By Douglas McElheny
About a week ago I had a dream where I was taking in a very beautiful mountain setting. When I awoke the next morning I felt a strong desire to get myself together and focused on the sadhana, which for me largely revolves around rejecting the unwanted thoughts and trying to keep the mind quiet. I was able to build up a little momentum over the course of two days, and on the late evening of the second day I felt a little bit of calm and clearness open up inside me. It was nice because I haven’t had anything happen like that in a while, and it may have been what that mountain scene in my dream represented. A beautiful scene in nature can also have that effect of clearing you out on the inside.
Anyway I sat with the feeling for a while, and then something odd happened before I went to bed. Over the course of say 10 minutes there were around seven quick flickers of the power going out, but so fast it didn’t reset any of the clocks in the house. At first I wondered if was just my lamp, but on the third time or so I noticed my lava lamp was going out too. Now I know this isn’t some odd paranormal event I’m describing, but there was something queer about it, something that ‘tingled my spider sense’ so to speak.
So I went to bed and probably fell asleep around 11pm. I awoke a little after midnight to the sound of the smoke detector in my room chirping about every 30 seconds. It does that when the battery gets low, and though it isn’t loud, it’s enough to keep you from falling asleep. I knew the detector would keep it up until the battery got changed, but rather than going to the garage and getting the ladder so I could change the battery, I decided to move to the guest bedroom for the night. Once I got in there I could still hear the chirping of the detector a little bit, but I figured if I put a pillow over my head that would muffle it enough that I could go back to sleep. Then strangely enough the chirping suddenly stopped. I decided though to stay in the guest bedroom in case it started doing it again and was able to fall asleep.
About an hour later I woke up from a rather obscure dream where I think I had been in bed in cataleptic trance (sleep paralysis), but not lucidly aware of that. In the dream I could hear my parents outside the room fixing the smoke detector. I was feeling a sense of unease and fear as I lay there, but without any specific cause. At the end of the dream my mother came in and stood by the bed, and, still feeling the fear, I reached out and grabbed her arm for comfort. I think it was right after that that I woke up.
Upon awakening I was still feeling the fear and didn’t want to open my eyes. I figured a hostile force was trying to rattle me, and since the smoke detector was still keeping quiet, I went back to my room. I really wanted to be back in my bed and next to the altar I have on my nightstand. As I was getting back in bed I was thinking about my second altar on my computer desk as well as my collection of spiritual books, and how all three of those things added to the spiritual and protective atmosphere of the room. I also thought about how in the guest room I’d been sleeping on top of the 3,000 plus comic books I’d collected as a teenager that are stored under the bed. I realized those densely packed comic books we’re giving off a pretty low vital vibration. Not as low perhaps as 3,000 porno magazines, but low enough that they degraded the atmosphere of the room and probably made things more conducive to a hostile influence. That may sound far-fetched to some people, but allow me to share a quote that forever changed the way I look at books. It’s from the book Nirvana: An Occult Experience by the Theosophist George Arundale. He tells us:
I went the other day into one of our largest bookshops, and I found myself amidst a weird babel of sounds. Every volume was vocal. In each book was its author speaking his message – in some cases powerfully, clearly, upliftingly; in other cases, at the other extreme, vaguely, purposelessly, vulgarly, perhaps, often sordidly, or sometime with a well-chiseled form distressingly empty of purpose. Each work was a sound-scheme, often a jarring sound-scheme, but sometimes a beautiful symphony. Each book too, was a light-scheme, a dull light-scheme, a lurid light-scheme, a bright, clear light-scheme, now and then a gorgeous light-scheme. I was not able to follow up this discovery, but I knew that books are alive, that some are in the savage state, and thence there is graded ascent in evolution to God-books, as the Scriptures, and others less than these, yet great. I cannot pursue further this fascinating theme, but it will be realized that books are no longer mere tomes, they are living beings, for which their creators have serious responsibility, which speak and shed their influence around them. A book in a room is a factor with which we have to reckon; a library is a potent force.1
Sri Aurobindo has pointed out in his letters that there are hostile forces standing ready to try and spoil any positive movement in the sadhana as well as the existence of mischievous vital physical entities that can do things like cause accidents to happen. In light of that, there does seem to be something to this idea of a gremlin which can cause mechanical or electronic problems, and I imagine a lot of people could relate a strange or bizarre occurrence with a mechanical or electronic device. In fact, I just read a column the other day in one of our local papers where the writer talked about how her washing machine had been acting up but then went back to functioning normally after she prayed for it to start working again. And the strangeness continued at our house too the following day with another smoke detector chirping for a few minutes before suddenly stopping.
Now to some people my theories about what happened here will just look like paranoid hogwash, but if you’re the type of person that is open to these ideas, and if I’ve communicated all this effectively, I think you’ll be able to see the possibility that something got into the atmosphere of the house and then set things up so I would retreat to the guest bedroom. Whether it was something mischievous or hostile, or some combination of the two, I can’t say for sure, but the element of fear in my dream suggests something hostile to me. Why that hostile being or force didn’t try to attack me in my own room I don’t know, since I’ve had my share of brushes with the hostiles while sleeping in my own bed. Maybe for some reason that night I wasn’t as vulnerable in my room.
Regardless I guess I got out of the guest bedroom before too much damage was done, since the next day I still had the strong urge to press on with the sadhana. Nothing really noteworthy happened on that day, but then on the fourth day after the mountain scene dream something else nice happened, and I found myself quite easily and spontaneously making the movement inwardly of remembering the divine and offering my work to the divine throughout the day. It was so simple though; there were no bells and whistles about it, just a quiet and uncomplicated movement of devotion. It was a small opening of the heart chakra I believe and fit perfectly with the card I had drawn that day from Medhananda’s Eternity Game,2 which was ‘Heart’. That card represents the heart chakra, and like each card in the game it has four aspects. I usually pay attention to the aspect that is upright, and that day that aspect was ‘Simplicity.’
Getting back to our main topic here I think I should point out the fact that most of the time nothing bad or scary happens to me when I find myself in cataleptic trance. While it’s true that hostile forces can come along and try to scare us or trick us in that state, the state itself is nothing to dread or be afraid of. These hostile forces want us to be afraid of this state because you can have an out of body experience from there or, as I’ve found, very easily enter into a lucid dream. Now I can only speculate, but I think what happened in this case was hostile forces could see what was going on with me that day I experienced the calmness and clearness, perhaps saw that I was ripe to enter cataleptic trance or maybe even have a lucid dream, and they wanted to spoil any nice or uplifting dream experience I might have had. Or maybe the goal was to get me in the guest bedroom on top of those comic books and give me some bad dream experiences in an attempt to stifle the opening that was happening sadhana-wise. Or maybe they had both objectives. How much they might have succeeded is impossible for me to say. All I know is after my day of simplicity my four day sadhana rally came to an end, but that may not have been primarily due to hostile influences. I feel these surges in the sadhana come from within, are cyclical and peter out or withdraw due to inner causes. It’s natural part of the process, but at the same time not an excuse to be lax and just wait for the next sadhana rally to come.
So in closing I think the main lesson of this article is the hostiles are craftily standing by to throw a wrench in the works when they see any glimmer of light. I don’t want to encourage anyone to obsess about this, but to just be aware of it and on one’s guard. And if it comes to pass that they do knock you down, just get up, try to learn whatever lesson is there, and carry on.
Notes and References
- Nirvana An Occult Experience by G.S. Arundale pgs 174-175
- The Eternity Game is an oracle I use frequently that was created by Medhananda for the Integral Yoga.