I became intrigued with Philip K. Dick after hearing Dr. Jeff Kripal discuss his book, Mutants and Mystics: Science Fiction, Superhero Comics, and the Paranormal. It inspired a post and my fascination with finding other creatives who’ve had mystical experiences. I recently completed reading Philip K. Dick’s book, Valis, which was a semi-autobiographical account of his experience. While Dick didn’t use the same terminology as me, our encounters were similar. While reading his words, it was as if I were having a conversation with someone who understood me.
In Valis, we follow Horselover Fat, Dick’s alter ego, on his quest to understand his theophany, which he described as being struck by a pink beam of light. He explains it as information being given to him and that the entirety of the universe is, in essence, information. The event him to diagnose an illness his son had, which turned out to be accurate. Phillip spends most of the book attempting to figure out the meaning of what happened to him. Further complicating matters is that he has trouble understanding why he was able to save his son but can do nothing to save a friend who has terminal cancer. During his quest towards enlightenment, friends view him as having gone mad.
Valis is crammed with spiritual insights seen through both his narration and entries in Horselover Fat’s exegesis. I was immediately drawn to Dick’s use of both first and third person narrative. The reason for the point of view switch is so the narrator could be more objective about his spiritual experience. This gave the book a Socratic feel as it was an odyssey about self-inquiry and questioning every previously held belief.
Birds of a Feather
Like Philip K. Dick, I spent years trying to understand what happened to me. At times, I felt as though I were going crazy. After my kundalini awakening, I was flooded by a psychological torrent of fears and past hurts that I was forced to deal with. I had to eventually accept that everything I held as truth my whole life was a myth. I then wondered what was the point of it all and started to ask why this happened to me.
Here are some of the questions I asked:
What does it mean?
Was it God?
What is God?
Are we living in a live organism?
Am I plugged into a giant hologram?
Is what I see every day reality?
Is this part of some clandestine psychological operation?
I had my awakening when I was thirty. I’m now forty-six. I haven’t answered any of the above questions absolutely. Perhaps that is why I’m an ideological atheist. Getting caught up in trying to find answers to questions that can’t be answered can drive you insane if you let it. Philip K. Dick, at first, believed what happened to him resulted from medication he had taken for an impacted wisdom tooth. However, when his visions continued, he knew the explanation was implausible. I don’t take drugs, and my experience happened while I was meditating, so I knew it wasn’t a reaction to medication.
“I experienced an invasion of my mind by a transcendentally rational mind, as if I had been insane all my life and suddenly I had become sane.” Philip K. Dick
It seems as though I lived my first thirty years in a delusional state. If it were a schizophrenic episode, the opposite would be true. I have more clarity of mind, something I never had before as I suffered from clinical depression, borderline personality disorder and ADHD. I’m no longer depressed, nor do I exhibit any symptoms of BPD. I personally view ADHD as nothing more than a personality-type that creatives share.
“Alike and equal are not the same thing, you have to find your own beat.” Meg from Wrinkle In Time
I’m not here to debate whether ADHD is real or not. This is my personal view, and I show my daughters, who both exhibit many of the symptoms, how to use them to their advantage. I would’ve either been dead or on antidepressants if it weren’t for my seeing the proverbial light. So dealing with a little madness along the way to spiritual recovery was worth it!
“Many claim to speak for god, but there is only one god and that god is man himself.” Phillip K. Dick
We can all connect to a greater reality without a guru to assist us. U.G. Krishnamurti made similar statements, which is why he referred to himself as an anti-guru. Through my own journey, I’ve reached a similar state of mind and don’t follow any gurus or religion.
“You are the authority.” Philip K. Dick
Being a skeptic is actually the safest way to experience life as I’m not easily led astray or manipulated. I emerged as a stronger person from my experience and that’s one statement I can make absolutely.
Love and light,