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Society, freedom, and transformation: travels in Clayoquot Sound, Tofino, and Flores Island

excerpted from IN AND OF: memoirs of a mystic journey, by Jack Haas


              I would head out into that brilliant and impossible land, losing myself in the intoxicating earth and the natural life, and then come home, over and over again; I would leave and return, repeatedly, always carrying out, and then following back in, the Ariadne’s thread of the Self, back to a city changed and become less friendly towards a me who was no longer the same as the one who had set out.

                And so it was always hard to find myself again, after my time away from the world- because I returned as something other than what I remembered myself to be; it was as if, because I had chosen to pendulum between opposites- diving into humanity, and then resurfacing, again and again, into the natural world- that I had to quickly learn the art of pragmatic amnesia, or else I would have spent my whole life trying to be what I no longer was; I had to forget what I had been, and be who I had become.

                This is the way of perpetual transformation, the way to the eternal liquid life. Which is to say, it is the way …of Life.

                The self which adheres to form or conception dies within its own rotting womb. For the inmost self can neither be captured nor named and therefore needs no permanent residence in the form. The inmost self holds to no image nor finitude, and therefore can ever change and still remain the same. And if you come to live from the inmost self rather than the outer form, you find yourself becoming fluid as the wind, and supple as the sea.

                At those times when I would finally break away, leaving the vortex of society, and the identity it encumbered me with, behind, I would know somewhere deep down in the lost requiems of my soul that I had left the world only so as to experience myself again, for I knew I was not whatever I had to become so as to mingle and cavort with others in the world of separation and identity, and I was determined not to know myself as such.

                And so the sojourns out into the wilderness, time and time again, to die again and again, leaving behind the self they said I was- to die away until the only thing left was whatever I truly was-  were the continuing chapters of my life as a gypsy of the woods. Never have I been able to stay amongst a group of people who have a rigid concept of who they are, but that is the hard reality of learning to thrive in the living flow through the dead stasis of mankind.

                I recall being out on Flores Island- one of the outer islands populating Clayoquot Sound, on the west side of Vancouver Island- in the early spring. I recall having been driven out there by a greater will than my own, forcing me out and away, to face the loneliness again, because to not face it meant to lose the beauty, the wonder, the message, the dream, and instead to face only the cold stare of concrete and plaster. And so I thumbed and bussed my way out to Tofino, walked down to the government wharf, jumped on a water-taxi destined for the native town of Ahousat, and from there marched for two hours out to the wild coast. There, alone, I spent the next four days, walking up and down the brilliant expanse of untrammeled, driftwood-laden, wind-whipped beach, with the surf crashing, eagles soaring overhead, and not another soul in sight. No one.

                Where was everyone, I wondered? In a place as incredible as this, with a brilliant break in the weather. Why am I the only one out here- one of the most peaceful and beautiful places on earth- where are you my people? my kin? my peers? my fellow wanderers, sisters, brothers, and freedom lovers of any kind, where are you? It was maddening. Everyone else was locked away in comfortable cement mausoleums, under warm duvet blankets, with toast and eggs, coffee and light conversation awaiting them in the morning, and I was out there under the moon, alone, marching up and down that glorious beach, trying to burn the madness of a world gone wrong out of me.


excerpted from:

author Jack Haas, west coast British Columbia wilderness, ocean forest island



IN AND OF: memoirs of a mystic journey

by Jack Haas



















Mystical books, visionary art, and fine art photography by Jack Haas




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