Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a Time by JJ Semple
Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a Time is a memoir set in France, India, and the East Coast of the USA.
A childhood accident robs the author of his talents and memory, inducing a slow deterioration and eventual disequilibrium. Years are wasted. Lost days and nights, alcohol, drugs, and futile sexual encounters. The proverbial search for meaning that only gets further and further away from the root of the problem.
In Paris, seeking to rediscover his lost ablity to play music, a young girl gives him a copy of The Secret of the Golden Flower. Unaware that it contains a workable method for recovering his lost talents, he puts it aside for a whole year before reading it.
Initially befuddled by the arcane wording, he spends two years deciphering the text, eventually dropping everything to devote himself to the practice of meditation. This practice leads him to discover a safe, reliable method of activating kundalini, which allows him to rebuild his body, integrate the various parts of his being, and recover his talents.
…That these men,
Carrying, I say, the stamp of one defect,
Being nature’s livery or fortune’s star,
His virtues else, be they pure as grace,
As infinite as man may undergo,
Shall in the general censure take corruption
From that particular fault.
~ Hamlet—William Shakespeare
I have a first memory, one of the few before my accident. I run into our Manhattan townhouse, right through my mother’s cocktail party. I’m upstairs before she can ask me about the birthday party I’ve been to. I shut the bathroom door, take off my Eton7 jacket, stuff it in the toilet and start to flush.
When my mother connects my absence to what she later calls “a plumbing noise,” she quietly excuses herself from the party and follows me upstairs.
“I found you in the bathroom. You were shoving your Eton jacket down the toilet, frantically pulling the lever.” I love my mother’s version; she gets so into it she doesn’t realize she’s mimicking my movements and switching tenses. “But the damn jacket won’t go down. You’re working so hard you don’t even hear me come in. Your face is beet red, there’s water all over the floor and your little arm was half-way down the toilet.”
“What did you do, Mummy?” I ask the same questions every time; it’s all part of the reenactment.
“Well, I grabbed your arm and pulled you away, dear.”
“What did I say?”
“You said, ‘I want to wear a jacket with a collar.’ That’s when I decided it was time for you to go away to school.”
“Only babies wear jackets without collars,” I say.
My mother laughs, “Children don’t notice clothes; they just wear them. I’ll never understand why you were in such a hurry to get rid of that nice Eton jacket. Marched straight through the living room and up the stairs—without so much as a word.”
It’s one of those ritualistic memories that get blown up to family myth, almost as if my mother is talking about someone else. And yet, although I don’t remember the incident like a teenager remembers his first kiss, it fits. It’s the first manifestation of me being I. Perhaps some kid said something about my jacket. Perhaps I made it up because my father wore jackets with collars and I wanted to be like him. In any case, it’s the reason I got sent to boarding school at the age of five.
• • •
I have another memory. Two years later. I’m in the Fetterden School locker room. The usual after-football-practice routine. Taking showers, getting dressed, a lot of yelling and roughhousing. Four of us in a tight circle, snapping towels at each other’s private parts. My towel is heavy from the puddle of water it’s been lying in. Its sting will be extra painful.
I’m dodging attackers on all sides. I duck a blow at my backside just as a shot to my ribs lands harmlessly. An instant’s respite, a split second for my counter. Thwack! I can tell from the snap sound I’ve landed an elimination blow. The victim howls in pain and falls to the ground in a lump. One down, two to go. Outraged by the viciousness of my blow, the pack turns on me.
Pursued by six angry, towel-waving boys, I run out of the locker room. In my rush to escape, I slip and crash into the wall. I’m squatting down, examining my ankle, when my teammates come up. As soon as they see the blood oozing out, they head back to the locker room, as if to say, “Serves you right.” My ankle is numb and already starting to swell. I look at the baseboard. A sliver of wood about three inches in length is missing. At that instant, I know the missing shard of baseboard molding is lodged in my foot from heel to toe. I’m quite familiar with the story of Achilles. Perhaps, if I keep quiet I won’t suffer his fate.
I limp back to the deserted locker room, lift my foot to the sink and wash the wound with cold water. Then I dress myself and hobble to the toilet, leaving a trail of red drops across the gray linoleum floor. I stuff toilet paper into my sock to soak up the excess blood, wipe up my bloody tracks, and head to the infirmary.
On my way to the infirmary, I make the most important decision of my life. For reasons known only to a seven-year-old, I decide not to tell anyone about the splinter in my foot. In retrospect, I can’t remember exactly why I refused to tell. Did I really believe the Achilles myth? It’s too long ago and too muddled. But I do remember a particular fear of splinters. Perhaps, it was the way my mother always extracted them, slitting the skin with a razor blade, or poking at them with a needle in order to expose a tip to grip with the tweezers. And as deep as this splinter was, I knew it would hurt. Perhaps, it was a ploy to force my mother to remove me from boarding school. So even under tough questioning by the nurse, I refuse to disclose its presence.
After she bandages me, I limp back to the dorm. The next morning the foot of the bed is soaked with blood. I go back to the infirmary. The nurse changes the bandage. That day I stay in the infirmary and, when my blood refuses to coagulate, the nurse gets anxious. A doctor examines me. That evening the doctor calls my mother in New York.
The next day I’m on a train to New York with the nurse. My mother meets us with an ambulance and off we go to Doctor’s Hospital. That’s when things get murky. All I remember is the doctors—the best pathologists and specialists in New York—can’t find the splinter. I know it sounds amazing. But since I never say anything, it remains there, packed away in my foot.
Later on, long after the incident, my mother explains that wood doesn’t show up in X-rays or in the fluoroscope8 machines they used at the time. It doesn’t sound credible to me, but what do I know?
My condition becomes critical. I go into a kind of comatose state, receiving blood transfusions and penicillin injections every four hours. Still I refuse to tell. And because the wound won’t heal, pus oozes from my ankle and I have to be helped to the bathroom. Eventually, I am unable to go by myself. Attached to feeding and evacuation tubes, I lie in bed unaware of what is going on.
My mother is frantic. She harasses the doctors who are doing the best they can. Of course, my refusal to talk doesn’t help; it makes them suspicious. They pressure my mother. I have a vague recollection of confessing to my mother, but only after swearing her to secrecy, making her take an oath never to tell anyone. Given my confused state, even today I don’t remember whether I really told her.
I often wonder if that’s why I was sent to Florida to live with my father and stepmother. Perhaps, it was my mother’s way of keeping our confidence and taking care of the splinter at the same time. But if that’s what really happened, it cost her dearly in the never-ending game of parental politics that divorced spouses play.
• • •
I wake up in a Florida state of mind. Almost by the fact of being in sunny Hobe Sound, the wound heals over. That’s when I kind of snap back, about three months in all before I stop being delirious. Sealed inside, the splinter no longer bothers me. I resume walking without pain.
My father puts me in the one-room schoolhouse right on the beach. It’s the only school I ever liked. I don’t have to make much of an effort; I’ve already done the work at boarding school. In fact, I am so far ahead, I pass the time watching the girls. It’s my first exposure to the opposite sex. Boarding schools in the 40s weren’t co-ed.
Of course, the splinter’s still lodged in my foot, and unbeknownst to me, wreaking havoc with vital nerve conduits. Visits to the local doctor are routine, until the day Dr. Larson announces, “There’s a splinter in your foot.”
“A splinter?” I exclaim, feigning surprise.
“Wood always works its way out. We can see it now.”
“I don’t know how those New Yawk bozos missed it,” says my father. “The money your mother wasted. Don’t you remember it going in?” My father’s always suspected I was hiding something, but by this time, I’m an expert at deflecting his questions.
“No, Dad. I was running from these boys. I never saw anything. Guess it broke off inside. I didn’t know wood worked its way out.”
“Well, it does and I’m going to take it out,” says the doctor. “The nurse will give you something. A few days and you’ll be back in the water. In fact, salt water should do it good.”
The nurse walks toward me, holding a mask. The next thing I know, the doctor is standing over me, shaking a jar of liquid with a fat three-inch splinter inside.
“You want it?” he asks.
Groggily, I look at it. “No,” I say, turning toward my father.
“Bet you feel a couple of pounds lighter,” he says.
• • •
A few months later, I ask my father if we can go to a movie, the new John Wayne western.
“We can see it tomorrow before you go back up North,” he replies.
“Back up North?”
“You’ve been down here six months. You’re behind. Keep it up and you won’t get into Yale.”
“I really like this school, Dad.”
“You like the girls, you mean,” says my stepmother.
“You need a good school, back East,” says my father. “With team sports and accreditation.”
“School’s fun here…”
“School’s not meant to be fun. You didn’t think you were going stay here forever, become a plumber and live on a boat, did you?”
JJ Semple is the author of three books of paranormal non-fiction that deal with kundalini, meditation, consciousness, alchemy, and mindfulness, and their effect on human evolution. His first book, Deciphering the Golden Flower One Secret at a Time, is an auto-biographical memoir of his Kundalini awakening. His second book, The Backward-Flowing Method: The Secret of Life and Death, takes an expanded look at an optimal method for activating Kundalini in a safe, permanent, and repeatable fashion over the course of a single lifetime. The Biology of Consciousness: Case Studies in Kundalini examines the paranormal aspects of consciousness and its relation to human biology and to the transmission of paranormal abilities to future generations through DNA.
JJ Semple’s formal education includes studying English Literature at the University of Pennsylvania and George Washington University, and a master’s degree in marketing from Hauts Etudes de Commerce in Paris. His personal education involves yogic and paranormal practices and exploration inspired by a wide variety of teachers, writers and philosophers, including Gopi Krishna, Milarepa, Carl Gustav Jung, Leo Tolstoy, and Lao Tse.
He is the founder of Life Force Books, a publishing company featuring books on the neuroplasticity aspects of Kundalini and helpful guidelines for living with Kundalini.
Sneak Peeks are our way of helping readers find new books and authors and get previews. Please share and/or comment! Thank you!