Touching Heaven: My Experience with Physical Transcendence
I had always had an interesting childhood. I had a pretty abusive situation both at home and at school, and the twenty or so minutes commuting between them was more or less the only decent part of my day. Through the year I would save up to go to a Boy Scout summer camp, because it was two weeks out of the year that I could be more or less on my own. In the summer of 1991, the year I was about to become a freshman in high school, everything came to a head and I couldn't take any more - not the aggressive and none-too-smart peers, not the domestic situation, not the facile 1950's-style suburban white picket fence lifestyle with nothing more that seemed to be all the world was about, and not the summer camp retreat I had saved up for all year to escape it all only to have counsellors send me home for not attending the ceremonial bulldada. After years of learning to keep my temper to an extreme degree - since any display of frustration would be seized upon and attacked mercilessly - I finally had an emotional breakdown. I sobbed for hours, could barely get a word out, couldn't see any point to the empty life the world was choosing, and attempted suicide there at the camp.
In the throes of this outrage at life and the absurd extremes of stupidity the world seemed to be choosing making the whole thing not worthwhile, I reached out mentally and psychically, addressing an intense outraged prayer - more of a demand, actually - addressed to, "Any and all benevolent deities out there". Psychically, it was a fierce, raging, howling grabbing of God by the lapels and demanding, "There must be more to life than this. Now either you show me something worth living for, or I'm outta here!".
The rest of the summer went miserably with parents, and then quietly. When school rolled around, my mother prompted me to go to freshman orientation night. During the tour around the campus, I lagged at the back behind the rest of the other students. So did someone else, and he seemed interesting. He just got back from England, and we ended up becoming best friends. He also ended up being an active occultist, and took me on as his apprentice. Life got a lot more interesting from then on. I had school, home, and magick. It was like Sabrina the Teenage Witch, without the vapid plotlines and gimmickry. I got really good with visualization, I discovered how to use modern music as ritual music and perform magickal workings in plain sight with headphones and a good industrial tune, I got good enough at weather magick that I could pull rain in at will from the ocean storms that seem to be perpetually swirling off the California coast, and other occasional oddities like messing with the timestream, accidentally blowing a car off the road one night while I'd been walking home and idly juggling energy, and there was that bout of vampirism that hit our school. None of the other cliques knew quite what to make of us. The jocks and cheerleaders didn't understand us, the stoners had their own occult group, and the hispanic gangbangers were too superstitious to give us any trouble. That being said, we did have one male student in our school who tried out for the cheerleading squad, presumably to make a point about sexual discrimination. Welcome to sunny California.
With all of this going on, I had gone from a despondent Honor Roll student to a secretly overjoyed D and F student. I ended up taking summer school, and the only one there that I knew was an apprentice from the other occult faction in our school, centered around the stoners. By this point I had gotten reasonably good with out-of-body projection, as something to do with all of the wasted time in class. I was also practicing with visualization, to the point that I could visualize eyes-open and "see" whatever I was creating in three dimensions in my mind's eye, superimposed upon the world my eyes told me was there. It was good for a lark, but other than pestering my telepathic friends (who could see what I made), it wasn't very useful. I'd researched tulpas, thoughtforms made solid, after reading William S. Burroughs' "A Book of Dreams" and doing some digging of my own on the internet, with a view to finding a way to solidify my visualizations into concrete, tangible form. But I started to wonder what else I could do with visualizations, and suspected that they could be excellent for ritual work. If I were walking around listening to music and working with it as ritual music, perhaps I could use my visualization skills to generate ritual tools around me surreptitiously, creating summoning circles, symbols in mid-air, and the like without appearing out of the ordinary to most people in any way. This actually ended up being a greatly successful approach for me, but at that time I was still working with it. I was intuitively getting a concept of visualizing Gates, and then using them to facilitate out of body experiences.
So one beautiful, clear day at summer school, we were on lunch. We weren't allowed to leave campus for lunch, so I spoke to my apprentice friend and told him that I was going to go try something. I didn't tell him what it was, and I asked if he'd want to watch and let me know what, if anything, happened. He agreed, and so we went off into the field for some impromptu spellcraft.
There wasn't a cloud in the sky that day, and the sunshine felt wonderful on my face. I concentrated, and visualized a Gate in front of me, slightly larger than I am tall. It was made out of some kind of gold metal, decoratively twisted like the brass pole of a carousel. It was just hanging there in mid-air, not physically perceptable but easily visible to my mind's eye. I concentrated firmly on it for about thirty seconds, to shore it up, and then walked bodily through the space the Gate occupied.
As soon as I did so, my consciousness went out of body almost of its own accord, and went schooming Somewhere Else. Unlike my previous experiences going out-of-body, it was less a matter of wanting to go, and more of an effort to keep some small amount of consciousness in-body, to control its fall as it toppled to the ground without any consciousness to keep it standing. I guided my body carefully onto the field with trace amounts of consciousness, but I was only vaguely aware of it at that point. I was on my way to Somewhere Else, and it was becoming more and more clear.
Somewhere Else turned out to be the best place I have ever been. Visually, it appeared as a place of golden light and pink, fluffy clouds. It was beautiful, but there was so much more than the visual information going on. While there were no figures present, there was a definite consciousness there, suffusing everyone and everything, in all times and places, with pure Love. I could feel the Love and Joy suffusing me, pouring into me and filling me up the same way I pour sugar into my coffee - better and better, until it can't hold any more, and still coming. Empathically, this was pure bliss, Love and Joy, and I could feel it throughout every bit of my being. (A few years later when I experimented with heroin, I was amazed that the feeling was one I'd recognized from this experience, only at least a thousand times more diluted.) I could also sense other entities there, a lot of them. They weren't visible, but I could feel them empathically. They were being filled up with this pure energy, and in gratitude they were sending Love and Joy back out to everything in Creation in their own particular frequency, note, or energy pattern. Empathically, it felt very similar to the way a church choir sounds - pure, harmonized, with each person singing their own particular note but somehow creating a perfect, unified whole that was greater than the sum of its parts. This energy suffused everything, including me.
This was literally pure bliss. It was the best sensation I have ever experienced, then or since, and I didn't want to leave it. I decided to take some with me. My sense of being was already full up to the brim with this energy, and I thought for a moment about how I could bring more of it back with me. What I needed was some way to store more of it, like an artifact or a battery of some kind. And then it occurred to me that I had a very dense battery available to me. It was my physical form, laying on the grass in the sunshine. So I began to stream the energy that was being bestowed upon me back to my physical form, and as my body was physically soaking up the golden sunlight, it was also being suffused with this Divine energy until it, too, could contain no more.
This realm, which I've come to think of as Heaven - or as close an approximation as makes no difference - seemed to be beyond Time, and beyond the illusion of formed material Space. I got the sense that it had always existed, and would continue to exist long after the last star had gone out. For those in this realm, Time simply did not exist - although Love and Joy continued to increase in an intense feedback loop that was made even more intense by each of its participants. I also got the sense that this realm, this Eternal Golden Moment, was reality, and this drab world of meaningless form, change and suffering that we have come to regard as real is just a pale puppet show that presumes, haughtily, to be what reality is. Something between what people would call intuition and conscience tells me this with absolute certainty.
When I could hold no more of this energy in my conscious "out of body" body and in my physical form both, I was filled up with the best energy that ever was. To say it felt great or amazing wouldn't do it justice; this was literally Perfection. I began to give the energy back out to others, because at that heightened state of consciousness, no other course of action made any sense. I sent it to my friends. I sent it to family members. I sent it to people that I'd seen in the media. And then for practice in unconditional love, I sent it to people who were downright villainous to me and to others. Family members. Bullies. Politicians. Hitler. And I found that the more Love I sent out, the more I was able to keep as it was being given out to me. It was as though my "pockets" were deepening, or as though I had wisely invested money and now had greater returns from those investments. (I later found out why this was, through a book called A Course in Miracles. In the physical world, we affirm that we have something by keeping it. In the spiritual world, we affirm that we have something by giving it to others. By giving Love, I was affirming the fact that I had it, and Love only increases.) So as this feedback loop of Love, giving it out and getting even more back, went on, and intensified the unparalleled feelings of pure bliss, Love and Joy, I wanted to "be more there" - that is, to be more present in that realm and less conscious of my body. I was trying to leave my body behind entirely.
I consciously Willed myself to "be more there" and less in-body. And I discovered that all of the Divine energy coursing through me was giving my choice the spiritual "oomph" to make it happen. This realm of heavenly light took on more clarity and reality to me, as the physical sensations my body reported to me became more and more faint. Within a minute or two, this Eternal Golden Moment became as real, as solid, and as concrete as the physical world seems to us right now. And just as I was arriving -
A loud yell snapped me back in-body. It was my apprentice friend who had been asked to watch and let me know what, if anything, had happened. I bolted up, looked around hurriedly to see what the emergency was - like a man on a riding lawnmower headed straight for me or something. But there was nothing. I looked to my friend, who was completely awestruck. He looked like he had just seen a ghost, his mouth hanging open and gasping like he were hyperventilating.
"What?", I asked him.
He just pointed to where I had been laying, wide-eyed, and continued to gasp and stutter.
"What? Spit it out, man!", I barked, supremely frustrated. (And yes, I do talk like that in real llife.)
"I just... I just saw you disappear."
Okay, sure. Right. Disappear. This from an apprentice, used to a crowd where the totally mundane could often take on earthshattering importance while still remaining, somehow, utterly unremarkable. Was this guy just seeing stuff due to his belief in magick?
"Wait," I said to him. "You saw, like, me go out of body, off `somewhere else', or you saw, like, my physical form disappear and you saw the grass beneath me?"
"The grass beneath you," he stammered.
I took a second to process this, and then slowly said through clenched teeth,
"And you... interrupted me... for that?!"
At that point it was almost time to get back to summer school. A few months later when he was hanging out with us at a friend's place, and someone asked him what it had looked like, he thought for a moment, and then reached over and flicked the lightswitch (that was connected to a table lamp) on and off quickly and intermittently. "Like that," he answered.
That experience fundamentally changed my perception of life and reality, both in a mundane sense and a magickal sense as well. I looked for answers, for some model out there that was able to account for the new set of information I had accumulated through experience. Few of them could, even religions. After years of research trying to find or create a model that took this and other unusual experiences into account, I finally have one and it's pretty much perfected. A Course in Miracles, is a large part of it, and Power vs. Force has provided a lot of useful answers as well. Some of it I've had to adapt on my own, but my model of reality is pretty settled by now. Buddhist priests can solidify thoughtforms, and given that all is Love, the whole of Space and Time are merely solidified illusions claiming to be the whole of reality. But when they defy or reject Love, they're unstable and they don't work. The law refers to different orders of law, for example man's law and natural law - that of physics and so forth. This world seems to be a solidified illusion made by people, but it's in defiance of a higher law, the law of that Perfect, Loving Eternity that is the true reality. This explains why people have a sense that there's something fundamentally wrong with the world... because there is. This experience eventually took me off the path of magick for physical effects, and onto an area of high (or "celestial") magick to undo what has created Spacetime and Causality, much the same way that Buddhists seek to facilitate a global transcendence from this material realm into something more Divine and worthy of us. If there was one experience that shaped my life, this would be it... from it, I've learned a lot spiritually, and it's allowed me to look at earthly systems like programs, corporations, general methods, and politics and isolate their flaws and what's lacking by correlating them with a Divine perspective. From there I can take that insight, translate it back into worldly terms, and come up with the needed solution.
I understand that courts do the same thing when they evaluate the legality of a piece of legislation. They simply hold it side-by-side with a greater law (in the States, it's the Constitution), and see whether it fits or not. In Asia they have a similar concept, that of the Mandate of Heaven, that's like the Divine Right of Kings in Europe. The concept is that leadership - or anything else - must be in accordance with Divine Will, or else it falls apart. While it's fairly evident that the Mandate of Heaven ideology was formed at least in part to quell the masses by convincing them that whatever they were going through politically had some Divine approval associated with it, I think it still makes a certain amount of sense, and this model shows in Marbles and Matchsticks. My experience tells me that those other beings in that realm were all of us, and that although we have appeared to have left it and entered this world, this world is not wholly real and that in truth, we are still there. More accurately, this world is an illusion, and we never left Eternity in the first place.
If you're interested in what the realm "looked" like, you can get a good approximation by looking at the cover art for Piers Anthony's "And Eternity", and mentally subtracting the words and figures. It's pretty close, although it was more expansive and obviously brighter.