From The Archives: Gone Fishin'
[First posted 1/16/06]
“Oh, August! Don't you know that you are attempting to skim the surface of Reality with a very loose net, one with really big holes? A net formed by the fabric of the limited human mind that is knotted together by words that no two people can ever agree on? When others see the sign that says “Gone Fishing” that you are going to put on your door, will they ever be able to understand or agree on what you really meant, or where you even really went?”
My new Siamese kittens, Fiona Isobel Wickerbill and McHenry Aloysius Wickerbill, are not quite 5 months old now and we continue to spend most nights negotiating sleep and play (my sleep, their play) in bed. My other Siamese cat, Oolong, who transitioned this past June at the age of 18, still spends a great deal of time with me in her astral-etheric form, which has made the grieving process vastly easier. Aunty Oolong now teaches and guides the new little ones. I called upon her last night during an especially energetic moment on the bed when F. & McH. would not behave and stay settled down. Almost immediately, they went from high-level shenanigans to quietly purrsnoring. This was a miracle. I asked Oolong how she did this. And she told me.
[Since her transition, Oolong is now able to quite literally talk to me—this is most dramatically obvious when I'm with her in the astral-etheric zone. Or perhaps more correctly, I'm finally able to understand her at her level of communication. My first experience with this kind of thing was with Bridget, another cat companion who had also transitioned at age 18, six years ago. When I'm with them and they're talking, it feels surprisingly normal and yet overwhelming in its weirdness, because I hear them speaking to me in English and in female voices—which are nothing like I might have imagined. And boy are they smart.]
Oolong shared that she had stimulated a certain part of the kittens' brains while singing a feline lullaby to calm them. I asked her to show me which part of the brain she meant. I thought she would show me theirs, but instead, she directed my attention to my own brain by somehow lightly touching it in a way still not clear to me. With my eyes closed, I was able to clairvoyantly see the result. (If you've read The Risen, you will have some understanding of what visualization and clairvoyance are, and the differences between them.) I initially felt very tired and thought, "Great, now I can get some sleep!" but then saw the inner darkness quickly give way to patches of light. The patches resolved into more solid-looking "openings" that showed light was coming from somewhere through them. A man's face then appeared, as if looking through the "hole" and at me, as if he could see me seeing him, and he smiled, and so I smiled back. I suddenly no longer felt tired, but instead rather compelled to start thinking about who this person might be and why I was seeing him. Everything then suddenly vanished, because Oolong had ceased stimulating my brain when she saw I was becoming more awake instead of sleepy. Somewhat bemused, she said that obviously it didn't work the same way with humans as it did with cats, so she stopped since she didn't know what else would happen.
She then "flickered" — my scientific term for "stepped out for an astral minute"— and then came back into focus. Ever the nosey over-achiever, Oolong had gone somewhere to research for information about what she had experienced when she had stimulated my non-kitten brain. According to her findings, although the stimulation had indeed caused my body to get sleepy, the attention of my simulate self (ego) was also stimulated and this activated a kind of "pre-dream" process that involved the sense of clairvoyance. This is very interesting because sometimes when I have insomnia I activate the sense of clairvoyance to dissociate my astral-etheric bodies , which then makes my physical body fall asleep. (I'm too lazy to get up and make some Sleepytime tea.) If I could learn how to stimulate this part of the brain in the way Oolong did, while disallowing the simulate self to react, I might be able to cause my own cat nap to happen!
The area she had stimulated seems to be someplace in occiptal lobe, an area that receives visual images. Oolong explained that the visual response was something that happened with the kittens, but in vague, misty images that first distracted, and then lulled and soothed them. Because they have no simulate self ego-mind, they quicky fall asleep. But because I have a human's simulate self ego-mind, the soothing action was interrupted by its "need to know and respond" and thus it began waking me up. This certainly sounds like the experience of "racing thoughts," when anxiety rules and the mind can't stop tumbling thoughts and worries round and round. She further explained that my amygdala had become activated by the ego mind activity. (It took me awhile to figure this word out, as she was trying to tell me in a conceptual way and did not have the human English word for it. But because the word "amygdala" is actually one I saw at some point, it was stored in my mind— although this is not a word I use much so couldn't find it myself (meaning it was on the tip of my tongue.) We finally looked at a labeled picture of the brain together which seemed to confirm it. I was also aware of Kaufmann wavering around somewhere in the background, guiding the two of us from some distance.* I read that the amygdala is believed to control emotions, (meaning they don't really know what it does). This would fit with the known behaviour of the simulate self, which uses emotions to direct and control what it believes to be the correct way to navigate life's circumstances. I won't attempt to comment further on any connections and possibilities here, since the best science can come up with is a belief about what perceived parts of the brain might do. Read or review The Risen for material about the brain and mind fields.
Well, that's it. There was really no point to all of this, other than my just wanting to share the experience, to possibly confirm the experiences of others and at the continued risk of confirming the beliefs of certain inquiring minds that there's a hole in my boat and the bait's dead.
Update 10/24/10 -- the Wickerbills are now 5 YEARS old, and needless to say, there are nights when we still argue about when to play and when to sleep.
* Kaufmann is introduced in The Risen, "Tim Rises" -- Chapter 17, p. 173.