ONCE UPON A TIME FOR TERESA OF AVILA
From the book Aroused: A Collection of Erotic Writings, ed. by Karen Finley. Thunder’s Mouth Press
ONCE UPON A TIME: For Teresa of Avila
Time was running out. Brian returned not only to his upstate, hometown, village life and prelude to
retirement, but to the religion of his youth, Roman Catholicism. Age, lost innocence, near fatalities, poor
judgment and harsh wake-up calls had forced a surrender that only his art had known until then. In
obedience he travelled back, not ahead on his own trail, but back to the sights, smells, rituals and
sacraments; back to a physical posturing, an early, learned stance and awe-filled reticence that helped him
survive his first 17 years in that town of watching and loose-tongued gossip over the clothes line. Remember
it was the 1950s.
1 cabbage sliced thin
3 large potatoes cut small
1 jalapeno, take out seeds if want mild
1 tablespoon mustard seed
1/4 teaspoon turmeric
1 tablespoon coriander powder
lemon juice to taste
Heat ghee. When hot add mustard, chili, turmeric. When mustard pops add potatoes. Stir and cook 8 minutes.
Medium heat. Add cabbage. Cook until both tender. Add coriander. Lemon to taste. Eat with yogurt.
Scrutiny by others was a small price to pay for THE RETURN because in going back he contacted a physical
kinesthesia, an uncontrollable bodily response to mystery and Presence which was swoon-like, ecstasy-like,
liminal-like, back to a spontaneous desire to not move, rather BE moved from within. Brian’s first
”experience” when 10 resulted in what seemed to be a fainting from hunger or overheating. It
happened simultaneously with the Consecration of the Wine at Mass but after that one time, he hid the
feeling deep inside, modeling the Zen-quiet equanimity of the nuns who closely watched their flock,
mentoring stillness both in church and the classroom.
11/2 cups basmati rice
2 tablespoons ghee
2 inch cinnamon stick
2 green cardamoms crushed
Wash rice in cold water until clear. Cover with water and soak 30 minutes. Heat ghee, add rice, stir on
medium, one minute. Add water, spices and boil. Cover on low with lid and simmer about 20 minutes.
When done let stand 5 minutes. Eat with yogurt.
Once back in the same village, Brian’s hippocampus, reptilian brain, inner child and drama-trained skills
reemerged and he attempted to construct himself as he had once been. Given the task of incorporating
tremendous surges of energy into cells habituated to his own proclivities, he found the tug-of-war
fascinating. With scientific observation he noted how he coped his first 15 years: voices were then
punitive, repeating mantra-like, “Hold it in,” “Deny,” “Don’t show off,” “Don’t tell,” and when the ecstatic
force of Visitation washed over his soul-hunger at Mass or during prayer in public he heard, “Tighten up so
the kids kneeling next to you don’t have a clue what’s happening. Only saints faint with love.”
2 cans chickpeas
1 tablespoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon cumin
1/4 cup fresh coriander
Fry onions, garlic and all spices in oil. Add drained chickpeas and lemon juice to taste.
Sprinkle coriander on top.
For 40 years he had been away in lands and mental states of permission and creativity and free intimacy
and desire. As a result he was terribly spoiled. Inclusion of EVERYTHING as permissible provided him with
a playground for his secularized metaphysical flights. Orchestrating things so well , he actually made a living
from doing what he wanted-at least that’s what it seemed; days were an unending banquet, an art
cruise, an uninterrupted ride into alpha and on the way back, he re-arranged the muse’s messages, sharing
CASHEW RICE WITH PEAS
1 cup leftover basmati rice
1/2 cup roasted cashew pieces
1/2 cup frozen peas thawed in hot water
2 tablespoons ghee
pinch of hing (a Hindu spice), and turmeric
In pan put spices and cashews. Stir. Add rice. Stir and heat. Garnish with coriander.
That was then. Encased in shame, the Prodigal Son crashed, came home to the same bed, same house, same
kitchen table but this time something was different. Glued to the TV, he watched re-runs of animal
programs on the Discovery Channel and was heart-softened by one about wild ponies trained to be
used differently. Actually it made him cry; the ropes, the hoofs in the air, the handlers talking their
wildness out until a saddle and bridle and bit, then rider won over the animal’s will. Horse eyes went from
flaming red to sweet surrender. Brian identified and Grace was the rider.
1 cup flour
1 tablespoon oil
Combine all ingredients. Knead and form a ball. Place in bowl for 30 minutes. Knead again and form about 7
small balls. Roll into a 5 inch circle. Use flour if too sticky. Heat until bubbles form and turn, cooking the other
side until it puffs.
Co-trainers there were many; critiques by blood family, his own uncontested memories and an amazingly
wise and semi-cloistered monk who became his spiritual director. Father Gerald had been in India for thirty-five
years and his international experience had karmically prepared him to understand Brian’s soul which was
conversant with and practiced in eastern theologies. So when Brian said Kundalini, Father Gerald translated
it as Gifts of the Spirit; Brian said Vedanta, Father Gerald said Transubstantiation; Brian said Nirvikalpa
Samadhi, Father said Centering Prayer; Brian said Tantra, Father Gerald said Reconciliation; Brian said
Makyo, Father said neurotic hallucinations. And on and on, spiritually echoing each other. It was much like a
religious Berlitz course, a recipe for return and re-theologizing of Brian’s ride back to Presence.
7 cups milk
1 cup rice
1/2 teaspoon cardamom powder ADAM 1/2 SMALLER
1 bay leaf
sugar to taste
raisins/sliced almonds optional
Combine rice, milk, bay leaf. Cook to boil, stirring constantly. When thick remove bay leaf. Add cardamomm ,
sugar, raisins, almonds.
A year into his return home it began again:
He was tossed to the floor-just like before.
The walls whispered messages-just like before.
He floated to the ceiling and beyond-just like before.
He fainted when the Host was raised at Mass-just like before.
To compensate he did three things:
1. He asked am I dreaming? Having a bioelectrical/neurological misfiring?
2. He overate, became heavier and used the logic that said, more pounds, less levitation.
3. He met with Father Gerald and they talked for hours about the difference between demonic oppression
and demonic possession. Once the difference was understood, Brian was encouraged to repeat Hail Mary’s ,
or the Memorare, or command the disturbance to leave in the name of the Blood of Jesus ! Possession
needed exorcism, oppression needed prayer. Father counseled further: ” Learn to pray, Brian, that is your
greatest weapon and don’t get attached to any of this. I want to read you something written by St. John of
“The pure, cautious, simple and humble soul should resist and reject revelation and
other visions with as much effort and care as it would extremely dangerous
temptations, for in order to reach the UNION OF LOVE there is no need of desiring
them, but rather of rejecting them. Solomon meant this when he exclaimed:
“What need has a man to desire and seek what is above his natural capacity?”
This means that to be perfect there is no need to desire or receive goods in
a way that is supernatural and beyond one’s capacity. ” The Ascent of the Cross
7 cups water
7 cups milk
1 cinnamon stick
ginger cut or whole
6 green cardamom, crushed
few black peppercorns
sugar to taste
12-14 full teaspoons black tea or tea bags
Heat milk, spices and water to boil. Let sit 5 minutes. Add tea. Boil again on low for 5 minutes. If in a
hurry, boil and stir it all together for 5 minutes. Strain and serve.
Years of fearless Body Art was good training because now his 630 muscles relaxed when attacked; the 400
trillion cells of his body exuded light when bothered; his cerebrum, cerebellum, cerebral cortex and
hippocampus were no longer overpowered by chaos. Humbled by all the newness and the simplicity of
obedience, he let go of his tensions, forgot about his tortured conscience, and gave up his old proclivities
for the extraordinary. Life quieted itself.
And then, while in prayer one chilly March dawn, he surrendered, submitted, obeyed more intensely,
received and merged when a feather-winged light force wrapped him in a warmth beyond touch, piercing
his side, his hands, his feet, with an invisible knife-tipped arrow.
This is not, THE END.
1 cup rice
1 cup mung beans
4 cups water
Boil all together. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes or until finished.
Linda Mary Montano
What interests me is not only unquestioned Divine ecstasy but also the
neurobiological/psychological/ theological/archetypical/ medical/erotic/ hysterical issues
conversant with mystical states of rapture.