Tuesday, March 20, 2012

2012 Update

I've neglected this blog, but I've not neglected my studies.  I have big plans for 2012 and I am planning on putting together a more in-depth narrative that I've presented here on this blog.  As I've received feedback from those I've shared my story with, I feel that there are others who have or are thinking of leaving the church who could greatly benefit from my insights.  I'm currently looking to put this into book format to publish later this year, the proceeds will greatly help me fund my research and to share it with the world.

2012 is a big year for many, but for me it is a year for new beginnings.  I especially have my eye on the US presidential race as the connotations of a Romney administration in the White House means really big things for the LDS Church and the rest of the world.  I am going to be working on an article to further explore these connotations and what it could mean for you and me.  Add this blog to your feed and stay tuned.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

My Story Part VI (A Meeting with an Oracle)

Journey Through The Shadow
"There is no coming to consciousness without pain."
"Everyone carries a Shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual's conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious."
"Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see." - Carl Gustav Jung

"Synchronicities express themselves through chance meetings and natural events as well as in dreams and supernatural episodes" - Daniel Pinchbeck

“When you come to know yourselves, then you will become known, and you will realize that it is you who are the sons of the living Father. But if you will not know yourselves, you dwell in poverty and it is you who are that poverty..” - Jesus, as quoted in the Third Verse of the Gospel of Thomas

I was intent on starting anew, but the depression sunk deeply within my heart. I had never come so close to love in my young adult life and it was more than disappointing to only find these immense emotions fleeting. I looked to college as the door to a new life where I would leave this old life behind, forgetting all the crazy things that had happened to me thus far.

I decided to look into the Air Force Reserves Officer Training Corps at the University. I had rekindled my old interest in all things aerospace, including UFOs, and I thought this an opportune time to delve more into the subject. As an officer in the Air Force, I thought, I would be able to actually get involved in things I could not have access to as a civilian. I could find out for myself if there were truly an extra-terrestrial presence on earth and if our own government was involved or against them.

The semester began and I quickly found myself getting into shape due to the physical training that was required in ROTC. I had never felt so good in my life and all the excitement of college added to the exhilaration. But, unfortunately, this and this peak of morale was also fleeting as I woke up one morning discovering I could not stand up on my own.

After a visit to the doctor, I had learned that I had shinsplints so severe that they had created hairline fractures in my shins. Just one month into the semester and I was crippled. Due to my handicap I was unable to keep my grades up or even participate in ROTC activities; I had no choice but to drop out.

The depression from earlier that year had no competition with what I felt at this point in my life. After all that effort to get back in control of my life, I felt like I had lifted myself up only to be thrust back down even deeper into the allegorical hell hole. I had hit an all-time low.

I prayed for solace, for peace of mind and the ability to overcome the emotions that had welled up in me. I prayed for direction as I was then absolutely directionless. I prayed for anything or anyone to come save me from myself. My prayers were answered, but once again it was not as I expected.

It was at this time I found a renewed love for the band Tool, which at the time had gone on hiatus as the vocalist and lyricist, Maynard James Keenan, had gone on to sing for a side project called A Perfect Circle.  My familiarity with "APC" lead me back to the music of Tool.

I picked up the album Lateralus after coming across the music video for Parabol/Parabola.  At first it was the music that had attracted me the most, but I would later find that it was the lyrics that had the most immense power over my mind and soul.

So familiar and overwhelmingly warm
This one, this form I hold now
Embracing you, this reality here
This one, this form I hold now, so
Wide eyed and hopeful
Wide eyed and hopefully wild
We barely remember what came before this precious moment
Choosing to be here right now
Hold on, stay inside...
This body holding me, reminding me that I am not alone in...
This body makes me feel eternal
All this pain is an illusion
We barely remember who or what came before this precious moment
We are choosing to be here right now
Hold on, stay inside...
This holy reality, this holy experience
Choosing to be here in...
This body, this body holding me
Be my reminder here that I am not alone in...
This body, this body holding me, feeling eternal
All this pain is an illusion
Alive, I
In this holy reality, in this holy experience
Choosing to be here in...
This body, this body holding me
Be my reminder here that I am not alone in...
This body, this body holding me, feeling eternal
All this pain is an illusion
Twirling round with this familiar parable
Spinning, weaving round each new experience
Recognize this as a holy gift and celebrate this chance to be alive and breathing
A chance to be alive and breathing
This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality
Embrace this moment, remember, we are eternal
All this pain is an illusion
"Choosing to be here in this body holding me... All this pain is an illusion..."
It was these words that healed my mind and my heart.  I didn't know how, but I knew I chose to come here at this time for some reason.  All this pain is an illusion, just like the dream of the butterfly, just like The Matrix.  This song took everything I had discovered spiritually so far and sealed them together; it was this confirmation that gave me the strength to go on.

But I was still not wholly satisfied.  I was confused as to why, yet again, my prayers were answered from a source outside of The Church, outside of the Priesthood Authority.  I was yet again faced with results to my prayers that seemed contradictory in nature to what I thought knew to be true and correct.  Why were my prayers answered in this way?  (Especially with a rock band.)  It was not the "comforter" I was expecting, but alas, there I was comforted with an added dose of utter bewilderment.

Nights were sleepless and the days were long as I was a college drop-out, crippled and unemployed.  Between my depression and spiritual confusion, I found that the only thing I had to keep me company was music.  It was the one thing I had to keep myself sane, at least, to keep myself from going insane.

After discussing these things with my bishop, rather than giving me any spiritual advice at all he recommended I see a doctor who worked for Church Family Services.  I knew this meant he wanted me to go see a counselor employed by the Church.  This did not help my morale knowing that my bishop thought I required a mental health checkup, it just made me feel like I was going crazy.  (I'm pretty sure at that point he knew any time I wanted to see him about something it'd be about things that were completely over his head, or at least not in the handbook of instructions...)

Reluctantly, I went to my first appointment with the Church employed shrink.  I was surprised to see how many people were waiting to see counselors in the waiting room; mostly teenagers and middle-aged women.  I found an empty seat and waited for my turn.

Finally, my name was called by a man with short dark hair and round glasses who I found was to be my counselor.  We introduced ourselves and shook hands.  I was lead to a quaintly decorated room with casual living room furniture.  I took a seat on the plush recliner on the far side of the room and the man took a seat in one nearest to the door, opening his notebook.

"Okay, Kris," he stated, "Tell me why you're here."

I chuckled.  Why was I there?  No better place to begin than from the beginning, I thought, and for the next 45-minutes to an hour I recounted most of my life story and all the strange things that had happened to me thus far.  I told him about my thirst for answers, how I had constantly found myself in circumstances beyond my control and how I always prayed for guidance only to be thrown for a loop once more.  I told him about how I had become seemingly possessed by some strange devil after praying about the Church and the scriptures and how my grandfather was unable to immediately "cast it out" with his priesthood authority.  After asking me whether or not I had received a Patriarchal Blessing, I told him that though I did indeed receive one it did not provide much insight into what was really happening and that it was left very open-ended.  I told him about all the dreams I had and how they had such lasting affects on my mind, especially the one I had earlier that year with J.  I told him how I never really wrapped my head around the events that ensued and how it resonated with everything in the dream.  Finally, I told him I went to the one person I trusted the most with this information, the Bishop, and how I was disappointed when I was sent here to see him, the counselor, instead.

The counselor jotted notes in his notebook as he listened, never really making any particular facial expression to anything I said and only interrupting me every now and then to clarify whatever it was I had told him. When I finished, he looked at me and said, "Okay, thanks for sharing that with me. I'm going to review my notes and pray about what you've said and we'll go from there next time."

Next time? I wanted more of a response than that right then and there. In fact, any feedback at that point would have been welcomed. Again, I found myself in disappointment knowing I had to wait even longer for some sort of guidance.

We made an appointment to meet again in a week's time. From the moment I left the building it felt like time slowed as I anxiously waited for the next session. I often found myself lost in thought as I tried to figure out what I would say the next time, or even, what the counselor may say to me after hearing all of those things. I didn't know what to expect and the anticipation was driving me even further over the edge.

Finally the time came round and I found myself in the same chair with the doctor sitting across from me with his notebook open, glancing over his notes from the previous week. I sat nervously with my legs crossed, my hands clasped while staring at the ground, waiting for him to say something.

"You've experienced a lot in your life in a short amount of time," he said, somewhere along those lines.  "I think your logical mind is having trouble coming to terms with things that can't be analyzed through logic."

My focus quickly changed from the ground to the doctor's eyes.  It was like an epiphany that had got stuck on its way to fruition had suddenly broke free.  What he said clicked: I knew I had always over analyzed things, but I never knew that it was detrimental to my health.

"You have symptoms of clinical depression due to a chemical imbalance. I know you probably don't like the idea, but I recommend we put you on anti-depressants to help sort that out."

I drew my attention back down to the floor in front of me as I thought about what he had just said. I didn't like the idea of taking pills, but my trust in the doctor had grown exponentially with his last comments. I looked back up to him and nodded, "Okay. Let's do it."

I wanted to tell him how much better I felt, but I was just too dumbfounded. I waited while he wrote out a prescription for whatever pills he wanted me to take. I was at a loss of words.

"Here you go," he ripped the page from his notepad and stood up to hand it to me. I stood up as well, meeting him half way to receive the piece of paper. "You don't have to take all of them," he stated, "just until you feel like you can sort things out in your head easier."

I glanced down at the page in my hand then back up to the counselor. "Thanks for your help and your feedback." I replied. We shook hands and agreed to meet again in a week's time to see how I was doing after taking the medication I was prescribed for a week.

I felt relieved but still bewildered. The medication did help me sleep and I wasn't always caught up in anxious thought or dwelling on the past. I took the time to meditate on what he had told me, about how I was analyzing things with logic that could not be analyzed in that way. 'If not logic, then what?' I thought to myself. Every time I threw logic to the wind and prayed to God my prayers were always answered in stranger ways from sources that I did not expect.

I referred to my Patriarchal Blessing once more and again found the third paragraph on the second page where it read, "There will be times when you will desire answers that will not be there for you.  You must live by faith."  It was then I came to the conclusion that I did not have enough information to unravel the mysterious happenings in my life and so it would be useless for me to stress myself over something I couldn't do anything about.  I decided to take this line's advice and live by faith; not specifically with faith in God, however, but with faith that one day the answers will come to me and I will understand what my purpose in life truly is.  As far as I knew, God was out on holiday and had no messaging service.  It seemed to me that there was something else entirely different directing my life.

As another week went by, I found myself in the same chair across from the church counselor who had been so open minded and understanding. "How are things?" he asked me.

I felt at ease, I felt ready to move on and leave the past where it belonged-- somewhere that was not constantly in the present. I was ready to live life for today with hope for a better tomorrow. There was much about my past that I did not understand, but I knew if I kept going eventually one day, from some place completely unexpected, I would find what I needed to begin to understand all of it.

A Meeting with an Oracle
An account of how I met the clairvoyant who forever changed my life.

Time moved forward again as I got back on top of my life. After healing both mentally and physically from the previous year, I was able to get a job at a local computer store as a salesman. I was getting active in music again on the side and I took the free time I had to enjoy many different musical events throughout spring and summer. It was another chance for rebirth, to leave the life of high school and everything that happened the year before behind me and start anew.

I started going back to church with my friend, S, who I had mentioned previously. I also started attending institute (college level seminary) with my long time friend L. We were all preparing to serve a mission for the Church, which I felt was the best thing to do since I didn't have any plans to go back to school at the time. I was still searching for answers and I believed I'd find those answers on a proselyting mission, or at least be lead to opportunity to find them in the future.

A lot of scripture study is required for mission preparation and though as a seminary graduate I was already pretty familiar with them it was an opportunity do dive further, especially to get a head start on my search for answers.

I met weekly with my friends for scripture study. We would choose a chapter in the Book of Mormon with questions in mind and when we would find something that resonated with them we would highlight them a certain color and then mark it. After several months I had marked up my book a lot, but still nothing really jumped out at me. They were all the same, bland, vague, indirect quotes of scriptural wisdom one could find in any piece of religious literature.

I continued to pray every night for help, direction and guidance.  As the summer season got late, I grew weary but my patience was enduring.  I took the advise of the church counselor and didn't analyze every little thing that happened in my life.  I simply took one thing at a time and stayed in a meditative state of mind.

Then, one fateful day, my prayers were yet again answered by whatever 'demon-lord' (sarcasm) was directing my life.  Once again it was not in the way I was expecting them; it did not come from anywhere near the Church, 
  (I hope you're starting to see the pattern...) but from a person who traveled clear from another country just to find and save me.

I was at work one Wednesday evening and on break.  I sat very bored in the break room staring at the clock, telling myself I only had three more hours to go before my shift was over.  With a deep breath I stood up, stretched, took a deep breath and then went out onto the sales floor.

There were many people in my section browsing the different types of software we sold at the store.  It was my job to ask them if they needed assistance in finding what they were looking for, but I could only help one person at a time.  As I surveyed the area it was the small dark-skinned lady in the contrastingly bright orange and yellow flower dress that stood out the most; not just in appearance, but in energy.  As I laid my eyes on her, a rush of warmth fell over me, attracting me to her in the purest way.  I had never felt so spiritually attracted to anyone in my life.

"Can I help you find something?" I asked as I approached her.  She was a middle-aged Hispanic lady with deep eyes.  She spoke with a Spanish accent, replying with a smile, "Yes, I am looking for software that I can type a word into and it will bring up a photograph of it."

I almost chuckled to myself, "Do you have the internet?" I asked.

"Yes, I do, " she replied.

"Well let me show you something amazing," 
  I said with a lot more enthusiasm than I had only minutes before in the break room.  "It's called 'Google'."  I began to turn towards the computer section, "Follow me."

We approached a demo computer and I opened up the internet browser.  "All you have to do is open this and type in 'images.google.com' and this page will pop-up."  Once it was loaded I clicked the search field to activate the cursor.  "Once you're here you can type any word into this field and it will bring up a photograph of what you are looking for."

Her reaction was of surprise and amazement.  It was humorous to me, being a computer savvy young man, but I realized how truly amazing such a simple thing as a search engine really is.  It was times like these, helping others find solutions to problems, that really made my day.  I stood back and let her give it a shot.

"I was looking for a picture of black pearls," she said as she typed it in and hit enter.  Instantly the screen filled with thumbnail photographs of black pearls and pearl necklaces.

"This is exactly what I was looking for!" she said with great excitement as she pointed to an image towards the bottom of the page.  "This is really amazing," she concluded with a smile.  "Thank you!"

"No problem, glad I could help."  I replied, smiling and nodding in return.  The feeling of warmth I had felt from her before increased even more and I was overwhelmed.  It was just like when I had been developing my chi reception when I studied Kung Fu, but I had never felt anything so strong.  I knew there was something special about her.

I was further driven by curiosity since she had originally asked for software and wondered if she needed photo editing software as well. "Can I ask why you needed this?"

"Oh, I am a 'Light Worker'," she responded rather candidly.  "People come to me for energy healing and sometimes I see images when I am working with them.  I wanted a way to show them what I was seeing and also print out a copy of the picture for them to take home and meditate on."

I was surprised, it wasn't anything I was expecting and she had responded in such a frank matter.  I felt driven to tell her what I had been feeling from her energetically that entire time I had been talking to her.

"Can I tell you something?" I asked.   She nodded, saying, "Sure, go ahead."

"I used to study and actively practice Kung Fu and my instructor worked with us on developing our sensitivity to chi energy."  She grinned, showing great interest as I continued, "I've held on to that for the most part and when I came onto the floor from the break room I was really hit by the energy coming from you.  It's why I approached you first."

"That's great!" she replied enthusiastically.  "Being sensitive to light energy is a rare gift and talent."

I felt driven to continue to divulge more about myself, things I certainly wouldn't tell a complete stranger. "I also have very vivid dreams," I said, "sometimes I don't even know if I'm dreaming or if I'm awake.  I've had problems discerning the line between reality and non-reality."  The expression on her face was nothing short of amazement, intense interest and joy.  It was almost unsettling.  It blew me away with the amazing connection we had, especially for just meeting.  I wanted to know more, but I couldn't take any more time while on the clock.

"What is your name?"  I asked.  "And I know this may seem like a strange thing to ask, but can we meet and talk at a later time?  I feel like we have much to discuss."

She stated her name, which I will simply refer to as 'C'.  She reached into her purse and pulled out a business card.  On it was an encircled star of David, which I would later learn to be the two-dimensional depiction of the Merkaba.

"Are you free tomorrow?"  she asked.

"Yes," I responded.  "I don't work tomorrow, so tomorrow would be great.  Thank you so much!"

We agreed to meet at a local coffee shop and then we parted ways.  I returned to my duties and finished my shift wondering what may be coming my way.  What had just happened left me in a state of awe and begging for more.  I remember asking myself, is this lady for real?  Or am I getting my self wrapped up into something I shouldn't be getting into?  But no, the coincidences were too amazing and the feeling of warmth I got from her was the most comforting I had felt at a time when I was beginning to feel, yet again, so lonely and abandoned.  I told myself I needed to meet her again, no matter how crazy it all seemed.  That night, I laid in bed staring at her card thinking about what may happen the next day until finally I fell asleep.

And then I dreamed, of course, because my mind would not shut down.  I was in a hut in the middle of a jungle.  I heard rapping at the door and so I got up to see who was there.

There she stood, but she was not alone.  She had two people with her like they were body guards.  She was dressed in dark clothing and her head was covered.  I invited her in and we talked for hours.  When I came to the next morning, I could not recall what exactly we talked about, I guess because that part hadn't actually took place, but I remember I still felt unsatisfied.  I knew she had told me what I needed to hear, but it was surely not what I wanted to hear due to the way I felt after our dialogue.  All I remember is that we talked and then she left with her two guardians and I was left alone to ponder what we had discussed alone in my hut out in the middle of the wilderness.

Later the next day after I had awaken, the time finally came and I found myself at the coffee shop we had agreed to meet at, sitting on a plush chair by a window across from another of the same with a coffee table between the two.  I fiddled with my cell phone as I took a sip from a drink I had gotten when I arrived, wondering if she would still show up like we agreed.  Finally, after what seemed like hours (but was probably only a few minutes), she walked through the door this time wearing something much more conservative than the day before.  She wore slacks with a dark blouse, highlighted by a gold necklace.  It was very reminiscent of what she had looked like in my dream the night before.  I couldn't help but wonder if she had two spiritual guardians following close by, phased out of our immediate reality.  Again, I felt the same immense warmth from her I had felt the day before and it was comforting to see her smile as our eyes met.

"Hello Christopher! So good to see you again," she said in her jovial Spanish accent.

"It's good to see you too," I replied as I stood up to meet her.  "Thanks for meeting with me."

"It is no problem, I am happy to be here," she responded.  "Would you like some coffee?"

"No, thank you, I already helped my self when I got here,"  I informed her.  "Please go ahead I've got us a spot by the window."

I went back to my seat and took a sip of my drink as I waited for her to get hers.  I ran everything I had thought about telling her the night before through my mind, quickly organizing all the people, places and events that had took place in my life in a way I could relate to her where I came from, what I had done and how I wondered where I should go.  It almost felt like I was meeting a fortune teller;  I even wondered if she was going to pop out a crystal ball or break out a deck of tarot cards.  I realized I had really no idea what I was getting myself into, or if I was even going to get anything from her without compensation, but I was driven by the feeling she gave me and the synchronistic event that took place the day before.  I had to find out for myself who she was and what she had to say about me.  It was too late to back down at that point.

She came over and sat in the seat across from me, sitting her drink on the low table between us.  "So," she began, "how are you?  How was the rest of your shift last night?"

We exchanged in small talk for a few minutes and I told her how I came to work at the store.  We eventually got right into it:  I told her how I had grown up in the neighborhood we were meeting in, about the parental figures in my life and how I was raised in a predominantly Mormon family.  I ran through my whole life story, that which I've related so far in this narration, and told her my feelings and reactions to everything that had happened to me.

I got to the point where I had started having vivid dreams and how my friends, like S, had also strange experiences within the dream world.  I told her the effect "The Matrix" movies had had on our lives and I was totally stunned when she was overcome with emotion and her eyes began to tear up.

"Are you okay?" I asked, interrupting my story.  I didn't know how to react, I was amazed that she was that emotional about it.  To me it had just been a part of my life, but from her perspective it must have seemed like something much more.

"I am fine," she replied.  "I just think it is so amazing that you and the people you've made your friends are so connected in the spiritual realm through the dream world.  That is a wonderful story."  She grabbed a napkin and wiped the tears from her eyes.

It was at that point that I related to her what happened with the vivid dream I had the year before after my visit to the Buddhist Temple, how it tore my sense of reality apart by having dreamed of a person before actually meeting them and seeing how they would affect my life after it was all said in done; all before any of it had happened.  I told her I had never dreamed of the future like that, especially in such a strange and allegorical way.

She told me something a long the lines of, "In higher consciousness, there is no sense of time.  It is not 'linear' how we, in human civilization, conceptualize time.  "You and your friends are tapping into that higher consciousness through the dream-state."  

It made perfect sense to me, not in a logical or rational way but in purely spiritual feeling.  The warmth I felt inside me grew every time she commented on my story and I knew what was taking place was one of the most important events I had yet experienced in life.

I told her how I sought answers through the Church, but that time after time the answers to my prayers came from sources outside of it.  It was basically the exact same thing I had told my bishop and also the church counselor.  I explained to her how confused I was that it could be that way, since the Church teaches that prayers are only answered by God, and I didn't know why God would point me in directions away from what was supposed to be his Church.

"I've been preparing myself to serve a proselyting mission for the Church," I stated, "because I want to go on a spiritual journey to find out what it's truly all about.  I hear about others who have gone on missions who have gained a greater testimony of Jesus Christ by sharing the gospel with others.  I am hoping to experience that for myself.

"However, I don't know how I can bring myself to proselyte something I don't truly know anything about.  Everything I've learned is what others have told me, it is nothing I've truly experienced.  Sure I've experienced strange things, but I've never truly had a testimony of the Gospel.  Every time I thrust myself into deep prayer and meditation over the scriptures, the Gospel and life in general, I am constantly lead away from the Church to other systems of beliefs, like when I attended the Buddhist Sunday services in high school.  I feel like I am at a crossroads.  I go to Church every week but I never feel how I did when I went to the Buddhist temple.  I pray and read the scriptures almost every day, but I feel like I am just running around in circles.

"I don't know what to do," I concluded, "but I have a feeling you do."

She smiled persistently as I expressed my frustrations, her eyes still watery from before.  Without pause, she responded, "Christopher, you are not to serve a mission for the Church.  That is not where your road leads and the universe has been trying to tell you that your whole life by steering you away."

I sat, feeling all too vulnerable.  This was exactly what I was taught my whole life to not accept, as Satan was the only being who wanted me to stray from the Church and ultimately my 'Salvation'.  What she had just said finally forced me to come to terms with my self, and in all reality with my mental 'shadow'.  I realized I could not deny the strange synchronocities and coincidences that had taken place throughout my life.  Everything that had happened to me had lead me to that time and place, entrenched in a conversation I had prayed to have take place for a long time.  At that second, after she had finished that statement, I realized I had no choice but to make a choice.

"Your mother named you Christopher," she continued, "which is from the Greek 'Kristophorus'.  It means Light of Christ, not just in reference to Jesus Christ, but what he stood for and how he affected the people he interacted with, the way a crystal
refracts light in all directions.  There is light in your name and you may not realize it but you have and always been a light to those around you.  It is insightful and appropriate that your mother named you that."

What amazed me was that wasn't even my first name.  My birth certificate had a different name that was given to me by my father, but my mother had it changed after they were divorced.  I had been given a new name only months after my birth when my first name was given.

"You, as a spiritual being, came here to this planet, at this time, for a purpose," she continued.  "Great things are happening on this planet and all of the star seed are gathering here to bear witness and participate in the events that will take place.  I believe you are one of them, an Indigo Child."

I had heard of the concept of the Indigo Children before; indigo is the color associated with the Third-Eye chakra and it is said that the indigo children have an indigo colored aura.  Indigo Children are characterized as being incredibly independent, creative and clairvoyant.  I never thought much of it because I thought that could be a general characterization of lot of unique people throughout history, but to have someone I had only met just a day before label me as one was a complete shock.  I didn't know what to think, so I stayed silent and let her continue.

"I need to tell you, I grew up in Mexico and have only been here in Utah for a few years," she stated.  "When I was young I could see and feel things other couldn't.  I learned for myself that I was connected to the higher consciousness and as I grew older I found myself attracted to others like myself.  We feel our calling in life is to help guide others as they come into this world towards their true purpose, and so we call ourselves 'Light Workers.'  Many of us have moved to Utah because energetically it is a very strong area and we knew that the reason the Mormon Church's headquarters was established here was due to this immense amount of energy.

"They are tapping into that energy with their temples and they are digging underground.  We don't know exactly why, but we know that it is causing a rift in the Earth's energy field.  We are gathering to do healing work on the land, to keep it healthy and alive."

Of course, what I recount to you now is not what she said word for word, but I do remember for certain the details she related to me.  She told me, "The Church is not what you've grown up to think, or believe it is.  What they are doing in their temples is not what Jesus related to the people of the Middle-East and goes against it.  It is like any other religion in general, it is control, much like 'The Matrix'."

I realized then why she had been overcome with emotion when I told her about 'The Matrix'.  I felt a lot like Neo, only barely woken up, standing in the construct with Morpheus as he explained to him what The Matrix truly was: a prison for your mind.

It was a mental and emotional shock.  I didn't know how to handle what she had told me.  I felt ill.  At first I told myself that this couldn't be true and that she was just sent by Satan to tear me away from God's true Church, but then I realized how ridiculous that truly sounded.  I realized, I had already taken the 'red pill' and I had gone too far to turn back.

"I realize I have a lot to ponder now," I told her, having nothing else to say.  It was all too much, and I felt just as I did at the end of my dream the night before.  I knew this was the end of our discussion; she had told me what I needed to know and it was up to me to figure out where I'd go from there.

"Thank you so much," I continued standing up to shake her hand.  "Really, I appreciate you meeting with me.  I will meditate on the things you've told me.  Hopefully I'll figure out where I need to go now."

But rather than shaking my hand, she came around the table and opened her arms.  "Kristophorus, it has been so amazing to meet you."  I didn't think, I just reacted, opening my arms as well as she gave me a big hug.

"Don't worry, I am here for you if you need someone to talk to," she continued after we moved apart.  "The answers you seek will come to you as long as you open yourself up to receive them."

I smiled and nodded.  That is exactly what I needed to hear.  Once again, my prayers had been answered in a way I has least expected.  This time I wasn't going to ignore 

We talked a few more minutes that day and she related to me how she ended up finding herself at the one store that I worked in.  I was still amazed how we had met and so I wanted to know.

She told me a few years prior a fellow light worker who was her mentor had called her after awaking from a dream.  She told C she had been visited in a dream by someone asking her if she knew where she was.  She replied to the person in her dreams, saying that C was not there but she would certainly send word that she was being sought after.

C told me that the person that that visited her mentor in the dream-state looked exactly like me and that she had been looking for me ever since.

She continued, saying that just the day before she had just gotten back from holiday in Mexico and had an appointment with a client.  She had done a session and saw an image of black pearls.  She wanted desperately to show her client what she had seen, but didn't know how to go about it.  Since she had just gotten a new computer she thought there might be software that would allow her to search for that image and it would have it.  At first she had gone to two competing electronic/computer stores inquiring, and each one referred her to the store I worked at.  The first time she was referred to my store she didn't want to travel the distance to get there since it was further away than the second competitor, but again she was referred to my store for what she sought.

"I knew I was being directed there for some reason, so I said, 'Okay, I will go.'"

And now you know the rest of the story.  She came in, I came out of the break room and the universe finally united (re-united?) us.  I still to this day have no logical explanation for this event, but it was yet another catalyst to get me to where I am today.  In the next and final part of my story, I will detail how the answers I sought have slowly, but surely, come to me over the past four years since I first met C, the petite middle-aged Mexican lady who came to Utah with her friends to heal the land with light, and also, to rescue a poor wayward soul from the prison that didn't even know it was confined to.  Now that I could move my head freely, it was time to look around and to discern thing from shadow, reality from illusion.

To Be Continued...

If you couldn't tell, I'm a big fan of Carl Gustav Jung's theories on the subconscious mind and the symbolism he incorporates into the study.  Tool used Jung's idea of the mind's "shadow" in the lyrics for this song off their second studio album, ├ćnima.  This video provides a great analysis of the song's meaning.

(Commenting will not be available for this series until the last post. Please stay tuned.)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Happy New Year!

UPDATE 01/30: Check out this amazing article from Clair Barrus, the Salt Lake City Mormon History Examiner, "Mormonism Ready for ET".
A new survey suggests the beliefs of the Mormon Church may be the most likely to survive an encounter with extraterrestrial intelligence (ETI).

Ted Peters, a professor of Systematic Theology wondered "could the world's religions survive the discovery of extraterrestrial life? Or would their beliefs be so shaken that they would eventually collapse?" He asked 1300 people if they thought the discovery of ETI would shake their faith.

The results indicate religion would survive discovery of ETI. However the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints may have the highest rate of acceptance of (ETI). The report notes:

"Note how high Mormons score. Many Mormon respondents added comments to the effect that belief in ETI is already a part of Mormon doctrine. “My religion (LDS, Mormon) already believes in extra-terrestrials.”
My Response:
Could it survive it? The LDS Church was founded on Joseph Smith Jr. having close contact with extra-terrestrials, receiving information from them and using their technology to translate that information into our language. The LDS Church -IS- an extra-terrestrial religion and, my friend, your article provides all the evidence needed to uphold that statement.
The deeper I get into this study the more I find myself coming to this conclusion.  I cannot wait to go further into this subject with you all.


I hope everyone has had a great holiday season and is refreshed for the New Year.  I've entered into my last semester at the community college and so I've been thrust into a very time consuming and busy schedule.  Though I've slacked in getting through the introduction phase of this project, please know I have not abandoned it.  I would like to give you some insight into what I plan on doing with this blog this year.

As part of my curriculum, I've integrated the study of LDS Church History into my school schedule by signing up for the LDS Institute of Religion church history class at the campus I am attending.  I've been taking notes and have been grilling the instructor with tough questions.  So far I am very pleased with his and the class's responses.

I will be wrapping up the introduction phase of this blog with two more posts.  Once I've completed the seventh post, I will write my thoughts concerning my experiences so far in the church history class I've been attending, what we've discussed and how the information was handled by both the instructor and the class.  I believe by studying the church's official educational system we can gain greater insight into the institution as a whole, especially with how they indoctrinate their members seeking greater educational insight into their religion.

I know you are probably wondering how I've managed to get away with this without causing problems for myself.  I am almost pseudo-undercover in a sense;  I've neither confirmed nor denied my activity in the church.  My instructor has been nothing but open with my intense interest in the subjects we've discussed thus far.  More on this in the next month or so, keep your eyes open for that post.

Most of my posts for this first part of this year (through spring semester) will be pretty informal.  Once school is out for the summer I plan on reading and reviewing several books, including Mormons and Masons recently released by author and BYU Alumni Matthew B. Brown.  I've also picked up an older volume I think will also shed a lot of light onto this study entitled Americanism, Mormonism and Politics written in 1961 by UCLA Historian Richard Vetterli.

In approaching this study, I've come up with two sub-central subjects in relation to Mormonism that if placed in physical form create a triangle.  These subjects are Freemasonry and Extra-terrestrials.  (If you do not understand the relationship of these subjects to Mormonism, then I urge you to read the Introduction and My Story up to it's current episode.)

To better illustrate this study and to also give you a taste of what's to come, I've created the following chart: (Click to Enlarge)
Though one could spend years studying any one of these subjects on their own, the priority of this study is to explore the connections of these subjects to each other and ultimately to Mormonism.  Please understand that I am in no way implying that Mormonism is at the core of these subjects, in fact I believe Mormonism is only one of many secondary facets in this web we're exploring.  It is not the purpose of this study to get to the root or the cause of the world we live in, but do not be surprised if in the course of this study we do arrive there through the writings and research of countless others exploring these subjects.  This chart only shows my personal focus.  It, again, does not in anyway imply the overall importance or severity of these subjects.  I believe that is still up for debate as well as personal judgment.

If you believe I am missing something, please speak up!  I am only one person and I do not intend to make this study my own.  I simply want to explore these subjects in a new light and hopefully get you to think about the world you live in in a different way.  I am open to any commentary, criticism or praise.  Please speak your mind by posting a comment or shooting me an email.

As we enter the the night of the 6th day, I am increasingly excited for what awaits us in the years ahead.  I am optimistic, hopeful and content with humanity and the world we live in and I am so grateful to be alive at this great time in Earth's history.  I hope you all are as well.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

My Story Part V (Splintered Visions)

How dreams affected the lives of my friends as well as my own.

Life became a confusing roller-coaster ride for me throughout the rest of high school.  Between the drama of my developing social life and the stress of my extra-curricular activities as well as my educational, philosophical and spiritual studies, I found myself continually thrust into an existential quandary.

But I was not alone, close friends of mine shared the same experiences I did.  One particular friend, 'S', also had a revelation similar to mine when watching The Matrix.  During our Junior year, he became very quiet and always seemed sleep deprived.  He pulled me aside one day to talk to me about something I will surely never forget.

"My parents think I'm using drugs, I'm not, " he said to me.  "I'm having a continuous dream and it won't stop."

I was in awe at the thought.  I had very vivid out-of-this-world dreams myself, but never were they continuous.  "Tell me about it," I said very curiously.

He then related to me how he started off having dreams of coming to school like normal but then waking up to find that it never happened in real life, but only in the dream world.  This was something I could definitely relate to since I had similar dreams myself.  But what he said next I was not expecting at all, especially since it had to do with me.

"Eventually in one dream I noticed you weren't at school, " he said.  "You disappeared.  You were gone for a week and nobody knew what happened to you.  Later in the dream I got a phone call from you asking me to meet you on a bridge, that you had something to show me."

He continued, telling me how in the dream he met me and a girl he did not know.  We drove in a black car to a restaurant where instead of giving him a choice, I snuck a red pill into his food and woke him up out of The Matrix without his consent.  "But," he said, "You did it because you knew I was important to the fight against the machines and there was no time to waste.  Eventually I, with the help of the girl apart of the crew, accepted my fate and joined in the battle against the machines."

The time came the dreams stopped and life returned to normal for my friend, but he was frustrated that they ended before there were any sort of conclusions to the drama that had unfolded when he slept.

Dreams were frequent during the last year of high school and their mysterious nature was a subject discussed frequently among my group of friends.  I had learned to interpret dreams for my friends with the help of my friend 'B' back in my Freshman year, but I never really understood how it worked.  It was a very intuitive thing to do, having to completely empty my mind in order to better visualize for myself what my friends would describe in their dreams.  When 'S' had related to me his continuous dream, I didn't know how, but I knew that it meant my being such a profound catalyst of change in his dream meant it was a reflection of what was happening or would eventually happen in reality.  Normally I would've been straight to say what my feelings were about a friend's dream, but for this I chose to keep it to myself; I had matured and acquired a better sense of humility and restraint after all the drama the year before and did not want to seem boastful to my friend.

It was apparent to me at this point in my life that dreams had a profound impact on not only my life but the lives of my friends.  I was interested in knowing more about dreams and what their purpose was.  At the time, being an active priest in the LDS church, I sought answers through the usual means of prayer, scripture reading and the inquiring of my Bishop.

I found myself constantly referring to my patriarchal blessing, especially the part where I was related to Joseph of Egypt.  I knew Joseph was a dreamer and also an interpreter of dreams, but I was continually in awe at the direct synchronicities between the two of us.  But the more I inquired, the more I found myself with a mystical and ethereal definition of the dream world.  I wanted to know exactly what was happening with dreams, not just proverbial hints of personal revelation.

It was about this time in my Senior year that I had to choose a major world religion to study for my concurrent college humanities class.  I instantly jumped into the Buddhism group as I had become very interested and familiar with the belief system through my martial arts training.  I wanted to take this opportunity to discover more about the religion than I had already learned on my own.

Part of our final class projects was to attend services of the religion we were studying.  I had the awesome opportunity to visit the Salt Lake Buddhist Temple of downtown Salt Lake City.  This particular sect of Mahayana Buddhism is from Kyoto, Japan, called "Jodo Shinshu".

I remember I went on a beautiful and sunny Sunday morning in December.  The ground was blanketed with a fresh layer of snow and the air was crisp and fresh from the late-passing storm.  I entered the building to find the pastor greeting everyone as they entered.  I introduced myself to the pastor, letting him know I was visiting for school.  He was very welcoming and told me to sit anywhere I'd like.  I sat in a pew towards the back so I could observe all the people, mostly Japanese-Americans, filing into the main room of the temple.  In the back was a golden statue of a Bodhisattva with elaborate decorations surrounding it as well as an incense burner in the front.  There was no artificial lighting, just natural sunlight shining through the sky-light windows in the ceiling.  The atmosphere was very peaceful and very different from what I was used to at the LDS Sunday services.

Hymns were sung in Japanese to begin with and then people stepped forward to say the Nembutsu and offer incense to be burned, all the while the room was was very quiet and peaceful.  Even the children were obediently reverent during this ceremony, something I was not used to coming from an LDS background (my ward was especially loud with children.)

The time came for the pastor to give the sermon.  I was amazed to watch him invite all the children to come to the front and then start his sermon by asking them direct questions in a kind and cheerful manner.

"Do you know what today is?" he asked.  The children reply: "Bodhi Day!"

"Do you know why we celebrate Bodhi Day?" he asked in return.  The children took turns explaining in their own words the reason for the day, something I had been oblivious to prior to my visit.

"Bodhi Day is the day we celebrate in remembrance of the day Shakyamuni came to enlightenment underneath the Bodhi Tree,"  he stated, this time directing his attention to the audience in whole.

The story of Siddhartha Gautama was well burnt into my mind at this point in my research of Buddhism.  It was a story I had become very familiar with as I was able to relate to the story on many different levels, especially with how Siddhartha was just an ordinary man who was in search of deeper meaning of life, the root of suffering and how one could liberate oneself from it.  He was not half god, or part god and he did not seek answers from a god or gods; he looked inward for the answers to life, not outward.  I was truly amazed of all the days I had chosen to come visit this place that I did so on the occasion of Bodhi Day. 

The sermon continued-- the pastor talked of coming to enlightenment by letting go of worldly cares and living in a true spiritual reality.  He explained how the busy world of modern life could only keep us from attaining the same thing the Buddha was able to attain and that in order to prepare ourselves for such a change we must "awake" from the world we only think is real.

To illustrate this, the pastor told the story that Taoist Chuang Tzu wrote commonly called "The Butterfly Dream."
Chuang-tzu had a dream, in which he was a yellow butterfly. As a butterfly, he flitted here and there, completely oblivious to actually being Chuang-tzu. And then he woke, to discover that he was a man. But then he wondered: now am I a man who just dreamt he was a butterfly; or a butterfly who is now dreaming that he is a man?
The pastor continued, showing how this parable could be applied to the topic at hand.  Are we truly alive with our 9-5 jobs, our bank accounts and our fancy things?  Or are all these things a part of a dream we call life?  What is a dream? And how does it differ from the real world?

And then he asked, "Are you familiar with the movie, The Matrix?"

I'm pretty sure my mouth went wide-open at that point.  He gave a brief synopsis of the movie and likened it unto Chuang Tzu's dream of being a butterfly.  "Have you ever had a dream, Neo," Morpheus said, "that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference, between the dream world and the real world?"

He concluded that we should strive every day to connect with that of true spiritual reality and realize that most worldly concerns are only distractions in the long run.  In order to attain enlightenment, like Siddhartha Gautama, we need to disconnect from what we think is real and search ourselves for that which is eternal.

My mind was blown at the parallel that was just made.  It was even more so when I realized that I was getting this through a sermon of a religion I didn't even belong to.  Here I had been, earnestly praying to God for the answers I sought, and yet the answers were given to me from a source outside of the Church.  I did not understand how I could get spiritual answers outside of the Church as I was always taught that revelation can only come through the order of the priesthood and not by any other means.  Here I had been searching for answers in the external and was in turn told that the answers I sought could only be found within.

I left that experience feeling spiritually refreshed and renewed, but simultaneously confused and bewildered.  I went to my ward meeting afterward but I noticed the atmosphere of the meeting was not the same as it was at the Buddhist temple.  I did not feel the same sense of peace in that LDS chapel.

I asked to speak with my bishop following the block schedule in which he agreed to.  I told him my thoughts and feelings concerning what had happened that day, hoping he could shed light on my situation.  But, as it always had been with that man, I was met with disappointment:  "I'm not going to tell you something I don't know myself," he said, I remember very cautiously.  "I do not have any promptings concerning what you've just told me, so it must be something you'll need to figure out on your own."


I went home that afternoon mentally exhausted from the day's happenings.  I changed into more comfortable clothes and decided to take a nap in order to sort out my mind over some proper rest.

It was then I experienced one of the most dramatic dreams I have ever experienced in my lifetime, the beginning of a series of very vivid dreams that would come to me over the next course of the year.  I will now relate to you what took place in this first dream by transcribing from my dream journal that I felt prompted to start at the time.
"The dream began in First Person.  I leave my house, opening my front door and closing and locking it behind me.  These images are familiar as I do this most everyday usually early in the morning near or at dawn.
"My neighborhood is empty.  At first I think nothing of it but as I walk a few steps away from my front door I am hit with the sunken feeling of being alone.  Very alone.  I feel like I am the only human being for miles.
 "Suddenly, there is a tremor in the ground.  I look up and the darkest clouds gather in the sky together.  I look North East to the mountains and I vividly watch Mount Olympus crumble to the ground, engulfed in flames.  Fires in the valley reflect off the clouds making them glow as a smokey haze rises from the ground.  Then finally, I hear the screams of all the inhabitants of the valley.  I feel their pain and anguish as their torturous yells ring through my head.  I feel like crying but I can't.  It is at this point that I am thinking only one thing:  I've got to get out of here!
"I run to my car, jump in and start it up.  I go into third person as I watch myself back out of my driveway and speed towards the freeway, but I am having a difficult time.  Stop lights and traffic signals slow down my progress.  When finally I reach the on-ramp to I-15, it is in pieces an dI can't get on the freeway.  I try other on ramps but they are all unusable.  No matter what I do I can't get on and finally I give up.
"I enter First Person again as I step out of the car, awaiting an aftershock.  I look up to the sky and the clouds begin to swirl as if they were getting ready to create a giant cyclone.  The clouds are different now, though.  Now they are on fire.  Suddenly I feel dizzy and everything fades to white.
"Third Person.  I'm looking down at myself.  I'm laying on brick in the middle of a beautiful courtyard.  I begin to wake up.
"First Person.  I pick myself up, rub my eyes and look around me.  My thoughs are only this:  Am I dead?  As I look around I see a white picket  fence surrounding the courtyard engulfed in the greenest shrubberies.  The weather is nice and there are only a few white fluffy clouds hanging in a clear blue sky.  And then I turn around 180 degrees.
 "Before me, seated in front of me, are endless rows of people as far back as I can see.  They are seated in two columns with a wide aisle down the middle.  They are all looking right at me with blank emotionless faces.  And yet, oddly, I recognize every single one of them.
"I begin to hear voices.  They are talking but their mouths don't move.  It is as if I can hear their thoughts and feel their emotions.  They're all talking/thinking about me.
"Some are concerned for me, others are only thinking good things.  I do not recall hearing anything about me.  All these people care for me.
 "I step down from the elevated brick plane I've been standing on and begin to walk down the aisle.  Their heads follow my movement and they keep on watching me until they can turn their heads no longer.  As I watched when they got to this point, their heads snapped forward violently and their voices/thoughts faded away.  When they did this, their motions were blurred.  Every so often they would blink, this was also blurred, like they blinked several times really fast, but it only looked like they blinked once.
"Still in First Person.  I continue down the aisle, listening to these people's thoughts about me.  I felt sadness and sorrow for them, like I had failed.  I kept thinking, "Am I dead? Is this the afterlife?"  I continued to walk
"Eventually, to my right, I see an empty chair.  This void in the endless crowd of people made me more than ever want to fill it.  I quickly make my way towards the chair and sit down.
 "I lean forward and bury my face into my hands.  I rub my eyes.  I want to cry but tears escape me.  Even though I'm surrounded by all these people I feel alone and abandoned.
"I look up and I am stunned as the most beautiful girl I've ever seen turns around.  She looks at me and smiles.  She pats me on the back and tells me, vocally with lips moving:  "Everything will be alright.  Don't worry."  An extreme feeling of calmness washes over me as for the first time in this dream I feel happiness.  suddenly, the leas expected happens: she kisses me.
(At the time I had wrote this, I had never kissed a girl before.  I wrote this.)
"To this day I am 100% virgin lips.  I've never kissed a girl before.  But it was at this moment that my subconscious did the most amazing thing.  It created, for my nervous system, a sense of touch.  I could feel the kiss and thinking back it was just as real as me sitting here writing this.  I cannot, for the life of me, explain this in any terms at all.
"Suddenly I feel tears flow into my eyes.  Except these were not the tears I had begged for previously.  These were tears of pure joy and happiness.
"The girl smiled at me and began to turn back around in her seat.  I didn't want her to, but she kept going.  Slowly my vision faded to white.  I did not want to leave her.  I didn't want her to turn around.  I didn't want to be alone again.
 "Third Person.  I see myself running down (a private) lane, my childhood play area.  I'm running towards the main street, running towards my old home.  I am back amidst the chaos and destruction.  The sky is swirling and on fire.  Everything is hot and tinted red.
"I am running now in First Person.  I'm trying to get somewhere but I don't know where.  Suddenly my phone rings.  I reach into my pocket as I come to a halt.  I look at my phone and I see who is calling.  It is my best friend ('S', who I introduced in the beginning of this part).
"This is where I wake up.  I remember feeling disoriented and exhausted.  At first I didn't know where I was.  When I really came to I realized that I was breathing hard, like I had (actually) been running."
"My phone was ringing.  ('S') was calling.... to think that ('S') was actually calling in reality made everything (the) more crazy."
"This dream was not provoked by any outside forces as far as the five senses go.  I wasn't listening to music, I hadn't watched any movies or played any video games in the past (48 hours).  This dream was simply uncalled for."
As graduation drew nigh, I began to see how the first part of the dream reflected my mental state as I was very anxious to graduate from high-school.  I was not a straight-A student and due to my devoted time to extra-curricular activities ran by the school in the fine arts department I found myself having to catch up via make-up packets.  I was very stressed because of this.  I felt the bit where I was searching for a way out by taking the freeway perfectly represented my feelings concerning my life in general, especially with the biblical Armageddon-like craziness all around me.

But what threw me off was the second part where I seemed to do a dimension-jump to a calm and peaceful place with all these people directing their attention towards me.  It took me a while to realize exactly what this part meant, but what freaked me out the most is that I found myself experiencing all the emotions I felt in this part of the dream in reality in the exact same order.

One day I made my way to the music hall where I would often spend my lunch breaks.  At the time I felt as I did in my dream: alone, sad and anxious for a way out.  On this particular day I was surprised to find an attractive girl who I did not recognize eating her lunch in my usual spot, a place usually only those involved in the fine arts department would come by every now and then.  She, however, was definitely a stranger to these parts.

Curious, I introduced myself to her and said something a long the lines of "So, I haven't seen you around here before.  Are you in choir or orchestra?"

"No,"  she replied.  "My friend is, though.  I was just going to meet her here."

I soon found out her friend was also a mutual acquaintance.  We had light conversation as we ate until it was time for me to move on to my next class.  I was, however, perplexed at the fact that our mutual acquaintance never showed up during lunch.  I thought little of this and went on my way.

The next day I showed up to the same spot pleased to find this girl, who I will refer to as 'J', again in the same place eating her lunch again.  We greeted, talked lightly about the school day and ate our lunches again.  It was good to meet someone new who I could talk to so casually.  We departed at the bell again and I found myself in a mood more cheerier than I recall being in in a long time.

As the days went by, every school day we would meet at lunch and we would converse, each day the conversation growing more in-depth and much more personal.  We talked about where we wanted to go in life after high-school.  I had my eye on being a music major, but I wasn't sure.  She had her eye on anthropology and I found myself attracted to the idea of her pursuing such an interesting field of study.  She was a year younger than I, though, and she was jealous at the fact that I would be graduating soon.

This change of mood brought much more focus and motivation to my studies.  I was glad to finally graduate from high school a few months later with "J" in the audience there to cheer me on.  We had become very close in those few months and I was extremely excited.

But as I walked down that aisle amongst all my peers, the dream I had several months before flashed back.  There I was, again in my dream, looking for a place amongst all these people.  And then it hit me:  the girl in my dream, surely it was 'J'.  She gave me that final motivation, that final push to finally find my escape and to finally graduate high school.  The night of my graduation was a climax.

And as school ended and I entered into the real world, I realized that all climaxes must have a Denouement, a fall and finally a conclusion.

At this point I knew I was in love with 'J' and it made things even better that she had a deep interest in me.  I thought I had finally been blessed with an answered prayer, an angel to relieve me of my worries and someone to uplift me and bring out the best in me.  I had never been so happy in my life.

But as I contemplated the parallels between the dream and the direction my life was going I suddenly realized that if these paralells were to continue that I would end up alone again.  I remember seeing the girl in front of me turn away after kissing me with the ensuing deep withdrawl; the fear and the sadness overwhelming me as I reached out for her only to be thrown back into the world of fire, death and destruction all around me.

And with all that had happened in reality, I watched as she drifted away from me during the summer until finally she would not even talk to me any longer.  My heart was broken as I found out she started dating another guy and started associating with new friends.  In the end I was left alone, running.

I saw the pattern of my dream come to fruition and realized that I didn't know where I was going next.  I was just running to somewhere, anywhere.  The realization that the dream I had months before eventually came to pass literally blew my mind.  It turned my whole perspective of reality completely upside down.  I realized that I would need to face the fact that there was definitely something beyond the reality I understood at the time.  I admit, I had never been so frightened in my entire life.

To Be Continued...

(Commenting will not be available for this series until the last post. Please stay tuned.)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Intermission: An Illustration of a Major Paradigm Shift

The Cave  
An Allegory for All Mankind

In the 4th century BCE, Greek philosopher Plato wrote a collection of dialogues of what we now call The Republic.  In the beginning of Book VII, Plato's main speaker, Socrates, is conversing with his peer, Glaucon.  The following conversation takes place--
Socrates: And now, I said, let me show in a figure how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened:--Behold! human beings living in an underground den, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the den; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets.
Glaucon: I see.
And do you see, I said, men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and figures of animals made of wood and stone and various materials, which appear over the wall? Some of them are talking, others silent.
You have shown me a strange image, and they are strange prisoners.
Like ourselves, I replied; and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave?
True, he said; how could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?
And of the objects which are being carried in like manner they would only see the shadows?
Yes, he said.
And if they were able to converse with one another, would they not suppose that they were naming what was actually before them?
Very true.
And suppose further that the prison had an echo which came from the other side, would they not be sure to fancy when one of the passers-by spoke that the voice which they heard came from the passing shadow?
No question, he replied.
To them, I said, the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images.
That is certain.
This is the beginning narration by Plato's main character, Socrates, of what has become known as The Allegory of the Cave.  It is an effort on the part of Socrates to explain to Glaucon the process of coming from a controlled ignorant state of mind to that of a free and enlightened mind and the implications of the journey that must be made in order to achieve this mental transformation.  (Though this is not the core theme or purpose behind their entire conversation in Republic, this allegory has and can be analyzed on its own, something which we will do in this article.)

Over the years, it has been illustrated literally through artistic representations (as shown to the left), but nothing in our modern age has illustrated this allegory in both imagery and story as well as The Matrix.

In Part IV of My Story, I presented you with how I first experienced the core premise of The Matrix, something which had opened my mind to a whole new dimension of looking at the world I lived in.  Allow me to speak further concerning this before I continue with my memoirs.  I would like to present you with a personal interpretation of this allegory as I believe it is very pertinent to the events that took place in my life following the epiphanies I received when watching this film.

The "Matrix" is the world presented to us in our upbringing by our parents, our culture, our educators and especially the government.  It is the metaphorical projection and contrast of shadow and light by the marionette players who stand in front of the fire with their puppets as described in Plato's allegory.  Neo is a representation of a prisoner who has had his head directed towards the wall in front of him his whole life.  But, like Neo, this prisoner has began to question what he sees because he feels something is not right.

I, too, had realized I felt like something was not right with my life.

It would be a few years before I discovered that The Matrix was all actually an elaborate modern illustration of Plato's Allegory of the Cave, but at the time I did come to realize how I could apply the story's message to my own life.

However, I did not completely realize the full impact a major paradigm shift as large as this would do to a mind.  Back to the allegory, Socrates continues-- 
And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows...
In The Matrix, after Neo has chosen the red pill, he is lead to a room with strange machines.  Morpheus says to him,
"Have you ever had a dream, Neo, that you were so sure was real? What if you were unable to wake from that dream? How would you know the difference, between the dream world... and the real world....?"
It is then he is released from his bonds.

It is also here where the film excels at illustrating Plato's Allegory of the Cave. We witness Neo experience a huge initial shock as well as an immense amount of physical pain when he is woken up into the real world.   The hoses that were connected to his body have broken off symbolizing his release from the bonds of The Matrix, the experience obviously a painful one.  But it does not stop there; the scenes after show the crew caring for Neo, rebuilding his atrophied muscles and nursing him to good health.  When he physically comes to, Neo must then mentally adjust to this new reality.  In Plato's Allegory, Socrates continues--
...and then conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision, -what will be his reply? And you may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as they pass and requiring him to name them, -will he not be perplexed? Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?
Far truer.
And if he is compelled to look straight at the light, will he not have a pain in his eyes which will make him turn away to take and take in the objects of vision which he can see, and which he will conceive to be in reality clearer than the things which are now being shown to him?
True, he now
And suppose once more, that he is reluctantly dragged up a steep and rugged ascent, and held fast until he's forced into the presence of the sun himself, is he not likely to be pained and irritated? When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see anything at all of what are now called realities.
Not all in a moment, he said.
We watch Morpheus take Neo into the Construct, a loading program that is similar to his former reality within The Matrix.  Morpheus, as his instructor, explains to Neo how the things of his former reality were nothing but shadows.  We watch as Neo learns the true nature of his former life which, in turn, causes him great mental "pain" as his mind attempts to cope with this realization.

Back to the Allegory, Socrates' continues his conversation with Glaucon--
He will require to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world. And first he will see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and other objects in the water, and then the objects themselves; then he will gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heaven; and he will see the sky and the stars by night better than the sun or the light of the sun by day?
Last of he will be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of him in the water, but he will see him in his own proper place, and not in another; and he will contemplate him as he is.
After this scene, Neo asks Morpheus, "I can't go back, can I?"

Morpheus responds, "No, but if you could, would you really want to?"

Neo's reply is silence.  Morpheus tells him he is sorry for putting him through this as they usually only wake up a mind before a certain younger age.  However, Morpheus expressed to Neo his high hopes for him as he believes he is the one who will finally free humanity once and for all.  If only we could know what Neo is thinking when Morpheus tells him this.  What we can assume, though, is that because of the faith Morpheus has invested into him Neo has realized his purpose is much more important than he originally anticipated.  In this sense we can see he has seen himself in his "own proper place" as he wakes up the next morning with fervor and enthusiasm for his training rather than continuing to recede in disbelief.

To further illustrate this section of the allegory in The Matrix, we watch as Morpheus takes Neo through a series of training exercises to teach him the differences between his old reality and the new.  Morpheus also shows Neo how, if he changes his mental paradigm, he is capable of and can do much more than he could in his former state.

In order for Neo to complete this paradigm shift, he must take a leap of faith.  This is what the "Jump Program" illustrates in the film, that of separating from your past self and "jumping" into your new reality.  Morpheus tell him, "You've got to let it all go, Neo: fear, doubt and disbelief.  Free your mind."

"Everybody falls the first time." What this has shown us is that experiencing a paradigm shift if not easy and can even be painful.  After coming out of The Matrix and back into the real world, Neo finds that his mouth is bleeding.

"I thought it wasn't real?" Neo asks in confusion, obviously in pain.

"Your mind makes it real, " Morpheus replies.

Neo thinks for a second and then asks in return, "If you're killed in The Matrix, you die here?"

Morpheus answers plainly, "The body cannot live without the mind."

This is a powerful metaphor that shows while this paradigm shift may give you an advantage, it does not put you into "God Mode".  Though the realization of this new knowledge may give you much power; humility, discipline, perseverance and other virtues of the like are still required on your part.  In the end, you are still just as vulnerable as you were before and if you are not careful you can still get hurt.

In Plato's Allegory of the Cave, Socrates describes what would naturally follow should the newly freed and adjusted prisoner think back to their former habitation in the cave--
And when he remembered his old habitation, and the wisdom of the den and his fellow-prisoners, do you not suppose that he would felicitate himself on the change, and pity them?
Certainly, he would.
And if they were in the habit of conferring honours among themselves on those who were quickest to observe the passing shadows and to remark which of them went before, and which followed after, and which were together; and who were therefore best able to draw conclusions as to the future, do you think that he would care for such honours and glories, or envy the possessors of them? Would he not say with Homer,
"Better to be the poor servant of a poor master,"and to endure anything, rather than think as they do and live after their manner?
Yes, he said, I think that he would rather suffer anything than entertain these false notions and live in this miserable manner.
Imagine once more, I said, such a one coming suddenly out of the sun to be replaced in his old situation; would he not be certain to have his eyes full of darkness?
To be sure, he said.
And if there were a contest, and he had to compete in measuring the shadows with the prisoners who had never moved out of the den, while his sight was still weak, and before his eyes had become steady (and the time which would be needed to acquire this new habit of sight might be very considerable) would he not be ridiculous? Men would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes; and that it was better not even to think of ascending; and if any one tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the offender, and they would put him to death.
No question, he said.
Later, Socarates refers back to this and concludes:
Anyone who has common sense will remember that the bewilderments of the eyes are of two kinds, and arise from two causes, either from coming out of the light or from going into the light, which is true of the mind's eye, quite as much as of the bodily eye...

There are a few things to be said of this selection from Plato's allegory, one being the idea of a newly awakened person wanting to return to his old habitation to help free his old peers.  The Matrix, aside from Neo's story, is centered on the idea of those who have been freed from The Matrix, learning of the true nature of their universe only later returning to The Matrix to free more minds from their enslaved estate (which I believe is a brilliant plot device in of itself).

But what I find most intriguing is the idea of using physical/literal sight as a metaphor for gauging the mind's conscious awareness of its surroundings.  In the allegory, Socrates' poses the situation of the free man returning to his old habitation without allowing time for his sight to adjust.  How is he going to make out anything in all that darkness?  How would his peers react to his "ridiculous" state?  How could the freed man ever hope to convince any of them to come up with him to surface in such a situation?

Think of how difficult it was for Neo to make the decision to take the red pill even when he was the one searching for answers.  How do you go about waking up a mind that is perfectly content in their "false" reality of The Matrix?

The next morning, Morpheus leads Neo down a busy city street to teach him one last lesson.

"You have to understand, most of these people are not ready to be unplugged. And many of them are so inert, so hopelessly dependent on the system, that they will fight to protect it."
"Anyone we haven't unplugged is potentially an agent.  Inside the Matrix, they are everyone and they are no one."
This scene is profoundly important.  It is here we realize how immense the responsibility is to go back into "The Matrix" to free more minds.  We see how much danger there is involved in the operations that must take place in order to free someone from their bonds and also, symbolized by the "woman in the red dress", the temptations that are there to distract the freeman from his goals.

But we also find an interesting metaphor with the "agents" or as Morpheus calls them the "gatekeepers".  While potentially deadly for the operative, I believe this symbolizes the "programming" inherent to those who are still doscile to their true nature.  The "blue-pills" or "sleepers" who are still plugged into The Matrix are still suseptible to the mind-patterened programming and, though they feel they may be fighting for what they believe in, we know that they are only under the influence of an "agent".  I believe this is a very interesting and important metaphorical device that can correlate with many real-life scenarios one may face, but we will explore that notion at another time.

Ultimately, we see that it all comes down to choice.

On part of the freed mind:  Do you stay in the real world and avoid the danger of The Matrix all while simultaneously cutting yourself off from everyone you knew from your old life?  Or do you return to continue the work of waking the minds of those both familiar and strange?

On part of the enslaved mind who is searching for answers:  Do you take the blue pill and stay ignorant to the truth and to the questions in life you may seek answers to?  Or do you take the red pill and venture into the unknown, journeying through a major paradigm shift to that of clairvoyance?

I often wonder what Neo is thinking to himself after realizing he could die by going back into The Matrix.  But as the story continues, we see that Neo is suddenly faced with the choice of whether or not he should save the life of Morpheus, the one who freed him from his bonds.  (I won't spoil the rest of the movie for you if you haven't seen it.)

At the end of the movie, when all is said in done, we see what Neo has chosen to do as he gives a message to the metaphorical puppeteers of Plato's allegory.

I, too, have made this same choice.  I've chosen to share my story with the world in hopes that it may help lead others who are searching for truth towards the answers they seek.

It will now be my pleasure to take you through my real-life paradigm shift as I recall the events that took place during my young-adult years.  Amazingly, but not surprisingly, it has followed the same template which Plato outlined in Socrates' Allegory of the Cave as well as The Matrix.

"Buckle your seat-belt, Dorothy.  'Cause Kansas... is going bye-bye."

To Be Continued...