In the light of day, I traveled to a remote forest area several miles from the base in Massachusetts. I had driven-by the turnoff several times before while navigating through the surrounding areas, and the entrance always caught my eye. Curiosity got the better of me one day while I was still in what they called a “holding company,” where you always waited for your permanent assignment to come through. Without really knowing why, I felt compelled to turn off the highway and explore where the road might lead. As I entered the area, the afternoon was still in full swing, and there was no one to be seen anywhere along the way, so I kept driving slowly forward, deeper along what now appeared to be some sort of logging trail more than a road designed for a car. The sun was warm on my face, and the road ahead was strangely compelling in spite of having no real idea where I was going. It was early in May, and the weather was favorable enough to ride with the windows down. I had brought along some water and something to eat, hoping to make an afternoon of it. I had no where to be for the next few days, but fully expected to return to the base that evening.
The road narrowed and rather than risk damaging my brand new car, I decided to pull over and walk for a bit. I had followed the main path all along, and thought it wise not to venture too far from that point in any direction, and made a serious effort to orient myself to my surroundings, and get a firm grip on where I was parked in order to find my way back. I set out with my backpack and walked into the dense forest.
The trek was pleasant enough at first and offered some quiet solace for my mind to wander as I walked. I had no particular thought or emotional state to dwell over, but I slowly began to feel a bit uneasy as I walked further along. I gradually started to sense something odd about the surroundings as I approached a clearing up ahead. Even in May, most of the trees had already sprouted new leaves, but as I got closer to the edge of the clearing, there seemed to be far fewer leaves as I walked. For most of the path, the surrounding trees flirted with the late afternoon sunlight filtering through the branches and sending fluttering beams of light into a scattered patchwork all around me. Now, the entire area ahead appeared to be glowing and unnaturally bright. When I arrived at the center of it all, I looked up and noticed a large tree which had no leaves at all.
I immediately felt a sensation of warmth throughout my body. It had been mild all along, but I seemed now to be standing in the sun directly and I attributed the change to the bare branches allowing more sunlight to pour through. I found myself squinting for some reason, even though I was looking away from the sun. I thought to move a little further along, out of the increasingly warmer area, but for some reason, I held fast to my position. The background murmur of nature in the woods, which I had only noticed peripherally before, was suddenly absent. I could feel my heart throbbing in my chest. I suddenly felt as though I could sense the blood pulsing through the veins in my neck, and the rhythm of the beat gently throbbed in my ears. The inner conversation I was having for the last few minutes, trying to figure out what was going on, suddenly stopped. There were no birds tweeting in the background. The gentle wind which had previously been periodically rustling the leaves had fallen silent as well. Not a single sound seemed to be detectable.
I tried furiously to shake it off. Beads of sweat were accumulating on my brow as I struggled to get a better grasp of what was happening. I dropped my backpack to the ground and grabbed each side of my head as I fell to my knees. There was a moment of panic right as I tried to look around to see what might be causing my predicament, when I heard a voice call out my name. I jumped to my feet and turned around to see what appeared to be a lone, hooded figure suspended in the air several yards ahead of me. It seemed impossible, but I was now staring in disbelief at the silhouette of a man floating just above me and my first thought was to run–to escape–but I found myself frozen to where I stood. It had to be that my eyes were failing me or a sudden fever overcoming me, but I could not turn away or awaken from what seemed like a daydream gone terribly wrong.
I raised up my hand to block out the abundant light surrounding the figure and noticed that my hand appeared to be in several places at once in front of me. As I tried to clear my head momentarily by blinking my eyes, everything started to move very slowly, and I felt my body tighten as it seemed to come to a grinding halt. Although I couldn’t hear a thing, I suddenly began to sense words coming into my head. They made no sense to me, and I wasn’t able to rearrange them or put them in any sort of logical order. Gripped in a strange sort of paralysis of mind and body, I seemed to be witnessing the event from outside of myself. After what felt like only a few minutes, my body collapsed and everything went dark.
When I came back to consciousness, I was laying on my back on the ground, and felt chilled to the bone. I was trembling as I sat up. It was nearly dark, but I was able to stand up soon enough to see that the last few lingering hints of sunlight were slowly fading, and I grabbed my backpack and sprinted for the car. I drove quickly away from the area, driving a bit erratically at first, breathing heavily, and trying slowly and deliberately to calm myself as I approached the highway. I took a few deep breaths and turned the car in the direction of the base. I didn’t know what to think or do, but when I got back to my room, fortunately my roommate was out, and I sat down at the desk and wrote these words in my journal:
“The path you must travel expands far beyond today, reaching for tomorrow, its foundation in yesterday. Consider all that you have learned here and you will find the Beginning of the path. Recall all that you are and you will discover what is contained in the Foundation of the Fortress. Meditate on your dreams and you will gain the knowledge which leads to the Entrance of the Universe. Know that all people are concerned. You will find yourself at a time in the future, where the energies of those around you now will manifest in people visibly marked with a sign of the purpose. You will know them by a swelling in your soul. The vibrations of their undying desires will reverberate inside you and you will sense their presence whether they are near you or not. Do not fear this sensation for it will guide you to those who will aide you in your journey, provided you give to them of yourself totally. Some may not recognize you or be able to freely open themselves to you. Your challenge will be to receive from them the energies needed to succeed in your journey and fulfill the purpose. It is a difficult path to walk, and you will face many diversions along the way, but you must not allow them to overcome you.”
Powerful emotional, psychological, and intuitive forces had now risen from within me. I seemed to become gradually more and more aware of what others were feeling, but in particular cases, moments of recognition and acknowledgement of a sort of kinship would be especially intense and dynamic, spurring in some cases, feelings of great joy and of an intimate connection that would stir me deeply and irrevocably, pushing the very limits of my endurance, and grow in strength with each new day.
….more to come….