This blog was inspired by Dr. Jeff Kripal’s podcast interview on Skeptico discussing his book “Mutants and Mystics” which I’ve ordered and am looking forward to reading. The book is about how authors use their own paranormal experiences to write their stories. I was immediately intrigued as that’s what I do, although I don’t refer to my kundalini awakening as paranormal. The very meaning of normal is a subjective interpretation of reality, and my experiences are as natural to me as waking up in the morning.
Ever since I was a child, I was transfixed by science fiction. From Captain Kirk on Star Trek to Ripley on Alien, I was awed by the limitless possibilities of the imagination. Anything could and did happen in these stories, and since I had a sad childhood, these stories helped me forget about my own life for a while. One step into the time doorway in Land Of the Lost, and I was in their world.
The signs of being a writer were always there, but it took all my experiences to feel worthy of writing science fiction. Since my spirituality drives my fiction, I thought it would be interesting to draw parallels in my writing to what I heard on the program.
The titles in bold were the key points of the podcast that I relate to as a writer of science fiction and speculative fiction.
Humility Versus Certainty
The host discussed humility versus certainty when it came to how one deals with what’s beyond our current level of understanding, and I thought it was a great way of explaining my own motivation in writing. I was brought up Greek Orthodox, and there was a level of certainty I had towards my faith. That was all gone after my kundalini awakening and not because I was shattered or depressed. The further I tried to understand what happened to me, the more I realized I could never know anything for certain and that made me more humble.
In Unison, the protagonist, Damon1300-333-1M, is a scientist, and he begins his journey as a materialist. His position makes him shortsighted regarding his invention of a technology that ends up enslaving his people. When things start to move beyond his world view, everything he believes in is brought into question, and he has a difficult time adjusting. The movement from certainty to humility is depicted in Damon’s inner journey, mirroring my own interior struggles.
With my newly developed humility, I became less self-centered, and I had a strong desire to help people. I wanted to reveal how my spiritual evolution led to a happy life. I could’ve written self-help books, but that wasn’t my style. I didn’t want to make the message about myself. Writing under the umbrella of visionary fiction flowed into my writing organically and without any pretense or proselytizing. As an author, my intention is to transmit positive energy through my writing, and I would find it rewarding, and more humbling if my stories open hearts and minds in addition to being entertaining.
Humanism Versus Mysticism
During my kundalini awakening I was plugged into something larger than myself, but I never viewed it as above, outside or beyond human potentiality. Because we’ve collectively accepted the paradigm of materialism, anything outside the scope of this understanding is labelled paranormal. As I’ve mentioned in the opening, I find my experiences normal, and within the realm of human potential. What my experience showed me was that all of creation is part and parcel of the life force that created it. I also see it as a natural process as opposed to supernatural. So in my stories, the characters all have their chance to transcend, but what they transcend to is never referred to as magical or mystical; it’s part of a natural order.
Writing To Understand
Dr. Jeff Kripal mentioned that Phillip K. Dick wrote to understand his experiences. I write for the same reason. I’ve written journals and a few blogs in the past that helped me come to terms with my experience; however a complete understanding is impossible. Socrates understood absolute knowledge is elusive. I’ve reached a similar point in my journey, so I’m not a seeker anymore. This all leads back to how I can never be certain of anything. The only thing I do try to understand is how to tailor my new paradigm into a world that appears so vastly alien to me. At times, I feel like an alien in this world because I can’t talk candidly about my experiences with people. Damon goes through similar challenges along his journey as he tries to find his own place in a world he thought he understood. Writing science fiction helps me reveal my spiritual evolution that I would otherwise keep to myself.
Culture Dictates Experiences
My kundalini awakening wasn’t part of my culture, although there is a Greek mystic sect known as Hesychasm where the monks sought out the “uncreated light,” This was shocking when I had first heard about it as it sounded a lot like kundalini. I haven’t heard about Hesychasm until a few years after my awakening.
I can’t prove my visions are divinely inspired anymore than I can prove that some undisclosed technology is producing them in my brain. Being unable to state what exactly creates my visions is why I don’t define them. It’s safer to observe them as they are, without any judgement. The more I ruminate over them, the more strange reality appears to me. It’s as undefinable as my visions. This is another aspect that’s humbled me.
“There is no such thing as truth. The only thing that is actually there is your logically ascertained premise, which you call truth.” U.G. Krishnamurti
…Which is why science fiction is the cultural vehicle in which I express my spirituality.
Freedom To Say What I Want
I found that no matter how delicate I present my position, if it counters something a person is passionate about, they get offended…even when it wasn’t my attention to offend. As I’m not a mind reader, I have no way of knowing how deeply someone feels about their position, so I’d rather not risk hurting feelings. This goes back to my feeling like an alien because I can’t speak freely with people. Science Fiction is the only way I can say what I want. However, it’s important to mention that even in fiction there’s a fine line between preaching and remaining true to the story. How I avoid preaching is I make sure the character speaks through his or her personality and not my own.
As I don’t live in a world of certainty, it’s easy for me not to be preachy in my stories. The only time I’ve slipped is when I wrote while being angry. Since then, I avoid writing when I’m over emotional. To get the best story out of me, I need to be detached from myself and fully engaged in the story world. Some of my characters may be preachy, but that’s to demonstrate their particular character flaws rather than to convince the reader of some personal ideology, of which I have none. Unless you consider not having an ideology as an ideology. It’s a vicious cycle!
Relating experiences through characters
If I try to explain my kundalini awakening to people, either I’m viewed as crazy, or I’m asked what kind of drugs I was on. However, if it’s happening to a character, people are more apt to accept it, so I nestle my visions and experiences into my fiction.
Future is creating the past
I’ve had many occasions of feeling like I’ve already lived through particular events. This was the basis of Unison in that time is not linear but happens in a constant loop.
Do we author the world or does the world author us?
My ideas never come on a conscious level, so I definitely feel authored. This has been a humbling admission for me. Since accepting this, my work has become more authentic. It’s almost like my stories are tailor-made for me. I’m right-brain oriented, so writing a first draft is very visually intense. I capture different pictures of my story, and they come to me in no particular order. Eventually, they make sense. For instance, in Sunrise, I envisioned a green flame flickering in a cave. I had no idea what it meant when I saw it, but I wrote it into the scene knowing it would eventually make sense when I got all the pieces, and it eventually did.
I’m in the middle of outlining my next book, On the Farm. I’ve already got a few images and designed the book cover. Working on the cover gave me a lot more visuals for the story. It was so effective, I’ve decided to include book cover design during the development phase of my stories. Visuals tell the story, and words interpret what I see.
Near the closing of the show Dr. Jeff Kripal claimed the culture is writing us. I close with asking who or what is writing the culture? There’s definitely another loop here which further demonstrates how limiting our understanding is. I have my theories, but I’ll save them for another book.