I've always liked the title of Jack Kornfield's book about the spiritual path, After the Ecstasy, the Laundry. Whether it's authors attending conferences or spiritual seekers attending retreats and seminars, the high of the lectures, meditations and fellowship often wears off after one gets back home to grocery shopping, laundry and a world that often seems to discount writers' and seekers' insights.
In his introduction, Kornfield writes, "Our realizations and awakenings show us the reality of the world, and they bring transformation, but they pass."
Many years ago, I attended a weekend Silva Method course that taught, among other things, how to meditate and see with your inner eye what your physical eyes cannot see. During and immediately after the course, my friends and I felt a spiritual ecstasy that convinced us we'd been handed the keys to the kingdom. I still use the techniques I learned, but the ecstasy has long since passed.
While many people asked me about the course and were flabbergasted when I could, for example, tell them about people they knew whom I had never met, it was obvious that they also felt I had transformed into a weird, non-normal human being. Even though everyone who took the course could do what I could do, those who didn't take the course saw the knowledge coming from it as parlor tricks, the work of the "devil" or otherwise suspect.
I found it difficult to "stay true" to what I learned when society itself not only discounted it, but viewed the beliefs with contempt. Some of these thoughts were on my mind when I posted What if Harry Potter Bought the House Next Door to You? on my Malcolm's Round Table blog. My feeling was that if Harry moved into the neighborhood and openly practiced magic, he would be persecuted.
The Sun Singer and Sarabande
Robert succeeds on his quest and The Sun Singer ends on a hopeful note. However, by the time my title character finds him in Sarabande, not only has the high of his accomplishments worn off, Robert has all but turned his back on the quest because of the way his parents and friends are viewing his transformation.
Likewise, Sarabande ends on a hopeful note after Sarabande goes through hell on her heroine's journey quest to confront her sister. Like Robert's parents, Sarbande's mother tries to discourage her from going on her journey. Fortunately, Robert came through and helped her, and I remain hopeful that the ecstasy of their suffering and transformations never wears off.
Personally, I think that what one gains from meditation and transformation never really passes away even though the initial high of it cannot be maintained or even recaptured. Kornfield's "laundry" is the reality that we face when we come back from the journey. We just need to remember where we went and what we learned while we were there. I hope my readers feel the same way as they read my contemporary fantasies.