Thursday, July 14, 2011

Near Death Experience - not quite

Below is another Shift in Action post I put up a few years ago. Many people have shown an interest in this one and I decided to publish it alone.  The experience dates from about 1980 and is related exactly as it occurred:
I was sharing a house with two other single men around my own age (27 at the time)and was in excellent health. I had decided to have an early night and went to bed. Prior to going to sleep I was reading Ouspensky's "New Model of the Universe" (the chapter on the 4th dimension). I was alone in my room apart from my German Shepherd dog which slept at the foot of my bed. I hadn't been asleep very long when I was awakened by a chill running up and down my spine. It was extremely cold and felt as if I was being blasted with liquid nitrogen or similar. I had the feeling that there was a "presence" in the room and I was terrified. I lay flat on my back, not daring to move and listening to the dog breathing in her sleep at the foot of the bed. I could not bring myself to look around the room but remember sensing the presence of 2 nuns in traditional black habits.

Suddenly my mother's voice (she was alive at the time) came to me but I heard it through a hole in the back of my head rather than through my ears. Mum had always claimed experiences of astral projection but she was prone to exaggeration and I took it all "with a grain of salt". Her voice kept saying, 'It's only me I want you to come flying with me'. Her voice relaxed me and I responded non-verbally telling her I loved her and trusted her. I felt my body begin to lift, floating horizontally toward the ceiling of the room; (this was my first but not my only experience of astral projection). I was becoming more relaxed and confidant and felt I was about to "let go and take off" when another voice came to me, a man's voice which said, 'She's going for good'.

My whole consciousness immediately moved. I experienced an instant and comprehensive memory of my entire life and was then standing in a garden, dressed in a red robe adorned with black salamanders and reading a book on a stone rostrum. The book told me the purpose of my life and listed all the tasks I had to accomplish. The entity I was then said, "I can't go, there's too much to do" and I immediately returned to my body where I slept fitfully until awoken by one of my housemates coming home.

Upon awakening I felt compelled to go to my parents home some 10 kilometres away. My mother was ordinarily an incredibly light sleeper and my father the opposite. I eventually awoke my father by banging on the bedroom window. Dad let me in and I went into the bedroom. Mum was still sound asleep and laying flat on her back. For some reason I instinctively touched her lightly on the centre of her forehead. She awoke instantly.
Mum had no recollection of anything outlined here. She had never enjoyed good health and continued not to do so. She passed in 1998 (18 years later).

For many years I never thought of this incident as an NDE but rather as a mystical experience. It does however have many elements common to an NDE and I now wonder if that is what it was. I do know that what happened was not a dream but something I actually experienced. I accept that my psyche may have dressed up certain elements (eg: the salamander robe and the book on the rostrum) to make them comprehensible, but I do know that my consciousness shifted to an astral state and then to something beyond that which was all knowing and universal. I have never formed an opinion one way or the other as to whether Mum may have passed that night had I not felt compelled to go to her. When I think back to what was written in the book, my mind immediately goes back to a painting I began when I was at school but never finished of a dingo (Australian native dog) standing on a cliff looking out into the desert.

I would appreciate any thoughts on this experience; it contains so many elements common to an NDE its nature perplexes me.

I sent this account of my experience after posting it, to the International Association for Near Death Studies Inc. and yesterday received their analysis as included below:

"About 25% of the people who submit their experiences to our archives say they were in good health at the time of their “near-death” experience. We have come to call the experiences that fit the criteria of an NDE in every other aspect except being near death “near-death-like experiences” or NDLEs. NDEs andNDLES both belong to the same family of mystical or “spiritually transformative experiences” or STEs. There are many known cases of empathic experiences in which a healthy person accompanies a dying loved one into that mystical realm or dimension, if you will. In your case, it appears to be enough to have been told that your mother was “going for good” to trigger an empathic NDLE from your astral or out-of-body state. (People who have said they’ve experienced both astral projections and out-of-body experiences say they are different in terms of their dream like qualities – an out-of-body experience seems to be much more vivid – actually more “real than real” than an astral projection).

NDErs or NDLErs often say that one gets the experience in the way we need it most in order to learn the importance of unconditional love and/or knowledge.NDEs and NDLES often contain literal or real metaphors or symbols to convey that message. A dramatic example is a woman who found herself quite literally walled in. Each brick was a literal representation of a person she had mistreated in her life. One could reasonably speculate that we often see a light at the end of the tunnel, because that is such a meaningful and hopeful metaphor in our culture. Tunnels have not been reported in NDEs in other cultures. You might ask yourself if there is more meaning you can derive from the red robe, black salamanders and stone rostrum and what they might have represented to you at the time of your experience. That appears to be very significant."

If you've had a similar experience which you need help demystifying I have found IANDS to be an excellent resource. 

Sputniks, Muttniks, Space Chimps and Bruce Willis

They tell me it was 1957 but that's not how I remember it.  I remember being younger than that, standing in the backyard of our house in Kangaroo Road, Oakleigh and following my father's finger as it traced a small moving dot across a black sky against a backdrop of a gozillion stationary dots. 

"What is it dad?"
"It's Sputnik."
"What's Sputnik?" I wondered
"It's a big metal ball."
"How did it get up there?'
"The Russians sent it up on a rocket."

In my minds eye I saw the kind of rocket you saw in an illustration from a Jules Verne book of that era hurtling into space, and someone opening a window and throwing out a big silver ball, (which could have been pretty much the way my non-technical father saw it too).

"Why?" I ask
"To frighten us", said Dad.
I looked skyward again, "Why are you frightened Dad?'

Laika was a heroine and the next thing I remember about the space program.  The first living, animate being to be shot into space.  A mutt from the some Moscow slum she was packed up with food, water and a life support system, which unfortunately for Laika was not designed to, and did not see out the whole of the mission.  Just as well really because her craft was not designed for successful re-entry and a few days after her untimely demise, it incinerated itself and Laika's remains in the upper atmosphere.  So alls well really; I would have hated valiant Laika's last thoughts to be, "Must have been the curry" as her poor little arse began to burn.

The cheapest astronaut to survive re-entry would undoubtedly be HAM the Chimp.  The indestructible Ham having flown further and faster than he was ever meant to overshot his landing area and had to wait hours in a capsized, yawing spacecraft for a chopper to lift him out of the cruel sea.  He is said to have suffered "no ill effects" (yeah right) and to have performed all his assignments perfectly.  He happily accepted the reward of an apple and half an orange from a grateful American nation.  They say if you pay peanuts you get monkeys which in HAM's case was all they wanted I guess.  HAM survived until 1983 having bored the other residents of the old chimps home to death over many years displaying his medal and regaling them with  tales of his heroic exploits like all astronauts.

Almost before we knew it there were manned Mercury, Soyuz and Apollo missions taking off with almost monotonous regularity, and Chip, Chuck and Buzz achieved a highest ever rating on the favorite baby names index.  One day in orbit doubled to two which doubled to four, then something circled the Moon and came back again.

The day Neil Armstrong placed his size 13's on the lunar surface I was at Connells Tavern in Melbourne with my workmates watching history being made on a 12" black and white screen suspended in the smoke haze.  I was 16 at the time and under age.  I'd scoffed a meal of double steak, double chips and double coleslaw and someone had bought me a couple of pots of beer.  The place was packed and I found myself at the back of the crowd climbing onto a garbage bin to get a better look.  All Connell's patrons heard of Neil's famous utterance that day was, "One small ...", before garbage bin, several empty gas bottles, a pot of beer and a 16 year old crashed to the floor.  Noise attracting attention like it does, everybody also missed Mr Armstrong's boot making the first imprint by human footwear on an extra terrestrial body.

Abandoning the Luna program, probably because it seemed rather pointless sending an endless procession of people to have a walk around on the Moon and bring back some pet rocks at great risk and exorbitant cost, NASA turned it's attention to the international space station and the Shuttle program.  Communication satellites, GPS, Star Wars defence shield, the Hubble telescope were all soon in close Earth orbit along with a massive assortment of other junk that made it look to passing ET's like the inhabitants of Earth were having a garage sale.  Deciding to investigate further, they have over the past decades inserted anal probes into every farmer between Chicago and Las Vegas and have come to the inevitable conclusion that the assholes are all the same.

In 1998, Bruce Willis valiantly and courageously sacrificed his life in a Christ like display of taking one for the team, when he blew himself to smithereens with a thermo nuclear device so as humanity would avoid a collision with a near Earth asteroid and Ben Affleck could marry Steve Tyler's daughter.

Now the shuttle program has ended with no imminent replacement and the only country left with a viable space program is Russia.  So it is Russia who will supply the space station and maintain  the satellites.  It's Russia who will polish the lens of Hubble telescope and dust of the US strategic defense lasers.

Wait a minute ...., weren't they put their to protect us from, from the frikkin' RUSSIANS!!?

Would a Russian sacrifice him or herself to blow up a near Earth asteroid?  Would a Russian care if the Strategic Defence System fell out of the sky?  Do Russians even know who Steve Tyler is and would they care who his daughter married? (They've got plenty of brides to get rid of themselves - check out the internet).  They've got the yanks to set it all up and now they have control!!  AAAAAAAAGH!  It's all been a hideous plot hatched behind the Iron Curtain.  The dogs, the yanks and the chimps all duped!

Dad you were right to be frightened.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Shift in Action Posts

A few years ago I became interested in the work of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (IONS) and posted regularly on their "Shift in Action" website.  IONS examines the links between religion, spiritually and science, marrying them together and uncovering a greater, fuller more encompassing wisdom which includes ancient ritual, spirituality and contemporary thought.

Included below are excerpts from some of the posts I contributed:

A gig, a girl, a death & Jon Watts' post

Goodbye Tiger, chasing those dolce’ vita times; somehow you seem to have left me far behind; but you can hear me whisperin’ on the night line: Goodbye Tiger” Richard Clapton

The tinnitus has just about passed. The 3 am finish doesn’t seem to have taken much of a toll on me, probably because I didn’t drink too many beers; busy laughing, dancing and singing. JR and Mick knew the lyrics to every song RC played and we all really got into the gig; three over 50’s bouncing around like twelve year olds at a Hannah Montana concert. And it really felt that way, the years evaporated.

Diamonds scattered out to sea, the Sun keeps laughing down on me, this crazy horse is trying to chase the wind.” RC

1983 - I remember being on Dundowran Beach at Hervey Bay in Queensland. It was deserted apart from a girl and I. We’d gone there to be alone. It was a beautiful flawless day. I stood in the shallows photographing her in the still water. Her lithe body was silhouetted against the reflection of brilliant fragmented sunlight glistening on the water behind.
Diamonds scattered out to Sea; “I thought, “So, this is what he meant”.
The shots I took that day were sublime; they portrayed an ecstasy I’ve seldom seen captured in photographs since. I no longer have them, they fell victim to one of many house moves. But every time I hear “Capricorn Dancer” that beautiful free spirited girl, the the scent of her hair and the astounding images we made together come flooding back. An island of enchantment.

What gives music in particular the power to so effortlessly transport us to sublime moments of our youth, to raise the spirit and shine light into the deepest, darkest recesses of memory?

Remember, remember those things that you’ve done and think of your youth when you’re teaching your son” Walter Rinder

My father died last year. He suffered from Alzheimer’s disease and all recent memory had either been totally obliterated or substantially faded. In the end all he had left were memories of a childhood lived during the Depression in the bosom of a loving, caring family.

Is this perhaps why we recall and identify so strongly with our youth; because it is what we need to recall and impart to our offspring? Bruce Lipton hypothesizes that a child is not fully conscious and its brain is not operating at an adult beta level until 12 years of age. Do we hang on to youth and childhood because during that period on some level we maintained a strong connection with our true selves?

I’ve read Jon Watts post on interconnectedness where he asks for questions and contributions relating to our interconnectedness to each other. Once again I find myself referring back to Lipton and his comments on the merging of human energy fields similar to two stones being dropped in the same pond. For me this experience has brought about instant connection to people I had never before met on a number of occasions. It also seems synchronistic that Jon and I are looking at the same subject – he on an external level, and me internal.

I watched "Into the Wild" over the weekend which was shot up Jon's way (Alasks) and one of the last comments Alex wrote in his diary was (and I paraphrase) - Happiness is only real when shared. So could happiness be a sign of where our internal and external connectedness intersect?

Perhaps our experiences from childhood and youth leave a similar energy pattern which never dissipates in our consciousness and merges with the resonances occurring in the present; and perhaps we are the sum of our resonances on both an internal and external level.

What do you think Tiger?


Dawn Patrol

Every saint has a past
and every sinner has a future”
Oscar Wilde

It’s Sunday and despite consuming a little more red wine than I originally intended the previous evening I am awake before the 5 am alarm. I must be a little dehydrated because my tongue is stuck to the roof of my mouth which feels like the bottom of a cockatoo’s cage. I meander my way to the kitchen for a large, cold water.
The tops of the trees beyond the window are ruffled almost imperceptibly by a slight North Westerly. I know today the swell will arrive and high tide is in 90 minutes. I wander outside to feel the air and take a drover’s breakfast. The breeze is cool and moist, scented with the sea and pollen from the wattles which grow in profusion along the creek beyond the back fence.  The dog drops her ball at my feet and looks at me expectantly.  “You’ve gotta love Spring Milly”, I say and throw the ball. Milly doesn’t reply and her white cocker spaniel butt disappears behind the gazebo in hot pursuit. I return to the house and go to Maddie’s bedroom.
Dawn patrol sweetheart; you coming?”
She sits up immediately, “What? Daddy? Wha..? No!”
Maddie collapses back into a sound sleep. I move to her twin brother’s door.
Lachie; dawn patrol mate. Are you up for it?”
In the light of his lava lamp I see him pull his doona over his head and hear expulsions of air from both ends of his body; guess not.

Having made the thermos and packed the car before retiring, I write a quick note to the kids, turn off the alarm, pull on a polar fleece and sandals and head south. I live within a fifteen minute drive of two great point breaks which will be really suited by the anticipated swell and the light Northerly.

After a few minutes I turn off the radio and push a compilation CD into the player. “It’s automatic when I talk to old friends……”. Paul, I’m thinking about Paul. “…their hair was soft and long and the beach was the place to go.” So what happened there? Best mates through school; surfed; chased women together; each got married; visited often and then suddenly it all died; “…waves of sunshine, California girls and a beautiful coastline.” Maybe I did or said something one drunken evening, but he never told me and I have no memory; “…get together and do it again”. I tried several times to get back in touch and it’s always been pleasant enough to see him, but the vows of continued contact never amount to anything. “Do, do, ron, dom, de, do, ron…………”. I still miss him.

Beyond the palace hemi powered drones scream down the boulevard”. That Chrysler Charger of mine – what a car! Couldn’t afford it; had to have it; bought it anyway. “…and the boys try to look so hard”. Red, low and fast; hardly an exercise in subtly but it had a real presence. “Tramps like us; baby we were born to run”. It made me feel as though I’d really made it. Then it was repossessed.

In Penny Lane the barber shaves another customer”. What about those fights with Mum over the length of my hair? I remember her sneaking up behind me with scissors trying to hack a wedge out so I’d have to get it cut. “Penny Lane is in my ears and in my eyes…”. In the 60’s we didn’t know what a WASP was; but Mum certainly was one. She just wanted me to look like everybody else. It doesn’t matter; loved her then; still do. “Penny Lane!”

“…but there’s a full moon rising, let’s go dancing in the light”; I’m so sorry D. “We know where the music’s playing, let’s go out and feel the night.” So many mistakes; I was so stupid! “I want to see you dance again”. Now there’s no place for the sorry to be heard, and this remorse comes flooding back when least expected; ”on this Harvest Moon…”. I know you’d forgiven but I still have to deal with myself.

The turn looms suddenly and I just make it onto the unmade road. Tyres scrunch gravel as I bump down the beach road into which recent rains have carved deep culverts and I pull up close to the point. I turn off the music, pour coffee and brandy into a cup, and wait; listening to the waves hitting the reef. The swell has arrived.
The yellow of dawn tinges the horizon and silhouettes the island in front of me. I alight from the car and shed a skin, replacing it with a rubber one. Two metre waves peel perfectly along the reef supported by the strengthening offshore breeze. As the light gathers the procession of swells make the blanket of ocean look like corduroy.

I walk along the rock strewn shore to the point and stand for a minute waiting for a lull. Another car clatters its way down the road. The board slaps the water with a thunk and I’m paddling hard toward a dark looming wall which cascades over me in a deluge of white chaotic foam. The torrent cleanses me and the icy first flush of water through my wetsuit focuses me on the task at hand. I paddle beyond the break and sit on my board facing East.
This is where I am. I am here. In this moment the slate is clean. This is where I’ll forgive. This is where I’ll unshackle my past. I am starting from here. 

I rise and fall on the unrelenting swell. The golden half risen orb of our closest star offers me a new day.


Talking mathematics and cold stir fry

I am a sole parent of 12 year old twins. Recently their school has involved them in a web based program called "Mathletics".

This happened tonight. Me, harassed; trying to serve up dinner; dry washing; prepare lunches. My son Lachlan transfixed by the laptop.

"Dinners ready. Come and get it".
"I can't".
"Lachie, get off that thing and come and eat"
"Dad, what's the time in Jordan?"
"How would I know?"
"Is it in our time zone?"
"Why do you need to know that now? Your dinner's ready!"
"I'm in a maths competition with a kid in Jordan and I want to know if he'll still be online after I've eaten."

I sit beside him transfixed by the laptop. What a wonderful thing! I recently posted my thoughts on the web being a power for good and the opportunity it provided for us to implement the shift, and here is my son interacting with a child in the middle east in probably the only common language they have - mathematics.  

The power of the web to shrink the globe astounds me. I have a profound sense that the impact it has will positively influence the lives of my children. By interacting with other children throughout the world as easily as they would with the kids next door they may well pour the foundations of the Shift for their generation and all of us.

The tools are before us. The Shift is in action. More and more common ground is revealed. It's a wonderful world.
We both ate our dinner cold.


Putting Things Into Perspective

I was clearing out some old files tonight and found this piece that somebody, somewhere along the line had sent me. I kept it because I liked it then promptly forgot about it - until tonight. It's anonymous but the author is likely a woman; a woman who has been driven to the edge and decided to "Shift" rather than implode. Obviously this shift is on a deeply personal level but the mechanics and underlying framework which support it can be applied to the broader spectrum. It seems more than a cry in the night and its passion is what touches me most. I hope you take benefit from it.

The Awakening"
Author Unknown
A time comes in your life when you finally get it. When in the midst of all your fears and insanity you stop dead in your tracks and somewhere the voice inside your head cries out - ENOUGH! Enough fighting and crying or struggling to hold on. And, like a child quieting down after a blind tantrum, your sobs begin to subside, you shudder once or twice, you blink back your tears and through a mantle of wet lashes you begin to look at the world through new eyes. This is your awakening.

You realize that it's time to stop hoping and waiting for something to change, or for happiness, safety and security to come galloping over the next horizon. You come to terms with the fact that he is not Prince Charming and you are not Cinderella and that in the real world there aren't always fairy tale endings (or beginnings for that matter). And that any guarantee of "happily ever after" must begin with YOU, and in the process a sense of serenity is born of acceptance.

You awaken to the fact that you are not perfect, and that not everyone will always love, appreciate or approve of who or what you are and its OK.(They are entitled to their own views and opinions.) And you learn the importance of loving and championing yourself, and in the process a sense of newly found confidence is born of self-approval.
You stop bitching and blaming other people for the things they did to you (or didn't do for you) and you learn that the only thing you can really count on is the unexpected. You learn that not everyone will always be there for you, and that it's not always about you. So, you learn to stand on your own and to take care of yourself and in the process a sense of safety and security is born of self-reliance.

You stop judging and pointing fingers and you begin to accept people as they are, and to over look their shortcomings and human frailties and in the process a sense of peace and contentment is born of forgiveness.
You realize that much of the way you view yourself, and the world around you, is a result of all the messages and opinions that have been ingrained into your psyche. And you begin to sift through all the crap you've been fed about how you should behave, how you should look, how much you shouldn't weigh, what you should wear, where you should shop, what you should drive, how and where you should live, what you should do for a living, who you should sleep with, who you should marry, what you should expect of a marriage, the importance of having and raising children, or what you owe your parents.

You learn to open up to new worlds and different points of view. And you begin reassessing and redefining who you are and what you really stand for. You learn the difference between wanting and needing, and you begin to discard the doctrines and values you've outgrown, or should never have bought into to begin with, and in the process you learn to go with your instincts. You learn to distinguish between guilt and responsibility, and the importance of setting boundaries and learning to say NO. You learn that the only cross to bear is the one you choose to carry, and that martyrs get burned at the stake.

Then you learn about love, Romantic love and familial love. How to love, how much to give in love, when to stop giving, and when to walk away. You learn not to project your needs or your feelings onto a relationship. You learn that you will not be more beautiful, more intelligent, more lovable, or important because of the man or woman on your arm or the child that bears your name.

You learn to look at relationships as they really are and not as you would have them be. You stop trying to control people, situations, and outcomes. You learn that just as people grow and change, so it is with love and you learn that you don't have the right to demand love on your terms, just to make you happy. And, you learn that alone does not mean lonely.

And you look in the mirror and come to terms with the fact that you will never be a size 5 or a perfect 10 and you stop trying to compete with the image inside your head and agonizing over how you "stack up." You also stop working so hard at putting feelings aside, smoothing things over, and ignoring your needs.

You learn that feelings of entitlement are perfectly O.K. . . . that it is your right to want things that you want and that sometimes it is necessary to make demands. You come to the realization that you deserve to be treated with love, kindness, sensitivity, and respect, and you will not settle for less. And you allow only the hands of a lover who cherishes you, to glorify you with his or her touch and in the process you internalize the meaning of self-respect.

And you learn that your body really is your temple. You begin eating a balanced diet, drinking more water, and taking more time to exercise. You learn that fatigue diminishes the spirit and can create doubt and fear, so you take more time to rest. And, just as food fuels the body, laughter fuels our soul, so you take more time to laugh and to play.

You learn that, for the most part, in life you get what you believe you deserve and that much of life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. You learn that anything worth achieving is worth working for, and that wishing for something to happen is different from working toward making it happen. More importantly, you learn that in order to achieve success, you need direction, discipline, and perseverance.

You also learn that no one can do it all alone and its OK to risk asking for help. You learn that the only thing you must truly fear is the great robber baron of all time: FEAR itself. You learn to step right into and through your fears, because you know that whatever happens you can handle it, and to give in to fear is to give away the right to live life on your terms.

You learn to fight for your life and not to squander it living under a cloud of impending doom. You learn that life isn't always fair, you don't always get what you think you deserve, and that sometimes, bad things happen to unsuspecting, good people. On these occasions you learn not to personalize things. You learn that God isn't punishing you or failing to answer your prayers. It's just life happening. And you learn to deal with evil in its most primal state - the ego.

You learn that negative feelings such as anger, envy, and resentment must be understood and redirected, or they will suffocate the life out of you and poison the universe that surrounds you. You learn to admit when you are wrong and to build bridges instead of walls. You learn to be thankful and to take comfort in many of the simple things you take for granted, things that millions of people upon the earth can only dream about: A full refrigerator, clean running water, a soft warm bed, a long hot shower. Slowly, you begin to take responsibility for yourself by yourself, and you try to make yourself a promise to never betray yourself and to never ever settle for less than your heart's desire. And you hang a wind chime outside your window so you can listen to the wind. And you make it a point to keep smiling, keep trusting, and to stay open to every wonderful possibility.

Finally, with courage in your heart and with God by your side, you take a stand, you take a deep breath, and you begin, as best as you can, to design the life you want to live.

"Those who believe it can not be done...
should not interrupt the person doing it."
-Chinese proverb