Monday, September 20, 2021

The Fragility of Personal Identity

Thanks to the pandemic and new technologies, the world of work is topsy-turvy, and that means lots of people losing their jobs.  More than an economic problem, it’s a psychological problem, maybe even metaphysical.  The psychological effect involves a blow to how one thinks of oneself, one’s sense of identity.  If you’re deprived of your job, on which so much depends, you  may feel deprived of  a sense of who you are, of your worth and capacity. That’s a big mistake.


There are problems with different group identity as well.  So in fact there are identity wars playing out everywhere. In America today we’re witnessing a movement about the much abused identity of Black people, culture, and history. Meanwhile there’s a shaking up of identity all over the world rife with conflict, migration, poverty, etc., and with climate disaster intruding everywhere on the world scene much sooner than the scientists predicted.   


Identity is a hydra-headed concept.  For those who suffer from bouts of painful dis-identity, ask yourself:  Who does the identifying or dis-identifying?  Clearly, it comes from two possible places: from outside you, or inside you.  The point we need to remember:   We are not at the mercy of what’s thrown at us from the outside world.  I can selectively respond; the rest I can reject, or endure with indifference,.  Losing my job is not the end of me; in fact, it could be the beginning of something new.  Losing things can sometimes be  benefits in disguise.


My identity is my identity, not yours.   Moreover, it’s a work in progress; it has a history and a future. I’m the poet, that is, the maker of my identity, my vision of my life.  This is true for us all. We can agree on our sovereign ability to say Yea or Nay, thus to be the sole shapers of our soul life.  We make our own  identity.  We need never surrender our identity to anything or anyone.  External circumstances are never decisive.


When it comes to the true identity of ourselves, we should acknowledge the presence of the unknown. Our ordinary sense of reality covers only a thin, superficial layer of our mental depth and outreach. Below the threshold lies the personal, the collective, and the subliminal self.  There are hidden strands of psycho-spiritual life woven into our constantly evolving identity. Each of us is infinitely more than we can imagine. The true scope and nature of what we are is a mystery to explore.  I believe this because of my own experience and because of an independent  mountain of evidence.  Self discovery is a process that never ends.


But back to beleaguered Earth, what about the folks losing their jobs and their economic and social identities?  I would underscore this: Everything depends on how we interpret an experience.  Instead of seeing the loss of a job (or the loss of anything) as something that defines us, we need to see it as an opportunity to do something never been done before.  But for that we need to be ready to become something new, to detach ourselves from our old identities.  New identities are always on the horizon.  There is no such thing as a static identity. Given all the remarkable potentials asleep within us, the losses we are forced to endure may be a set up for new gains we have yet to discover.   The fragility of our personal identity is an illusion.

Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Searching for the Music of the Spheres

On retreat in my house during the pandemic, I found in a dusty corner a manuscript, about a hundred and thirty pages, written by me some years ago.  There was a concluding chapter I had barely begun.  On the title page was written: Celestial Songman—Music For the Kaliyuga.


It was about my former music teacher. He was an Indian monk from Rishikesh, India, an ashram in the Himalayas. My meeting him was heralded by a dream.  I dreamt of a funny old man who wanted to teach me music; but, he said, there were no instruments. A few weeks later a friend told me about a master of music yoga that was in town and giving lessons.  He was in fact a master of  Taan, a yoga of vibrations, and apparently he possessed some pretty strange powers.


I thought back of the funny man I dreamt of, and decided to check the yogi out.  I ended by taking lessons with him and following him around whenever I could.  I tape-recorded our lessons and transcribed them, and they became the manuscript I recently stumbled on.  I decided after reading what I wrote from my meetings with Nada Brahmananda—that was his name—that I wanted to share his story with readers.  It turns out that the “instrument” would be myself, and the music we need to learn is the “music” of our own lives—if that makes any sense to you.


So I decided to complete the story, and the book will be out by next year, published by Inner Traditions.  In the meantime I’m still working on that concluding chapter.  Meeting Nada led me to discover new things about the power of music. 


Some myths about music are mysterious and long-lived like that of Orpheus and Eurydice, a story that links the loss of one’s beloved to the acquisition of music that can tame wild animals, heal the sick, enchant the lover or empower the warrior. The fact is that in some cases this sort of thing  may be based on real experiences.


I’m curious to hear of such experiences; I know there are plenty of them, and all sorts.  Here’s one I heard from a jazz musician friend of mine; a story about John Coltrane blowing a high C on his horn and a ball of fire issuing from his horn and bouncing around members of his audience!


 Or it could be something like a friend of mine who was the editor of a scientific journal that reviews evidence for life after death.  I asked her once what for her was the most convincing evidence of  life after death. She paused, and replied: “Listening to Beethoven’s Missa Solemnis.  That’s quite interesting, being convinced of something so momentous and important by a piece of music.  It wasn’t all the scientific evidence that changed her belief.  Being engulfed emotionally in acoustic space is different from processing concepts in a linear fashion.   


It so happens if you dig deeply, in history and among the living, there are all kinds of stories of unusual power that relate to music. I was intrigued to discover there are cases of people who come near death and hear sounds that resemble what is called the “music of the spheres.”  It may happen during sickness.  Or it may happen suddenly to anybody in the most unexpected ways—without any known physical cause.  I would welcome any account from readers about unusual encounters with music. What is so strange is that one can never predict when these strange  experiences occur.  Or whom they will occur to.  Another dimension of mystery we need to understand, it points to another dimension of reality we need to explore.




Monday, August 9, 2021

Humans: Cancer of the Biosphere


The other day I watched a documentary by David Attenborough that came out last year that I missed.  Extinction: The Facts. Beyond interesting, it is the most important documentary I have watched.  Important for all life on earth, it needs to be seen. This post is a recommendation.


The star of this film is a family of facts. The problem is that large numbers of people everywhere, especially in America, suffer from a superstitious fear of facts. Unfortunately, what the facts portend is already killing the fact-deniers—for example, the present rampage of the Delta variant on unvaccinated people. . 


Facts, not persons, are the stars of this documentary.  One of these shocking facts is that humans are causing the extinctions of plants and animals at a rate one hundred times faster than occurred any time in the past. Meanwhile, another fact, the human population is exploding and pushing toward nine billion, causing the breakdown of ecosystems everywhere, and threatening to destroy the world-ecosystem. 


The human appetite for energy to make its idea of the world real has created a surplus of the wrong kind of gases in the atmosphere and overheating the planet, a process that is evolving toward global climate catastrophe.  And the process is accelerating. Floods in Europe in unexpected places and fires in the American Northwest are facts that remind us of the unpredictable course of what is happening.  Another fact—please note—is that barely enough time is left  to save us from complete disaster.


The facts are clear enough.  Humans along with their technology and economic systems have caused the current climate crisis as well as the mass extinctions.  Penetrating  every corner of the natural world, the plunder is for the sake of one thing: profit.   


Another fact is obvious: the human population is the cancer of the biosphere.   Cancer is the uncontrolled growth of cell systems in an organism that end by killing  the organism. The uncontrolled grown of human organisms and their relentless exploitation of planetary resources—water, air, soil, plant and animal species everywhere—is a new category of cancer.


In the news today, a massive UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes with a call for  “total transformation. We need  change operating on processes and behaviors at all levels: individual, communities, business, institutions and governments. We must redefine our way of life and consumption.”


To redefine our way of life is a philosophical and spiritual challenge, especially to the people of the most advanced economies, who are driven by the ideals of capitalism and consumerism.  To see the scope of the challenge, we might recall a point central to Plato’s psychology, according to which there are three components to our inner nature, the intellectual, the emotional, and the appetitive or acquisitive. The higher element of our psychic life is supposed to be what balances the pulls and tugs of our emotions and appetites.   Without the higher element we become slaves of our emotions and appetites, and complicit with the destruction of our planet.


Another grim fact. The dominant culture is constructed to appeal to our worst instincts.  Our money-adoring and appetite-coddling  ethos is designed to stimulate without limit the lowest forces of our psychic life, so that our ideals are in fact feeding the fires of collective suicide.  Without redefining our way of life, we will certify our identity as the cancer of the biosphere.  Have a nice day.




Friday, August 6, 2021

Miracles, High Strangeness, and Human Evolution


There is a class of paranormal phenomena generally classified as miracles. It’s often assumed that miracles imply divine causation—but maybe not. Miracles, in their way, are as shocking as quantum mechanics and as consciousness itself. They’re not  intellectual puzzles that, once solved, will tidy things up so we can carry on as usual. What they’re really about is wrecking our habitual worldview.

            We should check these strange phenomena out and try to pry open their concrete implications.   For example, levitation, bilocation, apports; decades of living without food or drink (inedia); instantaneous, spectacular healings; Marian visions, precognition, capped by UAPish antics in the sky before 70,000 witnesses; mass dematerialization of milk and materialization of blood and tears; rainmaking and rainstopping; and so on and so forth.

            When we combine into one composite picture these supernormal capacities, it all points to a being as different from us as we differ from Greek deities or from angels.  With all these amazing potentials, it’s not hard to see how the cults, movements, and religions of the world arose in response to all the weird stuff occurring around weird people.

            What look like super-natural powers exist all right,  but perhaps in our subconscious selves.   Since time immemorial humanity has been in dialogue with these mysterious powers.  In the interests of peace, all the different ways of interpreting contact with them need to be understood as complementary.  It’s the same with art and science: all the forms, styles, and knowledge discovered are valid in their way, and they all, in my view, point toward the next quantum leap of human evolution.  At the risk of sounding dead serious: we need to get fired up about taking that leap—the survival of our species, and of all life, depends upon it.  These few remarks are meant to start a conversation and refer to my book, Smile of the Universe--which is about our shockingly strange human potential.

Friday, July 30, 2021

The Art of Living Lightly


In his closely observed life, Joseph of Copertino proved himself a mystic known for his frequent ecstasies and phenomena of levitation. The friar appears as a giant counter-example to the one-dimensional metaphysics of physicalism.


Levitation is more than a fantastic phenomenon—it’s also a symbol of transcendence.  But there are less literal ways of looking at the phenomenon, ways that ordinary folks like us can relate to, threads of wisdom from Joseph’s otherworldly career we can weave into the mix of every day life mundane life.


Was Joseph perhaps the herald of a new travel technology, des­tined to displace the car, the boat, the airplane? I think that misses the mark?


Instead of technology, let’s think of etymology: take the Latin word, levare, “to make light,” the root of two words, levi­tation and levity. Notice there’s a less literal sense of “making light,” captured by the word levity. Here one “makes light” of all sorts of things; but you do it figura­tively and mentally.


So, is there a wisdom of levity that corresponds to the showmanship of levitation? Could levity alter the way we experience the world? Are all life’s problems as grave, heavy, and oppressive as they often appear to be? Or could we learn to take our pains and pleasures, our failures and successes, a bit more lightly?


“Look upon the world as you would upon a bubble”, said the Buddha.  “Look upon it as a mirage.” Oppressed by the gravity of existence, an attitude that “makes light” of things  might well diminish the weight of suffering. Are there ways of “making light” the overbearing heaviness of being? Suppose we applied “making light” to our diet: that is, how we eat, drink, and consume what we need from Mother Nature. Making light would benefit our health: our bodies, the economy, the environment. Suppose that by eating and drinking less, we literally got lighter—lost weight. We could count that as a kind of levitation!  It would make our life-style lighter.


As far as living levity, what about the benefits of making light of our possessions? We don’t have to copy Joseph and fly into a panic like the saint did when a well-meaning woman offered him a new set of underwear.  No sugges­tion here that we don hairshirts and become ascetics, but that we cultivate an attitude of non-clinging toward what we think are our possessions. Ownership, after all, is an illusion; even our bodies are on loan from Mother Nature.


Come to think of it, levity--making light of things--has a sub­versive side. What if whole populations lightened up on their over-advertised needs and broke the commandments of their capitalist overlords? In making light of our appetites, we  would change our habits of consumption. If we could do that en masse and come together with the focus on the real needs of humanity, we could transform life on earth.   


Levity can be a versatile ally in the war with the heavies of the great world.  Call this enlightenment, if you like--holding one’s beliefs, assumptions, and prejudices lightly.Living lightly, thinking lightly, taking things lightly all serve to lighten perception and  consciousness itself. And the point? Well, shedding overweight beliefs and opinions, brushing aside the rabble of rowdy thoughts, we might gradually dismantle our cognitive filters and clean out the emotional deadweights.  The world would light up for us in surprising and perhaps delightful ways.


I laughed out loud reading for the first time about the friar’s zany flights.   Why laugh at the image of Joseph flying backwards? It seemed to cause a kind of spasm, a feeling of release, and the sound of my laughter was the sound of my worldview exploding.








Wednesday, July 14, 2021

Getting Into the Upper Story of Our Minds

We can think of our minds as a house with a ground floor and an upper story.  The ground floor is busy with everyday preoccupations, attitudes, and experiences.  But in the house of our minds there is an upper story, a space where altered, extraordinary, and transcendent forms of experience are encountered. 


We learn of the content of the upper story in two ways.  What’s  ‘above’ us may just break into our lives, and flood our consciousness. We’re  forced to confront some  transcendent visitor.  Individuals are called, possessed, transformed, used, as it were, by an external force and intelligence (examples would be Moses and Joan of Arc.)


But there is another way we on the ground floor of our conscious existence may gain access to our hidden heights. We can get proactive.  We can try to break the stranglehold of our “normal” consciousness.   We curious  humans have always explored ways of transcending the roadblocks to a fuller awareness of life. Magic, religion, philosophy, science,  technology—all these are geared to elevating our conscious lives.


To what extent they succeed is a big sprawling question.  Here I want to mention something I learned while reading C. Kerenyi’s book, Dionysos: Archetypal Image of Indestructible Life.   Dionysos is certainly the god of altered state of consciousness, a god whose function it was to drive us out of our rational, everyday minds.  The chief clientele for Dionysian ecstasy were maenads, women with pronounced  dispositions toward mania, or sacred madness.  These  women were  transformed as they danced up a mountain in ecstasy to the sound of the flute.


The highly creative ancient Greeks valued the power of mania (madness). Plato believed mania essential to greatness in music, poetry, dance, prophecy, and alas! in love (ta erotika).  Nothing could be more opposed to the ethos of consumer-capitalist consciousness!   The latter wants us to stay safe in the basement of our everyday mind.


Not so those crazy creative ancient Greeks!  Not only did they build great institutions like the tragic festivals in honor of Dionysos and philosophical traditions that cultivated altered mental states, but the Greeks founded the Eleusinian mystery rites that lasted for two thousand years.  This was an annual ritual consisting of nine days of fasting and dancing that climaxed with drinking an LSD-like kykeon (brew) designed to induce a vision of Persephone, goddess of the underworld.  There are written testimonials with regard to the life-enhancing effects of the Eleusinian experience. The rites of Eleusis were banished by the Catholic appropriators and eliminators of everything in competition with their new state religious identity.


Kerenyi points out that systems of mythology wear out the power of their rites, symbols, and sacred narratives.  They no longer deliver as far as the experience of transcendence. When the old myths and rites die out there are some who will turn to “artificial” means to induce the spiritual high that feeds the hungry soul.  The danger, he said, was the gradual atrophy of our natural spiritual capacities. The higher effects can be produced by breathing or fasting exercises.  Kerenyi observes that the Indians who adopted the Peyote rite did so only in desperation when they were expelled from their land, which was their conduit to the higher powers.  


At first I doubted whether you could duplicate the intensities and wonders of certain psychedelic agents.  But then I recalled a day I was walking on 8th Street in Greenwich Village.  I had been fasting for three days, no food, just water. I stopped suddenly, looked up into the sky, then scanned the traffic and the storefronts and the stream of living persons walking past me.  And I said to myself: “My fast has turned into an acid trip.”  Any point or place where I directed my attention would begin to swell with meaning and vibrate with feeling. I was astonished.  Fasting was as powerful a consciousness enhancer as LSD!   


Fasting was an experiment, which at first caused some rumbles and creaks in my stomach, but that soon faded into nothing.  It was more a mental than a physical challenge. I kept feeling I was supposed to obey the behests of my stomach. I refused to obey and reveled in sensations of triumph over my lower self! I had the pleasure of discovering I was enjoying an LSD high—without the drug itself! And all I had to do was—not do. Not, in this case, eat anything.


It does seem to me that it’s getting harder and harder to disentangle ourselves from the tentacles of the techno-Leviathan we’re trapped in.  We’re being forced into the basement of the human psyche and systematically distracted there, so (they hope) it never occurs to us to think about the view from  upstairs.  In spite of this, I believe the free spirit in us will revolt against the  tyranny of materialism. In the end, we’ll use whatever works to liberate the enormous potentials that the evidence suggests we possess.


One idea the evidence of altered states suggests:  the greater and more severe the challenge to our everyday mind, the greater the opening to the higher forces of inner  transformation.  So, what looks like the worst possible outcome may in fact prove to be the instrument of our liberation.  That paradox is amply illustrated by the near-death experience, the worst thing we might fear or anticipate, which, as we know from countless scientific studies, may turn into the most transformative experience of one’s life.  It is good to know that such guests live with us in the house of our minds.

Monday, June 28, 2021

The Wild PK of the Poltergeist

Just how powerful, weird, and magical can our minds get?  I’ve been hunting around this theme for a while, and I’m still not sure about what the limits are.  We know the mind can do all sorts of curious things (especially to our health).  But how far can it go?  We can direct and consciously try to control our own bodies. But can the mind directly produce effects on physical things outside our own bodies?


That would take us into the realm of paranormal psychokinesis—unexplained physical phenomena.  Evidence for such is various, ranging from positive results in dice-throwing experiments to reports of spectacular healings.  I want to single out the poltergeist (“noisy spirit”) as a particularly interesting item on the menu of paranormality.


Interesting is the dual personality of the poltergeist, traditionally seen as mischievous haunting spirits;  today the phenomenon is often thought to be the unconscious actings out of emotionally disturbed youngsters—paranormal, but not coming from outside this world.  It turns out there are poltergeists where no disturbed children are involved, and where it looks like the poltergeist effects are caused by external, independently intelligent agents.


Poltergeists come in all shapes and forms, and in some cases wreak havoc on one’s  sense of reality.  It is hard to conceive of a power and intelligence that can dance around and manipulate physical reality the way the poltergeist apparently.  I draw on A. Campbell Holms’ The Facts of Psychic Science for one of the strangest cases that occurred in Stratford, Conn., in 1850, and lasted for over a year and a half in the house of the Rev E. Phelps.  Phelps lived with his wife, two teen age girls, two younger boys, and a maid.


It began on a day that the family came home from church.  All the doors had been locked but when they came home the front door was wide open; everything in the nursery was in disorder, with chairs on the bed and things moved around and missing. Later in the day, a nightgown was found on the bed with the arms crossed as if to represent a corpse.  Dr. Phelps put the nightgown and other objects that had been tampered with in a trunk, locked the trunk, and locked the door to the closet where he placed the trunk, placing the key in his pocket.  Fifteen minutes later all the material locked away appeared outside the bedroom door.  The door and the trunk were still locked.  The objects somehow made their way through solid matter (such are called apports, matter through matter, and are repeatedly reported to occur in poltergeist cases).  That was the first day.  The following days for a year and a half, new, weirder, and more destructive phenomena took place.


 Clergymen, reporters, neighbors and others came on the scene and witnessed the phenomena.   At breakfast objects were thrown around the table. On the fourth day, Phelps, his wife and a friend, locked themselves in the sitting room, during which time forty-six objects dropped onto the floor from nowhere, nails, keys, blocks of wood, pieces of tin, etc.  The next day the terrible poundings began that would climax with blood-curdling screams that came from nowhere.  A chair rose in the air and then hit the floor again and again with marked violence. Stuffed effigies appeared that were made out of pillows and other objects from the house.  Soon after hats and clothing were found hidden in the house. On one occasion a hat was seen ascend a stairway by itself.  The young boy Harry was terrified when levitated into the air, and was once found suspended helplessly in a tree. Seventy-one panes of glass were broken.  Mrs. Phelps suffered pin pricks all over her body as she tried to sleep. Dr. Phelps and Harry while  driving in a closed carriage when they were pelted by rocks (that somehow entered the closed space of their carriage).


I’ve touched on just some of the details of this case.  The literature of poltergeists is full of such strange phenomena, including incendiary, bell-ringing, and water-spewing poltergeists. There are two points I want stress about poltergeists, easily one of the most fascinating of phenomena.  The first is to stress the incredible degree in which the poltergeist can subvert our idea of what is physically possible.  The second is that the intelligence behind what we call poltergeists can get quite nasty and destructive. 


These two points are worth stressing in light of the growing realization that we’re being visited by what we might call poltergeists of the sky or unknown aerial phenomena (UFOs and UAPs).   Again, these entities shatter our assumptions as to what is physically possible and have proven themselves in many cases to be nasty and destructive.  In comparing the two sets of phenomena, it’s hard to avoid  feeling that they’re connected and possibly emanate from the same order of unknown reality.  The question about the linkage between parapsychology and ufology needs to be probed more closely.  The U.S. government is opening up to the reality of UFOs; it needs to open up to the realities of the paranormal. There is a gigantic picture of what may be going on that needs to be confronted.  More on this front is coming.




Thursday, June 10, 2021

Possible Explanations of the UFO Mystery


The United States government has acknowledged that something visible and intelligent has repeatedly been observed in our air space whose nature, purpose, and origin is unknown.  The good news.  No signs of mass panic or hysteria.  Even so, the apparent superhuman technology of the UFOs—their ability to play games with us in space as if we were children—are reasons the Government might be feeling uneasy these days.


There is a mass of data we cannot deny that imply powers beyond human capacity.  The phenomenon emanates from a source outside terrestrial existence.  No one seems to know what is really going on here. We are of course free to speculate, and I would like to toss out a few speculations on how we might understand the phenomenon.  


There are two forms of my explanation, both based on the premise of the existence of supernormal data (ESP and PK).  There is in fact a very large body of empirical data—ignored and avoided by most mainstream scientists—proving the reality of extrasensory perception and psychokinesis. There is a wide variance in the proven capacity to actualize psi, that is, the realm of the paranormal.  They range from minor and fleeting to major and  abundant.  The big psi-hitters we find among folks we call yogis, shamans, saints, near-death experiencers, and other psi-disposed personality types.


We don’t know the limits of the possible development of human psi-powers. There are cases that suggest what might be possible on a large scale.  Joseph of Copertino’s telepathic abilities were so extensive that his superiors insisted that he stop commenting on the thoughts of the brothers around him whenever they strayed from their prayers or spiritual thoughts.  Talk about not respecting boundaries!  Joseph moved weighty objects around that would normally require ten men.  On one testy occasion in a dispute he sent a bolt of force that knocked somebody off his horse; the dispute ended in a warm embrace  between the two men.  Joseph affected his clothing or even the walls around him so that things he used or touched were collected and preserved as sacred relics because they emanated unearthly fragrances, sometimes persisting for years.  The friar managed to make light of gravitation and was (shall we say) a frequent flyer and several times was caught bilocating; he was seen by, and interacted with, people in two different cities at the same time.  (There are sworn affidavits for this admirable performance.)


Imagine if Joseph appeared in a space suit to somebody in contemporary America, say, Mitch McConnel; it would be reported as a case of alien visitation.  My point is this.  I have no difficulty supposing that somewhere in the galaxies—and even scattered all over the galaxies—much, much older and more evolved lifeforms have developed the psychic powers we humans possess but to degrees vastly enhanced,  and subject to control.  Improving on Joseph’s supernormal relationship to mass and space, the more evolved intelligent lifeforms might have learned to cruise around the galaxies, unobstructed by time or space.   


If so, it must have been quite a bonanza to stumble on our beautiful planet, now dominated by an intelligent species whose psychospiritual evolution is obviously stunted.  If they’ve been visiting and observing us since the first cave painters and the great ancient civilizations, I can see why they may have got concerned when we figured out how to blow up the whole planet up with nuclear weapons back around the mid-1940s.  But their excitement (assuming they have emotions) must have really peaked when they realized we were on a path of destroying the entire life ecologies of the planet by heating up the atmosphere.


It needs to be underscored.  The visitors by no means are all nice guys. Anyone who reads Bob Pratt’s masterful and truly frightening UFO Danger Zone will be convinced of that.  Another problem is that the visitors have strong leanings toward deceit and mendacity.   It’s hard not to note that the visitors supposedly from outer space resemble us terrestrials; liars and psychopaths, types we’re  familiar with in our human jungle.  


So now a different interpretation is possible.  The visitors are real.  But they come not from outer space but from inner space, from another dimension of our subliminal being.  They come from the nethermost deep core of the mental universe we all as conscious beings inhabit.   We scarcely know the limits or the boundaries of our minds because all our minds of aspects of the one mind that lies hidden beneath the threshold or ordinary awareness. 


Beneath that threshold, even as we walk in our sunlit working world, our deep stories are unfolding, our dream selves are active, but in ways we can only guess or infer.  The problem is how to learn what is happening below the threshold.  And how, if possible, to make the most useful and entertaining connections with the roiling wonders churning in the psychic underground.  The more evolved beings, the configurations of higher consciousness, the elves and fairies, angels and demons, gods and goddesses—they’re alive and well, nested in the crannies of our subliminal selves, waiting, yearning, lusting for the right time, the right person, the right synchronicity.


So what I’m suggesting is that the UFO visitors come from outer space, beings much more evolved from potentials we already possess in germ or they come from the subliminal depths of our own living psyches.   Both options are a mind stretch. The crisis of survival we face as a species is forcing a confrontation with our cosmic brothers and sisters or with the hidden agents of our own potential evolution.  These are possible explanations, as far as I can see.  I know they sound far out; but the facts of nature are more far out than most anything we can imagine. Perhaps both explanations have some validity. What I believe is certain is that the visitors, whatever they are, are real, often bizarrely so.  And equally real are the shockingly strange powers that some human beings clearly possess.  As to the latter, my book, Smile of the Universe: Miracles in an Age of Disbelief will serve to ground the reader in the solid fare of true weirdness and authentic impossibilities.  












Thursday, June 3, 2021

Mind Against Truth

Our minds are so inventive they can be the worst enemies of truth.  It certainly is a creative achievement to conceal the truth of one of white America’s worst crimes against humanity, and to do it for a hundred years!  What happened to Blacks in  Tulsa, Oklahoma, a century ago, was a surprise to me. Discovering this lacuna proves how the text (so to speak) of our experience can be bowdlerized by the powers that be. 


The word bowdlerize came into the English language by Thomas Bowdler whose  edition of Shakespeare removed all the words unsuitable for proper Christians!  Even more alarming is the idea of truth systematically distorted or deleted from public awareness.  Anyone who doubts the importance of this needs to recall how the Nazi propaganda machine led to catastrophic outcomes of historic proportions.


Reflecting on the Tulsa story of American savagery, the question of other falsifications of public consciousness comes up. Grappling with the realities of ordinary life is tough enough; we can do without agencies of business and government trying to control our consciousness and sense of reality.  Advertising, for example, is constantly trying to manipulate the part of our psychic apparatus geared toward consumption.  Success for most corporate advertising is to turn us all into thoughtless, reliable consumption machines.


We could use a service that catalogues and tries to cope with the various types of systematic falsification operative in the culture.   The assaults on truth vary in type, mode, and motivation.  Racism and greed motivate the two examples just cited.  A notable example of a big lie driven by the profit motive is the prolonged obfuscation of the dangers of smoking orchestrated by the tobacco industry, or, more recently, by the opioid industry; in both of these systematic efforts at falsification, the cost was and still is massive injury and loss of life.


With tobacco and the opioids, the negative truth was concealed.  Sometimes the negativity is manufactured and promoted for nefarious reasons.   The lies about marijuana created a monster out of a substance that was not just benign but loaded with health benefits that scientists are now studying.  Cannabis has been used ritually and spiritually all over the world for thousands of years, but was criminalized in America in 1937.    


All that is changing now (as I write the weed is about to be legalized in the state of Virginia). But lying about and criminalizing marijuana for decades has fueled injustice and suffering for minorities.  The propaganda flick, Reefer Madness (1936), portrays a ludicrous picture of the weed transforming innocent young people into raving killers and sex fiends. The movie was a joke in the ‘60s, but the big lie about the evils of cannabis persisted, resulting in mass incarceration and destruction of lives.  There are people now serving life sentences in American prisons because they sold marijuana.  Meanwhile, I can buy magazines in my local supermarket that describe in scientific detail the weed’s health benefits.   I wonder how it would have turned out, if, instead of criminalizing marijuana, booze was outlawed and criminalized, and marijuana was celebrated as the national social lubricator and pastime.  Eighty or so years of marijuana falsification have caused an immense amount of harm.


There is one class of big lie that since 2017 has begun to unravel.  In this case, the issue is metaphysical.  The government  has not only kept us in the dark about the benefits of marijuana, it has kept us in the dark about a matter of cosmic significance—it appears that we have some visitors from outside our known terrestrial world.  The government has known this, and countless people around the world for much of human history have encountered beings whose nature and origin are a mystery.  Reports abound of sightings, of various forms of contact, and of the more highly strange abductions.


So now at last yet another veil of mendacity is being lifted, in part because of some whistle-blowers, and perhaps because of the persistence of reports.  Putting this bit of momentous news in plain words: we seem to be part of an unknown community of intelligent beings.  The intelligence is technologically beyond anything achieved by humans, and they apparently enjoy playing games with us, eluding but observing us in teasing fashion.   


Beyond the monumental fact of their presence, we can’t be sure about anything else,  as to who, what, why and where they are from?  The visitors are a motley crew who appear to us in all manner of shape and form.  Nothing about them, their bodies,  so-called crafts, or movements conform to the familiar laws of physical reality.  They move at impossible speeds and make impossible turns and stops and sudden disappearances, following what seems the logic of dream space.  A comparative study of UAPs demonstrates a very nasty streak among them. And the modalities of interaction keep changing.  We may be on the threshold of unprecedented discoveries.  But we’re also surrounded by multiple agents of falsification, many of which must remain undetected by us.  They are hard to detect because they know how to conceal their identity; our own subconscious is fond of distracting us with all manner of tricks and fancies.  The great challenge is to take possession of our own consciousness.  Hence the need to catalogue the agents of mendacity trying to infiltrate our minds.







Monday, May 24, 2021

News of Impossible Realities

On Sunday, May 16, 2021, CBS 60 Minutes had a segment that could change one’s worldview.   Bill Whitaker’s interview  of Lue Elizondo, a government official and expert on UAPs (unidentified aerial phenomena) was perhaps the strangest in the history of the show. It is true that since 2017 the government has been leaking information that pretty unequivocally admits things have been filmed, even pursued, in our air space, that we cannot identify, that seem to be aware of us and that exhibit aerodynamic powers that transcend anything we possess.


The details and urgent tone of Elizondo reveal realities that the government has been covering up for decades, realities known and experienced by countless human beings all over planet.  But why has it taken so long to start to own up to what Whitaker said sounds ‘wacky.’   Wacky may not be the right word. This is what Elizondo said: “Imagine a technology that can do 6-to-700 g-forces, that can fly at 13,000 miles an hour, that can evade radar and that can fly through air and water and possibly space. And oh, by the way, has no obvious signs of propulsion, no wings, no control surfaces and yet still can defy the natural effects of Earth's gravity. That's precisely what we're seeing.” 


One wonders what kind of technology produces the superphysical effects here described.  The phenomena seem like products of a psychic technology that enables one to travel about as one ‘travels’ in a dream, in accord with the logic of dream space. 


Why did (does) the government want to conceal the truth from us? One point seems obvious enough: mighty, god-blessed America does not want to appear helpless and baffled in the face of such an unknown power.   The instinctive response is suspicious, possibly secret research conducted by our Russian or Chinese adversaries.  A technology that can dance rings around our technology will of necessity be perceived as a threat.  Elizondo states that one government official backed off from disclosure of the truth for theological reasons.  The security expert, Elizondo, was told to read the Bible and know that these manifestations were most likely of diabolic origin, so the truth about them should be hidden from the public.  Are we in the digital or the stone age?


A few things I can say with confidence.  Wacky or not, UAPs and UFOs are real—but real in a sense that is elusive, complicated, and very puzzling.   They may well be a constant in human history, especially during periods of existential crisis, and show up as what C. G. Jung called archetypes.  Weirdness in the U.S.  noticeably increased in the 1890s with reports of floating sailboats in the sky and the show goes on, decade after decade, often (to use a term of John Keel’s )in flaps.


The mythology of the sky epiphanies is anything but uniform, but in fact has evolved.  The first category is the most varied: sightings, more or less close.  But it gets interesting for the theory of religion, when  sightings lead to contact with an unknown intelligence, or an actual alien, presumably behind the sighting. The early contact mythologies were positive in spirit and aim, with a missionary bent. They brought hope in the evolutionary future of our race.  But at the same period we find reports of variously nasty UFOs & occupants. Then in the 1960s, the weirdness gets weirder, and we hear reports of alien abduction—sight, contact, abduction—talk about flipping!  The mythology takes off in new directions; at the same time, it harks back to ancient mythologies of gods and goddesses in one way or another co-habiting with mortals.  The aliens now seem interested in creating a new species out of our rough human hardware. They don’t mind raping us to advance their reproductive experimentation.   Whether all this is to be understood literally or metaphorically is not quite clear. John Mack has studied the stories and the abductees, and found in them a challenge to our greater humanity. 


 The mythologies vary and mean different things to different people in different cultures.  Americans in the 1890s see different ‘vehicles’ of the epiphany from what Americans in the 1950s and the 2020s saw.  This seems to suggest that UFOs and UAPs are perceived in terms of the perceiver’s subjective self.  This is true. In spite, however, of the extraordinary variety of subjective elements that go into all the mythmaking, there remains a hard core of objective strangeness that overturns our everyday sense of reality, forcing us to stretch our minds.


 In my one reality-stretching UAP experience, I saw things that instantly expanded my sense of reality.  What I (and two others) saw was like no conceivable vehicle in terrestrial space. Finally, after decades of evasion, the  government is admitting that  some wild anti-gravity entity is invading our air space.  Elizondo has hinted the story is going to take off as the government opens up gradually to what is known.  Stay tuned.



Monday, May 17, 2021

Sexual Temptation and Levitation



People for various reasons choose to be celibate. Some do so for the sake of spiritual aims and values, to be free from the constraints of family life.  Some traditions, Tibetan Buddhist and Taoist, for example, seek to channel sex energies toward altering consciousness.


Other traditions see the intrusion of sexual desires as something evil and repulsive.   Repression of sexual instincts is pursued with a vengeance, as we know from many aspirants of high spiritual life.  The results are often strange. Sexual repression sometimes causes extraordinary phenomena that transcend nature.  As a matter of strange fact, it seems that deliberate or accidental  traumas of mind and body sometimes unleash unexpected experiences of beauty and transcendence.  People who fast for long periods of time, deny themselves sleep and human company, sometimes report having the most glorious experience of their lives


The example of Joseph of Copertino comes to mind, a mystic famous for his levitations and frank about the difficulties he had trying to cope with his sexual temptations.  The friar was so abusive of his own body that his superiors ordered him to go easy on himself, and he obeyed, in the spirit of holy obedience.  Here is a striking passage from Joseph’s bio, Wings of Ecstasy, (available on Amazon).


“The friar, a holy celebrity, was exposed to the enthusiasm of his female admirers: “Padre Giuseppe felt acute pain when confronted with women of ill-repute or with their writings to him, or with the advice they offered or to the propositions they made him. They were demonic incubi made concrete in a human form, come to break him and disturb his sleep with the most obscene dreams,” writes Bernini.

Clearly, Joseph spent a good deal of his spiritual capital resist­ing sexual desire and demonizing the creatures of his own erotic imagination.

“Oh my God,” the poor man once exclaimed, “I know I won’t yield to temptation, but I wish I didn’t have to fight it so hard!”

                  It is clear how powerful the conflict was, from which he never­theless found an unusual form of relief through levitation. Clearly, a giant leap beyond masturbation.

In the shadow of sexual peril, Joseph would repeat out loud, “Uno e Una!”, his formula for -- ‘One God! One soul!’ A cry, in short, for the unity of the forces within, for perfect spiritual balance, for molding the unruly force of his ani­mal instincts. Levitation was for Joseph a physical acting out of the unbearable energies of his ecstasies. Domenico Bernini, ahead of his time, wrote of the psychodynamics of eroticism and ecstasy, which he described as a divine game of temptation and repression.”


The idea that God may be playing spiritual games with us is intriguing.  A God without a sense of humor is a very depressing idea.

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

A Native American Psychic: Louise Lone Dog


I found a thin book in my library the other day, untouched and unread.  By Louise Lone Dog, it’s called: Strange Journey: The Vision Life of a Psychic Indian Woman.  It was published in 1964.  I was immediately taken by her story, the originality and authenticity.  It evokes her Indian ancestry, and its spiritual ways,  while embracing science and elements of Christianity.  She was a Mohawk shaman with documented psychic powers that settled in New York City, and was born in 1928.


Her book is mainly about her psychic life; native Indians, like herself with strange inner lives, were shy about sharing their stories. There was from the beginning always the risk of Christian fanatics maligning or killing them. Those that weren’t physically decimated were herded onto reservations and forced to renounce their language, traditions, and spirituality that were thousands of years older than the white marauders’culture.  


Lone Dog’s strange journey is about recovering and honoring her native inner  talents.  “Not knowing, for some time, of books dealing with psychic experiences or phenomena, I had to develop my own way of understanding these things.”25  We  can learn from those who came before us, but the greater challenge is to follow your own gift wherever it leads.  At the same time she had to stay quiet about her experiences; her psychic friends t were beaten up when they talked about her experiences.  


In 1964, she was arguing that many parents unwittingly destroy the creative imagination and psychic abilities of their children.  Much that is ill is a byproduct of a repressed psychic life. Louise Lone Dog writes: “I feel certain that much of the upset lives, fears, neuroses, and many unhappinesses of modern times are due to lack of understanding and of repressions of just such gifts that are given to children in their early years and which, sadly, never have a chance to flower.”19


In her early life, living close to nature taught her to tune into the natural world, which seemed to release her psychic abilities.  A rich sensory life can be a prelude to a supersensory life.  “From this highly developed keenness of the senses, many moved on to a knowledge of the sixth sense, the sense of the spirit world, and saw and understood things beyond space and time and place in a way the modern, civilized man, with his dulled senses and his emphasis on material luxury and pleasure, finds it hard to grasp, or understand.”7  


She describes a life transforming dream in which she found herself at a big fair that was a revelation of the glory of the Indian past before the conquest; the colors and symbols and animals and costumes and dances all became brilliantly real before her, and she woke with the inspiration and the vision of a return of the Indian spirit and a rebirth of its arts. e.  Her idea was to use art and bead-weaving to create artifacts of Indian spirituality, which would call up the living spirit of Indian lifeways.

It happens in the course of history that people gain guidance and inspiration by renewing the past.  The very start of modern times was prompted by the Renaissance, a rebirth of ancient ideas and ideals.  Why not indigenous earth wisdom to combat the suicide of the planet.


There is more to say about this book and Louise Lone Dog (Naturegraph Press).  She was full of presentiments of the coming together of the races, and blending of the religions, a true melting-pot of spiritual evolution.  I could find nothing about her on the Internet except that she was married twice and born in 1928, and that she moved to and lived in New York City.  Strange Journey contains a vision of an America coming together in a great living oneness of spirit.  Was she crazy or did she glimpse a real possibility?  The author, a native American of artistic and spiritual talents, said: “Modern science is very young, but psychic science is as old as the human race.”

Friday, April 9, 2021

Hitching a Ride to Other Worlds

Hitching a Ride to Other Worlds  

Each of us lives inside the sphere of our  own experience.  Our perceptions, memories and beliefs make up our world.  In time we acquire assumptions about what is real and possible, which is fine for getting around in our familiar world.  But sometimes (sooner or later, I would say) things happen that trigger something totally unexpected.

One example are close encounters with death. What looks terribly, horribly bad suddenly opens to a greater reality.  The person is radically changed in ways that seem altogether positive—emotional, paranormal and mystical.  A human being can suddenly undergo a complete transformation. The evidence points to something normally hidden but potentially capable of sudden manifestation.

And that raises a question.  How do we tap into these transformative powers that lie latent within us?  We don’t have to be near-death for the gates of inspiration to open for us. The inspiration sometimes likes to initiate contact and orchestrate our transformation.  It may happen to persons into spiritual practice or to random bystanders.

Levitation, bilocation, apports and teleportation are very dramatic displays of supernormal hijinks.  But our psychic powers are more subtle in the way they insert their suggestions and intrusions.  So-called “false feedback”  is one way.  Arrange it so that someone thinks they have done something paranormal; they will then suddenly produce real paranormal effects.  

There is also a contagion effect.  Paranormally well-endowed folk are known to temporarily impart their strange abilities to others. Lots of stories about imparting immunity to fire. Come to think of it, this would seem the right evolutionary response to the current heating up of our planet.   

I had a student once with a curious talent.  Give him a ring or lock of hair or any token of some person and he would casually rattle off true facts about the object or that person.  He insisted I could do as he did and tested me.  He was right, but it worked only when I was around him.   

There are stories of people who while witnessing the near-death of somebody are drawn into the visionary experience themselves.  An interesting way to hitch a ride into the next world. What I want to suggest is that traffic in and out of our normal experience is much greater than we suppose.  The reason is that the two worlds are adjacent to one another and separated by barriers that are not impassible.

Suppose there really is a hidden dimension of reality where we can travel about in space and time in ways that are normally impossible.  The point about this “other” world that seems so remote is how “close” to us it really is. Closeness in spirit is based on feeling. Closeness in physical space has nothing to do with feeling but is measured numerically.

To see just how close we are to a larger mental world, we can observe ourselves. Watching a movie, say, hovering on the edge of sleep (it’s been a long day), suddenly you slip into a hypnagogic state and are surrounded by strange people, all with vividly real and unique facial expressions. Some are looking straight at you and some right through you.

In one instant you went  from your waking physical world into a totally different world.  The example I just gave was my experience, just one among countless possibilities.

We live close to the edge of another dimension of reality.  We underrate the mystery of our dream life, our private vestibule into the greater mind.  Our waking world we know through reason and sense experience; the dream world that we periodically visit is totally different. Nevertheless, it is a doorway to a greater mental life.

The philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer underscores the otherness of dream reality, and writes that the dream “stands out as something wholly foreign and extraneous which, like the outside world, forces itself on us without our intervention and even against our will. . . . All its objects appear to be definite and distinct, like reality itself.” He quotes Aristotle, “a dream is sensation (aisthema), in a certain way.”  Another philosopher, H. H. Price, has argued that the dream may well be our best model for an afterlife world.  Price and C.D. Broad also argue that our dream life is still active when we are awake, busy dealing with the external world.

The main point here. Our actual minds extend more widely and deeply than they might normally appear.  We need a concept of mind that reveals—not conceals—the full reality of our inner potential. We’ve been bullied by reductive science into a one-dimensional view of ourselves.  But the facts imply a multiverse of mind & consciousness. All the facts point to the reality of a greater mind,.  But for most of us this means nothing. It might be compared to living a hardscrabble life, oblivious to the wealth one has scattered in many banks.  

Again, I want to stress: the greater mind overflows into the psyches of certain people.  A Canadian psychiatrist, Richard Bucke (1837-1902) had spent time with friends reading and discussing the Romantic poets; on his way home, driven inside a hansom, he was in a relaxed state.  Then, suddenly, he had an experience, like no other, that changed his life and issued in a book about people who had the same kind of experience he had. He called the book Cosmic Consciousness.

 Here’s what Bucke wrote (about himself in the third person): “All at once, without warning of any kind, he found himself wrapped round as it were by a flame-colored cloud. For an instant he thought of fire, some sudden conflagration in the great city; the next he knew the light was within himself. Directly afterwards came upon him a sense of exaltation, of immense joyousness accompanied or followed by an intellectual illumination impossible to describe. Into his brain streamed one momentary-lightning flash of Brahmic splendor, leaving thenceforward for always an after-taste of Heaven . . ..”

It’s hard to read this and countless similar reports and not acknowledge the perennial intuition: the mind and consciousness that I am is an inlet to a greater mind and consciousness that I may become.  How that may happen is for each of us to discover in our own way.    

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