And then I realize there's something that's been bothering me, and that something is there is nothing there.
--song written by the author's 7th chakra in a dream
Guides, guardian angels, soul parts, dream bodies, higher selves, other lives, role models, soul mates... the "soul retinue," as I call it, is a most distracting influence on what some of us ostentatiously and/or euphemistically call "the practice". This topic is about stepping outside the subjective zone while getting involved with hypothetically existing others, so there's some tendency to quibble with oneself about what approach to take and how seriously to take it, because we don't want to go to some foreign land in another universe and immediately piss off the natives. And worse, who's gonna advise us when we can't decide how to go about dealing with the first imaginary playmates we've had since childhood? Especially when the likelihood seems strong that they are only imaginary in someone else's mind?
In the process of unworlding, it's possible to merge with other lives, dream bodies, etc. and it's no longer so obvious where one should draw the line between oneself and another person. Here is how I make peace with the menagerie of related entities, whether they are all aspects of me or whatever, without having to truly make sense of it in terms of possessing Monroe's gold-plated "knowns" to replace what were once happily flexible opinions:
--There is only one soul, it is infinite awareness, and we are it.
--Everything is equally unreal.
--Don't drink the kool-aid.
Now that you know what to think, do, and say, let me serve up the kool-aid that is available from this fount of knowledge, and you can do what you want with it.
There are three kinds of hypnotherapist. One, the new age kind. Most of these are all about guided visualization and relaxation, incense and new age music, all of which just make me want to go home and be my own hypnotist without the annoying distractions. Next we have credentialed, professional, clinical hypnotherapists. The only one I ever spoke to was so rude to me on the phone that I dismissed this entire group as well. Possibly an overreaction on my part. The third group consists of Milton Erickson M.D., founder of the American Society of Clinical Hypnosis, who was probably the real "don Juan" of Carlos Castaneda. Erickson was in a class of his own, and no doubt there are others who belong to this class, but I don't know who they are, possibly because they don't need to advertise.
Assuming that such hypnotherapists actually still exist now that Erickson has passed on, the practitioners in this latter class are well aware that there is such a thing as the remote mind (my terminology) which is, among other things, a repository for everything we have ever experienced, accessible in perfect detail once you experience the relevant expanded state of awareness. That state is so far beyond what the conscious mind offers as "memory," it's not even worth comparing the two kinds of memory. The remote mind can also be tapped into during a competently accomplished self-hypnosis effort in such a way that the subject can experience the intuitive discovery of answers to problems that he could never hope to solve with his own conscious mind. The remote mind can speak in codes and riddles that only the most intuitive hypnotherapist would be able to interpret. One method suggested for accessing the remote mind in a self-hypnosis session, according to Erickson (but in my words), would be to look in a mirror and tell yourself to go away till the problem is solved. This can result in a hypnotic trance with full amnesia.
What about semi-related otherworldly stuff that highly professional, clinical hypnotherapists would not dare to mention openly, for fear of tainting their reputation?
I have experienced at least one undeniable instance of dreaming about the future and having it come true shortly thereafter. It only takes one event of this shocking accuracy to alter your beliefs permanently, though I have had a few other striking instances of premonitions, but normally I have no feel for ESP, I seem to be as immune to the stuff as any true skeptic, without meaning to be.
In general, things changed when I started looking for participation from outside of myself. This is the part where you want to open your mind slowly or suffer the whiplash of sudden religious fervor. This is the time to not drink the kool-aid. When you open the door to "the others" your sanity could fail along with your belief systems.
Getting back to "things I have seen." I have seen the aura of one human being, with precise and unsolicited independent confirmation. Later I found out the person whose aura I had seen was a psychic healer who had dissolved a friend's troublesome wisdom teeth. Not some stranger's wisdom teeth; my best friend's wisdom teeth. Someone who doesn't lie to me.
And then, one day in about 2004 I was on a long distance phone call to an old friend who patiently listened to me whine about no one responding to my ad seeking a roommate to share the rent. Then my friend was going on about how I should trust my guardian angel, blah blah blah. I listened politely since she was doing her best to be helpful, poor thing, and that's what I get for complaining: now I have to listen to advice from this psycho basket case, blah blah blah, and finally after making me promise one more time to turn it over to my guardian angel, she finally managed to say goodbye and hang up the phone.
I hung up the phone, and before I had taken my hand off it, the darn thing rang. It was a stranger answering my ad, who moved into my house the next day, always paid his rent on time, shared interests with me without being a pest or a bother, and helped me quit smoking cigarettes by making a speech less than six sentences long that he never had to repeat a second time. I had tried to quit for 25 years. I have not laughed about guardian angels since. Nor paid hypnotherapists.
Nor do I pray to people I can't see. I just can't, and what is it about being non-physical that should make someone more trustworthy than anyone else?
And yet, as the story goes, Robert Monroe had unworlded so many times that he was bored with it, when he turned over the subject matter of his journeys to some unknown guide whose presence he barely suspected, and the rest is literary history: two books that were the only books worth reading in the new age bookstores for so long that I stopped going into those places altogether. Bored no more.
And yet... I seem to have outgrown those books too.
Even Frank Kepple, who held new age foo-foo in considerably more contempt than I do, and had never meditated or done energy work... his guide was named Harath. Harry for short. Frank had started out skeptical, but later insisted that guides expand the scope of the unworlding practice immeasurably.
And yet... shortly before his disappearance, Frank started grumbling about whether he thought his guides were anything but aspects of himself.
The following glossary of imaginary and unimaginary playmates is not well researched, since I have recently cured myself of senility and thenceforth have wisely decided that I don't care what other people think about stuff that can't be proved anyway. Here are my opinions:
--Guides and guardian angels are supposed to be objectively separate from us, but my opinion is that each individual is separate from each other individual, so this is nothing special. No matter how advanced they seem compared to yours truly, they can always turn on me or give bad advice, and as a soul no one is more advanced than anyone else because we all share the same soul. While of course claiming I'd just misinterpreted their telepathic communication. But I have a guide named Mouse, for example, who inhabits secret places and thus knows me better than I know myself. I'm waiting for him to tell me his real name before I start taking him too seriously. Actually I think he might be my 7ness dream body; see below. As for the word "angels," most of what these dudes do for me, like turning off the electricity without warning to keep me from spending six more hours on the computer when I could be experiencing states of expanded awareness, is relatively annoying and obtrusive. That's probably why we'd rather think they are separate from us.
--Soul parts are aspects of the individual that bear certain identifiable traits, attitudes, and abilities. The ones who seem to get the most attention are those that have been repressed, cast aside, evicted, abused into silence, etc. These can become the subject of "soul retrieval" or "self soul retrieval" if you are inclined toward fiddling with your insides. Personally I consider all such entities to be 2-dimensional reflections which could be safely ignored if you would only just relax a bit and have more patience with yourself, and if you can't, then these soul partners could just be welcomed back effortlessly and nurtured part-time... if they behave themselves. The problem with getting obsessed with rescuing parts of yourself is that it's easy to become embroiled in self-improvement as a religious obligation. At which point your practice of trying to learn unworlding could become subverted into trying to figure out what's wrong with you that keeps you from being able to unworld. Pilgrim beware: unworlding does not have to be nigh on impossible. Why would you want to add unnecessary obstacles? This is a complex and controversial topic, so I've continued the discussion of soul parts, or aspects of the self, in a separate chapter.
--The "negs". Possibly the worst terminology ever thought up by the unworlding non-community. Anyone who's done any research knows that the negative entities that sometimes appear in states of expanded awareness are your own fears and beliefs reflecting your expectations of them. Once I was attacked by a beautiful actress after she suggested I make love to her. I saw a blemish on her skin and this triggered something in me that turned the woman into a huge hideous monster that tried to eat my soul. I fought valiantly, but when I spontaneously, sincerely, and fervently wished that I could help her, she turned back into herself. The plotline changed and she showed me her invention, which, when I paid close attention to it, ushered me into a full-blown experience of transcendent lucidity. The negs are not to be feared; only fear makes them temporarily seem real. We have nothing to offer them by playing their silly games. The only thing the negs need from us is a better name.
--Dream bodies are pure harmonics, the overtones of awareness, the chakras. I have met these fellas--some of them girls and/or women--over and over in my dreams. For example, my duplex 4ness dreambody a.k.a. the "Dichotomous Duo" or more formally known as Nitpicker and Potwatcher. They are always dressed for work and have appeared as a pair of engineers, laborers, moving men, janitors, and librarians, not to mention Tweedledum and Tweedledee. My 5ness body, the dream usher, is called the Green Ripper. He shows up offering to take me someplace in a pure white vehicle, and his main job seems to be ushering me into the Nothing which is the door to everything. Fortunately for him, I don't carry a gun. I am a newbie, still automatically afraid of the Nothing for some reason. My 8ness body, corresponding to the 7th chakra or crown chakra, is called Limberluck. He is a mellow, street-dwelling fellow who takes nothing seriously and loves to show people how he can fly. For the body of 6ness, see below. In awakenings I often recall encounters with a dream body. Oftentimes the dream body was trying to get my attention with a kick to the head or something, resulting in awakening with a hypnagogic twitch or a jolt of the vibrations in a body part. Or else we might trade first person perspective back-and-forth between us.
--Higher self: mine is called Whirly. He appears as a cripple with amazing abilities; as men of unassuming authority who exude absolute silence; and as swirling images which are tunnels to the unknown. I used to call this guide Tiger, but I no longer have opinions about power animals since I grew up watching Mighty Mouse cartoons and eating white sugar for breakfast, not playing in the mud outside the medicine man's teepee chewing on scraps of dried buffalo hide, so why should I pretend I could ever be a shaman? The higher self or future self is composed of all seven overtones or chakras in a balanced state. Obviously a future self since I am not there yet, but nothing prevents a hypothetical future SuperMe from visiting the real me in experiences of expanded reality. This is also called the ninth harmonic or 9ness. It is a vehicle you can ride to total freedom and other transcendent states of being.
--Other lives: this is when you merge with a different individual and live all or part of their life from their point of view. The ability to merge with other individuals is so convincing--because you are truly merged and really see from their perspective--that the belief in reincarnation has grown up around it. Other lives also include simultaneous lives in this reality as well as other realities and parallel universes. I once lived the life of another person in a dream, more or less from start to finish. When you've had enough experiences like this, you tend not to want to use the word "dream" for experiences of expanded awareness, because you become painfully aware that other people belittle dreams and don't have any idea what they are.
--Role models: those people who blow us away with their amazing navigational abilities and then, since only the good die young, tend to get lost at sea while living on as an inspiring memory of opportunities lost. We wonder the rest of our lives what made them so much more amazing than us, and experiment naively with being just like them. My dead friends join me in experiences of expanded reality all the time. The ones who aren't worth having for role models, well they don't usually die young. That's how you tell them apart from the real thing. The only one of my dead friends who is no role model is the one who probably would be alive today if he had never met me.
--Soulmates: the one I meet in expanded states of awareness appears differently almost every time, as women of a variety of ages, and I pursue them diligently until the dream ends and I wake up next to my wife, who I used to think was my soulmate, till we both realized we weren't dreaming. The dream soulmate is the body of 6ness and usually appears as a member of the opposite sex, though sometimes I have to check before I start making out with "her". I call mine Cwahacoy, which stands for "crush who also has a crush on you". A downright rare thing in the real world, at least until they legalize polygamy and/or one-day divorce proceedings. We might call this our "female side" if we are male, and if we were somewhat more inclined to new age terminology. The "love yourself" crowd has yet to get through to me; I am more inclined to look forward passionately to the day I can manage to put up with myself.
A final reminder:
There is only one soul, it is infinite awareness, and we are it.
Everything is equally unreal.
Don't drink the kool-aid.
Be who you are.