Expanded account of grizzly bear encounter

  • Expanded account of grizzly bear encounter

    Posted by Jeff Verge on May 15, 2024 at 3:06 am

    This is an expanded account of my direct experience of hemisphere theory, as well as much of Part III of TMWT (time, consciousness, matter, nature, spirit and the sense of the sacred, to name a few.)

    While I don’t presume to prove anything, it is my hope that if I convey good, true and beautiful then that speaks for itself. That’s my aim anyway, even if I must inevitably fall short.

    The original assumes familiarity with Dr. McGilchrist’s discovery while this expansion makes no assumptions at all on the part of the reader.

    I can’t say if you’ll enjoy reading it. Some people raved while some remain indifferent, and who responds how continues to surprise me. (My teenage son loved it which is my primary measure of success.) All I can say is you’ll know on the first paragraph if you want to read more.

    I came to this site today not sure if I would post this or delete everything. When I started this group I hoped we’d hear stories of hemispheres coming alive but perhaps this experience is even rarer than I thought. I’ll leave it up if it’s of value to anyone, but if not I may take it down for being just too weird for this world.

    In the meantime, I hope you will find a sense of just how immanent and transcendent this awesome and wondrous experience was. I feel blessed to have known these few hours of my hemispheres working together in harmony and resonance, and so I thought I would share what that was like with my fellow students.


    (A pdf is attached in case you’re interested but would rather pass on the online version.)

    Jeff Verge replied 5 days, 18 hours ago 2 Members · 4 Replies
  • 4 Replies
  • Shannon McCarthy

    May 18, 2024 at 2:25 am

    Hi Jeff,

    Wow! What an encounter! You are blessed. A mother grizzly with her cub?! I would not expect many to come back from that able to tell the tale. There’s a lot there.

    Long time ago I interviewed many people in South Africa. All kinds of people. I really liked almost every single person. What made them so dear? I thought and thought for a long time, trying to figure out what they each held in common, and could find only two things: a post-apartheid country and exposure to apex predators. I began to think about this more a few years back, pondering my own childhood by the swamp full of gators and later by the sea with the sharks. We knew we could be eaten. That does something to a person. You describe it wonderfully! I’m grateful you have this beautiful story to tell.

    And it fits so nicely with how Iain says the LH grabs and gets, and the RH looks all around at the whole environment. When we are at risk of becoming prey, the emissary may only then cede to the real master.

    • Jeff Verge

      May 19, 2024 at 12:06 am

      Thank you so much Shannon! My concerns about whether or not I would be understood are vanished. Glad I put this up.

      Yes, I think you’re exactly right. It is humbling and healthy to see ourselves through the eyes of other creatures that could kill us and eat us if we’re not mindful of our instincts and surroundings (and even then if we’re unlucky). And yes again, I was struck right away at how quickly and seamlessly the LH lined up in its proper place, listening instead of talking, as soon as a real threat appeared.

      I feel like gazing at a sky full of stars is humbling and healthy in a similar way – some say it makes them feel small and inconsequential, which I understand because I feel that too, but I also feel a huge expansion, becoming as big and as old as the night sky itself, as if we could meet the heavens halfway.

  • Shannon McCarthy

    May 18, 2024 at 2:55 pm

    Hi again, Jeff, just read your account again. I love all the subtle details you share, especially the balance between looking big and strong to her/ defending your food, while communicating your awe and respect. I was telling my eleven year-old son this morning about your encounter, and he said, “Mom that has to be a joke. A grizzly mother bear with her cub?” He just finished reading a book about grizzly attacks. I assured him that it was real, then told him about your sense of being unified with the mountains and the woods. He said, “Wow maybe I’ll feel like that today.” He’s going camping with his Boy Scout troop in the New England woods.

    My friend told me that his guru says that peak states can never be over-recalled, that we should contemplate them as much as possible so that they elevate our everyday consciousness to their higher plane.

    I did have an experience when I was 21 that was kind of similar. When Jill Bolte Taylor’s Ted talk came out after it happened, that was the first time I wondered if it was a hemisphere-based event. I was crossing the street on my bike in gridlocked traffic (or so I thought). I failed to see the car speeding in the left hand lane, and it struck me. The left side of my body smashed against the car, and I soared upside down through the air for a long time. Time dilated, and I saw a vast web of lines, like a web of lovingness. My body was filled with ecstasy to know and be known by this beautiful is-ness. Each juncture of the lines had a bell, a bell unlike our mechanical ones, instead knowing bells of subtle abilities that could ring-speak near or far depending on the needs of the loving responsive web. I said, “but I don’t want to die,” knowing the fate of watermelons dropped on concrete. The web coagulated into an angel, which embraced my body, and the angel landed me in a miraculous way- first bouncing perfectly vertically on my helmet, then rolling so that my backpack and the groceries it held absorbed the impact and road lacerations. I do have injuries from it, but I have life. For weeks I could only think of life in terms of the field. A glorious wonder that we are. Then I fell into a dark depression. I white knuckled my hold on life for a year, mostly by reading Hafiz in Daniel Ladinsky’s translation, The Gift. I later came to Vedanta and the Net of Indra and was over the moon to read Iain’s mention of it in the Sacred chapter in the Matter with Things.

    • Jeff Verge

      May 19, 2024 at 1:10 am

      Wow thank you again Shannon. That you would read it twice and discuss it with your son is such a huge compliment. I am grateful to hear it.

      When I was eleven I would read anything I could find about shark attacks :). Much of what I know about grizzly bear encounters I only learned recently, but there are a few things I would note for anyone interested: 1: Avoid surprising them. Most encounters that go badly are surprise encounters. If you’re making noise that identifies you as human, most often they will quietly move away and you’ll never even know they had been there. 2. If you do encounter one, surprise or not, do not run. Never run from a grizzly bear. There is a high probability that running will trigger their prey response and they can run much faster than a human. Talk to the bear in a low soothing voice if you can as it will be listening for clues of your intentions. Remember you smell and taste gross to them and they only want to eat you if they’re starving, otherwise they’ll only get angry enough to attack you if they feel threatened. 3. If you’re ever unfortunate enough to encounter a mother and cubs up close, try not to get between them as that’s the most dangerous place to be. In my case Momma let it happen because she’d already investigated me and knew I wasn’t out to hurt anyone, but in most cases she won’t have the opportunity and she won’t take the chance. 4. If you have a dog with you, make it shut up quickly if you can. A yapping, snarling, aggressive dog, who will engage fearlessly with a bear because it loves you deeply and is a pack animal, can take a mellow bear and agitate it very quickly. Something like this (it’s held to be likely) happened to a couple late last year not too far from where I met Momma.

      I expect your son will feel the unity. After all, the unity wants that too :). I feel your friend and guru have it exactly right, I’m sure I thought about this peak experience every day in the almost two years since..

      I won’t go into details here but hearing of your accident, which sure does sound like a hemisphere-based event, gives me occasion to reflect on my own accidental experience which was something quite opposite, a wrenching away from unity to unipole LH detachment. Nature was my healer, long before I met Momma. In my twenties I started to learn about ancient ways of being and learned of one way to cultivate unity: When you meet a deer, or see an eagle circling above, or even with the trees, mountains, water or sky, imagine you are one with them and you can sense and feel from their perspective. What do you sense and feel?

      My partner as it happens is steeped in Hafiz and the Sufi poets. For my part I probably read more about the poetry than the poems themselves, which I will soon rectify by starting with Daniel Ladinsky’s The Gift. I had only casual acquaintance with Indra’s Net before but I am dazzled by Iain’s rendering of the idea and now it’s an image I contemplate often.

      I’ve gone on too long ! A glorious wonder that we are: beautiful way you put it. Thank you again. I hope your son comes back buzzing with wonder and enchantment and longing for more.

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