN’T SEE!!!”

This is the kind of stoned chatter that would fill up a Friday or Saturday night from time to time.  Of course, I’m leaving out all the colorful expletives that we used.  It was thoughts like this that began to birth a spirituality of my own invention.  It was not a spirituality that brought me peace, assurance, clarity, focus, graciousness, love, or purpose.  It was a spirituality that furthered my confusion and existential despair, and yet philosophically justified my personal vices and desires.

I began to write concept albums, searching for the real meaning of life on earth, and reaching out for answers in the universe.  One album actually concluded with the words of the final song “Spiral Dimensia”,

“Don’t stop exploration, the answer will be found.

The mysteries of life will be set free.

Searching for the final answer, all intentions so profound

Feeling insignificant, a speck of dust

On a plane of dimensions

That stretch out longer than in infinity

A never ending spectrum

And we move on with no consequence?

Is there a God who looks upon us?

Are we all alone?

Is there someone out there?”

And they were sung with a raspy, off-key, haunting tone.  My spiritual search had truly begun, right in the middle of drugs pounding my brain.  Who was I?  Where was I going?  Would I even make it past age 20?  Age 18?  Was there some vague power out there?  A demigod?  A Cartoonist who wrote the story of our lives, and was ready at any time to crumple up the pages of the story and throw them into the trash?  Was there any real meaning at all to anything I was doing?  My parents’ had once said in the middle of a fight with each other and me, that if it weren’t for me being around, they’d be divorced.  Did I have a purpose?

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Denoument

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English: Jesus Christ

English: Jesus Christ (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So I sit now, writing this last excerpt on my thirty-second birthday, July 20th, 2013, thirteen years removed from that climactic moment when the Lord of the Universe made Himself known to me as I made myself known to Him.  I’ve been married for what will be nine years this August to an amazing, talented, wonderful girl named Sarah.  We love each other more each day, even through the trials that we face in life.  We have an amazing firecracker of a daughter named Charlotte, who just turned one year old on July 12th.  I have been officially off of drugs for twelve years, if you count a little relapse I had in the summer of 2001.  I have actually never even been legally drunk, because the last time was at the age of twenty.  If you want to see my spiritual story in a nutshell, check out http://benjaminbradfordwhite.wordpress.com/about/.  There you’ll also find other blogs that I write specifically about topics centered on Jesus which also deal with culture, philosophy and other such things.  Obviously you’ll see that it wasn’t a candy-coated journey after my initial “conversion”, because I had so much more to work out and understand.

And I could say the same now and forever.  I haven’t figured God out completely, nor will I ever until eternity arrives in its fullness.  But He has brought me joy that sustains itself through darkness and happiness.  He has given me a hope and meaning that carries me.  It makes me the husband and father I had always dreamed to me, and makes all the negative temporary “highs” that happen in this life, whether from money, kicks, substances, feelings, recognition, power or control, revealed for what they really are- worthless.  The only thing that is of any value is what He has given us, and He has truly given us so much on this earth to be joyful about- like good music, married sex, coffee, and sunrises to name a few.  His power at work in me has truly produced love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in me that isn’t a fabricated, plastic, Ned Flanders phony façade.  They’re rather genuine virtues that have unveiled themselves through suffering and being molded by His power to move my character away from itself and towards His (John 15:1-17).  And like I said, I have so much further to go- in all of these areas.  But I know this one thing for sure, that I can’t wait until I am given a new body that doesn’t desire to destroy, devolve and devour, or as the Bible would describe it, sin (1 Cor. 15).  I know that Jesus will one day return and establish a perfect Kingdom.  I long for this beauty and perfection to be known, and desire to live a life of love and service to His people and all people until it does.

And potentially the greatest freedom of all is knowing that I no longer need to numb myself with drugs or other things to avoid reality.  I have found that the Bible actually explains reality as it is, and though I know I’m viewed as being insane for believing it and embracing it, I have actually found a greater clarity, peace, and love for everyone I encounter because of it.

I love the words of Paul.  He was a man who was once such a religious whacko that he went around trying to murder early followers of Jesus.  He thought they were blasphemers and polluters of the ritualistic Judaism that he thought he perfectly kept.  Jesus got a hold of him, and he became a man who was willing to suffer, be beaten, and driven out of town for his love for Jesus.  I’m not Paul, but I relate somewhat to what he was saying, and I think in most ways he was a normal human being like all of us, not some super saint.  These words prove that.  I’ll end the story with them:

12 I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has given me strength, that he considered me trustworthy, appointing me to his service. 13 Even though I was once a blasphemer and a persecutor and a violent man, I was shown mercy because I acted in ignorance and unbelief. 14 The grace of our Lord was poured out on me abundantly, along with the faith and love that are in Christ Jesus. 15 Here is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners—of whom I am the worst. 16 But for that very reason I was shown mercy so that in me, the worst of sinners, Christ Jesus might display his immense patience as an example for those who would believe in him and receive eternal life. 17 Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory for ever and ever. Amen. (1 Timothy 1:12-17)