Whatever worlds make us feel better, live with less fear and positively impact those around us, are the worlds we should exist within.
This morning I was talking with my friend Arkhipova, a diagnosed schizophrenic. We spoke about his dreams which are always so varied: flying through the cosmos on dark wings, speaking to the dead who give him powers. In this particular conversation, Ark was excited about a dream meeting he had with a woman he’s never met. Her name is Masha, the lead singer of a Serbian music group named Arkona. Masha is everything to Ark. She came to him at a time when he was most alone. He’s learned to keep his relationship with her secret or be taunted for his ‘obsession’, but no one can deny that over the past five years his transformation has been staggering. He has confided in me that this was due to his relationship with Masha. Whether or not this is a figment of his imagination, she has set him free.
I’ve known Ark for more than 20 years. As a young man, his stoic countenance and particular dialect always set him apart from the rest. It was as if he stepped out of a time machine and was making the best of the future. He had a large group of friends that, as teens, partied together in their small, dwindling college town. The entire friend group came from broken homes and were outcasts to the locals. Raised by mental illness, alcoholism, drug addiction, emotional/physical abuse and neglect, these kids somehow emerged as amazing human beings with huge hearts. I met them by what seemed a fluke and came to love each one as a brother.
As they grew older, the friends put partying aside for careers and family, but Ark did not. His mental illness became more apparent; he couldn’t hold down a job, couldn’t live on his own, couldn’t drive. He became a raging alcoholic with anger issues that caused everyone to stop coming around. His dreams were of the psychotic kind: paranoid obsessions that caused him to engage in stalking, grand claims of ruling the cosmos alongside demons and wildly outrageous accusations against his family and friends. As we distanced ourselves from him, Ark turned against us all.
Eventually he was diagnosed and put on heavy medication, moving from his family home into assisted care housing where he was left alone. No one had any hope that the old Ark would ever resurface. He seemed incapable of change.
Five years went by before we reconnected online. Instantly I could tell that something had changed. He was sweet, kind, quiet, thoughtful. He smiled a lot and there was a twinkle in his eye that denoted wisdom and depth. We continued to talk and he slowly opened up to me about his visions and dreams, which are the most important part of his secluded life.
“Are Masha’s gods yours now?” I asked him. “You seem very changed.” He was a devout Satanist when I knew him last. Masha prays to the Serbian saints, and seems to be somehow connected with nature as well; all positive directions away from the nihilism of Ark’s past. “I am trying new things!” he replied. “Not her god, Masha would not have that. But I am trying love.” Music to my ears, coming from one who once openly rejected such sentiments. What could account for such a change?
I can only speak for Westerners, who are programmed to deeply mistrust and judge those who do not fit the norm. What are the guidelines by which we judge insanity, when each of us lives in entirely relative worlds whose rules are based on a unique set of experiences? Do these experiences need to be “real” to be of benefit to us? As quantum sciences advance, the term real seems more and more illusory and multi~dimensionality becomes more a possibility.
Despite America’s clinical stance on insanity as allowed unless it is a danger to others or self, it’s safe to say that the average person would call someone like Ark insane. For this, people like him either hide their experiences from others or demand that others accept their beliefs, thus risking being labeled crazy. Each of us, however, lives in many self~constructed worlds. We move between them based on new information, revising the rules moment by moment as we see fit. Though some of these worlds are shared by others based on societal laws and regulations, there are no two exactly the same.
When I’m having a bad morning and someone cuts me off in traffic, I run to a world called “People Aren’t Supposed To Do That” and can now judge the line~cutter based on the rules of that world, dwelling on his/her actions all day some days. If I’m having a good morning and the exact same scenario plays out, I drift in the blissful world of “Everyone Makes Mistakes”, and the infraction is forgotten minutes later.
When we meet a person that claims to see visions, travel to other realms or have dreams that come true, we tend to judge them from the world of “Where’s The Proof?” We simply do not see proof of miraculous events in our daily lives, and very few have experienced anything so bizarre. Even I, who here claims to see visions, travel to other realms and have dreams that come true, judge others on their level of believability based on my own rules. It is that ingrained! These experiences also tend to be tabooed or even vilified by visible charlatans attempting to make money off of false abilities, though not all charlatans are without gifts.
My twin sister has recently become a nun of the Russian Orthodoxy (renamed “Sister Masha”, interestingly enough). In the forest behind the convent, while chopping wood for the winter, she was visited by a Father of her order named Silouan who died twenty years before she was born. Though we both speak to those who no are no longer human, it is still hard for either of us to share these experiences with one another for fear of being judged; largely because our mother’s similar experiences destroyed our family, but also because, over years of not being able to relate profoundly esoteric, life~changing adventures, it becomes difficult to even try. The deeper you go into the spiritual worlds, the less you are able to describe them in words.
When, I first shared stories of my spiritual master with my sister, she would be very quiet and change the subject as soon as possible. Once Silouan began to come to her, she began to listen with an uncomfortable curiosity. Having spent most her life deep in Protestantism, Sister Masha knows the Bible better than anyone I’ve ever met; not just common interpretations, but the pure truth beneath the words. The more I shared Dap Ren’s teachings with her the more Bible verses she found that mirrored them. Through me she discovered a thread that winds through all religions and belief systems. Through her I discovered the truths of the book that I’ve rejected my whole life. In Matthew, the guidelines for how to tell whether truth is pure or impure are explained.
Growing up, my sister and I only witnessed bad fruit. Our mother has a genuine gift to see and sense beyond the human experience. As with many who are so touched, she was severely abused as a child. Utterly alone, she clung to the word of God to save her. It helped her believe that she was not alone, that she was loved.
Over years, however, the voice of her ego became a god’s voice as her psyche shattered and her personality borderlined. She became an addict of signs and wonders which she must create in her own mind as proof of her unique place at God’s side. The Voice began to tell her exactly what she wanted to hear: that she was special and that those who did not believe as she did were wrong. We are sinners in her eyes. Though we don’t hold this against her, my three siblings and I, as well as mother’s sister, brother, nieces, nephews and grandchildren, have had little choice but to cease all contact with her. Every rejection has been nothing more than further proof that she, like Jesus, has been crucified by the very people she was sent to save.
Like my friend Ark, my mother couldn’t help what she became. He could very well have suffered the same fate, continuing to believe the lie his sickness was telling him; that his actions were blameless and those who rejected him were to blame for his loneliness. Why didn’t he? Because one person loved and believed in him? No amount of the love we or her God had for our mother changed her. The difference in them is that Ark was ready to change but my mother is not. Isn’t it interesting that one finds damnation through the voice of God, while another finds saving in the growled voice of a metal music singer? Nothing is as it has been judged by man.
Ark’s story is also mine. Diagnosed bipolar, put on heavy medications and left alone, I tried to kill myself with drugs and life~risking behaviors long before I chose to change. It was an astral being that came to me in a vision who initiated the change, and the many worlds he took me to ~~worlds most would consider delusional ~~ altered my trajectory from a life in hell towards a life of beauty and wonder. Because my mother believed concretely the lie that was her truth, it took many years for me to believe my own worlds. Slowly, my siblings and I learn to believe ourselves and each other, a process that is still in progress.
In the annals of this website you’ll find all sorts of outrageous claims, but I write them down in hopes that others who share similar experiences will also feel empowered to believe in themselves. It is important to remember that each of our personal worlds are absolutely real to us, and that we don’t have to try and convince anyone that they are real. To be true to our own worlds, and to respect other’s worlds, is to find peace.
All that matters is the journey, unique to each of us.
All that awaits us is love, and the worlds that lead us there are worlds worth believing in.