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My Spiritual Journey, Part 3
(In which your spiritual adventurer explores dreams and how they can help and protect.)[Continued from My Spiritual Journey, Part 1 and My Spiritual Journey, Part 2]
My wife became a member of Eckankar in 1976, just weeks before I had. She and I sparked in 1995 and married two years later. She was a Silicon Valley consultant, a heavy hitter who had executive-produced Apple Macintosh launches under Steve Jobs and John Scully, Oracle product launches under Larry Ellison, and more.
Me? I was teaching Latin and Journalism part-time at a private Sacramento Christian middle school. I was also an experienced and published writer, comfortable with technology.
We worked together on projects for startups and other companies, including American Film Institute, Autodesk, Cisco, Garnett & Helfrich Capital, Hewlett Packard, Hitachi, IBM, PeopleSoft, Stedman Graham & Associates, Silicon Graphics, and Sun Microsystems. I worked as a tech and video writer, executive PowerPoint creator, and an in-house consultant writer for Hewlett Packard.
By 2001 the Dot-Com bubble burst was complete, and over the next few years, many of our clients started going away.
At the beginning of 2002, I had a spiritual insight that my wife’s business at some point would stall or go away. She had so immersed herself in her business (she could routinely work 14 hours per day, seven days per week, and still can even at the age of 73) that it was clear to me that she would have to detach from it to take her next major spiritual step. Her identity was in her business. That was going to change.
That meant that the role of primary earner would have to fall upon me.
I could not see what kind of steady work I could get to manage that. My work at HP ended after it had spun off into Agilent Technologies. What could I do? I was not in her league.
In early 2003, in spiritual contemplation, I asked for help. Sure, there were a few jobs I could easily take, but none of them could generate the income we needed to sustain us. I needed some real guidance.
I asked and waited, surrendering, and letting go. Meanwhile, a friend who was a learning and development consultant asked me if I would help her develop process engineer training for Lam Research Corporation. I agreed. I found myself working as a consultant in a corporate job with a manager and an assigned cubicle, something I had never experienced before.
My friend was happy with my work, even hinting that the VP was considering making a job offer as an Organizational Development Specialist. But she said I was acting out, and unless I changed, the offer may never come.
I didn’t understand what she meant. I was intrigued at being offered a whole new career in the semiconductor industry, but I doubted the idea of trading in being a free consultant for a corporate cubicle and manager.
Then I had a lucid dream.
I was dressed in blue jeans and a T-shirt near a bus. The well-dressed VP (who happened to be named Harold, the name of the spiritual leader of Eckankar) and the rest of the well-dressed L&D team were all getting on the bus.
And it was clear–I was standing apart, about to miss the bus.
I awoke and knew what had happened. I was attached to my consultant identity, and unless I got on board with the corporate worker identity, I would miss the opportunity that Spirit had created for me.
I immediately started daily contemplations and imagination exercises adopting the role of a happy corporate worker. No more consultant. I was offered and accepted the job in March 2004, which came with stock options. A few years later, when my wife’s business and emotional stability had collapsed, I had been promoted to a point where my income was enough to support us for the year she needed to recover and start working again.
* * *
I will keep this post shorter than the last, primarily because we don’t want to dwell on these topics for long. The creative power of Soul is such that we move toward that on which we put our attention.
In my experience, black magic is real. It comes in many forms, both subtle and overt, conscious and unconscious. And it is worse than you think. If you doubt me and you have friends who were born and raised in mid-African countries, consider asking them privately if they had any experiences with black magic. They rarely share with unbelieving Westerners unless asked in private.
Alternatively, consider picking up Juliette by the Marquis de Sade. Read it in its entirety (not in your home) and then get rid of it. It will take a few days for the psychic poison to get flushed from your system, but at least you may realize that there is an audience for such “art” and have desires to aspire to such acts after reading. (Who was it who said that the kinds of adventurers Rudyard Kipling wrote about came after his books, not before? Art carves out new states of consciousness and opportunities.)
Psychic entities are real. They are attracted to drug abusers and those who indulge the extreme edges of the passions of the mind: anger, lust, greed, vanity, attachment to material things, and those attracted to power. (Power corrupts? More than you realize.) Demons and devils of all kinds, among many religions worldwide are real. The lower Astral world is full of darkened Souls who indulge and take advantage of those ignorant of the doors they open. Consider getting rid of your Ouija board.
If you can imagine it, it exists somewhere. Such is the reality of Soul and our spiritual journeys in these worlds.
I will share my introduction to black magic. Many years later, I realized this was part of my training for the ECK clergy and a clergy trainer. (Today, it takes 25 years minimum of formal study to be eligible for ECK clergy.)
Dreams come in all forms. I found out early that I could not trust books on how to interpret dreams, since people had many of their own symbols. In Eckankar, one is expected to take full accountability and keep a dream journal to learn and interpret one’s own symbols. I learned a lot about me and the world by doing so.
I found that there are prophetic dreams, dreams reflecting one’s daily choices, dreams offering spiritual guidance, and even dreams about past lives.
There are also warning dreams. I had three such dreams when I was a graduate student and a business college teacher shortly after.
A gay, ex-Jesuit professor had opened my eyes to Shakespeare as an undergraduate. He had some oddities, but nothing that concerned me. I appreciated his passion for Shakespeare.
A couple of years later, I took a graduate course from him, and I had a dream in which I was taken on a tour of his consciousness. It’s hard to describe, but it was almost like he was curled up in a fetal position in a very dark and strange place. I woke up knowing that I was being warned to keep my distance.
As the class progressed, wondered what the warning was about, one day I passed him and a weird narcissistic, perpetual student I knew. They were talking about Aleister Crowley’s The Book of Lies. I discovered enough from my curious studies to know that Crowley was a serious explorer into black magic and dark psychic entities.
Shortly thereafter, as a graduate Teaching Assistant in English, I met a fellow TA who appreciated my interest in past lives and out-of-body exploration. Then I noticed that he wore a ring with an upside-down pentacle. I started distancing myself from him.
His wife would show up at craft fairs selling weird stuffed animals, snake-like, primitive, and spiky.
One professor, a great professor of Homer and Aeschylus, had purchased one. I happened to be in her home when I first saw it. I did not think much of it. Her daughter and I had sparked a summer romance (which would last mere weeks, since she lived in Manhattan), and I spent that night with her and her mom, although the daughter and I did not sleep together.
I had a nightmare. It was twilight. I was being chased up a hill by a dozen sheep. They were snarling, with sharp, bloody teeth and flaming eyes. I outran them, but when I stopped at the top of the hill, I saw my girlfriend lying tied up on an outdoor stone table. Chanting hooded, black-robed figures stood around her, one with an upraised knife. It was a classic black magic ritual.
I startled awake. Its lucidity informed me that this had been real, happening on the Astral plane.
In my world, the Astral plane is where most people go when they dream. (It is the first heaven that St. Paul speaks of in 2 Corinthians, 12:1-5.) It comprises dozens of levels, some higher and positive, some decidedly lower and negative. Paramahansa Yogananda describes one area in his autobiography. The Summerland. This is where most people go when they pass on. If you have a dream with a loved one, often about a month after they have passed, this is where they are. The Robin Williams film “What Dreams May Come” does a decent job of portraying part of the Summerland. Stephen King visits the lower Astral planes to get ideas for his novels. Like many such writers, he does not believe in the non-material world, so he does not recognize this process.
I understood my dream and how that door was opened. Conscious practitioners of such black arts use objects to gain access to someone’s home and consciousness. And the professor had no idea she had brought such an object into her home.
I wanted to tell them to get rid of it, but there was a problem. It became clear that she and her daughters, like any post-modernists of the French existential variety, do not believe in anything non-material.
But I had to do something, so I told them of my dream and recommended that they get rid of the stuffed critter. They listened patiently but did not comment and did not get rid of that thing.
A week later, after her daughter had left, the professor told me that their large, lovable, and non-violent Saint Bernard tore that stuffed animal apart.
All I could think was, good boy! Sometimes our pets, who are our friends and protectors, know better than us.
One final story, illustrating that people who think they are spreading light can be participants in darkness.
Shortly after leaving graduate school, I shared a small home with a woman, a roommate. One night I had a lucid dream. I was walking around the house when a skull flew in and flew slowly around. It flew into her bedroom, where she was sleeping, unaware of the skull.
I woke up and asked her if she had recently brought anything into the house that was given to her. She thought for a moment and brought me a book. It badly published and printed by a weird Christian fundamentalist sect that I had never heard of. It spoke a kind of Calvinist hellfire rant that made Calvin look moderate by comparison.
The book had allowed them in, and I told her I will be throwing it out. She was fine with that.
In my world, the message is always, “Not my will, but Thy will be done.” I am in no position to interfere with the will of others, or think I know what they need. Spirit may require people to suffer into Truth. I’m not in a position to know.
I do not ask that Spirit intervene in the lives of others. I ask that Spirit do what it thinks is best. Therefore, for me, praying for people in an intervening way without their permission is a form of black magic, a bending of Spirit for a personal agenda. Perhaps it’s okay when someone requests such prayers. But even then, I say, Let Thy will be done.
I once had a nightmare where I somehow up in a lower part of the Astral plane. I remembered to sing HU in that dream and was immediately lifted out and taken to a place with much more light and spiritual.
If you find yourself in such a place, you have the option to ask for help from Spirit or your spiritual master, or sing HU. The good news is that you do not have to believe in such things for them to work. Inwardly, those who can help will help when asked.
And by the way, focusing on Spirit and Divine Love is the key to spiritual protection from some things. And it helps to have a deep and abiding laugh every day.
Next time, if there is still interest, I will talk about my first couple experiences with past lives.Published in Religion & Philosophy
This passage reminds of the Prayer to St. Michael the Archangel:
Saint Michael the Archangel, defend us in battle.
Be our protection against the wickedness and snares of the devil;
May God rebuke him, we humbly pray;
And do thou, O Prince of the Heavenly Host, by the power of God,
thrust into hell Satan and all evil spirits who
wander through the world for the ruin of souls.
And I look forward to the next installment.
A little longer than I thought it would be but got through it ok. You intellectuals and spiritualists are way over my head. But reading about you and your wife’s job roller coasters (and Mark Camp’s) really brought home what a lucky S.O.B. I have been. Just a decent lawyer married to a law school classmate who managed to make it through 50 years of little commotion; me in private practice and her in Government. Every downturn (not making partner) resulted in a new path, usually with guys I met in the first law firm and who started their own practices. Never thought I should get down on my knees and thank the Lord for my good fortune. Contemplating it now.
I am very interested in hearing about your experiences. Please continue.
Mark, please embrace Jesus Christ. He is Truth, and will save you.
I go where Spirit directs me, as I am sure you do as well.
The best of R , if there was such a page .
Is this where Kadath and Ulthar are?
Too much to sort out, and no time.
A fine post.
I reckon I have no objection to any of your observed facts, or–at least in very general terms–to your interpretations of them. Dreams are weird. I’ve seen the future in dreams. Demons exist. Etc.
E. Kent Golding is correct. I don’t know about an astral plain, and I don’t know what or who “Spirit” is. There are things we human beings can know (empirically, mind you), and one of them is orthodoxy.
Spirit, the Holy Ghost, the ECK. Many names. The active essence of God.
Ah, yes. I might have remembered some of this from the first post.
Well . . . I am for orthodoxy, and I can talk epistemology if there should be a need.
I often listen to some Near Death Experiences, as related by those who experience them and on the Anthony Chene channel on youtube, as well as the Thanatos channel.
As far as “Not my will but Thy will be done,” definitely one of the most remarkable tales of any NDE that I listened to involved how one man had such an experience when he was too young to remember or deal with it as it occurred.
At the time that he had his near death experience, he was only 6 months old.
But as an adult, he encountered the experience in a most amazing form.
I forget if he was dreaming and re-experienced the event, or if he simply went into trance while he was awake and then re-experienced it.
In any event, whether asleep or awake, he could view everything that happened thru his mother’s experiences. This included how he followed his mother out of his hospital room, soon after doctors had told her that her baby, that is, himself, would die.
He followed her from the hospital room to being outside, where she walked down several streets until she came to a church. There she went inside and prayed.
What struck me as so unusual was that not only did he experience the words that she said, but her thinking and her words were astounding.
Unlike most of us who are attempting to implore God to spare a precious loved one, she offered up a gorgeous loving prayer to God. Her prayer was all about her thanking Him for her having had the privilege of giving birth to this baby and for being able to know him for six months.
Her prayer focused on her intense love for God and for her son, and her joy in having God and the baby in her life.
When she was done praying, she walked back to the hospital. He could feel her energy as it gathered up the courage to go back to the dimly lit room where it was most likely that her infant son had already died.
But as she walked down the hallway to that room, her relatives came out to greet her with the words that his health had taken a huge turn for the better and that he would live.
So after having this re-experience of his mother’s minutes and hours surrounding his recovery, he went and asked her if it was true. And she told him that what he had viewed was exactly what had happened. And no one else knew the words he had recited during her prayers.
I found the whole story so amazing and truly heart warming.
The astral plane is a strange place. I have avoided it as much as I can except for dreams, which areI love dreams all my dreams make me feel good in someway I have had nightmares and I still feel good when I wake up I can crudely say relative to this post, that dreams scared the hell out of me and Informed me that I have a perfectly great life.
I have had dreams from opium. Very interesting. I have had dream-like hallucinations from lack of sleep, by using amphetamines. However but the same result comes from general lack of sleep proven in experiments.
That is the astral plane requiring visitation. If you don’t visit the astral plane you go cray-cray. We all have we REM sleep but many simply don’t remember their dreams.
Dreams are a complete mystery to science.
I believe the reports, the conclusions and insights presented in this post until ‘science’ can explain something more plausible.
Thank you Mark
Love and gratitude abounds. What a great story!
Part of the plan for spiritual survival.
I’m still smiling about the Betty White one.
It is a miracle that anyone made it out of the 60’s-, 70’s and the drugs and Eastern influences. Mark – I highly recommend this book to you:
False Dawn by Lee Penn 2004
You could probably get a used copy on Amazon, The diabolical can mask as an angel of light. The people you mentioned like Blavatsky and the Theosophical Society, Enkancar and many others are all under the same umbrella.- part of the New Age Movement that took hold then (although they’ve been around for a long time) and is regaining strength now in a post-Christian lost world. This is a black rabbit hole.
Clavious (comment 1) posts the exorcism prayer by the Archangel Michael. This is good advice. You are dallying in something that is very dangerous, unless your future posts describe your journey out.
I was on a weekend retreat as part of a Christian renewal in the early 80s. At the end of the first evening of talks, we participated in a healing service, after which we were dismissed to our dorms, to observe silence until the next morning.
During the night I had a terrifying dream — I was out of my body and flying at an incredible speed, propelled or pursued by demons, heading towards I knew not what end. In my dream I cried out, “Save me Jesus!”
The dream, and the night ended. I awoke and went on to experience a most transforming weekend. It has stayed with me vividly ever since. I know my Redeemer lives!
I’ve had similar dreams. You know when its just a scary dream because you ate too much peanut butter or saw a spooky movie before bed (or some of today’s commercials…..)- then there’s the feeling of evil in a dream that is terrifying. Different than a dream, you call out for help to the divine or look for a way out and never forget it when you wake up. Hopefully, these are rare.