Anyone who has followed me over the years knows things I post are sometimes odd, often controversial, and yeah, well even BORRRING, but always with some level of interest, or humor, or quite often, "Only you Frank." You can judge for yourself which of the above this piece represents.
I was raised in a Protestant Church, the Congregational Church in Manhasset on 25 A on Long Island. I went to Sunday School and Church with my mom and sister and Nana and Aunt Meam. My dad slept in on Sundays having more than his share of his hyper-religious family who had a habit of wiping one index finger over the top of the other index finger in his direction murmuring, "Shame...shame..." for some unexpected transgression. His aunt Vera got married, but ran home to momma on their wedding night. He probably wanted to consummate the marriage but when he unzipped, she wagged that finger at him, "Shame...shame..." and that was it for the marriage. Anyway....
I attended church from age five to fifteen, then lapsed for a bit in high school, and gave it all up when I was off to college. Sleeping in or getting all dressed up in Sunday Clothes on a SUNDAY which happened to follow SATURDAY, just didn't work out for me. I treasure the lessons I learned about helping the needy and being kind, following the golden rule, and probably qualify for being a "Good Christian" more than many who attend every Sunday Service only to lurch back to their evil ways for the rest of the week. So I may not be "religious" in the true sense of the word, but I am very spiritual. What follows will offend some, mystify others, and convince still others that my brain has been deep fried. You have been forewarned. What follows is the "truth" as I came to know it and completely captures my belief about what happens to us when the "lights go out." You know... when you become dead.
Now I owe a lot of my beliefs to the numerous excursions I took during the 1970's. For any among you who haven't figured it out, yes, I was a full-fledged rider on the astral plane. To quote John Kay of Steppenwolf, "Well I smoked a lot of grass, oh lord I popped a lotta pills." From 1968 through 1974 when I took my last "trip" I "smoked a lotta weed" and took trips through the universe courtesy of Mescaline, Psilocybin, and the mother of all psychedelic drugs, L...S...D. Lysergic Acid Diethylamide, aka Acid.
While there is no way to explain to someone who has not tripped what the experience is like...there's a Buddhist saying, "He who knows does not speak, he who speaks does not know," but I was never one to remain silent, so I do try to explain what it's like when all your senses are turned up past "10" to "50" and all that seems "real" becomes energy waves. Everything you "see" floats about like a kaleidoscope, carpets wave like a woodland pond, hard objects become soft to the touch, and your ears become channels for frequencies well beyond the human range. You also may experience sensory translation, an experience when the amygdala, the "switchboard in the brain" decides to have some fun and sends visual input to your auditory cortex so you hear light, or your auditory input to your visual cortex so you see sounds. Crank up "Whole Lotta Love" or "When the Gods Make Love" (Led Zeppelin and Jimi Hendrix respectively) on the stereo and you will be taken to the ends of the universe and back again.
But that is not what this post is about. While I never got to experience one of those "acid flashbacks" they warned us about (promised us...?) my brain's circuitry is very different than folks who never indulged. Every so often I can have a little "hello" from the universe. Just to let me know it's still out there. Last month I had one of the most pronounced experiences to date, and it told me a lot about where we go when we die. And no, I did not die, or rise above an operating table and look down on my body, no, it was just...trying to find the right word. A VISION. Here is what took place.
I was at my mom's on April 4th. I drove over to her home on the West Coast of Florida from Vero Beach, and we spent some time looking at photos I had taken on my trip to our birthplace, hers and mine, Flushing, Queens. I paid a visit to my grandfather's burial site, and where the ashes of my grandmother and aunt are buried and scattered respectively. I visited the burial place of my great grandfather and mother, the house we all lived in when I was born, my grandfather's place of business. We took a break for lunch and then I pulled a lounge chair across the pool deck to an open screen where my mom was reclining in her recliner. I wanted to get some sun and the warm Florida sunshine warmed my face and body as I laid back chatting with my mom. Until I fell asleep. That's when it came...the vision.
I was in a state of suspension, with no sense of my body, just a sense of floating in a visual field of the prettiest sky blue I had ever seen. I "looked" down and there was no "down" and neither was there an "up" or "left" or "right." It was just everywhere. The "Blue" (what I called it later) was deep and surrounding, and in its midst were darker blue bands, thin bands running across the Blue with bright emerald green jewel-like lights, and...and...they formed and melted and reformed in a kaleidoscope-like fashion. The most powerwerful aspect of this vision was this feeling of total peace and contentment. A consciousness yes, but one not seperate and apart from the environment but part of it, a "oneness" with it all.
I have no conception of how long I was there, because there was no sense of time or space other than the "Blue", but as I came back, the blue turned to a pretty red that was the sun shining through my pink eyelids. I came around and my mom asked me what day it was. And I said Thursday.