Saturday, June 22, 2024

The Most Important Relationship

 

Life on Earth  is heating up. One effect is to accelerate changes like the melting of glaciers, the destruction of habitats, and the predicted extinction of a million living species, not excluding humans.  The picture of the coming climate Armageddon painted by scientists is not consoling..

 

As a species we’re facing a challenge that is unavoidable, and each day the future seems to look grimmer and more disorienting. Chaos and disintegration approach on scales unprecedented.  In light of this not too jolly premise, I find myself wondering about the fragility of relationships. 

 

It struck me that there are three kinds of relationship we all have.  We are in relationship with ourselves; with other human beings; and with the natural world we’re part of. All three are problematic, given the terminal dangers introduced by human activity.

 

As for relationship to ourselves, many of us manage reasonably well. But many not so well, and problems with ourselves can range from morbid self-loathing to criminal megalomania.

 

As to how we relate to others, conflict and wars of all kinds are making mountains   of corpses and mangled bodies, flattened houses, blasted churches, hospitals and  schools reduced to rubble, and millions of ruined lives in their wake. 

 

 As for how we relate to the living natural world we’re a part of—the answer is miserably.  Suicidal, self-destructive, cosmically stupid, to be more exact.  Ever since the Industrial Revolution, humans have managed to create a monster called climate change. We’ve polluted, overheated, and wrecked ecosystems all over the planet.  And this is not a one off event; it’s a process that needs to stop or else it will roast, drown and starve us to death.

 

Instead of an industrial revolution, we need a revolution in the way we see, understand and experience the world.  The creative center for the entire enterprise revolves around the way we relate to ourselves.   After all, the way we relate to other people must be a function of the way we’re tuned into ourselves.  If we’re not happy with ourselves, relating to other people and the natural world are bound to suffer. The key to the three relationships then is the relationship we have to ourselves.

 

‘Know yourself,’ was incribed on the pediment of the temple of Apollo. A signpost of ancient Greek wisdom.  Our relationship to ourselves is the primary challenge we are invited to explore.

 

The relationship to oneself contains the potential for something, to use that seductive word, transformative.  New forms of consciousness, being psychically opened up in radically new ways are possible.

 

We find ourselves in a space of bewildering relationships. There is our beautiful planet and the sprawling universe. There are other humans, saints and savages we have to contend with. And finally, there is our mother the natural world with all her  powers and mysteries. A mother terribly abused, poisoned, polluted, blasted in air, land, and sea.

 

Human intelligence has learned to plunder the material Earth as if it were raw material for human consumpton.   Nature is treated as a soulless resource to be exploited in whatever way serves human desires, above all, for profit.  Technology, by appropriating nature spells the death of the sacred. Henceforth all things are for sale.

 

So here we are, facing an uneasy future, but hope to advance a little, and get to know ourselves. Are there latent powers we possess but don’t know how to mobilize? A large question mark hangs over our most important relationship, which is to ourselves. 

 

The question we might ask: am I walking about in a trance on a treadmill, oblivious to what lies just below my entrenched surface awareness?  Ask the right questions of yourself, and replies are apt to come.  Of the three relationships we have, the one to ourselves is key.  The greatest challenge but also the most interesting and the most creative.  And it’s the relationship impossible to escape from.

Monday, June 10, 2024

Contact With Our Hidden Mental Life

 

At any given moment we’re conscious of a tiny portion of our immense, multi-layered mental life.   It’s worth reminding ourselves of that.  There is more going on in us than we suspect. More forms of consciousness and creativity than we might imagine.  I’ll take that as a bit of good news from nature.

 

Each of us, I believe, harbors a portion of creative genius within us. But how do we  contact this hidden power?  Easier said than done. If only we could go to the supermarket and pick up a supply of creative energy when in need. But no.  It’s a tricky matter to get into a relationship with your subconscious genius.

 

And yet people have devised ways to make the connection. Religion and even some scientists talk about tapping into our higher potentials. During our waking day, consciousness is absorbed in whatever our experience is at the moment.  The world in and around us is fills our consciousness to the brim.  That’s normal.  But it’s not the way into the deep creative mind.

 

Now imagine the following.   You are born with some part of your brain damaged, reducing your cognitive capacity to “idiocy.”   The range of your conscious awareness and behavior is drastically reduced.  Doctors recommend lobotomy or being retired to an institution.  Born in 1951, your parents reject all those solutions, and keep you in their loving care. 

 

Your name is Kim Peek, and it turns out that you are the model for the movie, Rain Man. a person with “savant syndrome.”  Kim has been called the “Mt. Everest of memory” by researcher Darold Treffert.  He has memorized–perfectly—over 12,000 books!  His memory may well be the most colossal in human history.

 

Kim is one of a rare company of people with damage to their brains who have amazing mental abilities—in memory, art, music, and other skills.  There are cases of acquired savant syndrome, for example, being struck by lightening, followed by amazing musical ability.  

 

So we are looking at a strange paradox.  One way to access our hidden genius is to be in some way deprived of brain function.  It appears as if consciousness, deprived of its normal outlets, may connect to more deeply hidden regions of the brain and psychic life.  

 

I can think of another example that illustrates this paradox, the near-death experience.  Again, it seems strange, but for the majority of people who have an NDE, the experience is amazing and transformative.  And again, the paradox: in the near death experience, your consciousness, ripped from normal perception, gets funneled into a whole new multiplex-dimension of reality.

 

So the trick seems to be to somehow shift consciousness away from everyday reality, and allow it to relocate in other parts of our mental universe. Now, the yogis, shamans, saints and mystics of the world have worked out various methods of doing this. This is a big topic, for sure, but we can mention a few possibilities. 

 

For example, shamans and psychic explorers everywhere have learned to use certain plants to plumb the mysteries of consciousness, marijuana and magic mushrooms, being popular examples in the U.S. today.    

 

Yoga and all the meditative practices are designed to take control of consciousness, so as not to dissipate the energy of psychic life; they are used to encourage the harmonics of higher consciousness.  The purpose of meditation is to limit the possible distractions you have to contend with in everyday life.

 

There is another way we can open to our full creative potential.   If we hope to break through to our creative core, we need to speak to it, as if to another person. We need to imagine ourselves talking with the benevolent genius within us.  But there has to be an ongoing dialogue. You do it in a way that works, according to your own plan.

 

Of course, there are many people who do this and call it prayer—conversation with the transcendent.  All the ways of opening up consciousness are welcome.

 

Finally, consider the Buddhist symbol of the Void as summing up the argument.  The paradox again, the Void is the way to break through to an enlightened consciousness.  In short, consciousness attached to nothing is open and therefore receptive to the creative powers—poised to flood and transform us. 

 

I forgot to mention another  traditional method of tuning into the unknown genius within—Solitude.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, May 15, 2024

Facing The Final Choice

The editor of my first book suggested I call it The Final Choice.  I thought the title was  overdramatic and a bit grandiose.  I did in part write the book in response to what seemed like the growing threat of nuclear war.   Recently (2017), White Crow Books graciously offered to reprint the book.  I reduced the size of it and changed the subtitle to Death or Transcendence?  The book then is a question.  Either we get beyond ourselves, renounce our fanatical lust for land, power, and privilege, or we go on killing and laying waste to each other, until we get sucked into a terminal nuclear war.

 

Why not? America is in the midst of refurbishing its nuclear weapons arsenal. According to the Congressional Budget Office, costing $756 billion dollars. Money, in my opinion, stolen from the American people. We don’t need to beef up our killing power.  We who invented the diabolical A-bomb and alone have used it twice are already capable of blasting the entire planet to radioactive rubble.  But the upgrade will make the war-machine industries richer, enable us to sell our homocidal products to certain favored parties, and as well scare the shit out of the world, by advertising the might of the American Empire with its 800 military bases plastered around the planet.  What we really need is to refurbish, not our nuclear arsenals, but our people—the appalling poverty, homelessness, and lack of medical and education resources for vast numbers of Americans. We could use that $765 billion. to improve rather than destroy life.    

 

Here in 2024, the old title of my book no longer seems overdramatic. It seems that now we really are facing a final choice. As a species there are two major ways we’re facing finality.  First, the risk of nuclear war is at a new high today.  The Union of Concerned Scientists has moved the Doomsday Clock to 90 seconds before midnight. The closest yet to midnight on record. Midnight means we’re all toast.

 

As for the second, we’re facing finality from manmade climate chaos, which is already wreaking havoc on planetary life.  A million species are threatened with extinction, including humans. This may be the first challenge to the human race as a whole; for without universal cooperation toward controlling the output of various gases we produce that are heating up the planet, world civilization is pretty much doomed.  We, the entire planet, need to reduce our carbon footprint, to use another metaphor.  Not easy, though, because we have to change the way we live.  A big challenge, for sure.

 

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

 

Bertrand Russell on the Middle East

 

The great, socially engaged philosopher and mathematician,  Bertrand Russell, died on February 2, 1970. On the last day of his life, he wrote the following about the Middle East.

 

 

“The latest phase of the undeclared war in the Middle East is based upon a profound miscalculation. The bombing raids deep into Egyptian (Palestine today) territory will not persuade the civilian population to surrender but will stiffen their resolve to resist. This is the lesson of all aerial bombardment. The Vietnamese who have endured years of American heavy bombing have responded not by capitulation but by shooting down more enemy aircraft. In 1940 my own fellow countrymen resisted Hitler’s bombing raids with unprecedented unity and determination. For this reason, the present Israeli attacks will fail in their essential purpose, but at the same time they must be condemned vigorously throughout the world. The development of the crisis in the Middle East is both dangerous and instructive. For over 20 years Israel has expanded by force of arms. After every stage in this expansion Israel has appealed to “reason” and has suggested “negotiations”. This is the traditional role of the imperial power because it wishes to consolidate with the least difficulty what it has already taken by violence. Every new conquest becomes the new basis of the proposed negotiation from strength, which ignores the injustice of the previous aggression.

The aggression committed by Israel must be condemned, not only because no state has the right to annexe foreign territory, but because every expansion is an experiment to discover how much more aggression the world will tolerate. The refugees who surround Palestine in their hundreds of thousands were described recently by the Washington journalist I.F. Stone as “the moral millstone around the neck of world Jewry.” Many of the refugees are now well into the third decade of their precarious existence in temporary settlements.

The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was “given” by a foreign Power to another people for the creation of a new State. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their number have increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty? It is abundantly clear that the refugees have every right to the homeland from which they were driven, and the denial of this right is at the heart of the continuing conflict. No people anywhere in the world would accept being expelled in masse from their own country; how can anyone require the people of Palestine to accept a punishment which nobody else would tolerate? A permanent just settlement of the refugees in their homeland is an essential ingredient of any genuine settlement in the Middle East.

We are frequently told that we must sympathize with Israel because of the suffering of the Jews in Europe at the hands of the Nazis. I see in this suggestion no reason to perpetuate any suffering. What Israel is doing today cannot be condoned, and to invoke the horrors of the past to justify those of the present is gross hypocrisy. Not only does Israel condemn a vast number of refugees to misery, not only are many Arabs under occupation condemned to military rule; but also Israel condemns the Arab nations only recently emerging from colonial status, to continued impoverishment as military demands take precedence over national development.

All who want to see an end to bloodshed in the Middle East must ensure that any settlement does not contain the seeds of future conflict. Justice requires that the first step towards a settlement must be an Israeli withdrawal from all the territories occupied in June 1967. A new world campaign is needed to help bring justice to the long–suffering people of the Middle East."

 

Tuesday, April 30, 2024

Another Tale of Animal Psi

 When I was a kid in New York City I remember watching with awe a movie called Lassie Come Home.   About a lost dog and the adventures finding its way back home—I was enthralled by this story, myself not having a cat or dog in our small apartment.  At that time, I had no idea about dogs or people with so-called “psychic” abilities.  When I grew up, however, I started to hear stories about psychic people, and had  some odd experiences myself.

 

Discussing the idea of psychic ability with a fellow graduate student at Columbia University, he told me a story hard to forget. When he was a small boy he and his family moved from a house on Long Island about forty miles to an apartment in Manhattan.  The boy had a pet dog he loved but pets were not allowed in the new apartment.  So the family had to leave the little terrier behind with a neighbor.  The boy, needless to say, was unhappy about losing his canine buddy.  

 

So the family moved to the big city and left poor Nino behind.  About two months later, however, the boy was on a lunch break outside the elementary school he was attending.  Suddenly, his long absent dog Nino, dirty and looking worn out, was at his heels.  His dog had come home! Imagine the boy’s heart.  The mental connection is all they had, but the dog found him through forty miles of houses and traffic and a river he had to cross.  

 

There are lots of stories like this. I recommend an excellent book on animal psi by Rupert Sheldrake, Dogs That Know When Their Owners Are Coming Home. Animals, like humans, display unexplained powers, often when they’re most stressed out or highly excited. With humans, the most spectacular example is the near-death  experience.

 

Danger, stress, even looming death often seem to liberate extraordinary mental powers. Nino the terrier was an example of a stressed out dog who against all odds found his way home. Stories of strange animal behaviors would be fun to share, and useful to remind us of one of the great mysteries of nature.  All living things seem to be linked together in what seems to be a great mind at large.

Monday, April 22, 2024

Intentionality of a Cat

 

 I’ve often wondered about the scientists and philosophers of the 17th century—and right on till thirty or forty years ago—the errant materialists that believed nonhuman animals were devoid  of mind and consciousness.  Did they not ever observe or play with a cat or a dog?   Many of this persuasion also doubted the reality of their own mind and consciousness.  Again, one wonders if these materialists ever spent much time observing and reflecting on their own mental life.

 

My thoughts on this were triggered by a recent encounter with a cat.   One morning  I opened the side door of my house to find a strange cat staring  at me.  I checked my mail and closed the door. The next two mornings there was a repeat performance; I open the door and there is the same grey-brown-striped cat with white paws staring intently at me, each time stationed a little closer to my door.

 

On the fourth morning, I opened up, and lo! In steps the cat!  She immediately butts my ankle with her head and proceeds to march around my living room, rubbing herself against chairs, book shelves, and so forth. I sat down at my desk and she came and nestled between my feet. Of course,  I then reached down and pet  her on the head, which she seemed especially to savor.  What struck me was the sheer intentionality of the cat’s behavior.  It took four days for her to accomplish her goal—humans give up more readily at their tasks.

 

Intentionality is a property of consciousness—it is always directed toward  something.  I discovered that the cat belonged to a couple two houses to my right, and could be seen at odd hours wandering about.  Her name was Clio, after one of the ancient Greek muses.  After about five minutes, Clio strolled toward the door, I followed, opened the door, and she shot out.

 

The next day I was at my desk at work when I glanced to the right and there is the cat sitting on my windowsill gazing at me.  Okay, I let her in—the side or the front door? The moment I decide to open the front door, the cat leaps off the windowsill and walks straight toward the front door.  I quickly learned two things about Clio: she was very intelligent and, as it seemed to me, psychic.   Those old mechanists got it wrong about animals.

 

I enjoyed what became daily visits from Clio, never tried to feed her, and whenever I gave the sign for departure, she would gracefully vanish.  I liked to watch her behavior.  She learned how to ‘speak’ one English word—hand! Whenever chance permitted, she would butt my hand with her furry head, and the meaning was clear: “Please pat me on the head! I love it!”  She would explore every room in detail and was always looking for the highest thing to leap on top of and look out a window. One thing she always did—I think it was a game she played—she would spin around in circles very fast trying to catch her tail.  She also  found certain comfortable places to lie down and nap, and I could hear her purring away.

 

The cat would leave and return later, peering at me through windows and doorways, letting me know she wanted back in.   One afternoon, during a visit with a colleague, Clio appeared on the windowsill.  I got up and closed the window shade.  I was too busy to entertain the cat. A few seconds later we were distracted by  scrapings and sounds on the side glass door.  What we saw caught our attention.  Clio was pounding on the door with both her paws.  Who thought a cat could be so amazingly willful?

 

It was a treat getting to know Clio.  She liked to leap on to the kitchen counter when I was sitting there having lunch.  She had no interest in food.  It was pure playful rapport.  We were sitting almost face to face, and for a moment I felt I was peering into the eyes of a human being. Her green eyes  spoke to me, and for a moment it felt as if I was looking into the eyes of a woman reincarnated as a cat.  

 

Things took a wrong turn when Clio wanted to stay in my house. I would let her out in the afternoon, but I soon noticed that she hung around my house, even late into the  night. Once at around midnight I opened the door and she tried to dive into my house.  And she was there first thing in the morning. But she was not my cat, so I had to terminate our relationship.   I’ve had cats that I lived with but never did I meet a cat with such focus and intentionality.

 

The modern scientific study of animal consciousness is a recent development. Until recently the scientific assumption was that animals have no consciousness or inner life.  A convenient assumption that makes it okay to slaughter animals for food, clothing, hunting, ‘sport,’ religious sacrifice, etc. By denying the consciousness of animals we rationalize their brutal exploitation. One of the dumbest form of human malice is to call the people we despise animals.   As if humans are not animals when in fact  they are the cruelest and most destructive animal on the planet.

 

And now for a final note—talk about coincidence or maybe telepathy.  A minute  ago when I finished writing the last  paragraph, I looked up, and there was psychic Clio on my windowsill.  Staring at me.  The perfect punctuation mark.  I have not seen her at all for at least two weeks.  But she shows up exactly the moment I finished writing and thinking about her.  By the way, there are wonderful stories about the psychic adventures of animals.  So much to learn about the mystery of life.

Tuesday, April 9, 2024

 

 

Wonders in the Sky

 

An eclipse of the sun can cause millions of people to gaze up at the open sky. The sky and its wonders stir the imagination.  In fact, the open sky is a scene of all sorts of wonders, not just the rare coincidence of the moon blocking the sun for a short while.

 

It is a fact that people see mysterious lights, forms, objects in the sky that move about in strange ways, unlike any known to terrestrial science.  The study of these fascinating sky-born irregularities is called ufology.  I’ve been working on a report about the connection between ufology and another queer field of study, parapsychology—the study all kinds of experience that escape the net of materialism.  

Ufology and parapsychology like anomalies—literally ‘outlaws’, things beyond our normal understanding. The two fields are distinct, but in fact they tend  to blend. Both research similar kinds of puzzling phenomena.  For example, when UFO beings interact with humans, they do it directly, mind to mind, called telepathy by the parapsychologist.  The two fields blend here. Another example, levitation, the anti-gravity force, turns up in close encounters with alien entities.  The hapless human is abducted into a ‘craft’ by a levitating alien. I knew that the ecstatic Saint Joseph of Copertino could levitate; now I see a UFO connection to the saints. 

 

One thing I didn’t reckon on when I started to connect the two fields; the tons of available data. So all I can do is offer a sketch of how I would tie the two domains of anomaly into a big  picture.

Begin with parapsychology. Deals with stuff that’s physically unexplained. Psi includes ESP (extrasensory perception) and PK (psychokinesis).  So, the ability to tune into another mind, telepathy; to have access to time past and future, (retro-and-pre-cognition), and to the physical space around you (clairvoyance).  Add to these, empathy and the mystical intuition of the oneness of being.  Major, transformative stuff.

 

Now the psi effects appear fleetingly in most of us and deeply in very few more open beings—shamans, mediums, mystics, prophets, and the like. The question is, why do we have these potentials latent in us?  To me, the answer is clear and obvious:  they are what we need to complete our evolution as a species.

But now we have to ask: Is the human species on a path of self-destruction?  There are two ways it could come about: manmade global eco-catastrophe and/or nuclear war. Right now various great and would-be great powers are investing billions of dollars in building up their world-destroying atomic arsenals. 

What has this to do with sanity?

 

Psychiatrist Dr. John Mack interviewed people abducted by aliens. Mack was transformed by his encounters with the abductees.  A major theme of the collective sky epiphanies is to change the way we relate to the natural world, along with a more vibrant human connectivity.  

 

None of this will happen apart from large-scale changes of human consciousness. It’s the only way to revise the way we see, feel, and understand the world.  Different cultures throughout history have hacked away at the mysteries  of our hidden higher powers. We have to do it in our way in our time.

But first a few facts, not known by many of us.  First of all, UAPs are real.  I know this from my own experience, and so do millions of other people.  What the UAPs are, their origin, and their purpose is unknown.  But they are global with swarms of them in and out of our airspace. Here’s where it gets interesting—stories of military or private attempts to shoot or disable these entities invariably fail.  They tend to treat us with amused condescension.  Can you imagine the affront to mighty America?

 

But by far the most shocking fact is that the UAPs, in their frequent flirtations with the military, have on several occasions disabled entire nuclear facilities, temporarily.  This cannot make the people at the helm of the military happy.  It also explains why the military has been secretive about the reality of 

UAPs. 

 

The part that I find interesting. Our psychic powers are more evolved in the unknown visitors.  The quest of the paranormal seems to lead to the cosmic visitors we also call UAPs.  This strange story has been unfolding for a long time.  Bit by bit, the truth is emerging.  The more we dig, the more we discover.  I’m always interested in hearing reader’s views  or experiences.  

Friday, February 23, 2024

A Strange Light Experience

 From time to time I’ve  had experiences certifiably paranormal: telepathic, ghostly, precognitive,  psychokinetic.  But on the day after Christmas in 2020, actually after midnight on the next  day, I experienced something unlike anything I ever experienced before.

 

The context.  I was in high spirits,  working on a large painting and, at that moment, writing a blog-post for the following day. It was about one-thirty in the morning, my body felt tired, but my mind was clear.  I’m concentrating on the point I’m about to formulate and type out on my computer, when I notice a slight tremor on my left eyebrow, exactly at the point where the bone of the skull makes a right angle. I also notice there’s a change in the light around me and a sensation of sudden warmth.

 

Suddenly,  light began to emanate from my left eyebrow—that single point on my skull where I felt a tremor.  I could see and feel the pulsations of light.  During this steady flow, I became conscious of the reality of the light because I couldn’t read my computer screen.  The light from my brow was too bright and it was distracting me.    I decided something odd but real was happening.  It might be wise, I thought, to make friends with it,  so I surrendered to the stream of light that was pulsating from my left eyebrow. There was a quality to the light that was exquisitely peaceful; so I laved myself in it, and stopped thinking.

 

Then I stand up abruptly, and still the streaming continues. I observe how this stream, pouring from the left side of my head, was moving to the right in physical space. What I’m seeing makes no sense. I was wide awake and working; something that seemed to emanate from my own head stopped me from doing my work.   I look around at my studio and all I can see are evenly paced waves of light. I get anxious because I’m suddenly not sure where I am or what’s happening or if this will ever stop.  But the pulsations did diminish, so I get into bed and concentrate on the benign side of the  light.   I retreat under the covers; I can  still see light waves around me; but they weaken and I fall asleep.

 

Morning: refreshed, my left eyebrow back to normal.  For several days some  worry about a repeat performance.  A bit unnerving, but a fantastic experience.  I think a camera would have caught the light.  Thoughts?  How to classify? Understand?

 

There is a literature on the subject of strange and remarkable light experiences.   Light is both a physical phenomenon and also it would seem a mental phenomenon, and both have similar functions.  Without light the world would be shrouded in darkness, and invisible to us.  But the same applies to the  inner light of our mental world.  When we awaken from dreamless sleep, our consciousness lights up the world around and in us. 

 

It turns out that my eyebrow illumination experience is just a kid brother in a huge family of folks who’ve had strange and deeply significant light encounters.  The first example that comes to mind is the often-reported near-death experience.  It’s a paradox that when people in some striking way merely come close to death they often have extraordinary light experiences, in which they feel illuminated and bathed with the purest love imaginable. 

 

Also people on the threshold of their actual death report seeing an all-embracing light of love.  Then there are the mystics and shamans and others disposed to ek-static states of consciousness; here too we find plenty of accounts of strange light experiences.   It would be of value if you have something to share with readers, if you have had a light experience.

 

As is well known, the fact that we are conscious at all is a mystery to science.  Some scientists believe that eventually there will be a physical explanation of consciousness. Others, including myself,  assume that consciousness is irreducibly itself, a fundamental factor in nature.

 

The extraordinary nature of consciousness is normally obscured by all the distractions that occupy our normal consciousness.  The ordinary concerns and problems of everyday life dominate our attention and narrow our consciousness.

 

But there is one important fact that we should remember.  Whenever our normal consciousness is disrupted; it could be by almost anything—fatigue, illness, a shocking event—it often happens that our minds are torn open and we are exposed to new powers, new dimensions of experience.  Transformation and enlightenment are always much closer than we might normally assume. It’s a simple fact easily forgotten: far from remote, our greatest ally is within us.  The question we have to ask: what must I do to mobilize what I already possess within myself?  For more on this inner potential we all possess, see my book: Smile of the Universe: Miracles in an Age of Disbelief.

Wednesday, February 14, 2024

What Our Minds Can Do To Our Bodies

It’s not every day that the New York Times reports on the mysteries of mind and body.  There was, however, a report in the Times (Sept 9, 2023) by Ruth Graham of an apparent case of bodily incorruption in America. It happened to Sister Wilhelmina Lancaster from the Abbey of Our Lady of Ephesus, a small order located in the hills north of Kansas city.  Four years after her death it was decided to move her body to a more conspicuous place inside the church.  Upon opening her coffin and expecting to find dust and bones, they found Wilhelmina (a Black woman) with her body and face intact.  This was immediately construed as a possible miracle of incorruption, and since then she has drawn thousands of visitors from all parts to witness the extraordinary phenomenon. 

 

Bodily incorruption is a well-documented phenomenon, in which the dead bodies of people who were intensely serious about their religious practice don’t decompose in the normal way, but for decades and more remain intact.  They may emit a sweet fragrance instead of the stench of decomposition; or exude blood or oils. And these anomalies persist.  For example, Bernadette Soubirous (1844-1879) whose dead body has remained intact for over a hundred years, without any artificial embalming techniques.  Something about her intense spiritual life had this highly symbolic effect on her corpse.  Needless to say, a mystery as to how this is possible.

 

Fortunately, this strange power (whatever it is) that acts on dead bodies is also known to act on and heal living bodies.  Medical psychology provides our first example with the abundance of data on the placebo effect, which is a mental effect, based on belief.  Studies have repeatedly demonstrated that in many cases, those who believe and expect improvement from doing or ingesting something, show significant improvement.  This leads to another possibility.  Maybe the drugs that work do so in part because the user believes in them.   There is evidence that mental states and intentions sometimes serve as healing agents.

 

There are cases where the mental effects are dramatic, and shocking to common sense, as well to science. Stories from Bible-related beliefs and practices, from indigenous and shamanic societies, and from modern hospital settings, all, if true,  attest to the healing power of our mental life.   We could call it psychic or spiritual power or the energy of the soul.  There are cases where the healing power certainly seems super-natural, meaning beyond what we’re accustomed to find in nature.  All that means is that there are things about nature that we have yet to understand. 

 

Some cases illustrate extraordinary powers over physical reality The story of Pierre de Rudder is thoroughly documented and thoroughly extraordinary. The most striking point: the healing was total and instantaneous.  For eight years de Rudder endured a broken leg that festered and was pain-wracked. His benefactors provided the best possible medical care, but without even slight success.  After eight years, on April 7th, 1875 he with his wife’s assistance hobbled with cane to a train station that took him to the Lourdes sanctuary in Oostacker, near Ghent.


Many witnessed him that morning before embarking on his voyage.  The broken bones were such that he could turn his dangling lower leg so that his foot hung  backwards.  Upon arrival at the grotto he stood before a statue of the Madonna. De Rudder prayed that he be made well, so he could work and care for his wife and children. Quite suddenly, standing before the statue, he found himself instantaneously and totally healed.  He dropped his cane and was able to walk and move exactly as he did eight years ago before the tree fell on him and crushed his left leg.  He was suddenly exactly as he was before the tree had fallen on him, which had sent him into eight years of moral and physical anguish.

 

When he returned home sound and well the town and all who knew him were amazed and word of the event quickly spread all over the country and other parts of Europe. In spite of all the witnesses and doctors who knew de Rudder’s condition for eight years, the anti-clericals tried desperately to prove nothing miraculous occurred.  When de Rudder died years later his bones were unearthed and a strip of newly materialized white bone was visible that formed on the day he was healed.  The doctors were amazed by his sudden complete healing, a process that if it occurred naturally would have taken  months at the very least.

 

Extraordinary healing phenomena from  placebo effects to instantaneous healings of the de Rudder type are one example of macro-PK phenomena. The message here is that human beings possess extraordinary self-healing powers.  These powers, in my view, seem to be part of human evolutionary potential.  If you read Consuming Visions by Suzanne K. Kaufman, which is about the Lourdes Shrine, you will learn how incredibly fanatical was the response to reports of de Rudder’s instantaneous healing. The established materialist medical community and their anti clerical comrades were gobsmacked by what was being called a proven miracle.

 

It seemed like a mortal threat to the skittish tribe of know-it-alls.  The issue was degraded into an attack on the clerics who had an incredibly potent case of something beyond any natural explanation.  In my view, extraordinary phenomena are worthy of close scientific investigation for one very good reason; they  represent capacities we need to liberate and harness for the enrichment of human life.

 

This remarkable self-healing capacity, however, is not the only part of our latent evolutionary potential.   I’ll mention three more examples.  I’ve written two books about levitation (The Man Who Could Fly and Wings of Ecstasy, available via Amazon).  Gravity is one of the basic physical constituents of the universe.  There is compelling evidence for the reality of levitation.  It is related to altered states of consciousness, a state in which one’s ego is completely transcended.

Think about it.  Suppose we could learn to move through space, free from the constraints of gravity?  The evidence proves it possible.  If some people can do it, then all people might learn to or naturally evolve the capacity.  Should this happen, the world-threatening problem of energy would be drastically reduced, and with wholesome effects on the environment.

 

For this reason alone, scientists should be trying to understand how to develop that capacity, given its enormous practical utility.  But there’s a lot more to this possible project.  The potential for a new human in the history of entertainment needs to be underscored.   Surely, should our anti-gravity potential begin to unfold, learning how to enjoy and even cultivate the sportive side of levitation would open a new field for entrepreneurs.    There is reason to believe this line of thought already has a history, as described in Glenn Mullin’s The Flying Mystics of Tibetan Buddhism.

 

We’re thinking about the more extraordinary properties of our consciousness.    Lurking in the invisible planet of our mental life are seeds of a more developed humanity.  Why assume our present human type is the apex of what is possible in nature?  Given that humans are prone to unremitting mutual slaughter and that we have too often treated our mother nature with enormous brutality and self-defeating stupidity, we can only hope that a higher version of our  species is at least possible.

 

Now to my fourth example: another way we might evolve beyond our present species persona, so to speak. But this is not about what our minds can do to our bodies.  It is about how our minds relate to other minds and bodies.   For this  what we need is a particular form of consciousness.  We all, almost all, possess some germ of this particular form of consciousness, some more than others, true, but on the whole, this is a relatively rare and somewhat weakly evolved, aspect of consciousness.  

 

It shows up in a dramatic way during the near-death experience, during the life-review, in which people report entering into the subjectivity of those they  interacted with in life.  In this state, your consciousness is bifocal; you relive a moment of your past from your point of view but at the same time from the point of view of the other.  It’s more than guesswork and good will; your newly expanded consciousness enables you to be conscious of others from their point of view.  Imagine how thongs might radically change when our normal consciousness naturally can overflow into the inner world of the people and natural world around us. We can practice even now with our consciousness overflowing into aspects of the world around us. Try  going for a walk now on the streets of your everyday life, and you can even now try to imagine how it will look and feel with a more evolved bifocal consciousness.

 

What I’ve learned about extraordinary human potential I discuss in my book: Smile of the Universe:  Miracles in an Age of Disbelief. (Available at Amazon or Anomalist Books

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

The Highest Mental State

Is there a preferred state of mind, an optimal form of consciousness, a way to open  the creative flow of our lives?  It can be a wild beast, that mind of ours.  Are there states of mind that can lift us out of our routine everyday selves?   A particular state of mind we should think about?

 

I think there is, and it’s a state we’re all acquainted with, at least to some degree.  The common word for it is ecstasy.

 

We can all in one way or another relate to this word.  The usage ranges from “Mom, I’m ecstatic about that gorgeous red blouse you bought me,” to the mystical ecstasy of Hildegard Von Bingen, expressed by her transcendent music.

 

Ecstasy is the most interesting state of mind to explore because it seems to be the most creative—even to the point of enabling us to defy the familiar habits of nature.   

 

To be clear about the root meaning of the word ecstasy. Ek-stasis is the Greek, and means standing or being outside yourself.  Definitely, an altered state of consciousness.  In ecstasy, we are lifted outside our normal personality. I once dreamt I was flying in a perfect blue sky on my silver flute—truly ecstatic!  And you? We all, if lucky, can boast of the rare taste of the truly ecstastic.  Love and sex are obvious wellsprings of possible ecstasy.  But we’ll not get into that here.

 

It turns out that there are many ways,  accidental as well as deliberate, to induce ecstasy. A lady friend was driving me across town once when the car hit an embankment, lost traction and began slowly to spin around into the next lane with oncoming traffic.  I saw immediately that I might shortly be dead but then strangely lapsed into a state of blissful admiration of everything around me; I was outside myself and feeling calm and serene. By sheer luck we made it unscathed to the other side of the road, escaping a crash.

 

One of the more famous accidental routes to ecstasy is the well-investigated near-death experience.   When this happens, you are definitely outside your normal human self.  Typically, you may encounter deceased loved ones, see your whole life flash before you, encounter a being of light and love, hear unearthly music, feel what  you never felt before, and emerge from it all, an evolved human being, often with paranormal powers you  never had before.

 

We prefer not to have such terrifying accidents to experience ecstasy and its wonders.  We can, however, turn to more gradual, deliberate methods of exploring the ecstatic zone. For example, like shamans, mediums, poets, prophets, and mystics, we might fast, meditate, ingest psychoactive substances, sublimate our sexual energies, and so on.  All directed to trigger the state of mind we’re discussing. 

 

In fact, there is a specific drug, MDMA called Ecstasy or Molly. My experiments with MDMA, conducted with my wife, taught me first hand about the ecstatic dimension and what it could reveal.

 

It would be useful to have a practice, an art form, a life-style that primes us for ecstasy. It could be anything.  Any practice that tends to free us from our mechanical mental habits.   Yogis of India have the word, sadhana—the practice used to tune into the powers of our latent higher self. “What have you done to surpass yourself?” was the question that Nietzsche put into the mouth of Zarathustra.

 

A great outlet for the ecstatic quest, for finding a healing sadhana, are the arts.  The arts are about transcending our habitual mindsets, rearranging our perception of reality in ways that enlarge our humanity. The arts operate in service to the free spirit of imagination.  As such they can take us out of ourselves, each art form in its own way.  It can be any form you resonate with.  

 

The ecstatic dimension of consciousness can lead to powerful experiences.   A vast range of reports reveal all manner of strange phenomena.  One thinks of  near-death experiences, how  lives are  transformed. There are cases of instantaneous healings resulting from ecstatic prayer.  Found in all spiritual traditions, folks are blown out of their normal personalities—mediums, shamans, saints, yogis. In the well-documented miracles of Hindu and Catholic saints, ecstasy is always central, the key to extraordinary events. There are more interesting ways of being in the world than we normally suppose.   Ecstasy is a doorway into the largely unknown  land of the supernormal.  

 

To explore all this further, the facts behind the new paradigm of consciousness,  see my book, Smile of the Universe: Miracles in an Age of Disbelief. (Anomalist Books or Amazon.) Sharing extraordinary information is the way to transformation. 

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

UFOS and Psychic Phenomena

Ufology and parapsychology are two disciplines not on friendly terms with each other.  But that’s a mistake. The two fields of research naturally converge into one, more interesting discipline than either operating on their own.

 

Full disclosure, I write about this because I’m trying to understand my own experiences.   I am periodically befuddled by experiences that seem incredible and impossible.  So let me begin with a report of my own experience: a UAP, an unidentified aerial phenomenon. My experience was more than a sighting.  It was contact intending religious signaling of some sort.

 

It was 11:30 P.M. April 23, 1971. Relaxing together on the couch, Jane and I were listening to an intense piece of music by John Coltrane, “The Father, the Son, and the Holy Ghost.” Impulsively, I got up and walked to the window, and looked up into a blue night sky, still grooving with the music.  Suddenly, out of nowhere I saw a cluster of lights emerge from the sky.  They began to dance back and forth, performing impossible aerial maneuvers, echoing the rhythms of Coltrane—a few hundred feet above our top floor apartment in Greenwich Village, New York, on Bedford Street, NY. I then saw in the sky an apparition of a man, human, smiling and gesturing happily, as if he too was part of our dance. His appearance was not visible like the moving lights, but mental, which only I saw.  And I called Jane to the window who was immediately awed by the dancing lights.

 

Suddenly, the dance ended and the lights stopped whirling about. Instead, they  turned right and sailed in a straight line uptown a short distance where they perched atop the dome of Our Lady of Pompeii, a Catholic Church for immigrants.  There, it beamed several pulsations, as Jane and I watched from the sixth floor of our apartment.  The lights then sailed straight back to where they first appeared before us.  They resumed their dance for a bit, confirming the impression that this was a communication, not just an anomalous flash in the sky. Suddenly, the lights turned right again, but this time in a fraction of a second they shot zigzag uptown, vanishing as they passed over the Empire State Building.

 

Amazed by what we saw, Jane and I stepped out of the apartment and went one flight up to the roof where we met Louie, a neighbor, who said, his eyes popping with astonishment, “Did you see that?” Louie also saw and thought the lights had a pyramid shape. So, there was a third witness to what we saw.

 

Asking around in later days, there were no other reports in the neighborhood of strange lights in the sky.  A layer of coincidences I should mention: It was Jane’s birthday and Shakespeare’s, and I was five days from defending my Ph.D dissertation at Columbia University. 

 

The first comment I want to make. The intelligence guiding the lights certainly  knew the music we were listening to. As often reported, UAPs communicate by telepathy or, in this case, clairvoyance. . The intention seems to have been to connect Coltrane’s music with a Church for emigrants. What that might mean I lay aside as unknown.  It had to be more than an ad for Coltrane’s music.  My guess it was so I could tell this story.

 

As the physical behavior of UAPs clearly transcend present human technology, so do their mental capacities seem to transcend ours. What about the blatant gap between  our abilities, the psychic and the physical? One might suggest that the spectrum of paranormal capacities revealed by modern research represent human evolutionary potential. Ufology might plausibly be construed as the evolutionary complement of parapsychology.  As for the so-called Grays, associated with cases of alleged abduction, it’s worth noting that they apparently have faded slits in place of mouths, a relic perhaps of the talking and eating phases of their evolution. 

A second phenomenon helps us appreciate the link between the two areas of research—levitation.  Abductees often report being levitated to the craft where they are subjected to medical operations.  Further, the energetics of levitation may well be involved in alien forms of transportation.  Apports are kin to levitation insofar as physical objects are observed to translocate instantly and appear to move through solid matter. This turns up in accounts of poltergeist phenomena that seem related to child psychology and ghost phenomenology—another point of convergence of ufology and parapsychology. I once heard David Grusch say, almost as an afterthought, that alien technology is mind-driven.  If mystics like Joseph of Copertino for 35 years managed to defy gravity before innumerable witnesses, it is not hard to imagine a more advanced scientific culture having evolved vastly developed modes of transportation by tapping into the power Joseph had over gravity.

 

Grusch is a notable whistleblower with regard to the now infamous U.S. decades-long cover-up of all it knows about UFOs.[1]  If unknown agencies have evolved somewhere in the universe an advanced mental technology, it would mean their operations might be independent of the constraints of time and space as we know them. The forbidding spatial distances between Earth and other viable planets around the universe might then cease to be an issue. We may be dealing with intelligent beings that travel from one perceptual scene to another though a ‘tunnel’ outside the normal constraints of time and space.

Sticking to what I know from the details describing saint Joseph’s flights, based on about one hundred and fifty sworn eye-witness reports, one fact is clear about his mental state.  Ecstasy was invariably his mental state while levitating.  This was the case, for instance, while saying mass; he would lift off and hover in the air inches above the ground.  Other flights were more spectacular when he flew over people’s heads or aloft to a branch of a tree. 

 

Surely the scientific challenge is to understand why and how a state of mind can serve to release a person from the physical grip of gravity. The only space where that can happen is in dream space. A solution to the enigma of levitation may open the door to a new and more sustainable mode of transportation on earth.  Psychic technology may conceivably become part of the answer to reducing the consumption of fossil fuels.  After all, the current climate crisis is based on fossil fuels whose energy use is heating up the planet.  The challenge is to switch to new eco-friendly forms of energy like wind  and solar. But what about mental energy?  Parapsychology, psychical research, clearly hold clues to new forms of mental energy. New forms of psychic energy may then represent an evolutionary step toward solving the climate crisis. A new form of eco-friendly energy production would be part of the response to the climate crisis.

 

But there’s another more fundamental problem that has to be addressed—the malignant greed,  the paranoid streak, and the violent propensities of the human animal.  Again, the convergence under discussion contains the germ of a solution to this problem—the higher mystical forms of consciousness marked by empathy and emotions centered around the unifying force of love.  The latter are features of near-death encounters, of certain psychedelic episodes, and of yogic and shamanic experiences. All kinds of data suggest that it may be possible to learn how to  activate our extraordinary potentials, and train ourselves to use them for creative purposes—aesthetic, moral, revolutionary. 

 

The question I’m asking—how can we actualize these higher forms of consciousness without having to undergo a near-death experience? One feature of this extraordinary experience may hold the secret to dealing with the darker side of human nature—the so-called life-review so often reported. People review their whole life and report seeing how their actions affected the people they interacted with.  They feel, sense and know what’s going on inside others as clearly as they feel, sense, and know what’s going on inside themselves.  One’s ego expands in a way that includes the consciousness of the other as well as one’s own.

 

So the question is, can we learn to evoke the life review process and experience a more comprehensive sense of human identity? If science and a new psychology could devise ways to induce periodic life-reviews in human beings as part of the education and liberation of their wider humanity, it might  be a turning-point in the history of our species.  

To function in a modern democratic society, you have to be able to read, and as a minimal intellectual achievement you must understand and honor the concept of factual truth, basic to all the higher notions of truth, such as aesthetic, social, scientific, and mystical.  There is another reading skill without which democratic and social life rely on.  We need to be able to read each other, that is, encounter each other with patience and receptivity, with awareness and sensitivity. The interesting news is that a capacity for remarkable intuition and empathy may very well be part of our untapped deep self. We know this in particular from modern studies of the near-death experience. 

 

The importance of the life-review has been underscored especially by one of the American founders of near-death research, Kenneth Ring.  Moreover, as far as I know, Dr. Ring has written the only book that aims to unite parapsychology and ufology, The Omega Project: Near-Death Experiences, UFO Encounters, and Mind at Large.  This book, and others I could cite, point toward a new paradigm of scientific research that promises a more hopeful outlook for our human future. But there are also signs of danger.

 

Countries that have had encounters with UFOs are interested in acquiring their technology. This is borne out by a reading of Coulthart cited above.  Any nation that did so most likely would be able to subjugate the entire world population before long. While such efforts are doubtless under way, I see no evidence of any major progress, i.e., aircraft that can make 90 degree turns at a thousand miles an hour.  But this sort of scientific success would only exacerbate an already explosively violent human condition.  Science needs to focus on research that promises to jump-start the evolution of human consciousness, at least to the point of palliating  climate chaos and murderous human aggression.  

 

Parapsychology and ufology, two outlaw intellectual disciplines, are avoided if not outright denied by most mainstreams of officialdom. Nevertheless, these two research domains have been covering stories about as big as stories can be. In the  first story, beings not of this world are constantly interacting with us in all sorts of ways—beings obviously superior to us in ‘technology,’ if that’s the right word.  Second story—a careful para-psychological look into human experience reveals a body of evidence that points to a possible breakthrough in the evolution of the human species.  Just in time, some might say.  For without some kind of drastic breakthrough in our collective spiritual life, the world process our species has set into motion since the Industrial Revolution is going to bring down world civilization.    

 

 

 

 

 

 



[1] For a thorough back up of Grusch’s good faith, see investigative journalist, Ross Coulthart, In Plain Sight: An Investigation into UFOs and Impossible Science(2021)

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