Aliens, Auras, & The Indigo Children.

“For my ally is the Force, and a powerful ally it is. Life creates it, makes it grow. Its energy surrounds us and binds us. Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter. You must feel the Force around you; here, between you, me, the tree, the rock, everywhere, yes.”
Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back.

“I can remember when I was a little boy. My grandmother and I could hold conversations entirely without ever opening our mouths. She called it ‘shining.’ And for a long time, I thought it was just the two of us that had the shine to us. Just like you probably thought you was the only one. But there are other folks, though mostly they don’t know it, or don’t believe it.”
The Shining (the 1980 film).

NIMI’S BODY LIGHT.

Though I’ve had an absurd amount of childhood memories suggesting alien encounters, the bulk of these memories were horrifying. Not all of them, however. A certain set of these memories dealt with a tall, willowy, female entity donning a monk’s robe. She looked like the typical Gray alien with lighter skin and larger eyes. I’ve called Nimi ever since the flashbacks in high school, though she had only referred to herself by her title, which she told me was The Teacher. We always communicated telepathically, through internal-yet-interpersonal dialogue as well as mental imagery. Whenever I peer back on those memories I find myself filled with warmth, as I truly value the time we spent together and all the weird and wonderful things she told me. And though I will perhaps forever be plagued by the question as to whether my memories and real-time experiences reflect reality or are merely the fantasies of a diseased mind, I continue exploring them in the hopes that I’ll earn a greater understanding.

One of the first memories that came back to me regarding her dealt with her speaking to me through my bedroom window one night, which was right beside the head of my loft bed. That was where she explained to me, mind-to-mind, how there is an energy or light that surrounds all forms of life in the universe. The light around her was green, she said, and the light around me was a certain type or shade of blue. As she spoke to me regarding the significance of the colors of body-light in general, I have vague recollections of seeing a rainbow or some form of the visible light spectrum in my mind’s eye. We then had a discussion about my bluish color and what seemed to be some confusion with respect to its classification, though the specifics escape me.

Though I had no idea when I was a young child, I believe that by the time I remembered this childhood experience during high school I knew at least vaguely about the concept she was referring to. I was a fan of Star Wars as a kid, of course, but I didn’t grasp the whole concept of the Force and how it related to all this until much later. More recently, I’ve begun to explore the cross-cultural notions of this energy in greater depth.

Many religious and spiritual philosophies over the ages have believed in this energy and that it exists within and around all living things. In Indian or Vedic cultures, this energy is known as prana. In Chinese philosophy, it’s called chi or qi. In ancient Greece, it was known as pneuma. In Japanense medicine, it is known as ki. In Hawaiian and Tahitian culture, it is called mana. In ancient Egypt, it was known as ka. In medieval philosophy, it’s known as quintessence, the fifth element. Among the Māori of New Zealand, it is known as mauri. Among Algonquian groups of Native Americans, it was known as manitou. Among the Iroquois Native Americans, it’s known as orenda. In his 1907 book Creative Evolution, French philosopher Henri Bergson called it Élan vital, which has been translated to English as either “vital impetus” or “vital force.” Dr. Wilhelm Reich called it orgone. More generally, it has been referred to as subtle energy.

When used in religious artwork, it is often called the aureola or aureole when depicted as a radiant cloud cocooning the body; at other times it is limited to the head, where it is known as the halo or nimbus and represented as a luminous disc or crown of light rays encircling the cranium. While the distinction between the halo and its full-body counterpart is often vague, they are often collectively referred to as a glory or mandorla. They come in every color, even various colors, and typically are used to denote holy figures, mythical figures, rulers or heros.

In India, the halo is known as either prabhāmaṇḍala or śiraścakra, and the aura as a whole is known as prabhāvali. In his Hypothesis of Formative Causation, Rupert Sheldrake refers to morphic fields that exist within and around everything, living or not, maintaining and evolving the patterns that characterize all that is through what he calls morphic resonance. The concept has also been embraced in modern new age religions, where it is often referred to as an aura or the human energy field. Even modern science in the West is slowly coming to incorporate this energy into their overall understanding, as the generic term “biofield” was elected in 1994 by a panel of scientists at the National Institutes of Health to denote what they described as interactive fields of energy and information surrounding and interpenetrating all living systems. These fields are comprised of not only scientifically accepted and technologically measurable electromagnetic energy, they posit, but also the thus-far-only-hypothetical subtle energy.

Though I cannot say that I have ever seen an aura myself, it would appear to be an embarrassingly perfect visual analog to the atmosphere of vibrating energy that I feel residing within and around my own body and those of others. The manner in which I feel it can be best described as some hybridized form of the kinesthetic and tactile, some subtler form of touch and movement that can be sensed independent of physical contact. Personal experience suggests that there are at least three distinct aspects or levels to this energy field, the most immediate of which seems to either correspond to an individual’s present state of consciousness or actually constitute the mind itself. In other words, it bears a frequency, vibration or “vibe” that seems to change in accordance with an individual’s emotions, moods, thoughts, and the state of their body. Interactions between my own energy and that of others seem to play a role in my involuntary empathy and telepathic experiences. Sometimes I’m only conscious of the received emotions, with the energetic sensations serving as a sort of background unless I deliberately focus on them, though often enough the energetic interactions themselves are so intense they take the foreground.

In either case, this energetic interaction seems to intensify during eye contact, as if the eyes serve a dual purpose, not only allowing us to see but also serving as psychic amplifiers — “windows” or “gateways to the soul” that provide a more direct interface to the individual mind. During or quickly following eye contact with some of my fellow human beings I have received incredibly intense bursts of emotion, more rarely imagery or internal dialogue.

There is another aspect to our aura, however, that doesn’t seem to change, at least with such frequency, and seems to represent an identifiable energetic pattern specific to the individual. This came to my attention in my teens but for a long time, despite being aware of the aura as a concept in religious and spiritual philosophies around the world, I had never heard anyone else refer to this aspect of it — until I discovered Psionics. Psionics is a portmanteau of the word psi (which itself is an umbrella term for extrasensory perception and psychokinesis) and electronics, specifically radionics. It was a term that developed in the 1940s and 50s to denote disciplines involving the application of engineering principles to the study and exploitation of parapsychological or paranormal phenomena. It was appropriated in the nineties or early aughts by a network of individuals eager to educate, experiment, practice and hone these skills. Among these “psions,” which are those who practice the art of psionics, there is a belief in what they call “psionic signatures,” or psi sigs. This is essentially a psychic fingerprint that is specific to every living thing and, according to some, every existing object. It is a marker of identity that one can detect if one is sensitive enough and Psions use it when attempting to determine the geographical location of someone. They may also do this in an attempt to establish a psionic link with others at a distance, as when trying to engage in telepathy.

Among some psions, the act of utilizing the psi-sig has been called “sig snatching,” and they have attempted to articulate the process. First, they clear their mind, focusing on blackness, and then turn their focus to the individual in question. This may involve picturing the person in their mind, perhaps using a prop such as a photo or personal possession tied to them in order to guide the psychological process, and then trying to get a feel for them. Once it seems that the focus on the individual is established, that you are “locked” on the sig and so the individual in question, they let their mind slip somewhat. Then they either open up while focusing on the desired data to be extracted and received or fixate on the data to be sent or transmitted. Naturally, when one has a genetic or emotional bond with the individual in question or has already established some form of non-psionic link in the physical landscape — through the phone, the internet, or while in spatial proximity — establishing such a link via sig snatching becomes easier.

If such a psi-sig indeed exists, it might help explain my sense that everyone has a unique, energetic pattern. It might also help explain how many, including myself, feel as though they can resonate their energy or mind with another not just when they are in close proximity but when they are at a distance and experience various forms of telepathy (such as dream telepathy) as a consequence, even without conscious intent.

There is yet another aspect of this energy, however, that seems to suggest that there are different groups of people who share certain energetic qualities that distinguish them from other such groups. It is as if there are energetic types, groups or subspecies scattered throughout the human population. For instance, some people seem to consistently drain the life from me, almost as if they were psychic parasites or mosquitos of the soul. Others seem akin to psychic furnaces, their luminous, shimmering glow from within charging me up, even cleansing my energy. During high school and occasionally since, I’ve also felt a vibe from people that suggest to me that they share my unusual experiences. I have often suspected that these were the kind of characteristics and tendencies of particular types of body-light that Nimi was distinguishing by means of light spectra.

ANATOMY OF THE SUBTLE BODY.

Reports of those who have repeated out-of-body experiences and who are awake for the apparent separation from the physical form suggest that the subtle body they exist within during their “disembodied” state exists in and around the physical body, which seems to suggest that the aura is the portion of the subtle body that extends beyond the physical skin and can potentially be perceived by certain sensitives clairvoyantly. Similarly, many religious and spiritual philosophies hold that this aura stems from not merely one subtle form but rather a hierarchy of additional, ever-subtler bodies in which every living thing exists simultaneously, with each body serving as a “band” of the aura — perhaps accounting to the various levels of aspects of the aura previously explained. Each of these subtler bodies are believed to correspond to a plane of existence, just as the physical body corresponds to the physical plane.

This makes some sense to me. While I have not had an out of body experience with respect to floating around as a disembodied entity on the physical landscape during my present life, I have had experiences that seem synonymous with what others have referred to as “astral projections” onto the “astral plane.” I remain open to the possibility that they may in fact be little more than lucid dreams, though the experiences in that realm take on a hyperreal quality that remain difficult to dismiss. In any case, in the context of these experiences I find myself in a body that seems to be composed of energy and takes on one of three potential forms: a singular point of consciousness that, if I were to look on it from a third-person perspective, I feel would appear as an orb; an amorphous or fluid form that I imagine would look a blob of energy or cloud of smoke; and a body akin to my physical vessel in terms of form, but which is instead composed of energy — namely an intensified version of what I feel within and around my physical body during my mundane, waking, material life. During these experiences, especially during those periods where I am lucid during the period where my “subtle body” separates from my physical body, there are frequencies and vibrations I cannot only feel but hear. Whether this suggests I have three distinct subtle bodies or merely one that can take on three different forms, I cannot be certain, but the general notion of having a subtle body is certainly something I can relate to experientially.

As I have detailed elsewhere, Nimi did indeed explain the concept of other planes of existence to me during one incident, namely after I told her I felt I had a “foot in two worlds.” She also mentioned that some people were better at operating on one plane than they were on others. Given that this was the only occasion I can recall in which our telepathy was cranked up to the degree that we shared and occupied the same mental space, as if we were sharing a lucid dream while still awake, it has often felt to me that she was suggesting that imagination itself may constitute a parallel reality and that I may function better in that realm than on others.

While I have no memory of Nimi explaining how the aura related to subtle bodies, I did have an odd experience, perhaps merely a dream, on October 1st of 2009 that shed some light on the subject. I suddenly found myself in some rendition of the basement of my neighbor’s house across the street when I was young, just as I had in my initial “astral projection” in May of 1995, sitting on a couch in a rather drowsy state of consciousness. Two other individuals who I sensed to be male were standing nearby, though out of my line of sight, and they spoke to both me and with one another mind-to-mind. The conversation involved the physical body being nothing more than a sort of “post body” that served as a thin slice off the top of a body composed of a more subtle form of energy or matter. Furthermore, this body itself was just a part of a greater system of subtler bodies in which conscious beings coexist.

Interestingly, I later found that this description parallels the Eastern model of the subtle bodies remarkably well. The Jiva, which in Hinduism and Jainism is equivalent to what we often refer to as the individual soul or self, is said to be enveloped within five sheaths which are in turn organized into three separate bodies. These five sheaths are said to interpetrate one another and exist inside one another in the style of a Russian Doll. There is the annamaya kosha, which is the physical sheath; the pranamaya kosha, the sheath of the breath or life-force; manomaya kosha, the mental sheath; the vijnanamaya kosha, or wisdom sheath, and finally the anandamaya kosha, or bliss sheath.

The karana sharira, or causal body, is composed of the jiva and one sheath, the anandamaya kosha. The sukshma sharira (later called the linga sharira) or subtle body, on the other hand, is composed of three sheaths: the pranamaya, manomaya and vijnanamaya koshas. Last but not least, there is the physical body, known as the sthula sharira, which is composed of the annamaya and pranamaya koshas. Of possible significance here is the fact that while the subtle body consists of three sheaths, the physical is composed of only two, and one of the sheaths of the physical body — the pranamaya kosha — is also a component of the subtle body. In light of this, one could say that the physical body is just a small part, a “thin slice off the top” of a much greater body, just as the two entities in the aforementioned dream had stressed.

This subtle body, the sukshma or linga sharira, is also believed to have its own anatomy. Subtle energy, here called prana, is carried along through the nadis, or channels, which are the subtle body’s analog to veins — similar to the meridian system in Chinese medicine. I have but one personal experience that seems to reflect this supposed aspect of the subtle anatomy, and it happened in the early aughts. I had been using my Mindgear mind machine and, as I often do, had fallen asleep in the process. At some point I abruptly awoke and could not only feel but somehow also see this luminous, golden energy racing through elaborate, interwoven tubelike structures that took the form of my whole body.

These nadis are said to intersect at points on the subtle body known as chakras, which is Sanskrit for “wheels.” In terms of function, these chakras seem to have at least two. First, they are thought to “hook up” the physical and the subtler bodies to one another. They serve as not only the intersection of the nadis of the subtle body, then, but also as the intersection at which the physical and subtler bodies connect. Second, they are much like transformers in that each chakra changes the frequency of the prana brought to them by the nadis. While there are many chakras, attention is given to a minority, typically seven (at least in the Westernized versions), the functions of which seem to serve as an ancient rendition of Maslow’s Hierarchy.

Strangely, five out of these seven chakras also correlate with the location of the major endocrine glands of the physical body, which release hormones into the blood. The remaining two chakras — the highest and the lowest, both with positions that are often depicted as residing outside the structure of the physical body — correlate with the functions of respective endocrine glands, but not their positions.

Muladhara is the first, the “root chakra,” as it is often called. It is located in the area that corresponds to the base of the spine and is associated with the adrenal gland. It governs basic needs that serve personal survival, such as food, water, sleep and security. This chakra is also said to serve as the seat of the kundalini, a form of divine energy coiled like a serpent three and a half times around the sacrum. Various practices are said to awaken the kundalini, allowing it to rise along the spine, activating the higher chakras until achieving liberation upon activating the Sahasrara chakra at or above the crown of the head.

The following chakra is Svadhisthana, the sacral chakra, located in the area between the anus and genitals and corresponding to the ovaries or testicles. It governs our creativity, sexuality, and intimacy. The third, called Manipura, is located in the solar plexus and associated with the pancreas. It serves as our “personal power center” and “gut feeling,” governing our willpower, confidence and ambition. Anahata, located at the center of the chest, corresponds to the thymus. It serves to connect the bottom three chakras, which are concerned with biological needs, to the top three, concerned more with the spiritual. It governs our relationships, our capacity for compassion for ourselves and others, emotional healing and our ability to integrate opposites.

Vishudda, chakra five, is also known as the throat chakra and governs communication and self-expression. It also purifies energy from the lower chakras and corresponds to the thyroid.

While all of that seems rather consistent among those who provide commentary on the chakra-endocrine correlation, the associations designated to the top two chakras and glands evidently suffer from some confusion. The sixth chakra is Ajna, which translates to “command” or “authority.” It is also known as the brow chakra, the third eye, the inner eye, and the mind’s eye. Its located at the center of the brow or forehead. It governs intuition, imagination, perspective, self-awareness, and psi abilities such as telepathy and clairvoyance. Sahasrara, also known as the crown chakra, is the seventh chakra, located just above the crown of the head. Its oriented towards enlightenment, understanding, knowledge, reality and truth.

Ajna is sometimes associated with the pituitary gland for some reason, and this despite the fact that it correlates exactly with the position of the pineal gland, which in this case is instead associated with Sahasrara. With a little research I must concede that this does make some sense, at least from a certain angle, as in some species there is a parietal eye that formed from the pineal gland that pokes out the crown of the head. Nonetheless, the pineal’s placement in human beings certainly corresponds to the Ajna chakra, and the fact that it is considered the third eye and the pineal is literally our third eye makes their association a rather solid one in my mind. The crown chakra, Sahasrara, is more appropriately associated with the pituitary gland despite the fact that, much like Muladhara and the adrenal, it does not correspond with its position.

Due to these correlations between the chakras and the endocrine system, some speculate that ancient practices such as yoga and meditation may serve as a means of stimulating both the subtle manifestations, the chakras, leading to altered states of consciousness, and stimulating the material manifestations, the endocrine glands, to effect the corresponding biology.

PINEAL & THE THIRD EYE.

Rather than merely a curiosity relating to the energy field I feel around myself and others, the notion of chakras makes some sense with respect to my personal experience as well. For as long as I can remember I’ve felt what I can best describe as an energetic pressure or concentration of my energy on at least three areas of my body, each of which correspond to the alleged location of particular chakras.

The lowest location on my body where I feel this corresponds to is Svadhishthana, or the sacral chakra. Considering what is associated with this chakra, this should perhaps not surprise me at all. While I have nurtured the creative impulse through various mediums throughout my life, in the areas of intimacy and sexuality I have progressed very slowly and I could best be explained as rather stagnant at present in this respect. As of the time of this writing, it’s been well over a decade since my last relationship, for instance, and nearly nine years since I’ve gotten laid or had any sort of intimate contact with a female of the species.

Another point of concentration is the chest area, corresponding to the Anahata chakra, which always feels tender, vulnerable or exposed to me. It’s one of the reasons I nearly always sleep on my belly or on my side, hugging a pillow or blanket. Indeed, ever since childhood, I’ve avoided sleeping supine for just that reason — and for the fact that it often gave me nightmares as a child. Though I cannot remember a single example of those childhood nightmares, it has been the case that sleeping this way since the age of sixteen or so has led to some frightening experiences. On March 14, 1995, I had a classic “old hag attack” when sleeping on my back. I felt an entity crawl on my bed, straddle me, and attempt to suffocate me — first by pushing its hands on my chest, and ultimately by placing its knees there and applying agonizing pressure. During at least two astral projection experiences — one on July 1st of 2003 — I also had the feeling that my subtle body and physical body were bound at the chest area by something akin to elastic.

In addition, I certainly have issues associated with the functions this chakra allegedly governs. Though I have higher aspirations, for instance, I certainly haven’t “mastered the mundane,” so to speak. I’m also rather distant when it comes to relationships, be the nature of the bond one of family, friends, or the rare significant other in my life. I have an impulse toward intimacy yet need to be free and independent, and with these seemingly contradictory drives I continue to struggle. I also have a good deal of internal conflict about damn near everything and have had many difficulties in my attempts to reconcile the opposing forces within me.

The most curious area of concentration is the center-of-the-brain and corresponding forehead area, however, just above the area between the eyes, which corresponds to the location of Ajna, the “third eye” chakra.

An opened third eye is said to result in mental clarity, emotional stability, empathy, an ability to communicate with the dead, and an affinity for nature and animals. Characteristics of a partially opened third eye encompass the above, but also psychic imbalances such as anxiety, depression, resentment, aggression, addictions, sleep issues, hypersensitivity, an overly active imagination, issues with or total resistance to authority, bipolar emotions, and either lethargy or hyperactivity.

So all of that makes sense.

In multiple areas of my life, it seems, the third eye has played a rather consistent role. This first came to my attention through the theme running through the spontaneous artwork I began producing in 1995. While in art class at school or alone in my room at home, I would either place my black Bic pen to paper and let my hands guide me along, or tape a paper to the wall and essentially cooperate with the same process through the medium of chalk pastels. This “automatic artwork,” as I later learned it be called, gave rise to some elaborate pieces, many of which featured some rendition of the third eye — either between and above the eyes or at the crown of the head. This recurring theme only came to my attention slowly, and only later, after attempts to glimpse all my bizarre experiences as a whole, did it begin to make some sense. It came back to something that happened just prior to the spontaneous false awakenings and “astral projection” experiences that I began having just prior to the automatic artwork, in late April or early May of 1995.

At the time, I had called it “aura surfing.” I awoke to find my subtle form mostly detached from my physical body, hovering at an angle just above my physical back. Despite the efforts of some unseen entity that had grabbed my feet and was violently tugging me back and forth, however, I for some reason remained stubbornly attached at the head. This ultimately led to nested false awakenings, and no longer than a few days later, intense, hyperreal astral projections in which I wrestled with an entity that I feared was either trying to possess me, kill me at a level deeper than the flesh, or both — and this continued for some time. In addition, on at least three other occasions my experiences have also suggested that both my subtle and physical body are connected at the pineal/Ajna region (as well as at the Anahata region, as formerly described).

Later on during high school, I had been incredibly sleep deprived and writing on the computer that was in the hallway just outside my bedroom door. As I wrote, I felt myself nod off and felt my subtle form rapidly “fall” backwards, away from my body in the chair, and into this huge beehive-like structure that was dimly lit and gave off the sense of being very ancient, with various objects and things kept on the rows upon rows of shelves to the side. Suddenly I pulled back abruptly from that place and lurched violently forward into my physical body on the chair. At the very moment I regained sudden and full control of my physical body, I heard a loud “click” inside of my head which felt as if it had come from the center of my brain.. It stands as the most unearthly disembodied environment I have ever been in and the only occasion in which I slipped out and back in while still awake, with no breach in continuity of consciousness.

Yet it had company in its suggestion that the pineal serves as the locale of subtle hook-up. There was also that experience, in November of 2002 I believe, in which I felt “lightning bolts” coming from my temples and striking what would correspond to the area of the pineal in my brain when I abruptly reconnected with my physical body. An experience that came to serve as further reinforcement arrived on the very morning after which I slept for the first time my former apartment. I awoke feeling my subtle form still attached to my physical body at the head, just as in the “aura surfing” so many years before, but its form was bent in the direction opposite my physical body so that my subtle feet were against the wall beside the window just behind and above my physical head. It was like an involuntary, head-bound, subtle body yoga pose.

The Ajna chakra only became more intriguing to me when I learned it corresponds with the endocrine gland known as the pineal, also known as the conarium or epiphysis cerebri. It’s a small, pine cone shaped gland of the endocrine system that is often referred to as the third eye — and for good reason. It is seen as an “atrophied photoreceptor” because, like the two eyes with which we are familiar, it is sensitive to light and comes complete with a lens, cornea, and retina. It exists in most vertebrate species and in some reptiles and amphibians it is linked with the parietal eye, which actually pokes out the top of the skull, as formerly mentioned. As animals climbed the evolutionary ladder, however, the pineal began burrowing deeper into the brain. In human beings, at 49 days after conception, in tandem with the first indications of the sex of the fetus, the pineal gland emerges. It first develops in the tissues at the roof of the mouth and then ascends to the very center of the brain, between the two cerebral hemispheres. In its final resting place, the pineal is surrounded by the limbic system, which is the emotional brain center, and in close proximity to auditory and visual sensory relay stations. It also is in close proximity to the cerebrospinal fluid channels, allowing it to secrete its manufactured chemicals into deep areas of the brain.

One such chemical is melatonin, a serotonin-derived hormone that modulates sleep patterns and both circadian and seasonal cycles. It was found that the longer the hours of daylight, the less melatonin the pineal produces, and constant exposure to light has been shown to cause pineal shrinkage and increased reproductive functions. The longer the nighttime or exposure to darkness, the more melatonin it produces, and constant exposure to darkness will shrink reproductive organs and inhibit the reproductive functions. It also informs animal of the time of year, triggering seasonal instincts.

In his book DMT: The Spirit Molecule, Dr. Rick Strassman also speaks about the pineal security system, which, for instance, typically inhibits the production of melatonin during the day. He explained how nerve cells in close proximity to the pineal release neurotransmitters known as noradrenaline and adrenaline, which activate the pineal so that it begins producing melatonin. Yet while the adrenal glands release these same neurotransmitters in response to stress, the aforementioned pineal security system usually gets rid of them.

Studies he references have shown, however, that in instances of incredibly high stress the security system can be overridden — but only minimally. This results in melatonin levels that are relatively high with respect to waking, daylight hours but which are rather typical during sleep. Even so, it causes no apparent ill effects and exposure to daylight quickly counteracts this anyway. Due to this, he argues that the production of melatonin wouldn’t justify this security system — but that the production of DMT (N,N-dimethyltryptamine) most certainly would.

DMT has been called the most potent, naturally-occurring psychedelic known to man. Despite its illegal status in the US and other countries, DMT is naturally present in our bodies and in many other plants and animals. In his aforementioned book, Strassman posits that the pineal is at least one of the areas of the human body where it is manufactured. As Joe Rogan has grown fond of pointing out, the Cottonwood Research Foundation has since done tests with rats and discovered that their pineal glands do indeed produce DMT. Though its presence in the pineals of humans has not yet been confirmed, Strassman points out that the pineal not only has all the required ingredients to produce DMT, but is also known to manufacture compounds called beta-carbolines that inhibit it’s breakdown in the body, thereby enhancing and extending the duration of its psychedelic effects in a manner akin to ayahuasca. The same security system may typically inhibit stress-induced DMT release in normal individuals, however, much like the case with melatonin.

What role would the pineal production of DMT serve? Strassman finds significance between the sexual differentiation and pineal development in the fetus 49 days after conception and the fact that, according to The Tibetan Book of the Dead, there is an intermission of exactly 49 days between the death of a soul’s former body and its reincarnation into another. He fleshes out his hypothesis even further in his aforementioned book:

“The pineal gland produces psychedelic amounts of DMT at extraordinary times in our lives. Pineal DMT production is the physical representation of non-material, or energetic, processes. It provides us with the vehicle to consciously experience the movement of our life-force in its most extreme manifestations. When our individual life force enters our fetal body, the moment in which we become truly human, it passes through the pineal and triggers the first primordial flood of DMT. Later, at birth, the pineal releases more DMT … As we die, the life-force leaves the body through the pineal gland, releasing another flood of this psychedelic spirit molecule. (pages 68-69).”

Between birth and death, however, he believes the pineal may flood our brains for other purposes as well. Along with melatonin, for instance, the pineal may release DMT during dreamtime. Many, among them Terrance McKenna, have remarked on the similar issues of amnesia one experiences following both awakening from a dream and coming out of a DMT trip. It may also play a role in the altered states that can be triggered through meditation, prayer, and even natural childbirth.

Given that stress is known to exacerbate delusions and hallucinations, he posits that in psychotic individuals there may be a malfunctioning pineal — the aforementioned security system may be weakened, in other words, allowing sufficient stress to trigger an endogenous flood of DMT that accounts for the psychosis. This hypothesis of his, I must confess, instills a good deal of fear in me, as I have previously considered — only half-jokingly — that I have a malfunctioning pineal myself, and for several reasons.

For one thing, the pineal regulates circadian rhythms and I’ve suffered from consistent insomnia since I was a kid. I also have absolutely no sense of direction, which I later found many others term directional or geographic dyslexia, and remembered reading that at least in birds, the pineal serves as an internal compass. Seeing as how my own internal compass is perpetually spinning, I wondered if this, too, could be explained by a dysfunctional pineal. In the process of writing this I did a quick Google search and discovered that studies involving both pigeons and humans suggest that calcified pineal glands can indeed cause a defective sense of direction.

Though these issues of mine fall within the accepted role of the pineal, there are also elements of my life that could be explained by its more hypothetical role in DMT production. There is, for instance, the phenomenon that began on September 30, 2002, and which I originally called “the blurs” or “a trip without a drug.” Only later would I discover they seemed to be the scintillating scotoma brought on by what are known as silent or acephalgic migraines. These are migraines that generate the hallucinogenic “aura” minus the excruciating headache — all of which, I have noticed, are triggered in me during heights of anxiety or anger. In other words, the kind of stress that might trigger a flood of endogenous DMT in someone with a weakened pineal security system.

There are also my recurring instances of “false awakenings” and so-called “astral projections” — both of which may have occurred in my childhood, but certainly began occurring by early May of 1995. These, too, seemed to be triggered by stress, and so could also be explained by a glitchy third eye secreting endogenous DMT — and I say this due to the focus of Strassman’s book.

Between 1990 and 1995, he began the first psychedelic research in the US in roughly two decades at the University of New Mexico. He administered over 400 doses of DMT intravenously to 60 pre-screened volunteers with prior psychedelic experience and along with documenting the external, observable effects took extensive notes on the subjective experiences of the participants. He describes how a remarkably high number the volunteers in his DMT research trials reported encountering entities in the context of apparently “free-standing non-corporeal realms,” or what we might call other planes of existence or parallel universes. After finding that available models failed to suitably explain these experiences, he seems to have arrived at the hypothesis that DMT may function as a sort of chemical gateway for consciousness to enter into these parallel universes.

Many of the reports he claimed to have found to resonate deeply with what has been described in Near Death Experiences (NDEs). While they are not NDEs themselves, many of those elements are also found in my so-called astral projections, which suggests to me that these experiences of mine could also be related to pineal DMT release.

Most disturbing of all to me, though, is that he also claimed to have found that many of the reports paralleled alien abduction experiences. While I’ve read his book as well as many articles and trip reports, and watched countless videos on the subject, I’ve only found that people sometimes come across reptilian or mantis beings that parallel the beings described in abduction accounts. Indeed, this alone is interesting enough, but the allegation that these psychedelic experiences parallel abduction accounts as a whole seems unfounded given what I’ve come across thus far. I also find it difficult to ignore that my astral plane experiences seem incredibly distinct from my alien encounters with respect to both my flashbacks and real time experiences, and it has been this case from the beginning. The astral plane seemed hyperreal, but a different kind of real — not physical reality. I may be perplexed during the false awakening experiences, uncertain as to whether it’s the physical reality or not, but it’s clear as day immediately afterwards at the very least and often enough during the experiences as well, as that environment operates in accordance with a different set of laws. I’ve also tried to summon the aliens during those experiences and have always failed.

So far as I can tell, abduction reports have a basis in physical reality, just as UFO sightings and close encounters do. Even so, it may be the case that they also have access to these realms, and perhaps that is why so many others have encountered them there through the DMT gateway.

A CERTAIN SHADE OF BLUE.

All things considered, Nimi’s body-light concept and the historical context I later found it to be relevant to — not to mention the context of recurring, personal experience — made a lot of sense to me. Even so, I had a hard time understanding the concept as she proposed it to me on an intellectual level.

Given that I specifically remember her having given me the mental image of a rainbow with respect to the body-light, I can be reasonably certain this was the classification system she was referring to when discussing the confusion regarding my color. This makes little sense to me, however, for light is simply the name we’ve given to the relatively narrow portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that our eyes can pick up on. We call this range of wavelengths the visual spectrum and experience different wavelengths within it as different colors, to which we then ascribe specific names. Assuming this body-light exists, it is clearly invisible to most human beings and would have to be a portion of the electromagnetic spectrum our science has yet to uncover. Why this life-glow would parallel the colors of the visible light spectrum is beyond me, though this is what Nimi appeared to be implying.

Regardless, how did my confusing blue color fit into all of this? Well, as the visible spectrum is truly continuous and division-free, our color labels are ultimately arbitrary. Different cultures ascribe differing wavelengths to the same color names, after all, and even a single system may change over time. If body-light somehow shares this spectrum, perhaps Nimi was suggesting that my designated color differed depending on what classification system was used. In any case, I would have to be a shade of blue on the cusp of one of my two spectral neighbors.

Given that her color, green, and my color, “kind of” blue, are spectral neighbors, perhaps Nimi meant to imply that my body-light was cyan. As Nimi’s light was green, perhaps our proximity on the spectrum made our energies compatible in some way that inspired her visits. In Western new age literature, at the very least, green auras are seen to represent growth, balance, and nature and they are allegedly found among those who are natural healers or teachers, which seems fitting enough for Nimi. Cyan auras are supposed to embody elements of their neighbors, and so are said to be independent, calm, organized and clear-thinking, which sounds like an ideal student for such a teacher. While I have always envied and continue to strive towards embodying those characteristics, however, they certainly don’t accurately describe me. I’m a hypersensitive, perpetually chaotic mess, to be honest.

So we come to the second possibility, which is that the classification issue with respect to my sort-of-blue aura dealt with the spectral neighbor on the other side, namely the color we call violet. This came to my attention when I learned that though once accepted as part of the color spectrum, indigo has since fallen out of favor among many modern color scientists, who have as a consequence dropped the “I” from the ROYGBIV mnemonic and now divide indigo between its neighbors, blue and violet. In essence, indigo is the Pluto of the visible spectrum, though to be fair Pluto didn’t get sliced in two over its ordeal.

In any case, this would square well with how a friend of mine explained what my aura looked like during high school. During our meditation sessions in our mutual friend’s dark bedroom, he would attempt to see auras in his mind’s eye. He placed no significance on the colors and insisted auras always change. Nonetheless, on the two occasions I asked him what my colors were at the moment he described my aura as dark blue with streaks of red in it, which is a fair description of indigo.

The alleged significance of Indigo as an aura color in New Age thought, however, didn’t come to my attention until 2002. The notion seems to have been born from a woman by the name of Nancy Ann Tappe, who has a neurological trait known as synesthesia in which two or more sensory (and perhaps extrasensory) wires get crossed, leading to bizarre, consistent and highly individualized means of (extra-)sensory experience. In the case of Tappe, it manifested itself as an alleged capacity to see an “electromagnetic energy field” or aura around all living things in the form of a spectral field of colors. For the most part, this field of colors is in a constant state of flux, changing in correspondence to an individual’s emotions, thoughts and physical health. To that degree, her explanation resonated quite strongly with my own experience of body-energy.

Tappe also spoke much about the exception, however. This she called one’s life color, and it was a single color in every individual aura that seemed to persist from womb to tomb. Aside from the stability of the life color were the shared traits she noticed among those sharing the same color, and from these synesthetic perceptions emerged a system that mapped them out. This ultimately culminated in her 1982 book, Understanding Your Life Through Color. To me, this sounded much like the energetic subspecies I felt existed and resonated even more strongly with the spectral classification Nimi appeared to be explaining to me as a child. To boot, though she originally distinguished only eleven life colors present in the population, in the 1960s Tappe noted the dawn of a new Indigo-colored aura in children.

At roughly the time she met Tappe in the 1970s, Jan Tober claims to have had recurring dreams in which strange children would approach her regarding their upcoming incarnations, and that upon awakening she would find herself drawn to particular infants or toddlers with peculiar eyes and “old souls.” Ultimately this led to Tober and her coauthor Lee Carroll fleshing out and further popularizing the concept of the Indigo with the publication of their 1998 book, The Indigo Children: The New Kids Have Arrived.

Their argument was that those who have worked with children have been noticing an increasing number of them displaying new and distinct psychological and behavioral patterns, and that these were the children that had Indigo auras. The traits that characterize those with indigo auras have been written about extensively, and in the midst of my research I’ve broken them down into the most limited list of traits possible: their full-spectrum sensitivity, nonconformity, and sense of alienation.

One of the most commonly-mentioned characteristics of Indigos seems to be their full-spectrum sensitivity — or perhaps more appropriately, their hypersensitivity — which is a trait I undoubtedly share with them. It was relatively recently that I learned about a trait, apparently genetic, that is found throughout the animal kingdom known as Sensory Processing Sensitivity (SPS). Humans bearing this trait are commonly referred to as Highly Sensitive Persons (HSPs) and make up roughly 15-20% of the population. This trait seems to cover not only many of the traits inherent in not only myself but those that are allegedly characteristic of the Indigo population.

As I learned via the rabbit hole offered by Dr. Google, the still-growing recognition of HSPs began with the publication of Elaine Aron’s 1996 book, The Highly Sensitive Person, where the term was coined. The following year Elaine, along with her husband, Arthur Aron, identified SPS as the characteristic trait distinguishing such HSPs and produced a questionnaire aimed at measuring SPS among the human population. Scientific papers exploring, experimenting, seemingly validating and elaborating upon this trait would follow in the years to come. Though it has certainly expanded beyond their own work, the Arons have to a large degree focused their efforts towards providing evidence which distinguishes SPS from traits and disorders with which they believe it could be confused, which range from shyness and sensation-seeking to autism and sensory processing disorder, perhaps in an enlightened attempt to cut off the negative consequences HSPs might experience in consulting Dr. Google in striving to understand their symptoms at the pass.

Rather than a disorder, SPS is a survival strategy developed through evolution that bears both advantages and disadvantages. In comparison to the masses, they have a hypersensitive central nervous system. In other words, they have a lower perceptual threshold that results in intensified sensory experiences, which is to say that they involuntarily pick up on sensory stimuli that others would consider novel, subtle or nuanced, given that the majority are capable of filtering these aspects out of perception out before they breach the threshold of consciousness. As a consequence, this lower threshold makes HSPs far more easily overstimulated, which in turn results in a deeper, more highly organized and thorough form of cognitive processing, an increased reaction time and an intensified emotional response towards such stimuli which others would be likely to interpret as an overreaction.

The overstimulation of HSPs makes them more easily overwhelmed and leads to higher stress levels, which at best inspires HSPs to engage in less risk-taking activities and proceed through life with more caution. More dismally, it also makes them more prone to depression, anxiety, and sleep issues, thereby increasing the risk that they will adopt unhealthy coping mechanisms and habits of avoidance.

Far less scientifically, however true it may be to experience, both Indigos and HSPs report elements of hypersensitivity that either straddle the fence between the mundane and spiritual or reside beyond the pale and rest solely in the realm of the fringe. Indigos, for instance, are frequently associated with Ajna, the third eye chakra, and are said to be born with their third eye already open — though either partially or completely. In any case, it is allegedly this that earns them an additional form of sensitivity, which is evidently psi or psychic sensitivity.

Another trait typically associated with Indigos is their nonconformist approach. This is said to be a consequence of their overwhelming sense of purpose, a drive that inspires them to take action and change the world. This leads to them having issues with authority and tradition, preferring to question everything and explore new ideas.

Aside from their sensitivity and nonconformity, and perhaps partially as a consequence of it, they often feel alienated. They feel misunderstood, different, like they don’t belong. The traditional terms “fish out of water” or “square peg in a world of round holes” describes their circumstances quite accurately. By others, they may be perceived as strange or weird. Even so, they passionately clutch onto their sense of independence, the third trait. They stubbornly refuse to change for others, determined to remain true to their odd souls, and so may become introverted and socially isolate themselves. They may have only a small, close circle of friends, and tend to get along with other Indigos best, being less shy around them, as they are far more likely to understand one another.

Indigos are also often lumped in with people of other spiritual “types” in the eyes of New Age philosophy — Wanderers, Starseeds, Star Children, Rainbow Children, Crystal Children, Children of the Blue Ray — though just as often they are all regarded as distinct. Even apart from this, some regard Indigos as old souls that have come here from other planets. In addition, I discovered a possible link in a book published two years before The Indigo Children, and it was the 1997 publication of David Jacobs’ The Threat: Revealing the Secret Alien Agenda. There he transcribes the 1994 hypnosis session of Allison Reed (pages 246-250.) Along with fellow abductees, she was brought into a room where they were made to watch a “media presentation” on a large screen. It is a colorful, sunny, springtime scene that takes place in a park where numerous families are having picnics and children are playing. Though the aliens told her to try and distinguish the true humans from the “creations” of the aliens within the scene as a whole and then in individual families, she finds it impossible. It was then explained to her that the only way in which their creations could be distinguished from normal human beings was by means of an “energy field” around their bodies, and that those that were capable of detecting it and elected to cause problems would be eliminated.

I would later learn that according to Tappe, there are also subdivisions of Indigos, which again brought me back to an exchange between Nimi and I. In the midst of what seemed to be a more casual conversation than those which we usually had, I remember revealing to Nimi how I had recently decided that I wanted to be either a scientist or a chef when I grew up. We were, at the time, both standing in my room in the area opposite the bed, with her beside me, far taller than me. Curious as to what she did for a living, I asked her what she was, and she said she was a Teacher. I pondered on whether I might one day be a teacher as well. In response, she said that I was an Artist, that it was “my work.” Curious, I asked her how she knew it would be my job. She said that she did not mean that kind of work, at least not necessarily. Instead, she explained, by “work” she meant that it was a talent I had developed over the course of many lifetimes and would most likely continue developing in this one.

I later learned that, according to the Upanishads, throughout the cycles of death and rebirth known as samsara, the linga sharira, our subtle body, retains latent habitual physical and mental patterns called samskaras. They were developed by and in turn retain one’s karma. It is not the reward or judgment of some god that sentences you but the amoral influence of past action on present action, and present action on future action, and in that sense karma comprises the whole of causality with its action-reaction, cause-effect associations. The subtle body is the carrier of our conditionings, sustaining our talents, phobias and fetishes, our use of voice and body language, how and what we think and feel. Karma is not fate or the result of judgment, then, it is only the process of building habit and reinforcing and evolving memories. Though karma is typically translated to mean action or deed, less often, though more accurately, it is taken to comprise both cause and effect, the whole of causality as instigated and perpetuated by the individual in question. The most all-encompassing word might be “work,” which Nimi had chosen to use.

This encounter, and learning about my work, also built on the Indigo theme in a way that did not at first come to my attention. Later I learned that Tappe had split Indigos into four subtypes.

There is The Conceptualist, who questions the commonly accepted and has a hunger for new ideas and fresh perspectives. They are introverted, observant, calm and logical problem-solvers, potentially inventors or engineers. Then there is The Catalyst, who is polite, philanthropic and enraged by injustice. They are also curious and philosophical, but prefer to learn on their own, which causes problems in school and the world at large, which likely feeds their deep sense of alienation. They tend to force us into new perspectives.

The Humanist is a hyperactive social butterfly that has the tendency to treat everyone equally. They are quick to learn, and so get bored easily, and are focused on seeking out new ways to connect and communicate, primarily via technology. Last but not least, there is The Artist — emotional, empathic and sensitive in general, they are naturally geared towards self-expression in the visual arts, music, dance or writing.

It is often said that the central, unifying purpose of Indigos is to break down the social systems and belief structures we’ve outgrown and pave our way to a better future. Tappe illustrated her own sense of what the Indigo agenda was as well. “Indigos accept individuals for who and what they are and work for the interconnectedness of all,” she writes of them on her website. “Their task is to integrate mankind to one world through a globalization that moves beyond political or economic boundaries and beyond personal biases and prejudices.” It’s not all light and fluffy, however, as Tappe also asserts in an interview transcribed and provided in Tober’s aforementioned book, echoing the description others have given of an Indigo with their third eye incompletely open. She explained that “these young children — every one of them I’ve seen this far who kill their schoolmates or parents — have been Indigos.”

This brings us to one of the central and most controversial aspects of the Indigo: they are often diagnosed as having ADD, ADHD, or OCD, which those supporting the Indigo label insist is a consequence of their resistance to strict, absolute authority systems and the traditional use of fear- and guilt-based manipulation and discipline techniques, which Indigos naturally find intolerable. This tends to cause issues with them in the realm of social adaptation in school, at work, and society at large, say the Indigo supporters, which makes sense given their system-busting purpose. Either out of an unconscious desire to maintain the status quo or a very deliberate attempt to subvert the next step in evolution, the authorities in question seek to marginalize, numb, quell, and control the Indigos, and this is what has resulted in such diagnoses.

Meanwhile, the mainstream regards the “indigo” label as an irresponsible and dangerous new age belief promoted in part by the Forer Effect — which is to say that the qualities allegedly characterizing the children are so vague that they could with little effort be used to describe nearly anyone. Further, they assert that the Indigo label only serves to exacerbate mental disorders by placing a quasi-religious value on them rather than having them properly diagnosed and treated with the prescription pharmaceuticals they require.

There are astounding correlations between my partial memories of what Nimi told me and what Tappe laid out regarding life colors, not to mention associations between the Indigo personality type and my own traits which are difficult for me to overlook. If we accept her alleged ability to perceive auras, it seems conceivable enough that Tappe was able to note associations between people of a certain life color and certain personality characteristics, and even potential subtypes. Despite that, there is doubtlessly a lot of bullshit mixed in with the truth, if indeed a morsel of it holds up to scrutiny. I only hope that eventually science finds a way to detect and study this energy and incorporate it into our overall understanding of ourselves and the cosmos. Until then, it remains an undeniable experiential reality and the available models provide, at the very least, a fascinating reality tunnel to peer through.

Porch Light & Invisibility.

I just don’t get it.

Some days, it’s like I’m a porch light on a cool, summer evening attracting every phototactic insect in my vicinity. It seems I can’t get a moment of peace. People don’t get the hint and they’ll keep talking to me, keep venting, keep spilling, sometimes following me around everywhere — even the fucking bathroom. I try to hide, but someone always finds me, like I’m sending out some psychic beacon.

Other days, it’s the polar opposite. As hard as I try, I can’t get anyone’s attention. It’s like I’m fucking invisible. It makes me want to scream in their faces.

Depression and frustration plague me on invisible days; anger and anxiety when I’m a porch light.

I prefer the middle road, and I suppose that happens often enough, but why is it Others seem to react to me as if they were a joint psychic entity?

Of Fish & Firstborn Sons.

“Maybe you’ll stand. Maybe you’ll give and break to find another way and make things better. Maybe you’ll find a life you can live and learn to love along the way.”
Isolation, Alter Bridge.

Though Moe and I had planned on it during my vacation the week before, there was a miscommunication, so we elected to go kayaking and fishing the following Friday. I had literally been talking about kayaking again for years, eager to feel that sort of energetic peace I get when around bodies of water in general and eager to kayak specifically, and finally I was going to follow through. Moe had offered that we fish, too, and despite not having fished for some time and my unexplained disgust and refusal to eat anything aquatic, that sounded appealing as well.

So that Friday I got up early, went through my often enduring waking up process, and headed his way. After shooting the breeze at his house as we (mostly him) prepared the fishing poles and lures and all that, we got some drinks, I got a fishing licence, we loaded up his two kayaks and then left for a nearby, private lake.

Being on the water was fucking spectacular, as expected — for some reason, staring at the reflections playing on the disturbed surface induces a calming, cleansing, almost psychedelic state in me. Being surrounded by trees enhanced the cleansing feeling, too. It didn’t bother me much that I probably wouldn’t catch anything, it just felt good to be out in nature. We weren’t even out there for long, either, when, in the midst of talking with Moe, I got a violent bite.

Was I snagged on something?

Pulling back, the pole bowed so much I thought it was going to snap, but the aggressive movement made it clear as day that I indeed had a catch. As I reeled it in, afraid I was going to lose it as it swam beneath the kayak, Moe started paddling towards me like crazy. He pulled it up, mind blown, mind blown even further that I didn’t seem as mind blown. In his estimation, it was a large-mouthed bass of roughly five pounds. We didn’t bring anything to take it home with, however, and both of us had left our phones in the car, so I couldn’t even get a photo.

My immediate thoughts? Dad will be proud.

Hours later, when we returned to solid Earth and prepared to leave around nine in the evening, I finally got a chance to check my phone. I thought about texting my father about the fish, but it turned out that he had already texted me.

His text read, simply: Check your texts.

This seemed silly, for to follow his instructions I would have to have first, well, followed his instructions. To make matters more perplexing, his text was the only text. Even so, I knew what it was about, no matter how much I might try to convince myself otherwise, and my heart kind of sank. It was about my mother’s older brother. My uncle Fred. The ever-lingering concern as of late.

Cue flashback sequence.

When they were growing up, my mother once told me, she would be amused to see him sit on the edge of his bed in the morning, half asleep, chin propped up by a fist like those statues called The Thinker. She also always joked that he looked like a monkey, so one year, I think it was for Christmas, I did a pastel work of a monkey in The Thinker pose as a gift for her. I liked the inherent contradiction in the image — not to mention the fact that it served as a pretty good metaphor for how she perceived her brother in general.

He was a fairly hairy guy, so I’m sure that had something to do with the monkey thing, but she also saw him as rather un-evolved in certain ways. He wasn’t too social, wasn’t great with girls, and he was rather inept at taking care of himself. She told me once that when he finally got a place of his own he had to call their mother, as he hadn’t the foggiest idea how to do laundry.

The fact that he was catered to in his youth by his parents, my mother has often said, did him no favors. Fred being catered to by his parents didn’t do me any favors, either, as it turned out.

It’s not too complicated. Fred was the first child. Clearly, he was also a son, and being the firstborn son made him the golden child in his parents’ eyes, which stuck my mother in his shadow, where she grew quite cold about it, and understandably so. Her revenge was sought in an indirect fashion called transference. In other words, when it came to be that her first child turned out to be a son she took out her vengeance on him — me — as a sort of involuntary stand-in for her brother. She inverted the value system that her parent’s cradled. Her parents treated Fred like the golden child; as I grew up, mom treated me, well, like shit. It was only when she retired and became a grandmother that our relationship changed, and I like to see all that bullshit as being behind us now.

Despite her critiques of her brother, however, mom also frequently remarked how Fred was remarkably intelligent. Though he never confirmed it, she was also convinced he had a photographic memory. And to me, he was always the super-smart guy around — at least that’s the way I saw him as a kid.

I remembered how he always visited on the holidays, though typically having forgotten to get everyone gifts in the style of an absent-minded professor. He’d spend most of his time drinking coffee and reading one of his sci-fi novels while simultaneously watching the Sci-Fi Channel. Sometimes he would go and play a game on the computer. If I had questions regarding science or technology, he was always the guy to ask.

For a short period he was married, though my mother always said marriage never suited him and suspected the cold bitch he’d ended up with was only in it for the money. After the divorce, he got a dog, a rambunctious dalmatian, and since the dog’s death in the late 80s or early 90s, Fred has lived alone in his house in Cincinnati, where my parents maintain he originally moved to escape his mother. He was diagnosed with COPD several years back, quit smoking and ultimately retired.

From as early on as I can recall he was always complaining about his job at the time. What the job was, how much he made, where it was located — none of that ever seemed to make a difference. And I’ve always understood that, understood it all too intimately, but I assumed that retirement would be his time to shine. That he’d live it up. Be happy. Without a job, he could live by his own rules. Read his books, watch sci movies, fish, shoot his guns, and so on. He lived serving other people’s interests his entire life, but now his life could be his own.

After he retired, though, things just seemed to get worse. As time went on, he turned into a hypochondriac, constantly thinking things were physically wrong with him when it became increasingly clear to others that, aside from his COPD, his issues were largely psychological and self-inflicted. He complained he couldn’t drive because he couldn’t catch his breath on the way to his truck, for instance, and despite the fact that he was clearly having an anxiety attack, he denied it. He finally went to a psychiatrist, but stopped shortly thereafter. Despite him constantly going to see doctors, he considered them all useless quacks who knew diddly dick.

He came down for the holidays increasingly infrequently. He often wouldn’t even answer my mother’s emails, texts or calls. He also refused to let my mother come down to visit him; she suspected it was because he was embarrassed what she’d think when she saw the house. Though I forget how it happened, mom made friends with his neighbor, who she described as a kind lady who also cared and worried about him. The neighbor visited him, though he never let her in the house, either, and they shared suspicions that Fred had become a hoarder. She sort of became Mom’s secret contact, her secret agent, someone with whom she had a covert alliance and through whom she could keep an eye on her declining sibling.

When the neighbor informed my mother that she would soon he moving to Florida, Mom became understandably worried that without her help she would just discover he had died one day, likely some time after it happened, and be left to sort through a house packed to the brim with junk.

Then something amazing happened. Out of the goddamned blue one day, Fred actually called Mom. Stranger still, he openly declared to her that he needed help, as he just couldn’t live like this anymore.

When I heard this from her, it was a relief. It brought a smile to my face. I was actually proud of him. After all, this couldn’t have been an easy thing for him to do. I mean, imagine it: you spend countless years making money, buying a house, building a life you’re in control of, loathing the mere thought of asking anyone for help as you’re convinced through this suffering life you have, if nothing else, gained some sort of independence and autonomy, some liberty, some true, goddamned personal freedom — and then, suddenly, you are forced to face the fact that you just can’t do it alone anymore. Your life has become a hopeless, unmanageable, dilapidating bag of festering shit and you have to summon up the courage to swallow your pride and ask a trusted loved one, someone who has been trying to nurture and sustain a bond with you for years to no avail, for help. Allowing degrees of vulnerability you’ve likely never expressed to flower as you show that person — mom, in this case — that you trust her more than anyone else.

Mom later told me she suspected that the real reason he called her was because someone had reported him to Health and Human Services and he needed her help so that he could make a more convincing case to them that he really didn’t need help. While this killed my buzz, it seemed to present a far more likely scenario.

Yet again, cynicism wins.

He was in the hospital when Mom first came down, and without telling him, she went into his house. Uninvited. And it was horrid. His nesting instinct had gone awry, gotten stuck in overdrive.

He was indeed a hoarder.

She’d brought their German Shepherd down with her. It was roughly a four-and-a-half hour drive and, particularly given the fact that she had never driven that far before alone, she needed the company and sense of security the aging pooch could provide. As they entered the house, the dog was afraid to move, refused to enter the place.

My parents are very clean and orderly, at least with respect to the majority of houses I’ve been to in my life, so the poor pooch was not acclimated to this kind of environment. Not in the fucking least. The same was true of my younger sister, Linda, and mom’s story about the dog immediately reminded me of it.

When my youngest sister was very young, my mother had brought her to our cousin’s house. I forget if mom was feeding their animals while they were away or what the exact circumstances were, but my sister felt so threatened by the cluttered surroundings that she clung to my mother’s leg the entire time. Unsurprisingly, my sister’s house, now that she has helped build a family of her own, is perhaps even cleaner than our parents’.

Once my mother cleared a path for the dog, she actually submitted to entering the mouth of that maddening house. Mom then cleaned a room and left, if I remember correctly. In any case, she returned home enlightened, now at least aware of her brother’s living conditions and capable of beginning the process of acclimation to the epic mess she was going to have to deal with when he finally shed his mortal coil. And, hell, she even got a head start on sorting through the garbage heap that she was doomed to inherit as well.

When he finally conceded to allowing her to see him at his house, which in his eyes was the first time she saw the place, mom was somewhat acclimated to her surroundings, psychologically prepared for what it looked like — and so was spared the inevitable double-whammy, for it immediately became apparent that she was not at all psychologically prepared for what he looked like.

He was deathly skinny and had long hair and beard. Her overall description made me imagine an unkempt, severed Jesus head atop the pike of a stick figure’s body clad in baggy clothes — though to be fair, I wasn’t there.

She continued to go down there once, twice a week, cleaning the house, doing all she could to help him get better. However much she persisted, he wouldn’t eat or drink, save when he tried to get her to stay, and couldn’t even make it the short distance to the bathroom before having an anxiety attack and calling it quits. No wonder he couldn’t make it to his truck to drive down to us for the holidays.

He was in and out of the hospital and she tried to get him into assisted living, but he resisted. He just kept getting worse. He started calling mom at three or four in the morning, usually over a disturbing, vivid, paranoid-fuelled dream he’d mistaken for reality. From the hospital, he was put in a nursing home, where he swiftly graduated to a hospice, which was thankfully also in the hospital.

Simultaneously, my parents continued going through the house, which is an ongoing chore for them. He hadn’t opened his mail in some time. There were bills from years ago, gift cards we’d sent him, even presents, all unopened. There were bags of new clothes and appliances he had bought, dropped, and left unopened on tables, on the floor. Packets of batteries were everywhere, some corroded despite being unopened. Bags of rotting, unopened food. Plastic bags that were disintegrating as soon as they were touched, they were so old. Since he had the aforementioned difficulty making it to the bathroom, he had also evidently taken up the habit of pissing in empty Evian bottles. There were guns and ammo buried in every room. At one point, Mom had gathered up some clothes for him to bring to the hospital. Once they got there, she discovered there were bullets in one of the pockets.

This old hoarder house was armed to the fucking teeth.

There were also the pills, some for various conditions he thought he had, others for anxiety and depression. Some he had taken for awhile before stopping, others he had never opened.

Then there was the locked room. What could be in there? I thought it, too, but my sister, Eve, the middle child, was the one who actually verbalized it to Mom one day when they were discussing the room:

“Whatever happened to his dog’s body when it died?”

My parents burst into laughter.

My two predictions were the dead dog (though mostly in jest) or that it was a porn room. When the door was ultimately opened: porn it was. Magazines, DVDs, even a box of VHS tapes. There was a dildo and other sex toys. Not to give the impression that the porn was limited to the porn room, mind you, as they found when they started bringing bags of stuff they’d excavated from the Cincinnati hell house back home to go through. Dad was reading something in their upstairs bathroom, a magazine of Fred’s, and found an interesting makeshift bookmark in the process. It was a signed photo of a stripper calling him by name and thanking him for “cumming.”

Still, it beats finding a dead dog. I mean, I guess.

A few weeks ago, upon visiting my parents, I was out by the fire pit in the backyard when my mom slowly approached me and told me she wanted to talk to me about something. She knew Fred had a lot of money, but she had no idea how much until she started dealing with his finances. She said that what she wanted to do was give us all a cut and that I should use mine to find a place nearer to home.

I tried not to get too excited, particularly given the guilty feeling it gave me considering how I might profit from the death of a loved one, but I couldn’t help but imagine the ease this would give me. I didn’t have to worry that I’d find a place near my parents place but not a nearby job, so I’d have to commute between there and where I work now, a good distance away — or find a job but not a place, which would be equally shitty.

What if my car broke down?

In any case, that would elicit unbearable anxiety, particularly in the winter months. That’s why, as much as I’ve wanted to move, I haven’t.

It would be a far easier transition knowing there was some significant cushion in my bank account. With the money, I might even be able to buy a trailer, and after paying it off I’d only have the lot and utilities to worry about. I’d never have to move again or worry about not having a place to live — and family would be nearby. And I could finally quit this job and find another.

Still, I knew all that was uncertain. I considered his outstanding bills. The nursing home would have cost a lot. Then the hospice.

Then I went kayaking and fishing with Moe and left my phone in the car. When I saw my father’s text, I was hemming and hawing, wondering if it would be rude to Moe to call him then and there, and Moe sensed it and urged me to call. I did. Dad answered. I told him I got his text but no others. Mom later said she tried to send out a group text but might have done it wrong. In the moment, though, Dad cut to the chase, his voice low energy.

“Fred died.”

He passed away on the morning of Friday, July 27, 2019. According to Mom, he had been getting worse. No longer merely confusing dream with reality, he was faithfully believing in false memories and having blatant hallucinations.

It was frightening to contemplate what it must have been like for him. I read Fred’s story, at least the last quarter, like a fucking horror novel. A cautionary tale. I interpret his life like I would a bad dream. A goddamn waking nightmare. It saddens and terrifies me, how he ended up. It was hard not to be bothered by this on an intimately personal level, too, considering mom had for so long treated me like his premature reincarnation.

If there was a message for me in his story, it was clear as fucking day:

This is what could happen. You cannot let this happen. You cannot leave your sisters the kind of stressful fucking mess that your uncle left your mother. Clean your apartment. Pay your bills. Delete your porn, or at least hide it better. Try to get your shit in order, not so as to be someone else but so as to be yourself, and get on the right path lest you deteriorate the way Fred ultimately did.

What the fuck is the right path, though? I mean, where exactly did it all go wrong with him? Where did his life narrative go off the fucking rails and end in delusion and death? Fred had freedom, intelligence and money — all shit that I’m rather shy on — and yet it didn’t make him happy. Didn’t put a dent in his machine of misery.

The following day, my father messaged me. Evidently, Fred had told Mom that he wanted to sell his two houses (in reality, he only has one) and buy a house near the water so he could go fishing. The last time my father had spoken with Fred he’d explained how he’d love to be by a river right now, fishing.

Then, on the very morning he passed away, I go kayaking on a lake, which I haven’t done in years, and fish, which I haven’t done in far longer, and I catch a five pound bass. He couldn’t help but wonder if Fred was channeling me.

Maybe Fred hitched a ride with Moe and I, finally living up his real retirement.

I truly hope so.

Politics & a Possessed Population.

Fighting fire with fire, becoming the percieved enemy in order to defeat them, doing onto others what they have unjustifiably done onto you — it is the very definition of hypocrisy. It impies not that you think what they’re doing is wrong, but that you pnly think it’s wrong when done to you specifically — and that only makes you selfish.

If sexism is wrong, it shouldn’t matter what sex is doing it. If racism is wrong, it doesn’t matter what race is doing it.

Its as simple as that.

If you whine about kids getting participation trophies in school for games they didn’t win, realize that Confederate statues are just really big participation trophies for a war you fucking lost.

If you need to run away to a safe space when something someone says “triggers” you, think twice before you point your finger at those who want to build a big, dumb wall to beef up their illusions of a nationwide “safe space” because immigrants trigger them.

If you believe in a patriarchy and that men are inherently toxic and oppress women, who should now lead the way for the species and push down the dong-bearing, at the very least don’t pretend that you’re fighting for equality. Be self aware. You’re a sexist, plain and simple.

The aim should be empathy and fairness and respect for individual liberty. And if you fight, you fight on that basis and don’t sacrifice your fucking principals.

Anything less and your percieved enemy has won the war by means of something akin to spirit possession. And given the state of the political climate, I’d say we, as a population, are largely possessed.

D.O.C.

When Claire asked me to go down to Iowa to see her, I was instantly terrified. I’d never flown in a plane before. Never taken a trip out of state alone. And how awkward would it be? I was awkward as fuck when she visited this last summer and I’d seen her two days that were days apart. How much more uncomfortable might a whole week of being around her in a place entirely unfamiliar to me be?

The anxiety was immobilizing. The automatic thoughts were putting in overtime. I kept telling myself, I have to. I have to do this.

So I planned on asking for the vacation time. Before I got to that point — and yes, I was putting it off — I see on Facebook that she’s now in a relationship with a guy she never once mentioned to me despite the frequent texting as of late. Stranger still, I wasn’t so much angry and jealous as I was embarrassed.

Though I’d been ignoring it, the realization had been creeping up on me that she doesn’t care about me the way I care about her. So often she has vented to me via text, and I never did. Until recently. Just once. And she texted back some time later and was polite about it. I’d apologized for the venting and she said I could vent to her whenever I needed to, which again, was a nice thing for her to say, but I could feel the deception. She really didn’t care. I stopped a moment to truly question the bond I always felt we shared. All this time, has it not been that she loves me, at least not in some romantic way, but that she loves the fact that I love her?

In any case, I’ve been blind to the fact that this is one-sided. Which sort of makes sense. She never seemed to get involved with a guy that actually knew her, and that never made sense to me — and I’ve come to accept it doesn’t have to. She never seemed too interested in probing my depths as I did hers, either, and perhaps it was selfish for me to be hurt by that. It is what it is and I’ve been neglecting to see it.

So I decided it was high time to just let go. Fuck it. Stick a fork in it. Her and I? It’s simply not going to happen and I’m tired of the fucked up fairy tale I keep telling myself that eventually it will. After all, wasn’t it I who used to critique her for chasing after a fairy tale that was simply incompatible with objective reality? And here I was. Here I had been for over two decades.

This was my epic hypocrisy.

Since I met her, thoughts of her, dreams of her have been my drug of choice. I was addicted to an illusion and it was time to bear the withdrawal and just get over it.

I was never going to be what she needed. She was never going to be what I needed. Fuck, I’m still not entirely certain I know what I need. It’s more akin to a process of elimination when it comes to me. And so another one bites the dust.

I still hope the best for her and still consider her a friend, of course, though I must admist I am perplexed a bit as to why she didn’t tell me, as she’s told me some incredibly private things over the years. Maybe she thought it would hurt me or maybe she just didn’t feel it needed to be said.

Whichever. Whatever. In any case, it’s none of my fucking business.

I am glad it happened, though; I prefer being aware as opposed to being in denial or being delusional, and I do believe that was where I had been before this realization.

For a short time afterward, it was as if I were riding a high. As a friend of mine put it, it was as if I had given away my power to her and had now gotten it back. I felt calmer, more controlled. I had this boost of mental energy. The anxiety went down, my depression lifted.

Or was it coincidence? After all, I’d been trying to lay off the booze again. I’d also started taking CBD in the hopes that it might alleviate the depression and anxiety, and it did seem to be helping. So all of that may have been a factor as well.

I don’t think I’ll ever get married, as I enjoy my isolation too much, and that never works out in a relationship, or so it has been my experience. Even getting into another relationship after — what has it been? A decade and a half? — seems inconceivable, and for precisely the same reasons.

If there was any girlfriend of mine that I should have stayed with, any relationship that actually held promise, it was Anne. That was something that struck me shortly thereafter. She was intense, intelligent, responsible, incredibly sexual, knew how to make her way in the world, and I do believe that she was the only one who honestly loved me. She just concluded, much as I now have with respect to Claire, that I didn’t care for her the same way she cared for me.

Was that true? I was so hung up on Kate, another ex-girlfriend, at the time that I couldn’t even say. And when Anne and I had had a chance years earlier, I was hung up on Claire. Both Claire and Kate were Virgos from California, had tattoos of the sun, moon and stars on their body — and both obscured any hope Anne had of really reaching me. It was like a ghost taking on alternate manifestations that always stood between her and I.

Shit happens. What goes around, comes around. So it goes, I suppose.

It’s been eight years, so as shallow as it sounds, I do hope I get laid again before I shed my mortal coil, but I’m not holding my breath. But my naive hopes for the perfect and longlasting intimate relationship is all but dead in me.

I feel like I’m at a point in my life where certain possibilities are falling away — and though it initially might seem otherwise, I’m quickly convinced that it’s not entirely a bad thing. Closing the book on particular potentialities, tying up loose ends, it’s like decluttering your life. And focusing on changing what you can, accepting what you can’t be and just letting go: it’s actually quite liberating.

Waves of Man-Hate and Fears of Intimacy.

During work, I’d gone out into the dining room and passed by a table where the wife of one of the managers sat solemnly, head down, lost in her phone. I knew a day or two before that the family had to put down their dog, who they’d had for under a year and who had been very sick for most of the time they’d had her. As I walked passed, I said that I’d heard, and that I was sorry, and as I did so I instinctively touched her arm with my fingers. It was meant as a comforting touch and for all I know that was also how she’d interpreted it, but for the remainder of the day that moment constantly came back to me, sort of haunting me as it played over and over in my head as I worried that I’d intruded on her personal space by touching her and left her feeling violated in some way, which could only have elevated or further aggravated the suffering she was already going through.

At the same time, I realized how absurd this worrying train of thought was. Even so, you can’t be too careful anymore, as things have gotten so bloody absurd that such worrying trains of thought just might be justified.

In today’s culture, the man-hate is strong. It’s surged again lately on Facebook due to the whole heartbeat bill here in Ohio. Men want to control the bodies of women, say the memes, and some begin there and run down the list. Men have held us back, raped us, and so on.

It finally hit the peak in my mind yesterday. To the point that I can’t help throwing my fucking hat into the ring.

Look, I happen to be passionately pro-choice. I also have a penis, and know of others bearing that same kind of appendage who are also pro-choice, so no, not all men feel they have the right to control the bodies of women. I also know women who are anti-abortion, so there are also some women that want to control the bodies of all women. So the man-hate? It isn’t justified. You’re framing it wrong. You’re manipulating facts so that they fit the man-hate narrative. Just fucking stop it. Don’t alienate men who are on your side and ignore the many women who are not.

By written word, spoken word, protests, you should certainly speak out against unjust mindsets, laws, policies, behaviors, and groups of people defined by the ideas and ideals they embrace, particularly when they impose upon your rights — not by groups of people defined by their skin color, genitals, sexual persuasion or country of birth.

It’s a war of ideas, as Sam Harris has explained another issue.

It was the same thing when the #metoo movement amped up, with some loud voices damning men as a whole for being prejudiced towards women as a whole, as if they were trying to cure sexism with — well, sexism. News flash: Two wrongs don’t make a right and you don’t defeat an enemy by becoming them.

Aside from that: you’re just plain wrong.

Not all men treat women like that. Stop being so absolutist. And while we’re on the subject, stop throwing everything into the category of sexual assault. Making someone feel uncomfortable because you verbally came onto them like a naive jackass is not at all equivalent to forcably inserting your part into her hole.

And stop pretending like we should accept accusation without investigation, too — that to doubt an accusation makes one “a part of the problem.” Blind faith is never a good idea.

And by the way: men? They get raped, too.

Again, this makes me glad I’m not in the dating scene. That I’ve given up hope of so much as getting laid ever again. I was anxiety prone before all of this, terrified of approaching a girl or making a move as I might make them feel uncomfortable or violated. Today’s climate has only delivered seeming justification to what many had formerly dismissed as ridiculous paranoia on my part.

In Bad Company.

As stupid as we all too often seem to be as a civilization — particularly when you try and take the wide-angle lens, third person perspective — perhaps our path of self-destruction is not an uncommon one.

I remember hearing once that “intelligence is a failed mutation,” but I’ve come to disagree. There may be species infinitely far more intelligent than ourselves who aren’t in the appropriate environment and/or have failed to evolve the bodies necessary to manipulate their environment so as to develop a high-tech civilization. Dolphins or octopuses that developed on an ocean planet would have neither the right bodies or the right environment, for instance.

Perhaps when an intelligent species is in the appropriate environment and has evolved the biological technology necessary to manipulate the environment and build artificial high technology, however, they have a damned good chance of engaging in species suicide and potentially bringing most life on their home planet down with them. So perhaps one of the reasons for the Great Silence in the cosmos is that the Great Filter is ahead of us — that advanced, technological civilizations may be relatively common but have the tendency to kill their planet and therefore their high civilization before they migrate to space.

This might be inevitable, for instance, if such a civilization needs fossil fuels to achieve our heights of civilization and beyond. If so, perhaps all such civilizations also need to change course before the damage is irreversible and civilization collapses — and maybe intelligent species just aren’t that likely to change course. If they can migrate to space and become an interplanetary civilization, perhaps that helps to some degree, but unless those factions of the species are self-sufficient and need not rely on the home planet to sustain their existence, it wouldn’t help much at all.

And maybe climate change and ecological destruction isn’t the only element we share with fallen global civilizations across the universe. Maybe the kind of political divide we’re presently experiencing in the US and the general disagreement on what constitutes truth is not unique to this time, place and species but is instead a recurring theme across life-bearing worlds that have developed intelligent and capable creatures.

It’s a thought that’s been plaguing me lately, and it certainly doesn’t make me feel any better about our curcumstances.

In more ways that one, we may not be alone.

UBI’s Survival Advantage.

Imagine there are two groups of hunter-gatherers, each of which move around within a fixed territory in accordance with the seasons, just as our species appears to have done for most of it’s history.

The philosophy of the first group goes as follows: if one member makes a kill, they get the largest portion, but the rest of the group members get equal portions. This ensures that the hunter be rewarded and that the rest of the members don’t starve. This also ensures that all members of the group will have sufficient energy to attempt a kill the next day. It also ensures that when another member of the group makes a kill, the same will occur — the successful hunter today, if he is unsuccessful tomorrow, will not starve, either. It will also maintain services other than hunting, as members of the group that may honesty suck at hunting but can create weapons to help the hunt or facilitate forms of leisure or other services that are enjoyed between the hunts are also provided an equal portion of food and so have the resources they need to keep providing those services to the group. All individuals can develop their talents due to the cooperation and acknowledged interdependence of the group members.

Imagine now that a different group exists with a different philosophy: the one who makes the kill eats it and the other members of the group get nothing and go hungry, at least for the day. Going without food, however, they may not have sufficient energy to hunt so well the following day, or to provide any other services to the group, for that matter. This serves no one, even the successful hunter of yesterday, as starving individuals in the group may gang up on the successful hunter. If they have the energy, that is. And if they don’t, or even begin dying due to starvation, the group that as a whole once gave all members safety in numbers, the portion of the group that provided services other than hunting as well as the portion of the group that would assist in the hunt despite not making the kill — they will no longer be able to provide the cooperative support. In either case, the successful hunter may initially shine bright, enjoying one or even several kills, but his success will burn out fast. The support system that he had took for granted would be ripped out from under him because he didn’t want to share the resource — the food — he saw as his own. He failed to recognize how he benefited from the group. He didn’t want to be forced by the group to give “hand outs.” And now, due to that greed, he suffers with the rest.

Which group would you want to be a part of? Which group is sustainable? Which system appears rational and which appears suicidal?

About an Archetypal Girl.

It’s a traditional story. An archetypal story, and I’ve encountered manifestations of it twice this week.

Girl meets boy. They get in a relationship. Boy abuses girl. Girl makes excuses for him and for maintaining the relationship, such as that she’s afraid he’ll abuse her even more if she tries to leave — but this later reveals itself to be merely a justification, an empty one, because:

Girl finally escapes boy. And then girl goes back to boy.

Is this an existential continuity error? A glitch in the goddamned matrix?

Repepitition breeds familiarity, offering comfort through it’s predictability and, in some cases, the illusion of control. This is why certain people gravitate towards abusive relationships: they were in that kind of relationship with their caregivers, it was all they ever knew, and the familiarity and predictability of those patterns in a relationship offer some false sense of security.

It’s like the relationship equivalent of having that annoying but catchy song stuck in your head, playing on repeat, stuck on a loop no matter how much you try to banish it.

So I get that much. Or at least, I think I do.

Other people, so far as I can tell, have not had an abusive childhood, however, and yet still get stuck in abusive relationships. I’m still perplexed as to how those patterns get started.

In any case, we have AA, NA, even SA. They even have support groups for alien abducteee. Can’t we have a similar group for people in an addictive relationship with a total asshole?

His Lies.

It doesn’t matter if you chant it mantra-style and it doesn’t make a lick of difference how bloody confident you are as you say it.

It doesn’t matter if you rally up the biggest crowd in the world, a troop of hopelessly-entranced apes who believe it with a fervor typically reserved for the religious and echo your cherished falsehoods along with you like a chorus of willing zombies.

Faith doesn’t dictate the nature of objective reality and you can’t reach the truth by means of popular vote. And alternative facts, by their very nature, apply exclusively to their corresponding alternative realities — not this one.

You, dear sir, are a narrow-minded, ego-obsessed, chronic liar. And I hope to see you pay the consequences.