So what does my testimony, or anybody’s testimony, amount to? It doesn’t amount to proof of anything, that’s for sure. For all you know, I’m deliberately deceiving you, or am deceiving myself. My data may be wrong, my reasoning may be wrong, my “knowings” may be wrong, my conclusions may be wrong. As always, you’re pretty much on your own, and you’re pretty much going to believe whatever you allow yourself to believe. The only other choice is to find an authority to follow, trying not to remember that belief in authority is itself a belief, not a known.
This being so, can there be any value to you in listening to what I think I know about spiritual realities? Ohhhh, yes! But not just mine.
I am writing this, not to persuade you of anything (which I couldn’t do anyway), but to suggest to you that your life is more magical than you may have thought. Certain types of phenomena have been reported for centuries and denied only in the past few hundred years. If we take them seriously, they cast serious doubt on the materialist fantasy that has passed for science and common-sense in our day. And that has important implications for your life!
Those inconvenient reports include such topics as ghosts. out-of-body experiences, spirit possession, witchcraft, telepathy, afterlife experiences, the power of prayer, the ability to heal by touch or and at a distance… and plenty more.
If such things are real, clearly the commonly accepted view of the world life is not.
Both states of affairs can’t be true. If reality is one way, your life means one thing (or maybe no thing.) If it is the other way, then your life means something radically different. Not everybody cares about the question; they take life as it comes. But if you do care, the question arises: What are you going to do – what could you do – to find out which way it is?
There’s only one way to know. You have to investigate. Stepping off the beaten path can be somewhat scary, but the land beyond the beaten path is not a featureless wilderness. Others have gone this way, and many have told at least some part of their story. You can’t just take another person’s word for the way things are, but you can listen to their testimony as a sort of interim report.
I drew up my a summary of my own interim report 10 years ago in my book Muddy Tracks. My own experiences (including reading and thinking, trying to make sense of these experiences) had convinced me by then of 10 interrelated points.
1) We are immortal spirits temporarily inhabiting bodies.
2) This life is not our only life.
3) We “individuals” are all connected one to another.
4) We as individuals are fragments of a larger being that cares about us and can be trusted.
5) Nonetheless, this larger being sees things differently.
6) The larger being is a source of foresight and wisdom.
7) The larger being contacts us.
8) We can contact the larger being.
9) Thus our lives need not be disconnected and solitary.
10) Nonetheless, we may often lose communication.
A lot has happened since I drew up that list, and I would include additional items today, but I see no reason to retract any of these. Neither do I see why anything on the list should affront anyone of whatever religion.
As a matter of fact, I think that this summary is pretty close to what the major religions have always said. It’s just that words get in the way. You say Allah, he says God, she says Jehovah, and you think you’re talking about different things. One says “higher power,” another says “still small voice,” a third says “conscience,” a fourth says “inner knowing,” and suddenly you’re calling each other infidels, when you’ve actually said the same thing!
It’s time – and well past time – to stop quarreling over language. It is time to stop fearing that if we listen open-heartedly to another way of putting things, it might seduce us from the truth. It’s time that we all paid more attention to figuring out the spirit behind the words of other people’s interim reports.
I have spent the past week participating in an intensive residential course on remote viewing given at The Monroe Institute (TMI). After I take some time to organize my notes I will be posting some thoughts, probably in several pieces.
A friend has recently established a blog that he calls The Sacred Path. I have listed it in my blogroll, but I particularly call your attention to one of his posts that he calls A Letter from Guidance:
Did you ever wonder if remote viewing was more than just people fantasizing that they were psychic? After all, if remote viewing is possible — if any form of psychic ability is real — the whole materialist fantasy falls to the ground. Well, you can call the cleanup crew to pick up the pieces. Thirty years and more of remote viewing have provided enough data to put the question beyond doubt — if you are intellectually honest enough to actually look at the evidence. What’s more, remote viewing is something like chess in that it is pretty easy to learn the moves, but a lifetime would not exhaust what there was to learn.
In another entry, I’m going to describe in a little detail one of my remote viewing exercises, which should serve as an example of the possibilities and difficulties. First though, this sketch of how it is done.
Ideally remote viewing involves at least three individuals: the viewer, the monitor, and the person judging the results. Even if you remote-view by yourself, you will still have to perform all three functions. It’s easier if different people take different roles. They are all essential.
The monitor, not the viewer, is responsible for collecting information. As monitor, you want to provide a sequence of on-target moments and provide time for the viewer to objectify them. It is a delicate balance. You want to keep prodding the viewer for more glimpses of the target, and more details, but you don’t want to accidentally pull the viewer off target by suggesting things.
During a remote viewing, the viewer will be “on target” or will be “reporting.” In the first case, viewers will tend to use present tense language, may make gestures in the air trying to describe things without words, and in general will be more “there” than “here.” Hard to describe, easy to recognize. In the second case, their language will tend to be in the past tense, they are more likely to make eye contact, and they will probably try to name something rather than describe it.
The monitor takes notes, and encourages the viewer to write and/or sketch. After the viewing is over, the monitor sees that the viewer writes a short narrative of the session, because the act of writing the summary will frequently remind the viewer of details that had been perceived but not reported. Sketching is encouraged at all times during the process and we found out just how valuable the most fragmentary sketch may be, as opposed to the narrative which may be fluent but largely or even totally imaginary.
Evaluating a remote viewing session is a skill in itself. You must make sense of data that is by nature a fragmentary, elliptical, often contradictory. Some of what you will be looking at will be fantasy, produced by the viewer’s left brain trying to make sense of impressions. Just as it is important that the monitor not steer the process of perception, it is important that the judge not steer the process of interpretation.
Viewers’ descriptions can be very general, which is not very helpful. We know that the grass is green and the sky is blue. It is up to the judge to find whatever is unique. A judge who has no idea what the target was, and who did not set up the target pool of photos, should be able to select from four photos the one the viewer was contacting.
Now, since the target pool was selected with the intent to produce pictures vary different from each other, you would think that — if the viewer produced a good viewing — choosing among them would be relatively straightforward. I can say from experience that it is not that simple. However, neither is it impossible. At least two of the photos usually can be eliminated pretty easily. The last two, however, may be surprisingly difficult. Pictures with little in common in terms of subject matter turn out to have surprising amounts in common when searched for fragmentary details and qualities.
When we attempt remote viewing, our minds tempt us into three errors: memory, imagination, analysis. We will get an impression and our mind will say “oh yeah that’s just like x and such.” Or our minds will attempt to fill in the dots, constructing fragmentary or elaborate fantasy pictures. Or the mind will say “it is round, yellow, it must be the sun.”
It seems to me that we do this in ordinary life, no less. But here the process is more obvious, because the underlying data is so ephemeral, so hard to grasp, so intangible by definition. The first step in avoiding these pitfalls is to become aware that they exist. The cardinal rule in remote viewing is “describe, don’t name.” It is better to report raw perceptions. Names pigeonhole things. Naming distances us from them.
Course facilitator Skip Atwater listed five behaviors in remote viewing, and you might say that the week was a long exercise in learning and practicing them.
1. Relaxing, turning inward. Kinesthetic feelings replace mental noise. Learn ways to maintain it or jump back into it.
2. The resonance phase. Connecting with the information of interest. Different viewers experience different portions of the target.
3. Listening stage. Interior very calm: open attention versus focused attention. Not reporting perceptions, that is later.
4. Becoming aware of the information
A — the moment before, a momentary disorientation
B — awareness. It comes in fragments.
C. a brief period after. Let the thoughts blossom.
5. Describing, reporting. Objectify the perceptions. Strategies to translate without naming.
Those who are on TMI mailing list will have noticed, in the latest package, an announcement of the forthcoming biography of Bob Monroe by Ronald Russell. Since I edited that book as one of my last projects for Hampton Roads, I thought I’d say a couple things about it.
For years I had been worried because the generation that knew Bob was dying off, and the story was still untold. I could just imagine 30 years going by, and someone writing a biography, not having known him, not having known the reality of the early days of the Institute, not having known who was reliable and who was not reliable as a source of information about those days, perhaps not having any first-hand experience of Hemi-Sync, perhaps not knowing one person who actually knew Bob or knew of what had gone on in the many aspects of Bob’s life.
Worse, I could imagine such a writer picking up rumors and distortions, and being unable to accurately weigh them. Bob had a shadow side, as do we all, and those closest to him naturally experienced it most strongly. I felt it was important that this shadow side be acknowledged, lest in attempting to create a plastic, flawless image, we actually set up the conditions for a later debunker.
The only biography of Bob ever published was Bayard Stockton’s Catapult, published in 1989. Stockton, a journalist, had been to Gateway and had had his life transformed because of it. (Imagine that!) He extensively interviewed Bob and many of those who knew Bob and put in much valuable information that otherwise probably would have been lost. However the book was badly edited — perhaps not edited at all — and has been out of print a good long while. (Every so often I fantasize about getting in touch with Stockton’s heirs and obtaining permission to edit it so that what is useful in it would not be lost. However this is probably a fantasy that will never be realized.)
Given these concerns, you can imagine how thrilled I was to hear that Russ Russell was going to write a biography. And perhaps you can imagine why I insisted that no one at Hampton Roads edit that book but me. I had worked with Russ on the first Monroe-related book that Hampton Roads published, Using the Whole Brain, which was a compendium of articles describing various uses people had found for Hemi-Sync. (Using the Whole Brain was later superseded by another book that Russ edited, Focusing the Whole Brain.)
Russ has all the credentials I could have asked for. He and his wife Jill were friends of Bob and Nancy Monroe. They were and are deeply involved in bringing Hemi-Sync to Europe. For years they ran the Russell Centre out of Cambridge, England, and now they continue the work from their home in Scotland. They have been members of the Monroe Board of Advisors since approximately the day before forever. And, in some ways best of all, Ross is a professional writer, author of 18 (I think it is) books.
His ability to take many threads and weave them into a comprehensible whole is impressive. I well remember being almost in awe at the job he did, in one chapter, in describing Bob’s Whistlefield years, in which he went from authoring a book to creating a Monroe Institute. This is not nearly the straightforward logical path that it may seem now. How many authors develop institutions that allow people to discover untapped internal potential? Some, but few. Russ was able to take many different strands and show their interrelation without distortion or compression, yet without spending the chapter to interminable lengths.
I particularly liked the many portraits of people who were involved for a while and have now moved on — some to other things, some to the other side. Trainers, administrators, channelers — those who have been around for a while will recognize many friends. Dave Wallis, for example. George Durette, who is of course still here. Melissa Jager. Many, many others. It’s nice to see them remembered in print.
The book comes out at what seems to me just the right time. Laurie’s passing marks a sort of coming of age of the Institute, putting its direction for the first time beyond the Monroe family. I feel like Laurie consolidated Bob’s physical legacy, and now it is up to us to assure that it grows, thrives, and does not lose its way or forget its roots. Russ’s book ought to help that process, by reminding us what those roots were.