LISTENING TO THE SILENCES

 

CHAPTER 6 PAGE 1

O, what a world of unseen
visions and heard silences, this
insubstantial country of the mind!
What ineffable essences, these touchless
rememberings and unshowable reveries!
And the privacy of it all!

,,,This consciousness that is myself of selves,
that is everything, and yet nothing at all,,,
What is it?
And where did it come from?
And why?

Julian Jaynes had not expressed these thoughts in public at the time that I had that conversation with Gilbert B..... Even if he had, I doubt whether they would have exercised my mind for very long - definitely not in the context of what it was that Gilbert wanted to tell me. I certainly could never have dreamed - not even in my wildest dreams - where this conversation would ultimately lead me, or by what strange paths. That it induced such a major change in my life may be judged from the fact that at times I am glad that it took place, but that at others, I curse it profoundly. Yet, at the time, an interesting conversation and demonstration involving two practical and pragmatic engineers did not seem all that significant. It happened like this...

One afternoon at work, I was passing Gilbert's office when he called me in - "I've just had a rep. in from K..'s Fire Detectors, and he showed me this...(producing a pair of thin welding rods bent into the now familiar L-shape). He got me to hide things under the carpet, and he found them by holding the rods in his hands. Then, when they swung and crossed, the hidden thing was immediately below...like this", and he demonstrated...Of course, I had a go and lo! - it worked for me also - my first encounter with practical dowsing.

At that time, (1971), dowsing did not have the exposure that it enjoys today - I had, indeed, seen only one other person use rods, and he was a professional surveyor who used properly made telescopic ones with balanced pivoting handles. Even though he was successful in locating drains, the significance of what he was doing did not register with me. In my own case, I did very little then with this newfound skill, other than finding drains and pipes for farming friends and showing them how to do it themselves.

I watched very little television at the time, thus the rapidly expanding use of rods and pendulums for archaeological dowsing, and by people seeking so-called 'earth energies' (largely and, as I keep protesting ad nauseum, wrongly called 'ley-lines' by many) in the main passed me by. It is quite probable that my interest would have waned completely had I not chanced upon a significant book, The Practical Pendulum, by Dr. Bruce Copen.

It was a seminal moment when, in the local library, I took out the slim book, that I could so easily have passed. As its title suggests, it was very practical, with much 'how-to-do-it' information. It also attempted, through a sort of pseudo-science, to explain the mechanism of dowsing using a short pendulum. And so it was that I made myself a pendulum as the book described, and soon found that all that was suggested in the text worked for me. The acquisition of a catalogue of new and second hand books on esoteric subjects took me one step further, for I found there a second book by the same author - Dowsing from Maps - which I bought, together with a professionally made Perspex pendulum. What I didn't know was that I was about to set out on a very perilous journey on which, literally, I could have lost my mind.

Very detailed instructions were given on how to dowse from maps, while included in the text were several charts and diagrams that one could use in a variety of analytical functions. Everything worked for me just as the book described, and the pendulum became a constant companion. What did not 'work' for me were the explanations offered for the way in which it responded. The concept of subtle energies, and even more subtle muscle responses, carried no weight, particularly when one considered that the pendulum was hovering over a piece of paper and not a piece of real-estate.

To explain why I made my next move it is necessary to describe some of my background and beliefs…

As you have read, my working life as an electronics engineer in the field of measurement and control had been cut short some three years earlier (1976) by a serious depression that had been caused, originally, by the completely unnecessary and, now professionally acknowledged, inappropriate prescription of Librium. That was now behind me, and I was beginning to revel in my total freedom in my tranquil rural home. It was a mind that was curious, but not much more, that led me on to explore and experiment with the book as a guide; a mind obviously coloured by experiences and events that stretched back into childhood.

One side of my family had been very actively involved in spiritualism. It had never drawn me, in fact the reverse, and I had not been personally involved, except to be aware of beliefs and practices. What I did have was a firm belief in the actuality of spiritual beings, which, when one boils it down, is the basis for all religious belief. The little experience that I had had of spiritualist practices, had been with direct voice trance mediums, nothing more. By extension, however, I knew that there was a potential for spiritual intervention in other ways. To me, it was a logical deduction, correct as it turned out, that the pendulum was being controlled directly by spiritual means.

The moment one uses the word spiritual, one releases in one's hearers or readers all their own attitudes, beliefs and prejudices about spiritual concepts that form the basis of the religion in which they have been brought up, or which they have later espoused, or which they reject. Ideally, I would like to proceed without the preconceptions of any religion, but only with the understanding of the existence of a spiritual 'dimension' and the reality of individually acting spiritual beings.

As I have written, my own spiritual life and religious practice had been virtually extinguished in the void of the depression; but from whatever cause, vague stirrings were being felt. For reasons that completely escape me now, I began to think in a minor way about Buddhism, and in particular about the possibility of reincarnation. At the time, (1979), there was a resurgence of the threat of nuclear war that would inevitably create worldwide desolation. In another field, the 'experts' were predicting an imminent mini ice age. My reasoning went thus: if there is going to be nuclear desolation or an ice age, I did not want to reincarnate. So what did I have to do not to have to return? This was not obsessive thinking, rather was it a series of vague stirrings, and the beginning of exploration. In every respect I was buoyant and my mind was active - friends call me 'the ideas man', very much a lateral thinker and seeker of practical ways and logical solutions.

Thus, what did this pragmatic engineer do with his knowledge of a spiritual state of existence and his belief that the pendulum was being controlled by a discarnate spiritual entity, in ways that he could not determine? He did what many have subsequently insisted that he should not have done, he made an alphabet and numeral chart!

This advice should be heeded by anyone thinking about doing the same, as the experiences that follow should show.

I had never thought much about, and had certainly never experimented with, a planchette or ouija board, nor had I tried any other forms of divination. I was certainly not looking in any way whatsoever for deep insights nor for predictions. I was just looking, in total innocence and without expectation. The spiritualist activities of my parents and grandparents had always appeared to have assumed the presence of benevolent spirits. If they had any concept of, or protection against, the intrusion of spiritual malevolence, I was not aware of it. The possible existence of such never even entered my mind. (Recent conversation with my brother, who was a much more active participant than I was, has informed me that there were indeed careful and stringent precautions and practices aimed at guarding against such intrusions.)

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