The last story, A Gentle Invisible Force, is the final post of the original series. The next post will begin the entire cycle again, with new stories and commentary interspersed, as before.
If you joined the party late, I think you will find the genesis of this project quite interesting.
Now that the book is finished and published*, hopefully I’ll find more time to channel some new narratives. Stay tuned!
Thanks, as always, for your continued support.
Yippeeeee!! The book is live on Amazon!!! (click link to purchase)
I was hoping to keep the price down but It’s nearly 400 pages so printing is expensive. Sorry!!! Nevertheless, I’m quite pleased with the way it came out. What I particular love about the book format is that you can randomly open to any story, and depending on your mood and where you are in your life at that moment, you may find different meaning in it each time.
Positive feed back on Amazon would be MOST appreciated!!! (hint, hint!)
It would thrill me no end if small groups of people got together regularly (like a book club) to discuss some of the stories as jumping off points to their own deeper understanding of themselves and of life. I’d love it if teachers assigned the book to students, then asked the students to write their own life story in a similar format. Therapy patients could benefit from a similar exercise. I invite actors to use the stories as monologues and writers to use them as jumping off points for books, plays, or movies. Truly, I hope this book finds some life outside the blog. I’d be most appreciative for any help you might offer in spreading the word/work.
Thank you ALL for your loyal support and feedback. Gail, you see I took your advice re the cover. And Lino, I took your advice about arranging the stories in a way so that each one informs on the one before and after it, (unlike the blog, where they are published as they come to me.) Both excellent suggestions!
When I was young, I was sure I would someday come to wide acclaim. I was certain my genius would be recognized by a great number of people. I imagined my work being discussed among the intelligentsia at cocktail parties in distant cities, long after I was dead.
I expected I would soon be able to earn a living through my own work and never have to trade my labor for a wage. I wanted to be paid very generously, not because I needed to be rich, but as proof of how much others valued my talent.
I never doubted that this would eventually come to pass. My own self-worth was never in question.
For decades, I worked hard to make a name for myself. I honed my craft. I charmed and cajoled to get my work seen, produced, written about. Generally, I received excellent reviews. Sometimes, here and there, I made a big splash but it never turned into a tsunami. I still had to work for others in order to support myself.
I watched others succeed in big ways. I cannot deny my resentment. Many rose to the top because of who they knew or because of family money or because of who they slept with. Fame requires a cleverness at selling oneself as a commodity; a willingness to do the bidding of those who can grant favors; a strong inclination to push aside whoever and whatever stands in the way.
It was one thing to put myself out there, but I was unwilling, on principle, to whore myself. I believed my work deserved to stand on its own.
For decades, I felt myself to be on the cusp of being discovered, but eventually it became too much of an effort to chase elusive, ever-receding fame. This requires the unbridled optimism, energy and naiveté of youth. There was already a second and third crop of hopefuls behind me. My window had closed.
I never stopped creating. Until the end, I had a small group of admirers, many of whom were strangers to me, personally. I learned to be satisfied with this. My audiences grew smaller but I became more grateful for each and every one. Once in a while, I’d get a letter saying how much someone had enjoyed my work, or how it had influenced their own.
I suppose, in the end, that’s all an artist really wants. To leave a legacy. Our work is our contribution to greater human understanding. We want our footprints to remain after we have moved on.
The other night, I was rereading Robert Monroe’s classic, Journeys Out of the Body which I’d first read in college, and have re-read several times over the years. (The subject has been a fascination of mine since high school.) In his book, he mentions Sylvan Muldoon, author of The Astral Body, written in 1929 and one of the first books written on this subject.
I’d never heard of Muldoon; at least I didn’t note his name on previous readings, probably because last time I read it was pre-internet; before we had access to all the information in the world in the palm of our hands. Now, with a quick Google search my every curiosity could be immediately satisfied. I looked for a copy of his book on Amazon. Alas, it seems to be out of print and the few copies around were relatively expensive. (Even beat up old paperbacks were twenty bucks.)
But in my search for a cheap copy of his guide, I stumbled upon a treasure trove of books on this subject over at Archive.org — these are free e-books and/or pdfs of a wide variety of out of print or out of copyright publications. (Just go to that website and type the subject into the search bar.)
Not only did I find Muldoon’s book (in a pdf format) but I found a whole slew of books on astral projection, remote viewing, lucid dreaming, and more (including the Robert Monroe books I was reading.) I downloaded about fifteen of them. It’s going to take me years to work through them!
I started with the Muldoon. Since it was written nearly 100 years ago, I was a bit concerned that the language would be stilted and it would be boring to read. In fact, it reads as if it were written yesterday. Little Sylvsn started having spontaneous OBEs* in childhood, but as an adult endeavored to find a way to induce them at will. He was successful to the point where he became fairly well-known in his time as a teacher, lecturer, and author. (I’m only one chapter in so I cannot offer up a review at this point.)
Another great find was Astral Projection Secrets Revealed (2012) by Dr. Jill Ammon-Wexler, which is set up as a step-by-step how-to book. It’s easy reading, so I quickly skimmed the first several chapters of that, as well. Many of the induction methods she mentions are familiar to me, but there were some I’ve yet to try.
She also mentions salvia divinorum, a plant that grows around Oaxaca, Mexico which supposedly induces powerful OBEs. Naturally, I went searching after that, as well. There was a lot of useful information on Erowid.org. One can grow it oneself from cuttings or seeds, and it’s legal. However before I’d even consider growing or buying some and smoking a bowlful, I’d have to research it quite a bit more.
Dr. Wexler notes that there are different types of OBEs including lucid dreaming and distant viewing. I always imagined a controlled OBE would feel like stepping out of my body and traveling around at will but I suppose it’s possible I am having other kinds of OBEs. She writes that one of the indicators is the sensation that you are able to see clearly even though the eyes are closed. This is a very common sensation for me but is it really some kind of OBE? Or just a vivid visual recollection of my own bedroom? (I assume the latter.)
I wrote a few weeks ago about the sensation of seeing things in my mind’s eye which seemed like snapshots or gifs of people and places I didn’t know, usually doing mundane things. But even if this is, indeed, distant viewing, it’s completely uncontrolled. I’m just watching the hypnagogic images as they flash across my mental screen. I cannot interact with them and they are too short to be interesting.
I long for the ability to leave my body and fly about the world at will. Is that asking so much???
Despite my long-time interest in this subject, I’ve been using the same (unsuccessful) methods for years. It’s time to delve into some new authors and new methods. There is so much to learn on the subject, and at this point, I only have my toes in the water. So my journey continues.
If any of you readers are interested in attempting astral projection, yourself, but don’t know a lot on the subject, I’d recommend starting with Dr. Wexler’s book which, in addition to being well-laid out and easy to follow, is free!
Please do let me know if any of you read these books, try any of the methods, and/or achieve success.
As promised, an update on my attempt to hurl my psyche into the ether:
I’ve been reading quite a lot on the subject of Out of Body Experiences (OOBEs), but I’ve come to realize that what I need more than books is time to practice so I can figure out my own mechanism for separation.
Here’s where I’m at, if anyone wants to play along: First, I am still experimenting with binaural beats, such as THIS ONE I’ve also used some verbal meditations I’ve discovered on line, but generally I find them more distracting than helpful. (FYI, I am a trained hypnotist although I don’t have a practice, and rarely use it on others). I am quite adept at going into a deep trance on my own. The key in this case, I think, is to develop my own set of suggestions and techniques.. (Some teachers suggest reaching up with an astral hand, or attempting to roll the astral body out of bed, or pulling the astral form up a rope ladder. I’ve tried them all, alas, to no avail.)
According to the theory, astral projection is about changing the energy vibration of the consciousness. (Heavy, man…I know!) To that end, I have visualized being filled with and/or surrounded by white light. I have felt the full body vibrations, intense heat from head to toe, and a strange sense of sexual arousal (even though my body was sleep paralyzed) — all of which are said to be precursors of liftoff. But as of yet, I have not been able to separate while conscious.
One of the keys is remaining awake even though the body is in sleep paralysis. This has been a challenge for me, probably because I always make these attempts when I get into bed at night and usually end up falling asleep. (This is why most teachers recommend attempting OOBEs after about four hours of sleep, and somewhere other than one’s own bed.) That said, after such deep trances, I have had quite a few extremely vivid and interesting dreams which I was able to recall in fine detail, even days later. Nevertheless, these were obviously dreams (vs. OOBEs) because they had a surreal and/or psychological quality to them.
If you read the initial posts of this blog, you know that I’ve had a few astral dreams in which it felt as if my consciousness had left my body and traveled to another location. These dreams had no psychological or emotional aspects attached to them. I simply felt as if I were flying over a different place on the planet, able to see around me with great clarity, but without much control (perhaps because I didn’t realize at the time I could will myself to have any.) In one such instance, I actually had proof that I’d traveled to such a place because I was able to ask questions and get answers, which were later proven to be true. In another instance, I saw a beautiful mountain lake so vividly, I remembered it for years, and many decades later found myself in that place (in Tibet.) These experiences have demonstrated to me that it is possible. The challenge is to do it on demand. I believe that if I can accomplish this once, I will be able to do it again and again, at will. I believe it’s about finding the method that works for me.
Meanwhile, I have asked a friend in Italy to place a piece of paper with a single random word on his nightstand so that if I can manage to travel astrally, I can go to his room and read the note, thus providing evidence of my trip. (LA, is the note still there? 🙂 )
There is an ether separating this world from yours; a vast ocean of energy. To access the other side, you must be willing to embark on a great journey, even knowing you will likely be tossed back upon the shore. But if you persevere, eventually you will catch the right current. It will carry you out and give you new perspective. If you are willing to go where it takes you, if you stay awake and aware, you will see Truth in new ways.
Circumstances are not always within your control. As with fishing, you must wait patiently, hoping for the right conditions.
Push aside all self-generated thoughts — certainly all the worry, fear, doubt, sorrow, anger, guilt and recriminations — but also pride and any sense of your personal importance. Let go of the egotistical belief that your feelings, challenges and achievements are uniquely important. This is what is meant by “abandoning the ego.”
Focus on the void; the empty space between your thoughts, like the darkness between galaxies. Concentrate your mind there until it becomes real. Then step into it.
Let whatever comes come. No need to force it. It is whatever it is. Allow yourself to be pulled in and carried along. Dedicate yourself to the practice of quieting the mind; to tune in to what lies beyond. Let go of everything you thought you knew. Accept what you did not believe was possible. Climb to dizzying heights so you may see life from a more objective perspective, then realign your thinking.
Watching the Earth from the moon, it is easy to recognize how small and insignificant you are. The higher up you go, the more distant your view, and the wider your perspective.
Even If you can just get above your personal relationships, you’ve gone a respectable distance.
There is no shortcut.
Shed your skin. Step into the void naked and trusting.
The answers are there.
Note: I am in my meditation trance and the first strong image that comes into my head is that of Peter Dinklage, the actor. I think “aloud”, as if speaking to whatever entity is showing himself to me. “Peter Dinklage is very much alive so I know you aren’t him.” I try to push the image aside but he won’t move. He tells me he’s “impersonating” PD to indicate to me that while alive he, too, was a little person.
Then, he tries to give me all kinds of personal information about himself. I didn’t want to hear it because I prefer that all narratives be vague enough so that they could be anyone, anywhere. I believe they have more power that way. But he keeps insisting.
His name was Kenneth B-something and he’d lived in Ohio, and had only just passed on at the age of 58. He tried to tell me more, but I kept “changing the subject.”
Finally, he started to get testy and scolded me: “You don’t want to hear details because you’re afraid that if they don’t check out, your whole ‘talking to the dead’ premise will fall apart, and then what will you have?”
I have to admit, he made an excellent point. Still, it was strange being called out by a dead guy (or possibly just a figment of my own imagination)
He became very argumentative and irascible, which is unusual. Most of the other “spirits” with whom I’ve communicated, have been, well, quite spiritual!
I chalked it up to the fact that (according to him) his death was very recent and perhaps he hadn’t had time to process his life yet. So, I just listened to his story:
I was an accountant. I made a nice living, but I never got married. I never felt the need to find someone to grow old with. I had some serious health issues and I knew I would be lucky if I lived to 60. I’d probably die much younger. I wanted to really enjoy my life and be free from responsibility during whatever time I had.
You have no idea what it’s like going through life as a dwarf. When you are a member of a persecuted religious or ethnic minority, you may be subjected to a lifetime of prejudice and abuse, but at least your own family is the same as you. And you know that somewhere on the planet there are places where there are others like yourself.
This is not so when you are small. I was the only one in my family to have this condition. I was already in my late teens before I met another little person like myself.
Everyone, and I mean everyone, including my own family, couldn’t seem to stop themselves from regarding me as a child. They patronized me, often without awareness. A dwarf is an object of ridicule. Strangers – mostly stupid drunken teenagers – would often come up to me and make rude comments, then run away laughing, as if I were not even a human being whose feelings were worthy of respect.
I presented myself to you as Peter Dinklage because I admire him. He has gravitas which is something no other little person I’ve ever known or seen possesses.
Even though I was an excellent accountant and had many clients, there was always a separation between us. I was “other” and “less than” and forever would be. Even within my own family.
As you might imagine, this created a lot of psychological issues for me, including a deep and painful lifelong sense of isolation.
You might think that this would be a good reason for me to get married and have children. In a family of my own creation, I could finally be part of a welcoming group, albeit a small one, who would accept me as myself. But, as I said, I knew I wouldn’t live to be very old and I didn’t want to burden others with my medical issues.
Also, I never found a woman of my own height with whom I had a strong connection. It’s difficult enough for people of normal height to find someone they can relate to and love. Imagine how difficult it is when that pool of potential mates is so limited. And relationships with normal-size women were too problematic in more ways than I can tell you, not the least of which were those lapses into patronizing behavior.
[I am shown a little woman in what appears to be a road house type bar. She is way over-dressed – too much makeup, too many sequins, a lacy petticoat under her skirt, big hair. She’s dressed for dancing and looks like a real “party girl.”]
That was my girlfriend. She wasn’t especially smart. Honestly, it was hard to have a real conversation with her, but she was fun and she loved sex and. She was as much as I could handle. Or was willing to handle. I wasn’t looking for anything deep. I just wanted company sometimes.
Addendum: At this point, I began to fall asleep. My mind was drifting into dreams (which is very different from meditation.) I asked him if we could pick up the story the following evening, when I’d be better able to focus. (This is something I’ve just learned how to do – to go back in and meet up with a spirit I’ve communicated with in the past.)
I was really very interested in hearing more of his story, more of his life and his lessons, more of those issues he talked about, but I simply couldn’t stay awake anymore.
The following evening, I went right back into my deep meditative trance (which gets easier to slip into the more I do it) and “called” for him.
…to be continued