The time portal opened when death reached out with his invisible, icy hand to grasp the boy's shoulder. The boy was cornered, certain he was to die. His body hung upside down inside the dumpster, his left leg dangling outside, wedged between the heavy steel lid and the forward lip of the container. The putrid fumes of the adjacent restaurant's refuse burned his eyes and nasal passages as his hands groped for purchase along the slimy bottom, just within reach, squishing on chunks of weeks-old vegetable matter and rat droppings soaked in curdled milk and festering with mold.
He could hear the teenagers' footfalls hastily romping the sidewalk toward the alley down which he had ducked. They were led by his cruel, muscle-bound cousin. He knew they were in a blind rage because he had humiliated them in front of the others. He had denied them this opportunity to make an example of him, to exercise their dominance for no reason whatsoever. Such is the way of bullies, with their amped up bluster, their flailing nunchuks and their flashing switchblades. But he also knew somehow that their pain and confusion were borrowed, that they were acting out a script much greater in scope than their unconscious, unexamined lives, and that the meaning of what was occurring would be clear to him someday. This seemingly alien knowledge sustained him as he waited for his demise there in the dumpster.
His kidneys pumped a relentless torrent of adrenaline into his blood and his heart hammered it into his brain. With his panic reaching a pitch, the boy tried desperately to free his leg while gauging how much time he had until the hoodlum predators rounded the corner. With each pull, the dumpster lid seemed to close tighter, gouging his leg, cutting off his circulation and twisting his body into even more awkward alignment. He finally lost heart and stopped tugging. His inverted body became still. The blood throbbed in his ears, which strained to listen and piece together what was happening outside. His breathing became quick and shallow and his dilated eyes glazed over in abject fear. The shouts and footsteps amplified through the metal walls of the container as he heard his cousin gleefully call, "There he is!"
Time ticked to a crawl as the boy awaited the uncomprehending annihilation. Was it a few seconds or a lifetime, or more? By what criteria were such questions relevant now? The fear and dissociation washed over him, disfiguring his psyche and knocking the universe off its plinth.
Suddenly, the back door of the restaurant banged open and the busboy lumbered through it, hauling a large trash bag bulging with the evening's scraps. "Hey!" he shouted, as he grasped the full meaning of the scene before him. More shouting. Big empty words. Anger. Territorial rage. But finally, as the bullies ran off, only the ghost of their predictable cowardice remained, ineffectually nipping at the boy in unrequited torment.
Salvation. The samaritan rebirthed the boy from the dumpster back into what now seemed a jarringly calm and clean world. The boy began to put himself back together, while knowing that life could never be the same again. Questions with no answers arose. How had he endured this? Why was he still alive? What did it mean? Nearly forty years would pass before the meaning of the event would make itself known, when the other end of the time portal would materialize in the then present and complete the circuit back to this moment.
Sitting bolt erect, the man labored to breathe even while his chest cavity and diaphragm were expanded to their greatest extent. Some infuriating incompleteness stopped his breath from reaching his solar plexus and moving up into his chest. Clearing his mind and letting go of outcomes he lay down on the floor and rested in the warm pool of aetheric honey. That was when he felt the vibration, a disturbance from a great distance.
The sickly feeling advanced slowly upon him, growing in his solar plexus, blaring amidst the stillness. He recognized the nature of what was overtaking him from previous experiences expunging soul sickness, and so he let it come on, stronger, more present, more open to its liberating lesson. Soon he felt he would vomit, not the contents of his stomach, but that of his psyche.
He let the feeling amplify and it began to project as content into his mind. The memory of the dumpster incident nearly forty years earlier crystalized. And as if through a conduit from the past, the exact feeling of that moment was piped into the present time and overtook his entire body and mind. It was no longer just a memory but a mentally and emotionally immersive experience. He was as then in the now; and the now was then again.
The sickly experience flowing forth from the past eclipsed the present almost entirely. He lost sense of place and certainty of person to the putrid nausea. But there remained a simple constant that observed both scenes from an unchanging perspective simultaneously. This observer knew clearly that this was a regressive experience in the then future, in the now present. And the agency of will emanating from this observer formed the conduit through which that feeling of the past came forth.
The observer explored this conduit and, finding it bidirectional, sent love and understanding back to the former version of himself. And the boy in the past used this alien knowledge to weather the storm, to right himself, to collect his shattered mind and to rebuild his self and self esteem. Through this process an outrageous truth became apparent, revealing a whole new realm of consciousness that had formerly been just a nagging half-unremembered wisp of thought.
Truth and consciousness. The latter must always surrender to the former. The man's mind gaped aghast. Time travel, now, always and forever is readily available to every human being. But it was not the usual notion of physical time travel in which the body traverses time and appears elsewhen. Nor was it that of remembering the past or seeing the future with the mind and intuition. This mode of time travel was carried upon feeling. The true and actual feeling of the boy had come through the conduit to the present. And the expansive, wizened compassion of the present day man had traveled back to the boy. The being at either end of the conduit felt the presence of the other, and was thus transformed.
This transformation in their each present, applied to all future and past versions of his being within this lifetime and all others. The realization of time travel retroactively, immediately and permanently altered the succession of moments. The boy had access to wisdom well beyond his years and endurance to pain well beyond his threshold. The man now always knew that the dumpster incident would catalyze the knowledge of time travel. The past and future hosts of his soul out to infinity would now, always and forever coalesce their power for the day the conduit opened, the day that had never not happened, that had slipped from the universe of never having known to that of always knowing. Once this knowledge had self obviated, the love poured into the channel and every past and future incarnation became flush with it. He had graduated from a universe of causality to one of verbs with no tense.
This vantage was virtually too big for his habitual present time being to be-hold. It was as if the volume of a whisper had been turned up beyond the threshold of pain. It was as if a simple substance such as water had suddenly been revealed as a miracle cure-all. It was as if a fog had lifted revealing a vast featureless terrain of self-evident, majestic silence, where had previously been a jaggedly complex temporal order ordained with mystery and sychronicity.
Now, always and forever his access to the feeling of elsewhen had been granted. He could wield the immense power of the love of all versions of himself to retroactively, immediately and permanently heal any trauma in any lifetime, or to relive any ecstasy, or to rest in the underlying serenity. This most incredible truth had been right before his eyes the whole time, and in revealing it, he erased any trace of not knowing it. The timeline of feeling was no longer an objective, constant vector. It was now subjective, discontinuous and under conscious control.
He thought about the pains and joys and sufferings and ecstasys of his life and of humanity. He saw that they did indeed have utility, and that was to provide experiential reference points. He saw that it is our feeling selves that traverse time. He saw that with practice any reference point, not just those of the highest highs or lowest lows, could be a portal through which to travel. He knew now, always and forever that all the versions of ourselves become free of time in that moment, the moment we see, the moment that reunites feeling-power across time.