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.