By John Samsen

IMAGINATION

I am imagination.

I can see what the eyes cannot see.

I can hear what the ears cannot hear.

I can feel what the heart cannot feel.

Peter Nivio Zarlenga

There is a mysterious faculty that creates everything in our observable universe, and everything in our virtual, thought-created realms, personal and collective. That process is called Imagination. The ideas of Expanding Universe, the worlds of Relativistic Physics, Quantum and String Theory, etc. were experienced through Imagination and exist there along with all the mythology and religious ideas that we humans have created. These imaginal products develop and change in a non-material but perhaps a more powerful way than the “hard reality” that we think is outside us. I’m not talking about memory, which is an essential tool for Imagination.

The homespun humorist of my early days, Will Rogers, liked to say

All I know, is what I read in the papers.”

I can paraphrase this as “all I know, is what I read in my imagination”. Of all the mysteries in my life, I am puzzled most by imagination.

Literally, “imagination” means the facility or process of creating images. The nerve endings, (rods and cones), on the retinas of my eyes are activated by various frequencies and intensities of light falling on them. These receptors then send electro/chemical signals through the nerves to the optic nerve, and then to the optical center in the rear of my brain. Similarly, information from the other senses flows to my brain. Presumably, my brain processes this information, matches it with information in memory, and interprets it according to what it knows about the things and events in the “outside world”. Somehow, Imagination comes in and presents to “me” an audio-visual-feeling show that seems to accurately represent what is going on in the “outside” world. This is a simplified account; a great deal of information is constantly gathered from all the senses, and much is filtered out, so that only the most relevant information gets to imagination, then to consciousness.

A digital scanner can identify colors, certain frequencies of light, and a computer can name these colors, describe them in terms of their value, hue, chroma, etc. and send digital information to a printer which can reproduce the colors on media. I can’t believe that the digital equipment can actually experience red light as red, green light as green, as I can. The results of my personal perception and information-processing systems are presented by imagination to me as very realistic representations of “outside reality”; so realistic, that I usually feel I am directly experiencing reality itself, as it is. But this person I think I am is only a mental entity created by imagination, based on the information processed by the brain. The brain is a cellular organ, locked in a lightless, soundless box, a brain without receptors of its own, so it has no feeling, and knows no sound or light. All it knows is what it reads in the stream of information coming into it from the rest of the nervous system. Can the brain experience the products of Imagination without a secondary set of eyes, ears, and feelings of its own? And, how can that which exists in a lightless, soundless, state recognize light and color and sound without having known them in the past?

For around thirty years, I have had singing sounds going continuously in my head. When I pay full attention to them, I am aware that there are many sounds with different pitches that start and stop at different times. The effect is very similar to the sound of cicadas (erroneously called locusts). In Indiana, we called them “katydids”, and I enjoyed hearing them singing on a warm summer night. Once in a while, a louder tone starts abruptly, and then slowly fades into the background. These are clear sine-wave vibrations, and I can pick out notes on the piano to identify them.

This phenomenon is called ”tinnitus” by the medical profession, and thought to be the result of damage to the auditory nerves. An ancient Chinese book on the ten stages to enlightenment says that at one of the later stages, the sound of cicadas is heard. I have no problem with this phenomenon; I am able to ignore it most of the time, and, surprisingly, I can hear outside sounds of similar frequencies that are much fainter!

Sometimes, when a loud tone pops up, I pretend that I am receiving telemetry, which is radio frequency coded information, such as the signals to and from unmanned spacecraft. I say, out loud, (just for fun), “yes? What do you want? I’m listening.” Perhaps I am a biological robot, being controlled by some intelligence “out of this world”. Hmmmm!

But, let’s look closely at the way we see… An unmanned robot is exploring the surface of Mars. Periodically, it beams coded information back to Earth that contains data for images of the red planet. The telemetry transmission is received by large radio telescopes, and fed into computers. The computers analyze the data, and convert the information into a form that is displayed on monitor screens. Then, an image forms on the monitor that represents what the cameras on the robot took in. A picture of Mars’ landscape. Not so fast! Looking closely at the monitor screen, we see tiny dots of luminous color; red, green, and blue. Not even white dots! The picture we see is created by our imagination. The robot’s camera didn’t see the landscape. Neither did the computer, or the monitor. Actually, there was no picture. Only data. Information.

The light from the monitor screen falls on the retinas of the eyes. The rods and cones on the retinas send coded information through the nerves to the brain, which processes the information. There is no picture, until a human consciousness receives the phenomena through the mysterious facility called imagination. Our eyes cannot see the image. Our brain cannot see. Our human body works very much like a robot machine that sends and receives information to an intelligence that is “out of this world”.

What the world outside our bodies actually is, is a matrix of vibrating force fields which our nervous systems read as information. In-form-ation; our imagination creates the forms we experience. Without consciousness  and its imagination, the universe is totally dark and soundless.  No forms, no things.  Light and sound  are experiences of consciousness.

“And the earth was without form, and void: and darkness was upon the face of the waters…”  Genesis, I:2   King James edition, Old Testament.

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by John Samsen

ATTACHMENT

Forming attachments is one of the most natural things we do. Animals bond with family groups, and become attached to their habitats, their kinds of foods, and their territories. Babies bond with their caregivers, and quickly become attached to their thumbs, their blankets, and their toys. All through our lives, we form attachments to people, our bodies, our minds, our “looks”, our religious and political groups, and many other things. Sometimes attachments become addictions. In extreme forms, they can become our masters, our prisons.

Through the ages, the teachers of transformation have told us that the way to freedom from the fear and suffering of the Egoworld is through surrendering our attachments. The very old Vedas and Upanishads taught the principal of non-attachment. As did the Chinese Taoists. Jesus of Nazareth told his disciples to relinquish all they had, and leave their loved ones behind; “let the dead bury the dead”. “It would be easier to pull a camel through the eye of a needle, than to get a rich man into the Kingdom of Heaven”. I am amazed that Jesus could find twelve people who were willing to give up everything. This also includes attachments to ideologies, and concepts of divinity (idols). Above all, one must surrender one’s self- one’s ego consciousness.

Very few people are willing to make such a sacrifice; it’s no wonder that so few individuals have reached liberation despite the millions who have strived for it through the many disciplines designed for that purpose. It is easy to become attached to particular gurus, schools, or methods. Jiddu Krishnamurti, a 20th. Century teacher, warned about becoming attached to a particular guru, technique of meditation, or belief.

I think that most people who reached liberation were forced to surrender by circumstances. It is almost too much to expect that the ego will willingly abdicate its place of (imagined) power. It may think that it will acquire powers, admiration, etc. from enlightenment, but the reality is that enlightenment is only realized when the ego is not.

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An imaginary journey…by John Samsen

A voyage of discovery

I decide to embark on a voyage of discovery. Not as Darwin on the HMS Beagle, or as Einstein on a beam of light, but this time on an accelerating proton, a bit of matter. My plan is to ride a proton to nearly the speed of light, then jump onto a photon, which is at the speed of light. I cannot take my body along, of course, but must do this as an OOBE, an out-of-body-experience. My brain will continue to function back home, and I will stay connected with it through Higgs Field vibrations. I leave my body and quickly locate the new particle accelerator at CERN, Switzerland. A group of protons have been injected into the circular accelerator, and I catch up with one and connect with it. Of course, it is not a solid, material “thing”, but rather a highly complex self-sustaining system of vibrations and forces. My proton approaches the speed of light, and I want to get off before it collides with another. I see a photon and jump to it. Amazingly, everything disappears, including motion. Time, the duration between events, is no longer. Space no longer exists. At least in my frame of reference. My brain is in another frame of reference, in space-time, and still thinks. I am aware of timelessness, no-thing. This is the state before the creation of space-time. Not a good description, but our language (and thinking) cannot handle this state well. “I” no longer exist in this state, nor consciousness as I know it. There is nothing to be conscious of. All the kinetic energy of our space-time universe is now potential energy. Awareness is only aware of itself. There are no thoughts, no desires, no anxieties. Only awareness, which is a steady state. I am, but not as an individual.

It is my nature to desire experiences. To have “things” to be conscious of. To be curious. To seek mysteries. Without thinking about it, or making a decision, I begin to create movement. The timeless, space-less state is ultimate inertia. To start movement, which creates time and space, an enormous amount of power is required, but I have that power. The power of Imagination. As movement begins, the tremendous stresses and strains as potential energy becomes kinetic, create extremely energetic vibrations of the highest frequency and ultra short wave length. These vibrations interact with each other, reinforcing and canceling, making harmonic patterns and overtones. These patterns exist for only the briefest of durations, yet some combine with others to form units with longer lifetimes as the temperature decreases. The immense power in these vibrations create tiny space-time dimensions, in which the patterns are maintained. Potential energy has been converted into the strong and weak force, electromagnetic force, and gravity. Three-dimensional forms and time has now been created in imagination, and awareness now has activity to be conscious of.

I am aware of the little universe as it rapidly expands and the “particles” of harmonic vibrations exchange energy and combine into more stable patterns. As temperature and pressure of the expanding three-dimensional universe decreases, the velocity some of the particles slows. I am consciousness of the interchange of information between particles, and begin to choose between probable patterns, so that they begin to combine into the atomic particles; electrons, protons, and neutrons. Matter, in the form of hydrogen atoms, packed with the huge forces of creation, comes into being. The vibration of electrons within the atoms creates electromagnetic fields and sends out pulses of photons which travel through the force fields of the expanding universe and interact with forms of matter as “light”; The enormous forces within the atoms warp space-time into extremely stable units that have almost infinite duration.

There are only three “building blocks” that form all the atoms; protons, neutrons, and electrons. Yet the way they are assembled create a hundred or so different kinds of atoms. Some are gasses, some liquids, some solids, at the temperatures found on earth. And the many combinations of atoms create a myriad of molecules, with many different qualities. Over vast durations of time, the forces within and beyond the atoms form galaxies of stars that synthesize more complex atoms in their intense temperatures and pressures. As the more primitive particles combine creating new qualities, awareness correspondingly leaps to higher levels of consciousness. Carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen atoms combine into a great variety of “organic” molecules, and atomic “valence”, the forces that guide the combining, become a primitive form of intelligence, which forms the molecules into self replicating patterns. My emerging intelligence desires higher levels of organization, and molecules form into units that begin to take in “nutriments”, grow in size, and divide. Living cells now begin to take over the inert inorganic worlds.

Cells become more and more complex, and evolve into creatures, which evolve into more complex creatures, defying the process of deterioration called “entropy”. Eventually, a human creature evolves on a small wet planet, and one of them is born who does not remember who he is, and must try to imagine what it is like to ride on a proton in an accelerator.

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ORIGINAL SIN?

Somewhere in time, creatures that had branched off the evolving primate lines took an unprecedented turn. They became humans. Creatures that could think about themselves, their past and their future. This gave them the potential for dominating nature and re-creating the world. Verbal thinking is a powerful tool, but also has unfortunate consequences.

Some of the primate lines had evolved sophisticated communication skills using sounds and facial and body language. One line further developed the sounds until the nouns and verbs could be combined in phrases and sentences. Eventually, they began to talk “in their heads”; to think verbally.

They continued to think non-verbally, as animals do, which is most effective in dealing with situations in the “present moment”, but the ability to think about the past and plan for the future was a great asset, as was the potential for invention and the sharing of information. But, it also brought the realization of their mortality, and the sense of separation, danger, scarcity, and fear. Non-verbal animal thinking quickly identified dangers, and produced fright, but when the danger was passed, the fright quickly dissipated. Verbal thinking brought fear of possible future dangers into the present.

I think that the myth in Genesis, the beginning chapter of the Old Testament, can be an analogy to the acquisition of verbal thinking. The first humans are said to live in a state of innocence with other animals, in a paradisiacal “Garden of Eden”. A special tree grows in the garden, called the “tree of knowledge of good and evil”, and the humans were told by God to not eat the fruit of that tree, or “ye shall surely die”. Obviously, the knowledge of good and evil comes from verbal thinking, with its reasoning and judging. The humans ate of that fruit, and realized that they were naked. They thought about mortality, and their eventual death, and began to take charge of their lives. They were expelled from the garden, which no longer looked like paradise, and began to create a human world motivated by fear and its child, greed.

We now live in a human-created world which is addicted to verbal thinking. This thinking has created many benefits for us, but also many problems. We are proud of all the creations of our sciences and technology, but few live in a state of happiness, love, and peace. Many revere our religions, philosophies, our logic, and mathematics. But as these have been developed over millennia, our fear and anxiety has increased, and now human thinking is threatening the culture it has created. From tool creators, we have become weapon creators. We think that everyone should have our true religion, or our political system, or our education. And many try to impose their ideologies on others through violence.

This “original sin” separates us from our higher selves, our essential being of love and peace. The knowledge of our mortality creates an unconscious angst that filters what we experience through a sense of anxiety. We have been taught that our world is one of separation, scarcity, danger, pain and suffering. And this is what we see in the world.

Verbal thinking is our problem. It maintains ego consciousness, which brings the sense of a separated individual, living in a world of things and events that are potentially dangerous and must be controlled. Thinking can also bring people together, and help to bring beauty and happiness into our egoworld. Many people are aware of an inner sense of love and beauty, and share this through writing and other arts.

Those of us who have been blessed with “mystical experiences”, “near death experiences”, and “awakening”, have seen a much better world; a world of beauty, peace, and love. The world is still the “garden of Eden”, if one has the eyes to see it, and the ears to hear it. What I think Jesus meant by the “kingdom of Heaven”. This direct perception comes when thinking has stopped. Innocence returns. The ego, a construct of thinking, cannot be maintained without thinking. Throughout human history, there have been individuals who have discovered that by suspending thinking through techniques like meditation, contemplation, and mindfulness, one can re-enter the Garden and experience the perfection and peace that is the essence of our individual selves and our world.

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Essay by John Samsen

CONSCIOUSNESS AND KNOWING

Conscious experience is at once

the most familiar thing in the world,

and the most mysterious.

There is nothing we know about more directly

than consciousness, but it is far from clear

how to reconcile it

with everything else we know

David J.Chalmers The conscious mind

Each of us has the sense of “being”. We know we exist- there is no need to prove to ourselves that we exist, like the logical statement of Descartes “I think, therefore I am”. We know when we are aware, conscious. It is beyond thought. This is pure subjectivity. We only know our own state of consciousness, and cannot know that of another person. Science is unable to measure or even define subjective awareness; atheistic materialists think consciousness is a property of the brain, but have no idea how to study or prove it. Our consciousness of ourselves as individual persons is definitely dependent on the functioning of our brains, but that fact does not prove that our consciousness is created by brain functions, anymore than the fact that our dependence on air and food, implies that we were created by those things. Awareness and consciousness are mysteries; perhaps the deepest and final mysteries confronting us in our quest to understand and know all. And this mystery was discovered by our ability to think about things. Without our verbal language, we would have continued to take our existence for granted, like the rest of the animals.

Once, many years ago, I looked up “awareness” in my collegiate dictionary, and found it was defined by one word; “consciousness”. And then I looked up “consciousness”, and it was defined as “awareness”. One mystery defined by another mystery! To me, awareness is the pure state of being, without anything to be aware of. This, I believe, is what we come from, and return to. This is the timeless, spaceless, motionless state called the “Void” by Eastern philosophies. I think this is the ground of being before our universe is, until moved by consciousness. This is the state, or lack of states, that meditators seek. As a personality dissolves into the Void, there is a wonderful sense of peace. Coming back to personality, there is love, which is complete acceptance, and bliss, complete happiness that settles into total contentment.

Meditation is the dissolution of thoughts

in Eternal awareness

or Pure consciousness without objectification,

knowing without thinking,

merging finitude in infinity.

Voltaire

Awareness seeks experiences. When there is something to be aware of, that is consciousness. The word comes from Latin; “cognoscere“, to know. Awareness is content in itself, but if there is something to be aware of, awareness immediately is attracted to it, and then, in my experience, becomes conscious of it. It is through Imagination that awareness experiences, and knows. In our human experience, we have a drive to know everything in our world, and we must get that knowing through experiencing.

Through our wonderful language, and the logic of reason and mathematics, we are able to acquire a great amount of information, and then we try to understand that information. Our thinking about things brings knowledge. But, knowledge is not knowing. Knowledge is only about things, about experiences. Knowledge is an asset when a new experience comes along. However, until there is experience, there is no knowing. No amount of description can give the flavor of an orange, or the scent of gardenias, to someone who has not experienced them.

Physics says energy/matter is eternal; it cannot be destroyed or lost. Our physical bodies, including their brains, are made of energy/matter, in the form of atomic particles that make up the atoms and molecules. So our bodies are made of the eternal and infinite.

Only the forms this energy/matter takes on will change. The electrons flowing through the synapses of our brains are eternal, so says Science. Perhaps there is a connection between energy/matter and consciousness. The phenomena of our human experiences end in time, but the fundamental awareness that is conscious of it seems to continue to exist.

The forms that make up our world, and our bodies, are built up through the basic quality of awarewness; attraction. Sub-atomic “particles” attract each other, and seem to exchange their constituent particles. Atoms are attracted to each other, and connect together according to patterns of attraction and repulsion, which is called valence in chemistry. And increasingly complex forms, like living creatures, are attracted together symbiotically and in family, clan, and social groups.

The idea that atoms could have a basic form of consciousness is an old one. It makes sense to me. Science divided matter into two categories; organic, or living, and inorganic, without life. If it becomes accepted that consciousness is inherent in all matter, then the sudden appearance of “life force” on our planet can be seen as a new higher level property that comes into existence when the consciousness of organic molecules (wholes) is combined in a particular pattern (new whole). At this time, when science has little understanding of our human level of consciousness, let alone consciousness in lower forms, this theory seems “far out”. Perhaps by looking at the properties of sub-atomic particles as they combine into more complex wholes up the chain of material forms, could lead to a better understanding.

Many scientists who study the human brain, assuming it to be only a machine composed of matter and energy, see consciousness, and the human mind, as transient phenomena created by the brain. Alterations in the brain’s functions do have an affect on the mind and on consciousness. Others consider humans to be immaterial beings, “souls”, who somehow inhabit material bodies. “Ghosts in the machines”. They emphasize the mind, while neglecting the brain, and all that it does for our life experiences. As I write this, my brain is coming up with the ideas and putting together the words. And your brain is reading this. At the same time, I am conscious of my writing, and you are consciously experiencing it. The complexity of the human brain has raised consciousness beyond the levels it has in the lower organisms, and far beyond the levels in the matter and energy of its cells.

Considering evolution theory, I see that there has always been a force driving matter to higher levels of complexity. Science says that great clouds of hydrogen atoms condensed into stars, where, under great pressure and high temperature, fusion of the hydrogen atoms began. During the fusion process, more complex atoms were formed; helium, oxygen, iron, uranium. All the atoms we know. As the stars imploded and exploded, the atoms combined into molecules- water, rock, many oxides. Eventually, these fragments fell together, and became planets. And our Earth is a planet with a profusion of living forms. All this has been happening despite Newton’s second law of thermodynamics, Entropy, which states that material systems tend to disintegrate and become more disorderly. I say that entropy happens so that there will always be basic matter from which more complex forms can be assembled. This is why all living forms on our planet must die. Why creatures must eat each other. Life depends on death.

It is obvious to me that natural selection accounts for many adaptations, but I think major leaps in species evolution occur when rapid changes in the environment threaten groups. Then creature consciousness becomes aware of the threat and a form of group intelligence determines what changes are necessary to survive. The new biological science of epigenetics is showing us that cells communicate with each other, and information received can cause switches in the DNA to activate and inactivate genes. The new genetic patterns are then transmitted on down to the succeeding generations

I can see a major transformation in human consciousness emerging around forty thousand years ago. The caves in southern France still exhibit a multitude of drawings of animals that were common in that area at that time, which was during the last major ice age. These charcoal drawings are far beyond the simple cartoon sketches of children. They show a sophistication and design sense that seems equal to modern artists. Perspective and 3D were indicated, and movement was depicted by doubling the number of legs on some animals. These artists were drawing from images in memory, without models. Much evidence shows that during the preceding millenia, humans had been living there without art or music. Their consciousness was focused on the immediate needs of living. With brains much larger than early pre-humans, they were much more creative than other animals, and more adaptable. Then around forty thousand years ago, they began to draw images, carve small sculptures, and make musical instruments. Flutes made from bones are found to produce notes on a scale similar to ours, and can play modern songs. They began to bury their dead with tools and flowers. They had acquired human sensitivities and obviously had the ability to think about the past and future. For the next thirty thousand years, humans much like us roamed the planet, hunting and gathering their food, building temporary shelters, and no doubt singing and dancing when they were happy. They did not build cities, or cultivate and store crops. At that time, their population was relatively small, and lifespans short. Only after the ice sheets retreated around twelve thousand years ago, and when increasing populations began to use up the available food supplies, did agriculture flourish. Cities were built to protect food supplies. Then a new consciousness of competition, greed, and aggression developed, and war and conquest were invented. In our time, this consciousness has peaked, and our civilized culture is in danger of collapsing as military costs are not allowing the production of sufficient food and clean water for the needs of a rapidly growing world population. And, in response to this threat, I see a great change in human consciousness developing.

Creationists see creation as top-down, from an all-knowing god. I think creation is a bottom-up process of trial and error, powered by an evolution of consciousness properties which are based in an infinite awareness we can never fathom with our human brains. All individual consciousnesses are connected through the underlying existence of awareness. When we experience awareness, we know peace, the beauty behind the appearances of our world, and love for the marvelous creation that it is. For me, all religious doctrines, ideologies, and practices, fade into insignificance in the light of this knowing.

The only source of knowledge is experience.

Albert Einstein

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An excerpt from the book “A Journey to Metanoia”, by John Samsen

Life after (Ego) death

The moment you have in your heart this extraordinary thing called love

and feel the depth, the delight, the ecstasy of it,

you will discover that for you the world is transformed.

Jiddu Krishnamurti

A short time after the metanoia, I decided to drive to my parents’ home in Indiana. I had driven this route so many times that I often did it “automatically” with little attention to navigation. This time I was thinking very little, and enjoying watching the scenery go by. Suddenly I found myself in an unfamiliar town. I had strayed off the route. I determined where I was, and returned to the familiar road. Not long after this, I found myself in another strange town. I realized that I could not rely on old habit patterns, and made the rest of the trip with my consciousness sharply focused on my trip. I felt like a little newborn puppy, in a fresh, new world.

I wanted my parents to know about my experience, but they quickly focused on their ideas about a “nervous breakdown“. I realized that few people would understand, and I decided to keep most of this to myself, which I have done until recently. However, I did travel to New York, and gave Jean Houston and Bob Masters a “debriefing”. Jean suggested that I send a report of my experience to Dr. Stanislav Grof at Esalen, which I later did. Dr. Grof, who had been an associate professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins Medical Center, was doing a study of experiences which he called “psycho/spiritual emergencies”; a breakdown of self and world images that sometimes resulted in personal transformations. Dr. Grof founded the International Transpersonal Association.

According to John White, author of What Is Enlightenment:

“In the course of change, there are stages that can be presented in a simple formulation: From orthonoia through paranoia to metanoia. We grow from orthonoia- that is, the common everyday state of ego-centered mind-to metanoia only by going through paranoia, a state where the mind is deranged (that is, taken apart) and rearranged by spiritual discipline so that a clear perception of reality might be experienced. Conventional western psychologies regard paranoia as a pathological breakdown. It often is, of course, but seen from this perspective, it is not necessarily always so. Rather it can be breakthrough; a necessary stage of development on the way to realizing the Kingdom.”

I am sure that by “realizing the Kingdom” John means seeing life as it is, rather than through the mental filters of our thinking. Then the beauty of the design is obvious, and one feels a sense of the sacred.

After leaving my career in 1976, I had planned to take a year off, and then get back into design work. In 1978, months after the metanoia, and having sold my property, I moved to Florida. I  bought a used sailboat, and lived in it at a marina on Sarasota Bay. I cruised and raced my boat in sailing clubs. I was not interested in the typical “single life” and hesitated in getting back into the “dating game”. I was happy to just enjoy life, and being alone with nature was satisfying. Many who have gone through a radical transformation find they need a time to be away from the activities of human relationships and involvements. A time to adjust to a new way of being in the world. A process of rebuilding an ego personality and forming a new and more appropriate verbal understanding. The world was now so fascinating, and ego desires so unimportant, that just being with nature was satisfying; “doing” had little attraction. During this time of my life many happy years passed by. I was not a total recluse; I often participated in activities with people. Especially those who were actively involved in their personal evolution. I learned to live on a fraction of what I had been spending before, and was content with a very frugal lifestyle.

Eventually I needed income, and saw that I could participate in the trading of securities and commodity futures via telephone, from wherever I was. I studied the technical analysis of commodity trading and practiced trades “on paper” for a year, then as it looked like I could win more than lose, I began to cautiously put money down on small futures contracts. I did make some money at it in the first year, and increased the amounts I ventured, and made money faster the next two years. I traded through my broker by radio-phone while cruising on my sailboat. Then market conditions changed with the advent of computer trading by the large firms, and I began to lose more than I was winning. I decided to quit while I was still ahead.

I spent part of each year with my widowed mother in Indiana, and, as an independent designer, did product and graphic design for a number of companies in that area. I enjoyed my life and spent a lot of time sailboat cruising the Great Lakes, Florida, and the Caribbean areas, presenting at classic automobile events, canoing and kayaking on beautiful rivers, and skiing in Michigan and Colorado.

Occasionally I dated women, but did not find one I wanted to be with very long. I lived mostly existentially, and had less interest in intellectual pursuits. I read fewer books, and those I read were mostly for entertainment. Out of curiosity, I did re-read some of the books I had felt were important, including the Baghavad Ghita, and parts of the Old and New Testament, and found a deeper understanding of them. I painted in acrylic and watercolor, and participated in several art societies and exhibitions. I continued to spend quality time with my daughters, who grew up, married, and produced several grandchildren. My childhood interest in model aircraft revived, and I built and flew radio-controlled planes with several clubs.

I also returned to several of Jean Houston’s weekend workshops, mostly to be with the interesting people, and add what little I could to the discussions. My quest was over. There was nothing more I wanted. I felt I should help others find a path to their evolution, so I led meditation and self-discovery groups, and lectured. I presented seminars in the Detroit area on my experiences, but felt I was unable to be very effective as I had not developed a comprehensive verbal understanding of what I had experienced. This I have been working on for the last several decades. I did present a number of programs on meditation techniques to various groups, but mostly kept a low profile, not wanting to draw attention to myself. I did not experience paranormal phenomena after the metanoia. The bottoms of cups and glasses have stayed on ever since. But there was one experience that still puzzles me;

Late in 1979, not long after my metanoia, I was flying to Florida. The middle aged man sitting next to me had a short “flat top” haircut like many World War II warriors wore. He was wearing a plaid flannel shirt and cowboy boots. For fun, I guessed him to be a southern or Texan “redneck”. When he spoke to me with a drawl, I thought my assessment was confirmed. He began to tell me how his father’s generation had built up America by developing the factories and transportation systems, how his generation had fought the big war, developed the oilfields, and built the highway system. “Now”, he said, “the new generation just uses and abuses what we have built, without contributing anything useful to our nation”. This rhetoric was just what I expected; the concept older men often have that the younger generation is “going down the drain”, and taking our country down with them. I must confess to also entertaining such thoughts from time to time. Our flight began to descend for a landing, and I was surprised, maybe shocked is a better word, when the man said out loud:

“I’ve been coming to this planet for hundreds of years, and I’m sick and tired of it. I’m not coming back! I want to go home, and as far as I’m concerned, it can be right now!”.

With that, he unfastened his seat belt, and I figured he was hoping for a crash. I couldn’t believe that such “far out” talk could come from this “redneck”. I told him I was not ready to leave, that I was still interested in the dramas of this life. That was the end of our conversation and our plane landed without mishap. The mystery deepened for me a short time later when I learned that while I was talking with the “redneck”, an airliner was crashing at the O’Hare airport at Chicago, with Isaac Bentov aboard. There were no survivors. A couple weeks before, I had attended a workshop given by Bentov who had recently published a book “Stalking the Wild Pendulum”. Isaac had survived a Nazi concentration camp and had moved to Israel before it was a recognized state. He became a scientist, and worked on a variety of projects, including working out a western scientific explanation for kundalini energy and other esoteric phenomena. At the workshop, he explained the ideas he had presented in his book and outlined his conception of the cosmos. All through his lecture, he giggled and grinned, apparently enjoying a big joke. I talked with him afterwards, and he told me he had just experienced an awakening and saw the humor in his having believed in his ego-self and its reality. He indicated to me that he was ready to leave his life.

I couldn’t help but wonder if he had been talking through the “redneck” to me, during my flight. But these thoughts are too “far out”, aren’t they?

The years passed very quickly for me. I enjoyed nature more than ever, and with mindfulness, I found that I could be content anywhere; one place was as good as another.

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