The Goddess Pele/Feral Chicken Auditory Hallucination Story

By popular demand (or like 4 people on Facebook) here’s a little something funky that happened to me a couple of mornings ago….

Never Look A Gift Cock In The Mouth

I was awakened really early by a woman’s voice. It was probably the crack of dawn but I was too out of it with the tired to check my clock. I just heard this woman talking. She kind of sounded like one of my roommates. I have two, both female. They have real bedrooms. I have a dining room converted into a bedroom, which means that where a wall and a door should be there is a bookcase and a curtain. I hear everything. It sucks. But don’t cry for me Argentina, because while you’re stuck in Argentina, I live in paradise.

Except paradise comes with a severe cost–one worse than dining-bedroom. That cost? Feral chickens who never know what time it is.

Rrr-r-rrr-r-rrrrrr! at all hours of the day with these friggen roosters. The only time of day they can agree on is crack of dawn. That’s when they’re like, “TIME TO GET UP! HEY, EVERYBODY! TIME TO GET UP! REMEMBER MIDNIGHT? FALSE ALARM! NOW GET UP!”

Rrr-r-rrr-r-rrrrrr!

Many are the mornings when I slog out of bed and chase them out of the yard rattling a rake and cursing these loud, shrill, atonal opera singers. As I type, I hear two of them crooning right now. But distantly. They aren’t in the yard. In fact, they haven’t been in the yard since the morning I heard that woman talking. Now back to that….

The voice is not my roommate’s after all. Is one of ‘em watching TV? Are they up this early? What time is it?

I listen closely. Finally, I can make out what she is saying. She’s saying, “Not bad… Not bad…. That’s not bad… Not bad….” over and over. I realize it’s not a roommate, not the TV… holy crap!–Is there someone in the house? Or do we have a ghost?

Now I’m lying there scared listening to this. I’m still half asleep and not attempting to get up. I’m like asleep but paranoid. It’s weird. And then it gets weirder for I hear this woman’s voice saying, “That’s not bad” morph into “Rrr-r-rrr-r-rrrrrr!”

That’s right, I am hallucinating, turning the distant call of a rooster into a woman’s voice. And I realize this at that moment, that very tired-yet-alert-enough-to-be-paranoid moment. And as incongruent as this all is, it gets incongruentier, to… make up a word. I actually find myself saying to the rooster chick, “No, it’s not bad, Pele. But I can still hear them.”

Goddess Pele When She’s Not Doing The Funky Chicken

See, even though I know I am hallucinating a woman’s voice over a distant rooster, I am also still in the middle of hallucinating. And so, me, in the middle of hallucinating, believes that the woman is the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele and that Pele took time out of her busy morning to come to my apartment and use her magic to keep the chickens a safe distance from the yard so that I may sleep. And now she’s saying to me, “See? That’s not so bad.” Like, “Look, I’ll make sure the chickens stay away from your window so you can sleep.” And me, always one to look a gift horse in the mouth–I’m whining that it isn’t good enough. But, because it’s Pele and she’s a goddess and I’m living on her turf, I’m whimpering with all due respect.

Anyway, I thought that was interesting, especially given that the chickens really have stayed away from the yard for the last few days. When I’d rattle a rake at them, it just emboldened them. I think they came back in the mornings for their daily chase. Honestly, I think they kinda liked it because they would come right up to the window and Rrr-r-rrr-r-rrrrrr! for as long as it took to respond with a chase. Sometimes I’d wait a half hour, forty-five minutes, just to see if they’d go away. No such luck. Then I’d chase ‘em and they’d shut up. So who were they talking to if not me?

Whelp, at least now we’ll have what esteemed doctor Tyler Kokjohn calls “scientific proof” that Pele is real or not. If the chickens stay away, she’s real and I’m turning into Hank Wesselman. If they come back, she’s not and I’m turning into the man who mistook his wife for a hat. Yup, that’s science. Right, Tyler? (Ssshhh… don’t answer. You’re just a humble, small town doctor from a… small town. We know. Or is that someone else I’m thinking of? Only one way to find out: gun show. )

Not Tyler Kokjohn.

Boom! Gun Show, Bitches! The Challenge Has Been Made, Tyler, Doctor To Doctor. (William Henry–Make Me A Sandwich!)

For my own public image of sanity I will not be updating this story if they come back to roost. But I’m still publishing it, so what does that tell you?

Rrr-r-rrr-r-rrrrrr!

Abduction Memory: Why Is It Stored The Way It Is?

DNA-StrandThe problem with “alien abductions” and science is that we are highly unlikely to chance upon an abduction during an fMRI scan. But if it did happen and the subject didn’t disappear thanks to a Star Trek-like transporter, what would we see happening in the brain and would it be enough to know what’s happening with the person? Would it at least be enough to know  how and therefore where the experience is stored?

The general misperception is still that memories are stored in neat little compartments in the brain. But they aren’t. It’s far more fluid than that. Also, it depends on what type of memory we’re talking about. Humans, it turns out, store memory not as neat computer files of factual download, but as relationship. This is why, for instance, you recognize friends and family even if you haven’t seen them in years. Their hair may change, the color of their skin, their clothes, their voices… but the proportions of their faces remain the same, as do key elements of their body language–and you recognize those things.

With memory, we have lot’s of issues to dissect. The issue of long-term and short-term memory. The issue of wake-state and sleep-state. Drug-induced hallucinogenic. We know the body unconsciously stores traumas in it, right? Back problems related to psychological issues; psycho-somatic rashes and temporary blindness; nervous tics. We can consciously program muscle memory through repetition. And then there’s the vastly unexplored territory of the heart. We know we communicate through the heart. Do we store whole or bits of memory there, too?

Hey. Reader. Look up. Do you see a pattern in those paragraphs missing from neuroscience? Memory is “stored” all over the body. We move through time experiencing/remembering. We are not recorders separate from our memories, we are them. Every billionth of a second of the day we become our own past. Our bodies aren’t marked with the stains of time, they are time. Time being told. Full emersion.

Let’s call what we’re talking about above “topical memory.” It’s the short-term memory of the species playing out through individual lifetimes. The pieces that stick and make sense to remember as instinct or reflex–well those get stored in the DNA as long-term memory.

Maybe we can’t figure out where abduction experiences take place or how the memory is stored yet. But maybe we can see why. Maybe they’re drilling into us for the long haul. And maybe what they’re drilling with is the thing that most easily pierces us: fear. Or, here’s a thought, maybe they use fear for most of us but not those who lack it. Here’s something you actually could study with an fMRI: what are the brain differences in those who say they’ve had positive “space brother” experiences and those who have been terrified? Wouldn’t it be ironic if we found that the “space brother” encounters happen to experiencers with psychopathic brain and behavioral traits? (And no, this doesn’t mean such a person is a serial killer. It means we now know there are physical differences, which, if nurtured improperly, tend to lead one down a horror movie path.)

Ultimately, we’re an immature or perhaps broken species until we “mature” by dropping the self-sense–the persona who moves through time pretending to be separate from the body–and allowing our timeless nature to light the vessel. And that’s a tough hill to climb because it involved death of self, which very few of us will undertake before the undertaker comes for the physical thing.

Perhaps whoever the abductors are know this about us. They know we are incapable of relationship as equals but something about that relationship is important to have. And if it doesn’t happen in this generation or the next or the next, perhaps they are sticking around for when we are ready by engraining themselves in us as DNA or cellular memory.

How else does one not from this time stream embed oneself in the stream?

You do it through the time-makers themselves: humans. And you do it through their storage system: relationship. Why you do it doesn’t get revealed to the broken, immature, uncooked individual. That person who spends her life wondering “Why me?” is not even a pawn on the chessboard.

Think about that.

Who Am Me?

Eye See YOUWho is this me that thinks it’s the whole thing? It’s the self born of the brain, right? Born of the brain and projected into the world to live and explore, maneuver and interpret. It is the self of  length, breadth, width, and time. It’s the self of measurement, comparison. It’s rational on its best day, irrational on its worst. And this is how the brain moves through the exterior world and creates aspects of it.

But what happens when the self turns inwards? Does it not find much to explore? Is there not an interior apart from what we imagine?

And what happens when the self stops completely? No more searching, no more comparison, no more measurement. That means no time. A timeless moment replaces the self in all its active glory.

Here’s the thing: you can do various meditations, prayers, yogic postures and so on that will bring you to interior domains that are new to you but familiar to those who have gone before you. And you can refuse to do even that as you refuse the exterior world–refuse the self altogether because you see its limitations. In that moment something truly transformative occurs. Don’t take my word for it–drop everything and find out.

I have a question for materialists that believe consciousness exists in the brain and that’s it, end of story. Their story is that the little self is the only self and it is a function of the organism. If that story is true, why would the organism need to invent meditations, yogic postures, breathing exercises, and so forth in the first place? Why would the brain delude itself into believing there is more to learn internally if the internal does not exist? What would be the evolutionary necessity that would program the brain to deceive itself thus?

Here’s Ken Wilber in an interview for Salon talking about just how scientific meditation can be:

These meditative disciplines have been passed down for hundreds of years, sometimes thousands of years. Much like judo, there are actual techniques that you can learn and pass on. In Zen, you have the practice of zazen. You have to sit and count your breath for up to an hour and concentrate on an object for at least five minutes without losing track. The average American adult can do it for 18 seconds. Then you have the data, what’s called satori. Once you train your mind and look into your interior, you investigate the actual nature and structure of your interior consciousness. If you do this intensely enough, you’ll get a profound aha experience, a profound awakening. And that satori is then checked with others who’ve done this practice.

So again I ask with concrete example in hand: if there is no interior life beyond the delusion of one or beyond the strengthening of self sense through will and rationality, then why, oh why, would the brain invent a practice that has you sit and count breath for up to an hour while concentrating on an object so intensely that nothing else enters the mind?

An hour? Really?

And why would twisting the body into pretzel positions have positive physical and mental effects? What happened to jogging? Or, you know, any of the healthy body movements we did as animals or hunter-gatherers? Why did the brain turn to “unnatural” movements and postures and why do they work?

I think the fact that dreaming exists is a clue. Dreaming occurs when the brain is at rest, right? Someone define what “at rest” means. Class? Anyone? Why does no one ever say that what we mean here is that when the brain isn’t actively engaging the world with this facade, this tool, called “the self,” it relaxes. Therefore relaxation–rest–is taking a break from the character one plays in waking hours to be one’s true self. The actor stops acting and gets real when the character “falls asleep.” (Heck, some of you are doing a version of this this right now, daydreaming while your eyes are reading these words!)

And so, the true self is not the constricted brain creature of time–that is an act. The true self is this fluid, timeless perceiver dampened by the very brain it perceives through. (Or something akin to that.) Looked at from another angle,  you can’t hide from that which you have repressed when you dream. Therefore, dreamtime you is a better representation of who you truly are than the smile or scowl you wear when you greet people.

So, materialists… explain all of this away, will you? Because your logical, rational position doesn’t make sense. And I don’t see neuroscience having the ability to tackle these issues of interiority.