In alternating chapters author/reporter of mysterious encounters Whitley Strieber and religious scholar-academic/author Jeffrey Kripal take us to a place unencumbered by proclamations of answers, which then open us to reaching a place where real answers and understanding can be intuited and realized.
In his chapters, Strieber recounts again many of the puzzling episodes in his life, and of some in his sphere, and Kripal in his chapters over the course of the book brings into play nine “tools” that help serve to examine all of that in a way that may dislodge the reader from solidified mythologies limiting our direct and clear intuition and realization of our nature and of the context and “stage” of our existence “here” (in a domain of time and space, subsisting in a broader timeless “space”).
While I have had my own extensive history of UFO involvement (MUFON guy, and co-founder of activist effort known as Operation Right to Know), my focus will be on noting just a couple of things that dovetail with the focus of my site (and online book, etc). I will just report that the regression of UFO field of study into religious and political ideologies and cults, and the widespread proclamations of “answers” by so many, long ago led to my exit from that crazy field of study.
Strieber was a serious student of the teachings and practices of the Russian mystic Gurdjieff, and adopted a meditation practice that he has stayed with to this day. Kripal, in citing the work of awesome scholar David Gordon White, finds in Strieber’s reports many things that seem to be in synch with the Tantra teachings and practices of medieval India, which focus on a deep transformation and liberation.
Kripal’s offering of nine tools goes with the stated intent of encouraging an “apocalyspe of thought.” Without too much description (I want people to read the damn book), I will just list them:
1) Compare (like with historical record).
2) Make a cut. Study of appearances. What is perceived is a product of neurological filtering of “what is”. “Do not believe what you believe”.
3) Historically contextualize.
4) Interpret and doubling imagine.
5) Practice an erotics. (Realm of kundalini rising, transforming energy)
6) Say away. Keep questions open. Live with paradox.
7) Listen for the traumatic secret. (Dynamics of trance and ego cracking open, etc, the role of shamanic like initiations.)
8) Think in terms of energetics. The material in this book related to OOBE, kundalini like experiences, British Condign Study suggesting UFOs are puzzling plasma events and other experiences and events are suggesting that the “soul” and many super natural events concretely appear and feel “electromagnetic”.
9) Say Again. “Decide for yourself whether the story that your cultural trance-forms have put you in is a story you really want to be in. If it is not, then wake up out of that story, step off the page, and begin to think about telling another, but try to tell this new story in a new way—as a true fiction.” He goes on to link up with other like minded persons….and: “Finally, consider just who is telling all of these stories. Here are the steps, then: contact, communication, communion, community, and finally….consciousness”.
Kripal concluded this end of the book appendix (listing his nine tools) with this observation, page 342:
“No one, of course, really “makes the supernatural super natural”. It already is, and it has always been so. All that changes is the filter, the medium, or the prism of the light. All that changes is us.”