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It was during a three-hour period on the evening of April 23, 1996, that most of this material was processed--"channeled," for want of a word--though the experience felt less like channeling than it did a complete inhabitation. I'm new at this so I'm not at all sure what channeling is supposed to feel like. There was no loss of consciousness, no voice change, or foreign accent. More than a dream, more real than any out-of-body experience I can recall, it continued to rattle and revisit my entire person for the next fifteen days. More than that, it triggered a response in me that continues to this day.
I have taken the liberty of editing out some repetition, and rearranging the material in a format personal to me. There will be times when the voice you are hearing will clearly be mine; at other times the distinction will not be so clear. But aside from that, I share it with you as it was presented to me.
I live alone in a small apartment complex wrapped around an open courtyard and situated on the edge of the city. Sitting back from the road, the complex is quiet, if not secluded. I've been living here for several months, working on a book, recovering from a nagging illness. Broke, physically spent, and emotionally exhausted, my life was rapidly approaching critical mass.
I've meditated for most of my adult life, but I'm not one who "prays" in any traditional sense. I have no opinions about it; it's just not something I'm inclined to do. However, on the evening of April 23--an evening noticeably warmer than the ones preceding it--I was walking across the courtyard, near to tears, whining at the stars, shouting at God . . . begging, beseeching the Divine Mother to just give me some relief. Take me to the next whatever-there-is; I don't want to understand one more thing. I don't need to process or prepare myself in one more way. Just take me.
Back in my apartment, I kicked off my shoes and stretched out on the bed. I had not slept well for days, but suddenly I felt relaxed and soon fell dead asleep.
In the middle of the night--I don't know the exact time--something, a noise or movement in the room, caused me to wake up suddenly. The room was electrically charged; every hair on my body was standing on end. Outside my door a large number of people seemed to be whispering and stirring around. I sat up, put on my shoes, and went out into the courtyard. But it was not the simple tree-lined courtyard I am used to. It had become a huge and meandering rock garden made of small stones in spiraling patterns and pools filled with water. You are beside me. I'm not sure who You is, but together we are looking up into the night sky, trying to locate the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters. The sky is clear, the stars unusually bright. Heat lightning flickers in the distance. The air smells like it might after a spring rain. We are not alone. There are hundreds, maybe thousands of people in the garden looking at the stars. There is a sense of pleasant anticipation about everyone, a quiet excitement. No one is talking. It's as though everything that can be said has been said. When the stars fade behind what looks like a thin vapor of clouds, I think nothing of it. However, they continue to fade until they appear to be behind tinted glass; like looking at the stars through a moonroof. Then, even as we watch, the stars, in a flash of orange light, disappear altogether and are replaced by lights of precise geometric shapes; some perfectly round, some long and rectangular, a fleet of lights. I am watching this. We are watching this together as the fleet of lights descends slowly above us all, materializing gradually into a colossal airship, replacing the night sky in all directions.
Even as it occurs to me that the phenomenon we are witnessing is a spacecraft descending on us, I realize that we have been joined by a hundred or more tall beings, very tall, looking like cylinders of light, post holes of light. You know how a post hole is filled with dark before it's filled with post? Well, these were the opposite of that; these were post holes filled with light. And density. Bone-hard post holes of light were circulating through the crowd.
One of them gripped my arm and when I turned to look he had taken on a human form, wearing levis and a blue flannel shirt. He let go of my arm and turned instantly back into light. Throughout his body ran a radiant, electrical fire which seemed to emanate from the heart. Then he gripped my arm again and returned to human form. He did this three or four times, blinking on and off, watching my reaction. For a nanosecond there was a nanosmile. Then he took me by the arm and we were, in the space of a thought, teleported on board this giant spacecraft and into what appeared to be a huge and plush hotel lobby--rich divans, carved tables, silk and satin draperies. It was like the lobby of some Grand Hilton Hotel in the sky, only more so, and bigger than you can imagine; the ceiling must have been seventy stories high.
And the lobby went on forever, in all directions, filled with thousands of familiars: old friends, new friends, some people I'd never seen before but felt a kinship with. Everyone with smile enough to make you wonder what they might be up to if you weren't up to the same thing yourself. Everyone knows what everyone knows; each with the ability to listen to the others' thoughts, communicate with each other, have individual thoughts, and do all this simultaneously.
Some of us, but not all, had these light beings attached to our arms. They each radiated a sort of warmth and friendliness that evoked complete trust. And their intentions seemed totally in keeping with the well-being of the human beings with whom they were associated. The blue flannel shirt-thing leaned into my face and spoke to me. Not in so many words did he speak, but in ways that I understood. He said, this is the gathering. Do you understand that? And of course I didn't. I had no clues and no notions. He repeated it: this is the gathering, and you have an opportunity to go across on the first wave.
I began to understand that we were all gathering to go someplace--a new port, a new planet, another dimension or plane of consciousness, somewhere--and I was to be in the first wave to go wherever it was we were all going.
I could go, it seemed, with but one condition: I had to go alone. When he said that, I felt like someone had just stuck an ice pick in my heart. The only painful moment of this entire experience was when I realized that I had to be willing to leave everything and everyone behind; my wife, my daughter, my dog, and You all immediately came to mind. (Being alone would eventually be more comprehensive than I could ever have imagined. But in that moment, all I could think was that I've come too far not to do the next thing, whatever that is.)
The blue flannel shirt-thing seemed to understand that I was having doubts about the reality of everything. He made me thump the table, squeeze the cushions, caused me to feel the deep pain of personal loss, then its relief. This was not a dream, but a real feeling in my body, and he wanted me to know that.
He handed me what appeared to be an eight-by-ten-inch picture with a two-inch frame around it. The frame had a number of hieroglyphic symbols and geometric shapes carved into it. Before I could look closely at any one of them, I looked into the picture and suddenly it became a window into the life I'd just left behind. I could see my room, someone sleeping, I think. Nothing was really clear.
My life in the window looked like a dream or a shadow of the one I was experiencing on board ship. And each time I looked away from the window I forgot every detail of this life. I looked back into the window and there it was again, complete with time and memory and stuff going on. I looked away and could recall nothing. The only constant and real thing was my continuing onboard experience, a feeling that persists to this day.
The flannel shirt-thing led me through the lobby by the arm; his touch was cool, firm, and accurate. He talked with other light beings; they appeared to make jokes, communicating by thought forms rather than words, all of them dressed in clothes and bodies appropriately like "us." At one point, mine paused to touch one of our group on the shoulder, a gentle tap of acknowledgment that caused a slight electrical charge to spark between the two of them. A lot of other light beings were doing the same thing, generally touching and congratulating this same one of us, whom I judged to be a particularly wise, or courageous, or exemplary one of us--a leader, of sorts. He seemed genuinely humbled by it all . . . innocent.
At some point I was given a visual symbol to hold in my mind's eye, and a personal mantra--a private sound all my own. Together they work like a library card, I was told, a pass into some sort of living library of the universe.
I was led deeper into the ship and delivered through a set of high double doors. Once inside, the flannel shirt-thing let go of my arm and immediately turned back into light, then disappeared altogether.
I was alone in the back of a hexagonal gallery filled with hundreds of childlike beings, happy to see me, happy to be there, just happy; all waiting for someone to appear in the center, on stage, and do something.
I didn't have a clue. I didn't know what was going on, what was expected of me, or how to think about it. But I was not concerned. In fact, I felt amazingly free of concern, opinion, or judgment.
Then an old and very dear teacher of mine suddenly appeared out of nowhere and stood beside me. I was surprised. He died ten years ago and I haven't seen much of him since. He tapped me lightly on the forehead and asked if I was ready. "Are you ready to have a go at me?" he asked. The tap on my forehead had the effect of being shot through the head with a pencil. And before I could recover, my teacher and I were on stage together.
I was still clueless, still at a loss for what I was supposed to know, or do, or say. I didn't feel adequate to have a go at him; I felt the moment might better be served if he had a go at me. I told him that. I don't know what I said, exactly, but the entire gallery roared their approval. They were having a good time. They liked me. I had somehow said the right thing.
During my teacher's lifetime, we studied together for twelve years, and, occasionally, our very different personalities clashed. Here, in this moment, as though to put aside those differences, my teacher took off his personalities. In less time than it takes to strike a match, at least sixteen of his faces passed in sequence into my forehead and out of mind, each face looking less like the teacher I was familiar with. Somewhere, around the fourth or fifth face, he began to look very Oriental; and somewhere else, deep behind all the faces of my teacher, was something I can only describe as being his purposeful intent. All I saw was a body of light.
Someone handed me a roll of papers, laminated and stuffed into a tube. Each page was covered with maps, drawings, diagrams, formulas, symbols, and words. I didn't understand a single mark on any page. My teacher asked me a question and I realized that this was to be a review of sorts, and it had begun. I had no idea what the first question was, what it meant, or how to answer it. Empty, mindless, I remember thinking how much my head looked like a clear glass bucket with nothing in it. I thought, this is a test and I am in the wrong class. They think I'm someone else. My God, they think I'm You.
I don't know what my teacher asked me, but I watched my empty head fill up with information and give him the response he seemed to want. My head emptied and he asked me another question. Again my head filled up with answers and information. And so on. Each time he asked a question my head filled up with answers. Between questions my head was marvelously empty. The crowd of childlike beings began to cheer. I began to cry. My teacher was smiling. A feeling came over me--my heart first, then my head, then my entire body. I thought I was coming. I wondered, is it possible to come forever?
(All this in the time it takes for a bolt of lightning to pass through your skull, your brain, and out again. All I saw was a body of light.)
Now this part of the experience would seem to end right here. I mean, it doesn't really have an ending. What appears to be an ending is but an invitation to access a more vast and subtle scale of operations. I woke up at first light, back in my room, in my bed, feeling like I'd had sex all night with the Beloved. Light and loose in my body, I felt wonderfully hungover from whatever had gone on the night before; indeed, was still going on. I do not remember the stages of my return--at some point I seemed to be more here than there. I looked around and You was gone. You had decided to stay onboard, I guess. Without You, I got up, dressed, made breakfast, and forgot to eat; took the dog for a walk, got lost, and had to be led home.
You know how it is with some dreams that you experience very deeply and when you wake up you want to remember them but can't; you can't recall a single clear detail? Well, this was the exact opposite of that. This was as real, available to the five senses, and as dimensionally realized as anything I'd ever experienced in my normal waking state. I seemed to be living simultaneously in two dimensions of reality, maybe more. Maybe a lot more.
I thought perhaps if I meditated, that might help to ground me. But as soon as I went "inside," I had this sensation of astonished flight, the breath of my body became visible, and these living post holes of light were suddenly everywhere. I was right back onboard, surrounded by the gathering.