Rafting on the Stream of Consciousness

by Erin Yes

[Editor’s note: This is an an early excerpt from the novel Tally: An Intuitive Life. I would recommend reading her article “Living Alive” first, simply to acquaint yourself with the ideas and characters that appear in this piece. –RC]

I asked him what he meant by “living alive.”

“Living alive, in its simplest form,” Tally said, “is a matter of consciousness, specifically of the experience of living as it occurs.”

I was so concerned with carrying on his work, his legacy, being his living inheritance, that again I had lost sight of my own perspective and beliefs.

In the spring I had a dream in which I saw my stream of consciousness.

“I had a dream about the stream of consciousness,” I told him. “I was at the top of a hill, watching people get into small boats and raft down a stream, and I became more intrigued because they seemed to be so gleeful, and people kept encouraging me to try it. So I got into this little skiff and started down, and the stream crisscrossed the hill going downhill faster and faster, but even though I was going fast I could see everything below me in the water, and on the river bottom, as if in slow motion. I felt like I could pick out each individual thing. The water was extremely clear and there were living things in it, and a feeling of being completely alive in the moment but knowing it’s passing. It was beautiful.”

As I glided from the top of the hill where people stood talking toward the bottom in a sinuous track, looking into the stream I saw and experienced and apprehended things as they went by. Mysteries began to be revealed through a voice speaking, the speakers’ revelations and reasoning following me downstream, but affecting me less and less as all sorts of beautiful and unusual objects and living things were in the stream, and I was mesmerized by them, by my connection to them without physicality, each as it passed by. I woke up with a feeling of amusement at the experience/analysis and an overwhelming awareness of beauty.

“Rafting on the stream of consciousness.” He laughed, and I was glad to see the pain in his face and body ease.

“In retrospect even though I saw many things,” I said, “I don’t think I had the time to take in a lot of them. They were vivid and wonderful, though, and more than just impressions. I don’t think I had any inclination to reach out and capture, to possess any of them.”

This dream made me conscious again of myself as separate from Tally/TE, and that I am more of a poet and he more of an intellectual. They reminded me that I am not like him, not his identical twin. I experience the world differently. Since then, I have been able to work with him.

We worked on this:

One tries to penetrate one’s stream of consciousness as much as possible, for there are layers and levels and aspects to it (as with all things).

We can attend to only so much of what is happening in our lives at any one instant, so we unconsciously select from the great array, and these fragments become our memory.

Becoming conscious of one’s life as one lives it, or as nearly as one can, is the aim of the intellectually perceptive person.

Tally had been referred to a young female psychologist. His descriptions of her visits were amusing. He had a different concept of the mind from psychiatry’s concept.

“In one case,” he clarified, “you have the stream of consciousness running continuously in your consciousness, not your mind.”

“Do you think consciousness is separate from the mind?”

They are connected, he said, but one is cosmic and the other individual and limited. “Most people think that the mind directs their actions and words, but the mind has almost nothing to do with it, whatsoever, and that’s the reason the whole psychological system as taught is fallacious. Dr. M. is a nice young woman, except that she has old-fashioned prejudices that are absolutely unbearable to me. She asked me, you’re a fighter, aren’t you? I said, No, of course I’m not a fighter. I’ve never fought for anything in my life. If I have to fight for it, it’s not worth getting.”

I knew he would say this, because of the time lost in hostility and the cost to his innocence.

“What were you supposed to be fighting for?”

“I was supposed to be a fighter for my own life. Then she brings on this: where is your faith? I said, What do you think I’ve been going three years and ten months on, if not faith? Her ideas are very old-fashioned and cut and dried.”

Tally called Rogue and got Bardette.

“Listen, B, I’ve misplaced my paranoia. Looked everywhere. Can’t find it.”

She giggled.

“Rogue was here yesterday, may he know where I lost it?”

“Rogue is downstairs. I’ll have him call you when he comes up, in a few minutes. Maybe he can help.”

A little later Rogue called back.

“Mission accomplished.” Tally smiled at me.

I answered with my own smile.

“I thought of Rogue and his contribution because it was very strong,” Tally said. “We spent hours and hours and hours of word play, back and forth talk. Many of my ideas were developed through ideas which he indicated to me were worth developing.”

Memo to Eyes arrived soon after. “If she thinks she can outwit the tender thread of human relationships, the old man wonders what she has to learn.” And then cryptically, “Love has far more potency, even if a delusion, than any other human experience.” It was signed, “The Writer.”

“I know you want the Company to succeed,” I told him, “but why are you hanging on to it like life itself?”

“Three of us formed the company; one leaves. But the company is in tune with the universal stream of consciousness.”

“I’m not sure I feel that.”

“When we work together, we reaffirm it. Rogue has grown separate in his freedom from the two. The new world begins for the company.”

Immediately he wrote to Rogue: “You know, Rogue, the old man well knows your personal relation (separate) with Eyes, hers with you. Separation at this time is obviously necessary. In separation, we three live, reaffirm and have a future together until the old man goes underground, then Rogue and Eyes will continue. The eternity of human relationships.”

© Copyright 2011, 2013 by Erin Yes

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