For quite a while (a year and a half actually) I permitted myself to be distracted from my priority—properly completing this book on mindsets. This is inexcusable. With apologies to myself and anyone else who might remotely care, I now correct the lapse by jumping from the middle ages straight ahead to the book’s intended punch line: Chapter 12, which was written nearly ten years ago. It’s still not the properly polished ending I intend, but it gets the book’s main message out there. I can fill in remaining details later.
Chapter 12. Personal Experiences of the Third Option
My motivation for writing this book arises out of informed concern that fast evolution of our own making is catapulting us toward massive change of our worldwide climate and its disastrous effects that are certain to wreck civilization as we know it around the globe.
[For those wishing more detail on these grim prospects, I suggest chapters 30-34 of the book Populist Corrections, the first entry on this blog’s home page.]
We seem unable to stop the rampant self serving which manifests as headlong pursuit of materialistic wealth, and the profligate consumption of energy and resources it causes, via the entrenched driving mechanisms of capitalism and materialism. Human misbehavior, devoid of care for the common good, is causing the ecological relationships between living things and the environment to degrade at a pace not seen for perhaps a million years. As things have developed to the present, it is by no means beyond reason to worry that we are perfectly capable of rendering the planet uninhabitable for ourselves and most other forms of life, and are in fact in danger of doing so if we do not stop ourselves.
I believe we will be unable to change the inertia of our self destructive actions unless we can change the way we look at the world – in other words, our species-wide mindset.
How in the world does one persuade over seven billion people to change their minds, and do so quickly, even when the subject is quite possibly our own species’ life or death?
Close in the background of these concerns is my personal experience of eight significant dreams and two wide-awake “cogent contacts” that I can only describe as spiritual in nature. They have so deeply influenced the way I have come to think that, in them, I find a tiny but persistent hope of a way to get the attention of seven billion minds – and just possibly persuade enough of them to change from our destructive path to…a different path. If this be foolhardy and vain so be it, for this feels to me far more important than personal feelings, or personal reputation, or indeed caring a whit how crazy I may be thought by people who have not personally felt my ten very unusual experiences.
As I perceive them, these ten experiences stand out as paranormal occurrences that punctuate my long life. Aside from these (to me) remarkable experiences, my life has been otherwise filled with ordinary days of ordinary endeavor and nights of normal sleep with normal dreaming. Other than these special experiences, my life seems to me fairly ordinary, not that different from anyone else’s life in the USA of 1937 to 2019.
These experiences, however, were certainly not ordinary – each one “got my attention.” Cumulatively, they have influenced my life profoundly. The first occurred when I was a very young pre-school child, and it was a real zinger. The others began in young adulthood. They accumulated gradually, every few years, without overmuch notice by me, though I did remember each one – in detail – as something special.
Then in midlife I began feeling, inexplicably, a slowly growing urgency. I didn’t understand it at all, but along with it I felt driven to read, to attain knowledge. Over the past quarter century my reading of the scientific, spiritual and environmental topics in this book intensified enormously. Consuming about a book a week over the past three decades, I gradually gained a unique understanding of the inter-connective patterns of science, spirituality and life dynamics that I previously had not perceived at all.
My most recent paranormal experiences, a dream and a “contact,” occurred just within the past few years and were, like the first, deeply meaningful to me. Unlike earlier experiences, though, both of these had immediate influence on my thinking and actions. My thoughts, moreover, “began to remember” that childhood experience and all the dreams since then. I made no effort to recollect all this stuff, it just came, all unbidden, into my conscious attention. Taking stock, it “felt apparent” that I had received a series of gifts that were telling me something important (as indeed several did, quite literally).
Ultimately I set about writing this book because I felt I had to. Not so long ago, while fully intending to spend my retirement years working in my woodshop and writing other things, this particular writing came to feel compellingly integral to my sense of purpose for being here, for living this life. Indeed, the sense of purpose was itself one product of these experiences. My planned array of in-work short stories and plays thus trumped, I laid them aside for later, if I last till later. I have come into a new sense of personal responsibility that feels intimidating in its awesome dimensions. This too arrived only in my seventh decade. I don’t claim to understand a whit of this, but it has a force I believe no one could deny.
Brief descriptions of the ten experiences follow. I suppose it’s sheer coincidence that the first and the last happen to be of a “contact” nature – bounding the eight cogent dreams, like bookends. I share these very private experiences here only because I feel they are essential background to the veracity of this book. They may hopefully serve that purpose for some readers; others will probably be turned off by anything they regard as paranormal hoodoo. At the least, I hope thoughtful readers will better understand why I have gone to all the effort it took to write this book. For years I searched for such a book to read, before finally concluding I must write it because no one else was going to.
Two definitions apply:
“Lucid” Easily understood; clear; sane; rational; shining.
“Cogent” Forcibly convincing; powerful appeal to the mind; not easily resisted. I have used this adjective to describe my dreams, though the term “lucid dream” is more commonly used when dreams “feel real” and are well remembered after waking. Whereas my two wide-awake spiritual experiences were lucid, my eight dreams were cogent.
- FACES (Introduction) Lucid contact. Approximate age: 3
As a normal healthy small child sitting on the floor behind my parents’ couch, I suddenly became aware of “faces” streaming down at me from my upper right. There were no bodies, just faces. Not that they were actually disembodied, but the faces were all I saw. Their features were of infinite variety, though gender and age were indeterminate. Even as a young child I “knew” without being told or a word being said that these were immaterial spirits.
The faces stretched away steeply to the upper right, all queued in a line that seemed to have no end. There seemingly were endless thousands of them, one behind the other, and they were coming down at me fast. As each face arrived at my head it would enter my mind, instantly acquire into itself the entirety of all my memories, all knowledge and thoughts I had accumulated in my young mind, and then with not a ripple in its seamless instant pass-through exit out the other side of my head and whisk away in an equally long line of backs-of-heads that stretched away to my upper left. (It may be of interest that at that age I associated “mind” with “head.”)
Then began a conversation between the spirits and me – I asked questions and they gave me answers. This happened telepathically, a concept I’d never heard of at the time. I knew only that what they told me came instantly into my mind, without any words, as understandings full and complete. And the understandings I was given, at this tender age, were stunning – colossal – in their significance and meaning for me, especially later in life. At the time, in early childhood and unreflective on the event’s significance, I rather took it in stride. I told no one about it for decades, but I thought about it often. Memory of the event has always been with me, as if a constant background to my life.
As the experience takes some space to tell properly, I am deferring the full version to the end of this section. It is the only one of the personal experiences I believe to be paranormal that will be elaborated in such detail. Doing so simply seems honest, because the experience came to have such powerful significance later in my life. I think it was the genesis event that has led to writing this book seven decades later. I give this book as my gift, hoping it will be so received and will be helpful to at least some who read it; maybe even help alleviate, just a little, the wrongful forces that threaten our civilization.
- BALCONY Cogent dream. Approximate age: 20-22.
This is the first of my dreams that really stuck in memory. I stood on a balcony in a house I had designed and built. It seemed a modest house, but large enough to have a second floor. On this second floor balcony I stood at a handrail, overlooking the floor below. Something felt very wrong about the house’s design. From where I stood, only a very limited area was visible below. The balcony overlooked a corner of the first floor, making it impossible to see beyond the few square feet contained in that limited area. This seemed seriously wrong. I felt I should be able to have a much larger, broader overview of the first floor from this overlooking balcony. Though the basic design of the balcony and adjacent walls seemed wrong, I could see no way to change the design to accomplish the broader view I strongly felt it should have. I felt frustrated – why was it so closed in?
The dream had no action, so it’s unclear why it stuck so strongly in my mind. Over the years my memory of it resurfaced many times, always unbidden, for me to re-ponder. Always in these rememberings the dominant feeling was of being “stuck” in that corner, unable to see the much broader view I felt should be seen from this overlooking perch.
Over three decades later I would design and build my present home, shaped as a simple 40 x 52-foot rectangle. The back half consists of two floors, with several rooms running the 52-foot length. The entire front half of the house is a single large room, its ceiling sweeping dramatically upward from the front wall to where it joins the second floor ceiling. Openness, and lots of natural light, are integral to the house’s design, only the private spaces are not fully open to and visible from the big room. On the second floor, extending half the length of the house, a seven-foot-wide balcony overlooks the big front room. I frequently stand at its railing, overlooking the whole room below, seeing it all. We designed and use that big room often for our sharing lifestyle which includes, among other things, folk dancing, home-made music, large social gatherings and group dining.
Interpretation: This dream has always felt significant to me, though I claim no certainty of its meaning. A best guess is that, since I dreamed it in my early 20s, it may have had precognitive portent. Originally wed at the tender age of 19, my first marriage ultimately failed after 33 years. In my very different second marriage (28 years as of 2019), the openness, light, love, fellowship and social-sharing lifestyle lived in this house are integral, and – by my own design – these happy things are symbolically expressed in the broad overview I can see from the balcony.
- SISTERS Cogent dream. Approximate age: 23-24.
After leaving my desperately low-paying job to enroll in college – on bare faith that I’d find means to pay the tuition and it would all lead to a better life – this dream occurred when I was about half way toward my springboard bachelor’s degree. I dreamed of arising early on a wondrously bright and sunny spring morning and going for a long walk across our small city. Ranging far from my residence near the campus, I saw no one else out and about. There was just myself, immensely enjoying the unusually warm early morning stillness. The day felt quiet, good, and right.
I eventually arrived at a hilly edge-of-town, semi-rural area. Amid dirt streets and scattered small houses signifying a very poor neighborhood, I came to one that now seemed to have been my unconscious destination all along, a tiny four-room abode I somehow recognized from some unremembered past. Here lived – I knew without knowing how I knew – two children, sisters, who were beloved to me. In the warmth of this gorgeous spring morning, they were just awakening.
The windows all stood open, without screens, and I stood outside the window of each sister’s bedroom, greeting each in turn. We talked with sheer happiness and delight in each others’ company for perhaps a half hour until I departed – and the dream ended.
Of this dream, the main thing that stuck in memory was their personalities. The younger sister, perhaps 9-10 years old, was full of fun, mischievous, a lively sprite. The elder sister, about age 14 or 15, was of equally sunny and happy nature but was a bit more serious – her calm and gentle demeanor seemed to me more mature than her years. The maturity I perceived had to do with her internal character development, possibly spiritual in nature. She felt very special to me. I was aware that a deep, warm love was shared between these young sisters and myself, though I could not remember why or from whence came my strong feeling that we had known each other for a very long time.
Interpretation: Here also, meaning eludes me despite the felt significance of this dream. Interestingly, many years later I would retrospectively note that that the elder sister’s personality, as dreamed, was essentially that of my second wife for nearly three decades now. She is eight years younger than me. So far as she knows she is an only child.
- HOLE IN THE WOODS Cogent dream. Approximate age: 25-30.
I dreamed I was somewhere in a great forest. There seemed to be little or no undergrowth. The trees were enormous, with trunks perhaps 10-12 feet in diameter spaced at distances of fifty to a hundred feet between trunks. They seemed exceedingly tall and their heavy canopy shaded out so much light that vision was substantially dimmed at ground level. A few unknown people, scattered around, were present with me.
I stood in a large clearing near the edge of a monstrous sinkhole, perhaps a hundred feet across rim to rim. The ground within sloped like a funnel, 25-30 feet downward to a truck-sized cave opening. Beyond its mouth I knew the cave descended sideways at a gradual downward angle, and I somehow knew it went far underground for a great distance. Two of the big trees had uprooted and fallen full across the sinkhole, one stretching almost directly over the cave mouth, the other slightly overlaying the far rim.
The sinkhole’s slope was not overly steep. A person could easily walk down it and examine the cave opening which, indeed, a couple of my unknown cohorts were doing as I watched. Another stood on the large tree trunk directly over the cave, craning to peer down into it.
I had no wish to join them at either vantage point. I “knew” they were aware, as was I, that some sort of dreadfully dark and evil non-human beings existed far down in that hole. The whole place exuded an aura of terrible dread, of something awful to be avoided at all costs, for though the dark beings seldom came out, they could do so – and sometimes did if they were disturbed. The dream did not tell me why any of us was present there in the first place. I have no further memories of this brief but significant-feeling dream.
Interpretation: I don’t have a clue. I’ve known deep unhappiness a time or two, but brooding darkness has not characterized my life. I mention this odd dream only because it left a memory that feels significant and not a little scary. Though I’ve never yet come close to dying, I could speculate that the dream conceivably relates to certain near-death experiences which – little-publicized and unlike the loving I-met-God variety – feel dark, evil and frightening to a minority of NDE experiencers, who rarely talk about them. But I’m disinclined to speculate about phenomena that are unprovable to anyone beyond the first-person experiencer. Nor can I say if this inexplicable dark dream has any relevance to the following two dreams, though some symbolic connection seems possible.
- NAZI 1 Cogent dream. Approximate age: 31-33.
This dream had three phases: a secret apartment, a street scene and tunnel, and an escape.
Phase 1. Events leading up to World War Two are underway in Germany. I am a German citizen and a member of a resistance group – amateur guerillas trying to oppose Hitler and the Nazis. I am a lesser member of the group, physically of slight stature and of mousy unremarkable appearance. We are all very young.
We have a hideout. It is a long narrow apartment secretly built in behind the regular apartments in one of those long blocks of solid row-house fronts so common in many German cities. Entered through a nondescript and secret low door, a narrow corridor leads into the apartment. It nominally belongs to one of the two young women in our group, but is regularly used as a sleepover and hideaway by several of our tough young men. In the dream I feel jealous of them and the mutual attentions they share with the young woman, a vivacious dark-haired beauty. I am secretly enamored of her. If she even notices my hopeless attraction she does not reciprocate, and I suspect the guys make jokes about me.
Phase 2. Several of us have moved out onto the street, on a mission. It is a bright sunlit afternoon, the weather is somewhat cool. We are gathered on a sidewalk near one of those long-block row houses, furtively watching up and down the street to ensure we are not noticed by passersby. We stand beside a tall whitewashed plank fence built across a ten-foot gap between houses. The gap exists because a small stream flows through it. Coming from a culvert buried beneath the street and sidewalk, the stream flows on into a circular tunnel that extends, semi-buried and roofed over, between the buildings. The tunnel consists of concrete culverts about six feet in diameter, big enough to stand up in. It extends approximately half a mile, covered over the whole way to an opening where it eventually discharges its stream just outside the edge of town.
A closed gate in the center of the plank wall secures the town end of the tunnel. We make our move by quickly slipping through the gate as a group, stepping down about three feet into the shallow flowing stream. Quickly closing the gate behind us, we rapidly make our way through the tunnel toward its far end, a small circle of distant light. Some of our group carry rifles, I am unarmed.
Phase 3. Arriving at the exit, three men exit ahead of me. As I approach the tunnel mouth, I see them scattering in different directions, an indication of something gone wrong. Running out of the tunnel, I immediately see the cause – a German soldier stands just yards away, facing the tunnel. He is very young, probably not yet 20. He has a rifle and is standing tensely, legs apart, apparently uncertain what to do about the three who have just poured from the tunnel, now running in several directions. At the sight of me he overcomes his indecision. As I run to the right, aiming for a vertical earthen wall about 12 feet high, he points his rifle at me and shouts “Halt!”
Ignoring his order, I run even faster toward the wall. As I reach it I leap onto a steel ladder that is bolted to the wall and climb for my life. Reaching the top, I hear his bolt click into place and, as I vault over onto a grassy plateau, the rifle cracks and rock chips explode as the bullet hits where my body had been an instant ago. I run like hell, certain I can now get safely away before he can catch me. I don’t know where any of the others have gone or whether they evaded him. The dream ends.
Interpretation: Though the dream delivers no clear meaning to me, I do regard it as highly relevant. I was only four years old when the United States entered World War II in 1941. But over the next four years I, like all children I knew, became well informed about the war and the dire threat it represented to us all. It was a constant sinister background to everything we did. We made our small contributions to the war effort such as scouring our prairie fields for dried milkweed pods, the silks of which were used to insulate pilots’ flight jackets. We understood that our fathers and uncles were fighting literally for our lives, and some died every day. I grew to loathe and despise Adolf Hitler and the Nazism he and his henchmen represented. I abhorred all the death and mayhem of which they were the direct cause. As a young child I developed a strong concept of unspeakable evil, and Hitler and his Nazis were it. These feelings have persisted through my lifetime.
- NAZI 2 Cogent dream. Approximate age: 33-34.
The dream feels like a continuation of the first. A few years have elapsed and I am the same person as before, but now a more seasoned resistance fighter. This dream too has three phases: a cage in a park, a capture in a factory, and a death scene with a real date.
Phase 1. It is dark night. I am stealthily approaching a small park that lies somewhere in the heart of a German city. The park covers only a block or two, and is bordered by a street that constitutes some kind of boundary between safety, where I am, and greatly increased danger where I’m headed. I cross the street into the park, the danger zone.
I am on a mission to free several of my friends who have been captured by the Nazis. The dark-haired woman is among them. They have been imprisoned in a large open-air steel cage that is placed openly in the center of the park. The reason for this odd arrangement is unexplained in the dream (are they displayed as a public example?), I know only that my friends have been imprisoned there and I must find a way to open the cage door and free them. There are many trees in the park, but they offer little prospect of hiding if I am detected because all lower limbs have been removed to above head level. There is no undergrowth, the ground is a mowed lawn. Darting from tree to tree, I reach the cage.
It is empty – the door stands open and my friends are gone. I ponder now what to do next, for I am alone in dangerous territory. I can try to return the way I came and further risk detection, or take a chance by going to the right end of the park where there is a large brick factory building that might afford concealment. I opt for the factory.
Phase 2. I have just entered the factory building through an unlocked side door. Extending right and left from the door, far in both directions, is a walkway between the outer wall and very large machines of some sort that fill the building’s interior and make a lot of noise. Quickly scanning in both directions, I see people walking in small groups along the walkway. I also see guard desks about every 75 feet along the walkway, each manned by a guard in Nazi SS uniform.
Perceiving that I have not been noticed by the guards, I fall in behind three people who are passing by, trying to walk normally and appear to belong with them. As we walk it seems to be working – none of the guards has stirred or seemed to notice me. But then, as we approach a guard desk, the guard casually steps out and stands in the middle of the walkway, facing us. He is looking directly at me, and I know I’m undone.
Phase 3. But apparently not. The dream leaves unexplained how I escaped the guard, but places me in equally mortal danger. I am now driving away from the factory, at the wheel of a large, very heavy car – perhaps a Packard – that I have stolen. I am driving up that same boundary street that I earlier crossed on foot into the park. Near the end of the park the street goes up a small rise and ends at a cross street. To the left is the “safer” area I had earlier come from. To the right is a small brick building – a security post guarding this entrance to the factory area. Several armed guards walk about the building.
I turn right. I floorboard the accelerator, picking up speed downslope directly toward the guards. I intend to smash into the building and take out as many of the guards as I can. The dream then goes black, but it is not quite ended. In pitch blackness, a firm strong voice enters my mind telepathically: “On June 30, 1936, they took me out and shot me.” And that is exactly how this dream ended. It awoke me, and I stayed awake quite a while.
Interpretation: I was born July 29, 1937. From fairly broad readings on reincarnation, I note that the timing is not untypical for victims of traumatic death who harbor intense desire to right wrongs by jumping quickly back into the fray. My interpretation of the previous dream adequately states my aversion to the Nazis, but there is more.
Beginning soon after the war ended and continuing all the years since, I have experienced deeply distressing emotional reactions to anything having to do with the Holocaust. Photographs of associated places and events, photos of victims, the writings of victims, radio news items – all of these bring spontaneous tears. I have no control over these inexplicable reactions, and am certain I could not bear to visit the Holocaust Museum in Washington, D.C. I am not Jewish. I have absolutely no explanation for these feelings, and have no idea why they have remained so consistently strong through my life to the present moment. I know only that these two dreams have kept my mind open to teachings on reincarnation. I am profoundly thankful to have had no more Nazi dreams.
- DOVES Cogent dream. Approximate age: 34-35.
In the early 1970s, after months of unavoidable deep stress and emotional crisis, I had an extraordinary dream involving doves, the pretty bird that symbolizes peace.
My doves were as large as people, and they were snow white. I call them “my” doves because they saved me. In my dream, as I walked on a lonely road, these two great doves swooped down from behind and, in one smooth motion, each grasped me gently by my arms, one on each side. Without the slightest hesitation in the motion of their flight, they lifted me “up” and carried me forward, rising as we went. There was no jerk as this happened – the pickup was smooth as silk, as if we three were a single unit. I remember the glorious feeling of peace and relief as we ascended, my legs trailing out behind me, between the big loving doves who had come to rescue me and give me peace.
That’s all I remember. The dream ended as they arced upward, carrying me between them. I was lifted up, saved. Situations in my life became better not long afterward.
Interpretation: This dream’s meaning seems straightforward. I was in extended emotional torment, and two peace doves rescued me. I equate the doves to loving spirits.
- MAP/ROAD Cogent dream. Approximate age: 40-50.
I dreamed I was driving a car on a getaway vacation trip from Kentucky to the faraway northwest coast of America, a place I have never yet visited in reality. I was alone. The idea of the trip put me in high spirits, I felt unusually free. What I interpret as especially significant about this dream was that I experienced dual viewpoints simultaneously.
In one view I was inside the car, driving it, looking through my eyes at the road ahead. It felt exactly like driving a car normally feels. In the other view I was high overhead – miles up – looking down at my car, and myself in it, traveling northwestward between Kentucky and the northwest. The countryside looked like normal countryside from inside the car, but from high overhead it also looked like a roadmap. I could see the various roads in colors – red, blue, black – as they would be on a printed roadmap. I saw my car as a tiny blip far below, advancing slowly across the map on an interstate highway.
The absolutely uncanny thing was that both of these views were happening at the same time. I saw fully and simultaneously from both vantage points. It felt amazing even in the dream.
Interpretation: I would not know what to make of this dream had I not encountered the writings of Raymond Moody and other researchers affiliated with the International Association of Near-Death Studies. In years since the dream occurred, I have read about similar “double viewing” by persons having a near-death experience. A significant number of those resuscitated from clinical death, reporting what they experienced while “dead,” describe viewing places or situations from two different vantage points. What they have to say sounds remarkably like what I dreamed. I recently read of a rare case in which the experiencer viewed things from three different vantage points. It might also be significant that not long after this dream my first marriage ended in divorce.
- 300 YEARS Cogent dream. Approximate age: 68-70.
The dream opened with realization that I was riding in the gondola of a dirigible. There was no action, only my understanding that the dirigible was moving through the air. From beginning to end the dream consisted of an unfolding series of understandings and realizations that entered my mind in the following sequence.
I am accompanied by other people, a group of perhaps 15-20 in all. The gondola is large enough to comfortably accommodate us all without crowding. We seem to be all standing; if there are seats I don’t remember them. I am standing near the center of the group. I am a large man, and tall – at least six feet (I am in fact average, neither big nor tall). And I am some sort of priest or “leader” among this group of people. I wear over my shoulders a robe-like garment that reaches almost to the floor.
We seem to be fairly high in the air, though this is relative – in the dream a quarter mile seems “high.” I can look out the windows that surround the gondola and see vast forest stretching to the horizon in all directions. The forest is unbroken, no fields or roads apparent. It is a beautiful sunny day under a cloudless pale blue sky. There is a feeling of wellbeing.
The reason for our travel is not explained in the dream. I simply know that we are traveling in a southeasterly direction. I somehow possess understanding that the area from which we have come is known as southwestern Ohio, and we are traveling southeastward over an area known as Kentucky toward some destination in an area known as West Virginia. I name these places indirectly because I understand that we are 300 years in the future – it’s 2300 something, and many place names have changed by the 24th century. All this is just “known,” taken for granted, dwelling on it is not relevant.
I, the big priestly fellow, am coincidentally aware (with no inclination to question or think about it) that on our westward side, not so far way, the interior of what used to be the United States is now an elongated inland sea. Reaching up from the Gulf of Mexico, the waves of this sea roll gently over what used to be the entire Mississippi Valley. It covers much of the old central plains north to Wisconsin and far on into Canada. This sea is a nice, placid body of water toward which I feel favorably disposed – it feels familiar to me, I like it without knowing why. I remember nothing more, the dream ends.
Interpretation: This dream just floored me. Over the few years since, it has had meaningful impact on my thinking. It feels like something that could be true, as if I were given a significant glimpse of myself in a future lifetime when today’s environmental concerns have been resolved to the terms I saw in the dream. My strong visceral reaction to this particular dream made me rethink not only its content and implications, but also the composite implications of all those preceding dreams described above.
For some years prior to this dream I was becoming increasing worried about our massively degrading environment, and what that implies. The worry was generated by my readings of all the most knowledgeable environmental authors plus a broad variety of good scientific sources on global warming and natural resource depletion worldwide.
Paying attention to news from science, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the U.S. Congress, skeptic nuts, and my complacent fellow man in general, as the years passed I was becoming quietly frantic. I was aware when vital tipping points passed by. I was aware that civilization as I knew it could well fall. I felt truly stressed by concerns for my own grandchildren as well as all the rest of my fellow homo sapiens.
My “future dream” laid that to rest. I am no longer frantic that civilization as I know it might degrade and fall – I am certain it will fall. The only question is how much. The dream showed that my chief worry – that humanity might become extinct – is not going to happen. It told me that the next two centuries won’t be easy to live through, but we’ll survive and will do so in some technological style. Cave men don’t build dirigibles.
This dream also constituted a sort of last straw. For decades I had questioned and equivocated over the slowly accumulating experiences in my life that I regarded as “psychic” or “paranormal” and in any case certainly unscientific – not to be easily believed. I wondered about each of the experiences described above, singly and collectively – can each dream or “contact” have any meaning in reality?
Those decades of questioning and agnostic uncertainty have ended. Based on my own reasoning over accumulated evidence, I feel as convinced as any near-death experiencer that my experiences – mine alone, unfortunately impossible to share directly with anyone else – were real. The new big question concerns how I must now define “reality.” What I’ve heretofore called “reality,” what religions call reality, what science calls reality – I think they’re all wrong. Or, more to the point, they’re all right up to a point, but they all have only their fraction of the truth.
Reality includes all the above, and – I am convinced – a great deal more. Now after a lifetime of slowly intensifying seeking I am convinced by the science, though not the dogmatic reductionist version. I am convinced by a well reasoned spirituality, wherein a reality beyond our senses exists and is more real than real. I am convinced by that central universal core behind all religions that is called The Perennial Philosophy, but I do not “believe” in any manmade religion whatsoever – I expressly eschew all the teachings, doctrines and dogma that organized religions insist adherents must believe or else. And most emphatically, I trust and believe in the understandings I have arrived at on my own.
I suppose I’ve become a true believer of sorts, but what I truly believe has not the remotest resemblance to any organized religion, doctrine or dogma. I am actively turned off by all of them. I have arrived at a system of convictions put together over a very long time of seeking, with great effort put into voracious reading, researching and thinking, that is mine and mine alone – though I must give full credit to all those hundreds of authors whose wonderful, thoughtful writings so helped me in arriving at my own conclusions. Let me say I also feel gratitude to helpful spirits “out there somewhere” in that greater reality who, caring about my internal growth and development, gave me gifts of nuanced and vitally needed guidance all through my process of Attaining Knowledge, raising my Understanding somewhat, achieving perhaps a tad of Wisdom – certainly growing into a heightened sense of responsibility toward my fellow humanity.
I don’t ask or expect any other person to adopt or believe what I believe. Putting so many of my thoughts into this book is contrary to my private inclinations and quite goes against my grain. I include them in compliance with a felt responsibility to do so. I’m usually willing to share some of my private thoughts if asked, but I feel strong conviction that we all have responsibility to figure out personal beliefs the hard way, the personal way – and emphatically not to passively ingest what people are told sitting like lumps in some church, mosque, synagogue or temple at the feet of a guru, preacher, rabbi or shaman.
I now regard this responsibility as perhaps the most important single thing in each person’s life – not, of course, for the belief itself, but because of the effort that must go with establishing personal beliefs and the behavior that follows from holding them. What we in fact do externally directly reflects what we believe internally. And newspaper headlines alone make it clear that a whole lot of people need to change their beliefs.
Once each month the International Association for Near-Death Studies (IANDS) distributes a particularly interesting near-death experience report to its members. Each report is one person’s remembrance of things experienced while the body was certifiably clinically dead, in the moments before modern medical technology managed to restore life functioning to the body. The report for February 2016 contains this:
“…and the last thing they showed me was a silver ribbon splitting the United States apart. I was given knowledge that this ribbon was a river. I am assuming it was the Mississippi River, but they gave me no explanation as to the meaning of this ribbon other than ‘the ribbon gets larger’.”
- RELAX Lucid contact. Age: 72.
On a sunny afternoon in May 2009 I was sitting in my big white wicker rocking chair, my throne, in its place beside the hearth in our country kitchen. I had been outside much of the day laboring with manual, as they say. I was hot and tired, wanted a rest, a bite to eat, a cold dark stout, all of which was shortly accomplished. My wife was outside working in the flower beds. Then sitting there, content, just “being” for a moment, I suddenly felt I was in the presence of spiritual entities. It was utterly unexpected, and it had the “feel” of that long-ago encounter of my early childhood.
Seizing on a sudden thought, I silently asked “Am I doing all this reading and seeking in order to prepare myself for that other life 300 years in the future?” Instant answer came surging into my mind, telepathically as before: “Yes!” Strongly affirmative. I heard it as a group answer, as if several (telepathic) voices replied in unison. I don’t understand how I knew, but it was not the reply of a single spirit. I immediately asked “Was [my wife] sent to help me make this preparation?” This reply was quick and unequivocal: “Yyess!!,” said the voices enthusiastically, as if pleased that I finally “got it.” And that was it, I somehow knew the contact was over.
I sat there stunned, thinking over what I had just felt inside. It must have shown, for my wife came in, took one look and asked what was the matter. I related what had just transpired and we spent the next hour talking about implications.
Interpretation: This brief experience not only felt strongly confirming of the “future dream” that preceded it, it further solidified acceptance that my spiritual experiences and dreams are real. How many 2 x 4s must be broken over my head before I get it? Was I agnostically holding back out of fear that some might think me a bit nuts, or even worse gullible, when they read of all that has gone on inside my mind? Looking back over my paranormal experiences in aggregate, and considering the damn mess we humans have collectively made of our precious environment, I’m beyond caring what they think.
Comment: I spent a lot of time pondering in the months following this brief encounter. One paramount point was clear: Homo Sapiens is not going extinct. I was gifted with assurance that my worst fear was groundless and, furthermore, that the spirit which I am will be back 300 years from now, and I’ll be surrounded by others.
Other confirmations logically follow. After some point we’re going to use dirigibles for long distance travel. Dirigibles are a sensible human technology that is ideally suited for a post-fossil-fuel culture. Dirigibles being here 300 years hence means civilization is not going to simply crash and burn, taking all our modern technology with it. It means future long distance travel will still be airborne, but it won’t be “mass” transit because there will be no masses. Need for mass transit will no longer exist.
Confirmed: global warming is proceeding unstoppably past irreversible tipping points. It’s going to happen. Accept it. Adapt. Confirmed: human culture and the world it exists on will be much changed from the one we know now. Population clearly will be a lot smaller, for I saw vast forests covering terrain that is now mostly cleared fields. If powered ground vehicles remain they won’t be used over long distances, for I saw no roads. And there was the certain knowledge of that broad inland sea not far to my west…
On a personal level, I realized I had been subtly told to relax. Instead of getting quietly frantic over the awful consequences global warming might bring, I can stop worrying and accept the impending reality it will bring. The unspoken message was to quit wasting nervous energy over things I cannot much influence – get my thoughts in order, and move on to business that still matters greatly even in context of drastic climate change.
What are the things that will still matter greatly in a world that’s going to change as dramatically as I’ve foreseen? A couple of things come to mind. One point, seemingly obvious, is that there is no reason to give up in despair. A first priority that is gradually – though too slowly – picking up steam around the world should continue to be placed on mitigating the effects of environmental decline and its negative impact on people. Everything we can do that mitigates human suffering should continue and be intensified.
A good second priority is to consciously help prepare surviving generations for that very different future. What are the things we should try to ensure will survive the changes? What knowledge, what tools and technology, and above all what values will be most needed and appropriate in the 24th century after surviving the terrible 22nd and 23rd? How can we ensure, now, those values will be available then? These are proper questions, and answering and acting upon them is a proper mission for all of us in the here and now. This seems to me far more worthy than going on year after year pretending tra-la-la that everything will be just fine and we can keep on endlessly consuming and exploiting the earth the same as we’re doing now.
The task at hand is the most monumental humanity has faced in its existence on the earth. Every one conscious enough to realize this is needed to prepare for it, to do our personal share to help mitigate suffering, food shortages, aggression by the desperate – to help our very civilization prepare for the drastically different life ways that, eventually, will emerge and be inherently, unavoidably, in closer harmony with the ever-sustaining earth.
How do we accomplish these preparations? How can we help generate such a universal attitude of cooperation when so many loudmouths negatively influence the gullible with their selfish, silly skepticism, and so many of the rest are complacent in their unknowing?
In my humble opinion we have to change the way people think, and on a massive scale at that. Easy to say – is such an immodest quest possible on any major scale? Well, if the earth were struck by a meteor one quarter mile in diameter, there is no doubt the thinking of everybody remaining alive on earth would be greatly influenced shortly after it struck. We thus can be sure, conceptually, that the way people collectively think can be changed. Accordingly, I think everyone who understands the reality of global warming has a duty to try to convince everyone else who’s not yet convinced, because we’re all needed to help in the greatest collaborative endeavor in human history. A business-as-usual mindset is our single greatest impediment to doing what must be done just to mitigate the suffering that assuredly will soon test human survival over two centuries.
Among the various doors we might open in hope of changing human mindsets on a broad scale and fairly quickly, I can conceive none more potentially effective than the door which opens onto religious and spiritual beliefs (possibly economics also, because pursuit of wealth is treated by so many as if it were a religious value). Of all the stories human beings make up and perpetuate, stories about the reality of things unseen and unprovable – i.e., religion – appear to have greater staying power than any other realm of thought.
Spiritual beliefs have prevailed since our distant hunter-gatherer ancestors bestowed animistic spirits into every rock, every blade of grass, every puff of wind in their natural environment – not unlike the way we reverse-reasoned consciousness clear back to the big bang earlier in this book. Spiritual beliefs that morphed into religious doctrines persist to the present day – pick your denomination – and show no signs of going away. Spirituality and its slightly retarded little brother religion are here to stay, and their enormous power over human thinking is undeniable.
If we want to change human mindsets quick enough to mitigate the ravaging of our world environment – and coincidentally the rape of a lot of our fellow humans – from the most damaging consequences of global heating and rising oceans, we can do no better than a frontal initiative targeting religious-spiritual beliefs. A good start can be made by 1) raising to conscious notice the fact that mindsets infect us and control our thoughts, and 2) pointing out that broader reality revealed to us by thousands of near-death experiences. To these ends I have written this book, may it influence a few mindsets to be more open.
I feel deep gratitude for the series of cogent dreams and lucid spiritual contacts – gifts, as I view them – that helped me to this point. I have written this book simply because I feel compelled to add my small effort to the immense task impending. Notwithstanding personal reticence to share private thoughts publicly, I cannot not write it.
- (continuation) The full story of the FACES experience.
This re-telling of my “faces” experience is essentially the same as that published a few years ago in the newsletter of the International Association of Near-Death Studies.
Was It Real?
This writing is my memory of an early childhood experience. Over seven decades I rarely shared it. I was encouraged to share it a tad more widely when my wife and I reported to a local group about a 2006 professional conference we attended on the subject of near-death experiences. For me, one of the more dramatic presentations was by a young man whose paranormal experience occurred while he was perfectly healthy and wide awake – like mine.
This memory of a wide-awake inside-my-mind experience at about age 3 has profoundly affected my life. I finally wrote it down during my early twenties because I feared the memory might fade, and it seemed too precious to risk losing or becoming blurred. Now almost eight decades later, I doubt such risk ever existed because the memory remains as crisp as ever. My twenty-something perspective couched the experience in terms of “religion” – a term I now find unhelpful and have generally replaced with “spirituality.” That original writing is here edited only for brevity, omitting nothing of substance.
* * *
I got religion behind my parent’s couch when I was about three or four years of age. I was probably nearer age three, because I recall being aware of my own pudgy legs, which at that age so easily bent ninety degrees from the vertical as I sat on the floor, and were more skinny by age four. I clearly recall my self awareness of being very young.
Already I had imagination and enjoyed exercising it. Some of my thoughts and images were probably carried home from church, the weekly social event of note in our life on the western Indiana prairie. One concept I had carried home was “heaven,” a desirable place reputedly existing somewhere. Another I probably heard at church was “soul” or “spirit,” whatever that meant. I don’t know how much, if any, these ideas influenced my young mind. I do know I was very much aware that my parents belonged to different churches and held different nuances of belief, for I had inquired about their beliefs and had, at that tender age, concluded they couldn’t both be right. This gave me an honest early push toward agnostic open mindedness.
So there I sat, behind our couch, at that stage when a child likes to sit on the floor examining things. The experience began when I glanced up and saw “faces” coming at me – all in a row, from the upper right, one behind the other. Just faces, no complete heads, no bodies. I somehow “knew” these were spirits, and they were observing me. I similarly knew I was of special interest to them, but didn’t know why. I have no idea how I just “knew” these things, because they were decidedly not the usual fare of my young boyish thoughts.
I remember innately understanding that I was to help these spirits experience real-time observation of the mortal world through my eyes and other senses – they wanted to observe my particular mental perceptions of the things my senses experienced. My personal perceptions were one of the things they were most interested in. What I and my sister both recognize as “blue” – does it appear to her as what I would call “green?” I didn’t know why they wanted to observe my thoughts, but I remember feeling their observations were somehow important to me as well as to them.
To accomplish their observations they had to enter my mind, as they were now doing, one at a time. Their entry did not bother or displace me. For a fleeting brief instant we coexisted mentally as one, each spirit and me. That was all the time required (I somehow knew) for a spirit to enter, assimilate the whole of my mind, memory and reasoning, experience the entirety of my sensory impressions, and move back out to its own realm.
As each spirit face departed, another moved in, used its infinite slice of time and passed out to be replaced by yet another. I recall them all waiting there in a line extending to the farthest reaches of “Heaven,” to flit through and look over my mind, each in turn. Though each spirit’s stay was incalculably brief, they were infinite in number so the pass-through I was experiencing would never cease. I “understood” that it had been going on since before I was born, that it would continue until I grew old and died. Even then only a fraction of this host would have “experienced me,” they were so great in number.
All this I somehow just “knew.” To this day I clearly remember that feeling of marveling at what I was experiencing. As I “saw” these spirit faces, approaching from my upper right, departing to my upper left, I remember wondering what was going on – what was its meaning?
And as soon as I started wondering, communication began. Each time a question formed in my mind I felt “their” answer instantly coming back to me. “Telepathic” is the best word I have to describe how this felt – whole understandings just appeared in my mind, all at once, with no distinct words or sentences involved. And the answers were collective, as if the host were all answering me in a single voice. Years later in my early twenties when I committed this memory to writing, I invented the following words in an attempt to paraphrase the meanings of the communications that were exchanged. In actuality there were no real words, just whole thoughts that came instantaneously into my mind. Though necessarily paraphrased, I think the following an accurate representation.
Thought-question: Why are you looking at my thoughts? Thought-answer: Because you are special to us. Why am I special? Because you are part of a great experiment – you were sent here for a purpose. Are you doing this to all people? No, just a few who expressly came to Earth for this experiment. You will probably never meet any of the others – they are few and far between on the Earth.
Does this mean that I and those others are more important than other people? No, you’re just serving this particular purpose which sets you a little apart from the rest. Other than that you’re no different from all other people. Everybody experiences the same things you do, through their own eyes, ears, taste, touch and smell, and they have their thoughts, but they’re not being observed. Most of those in the experiment aren’t even aware that they’re in it or being observed. You are one of the very, very few who has perceived it.
How long will this last? All your life.
Will you be controlling me? No, you have free will. Your choices and actions are your own. We are very interested in how you will choose as you encounter each situation that will come before you, how you will respond and opt for your perceived right or wrong, good or bad – and especially how you will decide in situations where you’re not sure what’s best. No, you are in no way controlled. In a way you’re more like an actor on a stage. We are the audience.
An actor just plays a role that was planned by somebody else. Is my whole life planned in advance? No. Certain “situations” will be arranged for you to encounter; how you respond to each is up to you.
Will you be in there even when I don’t see faces? Yes, as we are here now, we have always been and will be, but you will have no conscious awareness of us as we go through – only we of you. Do not be afraid, we hold no harm for you, only good will. We love you, little spirit; you are one of us, but you may not speak with us, or understand why you have this purpose, until your life has been lived out and you join us.
And then the experience ended. I cannot say if it lasted seconds or minutes, for my sense of time was utterly suspended while it was happening.
REFLECTIONS FROM MY SENIOR YEARS (written approx. age 70-71)
That last message still has power to moisten my eyes. I don’t know why. I have spent my life wondering if I created this spiritual scenario out of an overactive childish imagination, or if it was real. Unlike people who have a near-death experience, I can never be certain. I ask myself: Did I honestly have such a profoundly spiritual experience? Then common sense asks me: How in the world could a young child, barely past toddler stage, imagine such a deeply philosophical scenario as the memory I hold? In my early twenties when I wrote down the experience, I as yet had no college education and was far from even beginning to develop the sophisticated metaphysical and spiritual concepts I would deal with in later life.
What I find most interesting is that the answer doesn’t matter. The experience affected my life profoundly, and that, I believe, is that – regardless of its true nature. To be honest with myself, I confess preferring that it was genuine – I don’t want it to have been “merely” made up by my imagination.
This preference conflicts with my scientific inclinations. I am strongly drawn to the wonder-filled open mindedness of true scientific exploration – though I’ve grown quite skeptical that classic scientific method is adequate to explore human consciousness, much less near-death experiences. Though strongly drawn equally to the wonder-filled open mindedness of spiritual things that cannot be denied, I long questioned my own memory. Though I still have that writing from my early twenties, it seems unreal that all-knowing spirits would be conducting an experiment of any kind. The tug between my equally strong scientific and spiritual leanings graphs like an ascending curve across my lifetime, abetted by reading everything in sight that dealt with unexplained phenomena, natural or otherwise. And, I assure the doubtful, there are a lot of unexplained things out there, natural and otherwise, in this world we think we know so well.
The curve has sharply ascended over the past twenty-five years with my greatly increased interest in the interface of science and spirituality – which I now suspect are but variant aspects of one and the same thing. I am irresistibly drawn to questions such as the nature of consciousness and human purpose. I’m thankful to have discovered contemporary explorers of quantum mechanics and cosmology, and have come to regard evolution as a cosmo-bio-psycho-spiritual continuum that has a very long way yet to go. I love comparing the writings of leading contemporary scientists, theologians and philosophers, noting how these good thinkers react to each others’ thoughts about existence and reality – whatever reality really is…
Relatively few people seem to view near-death (and NDE-like) experiences as a vital key to understanding the deep linkage between science and spirit, as I do. I think it’s the biggest blockbuster “potential” around, awaiting discovery. It seems to me patently obvious that both scientific and spiritual urges are essential to the human psyche, and that deeper understanding of their interface is an important step, not yet taken, in the upward evolution of humanity.
I believe I’ve learned a few things, however dimly, through a lifetime of seeking that began with the faces at age three. After considering a great deal of empirical evidence about scientific, spiritual and unexplained phenomena accumulated over the past century and more, I think I have learned that love is the most important thing in existence; that each of us has one or more purposes for our existence; that our primary purpose has to do with helping others and learning; that scientific exploration is really an “attitude” which eschews bias and is truly open to seeking knowledge, truth and wisdom; that consciousness is infinite, immortal, and not confined within the human brain; that the place where consciousness resides after mortal death is not “over there” somewhere but is probably right here, right now, inaccessible to our sensory apparatus, because all things, times and places in the infinite creation are in truth one unified thing. I further think we have deep responsibility to care for these mortal bodies while we reside in them, to stop damaging the world environment in which we’re privileged to reside, and that our deep responsibility extends to each other. Each of us is indeed our brothers’ and sisters’ keeper.
I think I was helped to arrive at these worthy views by the unexplainable experience I had at about age three, whether it was genuinely spiritual or otherwise. Because of it I have spent decades in deep reading and searching that I doubt would have occurred without it. It troubles me that I can never be “sure” as to whether it was real. But I uniquely see faces in everything – in clouds, tree leaves, marble floors, curtains, grass, wallpaper (my wife thinks me a little strange in this). I hear the psychologists have a name for it, which means there are others who see faces in everything, and I wonder about those others…
Folks who have undergone the near-death experience say they know its reality beyond doubt, but their certainty cannot be shared by others who lack comparable first-person experience. Those who don’t and cannot “know” can only “believe” based on faith.
Unsatisfied by “faith,” I continue to advocate for a fresh, innovative and proactive approach to scientific method in general and to near-death experience research method in particular. I want these methods devised by utterly open-minded scientists, theologians and philosophers so they can produce findings that cannot be ignored by the broad scientific community, or by the rest of humanity. Then I want the dramatic findings under these expanded methods to be brought to the full notice of this warring, troubled world.
I don’t know what the new methods will be, but I believe the understandings they produce will eliminate doubt about our spiritual purpose among skeptical humanity.
END OF CHAPTER 12