breakout:As I walked out of the Library into the back of the movie theater again, I looked up at the black ball hanging from the center of the ceiling with its bright lights streaming toward the wrap-around IMAX screens. Finally, I knew with certainty what the ball was. It was projecting the images of the 3D movies onto the screens, creating the holograms we are all part of, totally immersing us, making them appear to be our lives, our reality. In fact, Pribram said that black ball was a human brain – my human brain – and the movies it produced were not real at all. According to quantum physics, nothing is “real,” as we have always understood that word – not just the shadows on the wall of Plato’s Cave, but also the fire and the men on the walkway that produce the shadows, and the Cave itself as well. It’s all a hologram, popping in and out of existence as I observe it; and by definition, a hologram is not real. But all of this brought up a lot more questions than it answered…. ~ Who or what is creating the holographic movies I’m experiencing as my reality? ~ If the movies I’ve been watching and thinking were my life aren’t real (along with the movie theater itself), then what is real? ~ Why do the movies seem to contain so much drama and conflict and pain and suffering, both internal and external? ~ What does it all mean in the end? And perhaps even more importantly, in light of the discoveries in quantum physics, I had to rethink all my previous answers to the questions: ~ Who am I, really? ~ Where did I come from? ~ How did I get here? ~ What am I doing here? I stood there staring at the black ball hanging from the ceiling as if it would suddenly and magically speak and give me the answers I needed. * * I was about to turn sixty-two years of age, sitting in my apartment one day when I realized… ~ I had no job. I had responded to a few want ads that would have been perfect for me, but no one wanted to hire me. ~ I had no money and didn’t know how I was going to pay the next month’s rent. ~ I had no relationship, no one to love, no female who wanted to be part of my life in an intimate way. ~ I had two marriages, both of which failed after 15+ years because of my own issues.
breakout:Although I had a few close friends, none of them lived within a thousand miles of me at the time. ~ I had a wonderful family, including three fantastic grandchildren; but other than my daughter and her husband, I hardly got to see them. ~ I had written two books about AIDS and HIV no one was buying and apparently no one wanted to read. ~ I had no future plans, no idea how anything would change. …and I thought to myself, “My life couldn’t get any more….” The word I used, if I recall correctly, started with an “F.” But as I sat in the apartment that day taking stock of my life and realizing how limited it had become, I did not feel any depression, any regret, any sadness or loneliness at all. It wasn’t apathy or resignation, either. The “F” word was just a habit with no emotion behind it. Instead, it was a moment devoid of all judgment or resistance to my situation – a moment as if I were suspended in time and looking at myself from afar, a moment in which I completely surrendered to “what is” without any desire or need to change it. If I had any reaction at all, it was more like, “Oh. So that’s the way things are;” and what I felt the most was gratitude for still having a roof over my head and enough food to eat. * * When it wouldn’t speak to me, my eyes finally left the black ball and came to rest on the door at the back of the theater, the one with the sign saying, “Do Not Enter – Extremely Dangerous.” I knew the answers I wanted – I needed – were not going to be found inside the movie theater, or in any group, or in the Library. I knew my life had reached a turning point, perhaps like an alcoholic or drug addict who hits bottom and takes an honest and dispassionate look at his life. I knew I was tired of fighting, joining this group and then that one, trying to make things happen, working hard to make things go right, only to end up here. I had been there, done that, and brought home both the t-shirt and the hat, neither of which fit. I could feel something inside me literally pushing me toward that door, almost as if I had no other option. There was nothing left in the movie theater for me, so why should I stay when there was somewhere else to go I had never been, and staying here made no sense at all. It was with both fear and excitement that I walked toward the door, opened it, and went through. * * The rest of this book will be my written report to you as your “scout” of what I found on the other side of the door. At this point I want to repeat and expand on something I said in the Introduction. I am not writing this book to try to talk you into anything. I am merely passing on information I have discovered during my own journey. Whether you believe that information or not is none of my business or concern, and I am not interested in convincing you I am right. If at any time it sounds like I am arguing a point to try to get you to believe it, rest assured that is not the case. My only job, as I see it, is to try to pass on the information as clearly and completely as possible, and sometimes that isn’t easy. I will often go to great lengths to make sure I have expressed the information in a way you can at least understand what I am saying, whether you agree with it or not. I also promised you in the Introduction I would let you know when we reach the place in the book where you can only go on and not back. We’re there. Of course, you can keep reading the rest of the book out of pure curiosity, maintaining some distance, not getting too involved, never going through the door, not reading as if the book were about you and your own spiritual evolution. There’s no danger in that. Do whatever you want, and remember you can never do anything “wrong.” But I have to warn you, if you keep reading, the information is going to make its way into your mind and will stay there forever. You can do your best to ignore it and return to your life as a Human Adult inside the movie theater, but eventually it will begin to have its impact, maybe a little bit at a time. That’s fine, too. I suggest, however, if you really don’t want to let this affect your life in any way, you stop reading now, put the book down, and walk away. This book will always be there in the Library in the movie theater, if and when you decide you want to pick it up again. All but a few Human Adults spend the rest of their lives in the back of the movie theater belonging to some group; and they die there as well. Most have no idea there’s an alternative, so no one can blame them. Besides, the sign on the door says, “Do Not Enter,” and Human Adults have a tendency to respect authority. The sign also says, “Extremely Dangerous,” and most Human Adults are still controlled by their fears. But maybe you’re not one of them, and now you know there is an alternative. * * I want to give you as much information as I can for you to make a decision about how you want to proceed; and at this point I’m going to introduce a new metaphor, apparently a fairly common one…. “The complete metamorphosis of a butterfly has been used as a metaphor for eternal life, as the ‘earth-bound’ caterpillar transforms into the ‘ethereal butterfly’,” says the New World Encyclopedia.1 I said before that the Universe provides many hints and clues in plain sight for us to see and understand when we’re ready. The butterfly metamorphosis is one of them, so it doesn’t surprise me that various writers have picked up on it from time to time. Once again, however, their metaphor is wrong because it’s based on a faulty premise. The metaphor of metamorphosis has nothing to do with “eternal life.” It has everything to do with becoming a butterfly in the here and now. Let’s first understand that “metamorphosis” is actually the whole series of changes an insect undergoes from egg to adult. Metamorphosis commonly has four stages, which we can easily equate to our discussions about the movie theater… Stage One: The embryo or egg, i.e., the Human Child Stage Two: The larva, i.e., the Human Adult Stage Three: The pupa, i.e., what comes after “the door”
breakout:Stage Four: The adult or imago, i.e., the so-called “spiritually enlightened” What we’re talking about at the moment is going from Stage Two, a Human Adult, into Stage Three, the pupa. That’s precisely what happens if you walk through the door at the back of the theater. In insect metamorphosis, the pupa stage is when the caterpillar transforms into its adult form (the imago). “It is during the time of pupation that the adult structures of the insect are formed while the larval structures are broken down. Pupae are inactive, and usually sessile (not able to move about). They have a hard protective coating and often use camouflage to evade potential predators.”2 This “hard protective coating” takes different forms in different insects, but is most commonly known as a “cocoon.” Technically, most butterflies do not have a “cocoon.” Instead, they have a “chrysalis.” A “cocoon” is a silk casing spun by a caterpillar which totally encloses them during their transformation into a moth, for example. A “chrysalis” is created when a caterpillar that will become a butterfly sheds its outer layer of skin, leaving a hard shell hanging from a leaf or twig in which it is encased for the transformation. But I’m going to take some literary license here and from now on use the word “cocoon” rather than “chrysalis” in my butterfly metamorphosis metaphor. After all, it’s just a metaphor, and “cocoon” is a lot easier to type and pronounce, and much more commonly understood. So… if you decide to walk through the door in the back of the theater, you will be leaving Stage Two and entering Stage Three, stepping into a cocoon; and one of the reasons I like this metaphor so much is that there are many similarities between a caterpillar cocoon and what’s on the other side of the door. Here’s what you can expect, should you take this step…. A cocoon is small and confining and desolate and lonely and dark, and it means the death of the caterpillar; and that’s exactly where you will find yourself. Know right now that you will not be walking into the blinding white light of eternal bliss. Instead, things will look pretty much the same as they always have in the first few days; it will take you some time to realize just how different they are, as you begin what has been referred to (but ultimately misunderstood) by various religions inside the movie theater as the “dark night of the soul.”BREAKOUT: “’Dark night of the soul’ is used to describe a phase in a person’s spiritual life, marked by a sense of loneliness and desolation…. It is referenced by spiritual traditions throughout the world….. The term ‘dark night (of the soul)’ is used in Christianity for a spiritual crisis in a journey towards union with God…. Typically for a believer in the dark night of the soul, spiritual disciplines (such as prayer and consistent devotion to God) suddenly seem to lose all their experiential value; traditional prayer is extremely difficult and unrewarding for an extended period of time…. The individual may feel as though God has suddenly abandoned them or that his or her prayer life has collapsed…. Rather than resulting in devastation, however, the dark night is perceived by mystics and others to be a blessing in disguise, whereby the individual is stripped of the spiritual ecstasy associated with acts of virtue. Although the individual may for a time seem to outwardly decline in their practices of virtue, they in reality become more virtuous, as they are being virtuous less for the spiritual rewards obtained and more out of a true love for God.”3 Let’s just say in your cocoon on the other side of the door, you will experience situations that will challenge every single belief, theory, opinion, judgment, and attitude you ever had and held sacred; and none of your prior training in any spiritual philosophy or self-help technique will do you the slightest bit of good. For example, spiritual philosophies or self-help practices designed to alter your state of consciousness, such as meditation and breathing techniques and dream analysis, are the last thing you will want to do inside your cocoon, because you need to be in full and conscious control of all the faculties of your mind. (I’m not saying you will “think” your way into being a butterfly, but you’ll quickly learn that any technique or practice you may have learned in the back of the movie theater that involved closing your eyes was actually leading you in the exact opposite direction of where you wanted to go.BREAKOUT:Everything you will need to become a butterfly will appear right there in front of you, and you’ll want to be wide awake and fully focused on the here and now.) “Just hypothetically, what if you found out that in order to achieve the enlightenment you speak of, you had to reject all the teachings you’ve ever received. Could you abandon all this knowledge you’ve acquired?”4 How “dark” will this “dark night” be? That depends on you. All I can say right now is that the intensity of the “darkness” will depend on how resistant you are to letting go and dying, in the same way a caterpillar could make his transformation a living hell if he fought it inside the cocoon. What else can you expect if you walk through the door? To be totally alone. Every caterpillar has its own cocoon, and so will you. That doesn’t mean you have to disconnect from family or friends and go off in the woods somewhere by yourself, although some have; but your family and friends will not be able to help you, nor will they understand what you’re doing or why. Only those who have gone before you – the scouts – will have any idea what you’re going through, and contact with them only happens rarely while you’re in the cocoon. It means there will be no group to support or comfort you like there was in the back of the movie theater; you’re on your own. Will the movies you’ve been watching in the theater change? Not really, not that much in the beginning; but there is definitely a change in their purpose, from leading you into more limitation in the movie theater to giving you the opportunity to eventually break out of your cocoon as a butterfly. You’ll have to read the next part of this book to fully understand that concept. Perhaps the most disturbing prospect of walking through that door into your cocoon is your certain death. A caterpillar must “die” in order to transform into a butterfly. You, too, must die – that is, the “you” you think of as “you” must die. It is only through this death that you can discover who you really are. How long will you stay in the cocoon? “Pupation may be brief, for example 2 weeks as in monarch butterflies, or the pupa may enter dormancy or diapause until the appropriate season for the adult…. Pupation may last weeks, months or even years.”5 From reports of two other scouts and my own experience, I can say you will probably stay in the cocoon about two to three years. Not all that time will be the “darknight of the soul;” it gets easier as you get closer to the end. But you should be prepared
not to emerge as a butterfly any time soon, like next week or next year.
It all sounds like a lot of fun, doesn’t it? Actually, it is, or it can be once you get the
hang of it. (No pun intended… a chrysalis hangs from a leaf or… oh, never mind.)
But consider this… if you decide to climb Mount Everest, you should be prepared
for a lot of hard training and difficult conditions in order to reach the summit. If you want
to be an Olympic swimmer, there’s years of sacrificing a “normal” life and hours a day in
the pool and weight room just to try to qualify; and then there’s no guarantee of a medal.
I doubt any good coach or trainer would sugarcoat all the preparation you must go
through if you want to achieve such lofty goals. The same is true in this case.
On the other hand, no one attempts to climb Mount Everest or win Olympic Gold or
do anything challenging without knowing the end result is worth the effort. That would
truly be insane. In this case, what awaits you as a butterfly is constant and true and
abiding joy, abundance, power, and love. Well, maybe. I’m still in the last part of my
cocoon stage, so I won’t guarantee anything. What I can say from my current position is
that I am experiencing all the things I wished for and believed possible while still in the
movie theater as a Human Adult: true contentment, peace of mind, more abundance than
I could have imagined, total relief from worry and stress, more fun and excitement than I
ever dreamed of, with virtually no drama and conflict or pain and suffering, and much
more love and appreciation for myself and everyone else and the Universe as a whole.
Plus, I have the answers I needed to my questions; and perhaps more importantly, I
have no more doubts.
To me, that alone makes the journey worthwhile, and I’m not yet at the final
BREAKOUT:I found it amusing that in his Enlightenment Trilogy, Jed McKenna spent the entire
first book telling you all about what it’s like to be “spiritually enlightened,” painting a
very wonderful, accurate, and appealing picture. Then in Book Two, he made it very
clear how difficult and demanding it is to get there, using examples of Julie’s spiritual
autolysis and the travails of Captain Ahab in Moby Dick. But in Book Three Jed seems to
go to great lengths to try to convince you not to go there, but to stay in the movie theater
as a Human Adult.
BREAKOUT:“Who wants to be cast permanently adrift on a shoreless sea? Who wants to spend
the rest of their life tumbling through infinite space? No one, of course. What’s the point
of pointlessness? How can you want nothing?”
breakout:It’s true. So-called “spiritual enlightenment” is not at all what people have dreamed
it to be; and despite what some teachers and gurus have said, it is not something that
happens overnight in a blinding flash of light, or as the result of a special meditation
session where all of a sudden you commune with God. Getting there is extremely
difficult and demanding, but so is reaching the summit of Mt. Everest. Sure, you could
stay in Base Camp and enjoy the view and appreciate the beauty and have a fairly decent
life. Or you could climb to the top.
BREAKOUT:Why would anyone do that? Because it’s there, of course; and because you simply
cannot not do it. Because there’s something inside you that says you absolutely must go
through that door.
breakout:For some people the choice is clear and easy. What’s the point of staying inside the movie theater when you know it’s not real and the answers you’re seeking can’t be found there? For others, the choice can be really tough, especially for younger Human Adults (in chronological age) who have their entire lives ahead of them. I wonder whether it takes a certain amount of time spent in the movie theater before one is ready to consider another option. After all, there’s a lot of fun and enjoyment and pleasure to be found as a Human Adult – limited and restricted though it is – that someone in their twenties or thirties might not be so anxious to miss out on. The thought of leaving your group and ending up totally alone before getting to experience everything the Cave has to offer might not be that appealing. Of course, it’s also possible the younger ones don’t believe me that the answers they’re seeking can’t be found inside the theater. Perhaps they don’t want to believe me, having just joined a group they think can offer them the constant and true and abiding joy, abundance, power, and love they’re seeking, and want to give it a go. I’m all for it – give it all you’ve got for as long as you can. Nothing you do will be “wrong;” the door at the back of the theater will always be there. But I have often thought while writing this book that I could be talking almost exclusively to the Baby Boomers, the former Hippies now in their late 50’s and 60’s who have spent enough time in the back of the theater to fully appreciate its limitations and have virtually nothing to lose by going through the door. We’ll see. * * So, there it is. That’s everything I can think of to help you make your decision. The door is standing there right there in front of you, unlocked and ready for you to walk through it. (By the way, did I mention that once you walk through, it closes and locks behind you, and you can never change your mind?) As I said in the beginning, it’s your choice. * * MOVIE SUGGESTION: The Truman Show, starring Jim Carrey (1998)