Scott Ware, Radiance Publisher and Editor-in-Chief
Recap: Despite having a brief supernatural experience, Alex wrote it off as unimportant and until his wife left him for someone spiritual. Extremely depressed, he lost his job and his home and decides that “getting enlightened” may help him get her back, so he decides to take action…
“How old were you when you awakened?”
“When I knew God for the first time?”
“When you knew you were God.”
“That sounds blasphemous.”
“To you, or those who told you that?”
“Does it matter?”
It wasn’t working.
Typical. Things never work out for me.
The “magic” mushrooms I took twenty minutes ago were supposed to rock my world. Show me things about myself. But here I lie, staring at the ceiling in a friend’s apartment with a dozen other people, feeling my stomach gurgle. Oh great, I better not have a problem there…
What a waste. It happens when I shop for clothes too, they never have my size. Restaurants? Always get my order wrong. Life is intent on making me suffer, apparently.
What was that?
What was what?
Hmm. Nothing, I guess. Am I talking to myself? I guess I am…
Okaaay, now I’m feeling something…
I looked up at the ceiling and saw a grid that hadn’t been there before. As I focused in, I saw that light–from where?—was filling in every crack, every stroke of paint. The painters missed a spot; a lot of spots in fact! Every detail was illuminated to me.
But then the paint lines started moving, splitting apart and making new patterns, like the interlocking mechanisms of a safe, for me to turn and open at will with my mind…
Okay, I’m high now. Or whatever they call it when you take mushrooms.
For some reason I closed my eyes, and that brought a new series of geometric shapes folding into themselves, then unfolding into complex bursts of color against a black background. It reminded me of those animated cartoons where the animators had obviously hit the psychedelics.
I opened my eyes and looked around. Some of the others had their blankets pulled over their heads, perhaps to experience the same crazy light show.
I laid back down and started laughing. It all felt reeeeally funny.
Was I disturbing the others? I put my hand over my mouth to try to stop. Oh my God, this was hysterical! It felt so good to laugh, like a release.
Then I felt myself getting sleepy and decided to take a nap. It felt right to do this, so I drifted off…
…and I was flying… over a beautiful wilderness at a high elevation, mountains all around. It was like drone footage that captures gorgeously impossible views…
But the movement wasn’t like that of a drone, but more of a natural up and down, looking quickly side to side, moving my wings…
I am the bird. And a big one…
A mountainside came into view. Halfway down, three baby eagles were straining for a meal in a crevice. “I” quickly swooped down and whatever was in one of my talons was quickly torn off by my other talon and stuffed down their beaks. I was repulsed by this and quickly blinked out into…
The darkened living room. I felt someone looking at me.
Sure enough, a woman was looking at me with amusement. She was wearing yoga pants with maze-like patterns on them and a sweatshirt that said “I’m Into Spiritual Shit.” Her curly hair was misshapen on one side of her head, obviously where she’d been sleeping.
“I didn’t make weird bird noises, did I?” I said.
She shook her head. “What did you see?”
I looked for the words, but none came.
“You don’t have to talk about it if you don’t want to.”
“It was crazy, and I’m trying to figure out the metaphors.”
“Metaphors? Have you considered it wasn’t a dream?” Her eyes seemed to be looking through my mind, going down old hallways, nudging open doors.
“You mean I actually left this room and was flying like a bald eagle in the mountains?”
“Perhaps you were seeing another life.”
“As a momma eagle feeding her kids? That was me?”
I sat with that for a few seconds. In my current state, a LOT suddenly seemed possible.
“Quantum physics, which is the scientific language of spirituality, has shown that everything is happening at the same time.”
“You mean the past, present-“
“And future, are all happening simultaneously. Time only exists in our minds, so there’s really no such thing as a past life. More like a concurrent life.”
“Yes, but concurrent life therapy doesn’t have the same ring.”
“So, you do know a little about this stuff.”
“Maybe I was just imagining it.”
“And maybe a thing can’t be imagined unless it exists somewhere.”
Was she mocking me, or just playing? I started feeling a lot of resistance in my chest. “I’ve written some pretty far out short stories that could not possibly exist elsewhere because they’re too crazy. They came from me, my imagination.”
“I don’t want to upset you. I know Mercury’s in retrograde and pushing a lot of people right now…”
“No, you’re fine.” I was still processing things.
She reached into her backpack and pulled out a metal water bottle and drank deeply from it. It was beat-up and looked like it had seen some adventures.
“Sometimes I get intensely curious, so just tell me to shut up if you need to.”
I laughed. “I’m a big boy, I can take it.”
Taking that as a cue, she propped up on one elbow, “I do some writing on the side too, so I get it. But let me ask you, haven’t you ever been so much in the flow that your writing just pours out of you, like a waterfall into a river?”
“Yes, of course.”
“That’s communion with Spirit! In God’s flow; surfing the Universal wave, all of that!”
“Yes, and I’m the one doing it.”
“But who are you, birdman?”
“Many things, apparently.”
She nodded, like I was finally getting it. “You’re vibing higher already.”
That, coupled with the fact that I hadn’t complained in the last ten minutes told me something new was occurring. It felt like a small weight had been lifted.
“You just ended an agreement with someone.”
“What, you’re psychic?”
“We’re all intuitive. Listen, some people are meant to stay longer in our lives, some shorter. When there’s nothing left to learn, it’s unnecessary to stay together.”
“She left me.”
“Ah. Then that’s your path.”
That didn’t feel good. My usual anger was coming back. Who did she think she was?
“I didn’t choose that,” I said, my words dripping with condescension and sarcasm, both bad habits of mine.
“You didn’t, but… it’s believed that before we incarnated, we mapped out how the broad strokes would be received.”
“But why would I choose so much pain?”
“Because you knew it would break through, so you could go to the next level of your evolution.”
“It’s been eight months and I’m sleeping in my car.”
“Tonight, you’re not.”
She reached over and squeezed my forearm. She was warmer than me, and it felt good on a myriad of levels. In fact, my whole body started to tingle.
And then I looked into this woman’s eyes and felt deep love.
Whoa, what the hell is that?! Love? Just because someone showed me a little kindness?
Yes. Love. Pure and deep, and I want to spend eternity with her. The only question is when should we start?
No! Jeez, was I that starved for authentic connection that I’d feel like I’d fallen in love?
We could drive or fly, and we could go far, to Hawaii or something. I’ll save up, but in the meantime, we could start walking. Get to the marina, find one of those cruise ships to work on, make our way to the Big Island and bask in that beautiful energy and-
“And when the next journey comes” she said, “Just let it happen and see where it takes you.”
“Wait, it’s not over?”
She turned away from me and pulled her blanket tight over her shoulders. That felt rude—is that something a lover at the soul level would do??
“Not even close. There’s so much more to experience.”
I suddenly felt my teeth wanting to chatter, and the familiar chill was coming back. I pulled my own blanket tighter.
“Hey, uh, if you want to share about your journey, it’s only fair-“
“Nope, gotta go down” Her voice faded and she was asleep in seconds.
Well that was a quick love affair, despite only happening in my mind. But maybe there’s a chance later…?
She was kind, Alex, that’s all! Love doesn’t have to be sensual or sexual. It was rare at that level, true! At least for you, Alex. And an angel she may be, but that’s how people are supposed to be. Everybody being kind to each other so that it’s not weird when it happens.
I looked at her for a second, then turned the other way under my blanket. I, too, was feeling sleepy again. I guess this is the cycle of the journey, or journeys—
“Before enlightenment; chop wood, carry water. After enlightenment;
chop wood, carry water.”
“But how will people know how enlightened I am?”
From a place deep in the center of—the Earth? My knotted psyche? I slowly returned to this realm and opened my eyes.
Morning sunlight came out of a nearby window, and I felt a soft breeze brush my face. This moment feels very pleasurable, and I made a mental note to have more of them.
There were a handful of fantastical journeys that I know I’ll be thinking about for a long time to come. Some were quite silly, but others were profound and touched on things I understand not with my mind, but with my heart and soul. Changed, I felt. Changed, I was.
But why am I talking to myself like Yoda? Ridiculous, I am.
I looked around the living room. About half the people remained, sipping some exotic-smelling tea from mugs.
I looked for her, of course. Idle curiosity, I told myself. Nowhere to be found.
I was the only one left on the floor, so I sat up. I caught a bit of conversation behind me.
“So, we know the average person gets triggered three to thirteen times a day, right? A third of them from unhealed wounds from childhood, a third of them ancestor-stuff or past-lives, and the last third when we lower our vibration and let negative entities mingle with our energy and bring us down.”
“Is that true?” said a perky-sounding man.
“I don’t know, but it feels true, right?”
I had to see who this guy was. I turned and saw he had a towel wrapped around his wet hair. He wore not just one necklace with a large crystal over his bare chest, but layers of them. He caught my eye and pointed.
“King Arthur has awakened!”
I heard a few laughs around the room.
“Don’t mind him,” said Laura, who approached me with a steaming mug. She had a pleasant Australian accent. “He gets really excited when something comes through so purely like your Arthur did.”
I accepted the drink. “I mean, I’ve always loved those stories, but I didn’t know I would try to imitate him.”
“Imitate? No, you embodied Arthur. We were all very fascinated.”
Something in her expression told me she was quite affected by it. I was clueless.
“You know you don’t need mushrooms to attain spiritual enlightenment, right?”
“I do now.”
Jordan approached us. “When the plant speaks to you, you listen. And I want to hear all about your journeys.”
Some of it was coming back to me. I fixated on a boot I was wearing while walking through muck and lichen-covered rocks in a forest in England in some distant past.
“I really was Arthur.”
“No way you can pretend that,” said Laura. “You embodied him. Past life for sure.”
“But are there really any past lives if quantum physics says it’s all happening concurrently?” I said rather smoothly.
They gave each other a look as if to say they were pleased.
“Regardless, we felt it in our DNA,” Jordan said. “And we know you’re the right one.”
“Did you tell him about the apartment situation?”
“I was waiting for you,” Laura said.
“Hey, I can find another place to crash.“
“No, my friend, you are done ‘crashing.’ Follow me.”
For the second time Jordan led me to the back of the apartment. I looked again for that woman, but didn’t see her. Laura noticed and smiled. Did she know?
Despite all this loneliness, I know she’s the one—in another life, probably. I still think Claire is going to be very interested in the journey I just took and I couldn’t wait to chat with her.
When we went into the back bedroom, this time I saw a door I hadn’t noticed before. Jordan stood in front of it with Laura and looked at me with giddy energy.
“I didn’t want to tell you the whole story last night, but Laura and I are… consciously uncoupling.”
It didn’t take me long. “You’re breaking up? But you just told me you were in a Sacred Union!”
Laura touched Jordan’s arm. “We had an agreement.”
“A cosmic one!”
“To support each other on our next steps-”
“On our own individual journeys. Our own expansion.”
Jordan took a deep breath, and part of his smile faded. “Then certain things… made it clear that our time to walk life’s path together… is over.”
“Certain things? But… aren’t you going to fight for it?” I felt myself getting very warm.
I could see her squeeze his arm a little harder. She said, “It’s very clear. And most of the time we can see the divine plan and get it, and when we don’t, we do our best to trust. Trust the divine will. Nevertheless, sadness creeps in now and then.”
Jordan sniffed deeply and shook his head. For some reason, now he spoke with an Australian accent: “And every now and again, you’ve just got to remember who you are!”
He stood a little taller after that, and his expression became more relaxed. In fact, I felt a significant power moving behind his eyes.
Laura let go of his arm and gave me her full attention.
“Jordan is going to Costa Rica to start a retreat center.”
“And Laura’s going back to Australia because her family needs her. At least, for a while.”
“I know there’s a higher purpose for me there, and Jordan feels the same about Costa Rica.”
I was lost. “Okay…”
“We need you to continue something for us, if you feel up to the challenge…” Jordan opened the door.
Inside was a walk-in closet that had been converted to a functional but tightly-cramped office. There was a desk with an older computer on it, some note pads and magazine clippings taped to the wall. A retro lava lamp cast orange and yellow pools of light on the space and created a cool vibe.
The whole space was like a cool little hideaway.
Laura nodded, and I stepped inside. Against the walls were back issues of a magazine called “Enlightened Age.” I remembered seeing these around the house – Claire was fond of leaving them open to some article she wanted me to see.
I picked up a few and noticed that every person featured on the cover—whether they were an energy healer, shaman, spiritual teacher, or holistic practitioner—had a radiance about them.
“You used to brag all the time about all those short stories you wrote. Well, we need someone to take over the magazine,” said Jordan. “Not just out of pride for what we started, but because I don’t want to live in a world where Enlightened Age doesn’t exist.”
Laura patted me on the shoulder. “You don’t have to be a good writer—your contributors will make you look good. Just catch their typos and make sure you keep their article in their voice.”
“The phone number to the graphic designer and printer are on the desk. You just have to sell enough ads to pay them.”
“Going fully digital would be more profitable,” my business mind kicked in. That was rude.
Jordan shook his head. “Even some millennials who were raised on electronic devices love to hold sacred text in their hands, which this is. It’s food for the soul. Plus, it’s got to stay independent, away from the internet algorithms. That stack of magazines needs to be in that corner of the yoga studio, health food store or coffeehouse. Imagine if they all dried up and went away—that would be a scary time indeed.”
Something occurred to me. “You didn’t know I was coming over last night.”
They shared a smile. “Not totally true,” said Jordan. “We manifested you.”
“We ran this spiritual magazine for the last seven years,” said Laura. “You don’t think we learned a few things along the way?”
“I’m leaving you the apartment with another forty-five days on the lease, and the next issue is due in thirty,” said Jordan. “Think you can make it all work in that time?”
Every once in a while, there is a defining moment in your life. I remember when I watched my brother fall off a wall and I couldn’t reach him in time to catch him. Then there was the day when they put the hospital-type bed in the middle of our living room so we could take care of him there more easily… the day the grass looked like it was moving in mystical waves… the day my wife left… I stayed on that one for a long time as I felt my body firing acid on my stomach walls… I remembered yesterday’s journeys and today’s generous offer from the Universe. Defining moments indeed.
I looked at both of them with utter conviction. “Consider me Arthur pulling the sword from the stone.”
A plan for getting my wife back started forming in my expanded mind. I was going to become a downright spiritual gangster that will cause her to question everything she thinks she knows, collapse her reality, and have her pining for my return to her life.
I love enlightenment!
Next on Alex’s journey: While seeking to bolster his new magazine, Alex learns the rewards and challenges of diving into the local spiritual tribe.