Monday, March 31, 2008

Synchronicity Clusters and Warping the Existential Matrix

The Global Consciousness Project

What I find to be one of the most interesting scientific experiments being conducted today is named "The Global Consciousness Project", also called "The EGG Project", based in Princeton but conducted throughout the world. It involves a global network of machine-driven, random event generators which record randomly generated numbers on a second by second basis. The experiment demonstrates that coherent thoughts, emotions, and/or intentions shared by a large group of people (which typically arise as reactions to the occurrence of major global events) actually affect the outcome of the random number generators, despite the fact that the machines run entirely independently of human contact and they have no physically apparent link whatsoever with the people reacting to these events.

Statistically, one would expect a normally distributed set of numbers to be generated over time and indeed this is usually the case. But, when global events have occurred in the past, such as September 11 and the embassy bombings of 1998, the resulting data are skewed, at times to the degree that the odds that the fluctuations were random were one in a million. (Please visit to learn more about this ongoing project.)

Such findings suggest that consciousness can have a direct effect on our reality, that the participation of our consciousness extends beyond mind and body to affect the world about us in a seemingly acausal manner.

Acausal Phenomena

The outcomes from this experiment add an interesting new perspective to other acausal phenomena such as the meaningful and highly unlikely coincidences we call synchronicities, in addition to mysteries of the quantum world such as the baffling observation of synchronous behaviour between quantum particles that are displaced at great distances from each other.

Since I am no quantum physicist, I have much to read and study before I get enough of an awareness of the quantum world to start theorizing about acausal phenomena in that realm. Instead, I usually concentrate on the world of synchronicities, especially since I've experienced so many of them in my day. I am, however, very fascinated with how many analogies can be made between psychology, if not the very nature of our existence, and Einstein's theories of relativity and related scientific observations. Specifically, the way black holes or large bodies of mass warp space and time can be used to construct analogous theories of how we psychologically move over time in addition to providing a background to understanding the nature of synchronicities.

Due to the limitations of human consciousness, it is difficult to truly pinpoint the general mechanics behind the various types of synchronicities. However, it is worthwhile to come up with theories which one can test over time. Over the years I have found increasing subjective evidence that a synchronicity typically does not occur as an isolated instance which by itself expresses an underlying order behind life's events. It is more as if life temporarily warps to take on a deeper meaning. A blatantly obvious synchronicity is sometimes clearly accompanied by other synchronicities which are meaningful to a lesser degree. Similarly, a group of synchronicities may also come as a self-referential cluster.

If one were to visualize the events in our everyday lives as arbitrarily scattered about an existential matrix, then synchronicity demonstrates the bending and stretching of this matrix so that the randomness is skewed to take on an orderly from. Life is no longer random and haphazard but suddenly seems to be driven by a hitherto undetected force, a new pattern of existence that straddles the usual cause-and-effect flow of our daily lives to form seemingly acausal relationships that actually make philosophical sense, at times profoundly so.

One of the main, burning questions behind synchronicities in general is: when and why do synchronicities occur? I believe that taking a look at the nature of space-time in our physical reality can lend some light on this subject.

A Space-Time Analogy

Let us take, for example, a spacecraft floating in outer space somewhere very far away from any solar system or black hole. Due to the lack of gravity, the spacecraft moves entirely according to the volition of its captain.

Let us now imagine there is an entire society of spacecrafts going about their business in the same vicinity of space. Although there are underlying reasons why each captain may decide to pilot her/his ship in the direction it is going, such as going to visit other spacecrafts for a celestial coffee break, the overall patterns of movement of all the spacecrafts combined would seem for the most part to be arbitrary and random, just as how one witnesses a haphazard traffic of pedestrians at a busy square in a city.

If, however, the society of spacecrafts were heading towards the vicinity of a black hole, we would suddenly find a new order behind their movement, which would at first seem to be acausal, and this orderly skewing of the overall random patterns of movement is caused by the pull of gravity towards the black hole. Just as gravity is an invisible force, so is the underlying order which threads together various sets of experiences in our lives so that they appear to us as synchronicities.

A black hole is essentially a tiny point of mass whose density is so great that the space-time matrix around it is warped to the point that objects within its vicinity cannot escape its pull. A black hole can be compared to what occurs in consciousness when one develops a high level of concentration upon a single object of focus. Especially with the help of meditation which clears away dissonant distractions, the act of concentration can produce a regularized, single-pointed state of mind which enables a transformation in consciousness, or a psychological movement towards a point of singularity.

The Global Consciousness Project has shown that after the occurrence of a global event, the coherent reactions of a large and wide-spread group of people affect the outcomes of random number generating machines. Thus, we can infer that there is a warp in the existential matrix when so many people are all focused upon a specific point of singularity, which is in this case the global event and its derivative mental/emotional reactions.

Synchronicity Clusters by Example

In my personal experiences of synchronicity, I have witnessed that synchronicities cluster about areas in my life upon which I am intensely focused, especially when the subjects at hand are related to my personal growth or evolution.

In Synchronistic Conditioning and an Emerging Portrait of Vitality, I wrote about a synchronicity cluster I experienced over several weeks. Such a cluster demonstrated how synchronicities can come inter-related to one another and how the power of concentration held over long periods of time cause a cluster to occur. You may wish to read this post in its entirety to get a better view of the underlying order, but I shall summarize my experiences here for the sake of brevity.

My life at the time (August 2007) was centered around the pursuit of understanding a vision which came to me after a dream about a group of orange-robed monks. These monks were portrayed as extremely masculine and assertive, almost relentlessly dominating, which is generally untrue of their character in reality, although I now wonder if there is any connection with the latest uprising in Tibet as the monks try to fight for their independence from China.

The vision directly proceeding the monk dream said to "achieve micro-buoyancy" and this message addressed the question of how to deal with the mundane, or micro, aspects of life such as my job and other superficial portions of everyday existence. Specifically, it urged me to achieve buoyancy even when my attention was held by the mundane, and thusly retain the higher states of mind I typically enjoy during my spiritual and creative pursuits. I knew that the masculine/feminine polarity was involved and the dream at first seemed to suggest a very masculine, domineering or unmovable attitude.

One night, during a visit to New York City, I was sitting at a bar which had a loud television blaring from a corner. I have always regarded the realm of television as that which glorifies the superficial and the mundane. I found myself forcefully trying to tune it out when I noticed a large red painting against the wall with the title "Gentleman", depicting a bunch of men in a bar. I found the coincidence to be rather meaningful and I decided to take a picture to document the synchronicity. By the time I readied the camera and clicked the button, the bartender had suddenly come into view, picked up the remote control, and pointed it at the television, symbolizing control over it and thus accentuating the synchronicity.

This was the first synchronicity which was linked with the orange-robed monk dream. The second synchronicity occurred the day after. I was eating breakfast in a restaurant while a couple of girls sat next to me who were discussing their love lives with great animation. Again, I found myself in a similar situation as with the television the previous evening and I was forcefully trying to tune them out. I picked up a book and started reading. I was surprised to find that the story depicted an orange-robed monk who picked up a remote control and used it to turn on the television as a way to demonstrate the existence of magic!

These three "events" were the essential building blocks of the synchronicity cluster, but for weeks afterwards I experienced synchronistic events which dealt with the same subject, focusing on the proper configuration of the masculine/feminine polarity. (The resulting insights generated ideas I have been focused upon till now, regarding what I like to call "the convergence of polarity".)

In summary, I was focused upon the "achieve micro-buouyancy" dream/vision with a level of intensity that was unusually strong because it had developed into the basic skeleton of my blog post and the subject became a point of singularity in my consciousness. Life took on order and my experiences revolved around this subject.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Inner Conditioning, A Story

One formal definition for the word "conditioning", when used in a psychological sense, is "the process of behavior modification by which a subject comes to associate a desired behavior with a previously unrelated stimulus". Usually, in conversation, this word is meant to convey how one can be deeply, at times unconsciously, influenced by their family or culture to think or behave in a certain way with respect to various aspects of life and people.

The term "inner conditioning" can be used to denote the type of conditioning that surfaces naturally from the depths of our psyche such as how we are mentally and emotionally influenced by our dreams or the deeper thoughts and desires that surface on their own. (Synchronistic conditioning, which I spoke of in my previous post named Synchronicity, goes one step further by highlighting the synchronistic events we experience in our daily lives.)

This weekend, I experienced a simple form of inner conditioning. There is a restaurant in a part of the city I live in, San Francisco, which I am extremely fond of visiting these days. Throughout the week, I dream of going there because of the inspiration that naturally arises by dining in its special atmosphere.

This last Sunday, as I parked my car a few blocks away and started walking towards it, I realized that I suddenly felt no desire to go to that restaurant. Instead, I felt the need to visit another one which I used to frequent regularly many months ago. I decided to walk by my original choice just to see why my desire had suddenly left me and I found out that it was closed for Easter Sunday.

One way to look at it is that my inner conditioning helped divert my feelings of disappointment of dreaming about this restaurant all week only to find it closed when I finally got there. This little help or nudge is a very simple story but I believe that it points to a very fundamental aspect of our inner development, that our inner perspectives and desires shift and turn almost unconsciously according to an underlying order that is beyond our own conscious understanding. This generates a naturally flowing psychological movement which is constructive to our development over time, informed by the supracognitive abilities of our inner selves.

The question is: How much of our lives and our perspectives are influenced by this form of conditioning? My guess is: Quite a lot, especially if we allow ourselves to live intuitively and freely go with the ebb and flow of life. Sometimes, the tiniest of whims which surfaces on its own can serve as a thread which, once pulled, produces a constellation of experience essential for our personal development in the long run.

Sunday, March 23, 2008


Synchronicity is defined as a coincidence that is so meaningful and unusual that it can hardly be attributed to chance alone.

What could very well be the most famous tale that illustrates synchronicity is Dr. Carl Jung's story of a patient who was recalling to him a dream in which she was given a golden scarab. As he was listening, Jung had his back against the window of his office, when a flying scarabaeid beetle came knocking on the window right behind Jung's back. "I opened the window and caught the creature in the air as it flew in." The scarabaeid beetle was the most closely resembling insect to the scarab in the patient's dream that lived in their physical proximity and the coincidence ended up helping Jung's treatment of his patient.

What is even more interesting is that the scarab in ancient Egyptian mythology was a symbol of rebirth and his patient needed a transformation, or rebirth, in consciousness in order for her treatment to be successful. Specifically, her difficulty was related to her inability to accept the irrationality of the unconscious. And the blatantly meaningful connection of the synchronicity was enough to sway her perspective.

I personally believe the synchronicity phenomenon to be an essential bridge between the perspective of a skeptic, who sees the world as largely mechanistic and random, and an awareness of the interconnectedness of life and what is considered to be paranormal phenomenon. Thus, I am always on the lookout when I am around a skeptic to introduce the concept when I feel an internal radar going off to give me the go ahead. In addition, there is a concept called the "synchronicity of synchronicity" (Alan Vaughan) which states that when one becomes interested in synchronicities, they are more likely to occur. Thus, introducing someone to the concept typically causes a synchronicity to be experienced in the near future if the individual is interested.

From my own experience, when I introduce synchronicity to someone who is not at all open-minded about such subjects, and indeed a synchronicity does occur, it often surfaces in a very obvious manner, just like Jung's scarab example, for his patient was quite close minded about such phenomena.

One evening, I was hanging out with someone who was very much a skeptic at the time. I had just had some very profound series of synchronicities occur to me which I was dying to talk about. So, I decided to tell my story to him, since it was a good way of introducing him to the concept. I will not recount the entire story I told him, but it involved reading a line of poetry on a bathroom wall which was incredibly meaningful in relation to what I had been going through. To the best of my abilities, I recited the poem from memory to him.

Later that evening, we decided to go have a drink at a pub and, to our surprise, as we walked in we found the same line of poetry etched in gold at the top of the bar!

Over the years, I have come to perceive synchronicity as a blanket term that describes a wide variety of unusual phenomena with a coarse granularity. For example, with the case of the line of poetry etched into the bar, I had been to that pub before, perhaps a couple times, but I never consciously noticed any poetry for it was close to the ceiling and I had sat in a different section. It could very well have been that the poetry had been unconsciously registered in my psyche and this bloomed within me the desire to visit that specific pub that evening.

Similarly, in Jung's story, the dream of the scarab could be interpreted as a divination of the future. The patient's deeper, unconscious self could have been aware of the future event of a scarab-like insect knocking on the window behind her psychiatrist's back and therefore the dream surfaced as an opportunity to demonstrate the potential interrelatedness between the unconscious and physical reality we perceive while awake.

In Synchronistic Conditioning and an Emerging Portrait of Vitality, I used the term "synchronistic conditioning" to denote the mental and emotional conditioning we receive from dreams and by living/thinking/acting intuitively that helps us perceive synchronicities more clearly and more frequently. For example, Jung's patient, having dreamed of the scarab, received the mental conditioning of giving the scarab a degree of importance. Had the scarab-like beetle entered Jung's office without his patient having dreamed about it, Jung may or may not have discussed the scarab as a symbol of rebirth. And even if he did, the patient would most likely not have been convinced of the relevance of the coincidence to her treatment.

Similarly, in my story of finding the poetry in the pub, it could have been synchronistic conditioning that led me to suggest to my friend that we go to the specific pub in question that evening, because somewhere in my subconscious I knew that the synchronicity would help my friend develop awareness of the inter-connectedness inherent in life.

Synchronistic conditioning can help explain the mechanics behind many synchronistic phenomena, given that we find it plausible that the future can be intuited ahead of time. Lately, I find the act of divination to be nothing out of the ordinary, especially if it originates from the unconscious realms where time seems to take on a non-linear form. I have been finding a large number of parallels between the nature of consciousness in relation to time and the space-time fabric Einstein's theories explain (in addition to all the various phenomena such as time wormholes that the coupling of space and time theoretically creates). (Please visit Black Holes and the Art of Transformation for an in-depth discussion on this lengthy topic.)

In earlier posts, I have written about reaching states of mind in which there is an ongoing dialogue between my conscious self and visions/intuitions originating from the depths of my being which shift my perspective or feelings in such a way that I see synchronicities left and right as if they were an integral part of the "discussion". In normal states of mind, such conditioning is less frequent and the number of synchronicities I detect similarly decreases, but much can be explained when exploring the mechanics of each synchronicity while looking inward for subtle shifts in perspective and intuitive/creative thinking.

Still, the question remains: "Can we attribute all synchronistic phenomena to synchronistic conditioning and divination on the part of our deeper selves?" My answer is that we can't. Synchronicities sometimes point to a far more mysterious and enigmatic order that underlies our reality.

Take, for example, the following story my uncle recently told me. While at home one day conversing with a friend, whose name happened to be the same as his, Nadeem, another friend who he has not seen or heard from for a long while popped into his head. He even asked his wife to phone his friend's wife in order to enquire about his whereabouts, he lived overseas and he wanted to know if he was coming home for vacation any time soon. Minutes went by and another Nadeem showed up at his house so that there were now three Nadeem's. Neither do these three men normally meet, especially not simultaneously, nor was the name common in his culture. Just a few minutes later, the friend he had been thinking about who lived overseas actually arrived at the scene completely out of the blue, unannounced, unexpected, and unexplainable.

In this story, it would be perfectly plausible to consider that my uncle intuited the future appearance of his friend at his house and that was why his friend popped into his head out of nowhere that day. But, how would one explain that, while this synchronicity was brewing, there happened to be two other men visiting him with the same name as his, especially since the symbolism of such a rare coincidence points at the inherent interrelatedness of all things, that which synchronicity symbolizes as well. In a similar way to how the people and the objects in our dreams can be interpreted as projections of our own psyche, so does the meeting of three men with the same name suggest the mirror-like projections of the self in our physical world.

In Michael Talbot's classic of a book, titled "The Holographic Universe", synchroncities are discussed from the point of view that the physical reality which we perceive, also called the explicate order, unfolds from an implicate order which is interconnected like a hologram. Our apparent separateness is an illusion and synchronous occurrences serve as evidence that the physical world and our own inner psychological processes are interconnected. In the words of physicist F. David Peat, when we experience synchronicity, we are really experiencing "the human mind operating, for a moment, in its true order and extending throughout society and nature, moving through orders of increasing subtlety, reaching past the source of mind and matter into creativity itself."

In the mysterious world of quantum physics, scientists have observed quantum particles behave in coordination with each other in a manner that defies the laws of physics in that the effects suggest movement faster than the speed of light, which is considered by scientists to be the upper speed limit, hence the name "non-local effects". Physicist Paul Davies states: "These non-local quantum effects are indeed a form of synchronicity in the sense that they establish a connection--more precisely a correlation--between events for which any form of causal linkage is forbidden."

Synchronicities in our everyday lives can be seen as non-local, yet related, events at the macro-cosmic level and that was why Jung labeled the concept of synchronicity "an acausal principle", since synchronous occurrences lack the usual cause-and-effect relationship.

In conclusion, synchronistic phenomena points to an underlying order beneath life that is highly elusive and enigmatic. What is the nature and purpose behind this order? When do synchronicities happen more frequently? Do we affect the frequency of synchronicities? These are all questions to ponder...

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Transformative Music

This post is to be part of an ongoing series that focuses on ways that music can serve as a vehicle for psychological travel. I have more than ten hours of my music recorded digitally and I will be picking out songs that sonically demonstrate various forms of movement within consciousness. Most of my exploration of the psychological mechanics behind reaching higher states of mind has been rooted in music.

Essentially, I subscribe to the point of view that music should speak for itself and it doesn't need to be explained. Understandably, there is an inherent difficulty of speaking about music due to the very nature of this medium. However, I still feel that discussing the various techniques that I have naturally developed over time can be instructive, as long as my ideas are presented, and taken, with a grain of salt. I would like to emphasize that I never try to analyze my music while composing. The songs simply come out with an inherent order that expresses transformative movements in consciousness on their own.

One's reactions towards a piece of music can be highly subjective, piloting the emotions is indeed a clumsy affair. For example, my music generally puts people in a deep mood. Many associate being deep with being serious, whereas I couldn't disagree more, since depth elevates my state of mind so that I become light-hearted and carefree, while being superficial snaps me back to the mundane states that are heavy and rigid. Such an example helps elucidate why so many people have such widely ranging tastes in music.

As I wrote in The Making of "Hieroglyphics", the Movie, the primary drive behind most of my creative pursuits is to move the audience at a level that can be called the "level of spirit". This is subtle work and thus the distractions of the intellect must be minimized. When my music does possess a catchy tune or beat, in other words, when it does cater to the intellect, it is generally for the intrinsic reason of appeasing the conscious mind until it relaxes and enters a meditative state. I call such portions of my music "entry points" to the real work. Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule and I am only speaking in general here.

My music is quite often abstract, vague, and minimalist, if not purely textural. This is because movement at the level of spirit tends to be subtle. Thus, any distractions on the part of the intellect throws the true purpose behind the music out of wack. One can almost compare working with the spirit as dealing with the quantum world, where one has to be microscopically precise, everything is obscure and unpredictable, and there is a fine granularity of attenuation involved. This is starkly contrasting with the macrocosmic world of the intellect where any well-made, catchy tune on top of a beat can begin moving the listener.

Those who are not familiar with my style of music, often called experimental music, usually mistake it for sounding like a movie soundtrack. My first reaction to that is: "Great! Life is indeed a movie!" Ultimately, the difference between my music and most movie soundtracks is that I go to great lengths to finely tune sonic landscapes so that they affect a highly refined feeling. I like to think of such feelings as having been derived from the sacred realms.

The first song I will talk about is a part of one my earliest recordings, mostly composed in an improvised manner during my late teenage years. I choose this song, despite the poor quality recording, because it is relatively easy to compare the way it unfolds to patterns in consciousness movement. Press the play button to hear the song; my suggestion is that you listen before you continue reading.

At first, the tune is vague and shifty, almost without purpose, like wallowing in the dark. Over time, a tension develops (at time 2:34), a struggle seems to take place and then a complicated interplay of sounds provides the backdrop to a sonic interpretation of enlightenment (at time beginning 4:00). This is a brief up-shoot into ecstasy, after which a simple melody with a simple beat playfully unfolds until the song ends (beginning time 5:10).

Perhaps to this date, I have yet to create a song which more clearly portrays the ability of this style of improvised music to express the inner dynamics of the spiritual path, expressions that illuminate archetypal patterns of existence, of movements of consciousness over time. The sequence depicted, of tension/struggle producing the impetus for aspiration, then ecstasy, followed by simplicity/playfulness against a backdrop of a newly found order, proved to be a blueprint for my experiences for the many years proceeding the recording. In fact, I experienced this pattern repeatedly on a weekly basis. During my solitary college years, I used to return to my home town on the weekends and let my inner exploration fly loose during the week in hopes of reaching an enlightenment-like state by Wednesday or Thursday. The pattern depicted by the song perfectly matched my inner endeavours as I embarked on a fresh struggle at the beginning of every week to reach the heights.

Click here to preview the complete recording to which this snippet belongs.
Click here to read the full essay describing the complete recording.

My subsequent musical recordings which were composed with a similar level of inspiration continued to accurately portray my internal wanderings but they are a lot more vague and difficult to explain, which only makes sense since my own spiritual advancement led me deeper into more and more mysterious realms.

"Sad Song for Iris" demonstrates some basic psychologically transformative techniques that I use rather commonly. Again, click on the play button to listen. This song is best heard with the intimacy of a pair of headphones, since its effects are far more subtle. Click on the following link to listen to the full CD: The Fade-Out Room

The song can be described to be comprised of three parts: First, we have a tune which repeats itself and ultimately fades away. Like a repeating drone, it lulls the listener into what I like to call a "poetic diffusion". Then, (at time 4:44) a repetitive textural rhythm accentuates the drone-like effect but without a tune that the intellect can grasp. And the abstract rhythm gradually accumulates resonance. The shift into resonance affects the listener in a manner that evokes the feeling of expanding beyond the usual conscious boundaries and becoming dissipated as in a timeless, dream-like realm. The fading into the third part (at time 5:50), from resonance to a straight-forward, new rhythm feels like a sudden materialization of, or a holographic pivot into, a new reality.

In short, this is the depiction of a two-step transformation process, the second step leading to a newly materialized reality.

Given the symbolism of the "X" in previous posts, the first part is a diminution of the intellect which allows the self to shrink and pass up through the middle of the "X". The second part is a journey into resonance which evokes the expansive process as one enters the upper portion of the "X". Finally, the transformation is complete as the newly reality has been materialized.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Dimunitive Staircase

In numerous posts on this blog, I've discussed why the letter "X" was a symbol of transformation. Going up through the middle of the "X" from the bottom triangle can be interpreted as a representation of transcendence into a higher state of being. Such a passage suggests the psychological shrinking of the self in order to attain the heights, a selflessness, or a convergence of polarity within the self.

A friend of mine was visiting me from out of town the same night that I was finishing up my previous post, The Making of "Hieroglyphics", the Movie, which actually mentioned one of the "X"-related dreams I've had in the past. Without having discussed this symbolism with my friend, he had a dream that night of being in a pyramid-like structure. At first, he had entered a normal looking building. But, as he climbed up a spiraling staircase, it became narrower and narrower till he couldn't climb any further because he found himself wedged between two walls.

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Making of "Hieroglyphics", the Movie

Click on one of the above images to preview "Hieroglyphics", a video art project, 2001.

By the time I began exploring video as a creative medium in my early 20's, I was single-minded in the pursuit of expressing the ethereal side of experience in artistic form.

It was not uncommon for me, while alone and free from the mundane concerns of the daily life, to slip into heightened states of mind that were full of bliss, lucidity, and feelings of being one with the world. Those who know such moments are also intimately familiar with the need to somehow share these states of mind with others, as difficult as that might be, given that such experiences are typically seated so deeply within the subjective.

Video art seemed to be a promising medium through which to communicate the ethereal qualities of my higher states. I believe it to be especially suitable because of the ease with which the moving image can funnel in the attention of an audience. When the essential purpose behind the work depends largely on effects on consciousness that tend to be subtle in nature, the immersive qualities of the moving image serve to enhance and magnify these effects.

My goal led me to seek imagery that was abstract and non-representational. Sequences of imagery that could not be interpreted, parsed, and scrutinized by the conscious mind can settle the intellect into a quietude, thus relaxing the viewer into a meditative state.

Furthermore, as with all my other creative pursuits, I try to move the audience at the depths, at the "level of spirit" one can say. And this is subtle work. Any distraction on the part of the intellect easily overtakes the vague movement, or resonance, of the spirit.

It quickly became obvious that the most readily available subject to film that was abstract in form and movement was water, an especially appropriate subject to film due to its inherent spiritual properties and beauty. That type of body of water which in my experience provided the widest variety of imagery was the stream, due to the complexity of factors which influenced the moving image.

After shooting and editing hours of water stream footage, I began to envision the possible ways of affecting an ethereal experience in the viewer. One night, having reached a certain level of maturity in my endeavours, something clicked inside me while I was video editing and, although I was entirely sober, I began to literally hallucinate scenes of water stream footage whenever I closed my eyes.

Each hallucination was a few seconds long, depicting its own unique combination of imagery typical of a water stream. Each scene was immaculately beautiful and perfectly arranged, as if I were being shown the highest order of the different possible stream footage that I could capture.

I expected the hallucinations to last only for a short while but I was wrong. They lasted throughout the night. I fell asleep and woke up many times and the visions always returned, always unique, always immaculate. It felt as if I were being trained on how to film and how to edit the perfect scenes.

I would like to make one point very clear. I had been an artist and a musician for more than a decade before I had this experience. I now believe that this type of assistance from the other side (whether it be from the unconscious, the Creator, the inner self, or whatever else) came to me because I had finally reached a high level of purity of wanting to help others, of wanting to show others the ethereal side of existence.

I had scheduled my next big video shoot on my 30th birthday a few days later, at a national park. When that morning came, I woke up drowsily to a golden glow in my room. Upon opening my eyes, I saw that the sunlight was reflected upon the closet in such a way as to glow brightly with a strong golden hue.

I got out of bed still in a sleepy state and I settled for a short nap on the couch in my living room. Again, I awoke to a golden glow, now settled in a radiant pool of light on the carpet, but this time it reflected gold on the soul of my foot dangling over the edge of the couch. This felt like a great sign of promise and hope, giving me much confidence and purpose. That day I went to the park and shot almost the entirety of the raw footage for "Hieroglyphics".

Click here to go to the video art page of my main website and watch various excerpts from my work.

These video excerpts are mere teasers of the full movie, running time more than 20 minutes, which is ideally watched on a large television screen, or projected on the wall at a width of at least 4 or 5 feet. If you would like to obtain a copy of your own DVD version, please email me at

Epilogue (or "now for something (seemingly) completely different"):

One of the curious aspects of my experience the night I had my hallucinations was that I also had some dreams that were very nightmarish, as if to complement or balance the privilege of beholding the beauty of the water imagery. One dream was especially interesting, in that I saw an image of myself with my flesh torn apart, hanging, not on a cross, but a structure in the shape of an "X".

Such symbolism further strengthens the analogy I discussed in "Black Holes and the Art of Transformation" between the nature of psychological transformation and what would physically happen were one to go into a black hole and out a white hole, which can be pictorially represented as an "X". In effect, the enormous gravity at the center of a black hole would tear one apart before one slips through to the white hole portion.

Saturday, March 8, 2008

The Story of an Assistance

In the early stages of embarking on the spiritual path, one quickly realizes that dreams can offer help in the questions which naturally arise in this domain of exploration. Over time, one may or may not discover that one can establish an interaction with one's subconscious, that the desires of the conscious self, its points of attention and proclivities, affect the dreams while one sleeps; even asking for a specific dream can sometimes work.

Some hone in on this kind of communication and at times actually receive messages while fully awake. At this point, the further development of such interaction manifests an awareness that can differentiate between various types of communication, whether it comes from the depths or the shallower self, if the communication comes with certainty and illuminates an unusually perceptive insight, or if the message was marginally created through wishful thinking or as a result of fear.

As the internal "feelers" are further developed, one can sense the vague manifestation of energy, or feelings that are obscure and hitherto not experienced consciously. At this point, something very bizarre can occur: one recognizes the energy and/or the message to come from an external source, as its quality is thoroughly unfamiliar to the self, including dream experiences, or it comes with a charge which feels like sticking one's finger into an electric socket. This usually prompts the realization that other entities, in whatever form they are alive, can communicate to us and thus the whole idea of medium-ship and channeling is understood and accepted as a viable form of communication.

Some readers in the know may wince at this overly simplistic description of the complex process of spiritual maturity that leads one towards the spirit world. In any case, this was the way I experienced it. I remember having my first full blown channeling experience a few months before I started reading the Seth Material (a series of books channeled by Jane Roberts). Soon after receiving bizarre words such as "I am the Power of Silence and the Silence of Power", I became filled to overflow with a very strange energy. When I opened my eyes and looked around me, my reality had become very alive and very different than I've ever seen it. The amount of power running through my veins made me feel as if I were about to burst.

While Seth presented great eye-opening material on the nature of the metaphysical planes, psychic abilities, and our relations to the subconscious realms, the Ra Material, channeled by the folks at, presented a body of work so metaphysically advanced and well balanced that I would recommend it to anyone on the spiritual path.

Let's move on: The main purpose behind this post, as suggested by the title, is to tell my story of an assistance from the other side, and to illuminate some of the mechanics behind asking for help, the type of help typically received, and how it aids over the long term.

In the Ra Material, this kind of assistance from another, usually discarnate, entity is called a "psychic greeting".

First, a quote from Ra:
"The development of the psychic greeting is possible only through the energy centers starting from a station which you might call within the violet-ray [crown chakra] moving through the adept’s energy center and therefrom towards the target of opportunity. Depending upon the vibratory nature and purpose of greeting, be it positive or negative, the entity will be energized or blocked in the desired way."

My story took place more than a couple years ago, and the long term effects of the greeting was pivotal to my development. At the time, I was getting easily burnt out from work and I was at the mercy of the cycle of falling from grace on Monday and beginning my climb towards grace on Friday night.

One Saturday, I was trying to calm down from a busy work-week and to find some inspiration to make music. I remained in a funky state throughout the day and I began to get frustrated, my emotions got caught in a knot. That evening, I woke up from a nightmare that admonished me not to bring any more negative energy into this world. I sat up in bed and asked internally for help, as I had done repeatedly throughout the day without a discernable answer. After about a half hour of oscillating between frustration and prayer I finally sensed an external presence.

There was a feeling of slight pressure at the top of my head, the position of the crown chakra or violet-ray energy center. I quickly arrested all my thoughts to be aware of what was happening. I audially hallucinated the following words:

"We request permission to perceive this instrument." [the word 'instrument' denotes a channeler]

Seemingly instantaneously, another voice answered that sounded like me but was much softer. I guessed that it was my inner self: "You are perceiving this instrument."

I remained still and simply waited for something to happen. Nothing apparent seemed to occur, although I continued to feel the slight pressure on the top of my head.

Over time, this sensation faded and I went back to thinking my usual thoughts. But, I was able to do so much more fluidly, and I now believe that the help I received was a balancing and/or unblocking of my energy centers. I started to glimpse the reasons behind the specific type of catalysts I had been experiencing at work, to behold their poetic nature, so to speak. I went to sleep and had a prophetic dream:

I was at my desk at work which now had a large sign that was labeled the number "5" (in the Ra Material, the number 5 denotes a level of vibration corresponding to freely given communication, which also applies to myself as a musician). Two people came into the office and they started rearranging where people sat; instead of sitting in my usual spot beside a window and a view, they moved me to a closed cubicle. I became quite angry but the two people simply stared back without emotion or negative intent in their faces, and they seemed to represent very straightforward, average-looking people. Over time I interpreted this to mean that there was no divine order behind the contemporary workplace being so energy- and time-consuming. that this was simply the product of combined free will.

Monday came around and I was sitting at my desk pondering the events of the weekend. I was marveling at the beauty of life's catalyst and how they affected the movement of my psyche in ways that were enriching and downright poetic. I thought to myself that I'm ready and capable of whatever comes my way, and not a few minutes later did I hear my boss yell for me from across the office. It turned out he was on a conference call with a client and he demanded that the project I was working on be finished in half the time it would normally take.

When I went out for lunch that day, I saw a truck with a large sign that said "PIVOT: The Turning Point in Office Interiors".

Over the next month, I averaged 50-60 hours per week. Having had a dream which prophesied my increased workload at the job, I was more capable of accepting and affirming my situation. I was also thus given the opportunity to focus entirely on balancing my frustrations at work since there was no hope for any other aspirations.

Near the end of my project's completion, I worked through the weekend. Sunday evening came around and I remember a very powerful sunset. Having spent the last two days by myself in the office, I was left alone with my own energy and the space around me started to take on the air of being sacred. Gradually, the objects in my surroundings became more and more expressive, putting on a collective smile. This expressiveness with time turned into an actual glow of life resonating from everything around me, so that the world felt fully alive. And finally, this living-ness began to exude love, a love that bloomed with bliss. I slipped into a form of ecstasy. And I remained in that place of bliss in varying degrees while I worked.

The long term result was that the office had transformed into a sacred place and from then on I've been able to psychologically revisit a milder form of such a state at will whenever things got too hectic and this helped me accept and enjoy my job from that time on.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

Understanding our Innermost Desires

If there is a discernable, underlying order behind life's events, it follows not our conscious desires but those that come from, or are consonant with, our deeper selves. Being aware of our innermost desires lends a handle to understanding why life is heading in the direction it's heading and at times enables us to predict the future. As I wrote in Shifting the Assemblage Point, this awareness also enhances our ability to activate the deeper, or magical, portion of the Will.

Many years ago, I was experiencing the psychological weariness of a difficult period. Deep inside, I longed for the rain to come. Somehow, I knew that the rain would provide a specific, though vague, therapeutic effect on my psyche and would help me live my life with greater ease. This was during the early Fall of 1999 in San Francisco, way before global warming really set in, when this part of the year very rarely produced rain.

Somehow one day I intuited that on an upcoming Thursday, a couple weeks later, the rain shall come. And there wasn't the shadow of a doubt that this would happen, simply because my need for it came from the very depths of my being.

That Thursday came along after ceaselessly dry weather throughout the two weeks of waiting. The sky was perfectly blue with neither cloud nor fog to be seen. Still, my confidence was not shaken, for my need for the rain was blooming in anticipation. The afternoon came along and still no sign of any clouds, though my resolve remained absolute. It was close to sunset when the dark grey clouds started floating in, like the messengers from another world. And the rain poured down as if it was the dead of winter. Scarcely a few hours went by and the sky became clear once again.

That evening I happened to be in a bar that had a television showing the local news. Their top story was how a flash storm had unpredictably hit San Francisco that evening during the normally dry Fall season.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Shifting the Assemblage Point

The Debate

Most people who have embarked on the spiritual path have stories to tell about early experiences that sparked the desire to seek Truth and Wisdom. One of mine took place in my early 20's.

One evening, my friend and I were debating the existence of God. At the time I naively prided myself for having stopped believing in God around the same time I stopped believing in Santa Claus. Yet, I still had a part of me that entertained the possibility of His existence, unlike my friend who was adamantly sure that God did not exist and that any belief in the supernatural was born out of the human need to have a sense of purpose in life or to explain the unknown.

His absolute refusal to accept an agnostic position bothered me and this highlighted my own ambivalence in the matter. Our conversation manifested a strong desire in me to come to closure on the question and I started seeking an answer quite actively. Gradually, all my attention, desire, and focus in life became fixated upon the question, so that it became a point of singularity about which the rest of the world revolved. Roughly two weeks after the conversation with my friend, I finally got an answer, albeit in an unexpected manner.

Lightning Strikes Tower

I was having a dream that depicted a struggle and I woke up from it as if it were a nightmare. Although I was fully awake, there was a part of me that retained a link to the unconscious. I still had my eyes closed and I was consciously observing images that had a quality and level of life-like detail that differed greatly than any dream I could remember (I later read that this activity is called "remote viewing"). It was as if I were walking across the lawn of a house with someone else next to me; we knocked on the door and we were welcomed in. While this was happening a voice popped into my head and said with great clarity: "Mak [my nickname], you are astral projecting."

I started panicking when I realized what I was doing and I pulled myself out of the experience completely by simply opening my eyes. What followed was equally bizarre, however, for my bedroom felt completely alive and there was a sense of Power in the air that was both awe-inspiring and frightening. In addition, I was further disturbed by the sudden annihilation of my deeply rooted view of the world as a stable and predictable reality without much hidden mystery. Such a perspective when compared with realizing the existence of the supernatural world was like living in a nice little cubbyhole of safety, knowing that only that which was seen, felt, or heard actually existed.

When I went back to sleep, I dreamed another nightmare. My disturbance had penetrated to such a depth that I woke up opening the front door of my apartment having sleep-walked my way out of my bedroom and down the flight of stairs, fully naked!

Before I continue I would like to highlight one of the main points in this story. My first astral projection experience was my entry point into the domain of the supernatural. I believe quite strongly that had I not asked for an answer to the question of God's existence with all my being, had I not made the question my top priority and focus for two weeks on end, the experience would not have come. Many skeptics remain skeptics throughout their lives because the questions are not asked with enough of a will to get an answer. Sometimes, it takes a strong pounding at the gate before it opens up.

The second main point is that I did not get a direct answer to my question "Does God exist?". This is quite typical of what happens when a question is asked internally. The specific answer that comes back is based upon one's evolutionary needs, and not necessarily the desires of the intellect or the ego. Consequently, it is of great benefit to be aware of the path one treads in order to ensure one looks for answers in the correct places.

In the case of my astral projection experience the lesson was rather obvious. In general, however, communication from the innerscape occurs with great mystery-generating subtlety. It is my opinion that one of the reasons for this is to produce the effect of awe and wonder, to manifest the feeling of enigma in order to activate the will to seek, to grow, to aspire.

Experiences in Astral Projection

After that initial experience, my conscious self became fully engaged in reorienting my view of the world around a new perspective.

When compared with the stories of others in the domain of astral projection, mine are rather dull and uneventful. I've never really been the type to be interested in deeply exploring this realm, since I find art-based exploration much more fulfilling. Nevertheless, I believe that one of the most important outcomes of my astral projections was that they fully convinced me that a significant part of ourselves can fully thrive outside the physical body.

Many scientists, even today, attribute projection experiences to hallucinations and the like. Those who have experienced them usually can recall feeling extremely close to being entirely consciously awake while outside the physical body. I say "close" because I believe one cannot experience our ordinary reality completely naturally unless we are thinking within and through the physical brain. Thus, once outside of it, there is necessarily bound to be at least some dream-like quality in the experience despite feeling fully awake and in control of one's actions and thoughts.

Most of my astral projections occured during my college years. They started to turn sour just as I was graduating. I knew that I was going to have to take on a full-time job that would take most of my energy and time, making my higher states of mind inaccessible. The part of me which astral-projected simply wanted to escape this dimension. Somewhere inside me I was convinced that I did not belong to this world, that I belonged to another, far more ethereal existence that was unfathomable to my human mind, but utterly real. Taking on a job would fixate me in the trenches of the mundane.

Often when I went to sleep during this period, I would astral project, become conscious, and not be able to return to my body and wake up. I would sometimes remain paralyzed for many minutes, which was most uncomfortable, feeling as if another force was snatching me and pulling me farther and farther away.

After I had settled into a full-time job, I had such an experience once again. When I woke up I turned inwards and deliberately asked my inner self to end all astral projections. To my request there was actually a reply in the form of a vision. It said something like the following: "You will learn how to project with your entire being, and thus be protected."

I did not understand what these words meant. And it took me years to find out.
Before the Hurricane Period occurred, I was never an avid reader of spiritual texts. I always knew that I was spiritually focused, but I wanted to develop my own philosophy without any influence from others, especially because I felt most of the books out there were ridden with fallacy.

The Hurricane Aftermath

After the Hurricane Period hit, I was scrambling to find out what exactly happened to me. I rummaged through one book after another without any luck. Finally, I landed some interesting books on shamanism and I recognized my experiences as a form of initiation, even though the initiation was not led by anyone like a medicine man but entirely orchestrated from within.

I finally settled on reading the books written by Carlos Castaneda and to this day I do not feel at home with any group of people like I do with his characters. They were like a family that went far beyond human ties.

Castaneda wrote about his alleged apprenticeship with a sorceror named don Juan. Many believe the books are fictitious and I am not one to judge. There are numerous claims he made which seemed to most people to be pure imagination, but I believe a lot of these claims point towards the truth.

One of the main subjects concerned "shifting the assemblage point", the assemblage point being the center of one's energy. It is basically responsible for shaping one's mode of perception of the world.

Upon shifting the assemblage point, one experiences a noticeable change in one's perception of reality. The change can allegedly be significant enough that an entirely new reality is assembled, as if one jumps straight from waking consciousness into a lucid dream, body, mind, and all. Or, it can be minute enough that the only thing detected is a change in mood or the arrival at a new mental perspective.

Unlike that of an infant, the assemblage point of an adult is typically fixed and thus movement is usually subtle. Dreams can shift our assemblage point and so can the use of intoxicating substances.

When one undergoes a significant shift of the assemblage point, it is usually the case that the experiences before the shift cannot be recalled. The most common example of such an occurrence happens when one wakes up from a dream. One could be fully immersed in very intense dreaming activity and yet remember nothing upon waking up. It is possible upon awakening to retain a meditative state so that one begins to recall the dream once again and this is an example of deliberately shifting the assemblage point, back to where it was located during the dream.

When one wakes up and quickly slips into the habitual patterns of thought, dreams become difficult to remember. This is why Castaneda's don Juan stressed the importance of arresting one's self-reflection in order for shifting the assemblage point to occur. Self-reflection keeps our assemblage point riveted to our point of normalcy.

Dislodging the Assemblage Point

In Castaneda's books, there is the concept of dislodging the assemblage point which essentially involves shaking the assemblage point out of its position of normalcy to the degree that it becomes ever fluid, ever moving. Once this is accomplished, this spells insanity for the average person. For a sorcerer, this fluidity has the great practical advantage of enabling the exploration of other worlds, and to study the ins and outs of this form of exploration.

The Hurricane Period fell neatly into such a category of experience. The oscillations in my states of mind completely dislodged my ordinary state of normalcy, and these violent shifts continued of and on over a period of three weeks. I watched the ground beneath my feet crumble and finally disappear altogether.

After it was all over and my visions were gone, I was left with a personality which was extremely fluid, whose circumference (or inventory) of experience had suddenly expanded to hitherto unimagined realms. It was not only my emotions that forever ebbed and flowed without anchor, but my mental perspectives as well.

At times, all I needed to do was turn my head a fraction of an inch to the right or to the left and I would go through what could best be described as a complete mental and emotional holographic pivot. The simple act of walking down the street possessed the potential of catapulting me through what seemed to be an intergalactic traversal.

The most difficult aspect of the Hurricane aftermath was that both heaven and hell were always right around the corner. Life became very precarious and there was always the fear that I would suddenly experience a hellish drop into a pit of depression. It was not uncommon for me to suffer from anxiety attacks that lasted days, keeping me up almost throughout the night. I would often hallucinate blood and severed limbs in the morning. I had never imagined that psychological pain could reach such extremities.

Activating the Deeper Will

There was one great advantage, however, for undergoing such a painful phase: It forced me to develop my will, to activate areas of my will which were hitherto dormant, to illuminate functions of the will whose very existence were yet to be discovered.

Our ordinary, conscious will is capable, for example, of thinking specific thoughts, of moving our hands, feet and the rest of our limbs. We also have the ability to suppress our emotions at times and of calling forth memories from our past. We do not, however, have a conscious, direct handle on our emotions, nor on recalling all portions of our memory, nor on regulating certain bodily functions such as our blood pressure and heart beat. We are also not blessed with the ability to shift our states of mind deliberately to any significant degree. When we are depressed, we remain depressed, and it is only through indirect means that we attain happiness once again. The deeper aspect of the will, however, once surfaced, has a handle on such abilities.

From my experience, the deeper (or as it is called in the Ra Material, the "transdimensional") portion of the will is like an unused, dangling muscle and our abilities there start out very clumsy and vague, if not completely missing. It is only with much practice and experience that one develops the awareness of a musculature in this arena, that one finds the equivalent of a set of fingers, an arm, a leg, etc., so that the will takes on its newly added dimension of maneuverability and control.

Unfortunately, the early, sleepy-eye-opening lessons in such a domain usually come during times of extreme hardship; only when we are desperate and find ourselves forced to stretch the boundaries of our will do we activate portions that have hitherto been undiscovered. The unbearable psychological circumstances that I found myself in during the Hurricane Aftermath did just that. And with the help of possessing a fluid personality, I learned how to to use my will to shift my assemblage point in order to avoid the hellish states of mind that kept recurring.

Once I was able to shift my state of mind to a significant degree and to begin assembling a different reality, I understood the meaning behind the vision I had received after deliberately requesting to end all astral projections. To project with my entire being was to shift my assemblage point to a new reality. And, indeed, such a shift came with a feeling of security because I was projecting while entirely intact as opposed to just with the astral body. I never moved very far, however, nothing like Castaneda's wild stories. I will speak of my experiences in depth in future blog posts.

The Will and Energy

Utilizing the deeper portions of the will requires varying degrees of energy expenditure. Castaneda's don Juan spoke of ways to acquire and to retain energy. I prefer to switch to referencing the Ra Material on this subject.

In the Ra Material, there were three categories of energy levels that were discussed commonly when the instrument's (the channeler's) condition was queried. They are the vital (basically that of the life-force), the physical (typically in abundance in males), and the mental/emotional (typically in abundance in females). It was cautioned not to use the will when energy was lacking, for "...the use of the will in the absence of the physical energies, and...the emotional/mental energies requires vital energies."

More importantly, the will, when focused on goals that coincide with the intentions of the deeper self require less energy. "...the use of this energy of will, mind, and spirit for the things of the physical complex [the body] causes a far greater distortion in the lessening of the vital energy than would the use of this energy for those things which are in the deepest desires and will of the mind/body/spirit complex."

I experience the coming and going of the deeper will fluctuate tremendously depending on both my energy levels (which are very difficult to consciously ascertain) and to what degree I feel connected to my deeper self and its intentions. I have learned to become aware of when the deeper will is "activated" and it feels just as if an arm were suddenly extending out of the conscious will and reaching down into the deeper portions of the self. It is best described as the hardening of a portion of my dream body towards a specific intent, just like a musculature.

Measuring the Deeper Will

I quit smoking only a few years ago. Before then, I used to carry with me what I considered to be my one and only prized possession: a yellow lighter which did not work properly.

It held more than enough lighter fluid to ignite the flame. But, there was something wrong with it so that it only randomly worked once out of, say, thirty or forty times. When I felt my deeper will activated, I knew I could make it ignite and so it did. Curiously, whenever I wanted, say, to show off this ability to others, it would not work. However, when I wanted to demonstrate the power of the will to alight the desire to evolve in others, the flame usually sparked to life. And this exemplifies the contrast between my conscious desires and the desires of the deeper self.

The Masculine/Feminine Polarity and Shifting the Assemblage Point

With respect to using the will to shift the assemblage point, where the assemblage point will end up should also coincide with the aspirations of the deeper self. Otherwise, the will will fall short, if high energy levels are not available. It is customary for me, therefore, to listen closely to the whisperings of the deeper self before hardening the will in a certain direction. What does that entail?

We return once again to the vision I had many months ago which said to "achieve micro-buoyancy" by manifesting both the feminine and masculine sides simultaneously. The feminine principle possesses the qualities of malleability, the receptivity to the unconscious, and the sensitivity to the internal whisperings which are necessary to establish the link with the deeper self. The masculine side, after becoming aware of the intention of the inner self, hardens the entire self with firm authority so that every fiber of the self is single-pointedly bent towards this intent. A point of singularity is born, and movement is thus affected.

The Convergence of the Masculine/Feminine Polarity

Here, we see the necessity of the ennoblement of the feminine side by the masculine, and the ennoblement of the masculine side by the feminine. The two work hand in hand, converge to an ever closer bond, making transformation possible.

That the masculine and feminine sides need to work cooperatively within the selfclearly leaves no room for the extra baggage one finds in culture of being polarized one way or another. For instance, machismo in the male is utterly obstructive, and any feminine indulgence in subordinance to the male is equally stifling. Nevertheless, there is a powerful charge when a male closely approaches the masculine principle, just as the very feminine female possesses her own form of power. Such a charge should not be sacrificed in the convergence of the polarity. And this is where things get tricky. One must possess the best of both worlds, or at least be able to oscillate between the two sides of the polarity with the grace, surety, and strength of a gymnast.