Thursday, August 30, 2012

The Jump

So, we have a jumper. Not your ordinary run of the mill, bi-polar, manic misfit that seeks a high point to leap from in between dosages. No this jumper was someone I knew of, had dinner with once, roamed his Summit Road home, swam in his pool, played with his twin boys a few times. This jumper was so atypical, that the Hollywood community is still in shock, especially those who knew him well, and the us that knew him sorta.

He had everything. The most beautiful -- significantly younger -- sexy blonde wife and two twelve year old twin boys (one selfish, one kind), equally adored by both parents. Warm, quite large Spanish digs rumored to be one of the three parcels that became of Eroll Flynn's estate after a bitter divorce with his 3 ex-wives. I think he bought what was once the stable house which was added on to over the years. It was utterly charming, filled with exquisite large pieces of art with thick heavy frames, some fine frescos on the ceilings, large spanish paver flooring, chunky over-stuffed furniture and a kitchen with an arch shaped barn door that opened at the top and bottom. However, I found the most impressive room to be the library where he purportedly spent huge volumes of time when not on a set somewhere. 

He had a fire and passion for his work that burned so deep he became a copious student of all things film and photography. He read voraciously. I remember his library being stacked from floor to ceiling and I was told he had read damn near everything in it. I touched the leather on his desk, some objects atop it. I felt the exciting climb to success in that room. Sheer inspiration.

I remember thinking what a lucky, lucky Brit he was. Hatched from humble folk across the pond. The man at the pinnacle with everything.

When I heard the news, just three hours after he jumped on Sunday, I couldn't believe it. It felt personal. One of my best friends is godmother to his children so I'm kinda of in the know. I couldn't believe it. I didn't really know the man at all but from what I'd heard, and all I'd seen, the brief cross sections of our lives, I couldn't believe it. He had what we all want ... everything ... and he still jumped. Inexplicable.

And the way he went out ... kinda selfish, creating nightmares and a legacy of horror for a few dozen people who saw him do it and for those whose boat he landed next to. Couldn't he have checked into a hotel room and contained the suicide to pills or a gunshot? Nope, the quirky charming unassuming action film genius found the biggest bridge in his kingdom, picked high noon, broad daylight and flew through the air as if testing his next high octane movie scene. I honestly don't even want to know what he was thinking.

So why am I so mental over this? Because he worked hard for, and got to where he wanted to. He hit the home run and was the hero of the game of life. Hoards of us are motivated by that illusion and the promise of a sustainable payoff. He had it all and the fucker still jumped. Can you only imagine the message that sends the rest of us ... It's not worth the trouble. Even with all the fame, success, love, money, cache, achievement ... life in general just ain't worth living. 

Yes, he jumped as intentionally as he directed his films leaving us with a disturbing, uneasy feeling that what we've been taught since birth about hard work, happiness, love and success could, quite possibly, all be wrong. Even the part about following your dreams and you shall be happy. He did all that and still jumped. 

Now what?

I touched his things one day and felt the promise of a life well lived. Picturing his urn on top of the leather desk I feel the dread and despair of a life well lived.

What can I learn of this dread? What mental poison knocked him back? What dark hopelessness motivated his awful exit? Who was that Shadowman playing out surreal scenes; silhouetted against a sunlit sky, plummeting like a spent Superman through the credits of his own twist ending? Is there some darkness, some sentient sinister intent just lurking behind the veil of contentment we all carry around with us like so many security blankets? Could that happen to me, you, us? Has the idea of happiness become a faded, cliched, outmoded commodity on this mangy planet? Being bartered here and there for so much glittery fools gold? So the harder I think, the deeper I go with this, I'm still upset, uneasy, undone. 

And maybe, just maybe.... that's exactly where I should be with all this.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

ASP - Awareness during Sleep Paralysis

It was a cold, grey day in February, 1979, as we approached the small wooden bridge leading to my Grandparent's house. The Appalachian Mountains seemed to close up behind us as we curved through them.

Word came of my Uncle's death a few days earlier. It wasn't exactly unexpected; he'd lived a life full of freak accidents and the last one finally got the best of him. Driving a coal truck full of coal on a small, winding mountain road, a car crossed the double yellow line and his truck veered off a steep incline. He'd lost his leg up to the knee and had major surgery. It was a miracle he lived through it. He was my Granny's baby, the youngest of three boys, and the first to transition from this world. She would eventually outlive them all, including my Dad who was the eldest of the three. And now, with my cousin behind the wheel, we'd arrived at the bridge.

The bridge was just as small and rickety as I remembered it. I always gasped when the car made the 90' turn onto it because there were no railings and there was no room for error. The boards clacked as if they would break into pieces and fall into the small tributary of the Kentucky River running 15 feet   beneath it. I grabbed the armrests in the car and closed my eyes.

The gravel road leading into the holler (hollow) where their house was situated brought back fond childhood memories of Summers past. Fresh picked strawberries, corn, beans, tomatoes, fully-bloomed peonies, sunflowers and roses; images that flashed in my mind's eye. The abandoned coal mine and the steel coal loading structure at the mouth of the holler was a reminder of the dwindling coal mining industry throughout this area of which the residents depended upon for work. A creek gurgled along one side of the one-lane gravel road leading up to their house and mountains jutted straight up on both sides. Finally, their house emerged before us built upon a small hill safe from the creek when it flooded in Spring from Mountain snow melt.

The air was cold, crisp and smelled like burning coal. Many in the rural communities still used coal furnaces and coal was cheap and abundant to local folk. I looked at the smoke coming out of the chimney and followed its trail upward. The pine trees that my Dad and Papaw planted decades earlier rose tall and proud all around us and I felt like I was home.

I braced myself for the mood knowing my Grandparents, especially my Granny, were devastated by the loss of their youngest son. We all were; my Uncle and my Dad's competition for best practical joker was always entertaining at family gatherings. It was a family expectation. "There'll be no practical jokes this visit", I pondered. On the upside, I knew my Granny would funnel her grief into the kitchen and that wondrous baked delights awaited. It was a bittersweet feeling.

Granny and Papaw met us with big hugs and as we entered the living room I saw the hospital bed on which my Uncle had been sleeping since his accident. It was like an elephant in the living room starkly reminding us of his last few months spent. Three large chairs, a couch and console television were all rearranged, crammed accordingly to accommodate it. She led us into the dining room where I greeted my parents who'd already arrived. A hearty lunch was prepared and we all sat down and enjoyed one another's company.

Throughout the day, family arrived from all around the country. Neighbors stopped by with food to give their condolences and the small two bedroom house became packed with people. I spent a good portion of the afternoon in my favorite spot out on the front porch swing. It was a great position as "official greeter" and kept me out of the sweltering coal-heated house.

Once night fell it was time to decide where everyone was going to sleep. Most of the out-of-town relatives had motel rooms reserved or planned to stay with other relatives in the area. And, with my grandparents in one bedroom and my parents in the other it was decided I would sleep on the hospital bed. I insisted I'd sleep on the couch. Granny insisted I sleep on a bed after a long trip. Back and forth we went until I realized her expression wasn't one of stubbornness, it was one of grief. I reluctantly conceded not because I was afraid to sleep in it but because it was a matter of respect. She brought out fresh linens, a blanket and pillow and I promptly made the bed for the night.

I watched TV for as long as possible. Finally, physically and emotionally exhausted I climbed into the hospital bed, pulled the blanket up to my chin and settled in. Carefully sensing my surroundings to feel any reason I shouldn't be sleeping in that bed, I determined that it felt good. I loved my Uncle who always took me under his wing during Summer visits. He'd taught me how to fish and how to drive at night. Recalling fond times at drive-in movies with my cousins and the time he threw a snakeskin onto the front porch underneath my Mom's feet made me smile.

All I could hear was the gurgling creek outside through the closed window and that's the only sound I could hear. It always amazed me how loud the silence could be in the mountains. Rolling over onto my stomach I took a deep, cleansing breath as sleep was soon to wash over me. The room was pitch black "It's as dark as it is silent", I surmised.

Suddenly I felt a huge weight on top of me. It startled me and felt as if someone was sitting on me. "Roll over", I thought. "Get up!", I thought. However, I couldn't move. Trying to lift my head off the pillow was futile. Panic was beginning to set in until I realized I didn't feel threatened or scared. I was simply panicked by the inability to move. Turning all of my focus on simply trying to lift my right index finger which was still under my pillow I realized what it feels like to be completely paralyzed. I was utterly and completely paralyzed and was actually fascinated by this experience. Facing the wall, I could see nothing in the room. The weight was so heavy all I could do was focus on breathing slowly and steadily.

It's hard to state for certain how long it lasted. We all know that sometimes a minute can seem like an hour when we are in a state of "wait" but it was the duration of at least 30 seconds to a couple of minutes. I began intermittently trying to move my finger to no avail. Eventually the weight lifted and testing my finger, which moved, I leapt out of the bed all at once grabbing the pillow and blanket and slept on the couch. Laying awake for quite a while reviewing the experience I finally fell asleep.

The next day I awakened before anyone else in the house and made the bed so my Granny wouldn't be hurt that I didn't sleep in the bed. I made the decision not to say anything about the experience simply because it sounded too bizarre to try to explain. Besides, with one bathroom in the house, breakfast and getting ready for the memorial service was top priority.

About a week later my Mom received a phone call from my grandmother. I was sitting in the living room sipping morning coffee and could tell the conversation was serious. After she hung up the phone, she sat down in a chair across from me and said, "I'm worried about your Granny. She's in such a state of grief that she insists she saw your uncle sitting on the hospital bed in her living room last night". I almost dropped my coffee cup. "Mom", I replied softly and slowly, "I believe her". Relating my entire experience I finished by saying, "You know, there are things in this world we don't understand. And, I believe that it's entirely possible that when a soul is attached to a place or a person that it may return there until it finds its way". She just stared at me slowly nodding her head.

Twenty years later after the Internet infused the ability to research I decided to look into this experience not knowing that it already had a terminology associated with it. I discovered it's referred to as ASP an acronym for Awareness during Sleep Paralysis. Below you will find several links to this phenomenon. There are many "physical" descriptions and explanations for it but what interests me most are the folklore and historical description of it. Many people describe an entity sitting on their chest. I don't concur entirely that it's the state of awakening into the dream world. I only experienced it once but I wasn't asleep yet. I had just rolled over.

I joined a forum on which I participated for well over a year. Many people shared many experiences and clearly they cannot all be explained as just a physical phenomenon.

It's a known fact that we are most aware at the in-between state of consciousness and unconsciousness also the meditative state or twilight state. This is the state of consciousness when most "visions" occur or ideas are born. Some people have ASP repeatedly and others only once. It's explained physically as a symptom of narcolepsy but I posit that narcolepsy is a symptom of ASP. My recommendation is move the bed or get a new bed - rearrange the furnishings. If an entity is attached to the bed or the spot where the bed is located, there is more chance of recurrence. That is not to say that with some people it is in fact a physical/neurological event. In my experience, it was a physical event as a result of a paranormal occurrence.

Copyright © Anna Webb 2012

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

The Rocking Chair

I have had extra "abilities" since I was an infant. My mother and father used to tell me stories of when I was a baby, and my mother would put me down for a nap with a stuffed animal, then when I was asleep she would remove the toy and place it on the dresser, so I would not suffocate or anything. One Saturday afternoon, she and my Dad were watching TV in the living room, and they heard me giggling and laughing and making noise. My Mom went in my room to get me and when she walked in, she screamed, causing my Dad to come running. When my Dad got to the doorway, he froze. According to them, that teddy bear was floating a couple of feet over my crib, and I was laughing at it. When my Dad walked in the room, I looked at him and the bear fell. My Mom snatched me up and took me out of the room, certain there was a ghost of some sort in the room.

This happened many more times, according to them both. My Mom was terrified, but as my Dad had "gifts" of his own, he did not worry to much about it.

The next time something happened, I was three, and old enough to remember. Mom was a stay at home mom at that time, and my Dad was a paint contractor, who owned his own business. He would come home around 5 every day, and would eat dinner in his chair and wait for the 6 o'clock evening news to come on. At 5:30 back then, Sesame Street came on the local PBS channel. It was my favorite show, and usually Dad would let me watch a few minutes of it before Mom would bring me to the table for dinner. For some reason that day he did not want to let me watch, and I pitched a fit. He was unmoved, and was watching something else. I looked at the TV and thought about the show and that I wished the channel would just change. Imagine my surprise when it did just that. Imagine my surprise when Dad flipped it right back, without moving, and there were no remote controls in our house back then. Now imagine my Mother's terror when we basically had a war, flipping the channel back and forth for several minutes, until my Dad told me "ENOUGH, now stop it or you can go to your room with no dinner!"

I stopped.

Other little things would happen, I could turn lights on and off, move things around, things like that. As I got older ( when I started school and was taught these things were bad and unaccepted ) I lost the ability to do those things, but I gained others. I can hear people's thoughts at times, ( which is actually not that great of a thing, because it is hard for me to filter them out so I can't hear them, most of the time I have no desire to do such a thing ) not ALL the time, and it is not something I actually focus on to be able to do it, I focus on NOT doing it. I have an uncanny sense of intuitiveness, I just KNOW things, with no prior knowledge of whatever it is. I do not fully understand all my gifts, as I spend more time trying NOT to use them than I ever did trying to develop them. Except for my intuitiveness. I would not squash down or trade that for all the money in the world. It has kept me alive in a life that has done it's best to make sure I did NOT survive.

All that leads me to this. I was ten years old when I first realized I could see "ghosts." My great Uncle died, and he and I were very close. I was devastated. His was the first funeral I ever went to. For a couple of weeks afterwards I was distraught. I was not sleeping well, I did not want to eat, I was taking it very hard.

I had an old antique rocking chair in my bedroom. It was over 100 years old ( my Mother worked in an antique store at that time ) and whenever my uncle would visit, I was always dragging him in my room to show him this or that, a picture I colored or a new toy or something, and he would always sit in that chair. I never did, it was very uncomfortable. One night after his death, I was laying in bed, crying my eyes out, missing him terribly, when I heard that old rocking chair start to squeak, as it did when it was being rocked in. I froze, and slowly turned my head to look at the chair. It was slowly rocking, all on its own. I was terrified, and tried to scream, but my throat closed and no sound would come out. I sat up in bed, ready to leap out and tear a path to my parent's room, but suddenly I could smell Pinaud Clubman cologne...which is what my Uncle wore every day of his life. I froze, confused. The chair stopped rocking and suddenly the scent was gone. I hopped out of bed and went to wake my Dad, and tell him what happened. He told me that my Uncle loved me very much, and he was just visiting me, letting me know he was still thinking of me, as he knew I was still so upset. I asked about 200 questions after that of course, and my Dad was patient with me and answered me. I went back to bed and started at the chair for what seemed like hours, willing it to move again, yet terrified at the same time that it would.

The next night the chair started rocking again, always at the same time, 10:23 PM ( I had a digital alarm clock for school ) and the smell of his cologne would fill my room. After the third night, I started talking to  him as if he were there. After the 5th night, I saw a glimmer in the chair...a hazy shape, no definition to it. For some reason I was not afraid of this, I could FEEL his presence in the room, I knew it was him. I talked with this hazy blob for a week, and each night after that, the hazy shape would become more and more tangible, until two weeks later, what looked like a projection of my Uncle was sitting right there in that chair. He never spoke, just smiled, and nodded. This went on for a month and then he started fading, regressing back into that hazy shape, until there was nothing but the chair rocking and the smell of his cologne...and finally a couple of weeks later, the rocking stopped and the smell faded for the last time.

I was okay by that point, his presence there helped me to heal. My talking with him, sharing my grief over losing him, helped me, and when I was better, he left. I have not seen him since.

That experience opened a doorway of some sort in my opinion, because ever since then, I have seen spirits on several other occasions. Not all of them nice, and most of them were strangers, but there, none the less. It is not always pleasant, and sometimes I have gotten nasty visits that frightened me terribly, but most of them are just passing through for the most part. My husband can see and hear them, and our youngest daughter can feel them, so our family is used to the comings and goings of the ones who filter in and out of our surroundings. Since our daughter was born, we get even more of them, so we have both wondered if she is a beacon, or if she is calling them to her somehow, or if they are just attracted to her in some way, so they make themselves known. I guess we will see how it turns out as she gets older and growing up might get in the way, as it can do for young ones with abilities. Time will tell!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Connections......this is our existence.....this, is how we are

I have been observing human behavior for over 40 years, admittedly, from my own perspective. But I have made an observation as of late that gives me pause.

We make connections all the time. We connect with people, we connect with situations, we connect with objects in this physical world. But what if all of those connections are on purpose, as if they are driven by a force much greater than we can possibly imagine?

Every time we connect, we can find that the connection has some root in what we perceive as the "past", we can see it as where we've been, bringing us into the present, and helping us into our "future".

You meet someone, out of the blue, and yet that person, at that exact time, has something to offer us that we need at just that exact moment. We "happen" to find that five dollar bill, on the road, at the exact time that we need it.

We find that situations we are dealt with coincide with our own ability to deal with them, just after other situations that we have dealt with before, so we can learn, in a progression. Does this seem odd to anyone other than me?

We perceive time in a linear fashion, and things seem to happen in such a way to facilitate that linear timeframe, even though, in cosmic terms, time does not travel in a linear way.

One thing follows another, bad things, good things, everything in general, happens as we can perceive it, in a linear way. Is this weird to anyone else?

You're alone for a time, and then, when you don't think you can stand it anymore, someone comes along, and you're not lonely anymore.

Life seems to be falling apart, everything seems to be going wrong, and then, out of the blue, something happens to make it all ok.

Is this just chance? Is this just random happenings? I think not.

The connections we make are not random, they are by design, that's my opinion.

There are forces at work that we can not only not perceive, but we cannot understand.

Everything you've ever done, seen, or have decided to be, is a part of the grand plan, the way to make sure everything "works", that's my idea.

Is it so far fetched an idea, that it might not be possible? I think not. Watch your life, see it for what it is, a series of events, all of which brought you to this time, this space, to connect with only who you had to connect with to make your life happen.

No one is immune. You make a decision, and then the universe makes it happen. It makes choices for you, based on what you have done before. Someone comes into your life, someone amazing, but, you have little choice as to how things play out. You just have to go with it, with what the universe gives you.

I think that maybe, just maybe, we don't really have a choice. Life goes on, as they in the "other side" want it to go, and whether or not we like it, things will happen as they see it, in order to make sense of what we "normal" humans can't comprehend,  That's just what we need to go to a higher level or to get to their level of consciousness, we have to experience certain things first.

And that, my friends, might just be the meaning of life.

Monday, August 20, 2012

A Great, Huge Game of Chess

Lewis Carroll saw life as a dream, and as pointed out by Martin Gardner in his notes to Through The Looking-Glass in The Annotated Alice, Carroll returns to the question of life as a dream in the first paragraph of chapter 8, in the closing lines of the book, and in the last line of the book's terminal poem. Thus, both of the Alice books, as dream tales, are also veiled parables about the meaning of life. 

Games "play" a prominent role in the books. In Alice In Wonderland, we have playing cards and croquet; in Through The Looking-Glass, chess; and in both books, there is plenty of the wordplay for which Carroll is justly famous. Carroll himself was very fond of games--one reason he enjoyed spending time with children. But just as nonsense contains a deeper level of meaning, so do games. It has been said that chess, for example, with its black and white pattern of squares, was created as a reminder of the vast expanse of the field of existence, and how to navigate it. In essence, the chessboard or checkerboard symbolizes the polarities, the positive and negative forces, the yin and yang that must be kept in balance if the game of life is to be played well. The theme of polarity shows up in many and various ways in TTLG, starting with the black and white kittens in the first chapter. As Alice puts it when she first beholds the chessboard playing field: "It's a great, huge game of chess that's being played--all over the world--if this is the world at all, you know." 

From the scientific standpoint, polarity is electromagnetic energy vibrating between two poles, which comprise a unity. Thought is also energy, vibrating at frequencies that cannot be measured with our current technology, and between two polarities. This gives rise to duality: the tendency for human thought to polarize to one of two extremes, to separate and compartmentalize. Linearity is perhaps the primary way we do this, in our perception of past, present and future time, which too often takes us out of the present moment. The White Queen's rule of "Jam yesterday, jam tomorrow, but never jam today," is just one example. Other manifestations of duality that show up in both Alice books, often exaggerated and/or parodied, are: fearfulness, confusion about identity, hierarchy, loneliness, wanting what is distant or unattainable, self-deprecation, and black and white thinking. Martin Gardner writes in his notes in The Annotated Alice: "In a sense, nonsense itself is sanity-insanity inversion. The ordinary world is turned upside down and backward; it becomes a world in which things go every way except the way they are supposed to." I would say it's a polarity parody, containing as many layers of symbolic meaning as the chessboard itself. 

I'll close this with a quote from The Seth Material by Jane Roberts that for me seems to sum up Lewis Carroll's take on "life as a dream": 
Humanity dreams the same dream at once, and you have your mass world.  
The whole construction is like an educational play in which you are the producers as well as the actors.  
There is a play within a play within a play.  
There is no end to the "within" of things.  
The dreamer dreams, and the dreamers within the dreams dream. 
But the dreams are not meaningless, and the actions within them are significant.  
The whole self is the observer and also a participator in the roles.

An Archetype of Transformation

“Then take me disappearing through the smoke rings of my mind …” 
Bob Dylan, “Mr. Tambourine Man” 

In numerology, the number five represents the energy of adventure, freedom, and change, and the fifth chapter of Wonderland is rich in the symbolism of far-reaching transformation. It is said that God must be a mathematician; he may also be a numerologist, and just may be symbolized by the Caterpillar, cozily ensconced on a mushroom, smoking his hookah and lording it over those who, like Alice, are seeking answers. He, too, seeks one: “You! Who are you?” In this, he may represent consciousness itself, which is continually asking us to define our identity. A change in consciousness may require a period of land-locked, fuzzy caterpillar-creeping, followed by sequestering in a chrysalis, before taking flight as the “butterfly” of a new and glorious manifestation. 

The Caterpillar takes a cavalier attitude toward Alice’s perception that such a transformation is “strange,” implying that he’s accustomed to it. Of course, normal caterpillars go through this only once. Marc Edmund Jones, in his Studies in Alice at, sees the Caterpillar as symbolizing the inner self: “The real or inner self is symbolized by the worm. … Observe the development of the primal streak or wormlike beginning of differentiation in the embryo. … The convenient symbolism of the inner self is further borne out in the fact that the true butterfly does not eat, but exists through the whole span of its existence, aerially or spiritually or in beauty, on the vitality it has stored up in the worm state.” 

This also applies to the metaphor of the butterfly as the fulfillment of an idea that has undergone incubation and is then realized in form, living on the power that has built up around its “inner self” in the womb of thought, through the time of gestation. Jones goes on to address the symbolism of the mushroom seat, pointing out that the endocrine glands are the “mushrooms” of the body because they are symbionts that exert much power in relation to their environment. “That a caterpillar should be seated on a mushroom is itself a remarkable bit of inspirational imagining, and that one side of this mushroom should cause Alice to grow and that the other should reduce her in stature is so perfect a picture of the functioning of the anterior and posterior lobes of the pituitary body as to make Alice in Wonderland forever immortal as an achievement in symbolism. Growth and its lack, especially in stature, … is controlled entirely by these two lobes in counterbalance.” 

The Caterpillar’s mushroom seat and hookah-smoking have often been taken to be one of the indications that the Alice books were inspired by some kind of hallucinogenic drug, or, at least, that Carroll was familiar with them. Although it is highly unlikely that he ever used these substances, Carroll was an inveterate reader and explorer of many areas of life, especially of the occult (he owned a copy of Stimulants And Narcotics (1864) by the English toxicologist Francis Anstie), and it is possible that he had some knowledge of them. Even if so, it is doubtful the subject held much personal interest for him, since he was quite conservative, even ascetic, in his habits, although progressive in his thought. Migraines and temporal lobe epilepsy have been suggested as contributing to his unusual imagination, but here, too, the facts are inconclusive. In any case, he demonstrated a superb, wide-ranging imagination throughout his life, as well as a highly developed spiritual awareness that went far beyond the dogma of his church. 

Although psychedelic experiences are often facilitated by psychoactive drugs, they are not required. The word “psychedelic” means “mind-manifesting,” and the psychedelic experience, as noted in Wikipedia, “is characterized by the perception of aspects of one’s mind previously unknown, or by the creative exuberance of the mind liberated from its ordinary fetters.” In this broader sense, the two books can be seen as psychedelic literature, and Tenniel’s tableau of the Caterpillar sitting on the mushroom smoking a hookah, with Alice peeking up at him just behind the mushroom, is a powerful archetype of transformation. 

The hookah may be the most arresting aspect of that tableau (what was that Caterpillar smoking?). Continues Jones: “The hookah, an arrangement to pass smoke through water, is an added touch of unwitting genius, for the endocrines alone make possible the entrance of spirit or smoke into sensation or water.” Natives of aboriginal cultures, including American Indians, have long used tobacco to connect to the divine realm and to the Great Spirit. Swiss anthropologist Jeremy Narby set out to discover how, out of the many thousands of plants growing in the Amazon rainforest, the natives had learned which of them had medicinal properties and how best to combine them. He was told the information came from the shamans when in altered states of consciousness. 

In The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the Origins of Knowledge, Narby explores the shamans’ use of high-nicotine native tobacco and other, ingestible plant substances such as ayahuasca and psychoactive mushrooms. In altered states of consciousness, they can “take their consciousness down to the molecular level and gain access to information related to DNA, which they call ‘animate essences’ or ‘spirits.’ This is where they see double helixes, twisted ladders, and chromosome shapes. This is how shamanic cultures have known for millennia that the vital principle is the same for all living beings and is shaped like two entwined serpents (or vines, ropes, ladders). DNA is the source of their astonishing botanical and medicinal knowledge, which can be attained only in defocalized and ‘nonrational’ states of consciousness, though its results are empirically verifiable.” 

Narby hypothesized that properties of nicotine or the psychoactive plants used by shamans “activate their respective receptors, which sets off a cascade of electrochemical reactions inside the neurons, leading to the stimulation of DNA and, more particularly, to its emission of visible waves, which shamans perceive as ‘hallucinations.’ … There, I thought, is the source of knowledge: DNA, living in water and emitting photons, like an aquatic dragon spitting fire.” He theorizes that photons are visible as light signals that communicate information from the DNA cell to cell. Scientists do not know the function of 98 percent of our DNA, which they term “junk DNA”; Narby suggests we call it “mystery DNA,” and theorizes that our collective DNA is interconnected and in constant communication. 

The information the Amazonian shamans received was not confined to botanical knowledge, but incorporated into the learning of necessary skills such as weaving and woodworking. In fact, anything the natives wanted to know was accessible through the shamans. Narby hypothesized that the symbolism of the snake, a constant in the wisdom traditions throughout history (often accompanied by the Tree of Life or a Caduceus), is connected to the double helix of DNA in almost all living beings—this, despite the fact that conventional science did not discover the existence and structure of DNA until 1953. He cites various Cosmic Serpent creation myths, such as that of the plumed serpent Quetzalcoatl, and refers to our DNA as a master of transformation: “The cell-based life DNA informs made the air we breathe, the landscape we see, and the mind-boggling diversity of living beings of which we are a part.” After Alice ingests some of the mushroom and finds that she is able to bend her neck around like a snake, she encounters an angry pigeon who shrieks that Alice must be “a kind of serpent.” 

The transformational features of the mushroom also have a historical meaning, though not one that you’ll find in many history books. Ethnobotanist and “psychonaut” Terence McKenna put forth, in his book Food For The Gods, the theory that psychoactive mushrooms were a crucial catalyst in our rapid evolution. The human brain size tripled over several million years; the hallucinogenic compound DMT (di-methyl-tryptamine), found in the the mushrooms and other plants used by shamans, is one of the chemical factors that McKenna theorizes played a role: “We literally may have eaten our way to higher consciousness.” DMT is also naturally produced in small amounts in the pineal gland, notably in deep dream states and at birth and death. 

Few books convey deep dream states as well as the Alice books; those who insist that Carroll’s works are the products of drug experiences may be sensing this dream chemical wafting through their pages. Throughout her dream-adventures, Alice struggles with the epistemological question of whether her experiences are real. Are our dreams and other altered-state experiences any less “real” than our waking life? Writes Rick Strassman in his book DMT, The Spirit Molecule: “The other planes of existence are always there … but we cannot perceive them because we are not designed to do so; our hard-wiring keeps us tuned in to Channel Normal.” Rather than seeing these other planes as pure hallucination, Strassman accepts them as realities that we tune in to when in these altered states. 

Psychedelic mushrooms are also called ethneogens, a term meaning “creating or becoming divine within.” The yogic headstand is perhaps another such tool. Alice’s rendering of “You Are Old, Father William” is the first instance of a character “incessantly” standing on his head; this is also a favored, though less deliberate, posture of the White Knight in Looking-Glass, who assures Alice: “The more head-downwards I am, the more I keep inventing new things.” Most babies face head downwards in their final weeks in the womb; “inventing new things” can be taken as a metaphor for any kind of birth or new beginning. We naturally transform our world when standing on our head, both perceptively and on inner levels, through action on the glands, particularly the pineal. The Hanged Man, hanging serenely upside down from a tree in the twelfth card of the Tarot, is an archetype of this transitional and transformational process, and the Caterpillar itself, like all headed for butterflyhood, will hang head downwards as it transforms within its chrysalis. 

According to the insect biologist Carroll Williams, in an article titled “When Insects Change Form”(Life, February 11, 1952), a caterpillar’s transformation is triggered by a hormone in the brain which, in turn, stimulates the thoracic hormone in the region of the heart, which “forces the body cells to produce a substance called cytochrome, which hastens growth and change. … This same cytochrome exists in the cells of the human body, but its role as a growth factor has never been known.” Along with the 98 percent of our DNA that seemingly has no function, it could be that this cytochrome substance is far more crucial than we know. 

Is it possible that the Absolute has been cocooned in us, waiting for the right time to awaken fully in our hearts? Is this what we will experience in the future—or now, if we can but invoke it—and will the Caterpillar of our collective self flutter free of its cocoon, utterly transformed?

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Thoughts on Change, Time and Space

I had the opportunity this weekend to look through a box full of old photographs at my Grandmother's house.  As I looked lovingly at relatives no longer with us and myself as a child, I realized something very simple, yet profound at the same time. A "snapshot" captures a brief moment, a moment in time. If one were to snap a dozen photographs in a row, one would capture change. Expressions, movement, position - but also growth, down to the minutest level that we can't even perceive. Trees in the background, people, animals, the air, the Earth and the position of the planets and stars. All is constantly changing.

I thought of that and it seemed like an oxymoron - constant change. It was a flip-flop way of thinking. The only thing that remains constant is change. So why, as human beings, are we so resistant to it, so upset by it, so afraid of it?

A good example of this concept is the movie "Office Space" - a humorous satire of Corporate America based upon the cartoon Dilbert. Dilbert (like billions of human beings on this planet) is a person of routine. He structures each day around a series of actions and thought. He gets up in the morning and performs the same actions as the day before, drives the same route to work and performs the same duties at work in the same location every day. His illusion is that he lives in an environment of the constant - that he remains constant in his environment, that everything remains the same. Until one day, his boss strolls up to him in his "space" and tells him it's time for him to relocate. Dilbert "freaks out" - he can't think, he doesn't understand, he worries, he grabs his stapler - can he keep his stapler? In addition, he has to move to an undesirable location on the lower level. He doesn't know if he can go on with his life - how can this be? He becomes almost completely incapacitated. He becomes afraid and becomes resistant. 

If Dilbert had been consciously aware of his environment, he'd realize that change is inevitable, that he is right in the middle of it - even a part of it. He, like each of us, lives in an evolving existence in a consistently evolving world. We must be mentally, emotionally, physically, and spiritually prepared to embrace change.

"He just needed to be more in control," you might think. Then let's consider the guy upstairs from Dilbert, the "mover and shaker" that is making things happen. The guy in control - working things to his advantage; the self-improved guy following the principle "How to win friends and influence people" - the manipulator, forcing change believing that he's totally in control of his life, his environment and others around him. He's the "I'm going to make a difference and people are going to love it" guy. This is the person that is actually MORE intimidated by change - by anything that evolves on its own without asking his permission. He's the type that freaks out because he "had a handle" on everything but somehow something out of his control changed, and his whole illusion came crumbling down around him. This person becomes afraid, angry, frustrated, resistant, baffled - then sits down, adds this new variable to the equation and is off again "making it work, making things happen," recreating his illusion of control.

So how do we accept that we're on a roller coaster ride of constant change? Better yet, how can we remove our illusion that we are always in control of our life? Margaret Hone, an astrologer, wrote: "The ideas of correlation and synchronization give a better idea than that of cause and effect." Huh? Ok, do we want to be proactive or reactive? Do we proactively prepare ourselves and adjust to the reality that all is interconnected and shit happens? OR do we wait for something to change or someone involved to change their mind then react to it? 

We're all interconnected. The outcome depends upon those involved. If all stays the same, we can predict the outcome; nothing changes. If one person exercises free will and changes their mind or acts randomly, outcomes change. The old Karma view of "one life's activities causing a future life's ills", therefore, may be better explained that the past, present, and future are interconnected with one another and act upon one another - and that the present Karma is not just influenced by the past.

With that in mind, Dr. Dean Radin, author of The Conscious Universe says, 
".... in the extended view of interconnectedness, especially in light of psi, quantum field theory and general relativity ... As both modern physics and ancient Buddhist doctrine suggest, 'deep' interconnectedness embraces everything unbound by the usual limitations of time and space."
The focus of my thoughts, as I looked through those old photographs of my family, flowed over to perception. Unfortunately, we impose limitations on ourselves and the way we perceive change, time and space. During times of change we may overreact out of the fear of an unknown future. Old patterns can be triggered and we might judge others and ourselves harshly unless our thoughts are in balance with our emotion. Is our daily happiness aligned with a false sense of security or with a deep set knowledge and understanding of ourselves and our abilities? How do we choose to empower ourselves?

Subsequently, when we allow ourselves to be pulled off our healthy "center" it can set off negative emotions and sidetrack us rather than foster thoughts aligned with more positive patterns of trust, faith and open-mindedness associated with personal growth. Our mind energy whirls out of control, taking over our physical and spiritual energy. We feel threatened. We begin to shake and our spirit energy declines. And, if even for a fleeting moment, it inhibits our progress in understanding our true place within the universe, our purpose and our future without fear. In order for us to personally grow and attain true self-realization, we must remove the self-imposed boundaries that hold us back. We must step outside of our comfort circle and realize that we're o.k. to face challenges and release fear. And, fear is negative faith. 

Remember the next time you take out an old box of photographs that it is in the present you are looking at individual moments of the past but you are actually in the future of when the "snapshots" were taken. We separate time into past, present, and future so we can understand it within the boundaries of our 3-dimensional existence. But wasn't the subject in the "snapshot" actually changing, evolving when it was taken? 

With a knowledge of interconnectedness, and no limitations of time and space, we can see that psi energy does not travel from point A to point B halfway around the globe. All mind exists everywhere at once, though all of it is not known to the conscious awareness of every person. 

In the same way, the future is not bound by temporal limitations. Past, present, and future interact with one another, and are separated only by appearance to our conscious awareness in this dimension of existence. 

Copyright ©2003-2012 Anna Webb

PB Makeover a la Bella!

We've decided to color-coordinate the overall environment along with wallpaper background when changing the front cover; the front cover changes frequently as our readers know, so the changes should be even more pleasurable to the eyes! Also, the default font for the blog has been changed across the board to facilitate easier reading!    

I never shout, but here's a shout: THANK YOU BELLA, on behalf of all of us readers / writers at Planet Buddha, for taking the time for the makeover, even taking on the arduous task of updating the fonts in every single article!!!!  We're sorry we missed this week's Foodie Friday too ... what a day.

You are awesome.

... And a warm welcome to our new protean friends Perth and Maia ... 
thank you again Bella for the invitations!

Monday, August 13, 2012

Time Jump

I had an experience once that caused me to step back and take a real hard look at what we term "reality" and "time". 

It was 2001 and I was traveling to Athens, Ohio from Cincinnati to a business appointment at the Ohio University College of Medicine. I had made that trip several times prior; it was 157 miles from my driveway to the college. The trip always took between 2 hours and 45 minutes to 3 hours, depending on if I had to stop for gasoline. This particular day I did stop for gasoline.

My appointment was at 1pm so at 10am I left my driveway. It took me 10 minutes to wind around the neighborhood to get to the Interstate. From the Interstate to the rural route exit that led to the college took 15 minutes. I stopped for gas at a station on the rural route, in a busy commercial area before hitting the "smooth sailing" rural part of the 4-lane highway.

Once out of traffic, I put my cruise control - as I always did - on 70 mph (even though the speed limit was 60; I could always slow down in time if needed). I immediately became deeply enthralled in a dream I'd had the night before. The dream was a breakthrough dream for me; very symbolic and healing. I was right back in it on the drive to the University going back over the details - every single one - to learn the entire meaning it held for me.

When I "came to" and looked around, I didn't recognize where I was on the highway. I passed a road sign but didn't really recognize the name of the road and when I rounded the curve, I realized I was coming into Athens. "Man, I was really deep in thought" I recall thinking to myself. I looked at my watch and it was 12pm - Noon. WHAT???? In couldn't be. TWO hours? Had I missed a time change? 

I looked at my speedometer. It read 70 mph; the cruise control was still on. Yet I was a FULL hour early. There was a Dairy Queen up ahead and I pulled off. I sat in the parking lot dumbfounded. I couldn't figure it out. I went inside to check the correct time. It was really noon.

I drove 150 miles in two hours. That meant I would have had to average 75 mph the entire trip. Yet I'd driven 25 and 35 mph for 10 minutes to the highway, 60-65 mph to the exit for the 4-lane, stopped for gas and cruised 70 mph the rest of the way.

I got a cup of coffee; I had an hour to blow. To this day, I can only attribute it to what I call time jumping. Somehow I jumped time. Could I have been back in dreamtime? I could accept that but what about the car? Did I pass through a vortex of some kind? This experience was a catalyst for my interest in time and space and the "dimension" of time.

I would love to hear of others unexplained experiences with "time". Please feel free to post comments and experiences.

Time, Change and Becoming*

Interestingly as I re-read it** this evening, a few things struck me as to the description I've heard from people lately of time and space and its perceived elasticity. Reading Debbie's description of her experiences she posted and her observations of dimensional anomalies and time jumps - of which we've all experienced in one form or another or we wouldn't be on these groups - as well as my own and others comments and experiences, prompted me to reflect and re-read some material on the subject, as well as, parts of McKenna's book.

I'm not a professional in the field of science or quantum theory - I'm just writing down my observations and understandings. First, I observe that our solar system and Universe (as far as we can observe it) have a few things in common. First, most everything seems to be round and spinning; round and spinning, and spinning around other seemingly central round and spinning objects which seem to be inside other round and spinning objects. An example of this would be the Milky Way, our solar system in the Milky Way and our planets within our solar system.

In observing this, it's easy to understand the PHI wave - the golden mean spiral - the spiral of life itself - or at least of physical form in our 3-dimensional existence; the inside of a nautilus shell, a pine cone, the wave measured by EKG when our heart feels compassion or Love, for example. If we observe the Milky Way from space it forms a definite spiral and we have our little place in it. We've come to realize that we each possess DNA which forms a double helix or spiral.

Terrence and Dennis make some strong points regarding time and space.
First, we have come to measure time in our 3-dimensional existence from a central point which the majority of the masses accept. We accept the method of measuring time in a linear fashion from the central point of the birth of Christ so that all time before that time was leading up to that point and all time after that time is leading away from that point thus implying a beginning and an end. 
If all life in its form all around us is spiraling, round and spinning, then why do we measure time in a flat, linear fashion? It seems contrary to the nature of nature all around us. As Terrence puts it, "such a leading of energy toward a center can only lead to transformation." I personally don't perceive it as energy leading toward a center - but perceive the center point as a significant landmark for which to measure the "before and after". Regardless, someone human put this standard*** of measurement into place and we all uphold it and accept it as correct, thus manifesting it into form in our accepted 3-dimensional existence.

Second, citing the work of Leidenfrost - a German physician back in the 1800's who studied the point of first contact of matter and anti-matter and the closure of linear distance of it in three dimensions, Terrence refers to the phenomenon discovered as a drop of liquid hits a hot surface. The Leidenfrost phenomenon demonstrates that a layer of steam forms between the drop and the hot surface to insulate the droplet and slow down its evaporation. Other scientists surmised that when matter and anti-matter meet they cancel one another out. The Leidenfrost phenomenon demonstrates that, reasoning by analogy, the "canceling out event" would be slowed and small in scale due to the insulation created. Could 3 dimensional reality BE that insulation between the annihilation event? Could our existence in this insulation be simply that moment in a car accident when time slows down into nanosecond increments?

If not, then in dimensional collapse when matter and anti-matter meet, what is the "steam"?

It's no secret that we, in our 3-dimensional existence, slice up "time" in past, present and future when really all that exists is NOW - this moment. When faced with the notion that past and future are only determined by this moment our minds go spinning off, fighting to grasp that concept. As we perceive time to accelerate toward an "end point", an ideology imposed by man many centuries ago - could this elasticity we are experiencing simply be the crumbling of the illusions on which we base our reality and the nature of our true existence, in its multi-faceted dimensional beauty, bleeding through?

*Time Change and Becoming is the title of a chapter out of Terrence and Dennis McKenna's book, The Invisible Landscape. 
**referring to a thread from a group in a discussion about time anomalies
***referring to linear time measurement

The Deep Blue Line

Aloha!  As I sat on the serene edge of the Pacific Ocean at Ewa Beach (pronounced Eh-veh – meaning Southward) on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, I took notice of a daily occurrence reminding me of the importance of light in regard to nature and to us as beings of transformation.

One of the most striking characteristics of the Pacific Ocean surrounding the Hawaiian Islands is its’ ever changing color combinations.  The energy of light and the properties of water combine to create a spectacular visual display of natural beauty.   Daily, I counted color combinations too numerous to list. And, it is doubtful that the English language even provides adequate names for all of the colors observed to “paint the picture” into words.  But, as the Sun moves across overhead from East to West, an amazing thing happens out on the horizon where the ocean meets the sky.  A deep indigo blue line forms on the water; a thin blue line stretching across as far as the eye can see.  As the day progresses, this line transforms into the deepest indigo blue that I personally have ever seen, and becomes “thicker”, deeper in color, and more pronounced until it peaks and begins to fade.

The variety of colors in the Pacific Ocean surrounding the Island of Oahu range from steel metallic blue in the morning at sunrise to aqua, teal, emerald green, light green, light greenish yellow, yellow, light blue, blue, royal blue and indigo.   Artists try to paint it, photographers try to capture it on film and tourists try to describe it to family and friends, but it has to be seen to be truly appreciated and its’ true wondrous natural beauty understood.  At the weekly Art Show in the Park, I asked an artist featuring a painting of the Ocean capturing the deep blue line, which color paint he used to create it.  He replied, "I combined colors; it can't be replicated with one color on canvas. People who haven’t visited this place don’t understand.  They think the colors in the paintings and pictures are surreal, fake or exaggerated. And, it is impossible to appreciate the true beauty until it is seen and experienced." And, he is right.  There are no words.

The only other natural phenomenon I can think of that comes close to describing this deep blue line is the rainbow created in the air after it rains.  And again, the energy of light and the properties of water in the atmosphere combine to create this wondrous sight. 

Scientifically, assuming that light travels in rays allows us to understand light geometrically.  Pierre de Fermat, a mathematician, theorized in 1657 the simple principle that light follows a path that minimizes travel time.  When a light ray “hits” a water droplet, some of the light passes through the water, some of the light enters the droplet and some of the light is reflected.  The light that enters the droplet will be refracted since the speed of light through water is less than the speed of light through air. It then hits the other side of the droplet where some of it will exit and is transformed into color. The rest will reflect back. 

Finally the light, which exits transformed, will be seen by the observer.  The varying wavelengths of light determine the color of light and the corresponding angles of the outgoing rays.  In summary, light hitting water droplets is refracted and reflected into the observer's eyes. Each color of light is most tightly focused when it comes from a certain angle, which corresponds to the "rainbow angle" for that color.  What we then observe is a beautiful arc of varying colors in the sky.

The same principle applies to the natural phenomenon I observed in the Pacific Ocean only certain variables are included, primarily, the depth of the Ocean at a given point.  I was told by a dear woman whom I now consider a friend, that the deep blue thin line on the water at the horizon represents the point at which the ocean becomes deeper off the coast of Oahu.  “If you’ll notice”, she pointed out, “that’s where all of the ships and boats are sailing.  That’s where the ocean becomes deep enough for them to sail safely”.  Which also explains the variety of colors observed between the shore and the deep indigo blue line.  The exception is red.  Red appears on the top of a rainbow because it has the lowest frequency and the longest wavelength of all the different colors of light.  Therefore, it must not be reflected or refracted from the ocean water or at least that’s my conclusion.  But the Ocean floor is basically shallow off the coast and features various reefs and rocks.  The reefs and rocks transform the incoming waves into the pure white breakers that challenge many a surfer there.

How does all of this relate to us individually as beings of transformation?  As beings of transformation, we are being exposed to an immense infusion of Light in rays of varying wavelength.  The amount of Light we receive is in direct proportion to the amount of Light we are able to receive.  This is why removing and releasing self-imposed boundaries becomes so important.  The more we release our individual programmed patterns of behavior that keep us shallow, the deeper we become.  And, the deeper we are, the more Light we can absorb.  Like water, some of the Light we receive is reflected, some enters and transforms us and some exits transformed.  The Light infuses us and we become pure energy. Each of us maintains a rainbow, our aura, which is a reflection of our own personal Light energy.  We each exude a natural rainbow not unlike the rainbow we see in the atmosphere after it rains. 

The definition of the word horizon is two fold; it is the point at which the earth meets the sky and also is defined as the limit of one’s experience.  The deep blue line appears across the horizon on the Pacific Ocean as the Sun is brightest overhead each day.  Once our experiences are broadened, our old programming released and our Light shines the brightest like the Sun at midday, the deep blue indigo line will appear on our own personal horizon stretching across as far as the eye can see.  A “line” representing the depth of our own personal ocean of unconditional Love in Indigo Blue or Deep Violet; the color of Higher Self.  A “line” that connects us through Life Force to all that IS as the illusion of separation falls away.  There are no words to describe the beauty of this experience.  And, like the Pacific Ocean off the Southern Coast of the Island of Oahu it must be experienced to appreciate and understand our own true natural beauty and purpose.

Copyright © 2003-2012 Anna Webb