• The Sense of Vision

    By Robert Deford

    (Excerpts from The Sense of Vision) "The Sense of Vision is a book I am writing. I hope you enjoy reading it and find it useful. I hope to have the completed book published and distributed by a conventional book publisher at a later date."


    Change equals effort applied across time

    I do not know of any way to get around this principle. I wish I did. Such knowledge would have made my life much easier. You see, among many other things, it governs all human attempts at self improvement. It certainly applies to how much you can accomplish by reading a book. I've read a lot of books, just as you have. We both know what I am talking about. Reading books has not put us where we want to be. Something is missing. But until I discovered this principle for myself, and saw how it applied to me, I did not understand what that something was. Now I do.

    Let's think about it for a moment. Reading a book from cover to cover is really a pretty small effort. And, according to the principle, a small effort will result in little change. Also, it isn't going to take a long time to read it. Again, according to the principle, spending a short amount of time will result in little change. As a result, if all you do is read this book, or any other book for that matter, the change in you will be small.

    But you can do more than simply read this book rapidly from cover to cover. Instead, you can study the material it contains. You can read it slowly and let it sink in. You can do the exercises it recommends until you develop some skill. And, finally, you can apply that skill over a period of time. In exact measure to your effort, and the time you spend, your sense of Vision will develop. Then, when you begin to use your sense of Vision, you will advance along the path that leads to becoming your own unique, ultimate self. Again, how much, and how long you use your sense of Vision will determine how much you advance.

    How long will it take to develop your sense of Vision? I have been developing my sense of Vision now for over thirty years. While I can claim some small successes, enough to write this book, I am still not finished with my effort. But I began with zero talent, and I did not have a book like this one to guide my efforts. It is my most profound hope and prayer that this book will make the process easier and shorter for you.

    You would not have read this far if you did not have the primary requirement to success -- an interest in advancing yourself. So, given that qualification, and judging by the few people I know who have actually developed their sense of Vision, I believe it will be about one year before you achieve results that are obvious to you. And it will take about five years before the change in you has advanced to the point where ordinary people will recognize your achievement.

    Here is how I recommend you proceed. Begin by reading the first four chapters in this book in one setting. (Author's note: I have provided these four chapters here on the Internet.) You should set aside about an hour of uninterrupted time for this task. It may not take you an hour to read the chapters if you go as fast as you can, but it is good to get into the habit of setting aside quiet time for yourself. If you finish before the hour is up, sit quietly and let your mind explore the material.

    Chapter one will tell you about the sense of Vision. It will explain what the sense of Vision is and tells you how it is related to your other five senses. Also, it will provide you with a unique classification system that will help you understand both your own visions and those of others. Chapters two, three, and four are some of my own visions. They are the kinds of visions you will begin perceiving once you have cultivated your sense of Vision.

    As you read through each of these three chapters you'll feel the stirrings of a special kind of energy within yourself. Thoughts will lead to other thoughts. Let this process happen, giving it time to play itself out. It is all part of the unique journey you are making down the path of your own personal evolution.

    Once you have finished reading chapter four, I recommend that you take a break. Take time to think about what you have learned, both from the book and from your own thoughts. Let these new things settle in your mind and become comfortable. If you do not already have one, now is a good time to start a journal. But, do not let anyone read it. I do not recommend that you share your expanding world with others just yet. Cultivating the sense of Vision is a very personal thing. It is a fragile flower you are growing within yourself. The touch of others, even when well intended, can cause damage in the tender early stages of growth.

    Your break can be as long as you feel is right. One night, one day, a week, any length is fine, but a month is probably too long. When it is over, go to the last chapter in the book. (Author's note: This last chapter is not ready to be shown on the Internet yet. Sorry, perhaps later.) This chapter tells you how to cultivate your sense of Vision. It contains theory, instruction, and practice exercises. It concludes with the Blank Slate meditation, the most powerful meditative technique I know of.

    Work your way through this chapter slowly. Try the exercises and practice the techniques. You'll be on what may seem like a strange learning curve. Early results will come quickly, but then you'll have to suffer through periods of no progress or even negative progress. Some mystics believe that these lulls are tests or gates designed to weed out those who are "not worthy" or are "lacking" in some way. I do not agree. After all, anyone learning to play a sport, or a music instrument, or anything else of value in an inward directed life, will experience this same learning curve. It is just that the sense of Vision is more intangible, more difficult to measure, and more difficult to hang onto than any physical-world skill.

    Just don't give up. Obey that restless urge, that dissatisfaction with the ordinary way of life, that led you to begin reading this book in the first place. Each time you are tempted to quit, read another vision from the visions left in the center of this book. Each one contains a bit of inspirational fuel to help keep you going a while longer. Someday you'll be writing your own visions down and you'll begin sharing them with others. The coming of that day is my purpose in writing this book. I thank you in advance.

    Chapter 1

    What is the Sense of Vision?

    Most of us, when we bother to think of it at all, think of ourselves as separate from our bodies. The body, in this point of view, is nothing more than a vehicle for the consciousness. In the same way we sit inside an automobile pulling levers, pressing pedals, and turning a wheel to go someplace, we sit inside a body, moving legs and arms, eating food, and breathing to go through life. Just as we look out through the front window of our car, we sit inside our head and look out through our eyes. In fact, if you take a moment to consider it, you will feel yourself as a small ball of consciousness, about the size of a golf ball, centered within your skull, about an inch in back of your eyes.

    We adopt this perch because our eyes provide the majority of our perceptions about the physical world we live in. It is not a bad place to sit. In order to be successful in that physical world, we have to pay constant attention to it. We cannot afford to miss very much of what is going on out there. However, even though we spend most our time perched behind our eyes, we do receive input about the physical world from our other physical-world senses. In rough order of use and importance they are: hearing, touch, smell, and taste.

    Understanding the effect this hierarchy has on our consciousness is important to understanding the nature of the inner world. Think back to the last time you sat down devoted time to just listening to something that was purely sound. Perhaps it was the morning song of birds, or maybe it was music. In all likelihood, in order to listen better, you closed your eyes. Then, with sight cut off, you could turn your attention to the perceptions from your ears. Perhaps you didn't notice it, but the seat of your consciousness moved. It moved backwards from its normal perch behind your eyes to become centered between your ears. As you'll see later on, with practice, it is possible to move the position of your consciousness to various points within your body, just by ignoring one set of perceptions from the outer world and paying attention to another. But, this focusing of attention takes practice. Now suppose that you possessed other senses, senses beyond the sense sight, hearing, touch, smell, and taste. You'd think that the existence of such senses would be common knowledge, but you would be wrong.

    You see, survival in the physical world is difficult, especially back in man's early history. Back then, we humans used to exercise other senses besides the five physical-world senses. But, increasing numbers of us began to pay more and more attention to the five physical world senses. Our power over the physical world increased, and we became more successful in that realm. But there was a tradeoff to acquiring this power. As we got progressively better and better at focusing our attention on the five physical world senses, we became less and less proficient at focusing our attention on the other senses. Slowly but surely, this selective focusing of attention on the physical-world senses became instinctual. Now, as modern men and women, we are stuck with this instinct to the point where we see the use of the five physical world senses as natural and easy. And, conversely, we see the use of senses that do not perceive the physical world, such as the sense of Vision, as unnatural and difficult.

    By now, you are probably wondering what it is you perceive with your sense of Vision if it is not the physical world. To put it simply, the sense of Vision allows you to perceive a portion of that greater reality of which the physical world is but a small part. One way to think about this concept is to imagine a huge soap bubble. In this analogy, the physical world corresponds to the solid soap film that makes up the surface of the bubble. However, the greater reality corresponds to both the soap film and the vastly greater interior of the bubble. To the extent you limit yourself to what you can perceive with your five physical-world senses, you are confined to living your life on the surface of the bubble, unaware of the vast reality inside. But, when you use your sense of Vision, you can journey inward to explore the non-material realms within it.

    Even though the vast majority of people can no longer perceive anything but the physical world, there has always be few people who can see portions of this greater reality. We refer to these people as Mystics. To the Mystic, the sense of Vision is a very wonderful, some would say powerful, tool. Why powerful? Well, when you stop to think about it, you'll realize that each of the world's major religions have been founded on the visions of a great Mystic.

    This greater reality is as real as the physical world. Those people who can perceive it all seem to acquire a common set of beliefs about its nature. These beliefs, colored by various cultures, and influenced by the range and depth of the Mystics sense of Vision, have greatly affected the course of human history. By undertaking the development of your own sense of Vision, you are joining a very influential company of people. But your task will not be easy. Cultural conditioning, the distractions of earning a living, your lack of appropriate instincts, and many other obstacles will have to be overcome. To make matters worse, some of these obstacles are so subtle that you will not even recognize them as obstacles. For example, one of the greatest obstacles I had to overcome was a bit of common knowledge from my cultural heritage, a preconception if you will.

    You see, I thought I knew what a what a vision was. I'd heard about them and read about them all my life. The word was easily within the vocabulary of everyone I knew. Ask any of them, they would all rattle off a definition that went something like this: Visions were very rare visitations by supernatural beings, or they were strange dreamlike disassociations from normal reality with a supernatural content. If you had visions, you were either an extremely religious person, or you were somehow in need of help from such a person. Also, pragmatic, normal people didn't have them. Well, I was a very spiritual person but I was normal, and fairly pragmatic. I studied and worked at various forms of meditations I thought would develop my sense of vision. Nothing. Or that is to say, nothing happened that fit my preconception of what visions were. Years went by. I gained knowledge and my spirituality grew. Some people thought I had acquired a measure of wisdom. If they mentioned it to me, I would deny it. Without a sense of Vision, I felt blind, unable to make real progress.

    Then one day, only a few years ago, I suddenly realized realized that while visions that fit my old definition were wonderful, they were merely one type of vision. There were may other types, all equally useful and valid. In fact, I had been having visions for years. Some of these visions appear in the pages of this book.

    Since that day, I have developed a useful classification scheme. In this scheme, I assign a vision to one of seven levels, based on certain characteristics. The table that follows offers a brief definition of these levels. Keep in mind that these levels do not imply relative value. A level one vision is just as valid, just as useful, just as wonderful as a level seven vision. The value of a vision depends totally on what you do with it, not on its level. You may find that you do not understand all of the material in the table because I didn't go into great detail and write long explanations. That's okay; just keep reading the book. You'll pick it up as you go along. I'd rather have you do that than make you sit through long explanations at this time.

    Level 0

    Ordinary perception and thought, in other words, no sense of Vision. The physical world as perceived by the five physical-world senses, combined with your memories, concepts, ideas, preconceptions, beliefs, and cultural conditioning.

    Level 1

    A specially energized daydream, or stream of thoughts, triggered by events in the physical world such as a beautiful view, a sunset, the starscape in the night sky, music, art, or exposure to high level ideas or concepts such as a passage in a holy book, a sermon, or a piece of poetry. The trigger can also come from your higher self. A sense of wonder differentiates it from ordinary perception and thought.

    Level 2

    A blending of perceptions of both the physical world and the greater reality. To our most ancient ancestors, this was their normal mode of perception. (Includes dowsing in its various forms, seeing auras, and possibly, seeing angels, saints, demons, fairies, unicorns, dragons, etc.)

    Level 3

    A communication or insight from your higher self (or beyond) that comes to you as you perceive a set of one or more events in the physical world. Frequently, you realize that there was a type of link, or a correspondence to your thoughts or prayers at the time.

    Level 4

    A dream that offers an insight or a truth. Frequently, these visions come to help us with situations in our waking life.

    Level 5

    A mystical dream that has great meaning to your personal evolution. It often has a guide of some sort in it, and it frequently has symbolic content. It often comes after you put significant effort into preparing for it to happen.

    Level 6

    A lucid dream where you are aware you are dreaming and you manage to partially break out of the dream world in order to directly perceive part of the greater reality.

    Level 7

    An out of body experience, unencumbered by dream baggage, where you directly perceive portions of the greater reality that range from the almost-physical world to the totally non-material realms. You are totally conscious and aware that you are not dreaming, but you are not perceiving the physical world. You can move about freely.

    Level 8

    An immediate projection of your point of consciousness into a totally non-material realm without going through an out of body experience. You are totally conscious and aware that you are not dreaming, but you are not perceiving the physical world. You can move about freely.

    Notice that I do not include channeling or possession of any kind in this classification scheme. I make this omission because these phenomenon do not have anything to do with the sense of Vision. Furthermore, I believe they are to be avoided and I do not want to encourage you to pursue them. I also do not include hunches and gut feelings because they do not come from the sense of Vision. However, there is nothing wrong with these perceptions and they can be quite useful.

    What is the value of the sense of Vision?

    The sense of Vision allows you to see and understand aspects of reality that are largely unknown in our culture. As one result, you will acquire a measure of wisdom not available to most of the people around you. As another result, you will begin to live a life of personal evolution that will allow you to realize your own unique potential. Slowly but surely you will develop an inner core of strength and power. On one hand this core will set you apart from most other people. But, on the other hand, it will make you into a uplifting force in their lives.

    Ultimately, you will acquire a unique wealth. This wealth will be based on who you are rather than what possessions you have acquired. It will be based on positive relationships between yourself and other people, between yourself and the Earth, between yourself and the universe, between yourself and God, and between yourself and your own higher self. It is a wealth that can not be taken from you by other people or even death.

    When you reach this point, you will be living what I refer to as an inner directed life. I use this term to differentiate it from an outer directed life, where you are devoted to the acquisition and use of possessions. This does not mean to say that you will come to live a life devoid of all possessions. While you may well decide to live in a monk's cell and own nothing but a robe and a bowl, there is nothing that says you have to do so. It is sufficient for an inner directed life that you understand the concept of what is enough. As long as you know when you have enough, you will know when to stop looking outward into the physical world for your happiness and when to begin looking inward.

    Chapter 2

    Freely Given

    The day began as just another ordinary day. There was no hint that a life- changing, level three vision was coming.

    We owned a house back then, on a small bit of acreage north of Seattle. It was one of those fall days you sometimes get in the Pacific Northwest when the sky is so clear and blue that it thrills you just to look at it. It was Saturday, about three in the afternoon; the day was warm for that time of year. I'd finished up my chores for the day and I'd decided to take a break. While I wasn't consciously thinking about it at the time, I had been wondering about a problem off and on for the last three or four weeks. The problem was a vague unease or dissatisfaction with the progress I was making lately in advancing myself as a human being. I couldn't put my finger on anything specific, but I sensed that I wasn't progressing or getting better. If you have ever felt this way, you know what I am talking about. I needed a breakthrough of some kind that would allow me to get moving again.

    Anyway, I walked out into a wild area on the property to a place I liked to visit. We had thinned the trees there, that, and the lack of leaves on the remaining trees and bushes let a lot of light in and I had a pretty good view of the forest. They had logged the land in that area some twenty years ago and left big stumps scattered here and there amongst the new growth. I sat down on some thick moss and leaned back against a stump. I was very comfortable. Soon the warmth of the day, the occasional bird call, and the more or less constant drone of flying insects lulled me into a reflective, meditative state. My eyes were open and I let lazily let my gaze linger on various objects in the forest directly ahead of me.

    Something unusual tugged at my mind, begging to be noticed. I found myself gazing on a huckleberry bush. It was growing on top of one of the stumps. What was it about that huckleberry bush? I realized that there was another one, a little further on, also growing on a stump. I stood up an looked around. I was filled with a peculiar mental energy that seemed to selectively sharpen my perception. I noticed that all the huckleberry bushes I could see in the immediate vicinity were growing on top of stumps.

    I walked over to the nearest one and looked it over carefully. It still held quite a few bright green leaves and its roots went to an inordinate amount of trouble to trace their way down the sides of the stump to reach the soil. I started walking around our property, looking at huckleberry bushes. I found that many grew side by side with other buses, in the ground. But a large number of them grew on top of stumps. Strange. I stood there scratching my head, wondering why.

    Then a small bird flew over my head to land in the huckleberry bush in front of me. It began frantically eating berries. Then, after a few moments, it flew a short distance to land on a the convenient flat surface of a stump. It did a little half squat, deposited a bird dropping, and flew away. I walked over to the stump. Sure enough, there were huckleberry seeds in the fresh dropping. I smiled. The mystery was solved.

    But wait a minute! My mind suddenly became activated at a new level, almost like a light went off inside my head. I went over to an apple tree we had on the property. I looked at the ground beneath the apple tree. There were a few old rotten apples on the ground, windfalls we hadn't gathered. I knew that the apple tree had been dropping apples on that ground for years. Yet, there were no little apple tree seedlings. I realized that there was something in the rotting fruit that prevented seedlings from sprouting. In a flash, I suddenly understood about the true nature of fruit. Before that moment I'd always assumed that trees encased their seeds in fruit to provide fertilizer for the seedlings. But no... I now understood that fruit was a bribe to animals. It was the tree's way of ensuring that its seeds would be carried far away, where they would not compete with the parent. Furthermore, it was the animal that provided the fertilizer, not the tree. I suddenly remembered something I'd seen on a trail while hiking in the mountains a few years ago. It was a bear dropping that consisted almost entirely of berry seeds. Confirmation.

    I stood there for a few moments marveling at the delightful complexity of the interrelated world I existed in. Then I found myself thinking these words: The fruit is freely given. I sought out my first stump again and sat down on the moss once more. The brightness remained in my mind. The memory of the bear dropping had triggered another memory, a story my uncle Al had told me many years ago. Uncle Al was a man's man. Fisherman, hunter, sportsman, he was robust and a little rough around the edges. He was not the type of person you'd expect to add anything to your spiritual insight. But this one story of his had lain dormant in my mind and was a crucial part of what my sense of Vision was revealing to me years later.

    Uncle Al, the story went, had gone bear hunting with two other men. They were successful and they had shot and killed a bear. The place where they had shot the bear was pretty far from where the had left their truck, but there was a logging road that passed nearby. After they had skinned the bear, the two men went off the bring the truck down the logging road so they wouldn't have carry the meat and hide so far. Uncle Al remained behind, with a bottle of whiskey, to keep an eye on their bear.

    After a while, uncle Al decided he need to relieve himself so he wandered off into the woods. He didn't want to stink up the place where he had to wait so he went quite a ways into the bushes. Perhaps it was the effects of the whisky, or maybe it was just the thickness of the brush, but on his way back to the bear he got a little turned around and had trouble finding his way back. Eventually however, he burst through the wall of shrubbery surrounding the place where they had left the bear, entering the clearing from a different direction than he had left it.

    He stood there shocked by what he saw. They had left the bear freshly skinned, sitting with its back up against a tree. From the angle which uncle Al now viewed it, it looked just like a naked, headless man, with hands and feet cut off. A shiver ran down his spine and he felt vaguely nauseated. He quit hunting bear that year, he told me. And eventually, he quit hunting altogether, preferring to fish instead.

    Again, as the I finished remembering the story I found myself thinking words: The flesh is not freely given.

    I went back up the house and sat around thinking things over. Like almost everyone who grows up in my culture, I was ignorant about how most of the world feeds itself. I had many misconceptions about the true nature of my body's nutritional needs. But I had a great advantage. I had the insight my sense of Vision had given me about the way the world was designed to work for people who were spiritually inclined.

    I did my homework, reading vegetarian literature and other dietary material to work out the basic foods in a vegetarian diet that was nutritionally sound and fit the insight. I am lucky that my wife and children thought this change wonderful and became vegetarians also. For the first two years, while I was studying and learning about being a vegetarian, we played it safe. While we gave up all meat, we still ate fish, milk products, and unfertilized eggs. But for the last six years now we have been a pure vegetarians or what is referred to as a vegans. (My son, the football player, still eats cheese, however.)

    Many people have asked me how I could stand to give up so much. But it does not feel that way to me. I have gained so much more than I have lost that I cannot even think about it in terms of giving something up. It seems that not a day can go by without validation. All of a sudden, it seems, I am finding out that my diet prevents heart disease, cancer, kidney problems, and a variety of other ailments. And, if followed by a significant number of people, it would lesson soil erosion, help prevent famine, restore the economies of some third world nations, halt the advance of deserts, and so on.

    Chapter 3


    This level two vision came without warning, catching me at a time when I was completely immersed in the pragmatic struggle to earn a living. I was a middle manager in a large corporation. My responsibilities included hiring people, evaluating their performance, setting their starting salaries, giving them pay raises, and even firing them at rare intervals. Serious business, all of it. And I had to conduct it in an atmosphere of stress and tension over a wide variety of problems, challenges, deadlines, and conflicts. It doesn't sound pleasant, I know, but I'd more or less come to see it all as normal. But, despite my adaptation to the situation, there was one area of conflict that troubled me more than the rest.

    This conflict centered on the way I had to conduct some of my primary duties as a manager. I didn't really give someone a particular starting salary, or a certain raise, or directly do anything that affected a person's salary. Instead, I had to recommend the action. My recommendation went to the Human Resource department for approval. Without that approval, I could do nothing.

    Normally, a manager's recommendations had a high probability of going through, provided he or she made recommendations that fit the standard company guidelines. My problem was that these guidelines were open to interpretation. I would interpret them one way, a way I felt was fair to the people reporting to me. But, in the Human Resource department, there was one person, call her Susan, that did not see things the way I did.

    There was frequent conflict. I would submit a recommendation for what I felt was right and fair. She would call me into her office and tell me why she wouldn't approve it. We would argue back and forth over the impasse. I ended up giving in, usually. After all, I had a department to run and I needed to get on with it. But, giving in took its toll on my spirit. Then, as luck would have it, I had a run of several weeks where I was in her office almost every other day. The conflict began to take its toil.

    I began to lose sleep at night. My meditations that had always rejuvenated me physically and spiritually became a thing of the past. Instead, I would lie there in bed arguing with Susan for hours at a time inside my mind. It was crazy; I never won.

    In the middle of this period, I spent a Saturday putting some sheet metal skirting around the base of our mobile home. I was working on an opening for the clothes dryer outlet when I managed to jam my hand into a sharp edge. There was a flash of pain and I pulled my hand back to see that I had neatly taken the skin off the top of the knuckle of my right thumb, down to the bone. The wound was not really bad, just a flap of skin about a half of an inch in diameter was gone. But it hurt badly.

    The next day was Sunday and I was wandering around with my bandaged thumb, feeling pretty sorry for myself. I had all my troubles with Susan, and I had a sore thumb too. But in the middle of feeling sorry for myself, I decided to meditate. I went to my favorite chair.

    It was not easy to get started. I was full of frustration over my work with Susan and the pain in my thumb throbbed in time to my heartbeat. I began to relax and turn my attention inwards. Thoughts of Susan were put aside for the moment. After a period of time I was completely relaxed, but wide awake and alert to inner events. My mind began to drift with an inner current and I became a silent, non-participating, observer of my inner world.

    The center of my consciousness expanded from behind my eyes and flowed into the rest of my body. Soon it felt like my body had dissolved and I became a humanoid-shaped mass of tingling sensation. This was something new for me. I felt excitement rising and deliberately ignored it, afraid that it would disrupt the rare meditative state I was in. The excitement died down to be replaced with a feeling of deep, calm observation.

    Then I became aware that I could "feel" the room around me. My imagination filled in details until I could almost see the room with my eyes closed, but the view was not limited what was in front of me. I could "see" the room behind me and on all sides at the same time. I have to stress that this was a very passive process. My personality was very "small" and I did not consciously direct any of this vision or try to make it into something that I could understand easily.

    The range of this new sight expanded and could see the other rooms too. Then, in rush, I realized that I could perceive the people too. My wife and children were there. I could sense them with a rich warmth and depth. I could even feel them moving around. Then I could feel the cars outside and, to a lessor extent, the entire two and half acres of land we we were living on. Then I found myself thinking these words: See... my body is larger then I knew. I must be aware of my connections.

    For a moment, I wondered what this thought could mean. Then, I realized that all my family and everything I owned was attached to me! In my inner eye, I saw these connections as thin strands of energy resembling spider web. Each strand originated from a particular spot on my body and traveled to the person or object. I could sense an energy flow between my body where the connection originated and these other things. Most of these flows were perceived to be light blue. They were cool and felt good.

    I notice that the energy flow was very slight for the inanimate objects like my car or truck, but strong between me and my family members. Everything I owned, loved, or worked with was connected to me. While in this special state of consciousness, these connections allowed me to perceive all of the things connected to me. A thought surfaced and I found myself thinking of one special connection. The thought became words: And what of Susan?

    This new thought sharpened my perception. I became aware that I was connected to more distant objects. Susan, my friends, people I'd just shook hands with, and even, very faintly, the people these people were connected to, were connected to me. I could sense Susan out there somewhere, moving and living. There was a hot, emotional, energy flow between us. Unlike most of the other connections, this one was a reddish orange. It felt hot and uncomfortable. With horror I saw that this connection originated from the center of the wound in my thumb. The pain in my thumb seemed to be an echo of the energy that was flowing between us.

    I had a new thought which became words: The extended body comes first; the physical body eventually duplicates the conditions there.

    This last thought was disturbing enough to end the meditative state. I sat there for awhile realizing that I had had an insight into a fundamental aspect of reality that I had never even suspected existed. Each of us has an extended body, made up of the people, animals, plants, and things that are a part of our lives. And, depending on the quality of those relationships, our extended body can be healthy or have problems. And problems in that extended body will eventually come to be realized in our physical body, either through illness or accidents.

    I saw everything clearly. I had formed a connection between Susan and myself, and I had set up a bad energy flow between us. Eventually, my physical body had come to reflect that bad connection by developing a wound at the site of the connection. I was frightened. This wound was not serious, but what would come next?

    The very next day I went to see Susan.

    "Listen," I said. "We are both just trying to do a good job for the company. We have to work together in harmony. Nothing else will be acceptable. I am willing to change my ways to make this happen."

    I invited her to lunch and we spent the hour talking to each other as one human being to another human being. I told her about my wife and kids and about my hopes and dreams. She told be much the same. No evil on either side, just two people trying to do a good professional job.

    We went back to work, filled with a new sense of compromise. We didn't argue anymore. Three days later, I removed my bandage and saw that my thumb had healed in record time, leaving no scar. A month later people were talking about how I lucky that I didn't have any problems with the Human Resource department.

    Chapter 4

    The Song of Eternity

    This level 4 vision came to me at a time when my life was going along well. I was meditating regularly, working hard at a job I enjoyed, and feeling free of financial pressures. I had been directing a lot of prayer towards acquiring wisdom, or at least some insight into the source of greater understanding. Questions such as exactly how does someone become wise, filled my mind. Could it be that wisdom is merely the result living life and accumulating experience? I wondered. But I knew of many people who were old. They all had plenty of experience, but they didn't seem extraordinarily wise. I knew it was not education. I knew a lot of highly educated people. Education did seem to help, but it seldom seemed to grant more than a small amount of wisdom. There must be something else, something beyond experience and education, a hidden key.

    I dwelt on the issue for a few months, getting nowhere. Then I met with an old friend of mine and we went camping up in the mountains. We spent two weeks camping, hiking, meditating, and talking late into each night. We had a lot in common and we were both seeking answers in our own way. We were isolated from the ordinary cares and struggles of life, surrounded by rugged natural beauty, and sleeping under the stars. We had man's most ancient tool, fire, as our frequent companion. During the night, its glowing embers inspired our thoughts and elevated our conversation. About ten days into the trip, I had a dream.

    I am in a fairly large room in an ordinary house of unknown size. The room is full of people of both sexes and various ages. They are all talking to each other in groups of anywhere from two to five people. I cannot see much beyond the few people and groups immediately surrounding me. The noise is such that I cannot make out individual conversations unless someone right next to me talks directly to me. I stand there for a few moments listing to the ocean of sound surrounding me. I have a thought that it is somewhat like listening to a river that is running and trickling over rocks. Lots of individual sounds, at different intensities and pitch, blending into a single sound that rises and falls according to some complex set of internal rules. I wonder what I am doing here.

    One man near me stops talking and turns towards me as I think this thought. He stares at me for moment, his face showing friendly concern. Then he nudges a man near him to get his attention. He holds his index finger to his lips in the universal sign of silence. That man nods his head and they both turn to the people next to them and repeat the process. Those people, in turn, repeat the process, and so on. The silence spreads outward. As the sound of talking dies down, I realize that there is a radio playing in the room. The noise is still such that I cannot hear it clearly, but there is something about the music from that radio that is extraordinary. Little pieces of the music find their way through the noise to tug at my attention. They cause my heart to catch and I suck in my breath at the wonder of what I hear. A voice inside my mind, my own thought, cries out: My God! Did you hear that? What is it?

    I make my way through the crowd towards the radio. I find it on a small table in the center of the room just as the last of the conversations dies. I can finally hear the music without interference. It captures my attention fully. The silent people, the room, the house, all fade away from my awareness. For the moment, nothing else exists except the music.

    This music is like no other music I have ever heard. It is incredibly complex and yet it is simple, all at the same time. As I listen I can hear all forms of music, classical, jazz, rock, drumming, and ethnic music from all cultures. They are all playing at the same time, yet each is distinct from the other. Somehow each fits into the spaces and gaps within the other.

    The music is powerful. It fills my mind with images and transports me from one scene to another. I hear babies shrieking their birth cries. I hear men dying in war. I hear couples making love. I hear muggers robbing their victims. I hear people celebrating at a feast. I hear people starving. On and on. Wherever I chose to listen within this music, I perceive something new. My mind is flooded with questions. How can this music be? What a marvel it is! How can I possibly be hearing so many things in it?

    For moment I tear my self away from listening to it. There is a man standing near me, the one who had originally started the silence. He is watching my face with a look of patience attention. I look at him. There are tears streaming down my face. There is an almost unbearable lump in my throat from the power of the music. I am unable to voice the rush of questions in my mind. I stare at him in mute appeal.

    He tells me: "It is the Song of Eternity, in which all things exist."

    Then the music, the people, and the room fade into silent darkness. I am awake. I am lying in a sleeping bag beneath the vault of the mountain sky. I gaze up at the stars trying desperately to hang onto the sound of the music. Something in the haze that is the Milky Way sparks a dim echo of it. My heart leaps, but is just an echo and I cannot hold on to it. I am filled with a yearning. It hurts and the lump in my throat takes a long time to go away. In the years that have passed since this dream, I have come to understand its meaning. The room full of talking people is my own mind, full of its hopes, dreams, worries, creative thoughts, memories, doubts, fears, and so on, each with its own voice. The man who starts the spread of silence is me trying to meditate. The radio, or rather hearing the Song of Eternity, is the end goal of all meditation.

    I realize that, even with my years of practice, I have never managed to achieve the perfect stillness required to hear the Song of Eternity clearly, without interference and distraction. But the little fragments of it that I occasionally manage to perceive, change me, spark my growth as a human being, and me a little wiser. In fact, I now know that unless you can hear the Song of Eternity within yourself, your years of experience and education, will not make you wise.

    Copyright 1995 Robert DeFord - Seattle, Washington, USA.

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