The Real Stories Behind Bartholomew the Adventurer and Orville Mouse

Recounted below are a variety of paranormal/psychic/metaphysical events which I have experienced over the years.  I have written them exactly as they occurred — they are not fictional stories. Most of these events were incorporated into  Bartholomew the Adventurer and Orville Mouse. Obviously the stories of Bartholomew and Orville are fiction, but the underlying metaphysical systems and the psychological process of enlightenment are based in reality.

Tom Hoffman

Hidden Strings
Posted on February 27, 2015
The following event took place many years ago. Similar events occur in the Bartholomew the Adventurer books. It completely changed my view on how the world/universe operates.

I was meditating at home when I heard a voice. I am a very visual person and when I close my eyes I see things — scenes, people etc. I’m used to that but I never had heard a voice before. It was very clear and may have been my own “thinking voice”, but I don’t think so. Hard to tell. The voice said “xxxxx xxxxx xxxx xxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxx”, which was the name of a very popular band in the 1970s. I thought it must have some symbolic meaning and spent the next day at work with a friend trying to remember all their songs and see if any were symbolic of something happening in my life. Nothing came up.

At this time I was getting calls from a very obnoxious person who wanted to do freelance work for my department (art department in an ad agency). He was so arrogant that I told a co-worker, “I’ll never work with that guy in a million years.” I told the caller we didn’t have any work for him at this time. A week or so later we got a job doing some marketing for a big renovation project at the airport. They told us who they were using to do the architectural renderings (this was before computers when people actually did drawings on paper!). It was the guy I said I would never work with. I thought “Oh crap, I have to work with this jerk.” I called another graphic designer I knew and asked him if he’d heard of this guy. He said “Oh sure, he did some work for us. At first he seems really arrogant, but he’s really a pretty nice guy. And he’s an incredible musician. He was the bass player for xxxxx xxxxx xxxx xxxx xxxxxxxx xxxxxx for 15 years.” My hair just stood on end. I couldn’t wait to meet him. He came to the agency and I told him I’d sort of been expecting him. Told him the story. He apologized for seeming so arrogant. He said that after he left rock and roll he’d learned all the art stuff on his own. He hadn’t gone to school for it and was very insecure about his skills in that area and made up for it by appearing overconfident. He said he’d studied music in India over the last couple of years and gave me a tape of sitar music. About a month later he called me at home and asked if I belonged to any church. He said he had a “hole in his soul that needed patching up”. I told him no, but I would be happy to talk to him about anything he wanted. He said that sounded great and he would contact me later. He never called. I heard later that he had gotten a divorce and left the state.

Retrocognitive Ice Cream
Posted on February 26, 2015
This is an event which I experienced many years ago.  At the time I was emailing quite regularly with a book collector on Ebay who happened to be a master chief on a nuclear submarine.  My grandfather was Harry L. Hoffman, an American impressionist artist who painted in the Old Lyme Connecticut artist colony for over 60 years.  One of the paintings he did was of a submarine breaking through the ice at the north pole and hangs in the US Navy submarine base in Groton, CN.  Turns out the other collector (we’ll call him Joe) had walked past that painting many times in the library there.  That set off a little blinking light in my head.  A connection.  Joe also seemed very interested in metaphysical events.  Since I was a child I have seen images and scenes when I close my eyes.  Over the years my visualization skills have improved greatly, being a graphic designer/artist.  At some point I learned I didn’t have to just watch whatever was “on”, but I could ask to see something specific.  In this case I said, “Show me a significant event from Joe’s childhood.”  BTW, this only works when I have no emotional connection to the event. I can’t desperately want or need to see it.   I saw an 8-10 year old boy operating a soft serve ice cream machine and handing out ice cream cones to kids.  There was no logo (like Dairy Queen, etc) on the machine.  Besides the images, I often feel the emotions of the person I am seeing.  He was bursting with pride to be operating this machine. A big cheese indeed.  His moment in the sun.  Large and in charge. When I asked Joe if he had experienced a memorable event having to do with soft serve ice cream as a kid he said yes.  His father was a submariner in the Navy also.  Once a year when the sub was in port the families of the crew would all come aboard for a celebration.  Since Joe was the oldest boy that year (he was 10) he got to operate the soft serve ice cream machine.  And, yes, he was filled with pride to be so honored.  Okay.  So far so good.  Now, the first words ever spoken over a telephone were to Thomas Augustus Watson by Alexander Graham Bell, who said, “Mr. Watson, come here, I want to see you.”  In both cases the information conveyed is relatively insignificant, but the system which allowed its conveyance is very interesting indeed.

I close my eyes and ask “something” to show me an image from long ago.  A few seconds later the image arrives. I see the image plus feel the emotions of the person who originally experienced the event.  If I ask you to get me a tub of Haagen-Dazs Salted Caramel Gelato (OMG! So good!) and an hour later you return with one, I can pretty well assume you went somewhere, got the gelato, and brought it back to me.  So where did the images and the emotions come from?  And who brought them?  This is where it gets a little sketchy.  My intuitive understanding of the event (which I place enormous trust in) is that I am asking my unconscious/inner self to show me the event.  I never feel as though I am communicating with another being. There’s no back and forth chit chat going on. “Did you want fries with that?” Where does my unconscious “go” to get the information?  Two options.  One, the information is stored somewhere in some vast Central Information Repository in the Sky.  Two, my unconscious goes back in time to the actual event and I witness it.  Both are viable options and have their own place in metaphysical belief systems. Hmmm….  I tend to favor the second one, if only because it is a much more elegant and efficient process to return to the actual event.  Why do old people (like me) always say, “I don’t feel old.  I feel just like I did when I was a kid”?   I have a very strong intuitive feeling that our true selves (and this is backed to some degree by a number of out of body experiences I have had and the things I learned from them) exist outside of time and space and are therefore unaffected by the passage of time.  My conscious physical self can’t go back in time, but my true self, my inner being is not constrained by time and space.  Technically, this is known as experiencing a retrocognitive event, seeing a past event.  I have also seen events from the future which then occur exactly as I saw them.  That’s called a precognitive event.

It’s as though we all have two channels.  We can listen to our physical brain, which provides a wonderfully clear image of this physical world, or we can close our eyes, meditate (carefully adjusting those cosmic rabbit ears for a good signal) and listen to that still and quiet voice within.  There are many names for the phenomena I have described (personal unconscious, Jung’s collective unconscious, Akashic records, etc) but I like to describe these events exactly as they occurred, without any labels.  A rose by any other name…

Johnson Smith Company
Posted on February 25, 2015
I love this story for a number of reasons.  For one thing it made my hair stand on end for a lot longer than most of my paranormal events do.  And there was a joy about it. And a glimpse of the hidden strings beneath this reality that we normally don’t see.
When I was about 10 years old I used to order gags and jokes and tricks from the Johnson Smith Company, which has been around since 1914.  I loved getting their fat little catalog in the mail and would spend hours looking through it at such wonders as smoke powder, itching powder, x-ray glasses, fly in the ice cube, and many other classic and eternally hilarious gags.  Then I’d put my allowance money in an envelope, send it off, and 6 weeks later get a brown paper parcel in the mail.  It was beyond exciting, although I’m sure my parents dreaded what would come next…. the fake dead mouse on the table, the sound of shattering china coming from the kitchen…. and on and on.
Move forward about 40 years.  My wife and I and our two kids had just moved into a house we’d had built in a brand new subdivision in Anchorage, Alaska.  All my childhood exploits with Johnson Smith occurred in New England.  About a month after we moved in I received a catalog in the mail.  It was a catalog listing hundreds of catalogs you could have sent to you for $1 each.  I went through and checked about 20 of them that interested me, one of them being the Johnson Smith Company catalog.  When I was done I looked over everything and said, “You know, the last thing I need is twenty catalogs cluttering up the the house.”  Then I thought, “But if I was going to pick one, I would pick the Johnson Smith Company catalog.”  I spent about ten minutes or so reliving some of my favorite childhood moments and remembering the joy and excitement I felt when those packages arrived in the mail. And that was that.
Until the next day when I went to check the mail.  And yes, sitting in the mailbox was a brand new Johnson Smith Company catalog, addressed to me at my brand new house in a brand new subdivision in Anchorage Alaska.  The title of the catalog was “Things You Never Knew Existed.”  Oh my.  I still have that catalog as a reminder of what a magical world this really is.
How did it happen?  I’ve had quite a number of experiences like this, although none quite so dramatic as this one.  I truly believe we manifest physical objects into this world, although in seamless ways that don’t obviously break the laws of physics.  I’ve found that when my intentions are pure, when they are motivated by love and not personal gain or desire, my thoughts are far more likely to be manifested.  I could go on an on about this, but instead I’ll quote from James Allen’s As a Man Thinketh, written in 1902.

Mind is the Master power that moulds and makes,

And Man is Mind, and evermore he takes

The tool of Thought, and, shaping what he wills,

Brings forth a thousand joys, a thousand ills:
He thinks in secret, and it comes to pass:

Environment is but his looking-glass.

The Flying Horse and The Wrong Feet
Posted on February 24, 2015
My original plan was to include only one story for each type of paranormal event, but after some thought I decided to add two more retrocognitive events.  Each one makes a very interesting point about information we receive from our unconscious self.

The Flying Horse
The first is about… you guessed it, a flying horse.  Many years ago, when an old and dear friend of mine was a young and dear friend of mine, I asked to see a significant event from her childhood.  As you will see from the next event, The Wrong Feet, you can learn a great deal about someone from a significant childhood event.  In this case when I closed my eyes I saw a flying horse.  More precisely, it was a white carousel horse with the vertical post still intact, and it was flying across an open green field or park area.  I had no idea what this meant, but there was no denying the clarity of the image.  I thought…mmm… maybe she used to love carousels? But why is it flying across a field?  Maybe she had a favorite rocking horse?  In casual conversation I asked her if she’d ever had a rocking horse when she was a child.  Yes, but it didn’t seem like a significant event to me.  Did she like carousels?  Uh… I guess.  Dead end.  So I tossed in the towel and wrote it off as misinformation, a scrambled line.

But wait, there’s more! About a week later as I was walking through our living room I glanced over at the TV and there it was.  An errant carousel horse flying across a park, exactly as I had seen.  I just stared at it. (yes, hair standing on end)  It was a fantasy scene from the movie Mary Poppins, when the horses break free of the carousel and fly through the park.  (A note here:  why was I walking past the TV at that very moment??  What was that about?) Armed with this new information, I questioned my friend again. “Did you ever see Mary Poppins when you were a kid?”  Paydirt.  It was her very favorite movie.  Her parents bought her the LP three times because she wore the records out playing them over and over and over.  She still listens to the songs today and still loves the movie.  That childhood event told me a lot about the kind of person she is.

The lesson here is a simple one.  The information received from the unconscious is 100% accurate.  Many times I have tried to take the image and twist it someway or other so it made sense to me, but I am always wrong.  What I’m uncertain of is why the information is sometimes presented in a seemingly cryptic manner.  Why not big bold neon words saying, “HEY, KNUCKLEHEAD, HER FAVORITE MOVIE WAS MARY POPPINS!”  I suppose it’s possible the unconscious is not concerned about whether or not I understand it, and is merely conveying the information.  Or, maybe it was doing exactly what I asked of it  – showing me a significant event from her childhood.  After all, I didn’t ask what her favorite movie was.  “Why didn’t you tell me??”  “You never asked!”

The Wrong Feet
Psychic phenomena are not all flowers and bubble gum and unicorns.  Sometimes I see things I don’t want to see.  I never ask to see things like murders, etc.  I have absolutely zero interest in that, but sometimes something will pop up in a lucid dream or a waking dream.  Anyway, I do my very best to avoid anything that involves violence. That being said, here is another retrocognitive event.

I’m going to leave out a lot of interesting information about this person.  You know, the names have been changed, etc.  Anyway, I met this person, found them quite interesting and asked to see a significant event from her childhood. Before I had even finished asking the question I felt as though someone had smashed me in the face as hard as they could.  A dreadfully shocking feeling.  Not a good one. I felt sick. A few days later I casually asked her, “So, what was it like growing up in California?”  (not the real state, btw)  We chatted for about an hour and the conversation grew in depth.  Eventually she told me her mother had been an alcoholic and had physically abused her and her two siblings.  She told me this story.  When she was about 6 or 7 she got a new pair of cowboy boots.  She put them on and went in to show her mom.  Her mom was drunk and smashed her in the face, almost knocking her out because she was wearing her cowboy boots on the wrong feet.  That’s all I need to say about that. All this had happened 30-40 years earlier.  Her siblings had left the home as soon as possible and had nothing but hatred for the mother.  This woman had spent her life trying to evolve spiritually and had finally come to the point where she could forgive her mother.  She was extremely psychic and when she met someone could usually tell you where they were from and what they did for a living. You’ve probably all heard this quote before but I’ll repeat it anyway.  It’s attributed to the Reverend John Watson, a Scottish author and theologian and is believed to have first been printed in 1897.
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.”
A more modern version is:
“Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about.”

One last thing.  I could have learned all this information simply by asking, “What was a significant event from your childhood?”  No need for all the psychic stuff.  The information received was available through other channels, but the means by which it was conveyed tells me the world is incomprehensibly more complex than it appears at first blush, and has far more dreamlike qualities than most of us realize.

“Sign here, please.”
Posted on February 23, 2015
This event took place about 30 years ago when I was working at an ad agency.  It illustrates the dilemma surrounding precognitive events. I was meditating one evening and entered into a sort of waking dream.  I was aware I was dreaming but had no control over my actions in the dream.  I found myself standing at the door of a small house or apartment.  I was holding a clip board.  I knocked on the door and it swung open, answered by a woman who worked at the ad agency. We’ll call her Jane.  I had only talked to her a few times and didn’t know much about her, but I held out the clip board and said, “This is a list of people who have been in car accidents. You need to sign it.”  Then I woke up.
So… at this point, what do you do?  Only a couple of people at the agency knew anything about my paranormal activities and I had nothing concrete to go on – no dates, times or places for this alleged impending car accident.  So I did nothing.  The next morning I arrived at work and stopped at the front desk. “Is Jane here yet?”
“She’s not coming in.  She was in a car accident on the way to work.”
Oops.  Fortunately, she was not hurt in the accident.  I told a couple of people about the incident and at some point Jane stopped by my office and said, “If you ever have another dream about me being in an accident, please tell me.”

This is a good time to introduce the concept of form vs. content in dreams and visions.  Form is the physical shape of the object you are seeing.  The content is the true meaning or symbolism of the object.  For instance, if I dream I am fighting a huge fire-breathing dragon, the form is obviously a dragon, but the content could be something else entirely.  It could symbolize a conflict with someone at work, a boss, a parent, etc. Even though I am seeing a dragon, the content of the dream is not really about dragons at all.  I have seen terrible plane crashes in dreams.  The form is a huge plane making a slow banking turn down into the ground.  But what is the content?  Is it what it seems to be?  An impending catastrophic plane crash?  An event that has already occurred? Or is the content merely symbolic of a large endeavor I am undertaking that is doomed to failure?  I have found it impossible to tell which dreams or visions relate to real events taking place in the world we live in (Jane’s car accident) and which are merely symbolic of internal struggles I am going through.  And there is the dilemma –  am I the boy who’s crying wolf or the boy who’s saving the town?

I have left these sort of events behind me. As I wrote in “Who Writes About Mystical Rabbits?”, psychic phenomena are a room you pass through on the way to somewhere else.  They are not structured to give us earthly power, but they do teach us a great deal about the true nature of the universe we live in.  Once you’ve learned from them, it’s time to move on.

Wake Up, Sleepy Head!
Posted on February 22, 2015
Up until now these stories have been about sitting on the couch eating gelato and letting the unconscious bring us things, tidbits of information about the world around us. How about taking our waking consciousness and plunking it into the middle of the infinite unconscious? Sounds fun, right?

Let’s see, where to start?  My wife says whenever I tell a story I start with the big bang.  Oh hardy har har.  That being said I’ll try to keep this as brief as possible.  It is in fact a very complex subject.  If you’re familiar with Joseph Campbell’s  Hero with a Thousand Faces, you know that many hero myths begin with the hero chasing after something – a magic hare, a golden deer, a mischievous elf, a talking crow…well, you get the idea.  I was chasing after my dreams.  Not in a new age kind of way, but in a dream analysis way.  For nearly a year I kept a detailed journal of my dreams.  As time progressed I got better and better at remembering and recording them. In the end I was waking up after almost every dream, that’s four or five times a night, and writing each one down.  No, I was not getting a lot of sleep.  One of the secrets to recalling dreams is to physically move as little as possible when you wake up.  Try to recall the dream and fix it in your memory while you’re lying still.  Details are everything in dreams. Write them all down. Everything you can possibly remember, every detail, write it down.  Right now my wife would be frowning.  “What was this story about again?”  Okay, I was chasing my dreams.  In the hero myth, chasing the magic deer takes the hero someplace he hadn’t intended to go.  Perhaps he winds up in a strange clearing staring at a magic wooden door floating inches above the forest floor.  I wound up in a place I came to know as The Void.

There seem to be two kinds of places we can visit in our dreams, lucid or otherwise.  First, there are places we create in our mind.  These places may seem very real while we’re there, but part of us knows they will cease to exist the moment we wake up.  The second is places that exist independently of us.  Places that will still exist after we wake up.  I believe The Void belongs in that second category.  I discovered later that I was not the first person to experience it and not the first person to call it The Void. It is a place mentioned in other cultures and religions and attributed with various functions and purposes.

How did I get there?  What I didn’t realize when I was waking up after each dream was that I was slowly training myself to have lucid dreams. At that time I didn’t even know what a lucid dream was.  I had learned to wake up right after every dream, but one night I woke up a little too soon.  I woke up IN the dream.  More precisely, I woke up in The Void.  It was infinite, empty blackness, and I was floating in the middle of it as awake as I am now.  No matter how fast or far I flew, when I stopped I was in the same place I had started. Was I scared? No. I was beyond excited.  This was something new! It felt like a real place.  After a while I spotted a slender crack of bright light in the darkness and floated over towards it.  When I looked down into it I was looking down at a dirt road.  As soon as I saw it I fell into that world.  It was beautiful and it was more real than this world.  It was farm country, it was a beautiful sunny day, there was a fenced area with sheep, there was a rustic farm house, old cars parked under the trees and children playing some distance away.  I was absolutely stunned.  I knew I was home in bed sleeping and yet here I was.  I could smell the hay, I could hear the sheep, there was dust in the air when I walked on the dirt road, I felt the warmth of the sun.  It was beyond real, sharp and clear. Ever the detective, I decided to look for any clues as to where I was.  Looking around I saw the cars parked under the trees.  Ah — license plates! Boo ya!  I walked over to the cars and looked at the first plate.  It had a picture of Kermit the Frog on it.  Oops.  That said dreamworld to me.  Or if you really push it, a parallel dimension of some kind.  So, I now knew I was not having an out of body experience on earth.  I was “somewhere else”.  I decided to wander around and see what else I could find.  I headed towards the kids who were playing in a nearby field.  Two of them ran towards me.  They were my own kids.  My daughter took my hand and said, “Time to wake up, dad.”  And that was the end of that.

I could go on and on about The Void and lucid dreams but I won’t just now.  What I will say is that I had many lucid dreams and they all began with me having a normal dream.  At some point I would wake up inside the dream. The dream would go lucid in about one second. I would suddenly be awake in a strange world and everything would be real and I would be fully present with all my normal powers of observation and deduction. That transition even now is giving me serious shivers.  Waking up.  Sleepwalking through the dream then suddenly waking up.  It’s the entire enlightenment process distilled down to one second in time.  When we’re children we are basically sleepwalking through life.  Through our lifetime our self awareness grows and expands at a speed more or less determined by our own desire and actions.  I suppose if I were to sum it up I would say our purpose on this earth is to wake up.  And of course, once we do, we realize the only thing that matters is love.  Hey, John Lennon was right!
As an aside, The Void is an integral part of Bartholomew’s adventures in The Thirteenth Monk.  I have tried to integrate all my personal experiences into these books.  Young adults will more than likely see them as fantastical adventure books, but other people will recognize the deeper aspects of the story. The heart of the trilogy is the enlightenment and awakening of Bartholomew Rabbit.

“Another Saturday Night and I Ain’t Got No Body…”
Posted on February 21, 2015
Ahh, the ever popular out-of-body experience (OBE) – the Near Death Experience (NDE) without the pesky near death part. I remember reading Dr. Raymond Moody’s book Life After Life when it first came out. Wow.  This was what I was looking for — people who had actually experienced “the other side” and who talked about it in non-mythical terms. What to believe? I’ve met people who don’t believe anything and I’ve met people who believe everything.  I’m in the middle. I believe my own experiences with the caveat that everything I’m experiencing could be an illusion.  Even though I read Life After Life over and over, part of me still said, ”Mmmm… I dunno… maybe.”
My real metaphysical paranormal journey began when I was in my early 30s, starting with self hypnosis.  I think I may have been trying to quit smoking or something. Another example of chasing the magic deer.  Self hypnosis turned into dream analysis and meditation, psychic phenomena and lucid dreaming and on and on.  When I was first practicing meditation I had two out-of-body experiences.  They were completely spontaneous and not of my own volition.  I tried for a number of years after that to duplicate the experience but could not.  Quite possibly because I didn’t really want to have another one.

I woke up one night in the corner of my room.  Floating next to the ceiling.  OMG, not LOL.  I was as awake as I am now, but floating in my room watching myself and my wife sleeping in our bed. I was brand new to this sort of thing and had no idea what to do, but I was aware of two things.  The first was, this was not the time for me to be doing this.  The second was, I was electric and I was my true self.  There’s a question I used to ask myself – a little exercise of mine.  That question is, “If you take away everything that you’re not, what is left over?”  Answer?  It was the part of me that was floating up near the ceiling. I was a field of awareness.  Okay, how do I make this stop?  I vaguely remembered reading something about NDEs where they traveled around just using their will.  It worked.  I started floating over and down towards my body.  When I got close to it, I just sort of popped back into it.  I was back in my body and my heart was pounding like a bass drum on the 4th of July (!!). This is important – there was absolutely no break in consciousness or awareness from the time I was outside my body to the time I was back in my body.  I was not waking up from a dream.  I was completely awake the whole time.  It was no different than opening the door to your car and climbing in. The instant I was back in my body I could feel my heart pounding. The same thing happened the next night, but by then I was an old hand.  I popped right back into my body and it never happened again.  The experience was mildly frightening, but it taught me something that changed my life forever.  The personal human consciousness can exist outside the physical body. The door had been opened. Unfortunately I have no answer to question, “Who opened the door?”

Why do we walk in our dreams?
Posted on February 20, 2015
There are so many things in life that are so ordinary, such an integral part of our daily life that we never question them.  The other day while I was driving with my wife I said, “Why do you think it is that things get smaller as they get farther away?”  It was a very short conversation.  But in thinking about it, it’s quite curious. If a bird flies past me and into the distance it gets smaller and smaller until it vanishes.  From my point of view the bird essentially shrinks down to non-existence.  “Honey, I shrunk the bird!”  In a way it’s kind of magical.  But you may rest easy, that’s not the question I wanted to ask.  The real question is this:

“Why do we walk in our dreams?”

Hmmm….  to get places?  Because we’re not shrinking birds?  It’s cheaper than taking a cab?  Okay.  Let’s get serious.  We walk around in dreams even though there is no gravity in dreams.  There are no laws of physics there.  No equal and opposite reactions, no bodies tending to stay in motion.  Nothing. And yet there we are, walking around in our underwear in front of the entire high school graduating class.  We drop our diploma and it falls.  Why?  You guessed it, we have transferred the known laws of physics from this world into our dream world.  But what about when we’re pushing the big wooden door shut so the monster won’t get us and the door just vanishes?  What’s up with that?  What happened to our laws of physics there?  Doors don’t just vanish.
I imagine you can see where I’m going with this.  It has to do with the power of lucidity and the awareness of the true nature of the world we live in.  Now, in one of my early lucid dreams I said to myself, “Hey, I’m in a dream.  I can fly if I–” And before I had finished the sentence I shot up into the air at about 60,000 miles an hour, shrieked like a little girl and woke up.  Over the next year or so I learned to float in my dreams.  The progression of events that led from walking to floating is most interesting.  I had to learn to give myself permission to break the laws of physics I was used to. For instance, at first I could only fly fast, like airplanes do.  I had to run, hold my arms out like a bird, etc.  Then I graduated to stunt flying.  Flying upside down through a forest.  I learned to fly slower.  There were times when I couldn’t get off the ground.  I couldn’t fight the imaginary gravity.  So, I found a big cliff and jumped off.  Leap of faith. Right before I hit the ground my survival instinct would kick in and I’d soar up into the air.  Another trick that worked was to simply fall forward so my nose was going to bash into the ground.  Same effect — right before my face hit the ground I would float up into the air.  I was gradually letting go of my self imposed laws of physics. Finally, I could close my eyes, hold out my arms, relax, and float up into the air. Floating is a thousand, thousand times more fun than it sounds like it would be.  Floating and drifting above a busy street in a lucid dream is truly a remarkable experience.  There’s just nothing else like it. I could do it forever.

Okay, what next?  At some point I found myself in a large empty room and I heard a voice.  The voice said, “Sit on the wall and turn the wall into the floor.”  Hmmm… odd.  So, I floated up to the wall, rotated my body 90 degrees and “sat” on the wall.  From my new perspective, and with no gravity to convince me otherwise, the wall had become a floor.  Changed my viewpoint of that particular world.  Graduation day came in a dream where I found myself in a massively enormous stone temple with huge fifty foot tall pillars rising up the ceiling.  The temple looked very old.  The kind place you’d expect to see Indiana Jones running through, probably being chased by a skeleton wielding two swords.  Anyway, there I was in the huge stone temple and I heard the voice again.  This time it said, “Sit on the ceiling and turn the ceiling into the floor.”  I could see no one else in the temple, but I knew there were thousands of beings watching me.  Like in the movies, the big final test. Go, grasshopper.  So I closed my eyes and floated upwards, doing some kind of strange martial artsy dance like thing.  More precisely it was movements I’d learned from a year long kung fu class I’d taken when I was young.  The point of it was to keep every part of me in perfect balance and harmony as I floated up to the ceiling. Finally I “landed” on the ceiling.  I slowly rotated my body and sat on the ceiling, which miraculously transformed into the floor.  When I looked around I saw hundreds of stone statues of all manner of monks and shamans and holy men sitting in exactly the same position I was sitting in.  Awesome, right?  It pays to be a graphic designer because you get such superbly art directed dreams. The lighting was stupendous. But wait, there’s more!  Don’t forget — form vs. content.  Don’t get carried away by the form of things! The content is what matters.
Now, there’s one thing I’ve learned from life, and that is whatever it is we think we’re learning, more than likely it’s something else entirely. I thought I was having a boatload of fun learning how to fly in my dreams, but I was really learning all about our self imposed restrictions both in the dreamworld and in this world.  “Oh, I’m too old to learn how to play the piano.”  And on and on and on. We all do it. After I graduated from floating school (hee hee) I  learned to levitate objects, first one, then a group at the same time.  I learned how to slowly put my arm through a wall in my dreams.  After a while I could fly through walls, fly through a row of houses.  Believe me, when you’re flying towards a brick wall at fifty miles an hour, it’s hard to say, “No problemo, I can just zip right though that puppy.”  Of course I am not the first person to do this sort of thing.  There are Yogis of the Dream State who go from a waking state directly into a lucid dream.  Once they’re in the dream their job is pretty straightforward.  Change everything they see into the opposite.  See something hot?  Make it cold.  Something tall?  Make it short.  The point of all this is learning to overcome our self imposed limits.

It’s important to note that if I was having non-lucid dreams I could never have learned to fly the way I did.  What does that tell me?  The more we wake up, the more our self awareness grows, the more lucid we become, the more we realize that we are really in control of the world around us. The world around you is a perfect reflection of your current state of being, just as it is in your dreams.  “He thinks in secret and it comes to pass: Environment is but his looking-glass.”  Change yourself and you change the world around you.

Inside Out
Posted on February 19, 2015

Inside Out
Posted on February 19, 2015
I have experienced many strange events in my life, but this was the strangest. The message I received was quite clear, and after some time I came to understand the symbolism of the event itself, but there is something that still eludes me. I feel as if is there is some deeper significance regarding the cause and true nature of the event I am missing. Maybe I never will understand it. Anyway, here’s the event as I recall it. It occurred when I was 33 years old.

I was sitting on my bed meditating as I had done many times, when I felt something rapidly changing in my physical body. I was just starting the meditation when this happened. I felt my body turning into an empty shell made of thin dry brittle brown rice paper. It felt absolutely real, as though my body was now only a dry empty shell. Somehow I looked inside the shell and saw the universe. This was not like a dream. I was awake and aware the whole time. And yes, I thought I was going stark raving bonkers. It’s one of the two times I have ever been scared during a “paranormal” event. All the stars and planets and galaxies were there. The universe was inside this shell of a body. My consciousness moved into that universe and I found myself floating in deep space. When I looked around I saw the earth in the distance. It was about the same size as the moon as seen from earth. One day I’ll do the math and figure out how far I was from the earth, but it was far. So, there I am floating in space looking at the earth, certain I’ve gone off the deep end, completely aware of who I am, etc. Then I got a message. When I get messages psychically I don’t receive them in linear fashion, but all at once. I call it an info dump. I instantly know everything at once. The message was, “It is impossible for anyone on earth to do anything wrong.” The idea is that all our actions are perfect for who we are at that moment. If I am rude to someone, it’s because with what I have learned so far I could be no other way than rude. So, pretty clear message and uplifting in its way. Then, FABOOM, I’m sitting back on my bed again. I was severely freaked out. I thought maybe I was dreaming and tried to wake up. I realized I was awake. I decided to go to sleep to escape this feeling. I realized I was already asleep. I decided to meditate. I realized I was already meditating. I was asleep, awake, and meditating all at the same time. It was some kind of altered state of being I had never experienced before and have never experienced since. The feeling lasted for an hour or so and I will say I was glad when it was over. I had two kids who needed their dad.

When I examined the event as though it was simply a dream, the symbolism became clear to me. What we perceive to be external to us is actually internal. Our outside is really our inside. What does this mean? Imagine you are having a dream at night while you’re sleeping. You dream you are a woodcutter walking through the forest. You hear a scream and see a girl up ahead being attacked by a wolf. You run towards the girl waving your axe and scare the wolf away. Then you wake up. When you wake up, instead of just thinking what a strange dream it was, you realize that you were everything in the dream. You were the woodcutter, you were the girl, you were the wolf, you were the trees, the ground, the sky. Your center of consciousness, your point of view happened to be inside the woodcutter, but you were really everything. That dreamworld in which you had a single point of perspective was really a perfect reflection of your current inner state of being. I believe this world we live in behaves much the same way, though in a far more complex manner. What we perceive as the external world is really our inner state of being, seamlessly connected with everyone else’s. From another perspective, we are all one consciousness.

But… there’s something deeper that I don’t understand.  What was that altered state of consciousness?  Why did it happen then?  How did it happen?  I don’t know why, but I’ve never felt as though I completely understood the true purpose of that experience.  If anyone has any thoughts on this I would love to hear them.

Lights out!
Posted on February 18, 2015
Winters in Alaska are dark.  We have very short days and very long nights.  And we have a lot of street lights in Anchorage. Over the years I’d noticed that street lights seemed to blink out more often than they should when I drove past them.  I’d guess I saw at least two or three of them blink off every time I went for a drive.  Enough that it seemed odd to me.  I went online and researched this and found it was an actual phenomenon that was mentioned on quite a few sites.  Now, my son is a brilliant engineer, a wonderful musician and a great friend.  I mentioned this to him and he laughed. “Dad, that’s not possible. You’re a madman.”  We had a good discussion about it but agreed to disagree.  Sometime later as I was driving down a snowy road I got to thinking.  My son lives in a world of Newtonian physics where the world is a great machine.  I live in the world  of quantum physics where there is no physical matter, only flowing energy fields interacting with  mind.  In the world of Newtonian physics I am a madman. In the world of quantum physics I am completely sane.  I slowed down and stopped for a red light.  There was tall street light about 50 feet in front of me.  I said to myself, “Universe, if I am right and the world is made up of energy fields and mind, make that street light–”  And before I could say “go out” the street light blinked off.  Yes, I just sat there staring at it for quite a while.  Of course I had to tell this story to my son when I went to visit him in NYC.  He burst out laughing and just shook his head.  The city has changed most of its street lights to LED now and it seems to have stopped them from blinking off like that.  I would guess it simply has to do with the amount of energy needed to disrupt the light’s electronics.   Newtonian or quantum, it’s still just physics, not magic.

Here we are.
Posted on February 17, 2015
First of all, what a joy to have found the Visionary Fiction Alliance (VFA).  I’ve spent most of my life thinking about the universe but rarely had anyone to discuss these thoughts with.  It’s quite wonderful to me that so many other VFA members have reached remarkably similar conclusions about the nature of this universe.  When I read other writers’ visionary fiction I see the same metaphysical and philosophical ideas popping up, whether it’s a dystopian society or a mysterious monastery, another culture, or even a futuristic world filled with talking rabbits.  It reminds me of life forms on earth and how varied they are.  An octopus, an eagle, a monkey, a crocodile, a gnat…. superficially so very different, and yet they are only shells, all filled with the identical life force.

I will confess that when I was in my thirties I went through almost two years of counseling.  It changed my life completely.  Before counseling I was being driven by forces I was not even aware of.  Unresolved emotional issues were responsible for most of my decision making.  I had a friend once who had a domineering, controlling father.  My friend said with a snort, “He doesn’t control me anymore. Whatever he tells me to do, I do the opposite.”  Hmmmm….  Obviously his dad was still driving the bus.  Along the way I’ve seen many people with unresolved emotional issues they are unaware of, or simply did not want to face.  I believe Joseph Campbell said, “The cave you fear to enter holds the treasure you seek.” My counselor once said, “The more uncomfortable you get, the closer we are getting to the real issue.”  I have  seen people try to escape from these issues by entering into the world of spirituality. I was one of those people. I can talk about psychic phenomenon, spirituality, alternate dimensions, the void, beings of light I have seen in times of distress, translucent blue ghosts, and the glory of what comes after we leave this world.  That being said, here we are.  I’m sitting at my desk wearing my funky bathrobe and clacking away on a keyboard writing this blog entry.  Here we are.  I’m a grandpa, a father, a son, a brother, all those things.  I make house payments, I go to the dentist, I buy too much stuff at Costco, and right now I have athletes foot.  Here we are. Clumping around in this world in these physical bodies.  We wish we could fly, we wish nobody ever got sick, we wish there wasn’t so much brutality and anger in the world.  Here we are.  We’re stuck in these less than appealing circumstances for a reason, and we need to deal with all the issues involved.  That’s why we’re here. We all have unresolved emotional issues.  Every one of us.  Our parents were too this or that, our siblings always got the best Christmas present or they did better in school than we did, or we were guillotined by our best friend in a past life.  There’s no end to it.  Some of these issues are incredibly difficult to confront, especially issues dealing with abuse or tragic childhood events.  I’m not saying this is easy.  It’s not.  It can be incredibly hard. But by doing the best we can to resolve these earthly emotional issues, or even just to be aware of them, we are freeing ourselves up from their control.  We become the captain of our own ship.  We are steering it in the direction we truly want to go.

“How ‘bout this weather, eh?”
Posted on February 16, 2015
When I was in my mid-thirties I started thinking about the weather, in particular the old joke, “Everyone complains about it, but nobody does anything.”  Just for fun I thought I would try to change the weather.  If there was an event I was going to where I would be affected by the weather, I tried to make it sunny.  Much to my great dismay, it seemed to be working. About an hour before the event the clouds would dissipate and the sun would come out.  Needless to say I didn’t mention this to anyone, other than in a joking manner.  It was kind of scary to me.  How many times did I need to repeat it before I would be satisfied that I was the cause of the change in weather?  Was I the crazy guy who runs outside at 5 am every morning and shakes his fist at the sky, certain he is the one responsible for making the sun come up? Could a person really do this?

There are days in Alaska when the clouds are dense, low and dark as far as you can see.  One look at a sky like that and you know your chances of seeing the sun that day are zero.  It was one of those days that found me driving with my wife and two kids from Anchorage to Palmer for the kids’ soccer games.  As I was driving along I looked up at the clouds and thought, “Now this would be a great test of my fabulous magical weather changing abilities.”  Part of me was laughing, part of me was not.  The following actions don’t sound very safe, but I assure you I was in control of the car at all times.  I visualized myself being the sky, my center was a burning hot beam of white light shooting up into the sky and burning a hole in the clouds above me.  Again, this was only visualization, there was no out of body experience, etc.  Then I sat back and waited, expecting nothing.  About five or ten minutes later I saw a blue speck of sky in the distance.  “Weird.”  The Anchorage to Palmer drive takes about an hour.  We drove for about another half hour, my eyes on the blue hole in the clouds, watching it get closer and closer.  When we finally arrived at the soccer game, directly above the soccer field was a perfectly round hole in the dense gray clouds.  The sun was shining directly down on the soccer field.  I couldn’t stop looking up at the blue sky.  After the game my son pointed up to the hole in the clouds. “Isn’t that weird, dad?  That hole was right over us the whole game!”  What could I say….  “Yep, that’s pretty weird.”  The next game was my daughter’s.  We drove to a different soccer field and when we arrived it started to rain.  There was a torrential downpour for the entire game.  Hmm…

The more I did this the more it felt as though I was pushing against a stretchy rubber wall to change the weather, and when I was done, the wall snapped back, creating an equal amount of dreadful weather.  I was upsetting the balance of things. Now that I’m much older and hopefully somewhat wiser, I have come to believe that the world is perfect exactly the way it is at each moment.  If we go to a picnic and it’s cloudy, it’s cloudy for a reason.  The only thing we need to worry about is increasing our awareness and our understanding of the universe.  The day will come when we no longer need cloudy days, and that will be perfect also.

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