Unto us a son is given

Pica and Gabriel traveling to Washington – 2018

Yesterday was Christmas 2020 and it was the second one without Gabriel. I thought about the first one, the things I’d written, the feelings that came up, and they are all still quite fresh, despite having a year of life between then and now. Even now, looking at this photo above, my eyes well with tears in seeing his smile and remembering that trip, first to Wisconsin and then as he left towards Washington with my mom. I cherish those memories because new ones will be few.

As I awoke today, on Boxing Day, I started to think about this season and the “Unto us a son is given” that resonates within the Christian celebration of the Yule/Solstice season. A couple of weeks ago, I stepped into a different perception of existence by taking a “heroic dose” (5 g. dried) of psilocybin, and wanted to highlight some of my understanding a few weeks later.

At one point in my HD experience, I (bear with me) was talking about the plane where you (the imaginary reader) are currently. You experience sights and sounds and interact with others, when you choose to, and read news or books, watch movies or shows, and a current event is the clicking of the calendar from 2020 to 2021. This plane of perception, for me, hid the eternality of beings. And it was like a crack in the wall, that I could see through into the next room (or from the next room back into this one rather) and an awareness lit up.

Ram Dass spoke before of perceiving different channels of consciousness in various lectures, but for my experience most recently in the audio book “Becoming Nobody.” And channel 1 of experience is the physical/adjective channel, People are tall, short, blonde, redhead, various skin colors or genders, all of these visually/sensorily perceptible characteristics. Channel 2 is the emotion/role channel: happy, sad, doctor, teacher, nurse, vagabond, writer, photographer, joyful, designer, etc., wherein the societal or communal role a person plays functions as their cognizable identity. Ram Dass speaks of being a therapist and stepping into that role and how people revered him as a therapist, enjoying a high degree of social respectability from others for being a therapist. Channel 3 is (from the link above) the archetype/astrological channel where signs, personalities, and other broader (yet narrow, for example, the Meyers-Briggs personality assessment only has 16 distinct varieties) brushes to paint consciousness. Once we arrive at Channel 4, we move past what he refers to as “matrices of individuals” and begin to see the eternal.

He humorously refers to a connection with another person in Channel 4 at this point in the clip. You can look into the eyes of another being and see them looking back at you. While this refers to the physical/sensory perception of “seeing” it’s a deeper experience than mere looking. Ram Dass says, “Oh are you in there? I’m in here. How did you get there? Far out.” And here, I want to jump back towards my HD perception of reality.

I had been grieving losing Gabriel for an indeterminable period of time. While influenced by psilocybin, by the clock, it might have been 2 hours, but it felt like decades within that experience. It felt like I’d gone through a mental breakdown in this grief, and a soft voice outside of myself comforted me saying, “Of course. This is natural. Anyone would breakdown from such a loss. It’s alright. You’re okay.” And then my eyes popped open. I ran my fingers through my buzzed hair, tossing my legs off the side of the bed, and rejoined my friends in the living room.

Once in the living room, I was trying to explain to the eternal Joan what my grief was like and what it was about. I said that we were married in that other reality (where my grief transpired) and that we had five children and that we’d lost the youngest of them, and his name was Gabriel. I was explaining this to her as if she were already in the eternal and might not have had the same experience in this world as I’d had. I told her that I cried, and grieved, and wrote about that grief and it weighed on me like 10, 000 pound anchors. And waking here now, I realized that I’d been under the illusion that Gabriel (or any of the kids) had been born to us and now I’ve come to see that Gabriel was another eternal being, like we are, and had taken birth that appeared to be consequent to our union. He had chosen to live with us for 18 seasons or marks of time that we called “years”. And had then moved back into the eternal being-ness. Now (in this living room conversation), I understand that he had always been and always will be and that I really had grieved under the weight of an illusion of loss.

I had thought that “Unto us a son was given”, and now I could see that Gabriel took birth with us, to be with all of us (parents, siblings, friends – all of the three channels of consciousness) and had then returned to channels beyond those perceptions.

By no means, would I seek to lessen the genuine sorrow and grief that people experience in losing a loved one in this life. Whatever the narrative or my understanding, Gabriel has left and I daily feel that absence. Just as I would with any of my kids, close family, friends, or other loved ones. What I experienced though, about another existence was undeniable, both then and now, a few weeks later. Maybe it was the effect of the drugs. Maybe it really was peering through a crack in the wall into the next room. Whichever, the effect has been that I miss that soul Gabriel, and the things that he brought into this existence, but I feel the loss, just a little bit less.

Gabriel’s Hazel in Santa Cruz, CA

During this solstice, I was able to visit a hazel tree we planted last year and left a bamboo urn of his cremains. I sat for awhile in silence. I cried a bit. I spoke with him about his siblings, his family, and about my own emotions and just shared some time sitting beside his growing Hazel tree and appreciating the view across the hillside, into the dotted blue and white skyscape.

I look forward to seeing the eternal Gabriel and knowing him in that after-space.

8 thoughts on “Unto us a son is given”

  1. Thank you for sharing this experience with your readers. I think of your journey and your loss more often than you know. It was good to hear where you are in that journey right now.

    1. Thank you, Marci. The community has been incredibly supportive and loving. Grateful for you and all of them.

  2. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience. I am so sorry for your loss. You have been through so much loss within your life. I admire you for being so resilient and for the contributions you give to others. Take care my friend.

  3. I love this piece so much. “I understand that he had always been and always will be and that I really had grieved under the weight of an illusion of loss.” Wow. So powerful. Like you — for different reasons — I grieve each Christmas as I sing along to “For unto us a son is given.” Big love.

  4. You’ve been operating on a different plane since the day we met, brother. But I appreciate your willingness to be the crack I have peered through from time to time. Your transparency through this loss is both heartbreaking and comforting.

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