photo albums of the heart-mind by Mankh (Walter E. Harris III)
- review by Glenn Aparicio Parry, PhD
Our hearts and minds exist outside of linear time, tuned to our unique vibration or frequency. When one of our heart-strings is plucked, particular memories spring to life—but these are not memories in the sense of past recall, for there is nothing past about them. Instead, they are vivid images we see again, for the experience is created anew. When a memory floods the mind in this way, we get wet because it is real.
photo albums of the heart-mind is like this. It operates the way memories operate—not neat and ordered, but raw, spontaneous, always meaningful, and sometimes profound. Mankh cites the story of a seeker who treks to see a holy man who lives in a house in the mountains. When he gets there the humble ‘servant’ shows him inside, around, and then out. The seeker protests, saying,
“I want to see the Holy Man!” The answer is also the punchline: “You already have.”
This story is a metaphor for the experience of reading Photo-Albums of the Heart-Mind. The entire book is a call of awakening, asking us to cleanse the doors of perception and see clearly as we go through life (and the book). Too often, we judge a book by its cover; just like, too often we miss the kernel of life while being distracted by the outer shell. Many of our operating assumptions are false, and they limit what we see. Whatever does not fit our preconceived notions is dismissed, marginalized, or ignored.
To understand life, we must not only look beneath the surface but learn to think that way. When travelling under New York City in the subways, Mankh advises us to think like an earthworm. The ‘lowly’ earthworm has Mother Earth as part of its name; and why not? The earthworm feels water much like Helen Keller did in her awakening to language. It has no eyes but it can see; it has no ears but it can hear— because the earthworm is attuned to the vibration of its mother, Mother Earth, through water.
Again and again, Mankh directs the attention of the reader to see below the surface. Even our most sacred symbols, such as the lotus that symbolizes enlightenment, has its roots in the muck and mire. The janitor, who we dismiss in his menial job, is from “doorkeeper” which Mankh sees as a mystical role in a spiritual order. Mankh points out that the etymology of the word janitor is from Janus, god of doorways; and ianua, ianuas, “door, entrance, gate, arched passage-way” and custodian is from the Latin custodia, or “guarding, watching, keeping, protecting.”
Mankh notes that “One of the modern miracles is surgery to restore eye-sight.” And then asks, “But what about a metaphysical healing so that we may truly see again?” This is what is needed today, as we navigate the apocalyptic times in the original meaning of the word: a revelation or unveiling, in which everything that has been suppressed in the shadows is now coming out into the light.
In the end, Mankh is asking us to travel our life journey with our eyes wide open to where we have come from, so that we can move into the future in a good way, with respect for all, understanding that all of life is our relations (Mitakuye Oyasin in Lakota). The very word “respect,” as Mankh points out, means to look back, to look again. As Aretha sang, “All I’m asking for is a little respect… R-E-S-P-E-C-T.” Thank you, Mankh. You have it from this reviewer.
~ Glenn Aparicio Parry, PhD
Nautilus award-winning author, Original Thinking: A Radical Revisioning of Time, Humanity, and Nature www.originalthinking.us