From a session with Barry:
The image and feel of a cannonball surfaces. It’s resistance, personal will. It’s what’s resisting what’s happening, resisting life. I see how I fight it, and it doesn’t work.
It’s in the forehead, head, throat. Then it falls, it sinks down into the belly.
I stay with the image and feel of the cannonball in the belly. The cannonball sprouts, green soft sprouts emerge out of it. The cannonball softens, becomes soil, nutrients for these sprouts.
I stay with the cannonball, the soil, the sprouts. A tree emerges from the cannonball and the sprouts.
Then my whole body sprouts. My whole body becomes soil, nutrients for these sprouts. All of me becomes soil, nutrients.
A while passes. Then the whole Earth sprouts. The whole earth becomes soil and nutrients for the sprouts and trees.
The cannonball, my body, the whole Earth are soil, nutrients for the sprouts.
I am gone. All of me is gone. All of me is soil. All of me is nutrients for the sprouts. It’s all one field of soil, nutrients and sprouts.
At some point during this process, it feels very similar to the scene from The Fountain where the conquistador sprouts – minus the drama. What’s before and after doesn’t quite fit, but that part – 2:50 to 3:20 – is similar. For me, the drama seems to be more in the futility of fighting the cannonball, and not so much in the sprouting.
The sprouting cannonball shows me another way, another way of relating to the process and the resistance than what I am used it. It’s not transcending it. It’s not figuring it out. It’s more about following a natural process. Curiosity. The cannonball falling into my belly, sprouting, my whole body sprouting, the whole Earth sprouting. All becoming soil, nutrients for the sprouts.
I know how to transcend it. I know something about how to love it. I know how to resist the process and making it more difficult for myself. But this is different, it’s another way.
Note: I said that what’s before and after in the movie doesn’t quite fit, but perhaps it does. It doesn’t fit what came up for me during the session with Barry, but I see how it does fit what appears to be the overall process. I also said that for me, it’s without drama. The drama is more in resisting the cannonball. But I also see that there is drama in resisting this process – the process of the cannonball falling into the belly, sprouting, the body sprouting, the earth sprouting, leaving nothing left – it’s all soil, nutrients, mulch for something else, something different. Of course there is resistance to that. It’s a death. Everything human and animal in me will resist, even as it is also what I deepest down want and wish for. Funnily enough, the sprouting cannonball seems also to be an answer to the resistance. It’s another way, another way for the process to unfold, one that’s more aligned with earth, soil, ground, belly. It’s also funny how the conquistador really wants the tree of life and what it offers, and then realizes in terror that it requires everything of him and doesn’t look at all like what he expected. First, he chased the tree, then the process took over and he didn’t have a choice anymore – as if he ever had a choice.
It’s actually very interesting how well that sequence captures the process, or at least one version of the process. First, we chase the divine and when we get a taste of it we want more. We think it’s all we ever wanted. Then the process takes over and it doesn’t look at all like what we expected, and for it to be complete and full it needs to go into the belly and the body. It needs to take over the body. The body – all our stored tensions, traumas, wounds, beliefs and emotions – needs to become soil and mulch for the process. Nothing is left. It takes all of what we are. And it’s not much fun when it happens. Everything human and animal in us resist. I especially enjoy how the process starts from sap entering the wound in the belly, the sprouting happens in the belly and then takes over the whole body, the whole person. Nothing is left. It demands everything.
First, the individual tastes the divine and it’s all it ever wanted. Then the divine takes over, uses the body – stored wounds, traumas, beliefs – as soil and mulch for sprouts, for new life. And this makes it possible for the divine to awaken to itself. It’s not about the human or the individual anymore, as if it ever was.
Note: The cannonball is associated with resistance to the process and “personal will”. It’s as hard, unyielding and futile to wrestle with as I experience personal will. It’s way of transformation is to sink into the belly, become soil, and provide the raw materials for new life.
Another way of telling this story, from an email exchange with Barry:
Just rephrasing to clarify:
Before… [moving to Wisconsin], I had a sense that I needed a dark night to find more a more all-embracing and lived fullness, groundedness. After moving there and it felt very wrong – at a certain level – there was also a sense/thought that this was it. This was the grittiness I needed or longed for.
At some point in our conversation, as we both are quiet, the image of a cannonball appears. It’s related to resistance and personal will, what’s resisting the process and life.
The cannonball falls or sinks into my belly, and then – to my surprise – starts sprouting. I stay with it for a while, then it shifts into my body sprouting, and then the whole earth.
It’s similar to a scene from the movie The Fountain although without the drama. For me, the drama is more in the futility of fighting the cannonball.