Upon this gifted age, in its dark hour,
Falls from the sky a meteoric shower
Of facts….they lie unquestioned, uncombined.
Wisdom enough to leech us of our ill
Is daily spun; but there exists no loom
To weave it into fabric….
— Edna St. Vincent Millay / “Huntsman, What Quarry”
“But I have no intention of writing about the New Age Movement — that’s done. The New Age Movement is over. We are in the New Age. 33 Gateway Lane is not about the New Age Movement, nor does it have that genesis or come from that perspective!”
Such was the tenor of my recent commencing proclamations to Phyllis about the large
influx of incoming questions and comments to 33 Gateway Lane regarding the psychic ability, channeling, past lives, and other topical matters commonly associated with the New Age Movement.
Phyllis unequivocally understood what I was commencing about and my tensity.
While now separated for many years in physical location and circumstances, Phyllis and I have been comrades-in-spirit for several lifetimes. This time around we share what continues to be — in what is now a comradeship of 30-plus years — a pretty darn unpolluted wavelength of spirit that endures through the test of human times. That’s just the way it is, no-questions-all-hands-DOWN.
YES, to answer that particular group of questions, I do believe in “past lives”. The subject of Reincarnation dates back thousands of years, is considered an aspect of the Western Esoteric Tradition, and was an integral feature of the New Age Movement (which is a legitimate
movement within the Western Esoteric Tradition). Various past lives can impact one’s current life in a plethora of ways and consequently can be advantageous to be aware of if the
information is used in context of personal growth; otherwise, it is an ego-based, airy-fairy
distraction that can do damage. Note well that the most important lifetime to explore is
always the current one.
Naturally I was commencing onward: “I mean there is a clear line of demarcation between being in the New Age Movement, and living now in the New Age, but that distinction hasn’t been clearly established in the marketplace. In a way, it’s almost like it’s too soon, like there needs to be some more distance for objective perspective and to find the context. It’s like a recent period in history that the historians can’t pick up the gauntlet on yet — as though we haven’t moved far enough beyond it.”
YES, to answer that particular group of questions, the New Age Movement constitutes a
particular period of time and activity within the Western Esoteric Tradition. In my overall timeline of the Western Esoteric Tradition, the New Age Movement is book-ended for a variety of reasons and as points of reference by Shirley MacLaine’s Out on a Limb in 1983 and James Redfield’s The Celestine Prophecy in 1993. The New Age Movement is viewed as a vital
precursor to actually “being” or living in the New Age — which is NOW.
“Sure,” said Phyllis, “and we so lived and breathed the New Age Movement that we ‘get it’. Then we continued working on ourselves above and beyond that, and continued to grow. But many people don’t understand or simply don’t have any experience. Naturally there is always a lot of curiosity.”
I certainly agreed with her point, while recognizing that I am not a person with the trait of curiosity. Also, I don’t much trust curiosity since I tend to see in daily life and the marketplace its negative side in action, which is about superficiality and distraction. An innate quality of curiosity is that it can so easily flit about, like an unfocused wave of “hello” from a distance by a passer-by you don’t even know.
So aside from her remarkable ability of being able to get in a word or two edgewise no matter how strident my commencing forth, Phyllis is a first-rate psychic, or “psychic
channel” as one may prefer. Whatever the preferred vernacular, she’s been doing it since August 14, 1983 when the metaphysical “channel” of Spirit opened for her. I can be
specific about the date because I bear witness — I was there, variously in the vantage points of participant and observer in the extraordinary circumstances seemingly despite myself. She is a first-rate “conscious” channeler and still going strong because the degree of quality of the psychic ability is directly relative to the degree of quality of the psychic practitioner. That means she has relentlessly continued self-work, and thus the psychic ability has been congruently refined. This is rare — and extraordinary.
Generally stated, the current landscape of psychic practitioners is littered with burn-outs, fakirs, has-beens, egocentrics, and those subsisting on energetic fumes lingering from the days of the New Age Movement. Self-work is brutally hard for anybody let alone the psychic practitioner — but it must be done for sustainability let alone evolvement. Or the channel closes, leaving residue of stardust, fleeting shadows, and some energetic
afterglow that elusively fades away.
YES, to answer that particular group of questions, I do believe in the psychic ability as well as psychic practitioners. The “Sixth Sense” and psychics are longstanding aspects of the
Western Esoteric Tradition, and are integral features of the New Age Movement.
“I guess I can see some value for people by providing sound information and perspective about the Western Esoteric Tradition,” I ventured.
“You bet — no question about that,” stated Phyllis unequivocally.
“But there’s no way,” I quickly continued, “that I’m going to share stories about our work together or individually, or any of that New Age Movement stuff.”
“Well,” replied Phyllis evenly and without judgment, “I don’t understand why you wouldn’t, but okay.”
Why I wouldn’t? Why would I! Why would anybody in their rational mind believe such stuff, despite the fact that it’s true?! I have long used that old saw about how truth is stranger than fiction.
YES, to answer that particular group of questions, I do believe in ghosts, Fate,
communications with people who have passed on, miracles, poltergeists, near-death
experiences, Destiny, haunted houses, Good, Evil, and the Holy Ghost.
Be as may, Phyllis and I wrapped up one of our quickest conversations ever so we could proceed with our respective daily commitments.
TANGLED MENTAL WEBS
I spent the overbooked day getting distracted with contemplating Phyllis’ “why I wouldn’t” comment. I finally had the opportunity to recognize that it was the psychic phenomena consideration itself that was making me stridently opposed to sharing such stories. That is to say, too easily the phenomena itself could overwhelm the lesson, learning experience, or meaning. For too many people to too large a degree, the titillation factor of the
phenomena became the point of the story. And after all, I figured, the phenomena is
almost beside the point; it’s nothing but a delivery system, vehicle, or conduit for the
“So — good on ya then,” I stated to my satisfied self. The solution was to simply share the information without the phenomena. I was satisfied because I still get quickly impatient with indecision — that waffling around which can easily turn into the gray blur of
procrastination. I remain infamous in my workplace due to one of my signature
pronouncements: “Pick a lane, damn it!” And then there is this:
Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits
oneself, then Providence moves too. A whole stream of events issues from the decision,
raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents, meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I learned a deep respect for one of Goethe’s couplets: Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it! — W. H. Murray
In short, that means quit dinging around and GET ON WITH IT. Murray’s marvelous
philosophy has proven itself seemingly countless times to me over many decades.
The present moment was no exception — Providence moved mighty quickly, and certainly not in the direction I might have anticipated.
So I had successfully navigated the overbooked long day, and committed myself to not sharing the psychic phenomena “stuff” because it was actually beside the point. Not bad!
Not bad at all, as far as that goes — except I had forgotten about Providence.
It was now very late — actually, now very “early” according to the time on my cell phone — and I had just flopped into bed utterly exhausted. My cell phone rang, and the caller ID
offered up “Bart”.
Bart and his life partner Andrew had been rollicking fun neighbors way, way back when I lived in Hollywood. They were obviously madly in love, and had been in a committed
relationship for many decades by the time we became neighbors. The parties this madcap duo hosted for the diverse population of the historic apartment complex were not to be missed because the food was terrific and best of all their antics made everybody howl and cry with laughter. I always said that as a clue to understanding what they were like, think
“Abbott and Costello”. But Gina up on the fifth floor had trumped my ace by nicknaming them Fred and Ethel.
Bart and Andrew thought their being compared to Fred and Ethel Mertz of the legendary “I Love Lucy” television show was hysterical. Their bickering about which one of them was Fred and which one Ethel was entertainment superior to that offered at the nearby
After I moved several miles east to the area known as Atwater Village, we stayed loosely in touch and managed to cross paths every couple years or so. Sadly, Andrew had passed on just a few months prior to this early morning call from Bart.
“Hi, there! How are you!” I said answering the call and thus happily making that
obnoxious ring tone on my cell phone shut up.
Bart’s normally booming voice sounded like an awed whisper. “Michael, I just had to call you.”
I was immediately on the alert. This was something serious, something traumatic. Bart didn’t sound like Bart, and both Bart and Andrew always called me “kid”.
“Bart, are you in a safe place right now?”
“Oh, I think so. Oh, yes, I’m home.”
“Michael, it’s what just happened. I think Andrew just visited me.”
“That’s terrific!” I responded happily. I was also relieved. “I assumed he would if there were an opportunity. Tell me about it.”
I could almost feel his struggle to focus.
“Well, you know Andrew’s precious cafe doors.”
Who didn’t. I hooted with laughter at the very mention. It was a well-known saga. Bart and Andrew moved into that apartment many years before I even moved to Los Angeles let alone into that apartment complex. At that time, blithely ignoring Bart’s protestations and anger, Andrew purchased at auction an ornate — “gaudy” seems the more appropriate term — set of those cafe-style doors that swing in and out, depending upon the direction you’re going and pushing them open accordingly. He painted the wood portions of the doors that sickly shade of green to match the original 1930 kitchen counter tile still intact, and hung them in the doorway between the kitchen/dining area and living room. Those doors were Andrew’s singular interest in decor and possessions. Everything else about the apartment screamed “BART”.
Andrew loved those doors.
Bart hated those doors.
I had always considered them butt-ugly in design and color, and not very functional or
efficient. However, whatever I thought about them was irrelevant and neither here nor there. They were a sure-fire source of great entertainment.
“Of course I know,” I said, grinning at the memories. “Andrew was constantly saying that each time he used those doors provided him with a Julia Child moment.”
“He used to make the same reference about closing the refrigerator door until he broke a toe kicking the damn door shut,” recalled Bart sounding wistful.
“I remember that story — and only Andrew could manage to turn a basic task like closing a refrigerator door into high drama. So what about the cafe doors?”
“You know, I’ve been thinking about getting rid of the goddamned things.”
“I don’t blame you,” I said supportively.
I could tell he was partly in denial about whatever he had experienced, not just a little
confused, mightily intrigued, and undoubtedly shaken up.
“Well, I went to bed, and then I woke up with my midnight madness.”
That was Bart-speak meaning that routinely around midnight he’d have a craving for
whatever kind of pie or cake was in the refrigerator. It was Andrew’s job to ensure there was always some kind of fresh-baked goods available.
“Where do you get your midnight madness food?” I asked, also interested in knowing how he was calibrating his life without Andrew.
“Her name is Sara Lee, kid, and she does a mighty fine pound cake.”
We were making progress — he called me “kid”.
“And the doors?”
“It’s too bizarre. It’s surreal. I got out of bed, went into the living room, and turned on the overhead lights like I always do so I don’t stumble over furniture or my own two feet. I don’t need a broken hip. It’s unbelievable. I’m walking across the living room toward the kitchen — and there they were!”
“There they were?”
“Yes, of course. That’s what I’m saying. There they were. Swinging back and forth. Both doors. In unison. Slowly. Swinging all the way into the living room, then swinging back all the way into the kitchen. Then forward again. Back and forth, back and forth, back and forth — in perfect unison, Michael!”
“That’s amazing, Bart.”
“Amazing my ancient ass. It was — I don’t know what it was. It was unbelievable. Those goddamned doors just kept on swinging back and forth, back and forth. So — it seemed so deliberate, controlled. It was spooky is what it was. Not that I was really afraid.”
“What did you do?”
“I didn’t do anything. I couldn’t. It was like I was frozen. It was like I was hypnotized or something. I was so surprised. I mean the last thing I would expect is seeing doors doing anything. By themselves.”
“I understand, Bart. It’s overwhelming. One cannot be expected to have the presence of the rational mind to do anything in seemingly irrational circumstances. What an amazing miracle. How long did they keep on swinging?”
“I have no idea. Wait — let me think. Well, it must have been at least ten minutes. I guess that’s not very long, but it felt like it went on forever. Then — they just stopped moving, closed in place.”
“No, be assured that by any standard, ten minutes is a very long time. Did you have any sense of Andrew being present?”
“Kid, half the time I didn’t have any sense of Andrew being here when he actually was. I guess I just assumed he would always be here, or be on his way here from somewhere. No, all I could do was look at those doors swinging back and forth.”
“I understand. You two were together for a long, long time. Be as may, that’s an amazing feat for Andrew to do!”
Bart’s voice dropped to a whisper again. “Do you really believe it was him?”
“Of course, you nitwit! I believe it with every fiber of my Being. There are really no good-byes; it’s more like a ‘see you later’, depending on the nature of the relationship.
Besides, Bart, who else would take all that time and energy to mess with those funky doors! I mean, really — could he be any more obvious!”
“That’s for sure! But now I don’t dare get rid of those goddamned doors!”
“What if he wants to visit me again?”
“Don’t anticipate, wait for, or hope for that, Bart.” I needed to be unrelenting and clear about this. “He may not be in the place to do anything like that again. Accept this event like a celebration. Very possibly he needs to move on to other things. Most certainly, you will need to move on with your life. Don’t hold yourself back. And don’t set yourself up to live in the stasis of a relationship that is no longer dynamic. That would be a disservice to both you and Andrew. Mourn, grieve, remember, and in your time move forward on your path — just like he has the opportunity and responsibility to move forward on his.”
There was a long pause as he considered what I had said.
“You know, that makes good sense.”
“And besides — if he does want to make that kind of contact again and the doors aren’t there, he’ll enjoy figuring out another way to make himself known.”
“Michael, do you think Andrew and I will be together again?”
“Hell’s bells, Bart. Who else would have either of you but each other! But seriously — if you both want to be together again and that can be designed to happen, then your paths will cross again. Given what you meant to each other, I think it’s a safe bet that you’ll be together again somewhere along the way.”
“We always had so much fun. Our relationship was such a pleasure, do you know what I mean? I feel better knowing that we might get to share that again.”
“Do you think you’ll be able to get some rest now?”
“Yes. After I get my piece of pound cake. I don’t feel overwhelmed anymore. You make it seem wonderful and normal. Well, I don’t know if ‘normal’ is the right word. But at least not crazy. You make it seem not crazy.”
“I don’t make it anything. I appreciate it for what it is — wonderful. And it is not crazy. So what the hell — go crazy and add a glass of milk to the midnight madness, and raise it in a toast of loving thanks to Andrew and your enduring relationship of the spirit. He deserves the celebration, and so do you.”
“To hell with milk. It’s going to be a shot of brandy!”
“More power to you, my dear friend, and to Andrew as well.”
“Thank you, Michael, I knew I you were the one person I could talk to about this. I’ve
always remembered how you exorcised old lady Crawford’s ghost from her apartment, and I’ll always be grateful to you for my reconciliation with the Church. Now — thank you so much for this.”
“Thank you for the privilege of your trust. But that most certainly was not an exorcism. And as I remember it, you just needed to hear a little common sense about your
Catholicism. You then bee-lined all on your own because you needed and wanted to, over to St. Mark’s faster than the little house from Kansas flattened the Wicked Witch of the East,” I stated, making reference to one of many propitious events in my favorite
metaphysical treatise called The Wonderful Wizard of Oz.
He was laughing now, probably amused because of what he likely interpreted as a witty if not campy reference to The Wizard of Oz movie.
No matter. The point was made, and the laughter was joyful music.
“I love you, kid.”
“I love ya, Bart. And you know what?”
“I think Andrew has abundantly shown how very much he still loves you, and always will.”
There was a moment of silence, and then Bart spoke up, loud and strong: “Well I certainly can’t fault him for that!”
We laughed together then, loud and long like those days way, way back when I lived in
Hollywood and was a willingly captive audience for the escapades and bickering of my
loving neighbors Fred and Ethel.
It doesn’t take one iota of psychic ability to predict for them a sensationally show-stopping return engagement.
THE CERTAINTY OF ETERNITY
After the telephone call with Bart, I trudged to the kitchen to make carrot juice. I
wondered what past life dynamics Bart and Andrew had experienced that shaped their
relationship and circumstances this time around. Must have been pretty intensely
fantastic and positive, I figured, given they displayed such harmony with no trace of
conflicts to be resolved, no ancient disputes to be settled in context of this lifetime.
“Well, except maybe something associated with those goddamned doors,” I grinned.
Offering up thanks to Andrew for what was a massive loving gesture to his beloved Bart, I wished him godspeed with whatever his own cosmic agenda may have in store. I wished likewise for Bart. They were each on a new dynamic journey, engaged in their own unique sacred trajectories of being and becoming which are the part and parcel of enterprising spirits.
Years ago I had the audacity to recite from memory several lines from one of my favorite books directly to the writer who had composed them. Richard Bach listened intently to my little spontaneous recitation:
Don’t be dismayed at good-byes. A farewell is necessary before you can meet again. And meeting again, after moments or lifetimes, is certain for those who are friends.
“Well done!” proclaimed the smiling author of the phenomenal bestsellers Illusions and Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and a whole bunch of other good works. No doubt he has these encounters all the time. But given his overt delight and graciousness then and there with me, you would swear it never occurred before with any other of his seemingly be-jillions of devoted readers.
I attempted in my feeble way to quickly explain to him how important and significant that particular passage from Illusions is to me and a lot of other people I have met.
As if Richard Bach needed me to commence to him about that!
“Yes, that one means a great deal to a lot of people,” he nodded in affirmation with a gentle tone and manner that conveyed appreciation, humility, and conscious awareness.
Reflecting back to my conversation with Phyllis and her reference to understanding and experience, I realized for the first time a salient difference between my “take” on the
Illusions quote from that of many people.
I know the quote is true.
Maybe you do, too?
ADVENTURING INTO BELIEF
There are those people who know Reincarnation and other related concepts are “real”. However, many people need to engage the quality of Faith that such concepts and beliefs are real.
Despite a variety of differences, these two orientations both allow for the direct experience with the paranormal due to the position conducive to “What if and why not!”
And then there are those who are in the company of Doubting Thomas. This orientation rather inhibits, for example, direct experience with the paranormal due to the innate
position of “I’ll believe it when I see it.” The energetic actually functions as “You’ll see it when you believe it” but that’s a challenging concept for the Doubting Thomas to wrap one’s spirit around, if you will.
Not forgotten by any stretch are those oriented with refusal to entertain even the
possibility of such concepts. Accordingly, the challenge of such orientation is that by
clinging onto to the realm of impossibility of something beyond one’s own limitations and thus by virtue of that vacuum of stasis, one de facto sacrifices or forfeits any notion let alone manifestation of any substantial personal and professional growth.
ORIENTATIONS ABOUT GOD DIMENSIONAL HIERARCHY OF HUMAN BEING
There is only God: Mysticism Intuition
There is one God: Monotheism Intellect
There are many Gods: Polytheism Emotion
There is no God: Atheism Instinct
I view Reincarnation, the Sixth Sense, and the “paranormal” as a matter of fact. Always have, even sometimes despite myself. Past lives, current life, future lives — I believe in the everlasting nature of the soul and the eternal nature of the enterprising spirit. Maybe it is because of past life experience I brought into this life that has always bubbled near the surface of my conscious awareness that it never occurred to me such concepts were not true, not an integral part of reality. My situational awareness has always been inclusive of the Sixth Sense, though my degree of consciousness was not always congruent or
equilibriated with my degree of awareness. Be that as it may, that receptivity as indicated above is a sure-fire set-up for encountering and/or experiencing the paranormal.
Accordingly, at a certain point I commenced having overt external dynamic and experience with the Sixth Sense and the paranormal as I went about my straight-forward business of self-improvement, learning, growth, and adventuring on the caravan of living.
For all human beings, one’s human experience is contingent upon and works
congruently with the plan or agenda of one’s Enterprising Spirit. It is the capacity of the human being’s Sixth Sense as a conduit of Spirit which infuses the human being’s other Five Senses. That infusion whereby Force becomes Form is the gift of Spirit becoming
Enterprising Spirit. Such is one of the defining features — if not THE defining feature — of functioning “Top-Down”. Or as Pierre Teilhard de Chardin put it: “Matter is Spirit moving slowly enough to be seen.”
And Top-Down is the direction in process of individuation, evolvement, and mastery.
“We are NOT human beings having the experience of Spirit — we are Enterprising Spirits having a human experience!” I said out loud along about then, paraphrasing an old saw in reference to us lucky human beings here on Mother Earth.
I was wrong to marginalize paranormal experience. Such is as critical to our cultivation of Self as the “normal” events that permeate our ongoing caravan of living — such as
coincidences, the unexpected events and encounters, small moments which
retrospectively emerge as seminal events, personal and professional trajectories which emerge through the course of overt or covert choice…. All our various experiences —
paranormal and normal — must be variously acknowledged, affirmed, validated because we are shaped by our experience. Consequently, our variegated experience must be USED so it has effect and impact on us — which yields greater vistas, more potential, refinement of spirit, and a larger stage to accommodate expanding conscious awareness.
Isn’t that what “being and becoming” is about?
Still standing in the kitchen, gazing out the window, I realized the light of dawn was
splashing me in the face.
“To hell with my concern about the titillation factor,” I announced to Providence. “I was wrong. It’s the titillation factor that is beside the point. I was throwing the baby out with the bath water. The ‘phenomena stuff’ is equally central to the Big Picture.”
I went and located my cell phone, quickly typed out a text message, and sent it to Phyllis:
You know, life would be totally different for both of us if we hadn’t gone to that psychic in
Minneapolis back in August 1983.
The text response from Phyllis seemed instantaneous: Yeah that’s not lost on me…
But that, as they say, is another story.