A Spiritual Emergence Journey

Some of My Story Thus Far

by Bob Manrodt

Overview

Beginning in September of 1969, as a 19 year old, I experienced a series of spiritual emergencies, states of radical awareness that have affected my life in major ways. These were indeed major crises, involving physical, mental and emotional trauma, as will be seen. What happened to me was certtainly disruptive; I almost died, and became extremely disoriented to the point where I lost the ability to function normally in society and was remanded to psychiatric hospitals.

The significant quest of my life has been my journey to come to terms with what happened. I speak of these experiences as visions for they hold deep significance and meaning. It has been my work to come to terms with these visions and integrate them. After more than 25 years my remain personally important and full of meaning. Because of them, significant changes have occurred in my life.

I remember my visions well. Over the years I've read and studied quite a bit and find that even some of the stranger aspects I went through are identical to experiences of shamans around the world in both form and essential spiritual meaning.

What may be termed by some as "hallucinations" to me were authentic spiritual experiences.

After more than 25 years these experiences continue to affect me powerfully. These experiences are reference points for my experience of reality and every day life. Essentially they are my personal mythology. Some components appear to be in alignment with current global and cultural circumstances and as such may be indicative of collective myth.

Emergency EHE's

I would categorize my emergency EHE's as a series of three major events, a) a spontaneous radical shift in perception which I would characterize as a type of shamanic crisis, b) a near-death experience and c) a several month period of visionary experience.

I see these crisis experiences as naturally springing out of the context of my life. Although the severity of the experiences were unforseen, there were certain perspectives and experiences that set the stage. Over the years there was a sort of buildup of energy and as such these situations arose out of a confluence of life predilections.

As a child I was sensitive and intelligent. My childhood was relatively safe and protected. My parents were very young. They were basically loving and permissive.

However, I have always had a strong interest in non-ordinary. I was much influenced by my mother, a woman of artistic bent. Our shared non-ordinary perspectives helped to sustain my stance as a sort of social outsider. We read many of the same books and shared many perceptions and experiences. Often life was absurdly humorous.

I had an active fantasy life as a child. At the age of 5 I was at the library borrowing stacks of books on fairy tales. I have a picture of me as a child with my mother holding a stack of 6 or 7 books. I especially loved the stories of witches, fantasizing relationships and bewitchments. This seems to have contributed to my strong empathy with the feminine and the sacred.

My dream life was extensive and rich. I can remember several of my dreams today. In fact, I've accessed the contents of early dreams within dreams I've had more recently.

One symbolic, somewhat prophetic dream I had at 4 or 5 was of me getting married and traveling across long stretches of desert. Periodically we would reach an oasis. So it is that I've gone through periods of depression and psychic dryness. But then emerge sudden wellsprings of insights and my whole world view is changed. This is a pattern that I have been working with, and feel is shifting.

My adolescence brought with it significant disturbances and challenges. Going in to 7th grade I entered a different peer group with whom I did not get along. They were from a different cultural and socioeconomic group. I was different. I was an outsider. This was painful to me. Also contributing to my experience as an outsider were my nascent interests in the non-ordinary and metaphysical. I read fairy tales at 5, myth at 7, ghost stories at 8, fortean mysteries at 11 and the occult at 13.

I continued to have a rich fantasy and dream life through adolescence. I was very inner-driven.

In 1967 I first took LSD. From the time I had first heard about LSD I wanted to try it. Although, of course, the use of this type of substance is highly controversial, in retrospect I consider my motivation to be spiritual. I experienced some very deep and powerful experiences in the years 1967-1969 through LSD. Although use of this substance affected me strongly, it was not the primary cause of my non-ordinary experiences. My spiritual emergence experiences went much deeper than any drug experience I have ever had.

In 1967 I dropped out of high school right from the honors program. I was extremely unhappy in school because of my social alienation. Of course, my parents were very upset. Over the next two years I experienced dramatic highs and lows through rather extreme adventures. In 1968 I spent a couple of weeks in jail in the rural deep south for being with a black man. I traveled in various areas of the country such as Boston and New York, meeting interesting and unusual people. I had many fascinating, interesting experiences.

Shamanic Crisis

In August of 1969, I did a tarot reading for my mother. One of the major cards was the lightning struck tower. I told my mother there would be a catastrophic event happening. In early October I would fall three stories to the pavement.

In early September at Weiser's bookstore in New York City, I picked up a copy of a small black and white colored book with an Egyptian hieroglyph on the cover. The book was T: The New Tarot for the Aquarian Age. I took it home and read through it. For the first couple of days I sat with the images. All of a sudden, the images came clear. I experienced a strong perceptual shift. I felt that I was understanding some deep spiritual truths.

In late September I went up to Boston and met a young man who was to affect me powerfully. I spent the last week of September living and working with him.

Then began a series of extraordinary encounters and synchronicities. One of these encounters involved psychic occurrences involving a murder. Our psychic experiences were taken seriously enough to warrant investigation by the Boston police.

More and more I became ungrounded. I experienced extremes of energy and emotional states. My energy ranged from depletion and loss where I could barely move to ecstatic states of high energy awareness.

My mind was alive with apocalyptic and cosmic thoughts. I mused on ideas of the dawning of the Age of Aquarius. Many of the ideas I had read, seen, experienced, dreamed and conversed about came alive. I was obsessed by images of birth and death. I thought on how man would evolve in consciousness. More than mere thinking or musing, I was imaging these experiences. I would die and be reborn as a new baby. I felt that I wasn't much good on planet earth, and I figured that if I died and came back as a baby I would get another chance.

Intense energy and floods of imagery poured through my consciousness, sweeping away thought structures and old reality structures. I was extremely disoriented, riding intense vortices of energy.

Shamanic experience

In an apartment in the mission hill district of Boston, I went further into powerful visionary states. A great alchemical transformative process began occurring in my body. I began an intense effort that lasted through the entire night. I felt I was physically undergoing the process of death and rebirth. I consciously struggled, breathing very heavily while making intense effort. I really wanted to break through. I would marshall all my energy to positions in my body such as my head and attempt to push that energy through. I wanted to turn my body inside out. I was determined to transcend.

Through intense effort, I worked on forcing my being through the top of my head. I became hermaphroditic, my own mother and father. I pushed and pushed with all my might. I pushed as far as I could go and then I completely relaxed, enjoying the release of the energy that I had built up with concentrated effort. I thought of Christ in the garden "sweating blood" as I had read in the New Tarot book regarding the Deliverer.

My movements were a kind of cosmic dance. Energies were I visualized my death, a scenario being acted out, interspersed with my birth. I visualized a murder scenario - there was someone coming to get me. Others were involved, perhaps members of the house where I was staying. I knew that I had to be sacrificed. I felt the energy of being a fetus in the womb and then flashed on dying. I felt the first contractions. I couldn't immediately jump out, the process happened over time, the whole night long.

Imagery of the movie 2001--A Space Oddysey was present for me. I flashed between being a cosmic babe coming back to earth and the old man at the edge of the universe, the old man archetype, knowing great secrets of the universe, involved in transformation of the planet.

I became highly dissociated. Towards the morning, the others in the apartment heard me scream. This I do not remember. They called an ambulance, but when the ambulance came the medics would not take me. I was very dimly aware of other presences in the house but was I very very absent. At a certain point I felt that I had gone through enough and now was the time to complete (now was the time to be born). I later described that at this point I had "transcended perfection", I had turned on the point of perfection going to the other side.

I felt that I was catapulting into the future. By dancing and recognizing all phenomena as symbols I could rework the future of man for the good. I would die into the future, being the living sacrifice for man. I heard bells in the distance and thought of them as heralding the presence of the way shower. I saw children on their way to school and blessed them, knowing they were the future of the planet. I was the Reactor of the New Tarot, a babe coming down from the mansions of the moon, opening the doors of awareness and perception. I image hearing a traffic jam coming into Boston. The Vietnam war was over.

I was alone in the house with a woman. I had a blanket wrapped around me but was naked underneath. Somewhere between late morning and the night I fell - or walked - off the balcony, three stories to the paved sidewalk. This was no suicide attempt. There was no pain. I recall nothing of the fall, nor of the events directly leading up to the fall.

NDE

What I do remember next is an experience that is very deep, beyond words.

I felt that I went beyond time and space, into another dimension.

I went into a place where I saw my whole life go past - every scene, every thought, every experience that had occurred during my entire 19 years on Earth up to that time.

And then I moved into what felt like me to be the great initiation. This was like an ascension, an entering in, a peeling away of layers.

There was a sense of profoundness, of great lightness of being. There was an entering into primary awareness. I felt I was finally being shown the truth.

I was in another dimension with a master consciousness, a Being of Light. This being knew me intimately. This Being told me that it wasn't my time to go, that I should return to earth.

It seems that I may have been shown more and will understand when I am ready.

Visions

My first memory after my fall is of awakening in an intensive care hospital bed. I looked over to my right and saw a suction jar half full of my blood. Tubes ran out of the orifices of my head and I had IVS in both arms. A doctor came in and packed my broken nose with gauze. I had a cut on my chin that had been stitched by the doctor.

I had fallen three stories and landed on my head. My lower and upper jaw and upper facial bones were fractured. My nose was broken. I lost three teeth and gashed the bottom of my chin. I had a hairline skull fracture. Doctors said later that I must have been very relaxed when I fell to have sustained so little injury. After such a serious fall, it was amazing that I could see, amazing that I was even alive.

Another early memory directly following my fall is of seeing my brother enter the doorway of the intensive care ward where I lay in bed. I saw him look at me and faint.

I remember my parents coming, and feeling their presence. They had flown up from New Jersey after receiving a call from a doctor telling them of my accident. The doctor told them he was uncertain as to whether I would live.

Over the next few days I was taken for x-rays and tests. Then I underwent a six-hour operation. A wire was inserted through an incision starting just above my eye. This procedure served to wire my facial bones together. My teeth were wired shut.

I was given an EEG, neurological tests, and possibly a psychology test. While undergoing an EEG, towards the end of my stay at Peter Bent Brigham, I remember experiencing distinct differences from one brain hemisphere to the other. One side was headachey and the other wasn't. While getting the neurological tests I remember thinking that I had increased my intelligence and had become a genius.

After being on intensive care for a few days I was moved to a neurological ward. During this time there was a catastrophic train wreck in Boston. While watching news of this wreck on television, I felt powerful energies and envisioned train tracks running above my room. I experienced being connected with what was going on. Everything was so heavy and powerful and I felt somehow responsible.

Many of the victims of the train wreck were brought into the ward where I was. One guy had a big metal clamp like a pair of tongs holding his brain in his skull, the top of the skull having been blown away. Others were dead, draped bodies on stretchers parked in the hall.

Everyone said how lucky I was to be alive. The nurses said that the night of my fall, two others had died in falls from 3rd story windows. Art Linkletter's daughter was one, and the other was a student from Harvard.

After staying at Peter Bent Brigham Hospital about a week. I was recovering well and was deemed well enough to be discharged. I returned with my parents' to their home in New Jersey. At this time, I experienced increasingly powerful energies. I felt I was in other worlds and in touch with cosmic secrets.

My mind moved in patterns of interrelationship. I experienced everything as interconnected and as operating on many levels. There was so much energy moving through me that I would literally stay up for 3 days and nights at a time, moving through strange dimensions, visions and incredible synchronicities.

While home with my parents my experiences continued. By now my visions were so intense that I was unable to function physically. For instance, while attempting to cross the street, I "jumped ahead of myself" and experienced being on both sides of the street simultaneously. At another place, I experienced being five minutes ahead of everyone else. My bodily movements became disjointed and I felt separate from my body. I looked at a clock and watched as the minute hand moved backwards, counter-clockwise. There were numerous instances where I left my body.

I often felt that I was experiencing the "end times", the apocalypse.

My experiences were of total immersion. There was no doubt. Often my physical reference points were entirely gone.

As I went further and further out of control, my parents brought me to Carrier Clinic, a private psychiatric facility in Belle Meade, New Jersey. I was to stay there for about a month.

Now I was in the hands of psychiatrists. I was treated with major anti-psychotic drugs such as Thorazine. By and large, my experiences continued strongly, but the intense energies began to taper off. After a couple of weeks on the locked ward I went to a semi-open ward with occasional off-ward privileges. Then in another week I was on an open ward.

My world was coming into focus and it was a cosmic focus. To my mother I appeared to have a new personality. I was full of energy and felt I was tuned in to multiple dimensions.

I was allowed to go home on a pass for a weekend. Even before going on my pass, I knew that I would be back at the hospital in a sort of unwound state. My equilibrium was unsteady. My weekend pass was an opportunity to make many connections with my friends at home and I knew I would come apart again.

On my pass I got to see many friends. I felt I was deeply in tune and psychic and precognitive. I was very intense. In retrospect it seems that much of what I experienced as psychic phenomena was true. For instance, I saw one friend and said to him that I would see him at the same hospital I was at. He had never heard of the place, and had no idea that he would be in a psychiatric facility. Some months later, he was indeed a patient there even though it was months after I had left.

On my return to Carrier I was again awash in cosmic imagery. In another week or two, I was too much to handle at Carrier and the insurance ran out. One night an ambulance came and I was sent to Marlboro State Hospital.

The ambulance ride was long and dark. Arriving finally at Marlboro, I was taken to the admissions ward and placed in a small private room with a bed. Carrier was a modern, private hospital. Marlboro was the big-time, old-style state hospital. My visions were of travelling down through the worlds. I was to experience the varieties of human experience, particularly the realms of suffering and poverty. I was on a mission, sent "to see how the other half lives".

At Marlboro I lived with thousands of other mental patients. Experiencing full ranges of "hallucinations" blended me in with the crowd. There were many unfortunates and strange behaviors. I felt that many of those I was with had been in the Nazi death camps. I'm sure that some were.

On a few occasions I experienced seizures, possibly as a direct result of high doses of psychiatric drugs. At times I was locked in a cold steel seclusion cell for days at a time. I was left naked and alone in excrement and uneaten food with no break. But my mind was in other worlds, sometimes ecstatic, sometimes hellish.

There were many visions, some repeating cycles and themes. Over several months my cycles of visionary experience wound down. I was weary of these cycles. I needed rest. I was washed up on the shores of consensus reality and slept for long periods of time.

In the spring, just about six months after the start of my visionary experiences I was discharged from the state hospital. Shortly after discharge I entirely stopped taking psychiatric medication. I have never since felt the need to take any of these drugs.

Two visions

During the months of my spiritual emergency, I experienced many, many images that I consider to be visionary. They remain full of meaning today. Here are two.

One day, after having been shut away in Carrier for many days, I had the opportunity to step outside. Looking up into the sky I clearly saw a large infinity symbol, an oblique "figure 8" on it's side. One loop of the symbol was filled blue and the other red.

I knew that I had experienced the blue portion of the symbol. These were the visions I had seen, the revelations of truth. As yet, I had to experience the red, the actualization and initiation through the fire of experience. In a sense I was at the beginning of my journey, a rebirth into experience and into incarnation. My initiation was to take place through my life experiences in a human body.

This infinity symbol has shown up for me repeatedly on other significant occasions, a powerful symbol that seems to transcend time/space.

In The New Tarot, this symbol was superimposed on the eyes of a skull in the image of the Renewer. A man gazes through death and is reborn. Another image in this deck is The Knower who stands centered in each half of the infinity symbol. He is the reconciliation of the opposites, the completed man. Some months after seeing the infinity image in the sky, a deck of New Tarot cards was published. On the backs of the cards was the infinity symbol woven of two intertwined snakes.

More recently, in speaking with my mother, I learned that the infinity symbol was very meaningful for her as well. This symbol figures prominently in a painting she did in the 70's.

Another vision: I descend through dimensions of energy experiencing symbolic correspondences like astrological planetary energies, colors, chakras, and strong kinesthetic feelings. I move down level after level. As I move down to each particular level, I encounter a person who I have known in this life. This person typifies a level of incarnation. I recognize that in being on this particular level, this person has assumed a certain level of responsibility. Each level is an entire horizontal world existing on a vertical axis. The vertical axis maps onto planet earth. I descend into the center of the earth. There are female entities in attendance. I say to these entities that I want more and want to go deeper. I want it all.

But I cannot handle it all. In my vision, after asking for it all, there comes a time when I must take on the responsibility and burden of what I have asked for. There is no way I can handle it. The visionary women who are in attendance have themselves to take on the energy I have called up.

Meaning

I have touched on only a few of the images I experienced. My visions were interconnected, a vast, rich, creative broth of imagination and reality. My visions are laden with meaning. Through contemplation and articulation of my visions, I am able to access altered states. Often these awareness states are blissful. I move into states of high sensitivity. It seems I am accessing other worlds.

I am aware that some components of my visions may not have meaning to others, just as the contents of another person's dream might not be particularly meaningful for me were I not to know the person. But, as in dreams, the meaning and experience is beyond words. There is a sort of knowing of faculties other than reason.

More and more it is apparent that life itself is not objectively "real" apart from subjective experience. Indeed, reality appears dreamlike. The best way I have to look at my experience is through the view of myth, ie, images of sacred meaning. My visions inform my everyday reality.

My sense of myth is creative. My visionary images are not static but have a life of their own.. Through contemplation of the deep sense of these images and have gained fresh insight and meaning. My visions are multi-dimensional constellated experiences (Grof's "coex's) that reveal new interpretations depending on my perceptual vantage.

Types of myth in my experience

My visions emerged from my conscious and unconscious mind. My visions were both personal and collective. The energies pouring through my awareness took the forms that were part of my life experience, the images available in my mind. These forms could be either real or imagined, images that I had experienced directly, or those that had come to me through various media such as books, film, TV. As a member of American culture, diverse and mixed as it was and is, many of the forms these energies took were culturally related.

A main visionary theme for me was of "world transformation". Man was evolving in awareness. I was a part of a conspiratorial mission, the "mission possible" that would shift collective awareness in radical ways for the good of man and the planet. Man would attain higher awareness on a global level. This transformation was to play out in the years to come.

I believed we were engaged in apocalyptic conflicts, a struggle between forces of light and dark. I saw 1970 as a pivitol year. Either the forces of technology and mechanistic control or the evolution of human awareness would win out. However, things would not be as they appear. Appearances are often deceiving and that which appears as dark can be a vehicle for the light. As Crosby, Stills and Nash sang at the time, it would be "a long time before the dawn".

Following my Near Death, my journey was a movement from heaven to earth. This is an ongoing process that has lasted many years. Paradoxically, as I ground and learn to be present on earth, I become more spiritually capable. It is as though I am earning the right to hold spiritual energy. I have experienced great synchronicity and interconnectedness and remain convinced that there are many dimensions. My visions were experienced in several of these dimensions.

Life after spiritual emergencies

Over the years I've worked with my visions and have sought the meaning of my experiences. While my visions are very deep, and are in effect touchstones of sacred experience, my views have changed and shifted over the years. I have been in an ongoing learning process.

About a year and a half after leaving the state hospital, I became involved with a young Hindu guru. I lived in a Hindu style ashram for about two years and remained more or less involved through the seventies. I see this involvement with a spiritual community as a good thing, really right for me at the time. Living in spiritual community afforded me safety and protection from the harsh winds of the world. I needed protection, raw and wounded as I was from my spiritual emergency experiences. The people I lived with shared a basic spiritual world view to a large extent and were certainly less threatening than people in the outside world.

It was here in the ashram that I got involved with meditation, a practice I have continued through today, for more than 25 years. I am grateful for the opportunity to develop this practice. Meditation has served as a bridge between my awareness of spiritual worlds and my experience of being back on earth in a body.

My daughter was born in 1978. I was present during her delivery. I had a son in 1982 whose birth I also was present for.. I feel my kids are here as part of my destiny, my karma. I'm supposed to be a father, to learn responsibility and the ways of life and growth. I honor what my children have to teach me. I am privileged to be their father.

In 1984 I separated and later divorced my wife.

In 1985 I took a personal growth seminar called Insight. I went into the seminar expecting to enjoy myself. I didn't expect any great breakthroughs. I enjoyed the format where people spoke of rather personal situations and shared their emotions and their tears.

On the third day, something significant happened. During a particular process a participant stood in front of me and told me that the beauty she saw in me was my vulnerability. I felt a great emotional jolt, a feeling like being punched in my stomach. The energy continued to build, even after leaving the seminar room for lunch. While at lunch the energy finally crested and spilled out in tears. Much pent up emotional energy was released. I discovered that I had much more in common with others than I had considered.

I felt that I had gotten much value from the seminar. To my surprise, my dad offered to pay for the second level which would happen several months away. In this second seminar my experience was profound. I felt I was connecting with some of the same energies present for me during my Near Death Experience. I experienced being supported by discarnate spiritual beings as well as the other people in the seminar room. I felt a transcendent, timeless connection and a healing of all my bodies, emotional, psychic, spiritual, mental and physical. Powerful synchronicities abounded in support of my experience.

Over the next few years I continued to participate strongly in Insight, both as a participant and as an assistant. I continued to have powerful and profound experiences. At times the energy felt divine. I've felt extended periods of being in touch with deeper levels of being for individuals present in the room. I've experienced profound synchronicities where I was in resonance and alignment with a sort of spiritual dance. These experiences have many times been corroborated through feedback from others.

In the mid-80's I began involvement with IANDS (International Association of Near Death Studies). Here I met many who had had NDE experiences. I felt good sharing my experiences. I went on the Geraldo show, CNN, AM Philadelphia, and other shows to talk about my NDE. For a period I was very active. For a few years I was a local coordinator. I ran an NDE survivor support group.

But my NDE was only a part of my story. At times I felt difficulty in communicating. Some people seemed uncomfortable with my sharing of what I felt had happened spiritually, and my accounts of what had happened for me subsequently during my hospitalization as a mental patient. Many experiencers did not seem to appreciate the living spiritual value of their NDE's. The NDE was something that had happened only in the past, a sort of comforting preview of the hereafter.

Over the years since my visions I have read voluminously of Jung, Campbell, Grof, Robert Anton Wilson, and so many others. I have looked deeply into spiritual practices and traditions, particularly those of the east, Hinduism, Buddhism. Particularly meaningful for me are the Tibetan Images. I find the most arcane, abstruse aspects intensely relevant. I am convinced that lamas have experienced deep inner states first hand. I am fascinated by Tantra, the notion of experiencing all life as teaching.

I've gained teachings through many paths. But these paths have not been the full experience. I felt dimensions of spirit lacking in Insight and IANDS. I've sought teachers and guides but have as yet not found anyone to fully understand my predicament. In the end it seems I have to walk my own path, to create my own synthesis out of my own experiences and to find my own voice.

Ongoing issues and after-effects

I feel I am working multi dimensionally, on my levels, on many frontiers. Perhaps I have worked out karma from many lives. It sometimes seems this way. The phases of my life are the interplay between the transcendent and the temporal.

Again and again I have been disappointed in the world but have somehow managed to come through to this point. I have learned much from my every day life experiences and continue to do so. I still seek my earthly expression that will be fully consonant with my visions. Perhaps this is not possible. But conditions of my life have continued to spiral into greater and greater concordance and resonance with my spiritual visions.

During the time of my experiences there was no one who was there for me. I remember longing for someone to understand. My dad was there for me emotionally, he visited me fairly often during my various hospitalizations, but he was in no way understanding or sympathetic with my cosmic experiences.

My life is a sort of translation of my Near Death Experience. I've sought some things in the physical world what can only be known in the spiritual world. For instance, I've often has an intense thirst for knowing and learning. I've read extensively, and through my readings and communications I've gotten some answers. But these answers are only in the world of mind. In the visions of my Near Death, I knew. I know what it feels like to know, in a sort of "heart/wisdom" sense. This is much deeper, really of another order, than anything we can know intellectually.

Also, as if in remembrance of what I experienced during my NDE I have an intense drive to be intimate with others. I remember so well the intimacy of my NDE, so rich and full of meaning. But often, even as I've wanted to be intimate with people, I've driven them away with my intensity.

One of the main teachings of my Near Death, one I hear echoed by many Near Death Experiencers, is the idea of loving kindness. Love is what is most important. It is clear to me that we can choose what we believe, and further can choose whether we will act on our beliefs. I have worked with my understanding of loving kindness over the years and feel very lucky to see the importance of Love.

I've long felt I could tune in to the unconscious of a person. I've been sensitive to the point of knowing much about a person that the person was not aware of herself. Much of the time, the person is unready to deal with what I see.

One of my visions was of being stuck between the worlds. In a sense over the past 25 years, I have been "stuck" as a door from one dimension to the next. I relate strongly to the idea of the Tibetan bardo, the in-between place where reality is experienced as sets of powerful mythic image. During my visions I experienced this bardo state clearly.

My mythic visions have played out in my life. These visions are touchstones to sacred meaning. I have worked with these images in contemplation and through everyday life. They have allowed me to get in touch with core meanings.

Thankfully, in terms of integration and grounding, I have been able to progress far past the place I was at 25 years ago. My life is an evolutionary process that spirals through phases of coming to terms with my myths. I see myself in an ongoing process of personal transformation. My visions guide me, sometimes consciously, always subliminally. The space between vision and actualization is decreasing.

As I evolve, my world view seems to move from passive to active. Formerly, everythings seemed to happen to me. Over the years I have become more and more aware of my own involvement. Through owning my experiences, and attempting to maintain awareness as best as I am able, I'm learning to get touch with my role in my perceptual experience. I am learning to take responsibility.

Even as I ground and learn to function more capably in consensus reality my sense of spirit increases. The main thing for me is grounding. I was sent back to earth. My experience has been of not wanting to be here, especially at in the years following my crisis experiences. It was hard for me to understand people who expressed their joy at being alive. To me, my body was a limitation.

My work with awareness has been difficult as I have a lot of resistance. I've been afraid of being ordinary. My security and sense of identity is actually in the non-ordinary. A large part of my process entails getting in touch with my ordinariness. Each of us is a sacred being.

Trials and Doubts

My experience in this world has sometimes felt overwhelming. Over the years I've gone through many struggles and tests. I've lost jobs that were my only financial means. I've gone bankrupt. I've gone through divorce, and have acutely felt the loss of the daily presence of my kids. I've often felt very alone.

I've taken many risks, acting more through what appeared most meaningful at the time rather than sense of personal safety. Many of the moves I have made have been based on my intuition. Somehow I've gotten through. It seems my trials have enabled me to let go, develop and evolve. My suffering eats away at my separation from the sacred.

I've despaired of surviving on planet earth. Why am I here? I wished at times for things to be over. However, my sense of the Presence who told me that it wasn't my time to go and I was to return to earth remains deepest in my heart. I am supposed to be here.

What if I am crazy? Psychiatrists would interpret many of my experiences as symptoms of schizophrenic psychosis. Schizophrenia, as defined in the DSM IV, the diagnostic manual for psychiatry, includes ideas of reference, religious ideation, delusions, etc., the same features I regularly experience. I do not believe I am crazy, but in my sincere quest to understand my experiences, I have had to entertain this possibility. I seem to shift in and out of spiritual states. I alternate between lows and highs.

My view of reality comes down to a choice: do I view my experiences as genuine phenomena, and acknowledge them as sacred experience, or do I seek to turn away from what I experience over and over as deep experience and seek to achieve "success" in the world

My experiences appear to be genuine spiritual experiences. I have felt driven to read, study and practice in the spiritual traditions and these traditions have corroborated the authenticity of my experiences. I seek to learn and grow. I deeply pray that I be shown the way.

My path today

To my amazement, it seems that many of the visionary experiences I have had are being fulfilled. Many of my visions seem to have been prophetic.

One particular scenario involves my involvement with the Internet. I have been very active in computer mediated discussions on spiritual topics. In 1969, far antedating any manifestation approaching the computer revolution we are experiencing today, I felt that I would be "wired up" in communication with aware beings around the globe.

Today there is increased cultural awareness of non-ordinary awareness. Often situations in our culture happen and I experience a sort of "future memory". I feel that what is happening is a fulfillment of my visions. I observe changes in society that corroborate my experience. These experiences have been very exciting for me. It seems that connections over the years with new people/information happens only when I've been ready.

Over the the years I've felt a strong desire to communicate. My task feels large and often daunting. I've had to wait for certain insights to mature. One can't pull the fruits from the tree before they are ripe. And the exigencies of my life have demanded my attention. I've always felt out of sorts with the world. I've had to struggle to survive. But things seem to be coming together in a real way.

I feel that it is important for me to tell my story. My experience is much more involved than just the Near Death component. I'm coming to terms with expression of having been in a mental hospital. I've had difficulty with this as one may easily realize, but I must tell my story

A predominant quality of my work with my visions is that I am incomplete. There are major forces at work having to do with my creative integration, my manifestation of my vision on planet earth. My main spiritual practices are meditation, exercise and writing.

Over the years I've had to continuously reassess my experience in light of my evolving awareness. There is much I continue to work with and there seems to be aspects that I have not yet gotten in touch with. Near Death Experiencers report experiences of knowing secrets of the universe and then being told they would forget them after returning to earth. I continue to experience various phasings and progressions of knowing. Maybe I will be shown more.

My "return to earth" has been of prime importance. I must do the work and walk the talk through spiritual and psychological efforts and grounding. It is clear to me that compassion and loving kindness is all important. There is great beauty and poignancy in being human.

1.7

email Bob Manrodt: bobby2@mindspring.com,

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