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The Visionary Life The Visionary Life *** Selected Writings of Lee Sannella, M.D. Copyright © 2001 by Lee Sannella, M.D. TABLE OF CONTENTS 1993 1994 1999 1979 1972 1972 4/1/00 9/99 11/99 11/99 DEDICATION Many living beings brought this vision of mine to where I could dare to publish a few copies before submitting it to a copy editor. They one and all first loved me and I them. They were true friends who held my hand when indicated and knocked me on the head or kicked ass: Roy Dixon, JoAnne Sunshine, Chris Tong, Anne Howell, Trish and Georg, Joan Valdina, Woody Anderson and Irwin. Above all they loved me and made it a great trip.
INTRODUCTION I have spent forty years trying to understand various states of consciousness in my own body-mind. This is my attempt to portray the experiences, insights, experiments, conversations and loving exchanges that formed the shape and substance of that inquiry. In some instances, my query led to direct personal contact&emdash;at all levels of intensity, humor, and love&emdash;as apprentice, or even, as teacher. This whole realm&emdash;from material to cosmic&emdash;became a means to search for consonance or vibrational equivalents.
These are stories about some of the cosmic explorers I have met&emdash;my teachers of domains that I longed to become more intimate with. But it seems that I was without the intrinsic talent required. I was to become an understudy, a profound admirer of their poetic mastery of that tremendum. When I even so much as lightly touched upon it I was left with a longing for some more ultimate clime on which to rest my weariness in adoration. This is an introduction to those great ones&emdash;Bentov, Bird, DeRopp, Gattegno, Monroe, Naessens, Harry Roberts, and many others which you will see here through my star-struck eyes. Each of these outstanding visionarys extraordinary experiences led them to a greater understanding of themselves and the nature of existence. Theirs was an effort to communicate, not to indoctrinate.
It is my hope that these tales of mine will enrich humanity by expanding our collective vision of our own human potential. I have experienced things that crossed the great divide between my normal sensitivities and the miraculous. Witnessing these mysteries challenged my human operating system.
But Im not sure that it was only my human framework which was challenged. We are all on the verge of a new age of enlightenment, discovery and learning. Eternal life is not just around the corner, but celestial harmonies do abound in this tear-drenched realm. And yet current science would say we are deluded. ROBERT MONROE Our souls survival beyond physical death is a subject that has always intensely interested me. I found that there are many ways to develop the awareness of our inherently eternal nature. One of the earliest paths that I chose to explore was the discipline of out of body research, or OOB.
Robert Monroe was the great modern pioneer of out of body travel with whom I worked for several years. I visited him in Virginia in the 70s right before he began to offer Esalen-like conferences all over the west. These developed into week-long programs and progressed from there to an ongoing program that became more and more refined and sophisticated. The first four of these programs were held at the Westerbeke Ranch in Sonoma.
At these very early sessions I was asked to help identify those with a special talent for this work and I was also involved in assessing the psychological and psychic aspects of the participants. If necessary, I was there to help stabilize those who experienced a difficulty during the powerful, and sometimes disorienting sessions.
Evolving from very humble beginnings&emdash;portable cassette players with cheap headphones on hotel room floors&emdash;the Monroe Institute eventually developed into a state of the art facility. Bobs initial goal was to create a system specifically designed to enhance and promote the out of body experience for other adventurous souls. But his Institute became a magnet for all types of creative genius and kept generating new ideas. Monroe has incorporated many techniques familiar to the genre of hypnosis and has enhanced the scope of this modality with his ingenious use of sound.
He developed a method of synchronizing both hemispheres of the brain using a unique combination of sound frequencies embedded at a very low volume, an auditory guidance technology. These sequences of sound patterns evoke 'wholebrain' functioning. The result&emdash;Hemispheric Synchronization, or Hemi-Synch represents one of the most effective systems of altering consciousness that has been developed. These carefully engineered creations have lead many listeners to report expanded mental, physical and emotional capacities. These capabilities can then be directed as you choose.
It was Bobs vision that inspired the Monroe Institutes ambitious and successful program, and in his last book he fully describes their accomplishments. I recently read his magnum opus, or personal requiem eternal, Ultimate Journey. He brought the whole discipline of out of body travel to a breathtaking climax in this, his last book, where he describes the whole process in great detail. In that loving environment, under carefully controlled conditions, others were taught to develop skills that most people would never imagine.
Robert Monroe successfully initiated hundreds into a process of unhooking conscious awareness from the physical dimension. Once this skill was mastered there were literally hundreds of other exciting possibilities to explore. His students began to experiment with tools that he designed to enhance learning capacity, encourage sleep, enhance the immune system, and many others.
His students finally became rather adept in these realms and they began to expand and develop the Monroe Institute in new and exciting directions under his guidance, but without attaining the natural expertise of the originator. This school had many qualities in common with most of the voluntary adult educational and personal growth establishments that I encountered: they were all focused upon a teacher who, more or less acted as guru or guide.
But to my knowledge, none of the teachers that I knew or heard about through others at this point had attained by their own confession, or had been acknowledged by a traditional lineage to have attained, or were awarded by their own students the stature of full enlightenment. Bob Monroe had started to practice out of body travel as a discipline years ago, when he was a young man. His initial, startling experience of this altered state of awareness started spontaneously one night while he was sleeping and at the time he suffered the fact that he had no peers to whom he could relate his bizarre adventure. His fascination with these life-altering experiences lead him to write his first book Journeys Out of the Body in which he discusses his struggle to understand the experiences which had altered his perception of reality and which firmly planted the phrase out of body experience in the ground of our emerging modern discourse. Over the course of many years, he became an experienced navigator of these dim waters.
After he became confident of his own skills in this hidden dimension he began to wonder how he could be of service to others. When he became proficient enough, he began to visit family members who had recently died to find out how they were doing. It was his wish to help make the process of the release of ones life more graceful, beginning with the stages leading to ones physical death. He would go to sleep with the heartfelt intention to contact his recently deceased loved one in the wee hours. Each time he successfully performed this miracle he was able to exchange thoughts, love and greetings with his loved one in his astral form.
Before his own death, even Bobs understudies were able to visit such dearly departed loved ones to assist them, calm their fears and render them whatever help they could offer. Bob related several of his experiences to me. The one I remember best involved his father who had died several years earlier. In this case Bob came upon his parent in a sort of holding area called a 'Recoveratorium'. He found him standing alone in this ancient site gazing out of an archway overlooking a beautiful garden. Not wanting to intrude abruptly, Bob waited some distance away until his presence was sensed by his father, whereupon he turned and walked over to his visitor.
As they embraced each other his dad said: 'But Bob, what are you doing here?' He answered: 'Why, I just wanted to see how you were doing.' And Bob explained about his visits to those recently departed. He could see that his father was changed&emdash;he was young and healthy and full of curiosity about all of his sons work and OOB experiments, especially with the dying. Soon they parted and Bob left after taking another look at the handsome garden beyond the great arch that he and his father had been standing under together, feeling reassured that all was going well. Several years after this memorable event Bob got a phone call from his brother. Their mother, a physician, had been hospitalized and was not expected to live much longer.
Bob, who resided in Virginia, took the next plane to Chicago. As he entered his mothers hospital room he saw that although she was quite weak, she still seemed very interested in all of the gadgets in her room, which was understandable in light of her own background as a physician.
As they talked, his mother suddenly dropped off to sleep. Her rest lasted a bit longer than he expected and he began to get concerned. Then he even called for the nurse. But before the nurse had responded, she suddenly raised her head, smiled and said: 'My that was interesting!' She had read Bobs book and had been practicing the OOB exercises that he described. This was just another such trip for her. The next day back in Virginia, he was driving in his car near his home when his Mother suddenly appeared on the seat beside him.
She waved her good-bye to him and was gone. Bob said that she was one that he didnt even try to visit in OOB because he felt that she was far from needing any earthly help of his and that she was long gone in any case. Once he told me his reason for coming to this world.
'Lee, Im here to find my own and to journey with them to our home out there.' And he pointed to the great nebula of Andromeda. 'Its up there, and in that place we hurtle by each other like blue clouds, exchanging packets of information.'
This was the ultimate reality of his inspired life. I once worked with a Buddhist priest who was finding and releasing tormented souls in East Bay burial places.
But what distinguished Monroes remarkable work is that it wasnt combined with any religious framework or context at all. His initial mission to me, which was to help me to develop OOB skills was, in retrospect, one of my greatest blessings. As ones death approaches, ones fear of the whole process increases.
OOB is an excellent way to accustom oneself to new and, once feared, territories. Over the course of twenty years I attended a number of these more or less formal training courses.
I had never been able to follow up on my interest in autogenic training, an older and very thorough discipline that originated in Germany. I found that I wasnt particularly adept at Monroes experiments along these same lines, either. After many hours of work in various meditative systems, both quiet in body and very active (as in Subud), I never came close to an OOB experience.
So, when I first worked with Robert Monroe, after having done his short course four times, in the last hours of the last day, lying there following the patter of his voice in the exercises, I suddenly became aware that I seemed to be looking out toward my left side&emdash;and I knew that I was still lying on my back. Eyes straight up to the ceiling&emdash;Wham!!!&emdash;I came out of it so fast. I was so overwhelmed by the discovery that I had actually turned in my body sheath to the left, ninety degrees, that that was the end of it! I was awed, and scared and ecstatic all at the same time. PAUL Angie McDonald told me about this after Pauls death. They had always been very devoted to each other and one night, without any warning, he suddenly sat up in bed. In seconds he was dead.
Angie was a very matter of fact sort of quiet woman who had never had a psychic experience in her life. So, she was quite startled when, during some mundane task four months after he died, Paul suddenly appeared in her room, standing there in a white suit.
When she noticed that that he was smiling and that he seemed to be happy, she calmed down. They said a quick hello and then goodbye and then, just as quickly, he was gone. A few months later as she did her accounts, she suddenly became aware of a tremendous presence somehow connected in her feelings with Paul. But this time she was hardly even able to look in his direction, so overpowering was the vision.
He was resplendent with light and in a white robe and his face was transfigured, majestic and ethereal. She could hardly bear the overwhelming energy that streamed from his presence. They exchanged a glance and he was gone. In her words 'he had grown in spiritual stature so magnificently that I know that we go on evolving after death.' ITZHAK BENTOV AND URI GELLER Both Monroe and Bentov described the awesome barriers to be negotiated as ones consciousness goes from the physical and the outer reaches of Earth-space to the infinity of what we can only imagine. And here is an astounding similarity. About ten years after Bobs confession about his home in Andromeda, I was speaking to Bentov on a similar theme.
Referring to the world he came from he said: 'Oh, in that place we pass by each other at terrific speeds like we are blue clouds of energy and as we pass by each other we exchange packets of information, greetings and love.' I gulped and almost cried out at the coincidence. In a moment I asked: 'But where do you come from? Where is this place you speak of?' And Bentov, without speaking, immediately pointed above, towards Andromeda. Then he said: 'Well you go towards Andromeda and then you go off to the left and thats where it is.'
He was always very explicit. Bentov personified his own relationship to the same realm in quite a different way.
His vastly accelerated and very short life was like the formation of a new star. He had a joyously earthy manner and was characteristically full of good humor. He was a rigorous scientist, healer, cosmic traveler and the epitome of humanness surrounded all his acts. But how did he come to his grand vision of the cosmos? He confided in me, during our meetings and exchanges, that he was able to enter at will into an internal, or meditative state and then travel mentally or, probably, astrally. Being a cautious soul, he was loath to reveal to most of his admirers his superb talents. But, I began to see the evidence of this from the utter focus and accuracy of his descriptions filled with the most minute details of the cosmic dimensions of infinite space-time which he provided in his book Stalking the Wild Pendulum.
'Well, it seems that the real reality&emdash;the micro-reality, that which underlies all our solid, good, common-sense reality&emdash;is made up, as we have just witnessed, of a vast empty space filled with oscillating fields! Many different kinds of fields, all interacting with each other. The tiniest disturbance in one field carries over into the others. Its an interlocked web of fields, each pulsating at their own rate but in harmony with the others, their pulsations spreading out farther and farther throughout the cosmos. Whenever a focus of disturbance tends to drive these fields out of their harmonious rhythm, the irregularity will spread and disturb the neighboring fields. As soon as the source of disturbance is removed, orderly rhythm will return to the system.
Conversely, when a strong harmonizing rhythm is applied to this matrix of interlocking fields, its harmonic influence may entrain parts of the system that may have been vibrating off key. It will put more orderliness into the system. We may look at a disease as such out-of-tune behavior of one or another of our organs of the body. When a strong harmonizing rhythm is applied to it, the interference pattern of waves, which is the organ, may start beating in tune again. This may be the principle of psychic healing.' Ben and I first met on a life-changing trip to Hiroshi Motoyamas lab in Japan. We were immediately simpatico.
We connected like two lost brothers, and this was so until he became very successful and famous. At first, the things he said were very modest and obviously toned down, but as we continued to talk on the long air trip to the east, the utter magnificence of what this astounding, really, impossible, and most unlikely man was about, started to emerge. First he described to us his flights (really translocation of consciousness or fully awake OOB), and then he discussed his views of the universe which were nothing less than awesome.
And as the model of the state that he was speaking of came forth, like the opening of a flower, the impact of all of this suddenly struck me, and apparently some of the others there, and we began to stare at each other in amazement. It became apparent to us that he really lived from a point of view that was fully integrated with his emerging awareness of the spiritual, or unseen dimension of existence. No big fanfare and talk about it. He knew&emdash;and he helped me know what I thought I had forgotten. In his first public speaking engagement, he just sat in the middle of the floor, talking and talking from his heart. He was so lovely. He bridged some gap inside of me and everyone that was present that connected us with our own awareness of the dimensions of the cosmic.
Sometime during this journey, I recalled that I had been told two years earlier by Stewart, a trance medium reader south of London, that I would take a trip to Japan and would write a successful book as a result of it. During that week in Japan, Ben and I were able to spend some time alone. Once free of the chaos of the large group of scientists, mostly all talking at once, we were able to speak at length about Bens knowledge and experience of the kundalini. I almost instantly recognized his genius and, fascinated by it all, persuaded Ben to come back west ASAP with his wife. As I have explained, this trip was a crucial turning point in the lives of all of us. I made the arrangements for a fundraising event which was held at Henry Dakins. Forty or so people paid $50 each to cover Bens expenses and to transcribe the audio and video tapes that we produced of material for Bens proposed book.
It was during this period of time that I started thinking about writing a book that would provide my own medically and sociologically oriented description of Bens work. I felt a responsibility to Ben as a conservator. I was well placed professionally and I had many of the same interests and inclinations as Ben. It began to seem that I was the proper person to offer this very specialized perspective on Bens work&emdash;even if publishers didnt seem to be interested at the time. As it happened, I published Kundalini, Psychosis or Transcendence, later published as Kundalini Experience privately before his Stalking the Wild Pendulum came out.
My own inexperience in writing delayed me a year or two, and I had to rely on a lot of help. But my book has weathered the test of time and is still selling as well as ever. It is the leading book in the field&emdash;thus a classic in its own time. Itzhak Bentov was born in Czechoslovakia. At the age of 15, he experienced the overwhelming knowledge and certainty that his family, as if in that instant, had all perished in Hitlers holocaust.
It was suddenly slammed into his consciousness. He told me that his pre-vision came while he was running down a hillside in that incomparably beautiful, colorful and mistreated city of Prague. He felt such intense and blinding pain that he knew with absolute certainty that an awful tragedy had befallen his father and mother. And he knew that his fate would likewise be the same if he remained in Prague. He was moved to take immediate action to save himself&emdash;not knowing how to contact his parents.
In a matter of a few short days he was safely on his way to Israel. While there, he served as an intelligence officer of the Israeli Army for 15 years and then came to the United States.
One of the forces that moved him to relocate was his 'discovery' of the remarkable Israeli psychic, Uri Geller. Geller had built his reputation by displaying his considerable psychic talents in television and live theater performances. He would demonstrate his unusual abilities to eager audiences by bending spoons without using any physical force. He would do demonstrations on TV where the audience was invited to put their out-of-commission watches on the stage and Uri would then get many of the watches to start spontaneously, which garnered him a lot of publicity. Bentov had done some work with Geller, but didnt have the resources or inclination to do an in-depth study of him. Instead, Ben contacted Andreija Puharich, knowing that he might be interested in pursuing the research that Ben sensed was imperative. Puharich followed up on this and went to Israel to contact Uri there and they ended up working together for several years studying Gellers psychic abilities.
Puharich ultimately convinced Geller that his future didnt lie in show business and that his psychic talents could be put to more interesting uses. Scattered throughout their work together were several tales. I heard that he once stopped a cable car while it was rolling down the mountain and then restarted it again. The cable car operators never guessed the real reason for its temporary interruption.
During the time they were working in Puharichs laboratory in Ossening, NY all sorts of paranormal disturbances occurred. Once, when Uri was displeased with some personal arrangements he had made with Puharich, he apparently teleported Puharichs large Mercedes Benz out to a nearby swamp. They had to call the fire department to get the car out, and the firemen were totally baffled because there werent any tire tracks on the muddy ground anywhere in the vicinity. Another time, Uri said he was walking down a street in New York, distraught about some family matter and was wishing very ardently to be back in Ossening.
He suddenly disappeared from the street and the next event he was aware of was crashing through the panes of glass of the gazebo in Puharichs back yard. One day, as the three of us were walking on the beach in San Francisco, a most unusual thing happened. We approached a nearby restaurant for lunch and entered the place, pausing a moment at the door. A waiter pointed out a table for us and we chatted away, slowly approaching the table. Geller cried out: 'Look Lee, Look Andreija!!
See that fork (as he pointed to it a couple of yards away) its already bending.' And sure enough the fork had started to bend. One of its prongs was bent at right angles and it continued to bend as the three of us stood there watching it. None of us had touched the table yet. We sat down and Uri said to me; You are good for me. Things can happen much easier when I have that kind of energy around me. At Stanford Research Institute, Uri got in big trouble.
He and some of the rest of us frequently visited Hal Putoff and Russell Targ there, observing and performing PSI experiments with their team and the clairvoyant. When Uri was there, which was quite frequently, all the computers at times, and lab instruments as well, would go berserk and behave in most bizarre ways.
Even the magnetometer there would go off on a spree. This angered and upset the resident physicists and government sponsored projects no end. Once Bentov was here in the US, he took up meditation. He was soon involved in an increasingly active arousal of the energies of kiundalini in himself and began a detailed study of this phenomenon in his well-equipped laboratory. Bens goal in going to Motoyamas lab on our trip was to repeat and confirm his own lab findings. Motoyamas laboratory was reputed to be the best in the world&emdash;excluding those top-secret Government installations in the USSR and the US. Motoyama had agreed at our first meeting to repeat those experiments in his much more adequately equipped laboratory.
However, as the days passed, Ben and I started to get anxious because Motoyama showed no sign of proceeding with the experiments. So, on the last possible day to do this, we had a meeting with Motoyama and his American assistant. After a good deal of back and forth, Motoyama finally took off his suit coat and put on his lab jacket. The four of us then proceeded with these epic experiments. Both of us have described these research findings in great detail in our books. When we finally repeated Bens experiments in Motoyamas laboratory, most or even all of this original thinkers theories were, in my view, confirmed. And these experiments also uncovered an anomaly which is yet to be fully understood.
By placing an accelerometer on each side of the head, we uncovered a 25% differential in the amplitude of the micro-movements on the left and right hemispheres of his brain. This was a completely unexpected finding and begs to be researched in greater depth in the future. Ben demonstrated that the body is capable of a highly resonant state in which the pulse and cerebro-spinal fluid become synchronized with the breath, producing very fine micro-movements which induce an electro-magnetic flow which he described as a feeling of bliss or ecstasy. Ben had already successfully recorded wave-form signatures of the highly resonant state which were reflected by actual micro movements in his soma and head. He had posited in the beginning of his own experimentation that the fully developed reflections of these resonances would be measurable by the magnetometers that were available at that time, but it would be necessary to measure and study these bits of esoteric physiology on both sides of ones head as they were of equal and opposite polarity. So it was necessary to record these minute pulses with two sensors placed on both sides of the head so that each of the elements would be clearly discerned.
These micro-movements arise from an intuitive capacity to coordinate the breath and the heart-beat so that a resonant wave is encouraged. Ben hypothesized that in this state a discreet magnetic field is created in each hemisphere of the brain which stimulates the center of ecstasy deep in the brains core. This results in the amplification of the electro-magnetic current in the brain which he theorized would be measurable by a super sensitive magnetometer. Ben built a sensitometer for me that was designed to imitate these micro-magnetic-electrical discharges by applying a pulsing magnetic field to either side of the head. Those inclined towards kundalini arousal would report significant subjective effects. He experimented with this device with a modest number of subjects, and I did likewise. One sensitive physician, after a few applications reported that he had dreamed in full color for the first time ever.
Other more bizarre visual effects were also reported. About one out of every ten persons were similarly responsive to this magnetic stimulator and readily reported all these various effects. Bentov had the intrinsic physiologic skill, yes genius, to cause his body to go into a highly resonant state at will. These states probably echoed the attainment of the various samadhis professed by great realizers in the past, souls of great genius and those closest to ultimate liberation. And similar states are undoubtedly found in certain dissociated persons, or what we western physicians call the mentally ill ones among us, but these experiences differ in that they are uncontrolled and largely negative. Ben, in his short life, touched many profoundly. Years later I discovered that Motoyama had established a scholarship in Bens name following his death.
His interest in the psychic dimension of existence attracted many gifted people. After our return from Asia, Ben worked with many investigators and meditators. Ben received his first four initiations on the astral or dream level and had a long history of contact with Maharishi Mahesh Yogi, the TM master.
The last three initiations were received in that masters physical presence. Ben developed an accelerometer to measure states of meditative trance at his teachers behest and was in weekly contact by phone with him for years discussing their mutual interests. I was disappointed to see that their organization never developed any facility to assist their practitioners when the arousal of the kundalini energies would occur. Ben was always highly critical of this irresponsible attitude. Ben and his pioneering work with the kundalini was surely disturbing for Maharishi. The process that Maharishi was teaching to produce the goal of levitation was, more often than not, arousing kundalini energies that apparently distracted his followers more than their brief and often bumpy flight.
It was undoubtedly the reason that he did not honor his long intimacy with Ben by making him a researcher or professor at his large University near LA. Ben was also criticized for doing healing, a gift which was given to him in his very deep meditations. It seems likely to me that the guru himself had some initial kundalini experiences which were disturbing to him and never resolved. So he quickly dismissed all kundalini phenomena as a nuisance that potentially threatened his levitation program. I had taken up TM at Bens urgent recommendation. I was pleased at the one shot initiation and mantra they gave me, but later I had many patients who became moderately disturbed (especially if they displayed any talent for trancing in meditation) while practicing TM. Some had to stop or change to other methods of meditation.
I became disenchanted with it and soon left the TM movement. Ben had the ability to travel mentally to virtually any place he wished in the universe. He acquired information that astounded astronomers and astrophysicists. Ben used to regale me with the most personal parts of these journeys in which he used the most wonderful colloquial language as well as naming all the dramatis persona. His accounts were ornamented with characters from the fairy world and biblical figures, which he called by funny names that he made up as easily as he breathed. Mo was one of the guardians in this great play of elemental forces that were very much alive in Bens accounts and that were found at every important transition or barrier. For example, to get out of the earths sphere one had to match wits, as it were, with particular archetypal figures.
And to leave the solar system, still other hosts were encountered which needed to be convinced. Bens untimely death in a DC 10 crash out of Chicago was a tragedy that I mourned deeply. Rick Ingrasci, a mutual friend, claims Ben told his secretary that he was all through with this life just before he got on that ill-fated plane. All I was certain of was that Ben had felt rejected pretty much all around.
He just got too famous too quickly and often had simple answers for those enlightened ones who cherished ambiguities. I am including a letter which Ben wrote to Fred Hoyle, the great British theoretical physicist, telling Dr. Hoyle of his findings in cosmology.
Ben said that this august figure never answered his communication. Bens uncharacteristic reaction to Hoyles lack of response made me feel obliged to include this puzzling anomaly for the record as part of my great debt to Ben. 'Professor Fred Hoyle Dept. Of Astronomy St. Johns College Cambridge, England March 13, 1968 Dear Professor Hoyle, Introduction This model tries to show that the two major ideas prevailing in cosmology today-the steady-state and the 'big bang' theory-are not really contradicting each other, but are complementary and exist simultaneously. This model does not require the invention of any new physical laws and does not contradict (to my knowledge) any of the existing ones.
It does, however, offer some possible avenues for explaining the distribution of quasars, the anisotropy in the 'primeval fireball' radiation appearing in the data received by the Dicke instrument in Princeton, N.J., the deviation from the &endash;1.5 slope on the LogN-LogS curve, and possibly, the weak correlation between the red-shift and the radio magnitude of quasars. • Summary I propose that a continuous 'big bang' is going on in a steady state universe, where matter is continuously circulated through an ylem or singularity zone, in which it is broken down to its elements and is ejected from there to start a new cycle of expansion and evolution. This is an attempt to build a model of the universe on the tendency of matter at very high levels of energy to expand through the ejection of a jet of high-speed matter, rather than through a gradual concentric expansion.
The quasar is a typical illustration of this behaviour. I also suggest that the normal spiral galaxy can be formed in two ways: • Evolution by condensation from tenuous cosmic dust. • Evolution from high density high energy matter, which 'runs down' through a series of steps, eventually arriving at the same spiral shape, and continuing from there along its known course of evolution. To support this model I use: • The present knowledge of the distribution of quasars. • The steeper than &endash;1.5 slope of the LogN-LogS curve. • The weak correlation between radio magnitude and red-shift of quasars. • Photographs of quasars showing jets issuing from the main body and jets terminating in a halo of matter.
• The anisotropy of the 'primeval fireball' radiation. The model predicts that: • Very few or no distant quasars will be found in the belt encircling the equator of our galaxy.
• More fast (distant) quasars will be found in the southern galactic hemisphere than in the northern. • The radiation temperature of the 'primeval fireball' will be found to be higher on our southern hemisphere than on the northern, i.e.
The strongest anisotropy should show in the approximate north-south direction of our planet. For the sake of informality, I would like now to dispense with the 'it is postulated' and 'the data seem to indicate' type of writing, and switch to a direct story narrative, which suits my model better. Let us assume now that we are suspended in the fifth dimension, far outside our universe. We can now encompass all time, matter and space there is in our universe. After our eyes have become used to the darkness, we see in front of us an elongated, faintly luminous, transparent melon shape having a funnel at each end of its long axis (Fig.1).
Looking more closely, we note some movement (we exist outside time). Specs of light are sliding slowly out of the larger funnel on the right side, moving in straight lines down along the planes of time-space, converging as they approach the other end, and disappearing in the smaller funnel, at the bottom of which we note a bright light. We assume now that we have on hand an elongated torus and that the funnels on each side of our melon are connected inside by a long conical passage. The specs of light somehow traverse the distance from one funnel to the other inside this torus, unseen to us. We also realize that the specs moving on the outside of the torus are composed of matter, galaxies maybe, and that we are watching a part of the evolution and death of these galaxies.
We dont know yet what is going on inside the torus, so let us slice it up along its long axis (Fig. In the central portion of the torus we find on the left a strongly luminous region, in the middle of which we think we see a dark spot or streak. Moving to the right we see a diffuse gas or vapor emanating from this region, expanding and maybe even accelerating to the right. From time to time we see highly luminous specs emitted by the strongly luminous region.
They seem to stay closer to the center of what we realize now to be an expanding jet of vapor, which seems to be breaking up into separate clouds. These latter appear to condense more and more, as they approach the other side. About half way through the conical jet we see quite well defined blobs. We also note that some of the bright specs which happened to float too close to the boundaries of the jet tend to loose their brightness. They seem to stay together due to their higher density, and are less affected by local turbulence in the jet.
We now begin to speculate: 'What we see are galaxies falling to their death in a continuous gravitational collapse, from which matter emerges through a (Penrose) topological hole into a new universe. The dark spot in this bright ylem may be the stuff that has gone beyond the Schwarzschild radius, and the bright region to the right of it is completely reshuffled matter boiling off as diffuse plasma.
The bright specs in the plasma could be quasars; they seem to appear spasmodically. We follow the jet further, and by now we intuitively know what is going to happen. The jet of matter is expanding, losing energy, and condensing into more discrete blobs of higher luminosity. Gradually it slows down, fans out into a wide funnel, and starts falling back towards the ylem, which is the gravitational center of the system.
The fanning out seems to occur due to the lateral velocity component which the particles in the jet possess. Now the matter begins to fall back describing a wide arc, overshooting the ylem region, and entering it from the rear, via the inlet funnel, with a 'big bang'. As we watch all this action, some previously not fully understood concepts become clear to me: 'So, this is what is meant by a finite but unbounded universe, and by time is infinite ' I realize that time is not really moving-time is just there, closed in on itself. The galaxies are moving along the planes of time, each carrying its space with it, and this is why their inhabitants experience time; and although time seems to have a direction to them, it is only because of their movement through it. From our vantage point here, in the fifth dimension, I realize that the trajectories described by the most outlying galaxies are the ones which describe the limits of time and space. Outside them there is no space and time-just a void.
They constitute the fuzzy 'skin' of the universe. It occurs to me that time-space, which is quite rarified on the outside skin, becomes more and more compressed as it nears the center of the torus, and that this may have some effects on the velocity of light.But here my feeble mental equipment gives out To explore further, we will ourselves to the mouth of the elongated torus, which keeps spouting galaxies. Here, facing this funnel (Fig.3) we watch the activity and try to pick out and follow a single galaxy on its trajectory. It soon dawns on us that in this projection we are watching a pulsating universe. A galaxy comes out of the center-the ylem (we can see it by looking down the funnel), it moves towards the 'edge of the universe' and starts falling back (we can still follow it a little beyond the horizon)-into the big bang. 'A slightly distorted simple harmonic motion'-is our conclusion,-'if we look at it from the standpoint of an individual galaxy, in this axial projection we see an expanding-collapsing universe. But looking at the whole picture-it is steady state'.
We will ourselves to the inlet funnel facing the ylem, but we find it too bright to look. There is also too much noise, so that we float again above the now familiar elongated melon. Now that we have gained some understanding of this system, we can try to locate our galaxy within it. Hoping that intuition in the fifth dimension is equivalent to knowledge in the third, we decide that our galaxy must be located inside the jet not far from the exit funnel, and we look hard trying to find it.
Even though the whole structure is transparent and lacey, our sight cannot pick out the shape of the jet. Something prevents the light from penetrating through the space between the inside jet and the outside layers. Suddenly we are engulfed in a whirlpool. The universe distorts and spins around us, and we find ourselves back in our familiar surroundings.
I must apologize for the liberties I have taken, and hope that you are still reading this letter. Now I would like to speculate on the above and suggest: • That if there was any 'beginning' of the universe in the form of a condensed ylem, rather than a concentric expansion, it produced a jet, a stream of matter which was shot out of it, kept expanding into a conical stream, eventually slowed down and started to fall back to the center of gravity of the system, which is the ylem. • That the gravitational collapse in the ylem is the death of old matter and the birth of new matter. It is the driving force of the universe.
• That matter is emitted from the ylem as a jet of hot plasma-with occasional blobs of dense matter, the quasars. Here I visualize the ylem as a pot of boiling and bubbling fluid, which gives off mostly vapor, but with the explosion of each individual bubble, droplets of fluid are shot out from the surface and are entrained in the vapor. • The divergence of this jet and the subsequent expansion of matter in volume causes us to see all galaxies as receding from us in all directions.
• The emitted plasma and matter have a high net electrical charge. This, in turn, sets up by induction a strong electromagnetic field around the jet of matter. An electromagnetic bottle is thus created, which will tend to confine this jet of matter, in addition to gravitational attraction. The latter will tend to hold the jet coherent.
• This electromagnetic bottle fills the space between the outgoing and the returning streams of matter. It forms a torus within the torus of streaming matter. • Light will follow the general path of matter. It will not penetrate the electromagnetic bottle (therefore, provided we have telescopes of adequate power, we could see and follow matter around the corner of the exit funnel, but we could not see matter coming back in our direction from the other side of the magnetic bottle). We shall, therefore, see matter only as receding from us.
The path of light to the ylem is straight, but it is beyond the range of our telescopes. • The interaction between the stream of matter and the walls of the bottle causes some turbulence in the boundary layers of the jet, and a loss of energy. The velocity profile of the jet should be that of normal viscous flow, i.e. Faster in the center of the jet and slower towards the walls. • By the time the stream of matter passes its point of maximum volume (which is at the largest diameter of the torus), it should have lost most of its energy (adiabatic expansion?), and a general degeneration process should have set in. The whole process does not exclude the normal birth and death of stars in the galaxies.
It could be considered analogous to the birth and death of individual cells in an organism which in itself is growing older. • Our galaxy today is located at about _ of the way from the ylem region to the exit funnel. It is close to the center of the jet. The north-south axis of our galaxy is tilted by 20-25 degrees with respect to the long axis of the jet.
The south pole of our galaxy faces the ylem. Let us now see whether we can muster any facts or near facts to support the above hypothesis. Starting, conveniently, from the end, i.e. Point 10, we find in a book by Burbridge & Burbridge 'Quasi-Stellar Objects', 1967, a chart showing the distribution of quasars in galactic coordinates.
It shows that the quasars known today consist of two approximately antipodal groups, centering more or less about an axis inclined at about 20-25 degrees to the north and south poles of our galaxy. There are fewer quasars having a Z>1.5 in the north, as compared with the south pole. However, the relatively tight group of Z>1.5 quasars in the north is surrounded by a large concentric group of slower quasars. On the south side both the fast and the slow quasars are intermingled. Let us place our galaxy now about in the center of the expanding stream of matter (Fig.4), and the trace of a few world lines for these quasars. For the sake of simplicity, let us align the galactic N-S poles with the axis of the jet.
Let us assume the crossectional radius of the jet to be at the point at which we are now located, of the order of 5-8 X 10 9 light years, or just about the limit of our telescopes. If we divide our sphere of vision into two arbitrary zones of slow or close and far and fast quasars, we find the cones of vision for the fast vs.
The slow quasars agreeing fairly well with the distribution data in the book by Burbridge. If we take the available distribution data as statistically valid, then it makes sense to expect fewer fast quasars in the northern hemisphere, because of their age, loss of energy, and their possible evolution into radio galaxies. This will explain also the ratio between the number of slow and fast quasars. On the other hand, the southern hemisphere, which is the source of the quasars, should have more fast ones, and the numerical ratio between the fast and the slow quasars should be smaller. We may have to add that due to the relative nearness of the fast quasars in the southern hemisphere to the ylem region, their red-shift may be exaggerated, and tip the numerical ratio in their favor.
It is unlikely that the quasars will be discovered in the region outside the north and the south cones of vision- • because of the rarity of the phenomenon. • even with improved instrumentation we should be reaching the limits of observable universe in the approximate direction of the galactic equator. As far as the LogN-LogS slope is concerned, it is clear that this kind of anisotropy will result in a steeper slope than &endash;1.5.
As regards the anisotropy in the 'primeval fireball' radiation, found by the group at Princeton using the Dicke radiometer, it would tend to reinforce this model. They found a 12-hour periodicity in their readings. Granted, the anisotropy is small, but consistent. It is what one would expect when taking these measurements in the northern hemisphere. At the Princeton latitude, whether they are measuring the equatorial radiation or the polar radiation, both measurements are made in the 'shadow' of the ylem radiation (Fig.5). Predictably, they get a 12-hour periodicity, as Princeton moves from a relatively 'light shadow' to a 'deeper shadow' of radiation, nearer to the north pole, every 12 hours.
We could use this model to predict that if measurements would be made with the identical setup on the southern hemisphere, the absolute magnitude of the readings should be higher, and by switching between a point on the southern hemisphere normal to the radiation, and an antipodal point, we should get the highest possible anisotropy readings. From these anisotropy figures the divergence of the jet and the distance to the ylem could be calculated.
Appendix Speculations on the nature of quasars, their evolution, relationship to other galaxies, variation in their brightness, and CRT analog. I am starting out on this set of speculations armed with an abysmal ignorance of the relevant facts. This will allow me to roam freely, without inhibition in this area, and whenever unpleasant facts come flying in my face-Ill just duck. Remember seeing in the previous chapter, how quasars were ejected out of the ylem? Let us assume that the quasars are 'a chip from the old block', and that matter at such energy levels has a propensity to squirt out jets of material, in order to get rid of some excess energy.
In short, let us assume that quasars are miniature universes, behaving just like 'the old block'. From now on sailing is smooth.
The pictures of 3C273 show this jet clearly. In order to draw up some kind of a scheme of evolution, I suggest that the jet in the 3C273 (which carries its magnetic bottle with it) will eventually turn back and close on itself, and will look for a while like the 'old block' itself (Fig.6).
If we assume that the quasar 3C275.1 is superimposed over radio galaxy NGC4651, then the two jets, one long and one short, with a halo around their tip, would be a good example of this. The short broad jet will start to lose its energy, slow down, and the whole structure will flatten. The magnetic bottle will collapse (radio galaxies?), and eventually we end up with a tame, normal looking galaxy.
In short, I suggest that the normal spiral galaxy could evolve from two contrasting sources: a diffuse gas condensing into a spiral galaxy, and a high density blob ejecting a jet, which eventually leads to a similar structure. As far as luminosity is concerned, it will depend on the stage of evolution in which the quasar happens to be. When the quasar is young, the central core and the jet are not obscured by the veil of returning matter, and it will have a high optical luminosity. In the later stages, when the returning matter has obscured the core and most of the jet, optical luminosity will be high only in those objects which have their jets aligned with our line of vision.
The radio luminosity will be affected less by this veil. The fact that there is only a weak correlation between the red-shift, optical, and radio magnitudes of quasars makes me feel good about this. Large variations in luminosity could occur when this highly collimated beam veers slightly from our line of vision (it would be like looking into the business end of a blow-torch with an unstable flame). This instability could arise from a precession, wobble or random instability in the magnetic bottle, which collimates the beam. The radio emission patterns could also be attributed to the position of the object and its stage of evolution.
In short, we may look at N galaxies, Seyferts, and radio galaxies as stages in the evolution of quasars. The Cathode-Ray Tube Model I would like to present an electrical analog, which in some points overlaps, in others does not overlap the model described above. Let us assume that galaxies have a net electrical charge, a negative one, so that a galaxy will be the 'electron' in this model. From here on, as shown in Fig.7, the ylem region is the cathode area. The electrons are boiling off the cathode, and are kept in beam form, being accelerated by the focusing coil (our magnetic bottle). The anode region is the other end of the focusing coil. The electrons are notorious for overshooting the anode, especially if the anode is of such a tenuous nature.
They turn back, overshoot the anode again, and as they pass beyond the half-way mark along the coil, they start to decelerate, repelled by the cathode region. They lose energy and charge, then converge and fall onto the back of the cathode, which has the properties of a diode, allowing the electrodes to go only in one direction.' Carl Sagan is full of such inspiring speculations in his novel Contact, his paean of such skills. In fact, in this book his protagonist, a young woman scientist experiences what could be understood as a kundalini arousal.
I understood her to represent Sagans true shakti and his own contact with divinity. He stoutly denied this in his public statements, possibly fearing that any such utterances would damage his image with fellow astrophysicists who are less inclined to expand their universes to include a divine dimension. Manfred Clynes studies in the physics of music touches these realms as well. I am convinced that one who reads Contact with an open heart together with Miracles of Mind by Russel Targ and Jane Katra would conclude that Carl came to possess a much fuller realization of our humanity than is common. Len Ochs work in EEG driving also touches on some of this complex field.
None of the disciplines that I have mentioned here, except those of Bentov, ever attained the stature of a scientific research model. Bens experiments did this to my satisfaction but his findings were only barely coherent and convincing enough for any follow up to have occurred to date. And to date none of them have been repeated. I urge you to read Bentov and his Stalking the Wild Pendulum and see his model in my book on Kundalini Experience to compare paradigms. Some day, when and if we come into our full heritage of wisdom and love as described by our most transcendent world realizer Avatar Adi Da&emdash;God willing&emdash;all of these beginnings of Monroe, Tesla, Clynes, Royal Rife, Puharich, Ochs, Bentov, Targ et al will become an integral part of our common humanity. In this great marriage of physics and psyche, we as a civilization will not miss the mark again&emdash;but will emerge as a society which is thoroughly capable of human love. Only our fearless completion of the great efforts of these pioneers will enable us to truly enter the new age that we have all faintly envisioned.
RUSSEL TARG AND JANE KATRA I had followed Russsels work with remote viewing for years before he began his fascinating collaboration with Jane Katra. When Russel was diagnosed with metastatic cancer, he asked for Dr. Katras help. Russel was sickly pale, and he had lost a noticeable amount of weight. After weeks of testing, the doctors who were treating him told him to put his affairs in order and to begin chemotherapy at once. Instead of following their protocol, he contacted Dr.
Katra, whom he had met at Parapsychology Association conferences, and asked her if she would work with him in the dual roles of spiritual healer and immune system coach. Jane worked with Russel exploring the theory of changing the host so that the disease could no longer recognize him. She recommended changes affecting the physical body, as well as changes in attitudes, emotional expression, and social and spiritual connections. In addition, Jane did many healing meditations with Russel, and taught him to focus his thoughts with self-healing imagery and affirmations. She encouraged him to try many new and unfamiliar behaviors: early morning jogging, and expressions of gratitude such as saying a prayer at mealtime. Together they successfully changed the outcome of Russels illness.
Subsequent blood tests and x-rays showed no indication of illness. Russel Targ was a pioneer in the development of the laser, and he is presently a senior staff scientist at the Lockheed Martin Research & Development Laboratory, pursuing the peaceful applications of lasers for remote sensing of the wind. He was also a co-founder of the Stanford Research Institute (SRI International) remote-viewing ESP Program. Targ conducted a series of experiments for the CIA during the Cold War, which have only recently been declassified&emdash;'ESPionage'. 'Psychic abilities and remote viewing are probes into what Carl Jung called our collective unconscious, and what the authors call our community of spirit. The reason we have a passion for our work with psi is that it allows us, as scientists, to keep one foot firmly in the materialistic twenty-first century, and at least one toe in the 'Divine.'
We believe scientists will not come to a full understanding of the nature of consciousness until they recognize that there is no real separation between the observer and the so-called outside world they think theyre observing. Its not an exaggeration, in our opinion, to say that the reliable laboratory demonstration by worldwide parapsychological researchers of our human connectedness is an accomplishment on a par with the most notable scientific achievements of the twentieth century.'
Jane Katra has been a practicing spiritual healer for more than twenty years, using her gift to heal and alleviate pain in others, both nearby and at a distance. She is also a university instructor with a doctorate degree in health education, who has taught nutrition and mind-body health both in private practice as an 'immune-system coach' and at the University of Oregon. In their book Miracles of Mind, Targ and Katra provide the tools that they feel are essential to expand the readers potential mind-to-mind connections.
They offer clues that help in developing awareness of the psychic aspects of the mental processes that are already functioning, but that we may not be paying attention to. Targ reviews his large collection of experimental research and Katra reveals the fascinating story of her own journey to become a healer.
'In that long-ago dream, I was told that the very next day, I would put my hands on a stranger, and she would be healed, but that I would not remember my dream or these instructions until after the healing had occurred, because I was so distraught. Then the voice in the light told me to hold out my hand. 'Stretch out your arm,' it communicated, so I did that. Then a most amazing thing happened.
I was zapped with blinding light. I felt a sensation much like one I experienced when I was four, when I stuck some wires into an electrical outlet.
A powerful surge of electrifying current passed down my arm, and coursed through my entire body, with a whoosh. An explosion of light erupted within me. Fireworks went off inside my head. I was stunned, and overcome by the brightness. I felt like I had no body. I was radiating light. I was pure energy.
I was elation. I awoke to find myself standing in the middle of the room. I knew it was no longer night by the light coming through the windows. My right arm was outstretched above me. My nightgown was sopping, and clung to my wet body as tears rolled down my face.
I felt absolutely energized. Completely alert. Blissfully radiant. Not at all like a person who had been tormented by unrelenting pain for days.
Not at all like someone who hadnt been sleeping well, or hadnt eaten anything in recent memory. All the pain Id felt the previous night was gone. I decided I must say a last good-bye to Thelma and Alex. I couldnt leave the Philippines before I had thanked them for being so accepting of me. The elevator door opened, and I stepped out into a small sitting area. As I headed towards Thelmas room, I noticed a woman lying on a couch, off to one side of the hallway. As I approached her, I saw that she was agitated.
As I came closer, I heard her groan, and I sensed that she was not well. I asked, 'Are you all right?' And she said, 'No,' that she had been having a horrible migraine headache for two days, that she was nauseated and dizzy and couldnt walk, and that she was in agony. Her husband had gone to look for a doctor.
I asked her if she would like me to wait with her, and she said, 'Yes.' As I stood there, watching her suffer, I asked her, 'Would you like me to massage your scalp while we wait? Maybe it would help.' And she said, 'Sure. Try anything.'
As I bent over her, with my hands over her hair, I tried to decide what to do. Just as I was about to put my fingers on her head, I got the idea that it might be better if I massaged the back of her neck. Asterix And Obelix In Britain. But she was lying on her back, and I couldnt get to her neck without asking her to change her position.
So I decided to go back to my original plan and massage her scalp. Just as I was deciding whether to start above her ears, or below them, she heaved a huge sigh of relief, and exclaimed, 'Oh! Oh, what a relief! Thank you so much.' I was totally taken aback.
'But I havent done anything yet! I was just about to start!' She quickly exclaimed, 'Oh, yes, you did! I felt it when you brought your hands near. I felt the surge of energy! It felt so wonderful!
It took the pain right away! My head felt so light. It was such a relief!
It felt like your hands opened a dam, and all the pain just poured out! Thank you so much!' Then I remembered my dream from the night before. It all came back to me.
And I shook my head in disbelief at what Id done, and thought to myself, 'You were right. And she was a perfect stranger!' I looked at my hands and wondered why I hadnt felt any energy leaving them, if the woman had felt energy flowing into her. If I had done something, wouldnt I know it? How could something like that happen, with my body, without my knowledge? Who was doing this? What was going on?
I was more bewildered than ever.' In their second book The Heart of the Mind, Targ and Katra differentiate between the kind of perception that is normally defined by a sense of separation and an expanded state of awareness which connects with the unity (God). This is the experience of the heart of the mind. This realization is only possible when the need to control, which shows up as aggression, judgments, insisting on outcomes, being right, and fear or defensiveness has been transformed by a sense of deep trust. Targ reexamines prayer from a scientific point of view, reminding the reader that we create ourselves by what we pay attention to or we become what we meditate on.
If we aim at merging our separate mind with the infinite then we become re-created or re-born in that consciousness which is pure bliss. He has collected from ancient and modern sources all the evidence necessary for the changing of ones mind or focus by ordinary non-religious means and thus has built a long sought for bridge between hard science and the Divine. ANDREIJA PUHARICH At first, I only knew Andreija indirectly through rumors. He worked part time at Kaiser Hospital in Oakland as a Neurologist/Internist for a few years before I was appointed to their eye department. He had already left by the time I started with them on a full-time basis. I finally met him at June Degnan and her psychic brother in law, Michaels, regular soirees. She was 'Mrs.
Well-off', a Democrat and an early spiritual seeker. Michael was an avid reader of Jung and things psychic and was a very literate and skilled psychic reader of us all. We stuffed our heads with Michaels glamorous little gratuities for several years. These embraced the whole spectrum, from miracles to mysterious aliens. Andreija had already been globetrotting in psychic circles and with high-tech physics folks when money through friends and small funding sources came his way. My impression of Andreija in a nutshell: he always went for the heart of any subject and didnt mind spilling a bit of milk. He never forgot his roots in Yugoslavia.
It marked him somehow in all his ways. Charming raconteur, researcher of the obscure and miraculous without parallel, he was a good friend who was easily affronted. Sensitive and with a kind of pride, he was never the great guru figure of his inner dreams. He was full of ambition and always very mysterious.
He created his complex karma, almost as if it had been intentional. But I also saw that he had a very loving heart. He was a good father and a dear friend. He wanted to be very famous and super rich and he never became either, by his own standards. This, again, is the common denominator in most of the truly gifted geniuses in the high-tech fields that I have known. Such an attitude leads to personal tragedy in more cases than not.
The one major fear he suffered was that of his keen mind becoming old or useless or betraying him in madness. He could take almost anything but this and yet paradoxically, he easily surrendered to experiments, totally leaving his intellect behind. I never discussed this with him at sufficient length to get to the core of it&emdash;other than this insatiable curiosity of the unknown which I so admired in these visionary geniuses. Andreija was our action arm and he visited Arigo, the greatest of the Brazilian espiritistas (healers).
Arigos miracles were performed with an ordinary worn pocket knife with the assistance of 'Dr. Fritz,' a disembodied spirit who worked through him.
His patients experienced no pain, no bleeding, and the surgical wounds closed themselves without scarring immediately after the procedure. Arigo was already well known in the psychic world through John Fullers book, Arigo: Surgeon of the Rusty Knife. Arigo died, as he had predicted, in an auto accident.
After he died, for some reason, the authorities wanted to view the remains. They discovered that a complete autopsy had already been performed with no ones permission. Since his death, many Brazilian healers have surfaced, claiming to receive Dr. Fritzs assistance.
But according to the best authority that I know of, Lama Segyu Choepel Rinpoche, who is also an espiritista healer and is now the founding director and head Lama of the Healing Buddha Foundation, a Tibetan Buddhist healing lineage told me only three of these are probably authentic channels. Adreija, listed as Henry K. Puharich, M.D.
Wrote in the afterword of John Fullers book: 'I want to present a personal interpretation of what Arigo means to me. To understand that, one has to have a feeling for what it must have been like to be 'inside' of Arigo. Lets begin at an elementary level, namely, the feel of Arigos hand while doing surgery. If you take an ordinary butter knife and gently run the edge across your skin, you get an idea how this knife feels in the hand that moves it.
You will notice that there is a gradation of pressure that can be applied, and that applying this pressure give you a feeling of frictional forces, resistance of the tissues to being cut, control of the movement of the knife, and so on. You could learn all these nuances of the feel of a sharp knife by maneuvering it over other materials, such as foods used in your kitchen.
In short, you would learn what every surgeon learns&emdash;the feel in ones hand of a knife against tissue. Now I thoroughly knew this feel of a knife in my hand when it was used in surgery&emdash;human or animal. One day when I was standing beside Arigo in his Congonhas clinic, he asked a patient to stand against the wall&emdash;a man of forty-five years. Altimiro, Arigos assistant, handed a sharp, stainless-steel kitchen knife with a four-inch blade to Arigo. Arigo grabbed my right hand, thrust the knife into it, and closed his hand around my hand, so that the knife was doubly enclosed. Then he led my right hand toward the eyeball of the patient and ordered me to put the knife in the eye socket. I followed his orders and plunged the knife between the eyeball of the patient and the upper lid.
As I did so, my right hand went limp&emdash;I could not proceed. I feared that I would slash the eyeball and do permanent damage. Arigo again grabbed my right hand and said, 'Go ahead. Do it like a man!'
This order gave me the courage I needed. My fears vanished, as I plunged the knife deeply into the eye socket. Now I was in complete control of myself. As I moved the knife into the depths of the eye socket, I was amazed to discover that the tip of the knife had none of the familiar feel that a knife has against tissue. To give you the complete feeling of what my hand felt, do the following exercise: Take a pair of magnets and find the like poles of each.
Then hold one magnet in each hand and bring the like poles toward each other. You will now experience repulsive forces between the two like magnetic poles, and these will be felt in your hands. This is a totally different sensation from that which you experienced with the butter knife against your skin. Now when I moved the knife into the tissues of the eyeball and the eye socket, I felt a repulsive force between the tissues and the knife. No matter how hard I pressed in, there was an equal and opposite force acting on my knife to prevent it from touching the tissues. This repulsive force was the secret of why no one felt pain when Arigo did his famous 'eye checkup.' My patient did not feel any pain from my knife manipulations either.
It is obvious to me that Arigo could control that repulsive force so that he could go ahead and cut tissue. And this, of course, should cause pain.
But it is known that Arigo did not cause pain. I have observed, and so have others, that Arigo could cut tissues without using the sharp edge of a knife. Often he would cut using the dull edge of the knife.
He has been known, when in a hurry, to cut tissues without a knife. In these rare instances he would use his hands and fingers to go through tissue. It is my opinion that the actual cutting agency was the repulsive force, and not the knife or his fingers.
I have no idea as to the nature of his repulsive force. But from electrical field measurements I carried out on Arigo (EEG, EKG, and GSR), I do not believe that this repulsive force is in the electromagnetic spectrum. I believe it is an unknown form of life energy.' Andreija was well known for his affinity with talented and beautiful psychic women and had quite an other-worldly empire well in place. He called it 'Spectra.' Andreija found one pal after another all over the world, and he promised much, but rarely stayed long enough to deliver.
Thus he made many acquaintances and created a miscellany of disappointed collaborators. He also had another life, replete with house, and several great sons and daughters. Andreija continued with his interest in 'Spectra,' a strange folk mostly brought to him by a weird succession of psychic readers who channeled these friends and family of a dream world he knew through their and his combined eyes and psyches. Andreija was our golden boy who went forth to conquer, making quick and easy friendships with such notables as the Hawaiian Kahuna, Daddy Bray, who earlier attended some of our soirees at Junes place with Pachita, miracle healer of Mexico City, and many similar folk. Andreija and I once went on a search for Pachita, finally locating her in Mexico City after several hours of driving.
The room she was working in was very dark. She was bending over a small boy who had an egg-sized tumor on his scalp. Pachita took up a large hunting knife and cut out the growth. The child protested loudly and we could tell that he was really hurting.
Andreija had similar rough treatment with the same knife stuck first in one ear and then the other with much pain. One of the attending Americans there asked me: 'What is that peculiar smell?' And I muttered: 'They are shitting in their pants from pain.' Pachita was losing her power to do crude surgeries without pain and would soon die.
All the well-trained healers could easily accomplish this, but this siddhi was gradually lost in their declining years. My MD friend and partner, GC had been to Pachita earlier when she had complete control of pain and regularly performed miracle surgeries. I made several trips to Mexico with Andreija.
The most outstanding figure for me was the curator of Archeology at the Institute in Mexico City, Von Vertanau, who had spent his life 'proving the genetic strains out of which emerged our modern Mexican.' This determined scientist had dug up hundreds of clay figurines in his ardent pursuit of his own Mexican origins. These statuettes were of three types: those with great scimitar-like noses who were easily identified as being of Semitic origins, Negroes with the typical African meine replete with huge thick lips, and Orientals with their typical pigtails and epicanthal eyelids. What self-respecting Mexican would want to be rudely awakened from his romantic dreams of descent from Spanish dons and dark-eyed senoritas? I spent many happy hours with this brilliant man and his many figurines, while Andreija searched for his version of the Holy Grail. In the process, he left even his good friends at home while he pursued his many more glamorous associates and his strange peoples and places in and around Mexico City and Teputsland.
He chose to go out and visit these strange folk who had seen some weird lights and God knows what rather than go into an archeological museum and see a very interesting scientist at work. That didnt interest him very much. Freda Morris and I spent many exciting hours in his Ossening, NY home working with one psychic reader after the other. All were women, most of them young. I met Freda at a conference in Cupertino in 1971. She had taught hypnosis to medical students at UCLA School of Medicine for some time.
We were immediately attracted and the next few years were filled with a wonderful exchange in which I returned to the study of hypnosis and Freda studied music with me. We toured the British Isles, visiting all the notable psychics we could meet using Fredas charm and intuition, which she possessed in abundance. The Ossening, NY trip was part of this many-year odyssey concerned largely with the psychic world and its fascinating folk. Freda wrote many books on hypnosis and together we wrote a magazine article on our adventure with a South San Francisco Poltergeist. This all started one evening when I was meeting with Lou Bostwick and a group of amateur psychics at his Berkeley home. Suddenly, at the hour of ten, when no good Berkeleyite would think of phoning, as everyone who is anyone has already started for home, well, this jangling, startling call came out of nowhere and a screeching, hysterical voice was audible to everyone at the meeting.
'We are in trouble. Come immediately to help us. Was the pleading, but not very intelligible call. After more of this they calmed down a bit and they gave us a brief account of the awful things that were happening in this beset and beleaguered family from Daly City and South San Francisco.
Like a voice out of a dense fog, they entreated Lou, whom they had heard about over the psychic grapevine, to help them. It was a Latino extended family that had, a year or so earlier, been intruded upon by their young daughters marriage to a Jewish man. She was pregnant now and expecting soon. Things in their home had started happening spontaneously&emdash;water all over the floor, books falling off the shelves, silverware flying off the table, and then, horror of horrors, fires breaking out in the back rooms with no one near the room. People were rushing in to put the fires out screaming and there were general hysterical outbursts. And this was not all. At times, they had to put all their knives out in the washing machine, in their garage.
But to no avail. These same knives might at any time float into a room and hurl themselves into the wall and fall to the floor. This was too good a fair to ignore! We all crowded into a big Mercedes and took off like gang busters for their home, forty minutes away. On arriving they first insisted that we go to the home that they had recently abandoned due to all these abominations. Some idea of the scale of this could be gauged by simply looking around this flat.
Water on the floor, burned curtains, books all over&emdash;general pandemonium had reigned here for some time. So, at their insistence, we all went over to the abandoned apartment. Just as we drove up to the place, one of us saw a womans white face in an upstairs window and then it disappeared. So, we were suitably spooked even as we entered this place where from the disarray, Old Nick himself may have been expected to appear any second. Putting on our best front as investigators entering a battlefield, we strode into the place. As we milled around, Lou exclaimed 'Look!
Things are different at this end of the room.' And, indeed, as the group divided, there was a distinct difference in the apparent heights of the people on one side as compared to the other. 'Its a vortex', Lou said. And the hair on my neck rose as a chill ran over my spine. I gulped and wondered what fantasia would be next.
Well, we trooped upstairs to see and it was an unholy mess. Things were scattered everywhere. I set about arranging everything in a definite, easy to remember, orderly pattern and we returned to the lower floor. We were quite silent now, so when a loud banging from upstairs began, it was easily heard by all. We rushed upstairs again and there was the horrid mess&emdash;recreated. We all took off. We had seen enough to know that the familys flight from this apartment was totally understandable.
We visited these quarters many times during the next year. Once the old grandmother was choked by a pillow over her face as she was walking in the house and had to be hospitalized. The young couple once went shopping in San Jose, forty miles away, and their car keys disappeared, only to turn up in their house that same day. And a fire had started in the babys crib (now safely born). I was there and was slightly burned on one hand when I rushed into the room to put it out. On one occasion, when we were standing by, the mother went to diaper the baby and she found (and we saw) a chain with a crucifix wound around his genitals.
We did not witness the weird instance when an egg flew by, broke against the window and egg ran down the inside AND DOWN THE OUTSIDE of the intact pane of glass. One visit by a local psychic of no small fame was very funny. He came in with his usual self assurance and sat down on the bed and proclaimed: 'I dare you to come out and show yourself!' Immediately a knife flew across the room.
He turned white and jumped up and fled the premises, never to return. Priest exorcists visited and, though things got better, they did not cease. All of it ended when the Jewish son-in-law decided to become converted to the charismatic Catholic Pentacostal sect that his wifes family had joined years earlier. These startling and dramatic events are all within the domain of Poltergeists, or noisy ghosts. We are forced to posit the existence of, so called, 'lower-entities,' to bring some meaning to our overwhelmed senses and sense of reality in the face of such distortions that defy ordinary logic. Remember Jungs description of noises coming from a table in his home in his Memories, Dreams and Reflections. On this subject there is more to say of Geller.
This young man was a remarkable psychic, and things happened in his presence that are unbelievable. But many times, these anecdotal stories carry a kind of verification of the more subtle laws governing the astral realm that, at first glance, seem like nonsense. Geller had valuable watches break, precious gems became fractured, and banks of computers ceased to function in his presence. This is mostly in the category of psychokinesis or PK. It is an hypothesis of mine that the neurological disturbance known as epilepsy can partially, or in total, be caused by an internal disturbance in the homeostasis of the brain, which can cause massive electrical discharges or epilepsy. This is suggested by the cessation of epilepsy in Brazilian psychiatric patients who began to study to become trance mediums. I followed the medical histories of five epilepsy patients who began to study with Lou Bostwick at his Psychic Institute in Berkeley.
I saw a comparable diminution of epileptic seizures. This indicated that learning to conduct the tremendous amount of psychic energy which had piled up from nonuse within their nervous systems had a favorable impact, lessening the frequency of their seizures. Similarly, in the case of the young Jewish father whose family was beleaguered by the poltergeist, his frustrated spiritual equilibrium, and the upset of his familys spiritual equilibrium may have precipitated all of those phenomena, because once this religious issue was settled, they disappeared. Geller had a similar excess of psychic force operating in him, and it was almost totally uncontrolled by him.
Once Uri found another outlet, such as the healing experiments he had started when I was still seeing him regularly, that may have helped him to control these aberrant psychic forces. The power of the psyche is even better attested to in the case of Chi masters. Certainly some of them, just as the Philippine healers were, as part of their training, able to set fires by mental means alone. At one time, Joyce P, a coal barons wife, lived with Andreija for some time with her talented psychic children, and the children that she and Andreija shared.
They lived on the huge and beautiful one hundred square mile retreat called Devotion that the Reynolds family had created in North Carolina with his fairy land of 'Spectra'. • Sharron was one of the channels that I met while she was working with Puharich. They had an interesting tiff once when Andreija was reluctant to share the limelight with her on some esoteric physics paper he did. She claimed that it all came from her channeling. They were both right. Over the course of five years, we had a lot of meetings with Sharron and her friends.
Then, as suddenly as she appeared she disappeared. One night she and a friend presented us with a paper that he had done on the alien craft landing in New Mexico.
I never saw her again. Arthur Young (inventor of the Bell helicopter and author of The Reflexive Universe) called her the greatest psychic he had ever worked with. He couldnt resist the charm and beauty of this quick witted intuitive psychic reader.
Through Andreija, I met Adam Trombly. He was in as desperate need for funding as Andreija and so found his way with me to a week of drinking and good fellowship with the only true philanthropist I had ever met, Josh Reynolds, III. He had supplied Andreija with a beautiful home and laboratory there, at Devotion near Dobson, North Carolina. Andreija ended up feeling betrayed when he saw his financier reaching into his deep pockets for Adam. And then, Andreija invited a melange of old and new friends he had hoped would supply money for him, and they opted instead to support the most vocal and attractive group there&emdash;the whale watchers. Again, instead of Andreija.
Andreija was very upset and our brief weekend ended. And so we all left Devotion. I didnt have any contact with him again until I phoned him upon hearing of his illness, and we had a touching and wrenching reunion on the phone, promising each other that we would meet for Thanksgiving, which was only a few weeks off. But it was never to be. The next morning Andreija was dead.
Sic transit gloria mundi. ADAM TROMBLY When I was 73, I was in the first flush of a new friendship with physicist and astrophysicist, Adam Trombly, and a new direction in research.
I was delighted to enter a field that I only knew from an intuitive point of view and was glad to go along with this young, enthusiastic and brilliant man. Any interest in solid science, which he wanted to explore, I was more than happy to go along and help with. Adam spoke of no grad school, but he had proved himself in his partnership with Joe Kahn developing the Closed Path Homopolar Generator. I met him through my contact with Andreija Puharich, who described Adam as an electronic free energy enthusiast and physicist.
Nothing developed from my first phone call to him. He was abrupt and not very pleasant.
But once such a loner gets a listener, it is hard to dam up all the stuff thats plaguing him. So, I called six months later and we met.
And then it was all roses, as De Ropp used to say. Not long after we had started our discussions, we had the opportunity to meet Josh Reynolds, III. Our talk was meat and drink to me and my half-starved visionary schemes and dreams. And thats always the way it was with Adam. He would propose and I would challenge or question and probe with him to our mutual delight. We traveled to North Carolina, to Joshs estate and had a rousing week of Old Overholt, technical and soft psychic bla, bla, getting to know Josh and his brilliant brother, Will, resident hermit of their estate, Devotion. Will lived nearby on a manmade lake of many acres which was held in place by a stupendous dam.
This monument to the elder Josh Reynolds had been instigated by this tobacco baron in the late 20s and early 30s. It was erected to give all the artisans and laborers work in this time of economic distress for most of the ordinary folk all over this county. It was a godsend to the economy of the Dobson area. This remarkable structure, as we stood at its base and gazed up at its grandeur, must have been nearly eight or nine stories tall and was entirely hand made of round stones less than eight inches in diameter.
Together with the dam, he had built a hydroelectric station with a large dynamo to generate enough electricity for the whole estate. This structure towered above the forests ferny floor, as the poet said, and dominated the whole countryside. As we gazed skyward, all we could see was an awesome wall of large pebbles, a natural manmade wonder that created an ambiance all its own. Joshs home, itself a display of fine craftsmanship, fit the personality of the large man who presided there in rather solemn splendor. He was exceptionally bright and knowledgeable in almost any field one might care to address.
And I regret not ever seeing him again. In the meetings with Josh, Adam and I joined most of his drinking, and we had a royal old time of it for days on end. Josh was a dear character and friend and I unfortunately never heard of his death till long after he had gone on. In the end, Josh extended himself and came up with some funding for Adams work. In the research financed by the philanthropy of R.J.
Reynolds III, Adam indicated that the underground nuclear blasts in the many underground tests had started to weaken both the earth core and the mantles magnetic fields and consequently more and more slippage between these two bodies was occurring. This was attested to by scientists in Europe but was denied by this countrys scientists. There were several of these magnetic jerks in the 50s and 60s that were never publicized here, to my knowledge. Adam predicted that increasingly violent disturbances in weather patterns would occur from then on. Some of this has already become noticeable to meteorologists here. Of course, even when science knows of these coming disasters, it does not mean that our political and military leaders will take appropriate action. If we delay and deny more and more, as it seems we are doing, then presumably, our margin of safety will erode as Africa burns and as all our collective Neros fiddle on in their boring and alarming litanies of self-indulgence and greed.
Much of our talk was related to UFO material. We met with Jacques Valle, the great French expert on UFOs, who worked and wrote many fine books in a reserved, speculative spirit. One night in Palo Alto near San Mateo, supposedly one of the haunts of our UFO brothers, we proceeded to get quite drunk and sang the night away, but no UFOs appeared. Our speculations about using crystals as converters from subtle energy to useful electrical current led us to visit Marcel Vogels lab in San Jose. Vogels research was partially funded by IBM where he had worked for many years and he had a lab worth thousands of dollars. After a few visits with Marcel Vogel, Adam decided that such an active atmosphere was no place for him to work on a crystal generator, several generations of which Marcel Vogel had already built and failed to get one erg of energy from.
Vogel was quite provoked. Adam was also strongly influenced by Buckminster Fuller. In a paper outlining his goals for Project Earth, Trombly quoted Fuller extensively.
It is clear that many of Fullers tenets provided the basis for Project Earth. Perhaps one of Fullers most telling statements deals with overspecialization, a theme which Adam constantly returns to in his talks. As Fuller put it: 'Global vision is a rare gift that must be shared.
There are plenty of people out there who are educated to death. Dont allow the vision to suffer the overspecialized death. As the vision dies so does the man. As men of global vision die, so does the race, perhaps the entire planet.' During Reagans eight years, he visited NASA and delivered one of the best suppressed news bombs of that part of the century.
He called NASA 'pigs feeding at the public trough', whereupon 50% of the staff resigned on the spot. Seeing the possible repercussions, the Reaganites quickly retreated and permitted most of these withdrawn scientists to become early retirees or to take a paid leave of absence. Richard Underwood took a leave of absence, during which he toured the country blasting off at the suppression that NASA had been laboring under for years. None of this ever surfaced until Underwood spilled the beans at the Amherst Gaia conference where both Adam and I gave papers a year later. Interestingly, both of our talks focused on the increasingly alarming increase in atmospheric CO2, and we both showed that Hamakers work on the threat of glaciation was as important as the widely touted greenhouse effect. In fact, both of them occurring at the same time might be affecting the ecosphere in various ways.
Both of us called for immediate further study. Underwood had a series of crucial photos that showed the peril threatening the continent of Africa. The drying up of Lake Chad, the largest freshwater lake in Africa, due to changing weather patterns and thousands of forest fires raging throughout, some of them thousands of miles long, burning out of control were the causes and results of increased desertification. And another year later, Richard Underwood stated that Africa would never receive enough rainfall to sustain long-term survival. These photos were never classified because no one but Underwood, who had been the chief of photography for NASA for 20 years, was able to locate and decipher them. We worked for a few months with Richard, obtaining a few photos which he gingerly gave to Adam.
Adam incorporated these slides into his charismatic presentations in order to impress his audiences with the gravity of the effects of our mistreatment of the ecosystem. Project Earth, a non-profit organization, is dedicated to helping people understand the environmental emergency on our earth.
His internationally acclaimed website has blossomed into a valuable educational tool thanks to the hard work of several of his talented supporters. The following article by Mark Schriebner summarizes Adams unique and substantial contributions to the sciences and to our emerging awareness of our role as earth stewards. Adam Trombly, Director of Project Earth for the Institute for Advanced Studies at Aspen (now also in Maui, Hawaii) has at age forty-eight proven to be one of the most influential and unorthodox scientists of his generation. In 1980 Adam and colleague Joseph Kahn designed and applied for patents for the Closed Path Homopolar Generator, a potentially revolutionary design for super efficient generation of electrical power. In June of 1982, International Letters of Patent were published by the International Patent Cooperation Treaty Organization. (Patent Publication Number WO82/02126) In 1983 Adam began to dedicate his efforts to Project Earth.
The late R Buckminster Fuller is quoted as saying, 'Project Earth is a human design experiment. It will be incumbent on human beings throughout the Earth to become a living network, to demonstrate the power of working synergistically with their environment to insure a future worth living in.' In 1984 Adam was awarded the RJ Reynolds III Endowment for his efforts with Project Earth. I spoke to the late Mr. Reynolds during a Tesla Society Conference in Colorado Springs in 1988.
He said: 'Many people approach me and ask me and my family to support their work. After I heard Adam speak at two separate International Conferences, I approached him! I had never done that before.
Adam has never ceased to amaze me. When you know Adam, you begin to see both the present and the future through his eyes. When you see the world like he does then there is this urgency that takes a hold of you to do whatever you can to make a difference for the better. I could not be happier with his work. We all need to listen to this man.' As the eighties progressed, copies of the Closed Path Homopolar Generator Patent had circulated throughout the world.
One scientist, Paramahamsa Tewari, who was then Head of Quality Control for the Tarapore Atomic Power Station in Trombay, India, received permission to carry out experiments with the design. In 1986, Tewari (with the blessing of the late Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi) published results of experiments carried out with a crude facsimile of the machine described in the patent. In the American Industrial Journal, Magnets, Tewari wrote, The test results have shown an efficiency of the machine above 250%.' It was the first time in human history that claims of greater than 100% output had been independently verified by a bona fide third party using the description of the art provided by a patent document. This further propelled Adam and Project Earth into the international spotlight.
I ran into Adam next at the largest New Energy Technology conference ever held (even up to this point) in Hanover, Germany in 1987. Paramahamsa Tewari had brought his rather crude facsimile of the Trombly/Kahn generator. The next day, Adam gave one of those lectures with an impact that never seems to leave you. Adam continued his research into new energy technologies with colleague David Farnsworth. In June, 1989, in New York City, Trombly and Farnsworth physically demonstrated a small solid state electrical transformer that measurably showed an efficiency of 54:1. Adam then walked down the street to the United Nations to give an address. From the point of view of one who witnessed this event firsthand, I cant believe the entire world didnt change as a result.
One of the reasons I asked Adam if I could write this piece is because it is now ten years later and the American people, in particular, have still not gotten the message that there is an entirely new and benign option to the current death spiral of humanity. As the result of ignoring the opportunity that was presented on that day in 1989, the world still suffers under the tyranny of fossil fuels and a global power structure which seems bent on the eradication of all species. Today Adam continues to pursue the work of Project Earth in spite of the fact that in his view the destabilization of Planet Earth has reached critical, even nearly irreversible proportions.
'At this point I am recommending that people pray like they never have before for Divine or at least Benign Intervention. It is unlikely that the boys in Washington and other world capitals are going to implement any world healing policies unless the populations of the world rise up and unequivocally demand change. We dont have much time.'
For my part, I want to thank Adam for allowing me to make this little, historical sketch my small contribution to the work of Project Earth. There is so much more I could say but I hope this gives you a better idea of who this man called Adam Trombly is. (Mark Schriebner) Adam has remained one of my dearest friends and continues to amaze and delight me with his unorthodox style of consideration. I only hope that his discoveries and talents are fully incorporated into the structural changes that the next millennium so desperately needs. Adams life could be in grave danger right now because he is so bright and he talks too much. In the past twenty years he has invented a working cold-fusion like device three times and was cheated out of bringing it to life by several government agencies. It was Bush directly, on his last one.
Adam is the only unfinished story. Hes still alive and hes still threatened by our governments murderous intentions toward anyone who would develop a device which would really work to mankinds immediate benefit. Or might change the face of energy on the planet permanently to their eventual disadvantage. From my experiences over 15 years with scientists we have worked with, I had no assurance that these men were accorded the kind of security and privacy from the US Patent Office that ordinary citizens were assured of. Certainly, many physician friends of mine were abused with threats of arrest or arbitrary seizure of records by the FDA. Recently I have seen evidence that these arbitrary moves that the Treasury Department has engaged in for years are being exposed, and corrected.
The most vulnerable are alternative physicians that present too large a profile. They now share this insecurity with genius inventors, who have customarily been subjected to undue scrutiny, almost without any fanfare.
Due to increasingly widespread public awareness through burgeoning networks, many of these abuses are being exposed, and there has been a series of encouraging signs. Individuals and groups have suddenly appeared who have money and clout and are fearful that many of our eco-systems are fast becoming eroded and contaminated. These brave souls are coming forth to stem the tide of this planetary abuse. Government and other paramilitary organizations are being exposed and are thus losing their power to serve themselves in the old robber baron manner. In fact, optimistic friends report that the tide has truly turned, that its too late for these repressive forces to regain their old greedy privilege. I hope the coming years will prove this to be so.
GEORGE PAGE George came to us out of the blue through some connection with the research Adam and I were doing on Project Earth. George was the inventor of an essentially metallurgical or synthetic manufacture of crystals, far in advance of any technology existing then and now in this magical alchemical domain. He had, through his great genius in this field, managed what no one else ever came close to. George grew crystals. He had one piece of quartz that he had synthesized, so pure and perfect that the Smithsonian would have given their eye teeth for it, and which the Bureau of Standards called the biggest and best in the world. Others had developed industrial processes in which crystals of a few inches could be manufactured, but none of these were as pure as this one by George. His crystal was an optical flat of ten inches in diameter.
He grew them from Silicon Quartz, Beryllium Oxide and other materials. Once, as I held a perfect 10' flat in my hands he said: 'You know, in the industry they make three to four inch crystals which are not near the quality of this flat.' The crystal was flawless. When I commented on the size of it, George leaned way over and whispered to me: 'If I had a 20' crucible I could build a 20' crystal as perfect as this one.'
This was George. He had grown these beauties years before and was now sitting on a laboratory right in the heart of Oakland in a 14,000 square foot facility, overloaded with machinery, magnetic coils, and ready to rebuild. In his early days he was plagued by industrial spies and later the government used its agents to try to get his secrets in the usual manner, without paying for them. This is, unfortunately, typical of all major governments. Its easier to legally or otherwise willfully to defraud and steal from their citizenry of genius than to accord them the respect of any ordinary citizen.
Beryllium Oxide&emdash;this jewel among crystal&emdash;was made by depositing the material layers while in a molten state. It was about 1' by 3' and rated at 300 carats, about twice the weight of an equivalent mass of silicon. Adam Trombly carried this around to show his chemically minded friends and it did impress those who knew enough physics. Those who fully appreciated it would either blanch and grow faint or grow red faced in disbelief, perplexity and finally, in awful comprehension, would stagger to the nearest chair they could find.
Once, during one of our more benign presidencies, President Carters, rapprochement was all the thing and George was asked to set up a demonstration in a government facility. He agreed but on the condition that the Japanese and Russians would not be permitted to photograph anything. The exhibit was duly set up and George went the next morning to see the goings on. Well, you guessed it. The very scientists who might be able to reconstruct Georges technology were there with their photographers doing their thing.
At one phase of these works, George was persuaded to put a facility on Government property. This was carried out and on the second day after the rental started, George visited the plant after hours and, to be sure Government agents were swarming all over the equipment prying and taking pictures. When George protested, he was threatened by civil suits for this and that and by criminal charges as well. George even became a lawyer to try to protect his inventions but had no luck with that ploy at all. Our team worked with George for a year. Once I accompanied him in a Pullman car between San Francisco and Denver because George, who was in declining health, could not take the differing air pressure that air flight would have subjected him to.
Despite this year of work with him to try and get him started again (he had 2 million dollars of equipment in storage) all our efforts never came to anything. He soon got moved in on by an acquisitive lady friend and died with his secret intact.
Two days after George died, this irreplaceable facility was damaged by fire and condemned. Adam was to be the inheritor of it all and now it was in ashes and no one was allowed into the space. The short-lived marriage of George on his death bed has conferred crystals, property and all the rest to a woman who has apparently shown no interest in the survival of his technological miracle.
This man was a Renaissance person. He showed me detailed architectural drawings of a beautiful work/live complex he was going to build in Oakland, and his writings included a seminal idea for a Consortium for Inventors to protect them and get their products to the market. He was a jolly, loving genius and never lived to see his visions come alive. His treating physician, who was a colleague of mine, gave him EDTA solution, but due to the inexcusable incompetence of his office staff, it failed to work. Unfortunately, it was enough of a deterrent that George remained uninterested in any other noninvasive treatment for his cardiovascular problems. He died almost immediately after undergoing an unsuccessful coronary bypass.
Adams ex-wife, JoAnne was one of the last people to see him alive. VENERABLE SEGYU CHOEPEL RINPOCHE- THE HEALING BUDDHA A pleasant meeting with my ever smiling friend. All these happy years of knowing him. Quick of mind, open hearted, replete with spiritual goings on. There is never a dull moment to be endured with this soldier of the glorious now and I always leave him feeling better about my life, even boring as it is at times.
He was, at one time, a fellow student of Avatar Adi Da and took on those formal disciplines and many hefty responsibilities for some time. But finally he left, only to find that Adi Da was present in his dreams and astral space&emdash;demanding that he return! He feels now that he and Adi Da have finally resolved their relationship and he is no longer troubled by it. But to the spiritual adept Adi Da, the function of the Guru can never be abandoned.
He considers the relationship of the Guru and his devotee to be an eternal bond. My friend is now involved with Lama Segyu Choepel Rinpoche, who was originally trained as a curandero or shaman in the espiritista tradition. Venerable Segyu Choepel Rinpoche is the founding director and head Lama of the Healing Buddha Foundation-Segyu Gaden Dhargye Ling. In 1985, the 98 th Gaden Tri Rinpoche, Venerable Jampal Shenpen, Holder of the Gelugpa lieage founded by Lama Tsogkhapa, identified him as the reincarnation of Dorje Zangpo. In a ceremony held by the Segyu Monastery in Kathmandu, Nepal, on February 19, 1997, Venerable Segyu Rinpoche was formally recognized as the tulku (reincarnation) of venerable Gyudchen Dorje Zangpo the 16 th century Tantric master of the Segyu lineage.
The Healing Buddha Foundation&emdash;Segyu Gaden Dhargye Ling&emdash;is dedicated to the dissemination of the Buddhadharma and was established in 1985 by Venerable Segyu Choepel Rinpoche to promote the study and practice of Tibetan Buddhism as taught within the Gelugpa Lineage and the Sed-Gyued Datsan Tantric College. The Sed-Gyued Lineage of the Gelug School of Tibetan Buddhism is an unbroken line of tantric teachings descending directly from Lama Je Tsongkhapa (1357-1419), founder of the Gelug School.
Unique to the Healing Buddha Foundation are its Psycho-Spiritual Healing Clinics which address our cultures need for a healing therapy that considers a persons physical, emotional, and spiritual aspects. Techniques used in the clinics are based on Buddhist psychology and Tibetan Tantric Medicine. One day when Rinpoche was practicing as a curandero in Brazil, a friend from his parish gave him a small statue of a saint.
He came to have a strong attraction to this object, probably because it closely resembled a figure in a dream that he had when he was a younger man in which he felt protected by a hovering guardian. This Indian (Hindu) or Tibetan looking holy man who he frequently saw in his dreams continued to watch over and guide him for many years. He feels that this dream figure ignited his intense search for his spiritual way very early in his life. He kept that statue with him for years. One day his espiritista guru picked it up and immediately fell into a a profound trance state.
While so entranced, he told Rinpoche that the Statue was of great value to him personally and that he should always keep it close to himself, that it was the likeness of a Tibetan who had lived hundreds of years before who was the head of a healing order. He said that this Tibetan healer was, in fact, his direct progenitor and that Rinpoche should seek out the Tibetans to the north (in the United States).
Eventually, Segyu Choepel Rinpoche visited America and established relationships within the community of Tibetan Buddhist practitioners where he lived. It was their conclusion that he was the reincarnation of that same ancient Tibetan healing Lama, a tulku. After this he was initiated as the head of the healing order, a position which he still holds. During his years of training as a Kardec practitioner, he was blessed to find an espiritista teacher whom he held in very high regard.
Soon he became an outstanding practitioner, finding that he had a natural ability for healing the sick and mentally disturbed or possessed ones. His help and guidance were sought by many. The only other substantial body of espiritista healers are the ones who are alive and well in the Philippines and others in Brazil.
Tony Agpoa, a Philippine curandero, spoke to me about his early training and revealed that part of his development included the discipline of setting fires at a distance by mental means alone. Greg Shulkin, an American espiritista healer, described the development of a facility whereby the healers hands became independent of their mind and will, performing their own instinctual work. But Greg did not complete his studies and never attained this degree of skill, by his own confession.
He regrets this, but just as Harry Roberts did, he chose our Western way in the end. I have known Rinpoche for two years and I have asked for his help in healing several of my friends. I requested a distant healing of one of my fellow devotees here with metastatic cancer of the cervix.
I attended two healing ceremonies, on her behalf, each lasting several hours. The complex ritual was of great interest to me because it was a magical mixture of the Lamas Brazilian background combined with Tibetan Buddhist practices. The whole ritual was full of melodious chants and South American dancing. My friend did recover from her cancer and is still doing well today. Another friend, his wife and his daughter were also helped by Rinpoche more recently.
After just two sessions, Jim declared that he felt like a new man. I believe his trouble was primarily a spiritual one. I have known him for about twenty-five years.
I also knew his wife before she suffered from schizophrenia. Jim felt most of the burden of responsibility for their daughter because his wife was non compas mentis so much of the time.
He is a very sensitive man. Both he and his daughter were suffering from feelings of alienation and separation and felt like they were going off the deep end. They couldnt find any reason in their lives for this increased level of disturbance. Jim told me that on his second appointment with Rinpoche he was confused about the time and arrived about an hour early.
When Jim was announced for his appointment, the Rinpoche insisted that he was right on time and that he should be sent right in. The Rinpoche was in the center of a circle of devotees who were holding ribbons and dancing around him. At the climax of this ceremony, there was a loud explosion and the Lama seemed to be hurled through the air, landing in the arms of a large devotee. After this, Jim felt more securely present in his body&emdash;more than he had felt for weeks. His wife and daughter, who had been having symptoms of schizophrenia, no longer felt disturbed. In my opinion, this exorcism proved to be far more effective for Jim and his family than the conventional therapeutic use of drugs and psychotherapy would have been. The espiritista tradition views most healing as a form of exorcism of evil spirits, or unhappiness.
With such an attitude, they get a lot more cures than we do with our therapy. That is why spontaneous Kundalini arousals which are problematic are perhaps better treated by an exorcist than a therapist.
When the negative features of this arousal appear to be disturbing or destructive, this can lead to a rather desperate state. The other alternative is to practice in the company of a real Guru.
Those whose Kundalini is aroused by a real Guru dont seem to have these kinds of complications. Gabriel Cousens made a similar observation in his work at the Muktananda Ashram in New York. When people experience the arousal of the Kundalini in the company of a genuine Spiritual Adept and a community that understands what is going on, they have a much easier time with it.
It seems to me that there are certain kinds of attitudes and beliefs that positively influence the outcome of this kind of healing work. I have noticed that there is a corresponding openness to a miraculous outcome in the people that have received the greatest benefit.
And most of these willing souls had accepted the idea of reincarnation as well. And if one has also accepted the idea that we choose our parents to learn a particular lesson in this life, then we can hardly blame them for helping us to learn. It throws the whole show on our own shoulders where it mostly belongs. In my extensive work with schizophrenics I found that certain of the symptoms seemed to have a connection with the presence of forces that the medical descriptions of schizophrenia did not encompass. They also gave me the feeling that I was dealing with forces from the primordial and aboriginal world views. The aboriginals made the whole of their lives a connection with spirits quite unknown and unacceptable to our psychiatric studies.
These spirit forces could not be included in the psychiatric view of mental illness. It is beyond the limits of our cultural discourse.
And in order to address these phantoms, you would really need to embrace another language, an aboriginal language, which is far more than most Western medical practitioners are capable of. Its an endeavor which is more vast and complex than any one man or priest or sect or group of ambitious writers can deal with.
Early in my practice I assiduously avoided the negative magical aspects (black magic) of my disturbed patients process. But after many years of witnessing bilocation, teleportation, psychokinesis and other supernatural phenomenon, I became willing to become more curious about those areas that our cultural taboos had rendered invisible. I use Jims case as an example. Its another miracle of healing, of the actual dimensions of genius in peoples minds and hearts and bodies which have been defeated time after time by the forces of resistance.
It is just awe inspiring to think of the limitations that most of us are born with as far as our thinking, and our psyche, and our healing of ourselves and others is concerned. All you can do is stand in awe of anyone who is effectively dealing in these areas. My friend was privileged to accompany Rinpoche into the far reaches of the Sierras recently on a complex and challenging mission. They went into the Sierras on skis to a remote region which has been set aside for unregenerate souls&emdash;souls who have never come to terms with their own evil natures. These are the real baddies and those who must remain on the subtle level. But there are some who are trained to evoke them and work with them, trying to improve their karmas very slowly. It takes a whole tradition to do this.
A whole generation of priests. They evidently find it infinitely increases their own resources to deal with more complex karmas and real evil. I am struck with appreciation for these cultural reservoirs of great depth and their wisdom-filled observation of the progressions of karma. This form of service to wayward souls is a cultural and historical obligation to them. This kind of obligation must be inconceivable to most modern people as we blithely pursue our small and dull lives of equally small and limited scope, not having the traditional context which fosters this type of skill in the subtle realms.
I felt that I was in the presence of the hallowed when I was being told about this process. And I believe that this is a matter which should provoke a whole overturning of our cultural values, how we experience evil and what, if anything we do about it. This right orientation to human karmic patterning and the skills required to negotiate more dangerous subtle forces may be intimately linked with our own ultimate survival here on earth. CARBOGEN AND ALTERED STATES OF CONSCIOUSNESS Carbogen was used quite safely, even self-administered, by sufferers of migraine but went out of fashion in the sixties. It is a mixture of thirty percent carbon dioxide (CO2) and seventy percent oxygen (O2), and our exhalations normally contain about five percent of CO2.
The use of this mixture is thoroughly described in Medunas text, Carbon Dioxide Therapy. While I was practicing as a psychiatrist in Berkeley, I conducted gatherings of self-selected, regular patients.
We were interested in facilitating the release of the kinds of memories which ventilation (or the uncovering of these) might serve a useful therapeutic function. We would all get together to discuss which agents to use. This was the era of experimentation with all varieties of psychedelics and many of these patients were already familiar with the fine book by Robert DeRopp, Drugs and the Mind, popularly known to the cognoscenti as 'The Druggies Handbook.' At one of these meetings in Berkeley, most of the participants were anxious to take LSD&emdash;which was being widely used under non-medical modes and which the FDA soon made illegal for all but very restricted rese.
Beach Thanks to smartphones, parenting is a whole lot easier than it used to be. As a parent, you can track your kid’s whereabouts with a GPS-enabled cell phone. You can download instant advice to solve weird medical emergencies, like how to dislodge the black bean your toddler stuck up his nose. And you can frantically search Pinterest for no-bake cookie recipes for today’s school bake sale that your third grader forgot to tell you about until this morning. But the Holy Grail of parenting apps has yet to be invented. Parents everywhere would chant a collective “Hell, yeah!” if some brilliant, tech-savvy app developer (such as your neighborhood teen) would create a few smartphone apps that tackle some of parenting’s thorniest issues.
From tantrums to finicky appetites to I-don’t-want-to-take-a-nap struggles, kids test your parenting mettle on a daily basis. Think how much easier the day-to-day parenting grind would be with these smartphone apps: Lego Detector Never puncture your foot at midnight again! If walking through your kids’ room is akin to navigating a plastic minefield of Legos, you need to download this little beauty. Why rely on a way-too-bright flashlight that threatens to wake up your finally-asleep kids when you can use the minimally intrusive Lego Detector app? It works on Barbie accessories and other small, sharp objects, like broken Hot Wheels, collectible bottle caps, dislodged pencil points, shark teeth and Indian arrowheads.) Using a combination of night-vision technology and special geometric sensors that detect sharp angles, you can safely traverse your kids’ floor in the dark and escape without a ruptured heel or perforated toe.
Squabble Solver Pushed to the edge by your kids bickering again? No need to yell, pop a vein in your temple, or bang your head against the wall. Squabble Solver to the rescue! Just choose from pre-recorded, problem-solving monologues, where the experts talk directly to the under-10 crowd, delivering step-by-step, argument-diffusing advice in a calm, authoritative tone.
Tap into classic parenting wisdom from Foster Cline and Jim Fay ( Parenting with Love & Logic), Thomas Phelan ( 1-2-3 Magic), Adele Faber ( How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk) or Gary Chapman ( The 5 Love Languages of Children). And let’s get real—in the heat of the moment, you don’t remember all that sage advice anyway about the “Top 10 Ways to Diffuse Family Conflict without Ruining Your Child’s Self-Esteem.” Better to leave it to the experts. (Eat Warily: The Parent’s Guide to Finicky Eaters) For every parent who’s ever said, “What do you mean you don’t like it?
You ate it last week.”— EW! Developed by a veteran mom, EW!
(Eat Warily: The Parent’s Guide to Finicky Eaters) might become the most-used app on your smartphone. While this robust app requires some upfront work (you’ve got to input your kid’s food intake for about 14 days), it’s well worth it.
After just two weeks, the app’s brilliant appetite algorithm kicks in and begins predicting what your kids will like on any given day. Acting as a gauge to where in the “I-like-it-today” food cycle your kid is in, the app takes the guesswork out of meals and snacks. Bonus: You can search by individual food parameters, allowing you to deduce if a food’s ingredients (i.e., sesame seeds), texture (i.e., squishy onions) or shape (i.e., triangular vs. Round) will send your kid into a behavioral tailspin at mealtime. Besides simplifying your life at home, EW! Works great on the go, too.
Whether you’re at a birthday party, a Sunday dinner at grandma’s or a family-friendly restaurant, EW! Can help you instantly detect and plan around your kid’s finicky eating patterns. Discipline Wheel How many times in a row can you honestly put your kids in time-out? With the Discipline Wheel on hand, you can just type in your kid’s latest infraction and discover a range of creative punishments as they scroll before your eyes. (Savvy kids might begin to dub this the Wheel of Misfortune when you use it frequently enough.) Bonus: When your kids tell you how you’re the meanest parent in the world, you can whip out the Discipline Wheel app to prove them wrong.
When they see that Owen from Oklahoma lost playdate privileges for three weeks or Fiona from Florida had zero access to her mom’s iPad for a month, they’ll realize they got off pretty easy with your pathetically painless punishments. Scream Screen From downstairs, you hear a bang a thud and a blood-curdling scream, making your heart momentarily stop. Was that a mom-better-get-me-to-the-ER-pronto kind of scream, or was it a my-sister-just-took-my-favorite-doll kind of scream?
Sometimes, it’s hard to tell. While you do get better at detecting the difference over time, it’s a slow process. Scream Screen to the rescue!
Press the Record button and let the app work its magic on a five-second soundbite, using a combination of voice recognition and emotion-sensing technology. With a simple color-coding system (red = blood might be involved, better run fast; green = don’t sweat it, you have time to finish your cup of coffee first), you can quickly decide how to react.
Of course, this is just a starter list. What apps would you recommend? Author’s Bio: Lisa Beach is a freelance writer, humor blogger and recovering homeschool mom who lived to write about it. Find her at and visit, Lisa’s humor blog about midlife, family, friends and all the baggage that goes with it. By Jennifer Christgau-Aquino “Um, Mrs. Adeline’s mom” says Kay, a classmate of my 7-year-old daughter Adeline, as she peers into the dark caverns of my car.
“You can call me Jen,” I say. Jen, where am I supposed to step?” She looks back at me and then at the mess of smashed chips, books, hair ribbons, sweaters and raisins covering the carpet, which is invisible underneath the pile of junk. “Anywhere, honey, anywhere.” I just want her and the other three children, including Adeline, to get into the car and off the busy street. It’s field trip day and I’m in charge of escorting four second graders to a goat farm in Pescadero. She steps inside the car, wobbling over a book, crunching something green and once edible, and passing by melted crayons. Three others make the same perilous journey to the back of the car and buckle themselves in.
“Adeline’s mom, your car is really dirty. I mean, like really dirty. It’s like a garbage truck,” says another child Cleo. I turn the key and pull away from the curb. “I know,” I sigh. “What do you guys want to listen to?
We’ve got a long drive.” In my rearview mirror I see Tyler pull a cookie from the back cup holder. “Eat it,” my daughter, Adeline, dares. All four kids start screaming, “Ewwww.” He throws it on the floor, next to a pile of Legos. “Why don’t you take the car to one of those cleaning places. There’s one with a duck that holds a sign and dances,” he says. “Oh, yeah, that’s where my mom goes,” Kay says. “I’ll pay the kids to clean it,” I say.
“It’s their mess.” “But the duck place is way better than doing it yourself,” Tyler says. “Uh, huh,” I say.
“But that costs money and I guarantee you a day later the car will be a mess again because this one,” I say, pointing to Adeline, “won’t know the responsibility of picking after herself. She’ll just think that someone else will do it for her.” “Mom, I try to keep it clean, but it’s John,” says Adeline, pinning the mess on her 3-year-old brother. “Yeah, I don’t think John does Mad Libs and colors,” I say, referring to the crayons stuck between the tracks in the rear captain’s chair. “Well, just don’t let them bring anything into the car or eat in here,” Kay says. “Good advice,” I say. “I’d starve and be bored,” Adeline says laughing.
I see her lick her finger and start drawing a picture on the window. “Adeline, stop that. That’s disgusting,” I say. “Mom, can you put on The Trumpeter Swan?” Adeline asks.
“I want my friends to hear the story.” “You even listen to books in the car?” says Cleo with more disgust than if I’d dared her to eat the cookie. “Like I said, we spend a lot of time in here driving from one place to another,” I say. “Yeah, me too,” Kay says.
“Not me,” Tyler says. “I just go to after school care because my parents both work. You should get a job. Then your car will be cleaner.” “No, no, what you should do is just buy a new car,” Kay says.
“You should get a new car and then don’t let anyone eat in it. That’s what my mom did. You should be more like my mom.” “Mom, please with the Trumpeter Swan?” Adeline asks again. “No!” my other three passengers scream. “I don’t think that’s a popular request, honey,” I say.
“We can listen to it on your way to CCD.” “Adeline does CCD?” Cleo asks. “Is that like a music group?” “No, it’s a religious education class that she attends once a week,” I say. “Oh, I did do that last year on Sundays,” Tyler says. Hey, did you know that there’s a dead fly in a Tupperware back here?” The girls scream so loud that they drown out the passing cars on Highway 1. It’s my son’s pet. Just leave it alone,” I say.
“You should do your personal best to keep it clean,” Cleo says reciting the school’s featured personality trait this week. “Sadly, this is my personal best,” I say. “Sometimes you have to lower the expectations for your personal best, because there are too many other things you have to be good at.” “I really don’t understand what you’re saying right now,” Tyler says. “Can you turn on the radio?” Kay asks. Jennifer Christgau-Aquino is a freelance writer and former newspaper journalist who can often be seen lounging in her front yard while her two kids clean the car. She lives in California with her husband, children, dog, cat and two fish. By Catherine Campbell I always let them down gently, but firmly.
I pick a quiet place with a quick exit. Sometimes I have their things already boxed up—blues records, T-shirts I liked to sleep in, the earrings they bought me on various business trips—so they don’t have to go through an awkward epilogue. I chalk it all up to it’s not you, it’s me, and use some varying formula of “fear of commitment” plus “you deserve better.” I tell them they will find the perfect woman.
I wish them nothing but the best. And once I’m home and the door is firmly closed and locked behind me, I pour myself a good drink. The first question a man always asks when I break it off with him: “Is there someone else?” I pat their shoulders. “No, of course not.” I want to tell them the truth. I don’t introduce my son Thaddeus to all the men I date. Thaddeus is seven. He’s sweet as a candy apple when he wants to be and a little jerk on the bad days, but don’t all parents experience a piece of heaven and hell wrapped up in something that can barely peddle a tricycle?
When Thaddeus’ father and I got divorced, Thaddeus was only a year old, and I promised myself I wouldn’t be the “revolving door” house. We split custody, which I assumed would make it easier for me to kill the loneliness. But surprisingly, I found myself plunging into finding another partner. I came close once or twice, in the form of intense rebounds. And these couple of men met “the other guy” in my life.
There was the Musician, a gentle man with the loveliest voice, who tried to get my son to eat salads. We made it almost ten months, but when he said he loved me, I couldn’t say it back. Thaddeus was born without his right hand.
He’s different. Special needs, his pediatrician says.
On IEP reports and insurance forms and checks from the state, he’s considered permanently disabled, a condition that can never be fixed. “Aren’t we all screwed up?” asked the Water Park Designer, as I was in the middle of dumping him on the front porch after a few intense months.
When I had told him I had a kid, he said that was great, but his own father was an asshole and he wasn’t gonna be dad materialever. It was easy to let that one go. In the world of single motherhood, there isn’t a lot of time for relationships. It’s like trying to run between two movie theater shows at once, ducking in and out of each room, frantically trying to keep up with each plot. How can I possibly come home after a full day of work, medical appointments, occupational therapy, park play dates, grad school, cook meals for my kid and for someone else, cuddle with a boy and then a man, make meaningful conversations, and have sex? For dinner tonight: quesadillas, just the two of us.
Thaddeus practices holding a cup between his stub and his good arm. He paces the kitchen while I assemble the first quesadilla.
“Only cheese?” he asks. I nod and flip the tortilla.
“Plain and simple, how you like it.” Thaddeus repeats it in a sing-song voice. “Plain and simple.” After a few rebounds who I thought I might want to love, I went on to date the sure cases of quick implosion. Much older men, men who didn’t want kids (“they impede vacations”), ex-boyfriends passing through town, new widowers who bawled in my arms, the separated husbands—still angry and lost—the men who just needed a good preening and a road map to get them back on their way, away from me. The terms “amelia,” “anomaly,” and even “difference” all sound much more pleasing than the word “disabled.” But I can’t help use it all the time. It’s like a red light in the intersection of a sentence.
It has meaning, it has consequence. People just stop and nod. They don’t need me to explain much more. There’s a chance it was genetic. I remember how, after Thaddeus’ diagnosis, his father and I held our hands together in the ultrasound office, scooting closer, studying each other’s palms and fingerprints for the first time. I shuffle spiders out of corners, finish client reports, fold another load of laundry, repaint the flaked white trim long into the night.
In the morning, the Spiderman lunchbox sits flap-open on the counter. Jar of peanut butter. Every morning, I make his lunches. The backpack is stuffed, the prosthesis is carried or worn, and then through the car window, I watch my son blow me a big, public kiss as the kids rush around him to beat the class bell.
On the weeks when Thaddeus is at his father’s house, I sit on my back stoop alone, overlooking the garden, watching the cardinals burrow themselves into sunflower heads. I myself am starved. I shower and go to work. One autumn, on a five-day romp through Boston, I met a man who was absolutely perfect on paper. Handsome and funny, he bought me a beer before a Red Sox game and he fed me oysters afterward. I flew back to North Carolina expecting it to end, but instead of the “So long, farewell!” single date, we stayed in touch, made travel plans involving direct flights and long weekends.
I met his parents for Christmas dinner. We lounged like cats—smart, mature, romantically compatible cats—on the sundrenched couch of his living room. Each time I would fly home to Thaddeus, refreshed and focused.
Boston Guy made me feel beautiful. We would text each other excitedly about the latest TV episode we both watched.
I told him I had a son, and he laughed at my funny stories about my son’s antics. We didn’t talk about Thaddeus’ disability. We talked about everything else. He was 900 miles away, which, I figured, would give me plenty of time to fall in love with him and warm up to the idea that I could slowly bring two special men together in my life. After years of flitting away so quickly, this time—I told myself—I would stick around because I could. No pressure to jump into the hard stuff just yet. It was going to happen.
After I opened my heart to this man, I would finally have a normal triangle family with love and acceptance and all the fairytale trimmings. “Will I ever grow a hand?” Thaddeus asks. He has crawled into my bed again at 5:00 a.m., shaking off a bad dream.
He traces my face with his stump. His eyes are big, the shade of blue that makes you feel like you’re sailing paper boats on an endless day. The first girl to break his heart—what will she look like?
Will she let him down easy as she can and what formula of stereotypical things will she say? Will she have his things already packed for him? “You won’t grow a hand,” I tell him, and hold him so he’ll fall back asleep. “But I have extras.
I can help you whenever you want.” One afternoon, I was on the phone with a friend. My relationship with Boston Guy had just ended on an amicable yet bittersweet note. The distance is just too much, he said. It’s not fair to either of us. I cried a lot more than I expected. I called a friend for consolation about Boston Guy, and then the topic turned to what it was like to raise our sons.
At one point, we started talking about Thaddeus’s disability, what teenage life might be for him. I tried to spin the positive as I always had, going on and on about prom and guitar lessons and driving the car. “But you can’t know that,” my friend said. “None of us can know exactly what Thaddeus is going through. You’ll never be inside his head. No matter how close you are to him, you’re not him. You have all your parts of yourself.” The first girl to break Thaddeus’ heart probably won’t know what she’s doing.
Maybe it will have nothing to do with the fact that he can’t tie his own shoes or cut a steak, or that she is tired of standing on one side of his body, the only one with the fingers that interlock with hers. Lowering myself onto the couch, I stared at the coffee table in silence.
“Hey,” my friend said over the line. “You still there?” “Yeah,” I replied.
“Still here.” We talked a bit more, and then hung up. I sat and repeated the conversation in my head. It dawned on me that not once had I ever used the phrase “ me time,” it was always non-mommy timea worn groove of a joke among my friends.
Not once had I left the word mother out of the description of myself: on resumes, through social media, at cocktail parties. My identity as the mother of a disabled child floated around everywhere. When I found out I was pregnant, my sister had said, “This is the best and longest companion you’ll probably have.” The way she blurted it out, like it wasn’t coming from her but from somewhere else we couldn’t possibly imagine, and why she was saying that a tiny bean of a something growing inside me was going to be a better person than my husband didn’t make an ounce of sense. Will I ever fall in love beyond the love and commitment I have for my son? Will I be able to hold both loves at the same time?
I’m scared that the answer may be no in the end, so I guess for now, I should just say, I don’t know. What I do know is right now we have T-ball practice. Thaddeus and I walk a few blocks to the recreation field. I’m lugging the T-ball set while he’s skipping along and whistles to himself while I set it up. Try-outs will be here in a month and I want him to have a fighting chance.
I don’t want people to notice his missing hand but they will. So we practice throwing and catching. We use this trick we found on a video of a one-armed kid playing baseball, this trick of flipping the glove from hand to underarm. Thaddeus is not very good at catching. Perhaps it runs on my side of the family. We do drills: rolls, pop-ups, batting practice My son swings and connects, it’s not the satisfying crack of a wooden bat but a THUMP of two plastic toys, and the ball whizzes past my head with startling ferocity. “Okay, now, run as fast as you can!” I yell.
He hesitates. “Run!” He drops the bat and throws all of his tiny force into a sprint, rounding first, then second and third, reaching home. I throw my arms up in victory. But he doesn’t stop. He runs another lap, pumping his arms, his stump and his natural hand blurry with speed. He runs another lap. As he circles, his face is lit up.
He’s laughing. I tell him to keep going, heck, we’ve got all day.
I stand on the pitcher’s mound, and for a moment I wonder what it would be like to see a third person in this field, someone on the horizon, holding the plastic ball in their hands, and what it would be like if I could wave that man infield, my arm moving in a way that already felt warm and familiar, gesturing for him to come closer. Catherine Campbell’s essays and fiction appear in The New York Times, McSweeney’s, Arcadia, Drunken Boat, Ploughshares online, and elsewhere. Her work has been anthologized and nominated for the Pushcart Prize. Find her on Twitter @thecatcampbell. By Alysa Salzberg Most people who know me well know that I love to walk. I’m not athletic, and am sort of morally against most activities that cause me to sweat. But a good, long stroll doesn’t faze me.
When I was in middle school, I was bullied for being chubby. Amid reassurances that I was beautiful, my mom also invited me to start race-walking with her through our hilly neighborhood. I didn’t lose much weight from those regular walks with my mom, and it was my family’s support and something within me that made me overcome the bullying. But at some point, walking became about more than discipline and trying to please others.
Knowing that few things could be harder than climbing steep hills in the hot, pollen-dense north Georgia air, I wasn’t afraid of long walks. Over the years, that’s meant fearlessly crossing perilous highways or entire towns and cities on foot. Walking has been a major way I’ve discovered the places I’ve traveled to. Living in a city, it’s also the main way I get around. It’s also something else: a way to dull my anxiety. Whether I’m at home, or on public transportation, if I feel a wave of nervous energy or panic coming over me, I go outside and walk for a while, letting my quick, sure steps keep me steady. When my son was born, he became my walking partner in my adopted home of Paris, France.
Sometimes our walks were simply to run some errands and get some air. Often they were also spurred on by crying that seemed endless, or the fears and challenges of new motherhood.
I’d push his orange stroller through familiar neighborhoods and new ones. We took on cobblestoned streets and steep hills. We slathered ourselves in sunscreen in the summer. Sometimes, he slept. But often he looked out curiously at the world.
He seemed to be as invigorated by our walks as I was. As my son’s gotten older, our strolls have gotten more fun — when he starts singing, I can’t help but smile. But things have also gotten more complicated.
Now, there must be snacks and a toy that may get droppedor thrown. For a while, we weathered phases, like when he’d quietly remove his shoes and socks onto the street as we strolled along. And then there was that month-long period where he kept stealing fruit from grocery store displays and market stalls.
What amazed me then was how many store owners and stall operators let us keep the free fruit – or even gave us more. It seemed strange that in the months leading up to my son’s first steps, everyone told me “Wait ‘til he’s walking,” in that knowing, teasing tone that I’ve never found useful. What’s the point of making parents dread what’s to come? And anyway, I was excited about it. I knew it wouldn’t be easy at first – I’d have to help him, and my usual swift pace would be significantly slowed.
But soon, I imagined, he’d be my walking companion on a new level, keeping pace at my side as we strolled along, chatting and singing the songs he likes. And then, he started walking, and it was harder. But not in the way everyone said it would be. What no one told me about this new-walker phase is that my son knows how to walk, but he doesn’t know the rules. I didn’t realize there were rules, either. Or, rather, I’d forgotten that I’d ever had to learn them in the first place. I never thought I was that far from childhood until I realized that I’d forgotten how fascinating dirty cigarette butts are, or that there was a time I didn’t suspect that a dog might have peed on a fallen leaf.
I’d forgotten a time when nothing could hurt me, and the pure, fearless joy of running towards headlights. A joy that’s even greater for my son than it could be for me; he doesn’t carry around a stuffed animal, but a plastic toy truck. I guess I thought that with all the months of observation under his belt, my son would take to walking the streets of Paris like a pro, as I assumed every Parisian kid did. No matter how young, they always seem to obediently hold the hand of the adult walking with them, or else obediently follow, or hold onto their (or their sibling’s) carriage. Lately, though, I’ve started watching fellow pedestrians with young kids more closely, and it seems like my son’s not the only lawless walker.
Other parents do struggle, too. It probably seems obvious to most people, but I have to admit, I’d never really paid much attention. I was always too distracted by Parisian dogs, who are not only fun to watch, but usually marvels of discipline, politely entering many stores or restaurants, or even encountering other dogs without much of a fuss. And anyway, it just doesn’t look as dramatic as it feels when it’s your own child who’s insisting on walking into traffic, or leaning down to pick up the contents of a burst trash bag.
It’s brought me to what some people might consider a controversial conclusion: Maybe the truth is, just like those dogs, who you’ll sometimes see being disciplined as excited puppies, kids need to be trained to walk For a few months now, whenever I take my son out for a walk not involving his carriage, I’ve started seeing it as a fun, albeit important, training session. I remind him that we don’t cross the street until the little electric man turns green (he doesn’t quite understand colors yet, but I guess I want to show him there is some kind of logic). I tell him sternly not to pick up things on the sidewalk. I firmly direct him to go in the direction I say we’re headed, if he doesn’t follow on his own. I’ve gotten used to saying “That’s not our car, so we can look, but we can’t touch it.” In winter, the cold weather and our frequent food shopping jaunts inspired me to do indoor sessions, too.
In bigger-sized shops or grocery stores, I’d let my son out of his carriage and follow him carefully. By now, it’s become a game: How many things can I get on my list before he heads in a completely different direction, or somehow puts himself in peril (his fascination with motorized floor cleaners knows no bounds)?
I’m happy to say it seems like it’s working. There are still the occasional tantrums and insistent wanderings – including, alas, into the street if I don’t stop him.
There was that recent near-disaster when he discovered one store’s wine section and tried to pry a few bottles from the shelves. And the almost-shoplifting incident, when he snatched a pair of lacey underwear off a wrack – I think because the anti-theft tag resembles a wheel.
But overall, he seems to be less intent on picking things up off the ground or pilfering fruit, so there’s that. I’m proud, but I have to admit I’m also conflicted.
I know my son has to learn to follow the rules of walking so that he can walk beside me – or even, simply survive. But a part of me also realizes some of his discoveries are being cut short, his wanderings stopped before they could ever begin.
Walking is a way to calm my racing heart. Seeing the city I love unfurl before me has always soothed me.
It seems strange not to let him walk the way he chooses, like snatching a gift from his hands. Every time I tell him not to pick up that leaf, or nudge him in a particular direction, a part of me stands stubbornly with him, understanding. Alysa Salzberg is a writer and worrier. She lives in Paris, France, with an eccentric Frenchman, a car-obsessed toddler, and a dog-like cat. Besides them, she loves books, travel, and cookies. You can read more about her adventures in parenting and other matters on, or feel free to stop by her perhaps-too-sparkly. By Carla Sameth It’s my son Raphael’s first day of high school today and I want to crawl back under my covers.
I’m not sure how we got here. After four miscarriages in a row, he was “the one that took.” From my first look at him, post C-Section, albeit I was on Demerol, I thought what an old soul, what a darling-–so welcomed to the world. Just yesterday, it seems, I noticed for the first time that he had body odor. We were in his room and I noticed a strange but familiar smell. I leaped up and shouted “my little boy’s grown up!” I thought of adding it to his baby book but there was no spot for that.
It was only months before his Bar Mitzvah, still no facial hair or under his arms, no deep voice. Fortunately, like his friends, he uses body wash and cologne and showers regularly. I tried to accustom him to finer scents like Armani but his friends have been known to unleash an entire spray can of Tag in his bedroom. From age 8-12, boys go from puppy dogs to war video games to Beyonce.
The transition is a collage, what you see decorating their walls; Tupac, Bob Marley and Martin Luther King are on my son’s walls too. When Raphael was 12, we went to Israel for a wedding and a pre-Bar Mitzvah trip. Jerusalem was oppressive with its over-arching trifecta of religious intrusiveness. But leaving for Tel Aviv, Raphael spied the olive skinned Sabras wearing bikinis and Uzis and said, “Now, we’re talking!” At 14, Raphael still has a few stuffed animals close by; besides the classic soft comforting puppy, his collection includes Brian, the perverted dog from “Family Guy,” a show he will watch non-stop if allowed. His voice has finally deepened. Last night I lay next to him for the one second he’d let me. “Mom I’m tired, please let me go to sleep,” he said.
But I hugged him and kissed him for a minute longer, then teased him telling him I’d sing a lullaby until he gently said “Mom, come on, I have to sleep.” As oppressive as a mother’s love, worry, nagging, admiration, and even the sound of her breath can be, I know for a fact that my 13 -year-old son and his peers still crave and demand the hugs, the caresses, the permission to throw their arms, their bodies close to their moms. But only on their terms. Initiated by me, I’m sure to get anything from a polite rebuff and a pull-away to a snarl.
Yet I know he loves telling me about something that is weird and exciting and funny, maybe even crude. He fights with himself whether to confide in me about a girl he’s known since fourth grade.
A girl he now likes. I like the idea; I’m friends with her mom. Once I get interested, it’s all over; the secret goes away and is filed off limits until I might get thrown a scrap of information. After all, his mother, not a sibling, not a friend, not his dad who falls somewhere in between sibling and friend. I’m the one who can be “predictably unpredictable,” sometimes just flying off the handle, but with a word from him, either making me laugh or warning me I’ve gone too far, I often snap right out of it. Those damned hormones–mine and his. This didn’t happen overnight.
And I’m not so adept at teasing him out of his rage or irritation or just simply exasperation with me, my existence. The sound of my being. Perhaps the reason I have felt so melancholy for so many days, apart from my empty bank account, is also this transition. He is constantly disgusted with me, rejecting me, arousing an illogical (I know this is teenage behavior, I know this is peri-menopause) outrage in me. “How can you not want to ever be around me, not want to be part of this household?“ I rant. How can you this and how can you that and it all only brings us back to Shel Silverstein’s poem. The first one Raphael ever memorized.
Our mantra, “A Cat, A Kid & A Mom.” The poem tells us not to be shocked when the cat, the kid and the mom behave just as they should: roaming, not always wanting to cuddle, not always being patient and calm. Take that poem, a heap of hormones minus one cat, and you’ll understand us. The day before high school starts for Raphael, my older sister takes a cartoon from her refrigerator and gives it to me: Teen Translator, “Maybe this will help you; I don’t need it anymore,” she tells me.
The cartoon features a picture of a disinterested, hunched over teen, his empty voice bubble and his tired looking, hunched over mom and instructs us to push a button for a translation. The translation is: “Feed me, fund me, leave me alone.” The night before Raphael starts high school, he doesn’t try to crawl into bed with me as he has done so often before and will again in the future. I get out of bed, make him breakfast and he walks out the door to head for his first day of high school without a backwards glance. This one day, he is impatient to get to school on time; he doesn’t allow me to take another photo. Carla Sameth is a writer living in Los Angeles. Her work has been published in several anthologies and has appeared in online and print publications including Full Grown People, Mutha Magazine, Narratively, Pasadena Weekly, Tikkun, and La Bloga. By Emily Grosvenor When I found out my sister and her Chinese-American husband were going to have their first child, I began scouring my personal library and then my favorite online booksellers looking for books with Asian children in them.
Specifically, I was looking for those snuggle-in, mother-baby bonding board books capturing what it is like to fall in love with your child as he grows. I found nothing. Tough times for diversity demand subversive measures.
Like a Sharpie to your favorite children’s book. So I grabbed my nearest black marker, and colored in the hair of the spiky-haired blond kid on one of my own family favorite, I Love You Through And Through, by Bernadette Rossetti Shustak. I took a special, subversive pleasure on the page “I love your hair and eyes. Your giggles and cries.” Parents and caregivers with children who have mixed ethnicity face a special challenge when looking for books. The goal shouldn’t be to give them all books that look like them.
But rapidly changing demographics of our country have not corresponded to an equally fast change within publishing. It is still difficult to find books with characters of mixed heritage. Now that I’m writing my own picture book I know how dire the situation is for diversity in the genre. Half of all children reading picture books in America today are non-white, according to a 2013 study by the Cooperative Children’s Book Center. And yet, only 10.48% of children’s books featuring non-white characters.
Latino children make up 25% of kids in public school, but only 3% of human characters in children’s books. Many books featuring Asian-Americans, while wonderful unto themselves, deal specifically with the theme of having parents from two cultures. That’s great, but there just aren’t a lot of books where the characters just are an ethnicity.
It’s not difficult to see how this happens. Traditionally, publishers pick the illustrators for picture books, not the author. They have power to craft a character based on who they think is the largest possible audience for that book. It’s not surprising, really, that a book about a little girl who hides in the patterns of nature would end up being a little brown-haired girl, or, heaven forefend, a little boy. My forthcoming children’s book about falling love with tessellations (repeating tile patterns) features a “Chinese-American girl.” Now a white writer who chooses to make her characters non-white faces special challenges and must do her due diligence to create a story that is culturally sensitive and true to experience. Who am I to write a Chinese-American child into any story?
The organization We Need Diverse Books, launched first as #weneeddiversebooks in 2014 by a group of motivated industry leaders, writers, illustrators and diversity advocates, provides excellent resources for writers looking to incorporate diverse characters in their books. The information flies in the face of every edict to new writers – write what you know – and challenges them to do the research to find out what they don’t know.
That means, avoiding stereotypes and making sure they are inadvertently attaching ethnicity to villainy, for example. In my case, my character’s ethnicity served a personal purpose.
I wanted my niece, Piper, to always have a book that looked like her, and I wanted it to be a book that didn’t deal specifically with the issues of having parents from two cultural or ethnic heritages. I also wanted my own sons to read books that looked like their cousins. The message I want to send them is not “appreciate the differences,” but “we are the same.” But that doesn’t mean I won’t be testing my book with an audience of Asian-American moms, dads and kids from various family constellations before my book goes to print.
I want to know what is working and what I may not have thought of, the subtle ways the existence of ethnicity shapes even the simplest children’s story. As for the kid testers, I haven’t found a single one that looks at my character, Tessa, and thinks: She’s half-Asian! My favorite response to date came from our friend’s four-year-old, blonde-haired, blue-eyed daughter, Lennon. She said: “I’m Tessa, too. Because she’s smart and I’m smart.” Emily Grosvenor is an Oregon-based writer. Her children’s book Tessalation!
Is ollow her. Photo: @OtnaYdur. By Mary Plouffe Just when you think you’ve done it right, you’re wrong. Wait ‘til they are ready; wait ‘til they ask, the advice goes.
And one winter morning just after breakfast, my son, age 5, posed the question. “So, I get how the baby might look like you ‘cause it’s growing in your tummy.
But what I don’t get is how it could look like Dad.” The sex talk. Right then and there. Perfectly primed, I began. And my son listened intently as I discussed sperm and eggs and the process of conception. He offered no expression, no comment — no reaction. When I was done, he was still silent. “Do you have any questions?” I asked.
“Yes, Mom I do,” he said, looking at me sternly. “This is very important information. Why haven’t you told me this before now?” He looked betrayed. I trusted you, his expression said, and you let me down. I was chastened, chided by a kindergartener, shamed by my own son who found me wanting. His words echoed in my head.
Very important information, why haven’t you told me? Reponses flashed through my mind. You didn’t ask. We’re having a baby in a few months It didn’t seem necessary until now.
But I was looking at an expression that would have accepted none of them as an excuse. And he was right. This was the infant who locked onto new faces from the safety of my arms, his expression frozen as he absorbed the new image with disconcerting intensity, until the subject squirmed. This was the two-year-old who tugged on my arm in the midst of festivities at the office Christmas party.
“Mom, can I interrupt? I have two more questions about death.” The three year old who pleaded for workbooks on letters and numbers and addition and subtraction at the grocery store. “I don’t care if it’s hard. I want to learn it.” This was the almost 4-year-old who tackled fractions on a long bus ride from Maine to Maryland. “Mom, how can I still be three?
I’ve been three for so long,” he asked as we headed to visit his cousins. So out came the paper, and we drew circles and halved them and quartered them, and talked about months in a year.
Later that weekend, we ended up in a Quick Care center to clean up a nasty scalp wound that flattened the left side of his blond curls with blood. A nurse took his hand. “Hi Justin, I’m going to clean up your cut, Ok?
How old are you?” “Three and eleven-twelfths” he said, as I followed them down the hall toward the exam room. So, as I stood in the kitchen that morning after our sex talk, I realized he was right. He’d let me know since the day he was born that he wanted to learn everything as soon as he could. Not when he needed it, not when he asked, but as soon as he was able to understand. And the look of betrayal on his face said something else to me as well. Something that made me very uncomfortable. If you didn’t tell me this, what other important things have you not told me?
So I apologized. And we had a different talk. One about how Moms and Dads aren’t always sure when to explain things to children, and so they wait. And about how that didn’t really work for him. “I like to learn things,” he said firmly, his steel eyes blue eyes mirroring disappointment. “You know that. And I want you to teach me.” We agreed that if there was important information I knew about things I should tell him that.
“Even if it might be boring grown up stuff? I asked “Just say ‘I know lots more about this. Do you want to know it?’” he coached. “If I don’t, I will tell you.” “Deal,” I said. Over the years there were a few odd reactions from other parents, when I’d follow a quick definition with “and there’s lots more to know about that” but he was happy to say “You can tell me the rest after baseball practice, Mom.” Mary E. Plouffe Ph.D is a clinical psychologist, writer and mother of three. She has published essays and memoir on NPR, the Survivor Review, On the Issues, and Mothers Always Write among others.
She is currently seeking a publisher for two books: I Know it in my Heart: Walking through Grief with a Child, and Listening lessons: Reflections on the Grace of being heard. Find her at www.maryplouffe.com. By Nancy Brier Lauren and I toss down our bikes, shade our eyes with flat hands.
“This is a good spot,” she says, and we start to pick. “You get the high ones, I get the low ones, right Mom?” She squats, scanning thorny branches for clumps of purple. Blackberry juice trickles down my arm, sticky and sweet. Lauren, crouched on the pavement, looks up at me, and laughs, her lips already stained, her bucket empty. “Put some of those berries in your pail,” I chide, “or we’ll never have enough for pie.” Summer is in its final glory, the sun still warm but not too hot.
Pear pickers drop skinny ladders in nearby orchards, the last of the soft fruits to be harvested. But there’s another crop ready to pick too, the crop that keeps me up at night, its fragrance hanging in the air wet and pungent. My husband and I moved here from the Bay Area as soon as we learned I was pregnant. Entrepreneurs, the two of us worked all the time in those days building businesses and transforming worn out properties into beautiful living spaces.
We liked our life but knew it would be impossible to maintain with a baby in tow. One day, he found a walnut orchard on the internet.
“How hard could it be?” he asked. We sold our business and moved to a town we had never heard of in a place far away from city life. Lake County has the largest natural lake in California, the cleanest air in the nation, spectacular mountains and small towns untouched by consumerism.
We bought the orchard and a run down farmhouse with space to spread out. Our walnuts flourished, but within a few years, that other crop did too. Within the past several years, people have flocked to Lake County from all over the country to grow pot, and the cleanest air in the nation started to smell. “I think you have a skunk problem,” a visitor said to me tentatively while he was visiting our home. I had to explain that the skunk he smelled was pot. When I did a Google search, I counted 47 outdoor pot grows in backyards that surround our home.
More cultivation takes place in doors. In fact, PG&E, our energy provider, said that Lake County uses three times as much electricity as an average community this size. Growers come here because the climate is perfect for cultivating their crop. A patchwork of local, state, and federal laws ensures that pot will be a lucrative commodity for years to come. And law enforcement in this rural, mountainous area is stretched, a guarantee that only a fraction of rule breakers will get caught. Some people think of pot as a victimless crime. But living here has taught me that it comes with guns, dangerous dogs, other drugs and lots of cash.
A mile from our home, a young man was shot dead on a Christmas morning, one pot farmer robbing another. Emergency vehicles raced past our house, and my husband and I exchanged glances as our little girl and her elderly grandmother, thankfully unaware, opened gifts by the tree. Ten miles away in the other direction, a teenage girl was imprisoned in a small box at a pot farm.
And on the other side of our county, a woman was killed in a car crash as deputies sped to the site of a grow. Pot has made our little community dangerous. When teenagers ride their horses down Main Street to get cokes at the corner store, I marvel at the old fashioned charm all around me. But when I see other teenagers with vacant stares and marijuana leaves emblazoned on their tee shirts, I see a different picture. The most dangerous time is during harvest, when that valuable cash crop is poised to be turned into cash. Home invaders broke into our neighbor’s house but found a frightened, elderly woman.
They had the wrong address; the pot they sought was across the street. Lauren and I plunked berries into our buckets, talked about the kind of crust we’ll make for our pie.
“Let’s grind up chocolate cookies,” Lauren suggests, “or make a criss-cross pattern with short bread.” I smiled, but my eyes were trained on the slats in the wood fence that divided our berry patch from a field. Tell tale bright green jagged leaves shined brilliantly in the waning sunlight. I hadn’t realized that our berries were a fence board’s width away from a pot field. “I think we have enough now,” I said, walking toward our bikes. We pedaled home and set our buckets down on beautiful new countertops.
Pink sunlight streamed in from perfectly placed skylights, and my favorite color palate surrounded us in our spacious refurbished kitchen. Lauren and I decided to go with a cobbler, buttery and delicious, the last thing we baked in that fabulous oven.
Nancy Brier lives with her husband and daughter. They recently relocated to Palm Desert, California where they are restoring their new desert home.