GLIMPSES OF THE MYSTERY
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In the final, undated entry of her Secret Diary, just after confessing that she knows "exactly who and what BOB is" and that she feels an urgent need to "tell someone and make them believe," Laura Palmer gut-wrenchingly admits to a nearly universal human fear: "I'm so afraid of death. I'm so afraid that no one will believe me until after I have taken the seat that I fear has been saved for me in the darkness. Please don't hate me." (184)
In the first entry of his book on Meditation, Consciousness, and Creativity, just after noting in the introduction that "everything, anything that is a thing, comes up from the deepest level" and that "the more your consciousness is expanded, the deeper you go toward this source," (1) David Lynch draws an epigraph from the Bhagavad-Gita to locate the origin of everything that will follow in the pages to come: "He whose happiness is within, whose contentment is within, whose light is all within, that yogi, being one with Brahman, attains eternal freedom in divine consciousness." (3)
Laura's fears were tragically realized: her story would not be told and believed until, in death, she claimed the seat saved for her in darkness. And yet, here in Part Two of Twin Peaks-The Return, we hear a welcome epilogue to her story: "I am dead, yet I live." And lest we doubt it, in a literal opening of the windows to her soul, Laura removes her face to display a dazzling light within coming up from the deepest level, bathing Cooper in a blinding light that effaces his own facial features as if all individuality has been reclaimed by the unified source from which it emanates.
But this enlightenment is fleeting. For no sooner than we are warmed by it, and we witness Cooper asking Laura for permission to begin his own quest back to the light ("When can I go?"), Laura is borne away from him screaming in terror, indicating that the illumination she revealed to him is as yet deeply buried--her happiness is not yet within her, and there is much farther to travel before the attainment of eternal freedom in divine consciousness is realized.
Cooper is on this journey too. At this point, in fact, he is not only decidedly NOT unified with divine consciousness--he is not even one with himself. After losing a race with his shadow self to exit the lodge, he has been trapped for a quarter century there, as Evil Dale (we now know him as "Mr. C.") has been running amok in the land of the living, fracturing Cooper into yet a third shard of being in the golem "Dougie Jones."
It's comforting to interpret all of this as though it's a story unfolding in a fictional world. And it is, after all, such a story. But there is an unsettling subtext here for those who have the eyes to see it, and its unwelcome lesson is that this war of three selves has battlefields in every human life. Who among us, after all, has not at some point ceded control to our darker selves, allowing them to lock away what is best and deepest within us--even for decades at a time--and to construct facades that mask their evildoing in banalities and vain pursuits that all but assure that our best selves will remain imprisoned within, perhaps even until we have taken the seats we fear have been saved for us in darkness. This is Laura's story. And Cooper's. And ours. We are all on this quest.
Thankfully, we are not alone on this quest. There are those to whom we are responsible, whose desperate pleas for help elicit our empathy, compassion, and resolve. And there are fellow travelers, too--those who bear the inner light on our behalf when we cannot, and those who help us to see the light at those pivotal moments when everything hangs in the balance.
Twin Peaks is full of desperate people, and of light-bearers and seers, too. Cooper's journey back to himself begins, to wit, with a desperate plea from Leland to "find Laura." Cooper's own quest to become whole, then, is inextricably linked to a responsibility to Leland to follow the glimmers of Laura's light and thereby enable her to tell her story and reclaim herself--to help her, as she pleads in her diary, "explain to everyone that I did not want what I have become. I only did what any of us can do, in any situation...my very best." (184)
The light-bearers--those who help to light Cooper's path back to righteousness--are many in Twin Peaks and will no doubt continue to multiply as the series unfolds. To this point, however, three stand out, each one symbolizing an important conduit to the good within us.
Tommy "Hawk" Hill, Deputy Chief of the Twin Peaks Sheriff's Department, symbolizes intuition. For Hawk, the boundaries between self and all are porous and permeable, and this attunement to the world around him and his intimate connections to it often reveals deep significance in the most minute details. Where swaying sycamore trees give way to red velvet curtains and where a coin rolling across the bathroom floor is the key to revealing Laura Palmer's deepest secrets and Cooper's only hope, there Hawk will be at the whetted-edge of attention.
Dr. Jacoby--the quirky pyschologist reborn as the insurgent Dr. Amp--symbolizes insurrection. Recognizing that eternal freedom in divine consciousness requires, first, the reclamation of finite freedom from the forces of institutional corruption and the materialism that sedates us into suborning it, Dr. Amp goads us into digging ourselves "out of the shit"--throwing off the shackles of servitude to our military-industrial overlords--so that we can take our "cosmic flashlights" out from under the bushel and reclaim autonomy.
Sonny Jim, Dougie and Janey-E Jones's son, symbolizes innocence. Sonny Jim seems to be so in touch with Cooper's inner-child that one wonders at times whether he is in fact merely a manifestation thereof. With his goofy smiles, his earnest thumbs-ups, and the resolute comfort he takes in the trappings of an America long ago lost (if it ever existed at all), Sonny Jim lights the way (via cowboy lamp) to some of the deepest of the unsullied places in Cooper's heart.
Cooper has seen some great wonders by these inner lights of intuition, insurrection, and innocence, among them 30 consecutive jackpots at the Silver Mustang Casino, the deceit in a corrupt insurance agent's lying heart, and the dots across a pile of case files that need to be connected in order to bring that agent, Anthony Sinclair, to justice.
Carl Rodd, proprietor of the New Fat Trout Trailer Park (and the old one, too), is the only person other than Cooper, so far, to "see the light" and be moved to action by it, first when he gazes into the majestic tree canopy above him, and then again when he witnesses the spirit of the boy tragically hit by Richard Horne's truck ascending to the sky ("Oh God!") and rushes to his shattered mother's aid as a crowd of bystanders looks on in shock.
Who will see the light next, and where will it lead them?