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Chapter Twenty-seven: The Noah Syndrome or The Lost Love

As I described in overview in chapter 24,  my mother was going off like a loose cannon, supported by church members engaged by her sympathy ploys.  My grandmother’s cancer had metastasized after staying in remission for 11 years.  My brother had betrayed me, taken in by Mother, even against his own grandmother.  My cousin and my aunt were dead.  There was a “haunting,” and an encounter with pure evil within the church itself.  This was the place I found myself, caught up in bizarre experiences, becoming less capable of meeting the family responsibilities on my shoulders, but somehow doing it all anyway.

In the end, it all culminated in Grandma’s death.  This was in October of 1984.

Within two weeks of her death, we had been evicted from our house by my mother.

We moved to a shack out in the woods on Larry’s land, putting most of my furniture, books and possessions in storage.  The only luxury we kept at hand was my piano.  (Which we eventually had to sell to pay bills during one of the endless episodes of Larry’s unemployment and concurrent depression.)

So: there we were, in a cabin in the woods with no electricity or running water, but we had a baby grand in the corner!    Thank God for the piano.

At this point there was the daily struggle to see there was enough food for my small children so they would not have to go to bed hungry at night.  Most of the time they didn’t have decent shoes to wear, and it was only by charity they had clothes.  We went from having two homes, investment property and a business, to literally nothing but a wild piece of land, practically a cardboard box to live in, and hope that we could make it all work by sheer force of will.

In my case, the spirit was willing, but the flesh was oh!  So weak!    I had the will, but the ability of my body to respond to that will was declining rapidly.  I didn’t know that I had an autoimmune condition that was progressing rapidly and no doctor I ever went to during those years ever diagnosed it correctly.

People who have tried living on the land soon find out it’s a lot of work.  When you have a hand pump in the yard about 40 feet from the house, it is a daily ordeal to keep water available for all the normal uses of five people – especially when three of those people are small children.  My already compromised physical condition was really not up to that level of work.  I was determined to maintain as normal a standard of living as possible, so it was a question of determination and will to continue to do what had to be done against the deterioration of my body.

I was still operating on the idea that my faith was being “tested” and “tried by fire”.  I often woke up at night in so much psychological and emotional pain at the loss of both my grandmother (actual) and my mother (virtual).  The loss of the home of my childhood and my security in financial terms and overwhelming worries for the future of my children were so distressing that I would get up and pace in the darkness, wringing my hands and crying.  I would often walk outside in the moonlight to find a quiet, private place, and sit and rock and weep in the struggle to continue to find the “love in the moment,” so that I could go on another day.  During the day, I held such tight control over my emotions that I actually became something of a robot toward the children.  I knew that if I gave in to my fears or my grief I would drown in the flood and somebody would have to come and lock me away.  I was on the razor’s edge of control and what’s more, I knew it.

It has taken years for me to be able to articulate what was going on inside me at that point, and, in retrospect, I find that my grandmother’s death was another “gift,” because it was the impetus for change.

When Grandma died, I was at the hospital and, even though they would not let me go to her side while they worked to prolong her life (a stupid thing, considering her age and condition not to mention the fact that there was a duly signed and witnessed “do not resuscitate” order), I did have a glimpse of her in her last moments.  When the fight was finally over, the nurse took me in and left me alone with her still body say goodbye.  I wept long and bitterly while holding her now motionless hand, growing perceptibly cold as I pressed it to my cheek.  I understood deeply that this flesh that was my grandmother was no longer my grandmother, no matter how dear and familiar to me every molecule of her body was.  Her mortal frame was like a glove that had been cast away after it was worn and threadbare.  But her physical form was the only representation of her I had.  She and I had interacted through this form.  The dynamics of our lives together had been played out through this form.  I knew this moment was the last I would look upon her in that structure, so I must look enough to last me the rest of my life.

Without animation, her beloved face was almost unrecognizable, her glorious, clear blue eyes were closed forever; but her hands were still the same hands that I remembered from my childhood.  Those hands had never been still; they had been covered with flour from baking some special treat, or busy cleaning, sorting, folding and washing all the material things in the environment of my childhood.  Most of all, they had often been busy fanning me when it was too warm, covering me when it was cold, bathing my face when I was fevered.  She was the one whose hands were always busy stroking away my hurts whenever I was sick or unhappy.

My grandmother’s name was Lucy.

She had beautiful hands with long, graceful fingers and elegant nails.  For a long time I sat in that cold room of the hospital, holding her hand in mine.  Finally the nurse came and took me by the shoulders and said I ought to leave.  I was so stricken that I allowed her to lead me from the room.  As I stood outside, I panicked and wanted to rush back inside, to throw myself onto her lifeless form, gather her in my arms and take her with me.  But the attendants already were taking her away.

I was then 32 years old and my grandmother had been an omnipresent part of my life.  After a time, even if the wound is deep, it is covered with a scar, and the new “history” becomes the new way of being; the loss is no longer acutely painful.  One becomes accustomed not to expect to hear a certain voice, to see a certain beloved face every day.  And this new custom becomes the reality, as though the universe in which one now exists is not the same universe as the former one where the loved one was present.

The question that plagued me was: What happens to the love between people when one of them dies?  Where does it go?

How can it be that such a bond, one that may be assumed to exist in Platonic Noumenal terms, yet which is expressed in physical manifestation, seems suddenly to end when the material body is sealed in the tomb?  Why is there this dreadful veil that prevents our access to other realities in terms of certainty?

The concept of a chair or an apple or any concrete object is the only truly lasting thing about it.  Was love therefore not real because the dynamic exchange ended?  No!  Every fiber of my being rejected that.  Love and kindness, existing only as ideas, are more real in some realm of abstraction.  But we have no access.  But then, when the dynamic in which those abstractions exist in material terms ceases to be active, where does it go?  In what realm does this world of ideas of engendered things exist, be they solid or only ideological?

In the simplest of terms, my thoughts were: my grandmother is dead; how can I know she still loves me?  What am I to do with the love I have to give her?  What is the medium of exchange?  Is it over?

Is there no more?  If so, then what’s the point, damn it?

The answers offered by the Christian faith in which I was inured at that moment suddenly seemed not merely unsatisfactory, but downright insulting to the memory of my grandmother and the bond that had existed between us.  The ideas of Spiritualism and the concepts of reincarnation were only slightly helpful.  As far as I was concerned, there was no proof.  There was a lot of so-called evidence and conjecture; but there was also another side: such evidence was declared to be a satanic delusion to lead us astray. Materialist explanations, based on picking and choosing evidence, are insulting to not only all life, but the Universe as a whole.

But the issue remained.  For what purpose is love engendered, and where does it go when the interaction comes to an end?

It’s easy to say that “love never dies,” and that love continues to exist between us and our loved ones who are no longer with us in some “astral” plane or place of the dead; or that we will meet the dear departed at some end-time resurrection.  I was not satisfied with “The Lord gives and the Lord takes away; blessed be the name of the Lord.”  Even worse was: “It’s not for us to understand God’s ways; it’s a Mystery!”  And I most definitely wasn’t going to have a séance and try to talk to my grandmother.  To attempt to resurrect her that way felt blasphemous to the love I had for her, even worse than the idea she was lost to me until some final end time resurrection.

My entire life as a seeker of Truth was focused on the concept of “Eternal Life” and the dual pillars of Salvation and Faith, standing on the foundation of Good versus Evil.

I attended church one Sunday and listened to a stirring sermon based on the Book of Revelation from the New Testament.  I listened carefully, trying to find some solace in this message about the Resurrection, but it seemed to be a fear inducing rant designed to bring the Christian to his knees in supplication and self-abasement.

What did that have to do with Love?

The Pastor ended his diatribe with a quotation I am sure was intended to strike fear in the hearts of the congregation.  On me, it had quite a different effect.  The quote:  “But when the days come that the trumpet call of the seventh angel is about to be sounded, then God’s mystery, His secret design, His hidden purpose, as He announced the glad tidings to His servants the prophets, should be fulfilled.”

Now, of course, the entire Christian perspective, in whatever denomination, teaches that the “mystery,” this “secret design” or  “hidden purpose,” is the resurrection of the dead at the “End of Time”.  But it struck me forcibly that, if this was so clearly known, why was John, the author of Revelation, saying quite clearly that there was something we were not being told?  What would only be revealed “at the last trumpet?”

More than that, could it have anything to do with my question?

Hearing this was like being handed the end of the thread of Ariadne.  I began to pull on it by asking questions and digging for answers – but only within the appropriate framework of the Bible – at least for the moment.

***

The child I was carrying at the time my grandmother died was born in the Spring of 1985.  The entire pregnancy was spent mourning for my grandmother.  This was especially poignant because she would be the first baby I could not bring home and put directly in Grandma’s arms for her to love and rock and sing to.  She was the main member of my support team, and the organizer and leader of the “baby fan club” in our house.  My babies were wonderfully enriched by her devotion to each of them.

It was an extremely difficult delivery for me and the new baby.  My heart ached for my poor little one who had been injured in the birth process.  When she was finally laid in my arms, right away I noticed her incredible little hands – exactly like my grandmother’s.  In fact, so much like them that I felt this was almost like a message from her.

Not only that, but the baby had a strawberry hematoma on her left ankle.  My grandmother had broken her left ankle when I was a child, and it had required surgery to repair it.  Ever afterward, it was swollen and red in exactly the same place that my baby’s hematoma was situated.

My baby had also suffered a broken left collarbone during delivery which made it impossible for her to use her tiny arm for several weeks.  My grandmother had undergone a radical mastectomy on the left side that made it impossible for her to use her left arm for long periods of time.

Grandma had died of lung cancer (she never smoked), which meant that she essentially drowned in her own lung fluids.  At birth, my baby had been unable to breathe or cry because her lungs were full of a thick, sticky fluid.  It was a couple of very tense minutes while the hospital staff worked frantically to clean out her lungs and get her to breathe.  Her lungs were so weak that her cry was like a little kitten mewing for months after her birth.

At about the same time, the collar bone healed, the strawberry hematoma disappeared, and her lungs improved, so I no longer sat up all night making sure she was breathing.  And today, her hands are her own.  But for that time, when I was most desperately grieving that my grandmother was no longer present to greet the new baby, I had received some small comfort from these “signs” of Love that never dies.

Was my grandmother reincarnated into my fourth child?  I don’t know.  Yes, they are very much alike in many ways – most notably in the desire to care for and see to the comfort and happiness of others – but I don’t think about it any more.  She is who she is, a wonderful and extraordinary young lady with brains, talent, beauty and, most important of all, a loving soul.

As a result of the injuries I had received during the delivery, I was bedridden for many months.  There I was, living in the woods, isolated from family and friends; I had four little children to care for and I couldn’t even walk.  My oldest child was only six, and the responsibility for the care of her brother and sister, as well as her mother and the new baby, fell on her.  She was smart, talented, and a real trooper, but it was clearly not a healthy situation.

On top of this soul-deep grief I was still unable to resolve, I was frustrated and irritable at not being able to do anything about my physical condition.  Not only had I lost nearly everything I loved, I had now lost my health.

Since I could no longer maintain my very active participation in life in a physical way, I was forced, by the universe, as it were, to find other outlets for my energy.  I decided this would be the perfect time to master the art of meditation.  Prompted by the little “signs” that appeared during this birth, I felt compelled to investigate this question of Eternal Life.  I decided the only way I could accomplish this objective was to be able to truly open my heart to God, so he could infuse me with this “something” that obviously I so desperately lacked.  Thus, the idea grew in me that I must still my own voice, both internal and external, so that I could hear daily the voice that betokens God’s presence within.

I searched the Bible for clues.  Having taught meditation, self-hypnosis, and other relaxation techniques, I knew all of these were ways many people claim to make contact with their “higher self” or what-not.  But, being on the faith trip, whatever I did had to be within the guidelines I had accepted for my life.  I found a reference in Psalms: “Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable unto thee, Oh Lord.”

Well, that clinched it for me!  There it was, right in the Bible!  I began to meditate using that very phrase as my mantra, since that seemed to be the acceptable way to do it by the rules.  And it was at this point that things began to really happen.

Several years earlier I had found a book on a bargain table in a book store entitled “In Search of the Miraculous” by P.D.  Ouspensky.  The blurb on the cover said: “The noted author of Tertium Organum combines the logic of a mathematician with the vision of a mystic in his quest for solutions to the problems of Man and the Universe.”  Since it was a bargain and promised to reveal secrets about our world, naturally, I bought it immediately.  When I got home with it and tried to read it, it proved to be rather dry, and I gave it up.  It had lain on the shelf ever after.

I had continued, to a great extent, my reading habits through the past few years, though there had been considerable restriction on the time I was allowed to give to it.  Larry resented the fact that I liked to read before going to sleep, and there were many nights when I sat up alone, shivering in the cold, to read what I considered to be my necessary daily allowance of intellectual input.

But now that I was bedridden, the door was wide open to reading as much as I liked.  In that sense, it was a blessing.  So, I remembered this book that I had put aside; it seemed that a book that promised insight to the issues I was struggling with – even a very dry book – didn’t seem like such a bad idea when I could do nothing else.  I asked for it, and soon it was located and brought to me.

I realized pretty quickly that this book would go to the top of the list of  “forbidden works” according to the elders of our church, but I didn’t care.  After my experiences with the church over the past few years, my reliance on the pastoral care offered within Christianity was rapidly being undermined.  I was still “on guard” against “evil ideas,” but I was sure that I could filter out anything too “dangerous” in a work that promised insight on the issues for which I was seeking answers.

Everything was fine for about 17 pages, and I was getting into the style of writing and found it to be deeply interesting and then – well – then this mysterious “G” (about whom I knew nothing), made a remark that completely knocked the wind out of my still mostly Fundamentalist sails.  In response to Ouspensky’s speculation that, in the industrial age, humans were becoming more “mechanized” and had stopped thinking, Gurdjieff said:

“There is another kind of mechanization which is much more dangerous: being a machine oneself.  Have you ever thought about the fact that all people themselves are machines?  …Look, all those people you see are simply machines – nothing more.  …You think there is something that chooses its own path, something that can stand against mechanization; you think that not everything is equally mechanical.”

At this point, Ouspensky raised the very argument that was forming in my own mind:

“Why of course not!    …Art, poetry, thought, are phenomena of quite a different order.”

Gurdjieff replied: “Of exactly the same order.  These activities are just as mechanical as everything else.  Men are machines and nothing but mechanical actions can be expected of machines.”

I was so enraged that I snapped the book shut and threw it against the wall!

How dare he say such a terrible thing about human beings!    How dare he deny the reality of the spirit, the sublimity of music and mysticism and the salvation of Christ!    I’m surprised that steam didn’t issue from my head.  I was hot with outrage!

But, it had been said.  The seed of the thought had been planted in my mind.  After awhile, my curiosity about such a concept came to the fore.  I began to mull over the issue in an attempt to find ways to disprove it.

I mused over my own life, all my interactions with other people, significantly my own mother, and gradually, I began to realize that there was, indeed, something mysteriously “mechanical” about the interactions between human beings.  I thought about the many people I had worked with therapeutically using hypnosis, and how “mechanical” the therapy was, and how the roots of most of their problems were rather like “mechanical” and conditioned reactions to their perceptions and observations.  Generally, it seemed, these perceptions were erroneous, and it was the error of this “mechanical” thinking that created the problems in the first place.

But, over and over again, their problems and the ways they formed and operated, as well as the therapeutic solutions themselves, were, essentially, mechanical.  It was like a formula.  With just a few “hints” from the person, I could almost immediately see the whole dynamic of their past and the formation of their problem, as well as the “mechanical” way to solve it.  I applied the technique, and just like changing the wires and spark plugs in a car, it made them start “firing on all cylinders” again.

Okay, so the guy has a point.  But clearly, those people who were “saved” were saved from being mechanical, right?  I wanted to find out if he had anything to say about that!    I called one of the children to retrieve the book for me and I continued to read.  The question was asked: “Can it be said that man possesses immortality?”

Gurdjieff’s reply was fascinating:

“Immortality is one of the qualities we ascribe to people without having a sufficient understanding of their meaning.  Other qualities of this kind are ‘individuality,’ in the sense of an inner unity, a ‘permanent and unchangeable I,’ ‘consciousness,’ and ‘will.’  All these qualities can belong to man, but this certainly does not mean that they do belong to him or belong to each and every one.

“In order to understand what man is at the present time, that is, at the present level of development, it is necessary to imagine to a certain extent what he can be, that is, what he can attain.  Only by understanding the correct sequence of development possible will people cease to ascribe to themselves what, at present, they do not possess, and what, perhaps, they can only acquire after great effort and great labor.

“According to an ancient teaching, traces of which may be found in many systems, old and new, a man who has attained the full development possible for man, a man in the full sense of the word, consists of four bodies.  These four bodies are composed of substances which gradually become finer and finer, mutually interpenetrate one another, and form four independent organisms, standing in a definite relationship to one another but capable of independent action.”

Gurdjieff’s idea was that it was possible for these four bodies to exist because the physical human body has such a complex organization that, under certain favorable conditions, a new and independent organism actually can develop and grow within it.  This new system of organs of perception can afford a more convenient and responsive instrument for the activity of an awakened consciousness.

“The consciousness manifested in this new body is capable of governing it, and it has full power and full control over the physical body.  In this second body, under certain conditions, a third body can grow, again having characteristics of its own.  The consciousness manifested in this third body has full power and control over the first two bodies; and the third body possesses the possibility of acquiring knowledge inaccessible either to the first or to the second body.  In the third body, under certain conditions, a fourth can grow, which differs as much from the third as the third differs from the second, and the second from the first.  The consciousness manifested in the fourth body has full control over the first three bodies and itself.

“These four bodies are defined in different teachings in various ways.  The first is the physical body, in Christian terminology the ‘carnal’ body; the second, in Christian terminology, is the ‘natural’ body; the third is the ‘spiritual’ body; and the fourth, in the terminology of esoteric Christianity, is the ‘divine body.  In theosophical terminology the first is the ‘physical’ body, the second is the ‘astral,’ the third is the ‘mental,’ and the fourth the ‘causal.’

“In the terminology of certain Eastern teachings the first body is the ‘carriage,’ (the body),  the second is the ‘horse’ (feelings, desires), the third the ‘driver’ (mind), and the fourth the ‘master (I, consciousness, will).

“Such comparisons and parallels may be found in most systems and teachings which recognize something more in man than the physical body.  But almost all these teachings, while repeating in a more or less familiar form the definitions and divisions of the ancient teaching, have forgotten or omitted its most important feature, which is: that man is not born with the finer bodies.  They can only be artificially cultivated in him, provided favorable conditions both internal and external are present.

“The ‘astral body’ is not an indispensable implement for man.  It is a great luxury which only a few can afford.  A man can live quite well without an ‘astral body.’  His physical body possesses all the functions necessary for life.  A man without ‘astral body’ may even produce the impression of being a very intellectual or even spiritual man, and may deceive not only others but also himself.

“When the third body has been formed and has acquired all the properties, powers, and knowledge possible for it, there remains the problem of fixing this knowledge and these powers.  Because, having been imparted to it by influences of a certain kind, they may be taken away by these same influences or by others.  By means of a special kind of work for all three bodies the acquired properties may be made the permanent and inalienable possession of the third body.

“The process of fixing these acquired properties corresponds to the process of the formation of the fourth body.

“And only the man who possesses four fully developed bodies can be called a ‘man’ in the full sense of the word.  This man possesses many properties which ordinary man does not possess.  One of these properties is immortality.  All religions and all ancient teachings contain the idea that, by acquiring the fourth body, man acquires immortality; and they all contain indications of the ways to acquire the fourth body, that is, immortality.”

The book went flying again!

I was outraged.  But this time, my indignation lasted only a very short time.  Again, in thinking over the many clues about human beings I had been collecting all my life, including those derived from observing myself, I saw something very deeply true being said here.  As much as I might not like it, I could not deny the fact it was certainly a hypothesis supported by observation.

Hints of these matters did occur in the Bible, though they were among the most obscure references.  Preachers and theologians generally tended to leave them strictly alone.  At least 17 times in the New Testament, it’s noted that Jesus taught his disciples in “secret”.  The teachings of Jesus in the Bible itself consists only of his purported public discourses.  There was a lot missing, and Gurdjieff spoke as one with authority.  What’s more, it rang of truth.

The book was retrieved again.  I was curious to see what further remarks might be made about Christianity.  Ouspensky asked the same question I would have asked myself:

“For a man of Western culture, it is of course difficult to believe and to accept the idea that an ignorant fakir, a naïve monk, or a yogi who has retired from life may be on the way to evolution while an educated European, armed with ‘exact knowledge’ and all the latest methods of investigation, has no chance whatever and is moving in a circle from which there is no escape.”  Gurdjieff answered:

“Yes, that is because people believe in progress and culture.  There is no progress whatever.  Everything is just the same as it was thousands, and tens of thousands, of years ago.  The outward form changes.  The essence does not change.  Man remains just the same.  ‘Civilized’ and ‘cultured’ people live with exactly the same interests as the most ignorant savages.  Modern civilization is based on violence and slavery and fine words.

“…What do you expect?  People are machines.  Machines have to be blind and unconscious, they cannot be otherwise, and all their actions have to correspond to their nature.  Everything happens.  No one does anything.  ‘Progress’ and ‘civilization,’ in the real meaning of these words, can appear only as the result of conscious efforts.  They cannot appear as the result of unconscious mechanical actions.  And what conscious effort can there be in machines?  And if one machine is unconscious, then a hundred machines are unconscious, and so are a thousand machines, or a hundred thousand, or a million.  And the unconscious activity of a million machines must necessarily result in destruction and extermination.  It is precisely in unconscious involuntary manifestations that all evil lies.  You do not yet understand and cannot imagine all the results of this evil.  But the time will come when you will understand.”

And Gurdjieff was right.  He was speaking at the beginning of the First World War, in the opening rounds of a century of unprecedented warfare.

My copy of “In Search of the Miraculous” flew across the room at least a dozen more times.  I fumed and raged inside each time I was confronted with an idea that, upon reflection and comparison to my observations and experiences, seemed a far better explanation of the dynamics of human existence than anything I had ever read in my life.

As for this “unconscious evil” that Gurdjieff mentioned, he explained in the Tale of the Evil Magician:

“A very rich magician had a great many sheep.  But at the same time this magician was very mean.  He did not want to hire shepherds, nor did he want to erect a fence about the pasture where his sheep were grazing.  The sheep consequently often wandered into the forest, fell into ravines, and so on, and above all they ran away, for they knew that the magician wanted their flesh and skins and this they did not like.  

“At last the magician found a remedy.  He hypnotized his sheep and suggested to them first of all that they were immortal and that no harm was being done to them when they were skinned.  On the contrary, it would be very good for them and even pleasant.  Secondly he suggested that the magician was a good master who loved his flock so much that he was ready to do anything in the world for them.  In the third place he suggested to them that if anything at all were going to happen to them it was not going to happen just then, at any rate not that day, and therefore they had no need to think about it.  Further, the magician suggested to his sheep that they were not sheep at all; to some of them he suggested that they were lions, to others that they were eagles, to others that they were men, and to others that they were magicians.     

“And after this all his cares and worries about the sheep came to an end.  They never ran away again but quietly awaited the time when the magician would require their flesh and skins.

Ouspensky wrote that theoretically, a man could awaken.  But in practice this is almost impossible.  As soon as a man awakens for a moment and opens his eyes, all the forces that caused him to fall asleep in the first place begin to act on him with tenfold energy.  He immediately falls asleep again, very often dreaming that he is awake.

When I read this I immediately thought of the pastor who conducted that farcical effort to get me to speak in tongues, and the so-called “exorcism,” the same pastor who’d been taken in by my mother’s manipulations.  Could it be possible that he was one of those described in Gurdjieff’s tale as being hypnotized into believing that he was a magician?  How many other people had I met who claimed to “know” things, but the evidence of their lives, their actions, did not support their claims?

I also thought about my study of the history of man in my search for the justification of God, and how I had come to see it as the biography of Satan.  I was beginning to realize that something was very wrong with the picture of the world that we are taught  from the moment we are born, and that is further implemented in our culture, our society and most especially our religions.

I thought back over my life and realized that all the events that had gradually maneuvered me into my present position could most definitely be perceived as the “forces that act to keep a person asleep”.  It was a certainty that some tremendous pressure had been applied to stop me from observing, from analyzing, and most of all from thinking and learning.

The question was: who or what was the true nature of the “Evil Magician?”

Reading this book sort of “jump-started” my thinking processes, which had lain fallow for some time now.  Unconsciously, I was establishing a regimen of deep and intense thinking, alternating with the stopping of thinking that was achieved during meditation.  My meditations seemed to progress quite rapidly.  I had heard that achieving just a few minutes of deep contemplation was difficult and often took years of practice, but it seemed that I rapidly achieved that point, and soon was able to enter a rather “timeless” state for what proved to be somewhat extended periods of time.

After my regular meditation exercises, I would sit up in bed, surrounded by piles of books and notebooks, reading and writing notes on what I read.  As I did so, I would stop and think about questions that occurred to me as I read.  The instant these questions were framed in my mind, thoughts would simply pour into my head so fast that I was mentally leaping and jumping just to follow them.  These thoughts always and only came in response to the questions that I would pose mentally about whatever I was considering at the moment in my studies.  The urge to write these thoughts down was so overwhelming that I spent literally hours a day, filling page after page in longhand, until I felt completely drained mentally and physically.  I still have these notebooks.  Because these questions had little to do with matters of faith or religion, it didn’t occur to me that I was “channeling” at the time.  I was just “thinking”.

But, there was a curious thing about this “thinking”.  If I didn’t write the thoughts down, they would stay there, backing up like dammed-up water.  As soon as I started to write again, it was as if there had been no break in the flow of thoughts whatsoever.  They picked up right where they left off.

At some point, I decided that I must find out if these ideas that were coming to me had any basis in fact whatsoever.  I most definitely needed more input!    So the answers that “came to me” pointed me in the direction of certain studies that otherwise might not have been part of my experience.  I was compelled by my rational and reflective nature to research each concept to discover if there was any way it could be supported scientifically and objectively.

I subscribed to a library service by mail, and soon began ordering and reading book after book on subjects that ranged from geology to physics, from psychology, to theology, from metaphysics to astronomy.  As I read, I found many pieces that fit in the framework of the information that was pouring into my head relating to these very subjects.  I was both surprised and energized to find that the ideas I was getting weren’t so crazy after all!

While assembling my notes and ideas, I included notes from more “mainstream” sources that supported what I had written, or expanded the idea, or, at the very least, gave it plausibility.  If the “idea” I had was not supported by observation or scholarly opinion, if only indirectly, it had to be discarded.  As it happens, the whole series of information streams did turn out to have a wide array of support, and I was forced to severely limit what I included for the sake of brevity.

During the entire time I was working on this project, Larry repeatedly criticized and ridiculed my efforts.  He decided that if I could sit up and read and write I was clearly able to do everything else.  He was openly vocal in this way, in front of the children, telling me that it was obvious that I didn’t want to be a wife and mother anymore or I would get well faster!    This, naturally, led to terrible interactions between us, leaving me in a state of helpless frustration and terror that he would walk out and never come back.  And it wasn’t so much the idea of his absence that made me afraid as it was the consequences of his absence: I knew that I was unable to take care of myself, much less the children.  If Larry left, I would lose them, too.

At this point, I was still struggling to work within my faith, with a strong Christian perspective.  I wasn’t quite yet able to let go of the crutch of the church.  That was soon to change, however.
***
One Sunday, after I had recovered most of my mobility, I was sitting in church during the Pastoral prayer.  I was praying hard along with the minister that God would send the Holy Spirit to me to help me understand all that I needed to understand.  Suddenly, I heard a buzzing noise, or a crackling sound, similar to the sound of bacon sizzling in the pan.  The voice of the pastor and the resonant “Amens” from the congregation became very far away and metallic sounding, exactly as if I were hearing them broadcast from a loudspeaker under water.

This shocked me and my eyes snapped open to see if my vision was impaired.  I thought I might be having a stroke or something.  I was completely dismayed to see the minister, standing at the podium, gripping the stand with both hands, eyes closed and head thrown back in the profound drama of his praying, was overlaid with a shimmering, living image of a WOLF!

The image of the wolf, in full color, was a sort of alter ego.  All the expressions of the pastor were corrupted and twisted by the matching expressions of the wolf.  When the minister moved his hands or shook his head, so did the wolf.  Every move of the minister’s mouth was exactly matched by the gaping jaws of the toothsome figure from Hell!  Not a solid figure, it seemed more like a “projection of light,” so to speak.

I quickly looked around the sanctuary to see if this was a complete delusion, and was shocked to see similar “overlays” on all the people there.  Many of them were sheep, but there were also pigs and cows and other creatures represented.

I was HORRIFIED!  Considering the fairly recent experiences with the haunting and the demoniac woman at church, I was sure that the Devil had me now!  Here I was, in the middle of church, seeing our beloved Minister in the guise of a WOLF!

This was damnation for certain!

I closed my eyes and prayed harder.  The sound anomaly continued.  I opened my eyes to peek again.  The wolf was still there, dramatizing the mellifluously intoned pastoral prayer.

I squeezed my eyes tightly shut and prayed and rebuked Satan and finally began to just repeat the Lord’s prayer to drive this image from my reality.  Soon, it began to taper off and die away.  When I opened my eyes again, the wolf was gone.

I was extremely relieved to win this battle with Satan.

A couple of Sundays later, we arrived a little late, expecting the services to be already started.  We were surprised to see the congregation all gathered outside the church door, milling about like lost sheep.  We discovered that our beloved pastor, the shepherd of the flock for a number of years now, the respected and erudite minister of the golden voice, along with his musically talented family had done a “midnight flit,” so to speak.  Not only that, but they had left the church in a bad way, having embezzled a huge amount of money.  There was even a bill for dock rent for a rather large yacht that the church was also paying for, unbeknownst to all.  The expensive furnishings of the luxurious parsonage were gone, the mortgages on both buildings were on the verge of foreclosure, the electricity was about to be shut off…  and the pastor and his family were gone to parts unknown.

I was stunned.  I realized that my “vision” was exactly what I had been praying for: the Holy Spirit revealing the “truth” to me.  I had rebuked it and cast it away!

The implications of this event were profound.  When I put it together with all the other things that had occurred over the past few years, I saw a picture that was not pleasant to acknowledge.

There are those who would say that it didn’t matter about the pastor being a fraud, that it is the faith of the individual and their own interaction with God through Jesus that really counts.  And, I will agree.  That is, in fact, my point.  Because, in the end, following the prescribed pathway of a standard religion, praying in sincerity and faith, conducting my life in all the ways predicated upon being “born again,” I was given a certain mandate to “learn”.  In the process of trying to implement this mandate within my faith, I was then given a vision that proved correct.  It was only reasonable to think that I was moving in the right direction – even if that direction was taking me straight out of organized, standard Christianity.

This resulted in shift in my faith in my own ability to be “in touch” with God, or whoever was in charge of this Universe.  Clearly, I had been shown the truth under the surface, and my self-doubts and belief in the authority of others had interfered with my communion with Holy Spirit.  This gave my studies a little boost.  I understood an essential thing: if you truly pray for guidance, deeply and sincerely, that guidance will come.  But it may not be what you want to hear or believe and may go against what others say or teach – especially if what they say and teach is not supported by evidence and action.  And in later years, this ability to “see” the reality of individuals, the force behind them, has saved me from terrible mistakes, even if very often, I am “fooled” at the beginning.  I have accepted many people at their word, and when certain observational discrepancies begin to appear, I will “ask the question,” and always, what I see proves to be correct.  But it only works when the question is asked.  At this point in my life, the time of writing, I am finally learning to “ask the question” before I become involved with wolves in sheep’s clothing.

I had faith, I prayed diligently and fervently, I struggled and strove for that love, that subsuming of all other emotions into an all-pervasive, comprehensive Love of God – and it surely did something!

But this, of course, raises another question: If a number of people are claiming that the Holy Spirit is giving them revelations, and these revelations are contradictory to one another, how do we know who is being misled and who is truly receiving Divine Revelation?

Again, the answer was “Learn!”
***

In the early days of 1986 I was greatly troubled by a dream.

I found myself in a cold, barren, landscape, accompanied by my children.  We were viewing what seemed to be a most peculiar tornado at a great distance.  It was a loosely curled cloud of smoke, more like a stretched-out bedspring than a funnel.  I was puzzled because it did not touch the ground, yet I knew it was killing people.  I felt very sad in the dream and I was overwhelmed by the bleakness of the landscape.  In the dream, I was reminded of Poe’s story, “The Fall of the House of Usher”.  In the dream, I told my children there was no possibility of the tornado coming our way, but that we must pray for those we were seeing die.

On numerous other occasions during these years, I had dreamed flashes of disasters only to awaken and discover that something bearing strong similarity had occurred during the night somewhere around the globe.  So,  I expected to hear of a tornado striking somewhere and killing people, so I turned on the radio to catch the news.  But, apparently I was wrong.  There were no disasters during the night, but I was pleased to hear that my urge to turn on the radio had informed me that I was up in time to view the shuttle launch.

The children and I trooped out into the cold with binoculars and began to search the sky over the tops of the winter bare trees in the woods surrounding our house.  We saw a bright flash which we assumed to be the staging of the rocket and I focused the glasses on that area of the sky.  What I saw was the peculiar curling cloud of my dream.  At that moment I experienced an appalling sensation of sadness that I tried to shake off as silly, even though I had suddenly become aware of the likeness of the moment to the events of the dream.

I kept my eyes on the smoke as I listened to the radio announcer saying that some sort of problem was being experienced.  We soon learned that the Challenger had exploded and all aboard were lost.

The only discrepancy between my dream and the actual event was the interpretation.  I had interpreted my dream in terms of familiarity: a tornado, although I had been puzzled by the peculiar antics of this dream tornado.  I had seen a powerful, moving, death-dealing force in the sky — with cloud-like effects – which did not make contact with the ground, and which did not threaten me or my household.  What I saw was, in fact, what I got!  But, I had never seen a rocket blow up – or, at least, did not consider that to be a possibility.

And, I might add, the central issue in the Poe story of the Usher family is Premature Burial!  That element of the dream has always haunted me.  Did our astronauts go to their watery tomb alive?

But even if I had understood the symbols of the dream and had rightly interpreted them, so what?  What was I going to do?  Call NASA and say, “Hey folks, I had this really weird dream…”  Of course they would pass me off to the Nutcase desk or put me on permanent hold with Muzak.  What about all the other purported “prophecies” which are sort of “close,” or “stunningly accurate,” or complete failures?  What is the real principle behind this?

Again I went back to the Bible.  I came across a most interesting story in II Chronicles, Chapter 18, which I would like to paraphrase:

Once upon a time there were two kings of two small kingdoms who were related by marriage.  The first king decided to pay a visit to his brother-in-law, the second king.  When he arrived for his visit, he was welcomed by the second king, who had prepared all sorts of goodies and entertainment.

After a great deal of feasting and merriment, the second king told his brother-in-law, the first king, that he was inclined to think of all of his possessions as mutual and he hoped the first king felt the same.  This made the first king a bit nervous and he wondered what all of this was leading up to.  He was not long in finding out.  The second king wanted to make war against one of his neighbors and take territory and spoil, but in order to do this, he needed help.  He knew that his brother-in-law had no such ambitions, and he and been softening him up to ask for his aid.

The first king was a bit taken aback at this request and asked if they could call in some prophets to find out if this plan was a wise course to pursue.  The second king willingly called 400 prophets.  All of them, to a man, commended the plan and praised the acumen and ambition of their king.  But the first king was still uneasy.  He asked if there was not one more prophet to consult.  As it turned out, there was, but the second king warned the first king not to expect much from this fellow.  There was hatred between them and this bad feeling made the last prophet prejudiced against the second king.  Having thoroughly assassinated the last prophet’s character, he then called him in.

Sure enough, the last prophet contradicted all 400 of the other prophets and told the second king that he would die if he went into battle.  To punish this rudeness, the second king had the offending oracle cast into prison to think about his audacity until the return of the kings and the army.  Insisting that his prophecy was true, the last prophet commented to the king that he would certainly be amazed if they returned.

But the wicked second king had a plan.  Having persuaded his brother-in-law to accompany him, he arranged to go into battle dressed as a common soldier, while his relation went attired in his kingly robes.

As it turned out, enemy soldiers had been instructed to immediately seek out and kill only the second king.  During the course of the engagement, the enemy soldiers chased after the only man attired as a king, and, finding him to not be the man they were after, they turned in rage and frustration and killed the nearest common soldier — who happened to be the evil second king.

Prophecy fulfilled.

Prophecy may be inexorable in some unknown terms unless fundamental alterations in activity and direction are made by knowing things that are not apparent on the surface.

And a true prophecy very often manifests in the very same ratio depicted in this story – 400 to 1.

A third, and no less important lesson: people seldom want to hear the truth.

And, finally, the easiest way to avoid truth is to assassinate either the speaker or his character.

As I moved deeper into my research on the issues of “The Great Mystery of God” that is supposed to be revealed at the “End of Time,” I kept coming across references to a certain Immanuel Velikovsky, and a book entitled “Worlds in Collision”.  Even though many of the commentaries written about this book were highly derogatory, because of the story about the 400 prophets, I wanted to know what engendered so much outrage.  I was fortunate to find my book at a sale at the library.  Right on top, in the front stack of “discards,” was Worlds in Collision.  I paid ten cents for a first edition.

I took my prize home and began to read.  As I read, the scales fell from my eyes and the final pieces of the puzzle of the “Mystery of God” fell into place.
***

These little support events that transpired through my seeking for answers showed me another thing about “asking”.  If a question is asked of the Universe, if it is asked deeply and honestly, the actual events of one’s life begin to shape themselves to provide the tools with which one is enabled to obtain the answer.  It’s not free; it takes work.  But for those who ask and keep on asking, those who knock and keep on knocking, it seems the door does, indeed, open.

I realized I was being taught a language of symbols and how God speaks to us in these symbols, and these symbols are our reality.  Symbols reflect actual potentials – even though our interpretations may be skewed by personal experience.  I began to realize that it must be in such terms that the ancient prophets and writers of religious myths understood the world.  In highly allegorical and culturally biased terms they described their visions and experiences.  Thus heavenly bodies became angels, archangels; cataclysmic events were deliberate “acts of God”, and stupefying groanings and thunderings of nature became the voice of God.  And, all things considered, who are we to say this perception of celestial beings and divinely inspired events are not more accurate than one would initially suppose!

As I pulled on the thread of Ariadne, it seemed the entire fabric of my religion, as it was taught, unraveled and there, concealed behind the metaphors of the Bible, supported by facts and ideas of science, was an idea so amazing that it took my breath away.

The idea was Cosmic Metamorphosis in Quantum terms.

How did I come to this when I started out trying to discover the Noumenal existence of Love and good and evil?

Well, actually, it’s quite simple.  As I followed the thread through the labyrinth, going from the very large to the very small, it became clear to me that the Hermetic maxim “As Above, So Below” could be applied in any number of useful ways.  In the end, the search for the true meaning of Love was the same as the search for Salvation and Faith and, ultimately, the search for the meaning of Eternal Life.

The fact that the “Great Mystery of God” was to be revealed at the “Time of the End” prompted me to gather together all I could on this eschatological theme.

In Matthew 24, Jesus gives a discourse on the “End Times;” that period in which the last trumpet will sound and the Mystery of God will be revealed.  He remarks “…as were the days of Noah, so will be the coming of the son of man.  For just as in those days before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and being given in marriage, until the day when Noah went into the Ark, and they did not know or understand until the flood came and swept them all away, so will be the coming of the Son of man.”

This event, the End, the time when  “God’s mystery — His secret design, His hidden purpose — as He announced the glad tidings to His servants the prophets, should be fulfilled,” was compared to the “Days of Noah”.

Well, what’s so “mysterious” about a flood?  What’s so happy about most of the population of the planet being wiped out of existence?  How can you call that “glad tidings?”

The key seemed to be held in the concept of the Ark.  My search for the true meaning of Love, Salvation, Faith and Eternal Life was, essentially, a search for the meaning of the Ark.  Metaphorically speaking, there is no better expression of this search than the story of Noah and the Ark.  All quests of life and love and existence can be expressed in this story of a man, faced with the destruction of his world – and in this case, it was literally destruction of the entire world, or so the story goes – and he set about building an Ark.

Clearly, “building an Ark” was considered to be an aberration in the time of Noah.  His behavior was obviously looked upon askance by those around him.  A syndrome is a group of signs and symptoms that collectively characterize or indicate a particular disease or abnormal condition.  I thought about this in two ways.  First, the signs and symptoms of our reality that tell us that the body of the Cosmos is not well; and second, the signs and symptoms of those individuals who perceive this are, in a microcosmic way, reflecting the same syndrome.

In another sense, a syndrome can also describe certain insects who, when they have achieved a certain stage of growth, begin to manifest a group of signs and symptoms that cause them to “build a cocoon” in which metamorphosis takes place.

Those who feel that the reality is “right” or “well” naturally think those who believe otherwise are “diseased” in their minds or souls.  And such “infected” people, who undertake to act in terms of “building an Ark,” whether it is spiritual or material, will most definitely be seen as experiencing the Syndrome of the Cosmic disease in themselves.  It will not be recognized that their extreme discomfort and dissatisfaction with the world is the Syndrome that precedes cocooning.  Thus, the Noah Syndrome characterizes the conditions of the planet as well as the experiences of those who “sense” the impending Metamorphosis.

Exactly what is this process of Metamorphosis, and exactly what constitutes an Ark of safety?

I realized this was the question around which my thinking had revolved since I could remember: An Ark, a place of safety, transformation and restoration of the Edenic state where there is direct communion with God.

I finished the research and notes for  my book that I titled “The Noah Syndrome” on December 16, 1986.  I went out and bought an old manual typewriter and began to type up my book from notes in longhand.  By the time I was done with the manuscript, I was a real hot-shot on that old manual typewriter!

As I typed, I began to have some very strange impressions.  I could “sense,” or “see with the mind’s eye,” a couple of very funny old men looking over my shoulder as I wrote, consulting with each other, telling me where I needed to make corrections or additions, and even chuckling with glee when I wrote certain comments.  I knew that one of them somewhat resembled Albert Einstein, but it wasn’t until quite a number of years had passed that I saw a photograph of Immanuel Velikovsky and recognized the other old gentleman.

To this day, I am not sure if they were simply figments of my overworked imagination, or if it was an actual experience with some form of discarnate “guidance”.  All I know is they were hysterically funny in their remarks to one another as they oversaw my project, and they jovially clapped one another on the shoulder when I would finally “get it” in regard to a particular point.

After it was done, I sent it to a literary agent, paying $200.00 to have it read and evaluated.  It was naturally rejected.  I put my manuscript away for many years.  And when the Internet became available to people around the world, I brought “The Noah Syndrome” into a new form.  Now it has undergone a third metamorphosis.  It became the starting point for an expanded work that has taken me far from my original quest: “The Secret History of the World and How to Get Out Alive”.

It is truly strange, in retrospect, that my efforts to “find my Ark” ultimately led to being “found by my Ark”…  my husband, Arkadiusz.  But, that is getting ahead of things…

Continue to Chapter 28: The Ark in Montana

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