To Love Is To Be Happy With – Chapter 11

Possibilities of Psychic Experience

The little dot kept moving out of focus as the heavy drone of a radio seeped into the room and filled it like old cigarette smoke. My body felt almost weightless as if suspended just a fraction off the mattress. The floating was mellow and comfortable. There was nothing to do. The chores and obligations of my everyday existence were temporarily suspended during this siege with fever and flu.

Lying in bed for two days, trying to sweat it out by beating the temperature at its own game. My lips were parched and parted like the floor of an open field baked by the sun. I lingered in this soupy twilight where sleep borders on daylight, holding the very nodule of my consciousness in the balance. The howling wind whipped at the windows as a heavy blanket of snow powdered the world white.

Late evening. No work today or tomorrow. No important conference to consider, no complex problem requiring an immediate solution. Infatuated with the journey, I gave myself the freedom to float and concentrate on snow as it created the season’s first blizzard … tapping its frozen melody on the window.

Then, just as peacefully and casually as any of my other perceptions and thoughts, a clear, yet foreign idea entered my mind. “My friend’s Manor House is going to blow up.” “Oh really,” I answered myself, amused. My friend’s house was a piece of real estate I had agreed to watch while he was on an extended business trip. It was a quaint old mini-estate house, with thirty-three rooms that had been divided into apartments.

Yet the unlikely concept recurred vividly in my mind’s eye. “My friend’s house is going to blow up.” A soundless sentence never spoken, yet communicated. This time, I concentrated on the newly emerged thought. With no specific references or foreknowledge, I became aware that in the top-floor apartment a valve had been removed from one of the radiators. Remembering that the heating plant was one continuous closed-steam system, the result would be dangerous and a potentially explosive situation. Without water, the boiler would burst unless stopped by a back-up safety device. Somehow, I was also aware the safety valve was not operating. Yet, how could I know all this since I was barely familiar with the mechanics or even the physical layout of the house? Nevertheless, I sensed the danger was increasing during the very seconds in which I contemplated it.

Now! How clearly I could hear the urgency echo in my head. Now! Move rapidly! Avoid an unthinkable disaster!

With considerable effort, I rolled out of my bed and began to dress. I called my wife and casually informed her that my friend’s house was going to blow up. I asked her to come with me. For several long seconds we both looked at each other; then she nodded. No hesitation. No resistance. Not even a question. In some bizarre way, her response was supportive of mine.

As I brushed the accumulating snow from the car window, I could feel the wobbly unsteadiness of my legs in response to a fever of over one hundred and three. During the drive, neither of us talked. All concentration was on the road, hardly visible beneath seven inches of soft and treacherous snow. Even later, when we reached the building, she never once asked me how I knew what I said I knew.

Her implicit and immediate trusting helped support my impulse and direction. I believed what I was doing was absolutely wild … yet it felt absolutely right — moving without any questions or judgments.

It was eleven o’clock when we arrived. The snow had created small mountains and valleys against the side of the house. Graceful tunnels were formed under tightly-grouped trees. Trudging through the drifts, I fumbled with the unfamiliar keys in search of the one to the basement door. Reaching the rear of the house, I found the right key. On entering, I found the boiler room incredibly hot. For a moment, I hesitated and asked myself in a very sober tone, “What the hell am I doing here?” But just as I verbalized the question, it seemed answered and disappeared.

The boiler raced and belched out strange noises and groans. The gauge showed the pressure and heat to be well beyond the safety point — in fact, it was almost beyond being read. The safety valve, just as I had somehow known, had never functioned in closing down the unit.

Forty thousand thoughts ricocheted in the cradle of my brain. Nothing took root. “Should I evacuate the building?” “Should I add water through the hot water heating unit and replace the missing water?” “If I do that, will the boiler blow up in my face?”

The confusion grew. I could feel the energy speeding through me. Consciously, I focused my attention on my breathing in order to relax … to go back to the ease and the comfort of the float. Quietly, my mind ceased its internal rush. Slowly, my hands rose up from my sides and grabbed the feed-valve. I turned the knob and let the water gush into the boiler. The hissing and gurgling were loud for several minutes, until the heat and pressure were restored to normal. A smile grew on my face.

After leaving the basement, I walked directly to the top floor apartment. I knocked on the door and asked the tenants if I could check a radiator. Out of thirty-three possible choices, I decided without any reason to go directly to the radiator at the rear of the kitchen. Lying on the floor, catching the glitter of a fluorescent light, was the valve. They had removed it and subsequently had forgotten to replace it. The vapor escaping from this single unit had exhausted the water supply of the entire system. I explained to the tenants the dangers of what they had done and left.

For weeks I searched myself for the meaning of what had happened. In a series of discussions, I realized this very special experience occurred during a time when happiness was no longer a question. Whether it is for months, days, weeks or a lifetime, awareness and clarity increase significantly when we are not diverted by unhappiness or our efforts to escape from it. In this situation, I felt completely free, void of my usual daily concerns. The fever had also facilitated my drifting into a highly receptive and fluid state. I remembered feeling extremely peaceful, not as a function of premeditatedly making a decision to be happy, but simply by allowing. It was during this time that I seemed to know something for which I had no evidence.

Certainly, there are some who would want to classify this experience as ESP or psychic (an experience beyond known physical processes). Although my vocabulary propels me in that direction, those terms are tainted with a variety of mystical and bizarre connotations, including beliefs which suggest such experiences are uncontrollable and possibly dangerous. If there are any answers, perhaps they come not from our superstitions, but from understanding the nature of ourselves and our happiness.

If I am happy, coming from my own nature in which knowing and wanting are one, then what flows to me and from me would be anything and everything I am open to know, which would include receptivity to the “psychic experience.” Where I have barriers (my fears), nothing will penetrate. I can always erect walls wherever I choose. The control of what I come to know and experience is always within my jurisdiction … as I monitor and mediate my thoughts and awareness.

In another mood, at another time, I might have thrown many spears at my apparent irrationality instead of preventing the catastrophe at my friend’s house. “Logic” and “reason” might have prevailed since I had no evidence or reason for believing my thoughts. Moreover, leaving my own house was reckless considering I was ill and accumulating snow made the roads dangerous. In effect I could have found many good reasons not to go! I could have “reasonably” handled the situation by ignoring it. Yet that would have served to actually move me away from my awareness and wanting. It would have been a statement of not trusting myself … unwilling to move implicitly with my own inclinations.

Often, we have had thoughts or feelings about people and things come to us for no apparent reason. Many parents have had “intuitive” feelings about danger to their children. Other people have reported hearing the voice of a friend or loved one in trouble although they’re hundreds or thousands of miles away. Some of us know what others are going to say before the words leave their mouth. How often has a friend or acquaintance called us on the telephone at the very same moment we were thinking about them. And yet, the majority of these experiences are just dismissed as hunches, daydreams or coincidences.

Often unexplainable stories are either discarded, romanticized or cloaked in mysterious overtones. How many of us have said, “I don’t want to know.” Why not? The undercurrent is fear. It’s my way of rippling the water and making the images disappear.

“I don’t want to know because it might be bad, then I will be involved and responsible.” “I might be deluded into believing my psychic intuitions and then what?” If I had said those fearful statements, I would be believing something which comes to me and through me could be “bad.” And if I believed “bad” things come from me, then something must be bad or wrong with me … otherwise, how would I come to know these “terrible” things. Ultimately, I might conclude: trusting myself is a very precarious and dangerous activity.

Conversely, if I trust myself, allow myself the happiness and wants, I would be in touch with knowing that nothing comes from me except what is of my nature. If I know beneath the fears and the doubts my nature is me experiencing my happiness and loving, then I could know all that I come to be aware of is also loving … and useful to me.

In another instance, an associate of mine was working on a report for almost three consecutive hours when he decided to rest. His mind was drained by the concentrated effort. He was aware of feeling elated about the quality of the thesis. As relaxation filtered through his entire body, he piled his papers neatly beside his typewriter. Then, he described feeling a peculiar and definite inclination to look out the window.

At that very moment he saw his two-year-old daughter, who bad been playing in the neighbors’ yard, fall over the edge of their swimming pool. As his child’s body broke the water, he bolted from the chair at a dead run.

The little girl’s form went limp as it slowly descended to the bottom of the pool. Taking no more than thirty seconds, he crashed through the surface of the water and grabbed her from the deep end. He wrapped her small body in towels, amazed and joyful that she was perfectly at ease … almost unaware of what had just occurred. Her breathing was normal and it was obvious she had held her breath and not choked on the water.

Maybe the child knew her father was there … that she was okay. At the moment she fell over the edge, father and daughter had become one. It was as if the little girl moved WITHIN his consciousness and in some way, her falling body had triggered his first glance.

Perhaps, if we were unencumbered by unhappiness, the closeness and sensitivity that flows between us and those we love could bring us within a range of communication that defies logic and intellectual statement. It is not the product of specific effort as much as the natural result of free-flowing with our own nature. As the roar of a passing truck drowns out the music of a cricket or bird, so may the whirling frenzy of our fears and tensions drown out the messages of our inner voice. As we choose to detach ourselves from the stress and short circuits of unhappiness, we become more aware of our knowing and more allowing of our natural intuitions (whether we choose to view them as psychic or not). If what then surfaces exists outside a specific and documentable rationale, if our experiences become multidimensional, opening unique and penetrating connections with our environment, we can be glad for the specialness of ourselves and embrace the gift of our increasing awareness.

A frightened young woman once told of seeing a strange and unexplainable figure standing in her backyard. One morning, just before leaving for work, she glanced through a window at the rear of her house. To her amazement, she saw a strange man wearing a dark raincoat and rain hat. He looked absurd in the warm sunshine of the morning. The hot sun masked his face in shadow and the light broke around his body, softening the edges. She felt the adrenaline pumping into her system as she turned away frightened. She wanted to block the image from her mind, immediately sensing discomfort.

Then, with a great burst of determination, she swiftly turned back to the window. This time, there was no figure. She surveyed the entire area and asked herself whether or not she had really seen the man. After all, his presence and his dress seemed senseless. Her immediate impulse was to dismiss the incident, but somehow she couldn’t. Each day she would look for the figure in her backyard. Each night she would peer uncomfortably from behind her bedroom curtains in search of the strange man.

Finally, after four days had elapsed, she saw the figure again. She inhaled deeply and decided to investigate. She would actually go to the back door and confront him. When she arrived, he was not there. Again, she had the queer feeling that her “apparition” was not a flesh-and-blood reality. Although the man did not appear aggressive or dangerous, her discomfort gripped her.

Opening the door, she walked to the very spot where he had stood. As she turned back to the house, she noticed that a giant old maple which literally hung over the house, had a massive vertical split. A huge portion of the tree seemed poised to fall. Remembering the intense thunder storms of the week before, she surmised it had been hit by lightning. A strong wind whipped across her face.

Immediately she decided to summon her father, who was working in his office at the rear of the house. As she and her father crossed through the living room, they heard an explosion. They both ran to the backyard, where they were aghast to find the large section of the tree had broken off and crashed through the wall of the house … demolishing the very office in which her father had just been working. They both looked at each other in amazement and horror. Neither of them chose to speak to the other about the incident.

Several days later, when she was consulting the sky for her own personal weather forecast, she saw the same rain-coated figure standing in the yard. At first, her instinct was to alert her parents. Then, she stopped herself. Leaping down the stairs, she threw the back door open. But, again, the man had disappeared.

After surveying the broken tree she again became frightened and confused … wanting to erase the entire experience from her mind.

In recounting the story and allowing her memory and comfort to flow, several things became apparent to her. She had investigated the spot because of her image. In finding the broken tree and in alerting her father, she had saved his life, or at least precipitated his moving out of a situation in which he might have been seriously injured.

Previously, she had always considered herself “psychic,” but tried to obliterate her thoughts and “reasonless” images believing they were bad. In effect, she thought what she might come to know would be “bad” for her … and she would also somehow then be responsible for things happening. Yet, in reviewing her strong attachment to her father and her good feelings for him, she realized her response to her “image” had actually helped her keep him safe.

Her multidimensional awareness and knowing was not cryptic or “bad,” but beautiful and useful to her.

Sure, there are fears and anger which generate violent and vicious images. Those are very different from intuition and knowing. They come not from our good feelings, but from our unhappiness. Considering her mood and inclinations, she asserted her image did come from comfort. In allowing and acting on her awareness, rather than working against herself, she was able to actually help a loved one. Her “unexplainable” vision actually enabled her to get more of what she wanted.

As we talked, I could see the excitement capture her entire face. Before, she had been so very strained. I asked her to try to remember the image once again. The first time I suggested it, I could see her body tense. She said she couldn’t remember it clearly.

Then, she relaxed and her face lit up. Yes, she could remember more now. The first time, the figure was inert with no particular expression. The second time, he almost appeared to be smiling. The third time, she distinctly remembered the figure made a gesture to her as if he was waving. She was amazed to realize her “image” actually was friendly. Her bout with the “unknown” changed as she allowed herself to remember and as she disconnected the fears surrounding the occurrence. As her beliefs changed, she re-experienced the event, had new thoughts and feelings and was in awe of her own understanding.

Whether her external “man” had real content (flesh and blood), was just a fiction of her imagination, or was of another dimension, his presence did result in a significant and life-supporting experience. Perhaps it was her way of getting in touch with her knowing … which comes without foundation, reasons or evidence.

Her experience was her experience. It need not be validated by another’s substantiation. This again would be trying to use “evidence” to find truth. Ultimately, she, like each of us, stands alone as the witness to truth and our own experience. When we are not clouded by discomfort and inhibited by such self-defeating beliefs as “There must be something wrong with me,” then our own personal clarity and trust become the only significant validator of all we come to know.

If I knew whatever I see would be okay, I would be more permissive with my visions. If my happiness was not at stake, new awareness and information could only help me to be better equipped and more lucid as I make my way through the environment. Ideas and concepts that come from my discomforts could be filtered through my system of beliefs where they were born. Other awarenesses could simply be accepted or rejected as I come to know them.

Happiness could be my guide.

I could always ask myself the question: does this awareness move me away from my not-wants (fears) or move me toward my wants? If I am moving toward, then I can know I am coming from my own nature and not responding to discomforts and unhappiness. As a tool, the question can help me more clearly define my thoughts when I am in doubt, just as clarifying my not-wants often helps me know and move toward what I do want. There are no major decisions to make or rules to construct. I can decide what to do about my awareness when it comes to me … when I allow it.

These experiences are just part of a passing landscape; the flowers I pick are my own.

A major characteristic of the psychic experience is psychic awareness either makes or could make a difference in someone’s life (including our own). The father’s inclination to look at his daughter at the exact moment she fell in the pool facilitated his saving her life. My own effort to shut down a runaway boiler was infused with power and gravity because it involved others. The student with her rain-coated phantom responded to an impulse that possibly saved her father’s life.

If we now had a “feeling” that somewhere in a forest a tree was going to fall, we’d probably ignore the fleeting image. But if our feeling or intuition seemed to indicate a little child would be crushed under the tree, the scope and significance of our experience would immediately be elevated. A casual thought would be converted into a psychic intuition.

If I were watching a horse race and suddenly saw the number five on my son’s forehead, bet on number five and won, I would have called it a lucky hunch … an acceptable knowing. But if my son needed a very expensive operation I could not afford and winning this money enabled him to have the life-saving surgery, the experience would be shrouded in mystery and probably now classified as psychic. The awareness and action made a difference in someone else’s life. Although, in kind, this experience is no different from what we call knowing … the accent is altered. When we speak of knowing, we speak of knowledge and information of ourselves and for ourselves. The psychic experience shifts us to a more externalized and cosmic focus … us in relation to others, us in relation to our environment.

At a gathering several months ago, we were discussing items about astrology and the possibility of seeing auras. Suddenly, the hostess called her three-year-old son into the room and quite casually asked him to tell us what colors he saw around each person in the room. With great ease and precision, her son said he saw yellow around me, red around someone else and a variety of other colors around the remaining people in the room. A psychic experience? Or just something within his vision to know? We later tried this experiment with several other children … four out of six also reported seeing distinct colors around people. Somehow, the entire affair did not seem startling or mysterious. Although I had never had the experience of seeing auras when I was young (maybe that’s a convenience of memory), I do not discount the awareness of these little people. Perhaps, “not seeing” auras is part of the same process by which, as a child, I came not to know.

I can run from my ideas and fears without dispelling them. I can fabricate consequences and inflate my designs. That’s really okay, if I believe that would be best for me.

But somehow I notice I can never run far enough away. If I de-energize my discomforts surrounding an experience, I give myself the opportunity to remove the lid and explore the contents. The experiences cited in this chapter were not meant to amaze or even substantiate any ideas presented here. They were notations to be shared, either in the abstract or the particular. The quality or feasibility of what is said is for each of us alone to assess, not in vague terms or in the forum of debate, but in regard to the nature of our own experiences and awareness.

If something deep within us has been tickled or touched, perhaps it is a recognition and an invitation to allow more for ourselves.

If beauty is in the eyes of the beholder, so is meaning and value. I can make everything in the world beautiful by simply acknowledging it as such. It’s as easy as that for beholding beauty is actually the experience of creating beauty.

So it is or can be with what I decide about psychic experience. If I paint it purple with beliefs of fear, then I create my own unpleasant experience. If I color it black with concepts of doubt and distrust, then I create a confusing experience. But if I choose not to do either, but just be accepting and let it flow freely, then I might see the most I can see … and in the clarity of that white light, I can know or decide meaning and value.

The focus here has been on removing the barrier of unhappiness so that we might allow the flow of our own nature … and in that receptivity, allow a more multidimensional grasp of our environment and of those around us. For some, our inner voice has been permitted repeatedly to surface despite the distortion of unhappiness and the distractions of fears. But for most of us, we have learned to turn a deaf ear, casually dismissing many of our “hunches,” “feelings” and intuitions. And yet, without fanfare or specific reference, we all, at some time, have had the experience of moving with our inclinations – “I just had an impulse to turn at this corner,” “Something in me said to relax and wait,” “I just knew to go.”

The Option Process of becoming happier sets the stage for increased psychic possibilities, but does it “make” me psychic? Psychic reception is analogous to hearing. My ears and the supportive apparatus of audio perception are part of me … activated by sounds which occur internally and externally to my body. Before the sound, there was no hearing. Like the lute, which comes alive when someone plucks its strings, so my body and brain vibrate with the music of my world as it comes TO me. So it is with psychic perceptivity. I might discard much of my unhappiness and permit more of my nature to flower, yet I cannot create the impulse of psychic communication. How I interpret the data and what I do with it once I perceive it is, however, distinctly my choice.

The psychic experience does not originate in me, it comes to me and through me. There is nothing to do to precipitate it … I have only to wait, to allow.

And yet, such a description is a physical or material explanation of a multidimensional experience. Perhaps, from another vantage point, the psychic experience does originate in us … insofar as through our happiness and allowing, our consciousness expands beyond the walls of any physical container. Perhaps, in being more flowing, we merge more easily with people and the environment surrounding us. So when the cry for help is heard or a kiss is bestowed upon us from miles away, perhaps we have only noted what had actually occurred within.

One student described in vivid detail how he and several companions vacated a campsite in a ravine a full ten minutes before a giant boulder fell from an overhanging ledge. Without any material substantiation, he sensed the danger of a falling

rock. Stone has its own life and energy (molecular activity) as does the ground beneath it. The air which encircles the rocks also responds to the stone’s vibrations with its own movement. And so did this weekend explorer, who premeditatedly moved out of the rock’s path – not because he had deduced the slide or seen indications of the fall, but because the rock and the ground and the air were no longer external to his awareness, but part of his ever-increasing and expanding grasp of the world. His energy was connected with his environment’s energy. During the second night, he noted being aware of a mountain lion wading in the water several miles downstream. Again, beyond sight and hearing, he could describe the animal feeding on the side of the river (a fact substantiated the following morning). It was almost as if the cat moved within him or that his mind included the movement of the cat.

There are no rules to follow, no promises to adhere to, no judgments to make. In trusting our nature, we treat ourselves with a caring and loving embrace. Being open, like the child, with bristling ears, responsive eyes, receptive mouths, sensitive fingers and an alert curiosity is the beginning. Whether unexplained data, images or knowledge then comes to me or not is no reflection on who I am or what I am. When I have made it my time and for me to know, it will all come to me … not a moment sooner.

And the psychic experiences that might follow as the result of our personal Option evolution will be ours to confirm. We verify. We walk the path and take the journey. And “unexplained” images are just another way by which we are enriched.

Questions to ask yourself

  • Have you ever had visions or premonitions?
  • Are you afraid of having a psychic experience? If so, why?
  • Do you fear what you might allow yourself to know, really know? Why?
  • Do you believe in ESP types of experiences? If so, are you ready to have one? If not, why not?
  • Could you accept knowledge that comes from “nowhere”?

Option concepts to consider

  • When happiness is no longer a question, we allow our knowing, opening ourselves to “psychic” type experiences.
  • Awareness increases significantly when we are not diverted by unhappiness.
  • Psychic awareness defies logic or intellectual statement.
  • We, alone, stand witness to truth and our own experience.
  • What comes to us and through us can only be beautiful and useful.
  • Being happy is my way of allowing myself and my awareness to flow.

Beliefs to consider discarding

  • Knowing can be dangerous.
  • Psychic experience is reserved only for the very weird.
  • We are bad for ourselves.
  • We should fear what we don’t know.
  • Normal, everyday people don’t have ESP kinds of experiences.
  • If I can’t explain it, it doesn’t exist.

Dialogue … psychic experience

Q. What are you unhappy about?

A. I’m not unhappy. I’m frightened.

Q. Okay; what is it that you’re frightened about?

A. These uh … I don’t know what you would call them … These premonitions i get.

Q. What do you mean?

A. Like a thought … No, a feeling. Not exactly a feeling or a thought. It’s like my body tingles and i sense something. Every time it happens, i feel like i’m going to jump out of my skin.

Q. Why?

A. Because it’s usually something uncomfortable, to say the least. Like my sister is going to get hurt or a friend is going to lose her job. Always things like that.

Q. What is it about such awarenesses that makes you uncomfortable?

A. To know something terrible will happen.

Q. What do you mean “terrible”?

A. Well, if my “sense” tells me someone is going to have an accident, how could that be anything but terrible?

Q. But why is it terrible?

A. I don’t want anyone to be hurt or suffer.

Q. Sure, i understand that, but why would you be unhappy that you sensed it coming?

A. Because then … Hey, wait a minute. How come you never asked me if my premonitions come true.

Q. Why is that a question for you?

A. Because it’s important. Suppose this whole thing is just a game?

Q. Yes.

A. Then it would be pointless … Meaningless. You know what i mean?

Q. If i saw this as meaningless or pointless, it would be because of my reasons and beliefs about what you’re saying. But what are your reasons? Why would you suppose it might be pointless?

A. i guess it really wouldn’t be. if i made the whole thing up, it would still certainly be relevant to me. (begins to laugh)

Q. Why are you laughing?

A. i guess i was just testing you. (long pause, face contracts as if in pain) this is not a game. it’s all true. i sense things and sometimes, without any logic, they happen. it’s like having a weird, uncontrollable radar system.

Q. What do you mean?

A. i mean i get this premonition and suddenly three days later it happens. for example, one day, i’m walking on the street where i live and i can sense an accident … not mine, but someone else’s. later that week, a young man was hurt in a motorcycle accident on that very same section of the street. another time, i was about to go to classes, when i just decided not to go, feeling it would be a waste of time. but i never cut classes unless i’m really sick. when i realized what i was doing i couldn’t believe it. then suddenly i began to sense the instructor had died. god, sure enough, i get a call from my friend who tells me professor soren did die that morning. (she begins to cry.)

Q. What are you unhappy about?

A. About knowing. i don’t want to know.

Q. Why does that make you unhappy?

A. I have to sit and wait for it to happen. it makes me part of it.

Q. What do you mean when you say you’re part of it?

A. Well, i know. i know in advance. wouldn’t that make me part of it?

Q. What do you think?

A. Yes. it would.

Q. Do you believe that?

A. Well … i think so, but i’m not sure why. it’s awful being responsible.

Q. What are you afraid would happen if you weren’t upset about being responsible?

A. If i wasn’t upset, then i’d really be a monster!

Q. What do you mean?

A. I care about other people!

Q. Are you saying that being upset shows you care about people?

A. Yes.

Q. Why?

A. Why? (long pause) well, if i didn’t get upset, then i would be unfeeling. (long sigh) that’s not necessarily true. just yesterday, a dear friend was very troubled by a problem she had. i tried to help her with it, but i wasn’t upset … yet, i really still cared.

Q. Okay then, do you believe you have to be upset to be a caring person?

A. No, i don’t. and that really helps. i suddenly feel a little disconnected from all that misery. but, to tell the truth, i’m still unhappy about having premonitions.

Q. Why does that make you unhappy?

A. Because i still don’t want them. i don’t want to know all those things that other people don’t seem to be aware of.

Q. Sure, i understand you don’t want to know, but why are you unhappy that you do know?

A. I guess it goes back again to responsibility.

Q. What do you mean?

A. Like i should stop certain things from occurring if i could … otherwise, why would i have the premonition?

Q. Why do you think?

A. God, i really don’t know. it seems like i’m responsible.

Q. Do you believe that?

A. Yes and no.

Q. What’s the part of your answer that is “yes”?

A. I’m not really sure. part of me just believes it and that really makes me super uncomfortable.

Q. What are you afraid would happen if you weren’t uncomfortable about being responsible?

A. Wow … maybe then i’d be getting them all day. that would be horrible.

Q. Why?

A. I don’t want to have doomsday feelings all day long.

Q. Why do you believe if you weren’t uncomfortable about your premonitions, they would occur all day?

A. I guess that sounds pretty irrational. it doesn’t really make too much sense. i never realized that i believed being comfortable would mean having more. it doesn’t mean that at all. i haven’t solved it, but it feels like i’ve just let some of the misery go. a lot of times, my unhappiness is just an immediate reaction to my sixth sense.

Q. What do you mean?

A. I get angry … i didn’t ask to be psychic.

Q. But why should you get unhappy if you were?

A. I feel like i’m going in circles. maybe it’s me. (pause) i’m sorry, i forgot the question. what was it?

Q. What do you remember?

A. You asked me something about being afraid? wasn’t that it?

Q. What do you think?

A. I don’t know. what do i do now?

Q. What do you want to do?

A. I guess i got uncomfortable again. i want to answer the question. i’m really afraid if i allow myself to open to this thing, i’ll become possessed.

Q. What do you mean by possessed?

A. I’ll be sensing things all the time. i couldn’t handle that.

Q. Why not?

A. It would be a trap.

Q. In what way?

A. (her lips begin to quiver as she puts her hands between her thighs.)

Q. What are you feeling?

A. Cold … like a shiver just ran through me. every time i get into this, i always get this way. even when i was in grade school. when i would get these feelings, i always got frightened.

Q. What is it about these feelings that frightens you?

A. They’re horrid … it’s like being with the devil (beginning to cry).

Q. What do you mean?

A. I see and sense bad things. that’s awful. sometimes i start to think i must be as horrid as my thoughts.

Q. Do you believe that?

A. Then why else would i know these things?

Q. Why do you think?

A. I can’t find the answers. i don’t know why.

Q. What are you afraid would happen if you weren’t afraid of being a “horrid” person?

A. Then, i would become one (long pause).

Q. Are you saying that by being afraid of becoming a bad person it prevents you from being that way?

A. Yes, that’s what i did say and i guess it sounds ridiculous. i suppose i was thinking if i’m not afraid of it, then i might want it. amazing! what a strange way to think. when i’m afraid, i get crazy. i mean i’m really heavy to be with when i’m anxious or scared (long sigh and closes her eyes).

Q. What are you feeling?

A. That i want to be finished with that whole scene. there’s no way i want to keep frightening myself. none of that makes any sense to me anymore. (pause) okay, if i was just calm about this whole thing, then i would get my next premonition and then … then, i might try to tell the other person or even try to change the situation. (seemingly jittery) oh, that would be insane. the others would just laugh in my face, they wouldn’t believe me … and worse, they would see me as some kind of freak.

Q. And if they didn’t listen or saw you as a freak, why would that make you uncomfortable?

A. That would hurt.

Q. What do you mean?

A. Maybe i’d end up alone. everybody would avoid me.

Q. And if your worst fears came to pass and everyone avoided you, why would that make you unhappy?

A. You know, i never heard that question before. i’ll tell you, i never would allow myself to get close to dealing with such a thought. that’s one fear i’ve had for a long, long time. i don’t want people to push me away. yet, right this minute … i don’t know about tomorrow … it would be okay. (smiling) i guess it’s because i just know it wouldn’t happen. sure, some people might run away, but i know others won’t. i think if i tried to help someone, i would feel really good about it. up till now, i’ve always feared acting on my feelings, but that’s changing.

Q. What do you want?

A. Well, to be comfortable with my premonitions.

Q. And are you?

A. Much more so than ever before. i understand more about what i was doing with all that fear. but i still have a sense that something bothers me. i don’t know quite what it is.

Q. If you guess at it, what do you suppose it would be?

A. I think maybe it has to do with always seeing bad things.

Q. What do you mean “bad?”

A. Like knowing about negative events.

Q. At the early part of our discussion, you referred to your premonitions as a radar system. maybe an analogy made from your metaphor would help. if a radar system built to give advance warning of storms showed an impending hurricane … which resulted in people being safely evacuated from the area, would you be unhappy about them knowing that or would you be grateful?

A. Grateful … of course. ah! (smiling) it starts to get so clear. if my internal radar system enables me and others to avoid problems and be safe, it’s really just as wonderful as any other radar system. suddenly my curse is beginning to look like a gift. or maybe a talent. i never thought of it like that before.

Q. What do you want?

A. To use my “radar” system. (she inhales a deep breath, does ten turns of a yoga neck exercise, stops gently and smiles.) about responsibility … when weather stations have radar systems, they don’t create the storms, they’re just warning devices. i guess at that point, people have the choice of listening or not listening. (she jumps from the chair and begins to pace.) i’m so incredibly excited. what has haunted me all my life, what seemed like a curse suddenly looks so different. hey, i remember a situation when i was twelve. i had this feeling a truck was going to come up on the sidewalk where i was playing with a friend. so i told my friend to help me bring my bike around to the back of my house. two minutes later, a huge truck, after being sideswiped, ran up onto the sidewalk where we had been playing. i was too scared to tell anyone about it. too scared to even remember. yet, you know, i did use it and what happened was really beautiful for us.

Q. How are you feeling?

A. Like i can see again. maybe if i’m not afraid i will begin to see … and, ah ha! maybe enjoy my premonitions. if i could know when a truck will jump onto the sidewalk, then i would know all the times it would be perfectly safe to play there. and that’s certainly a happy knowing!

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The Option Institute and its teachers have had the honor to present programs (during the last four decades) that explore the attitudes and beliefs we have (and may want to change) and to help program participants find their own answers to questions about relationships, careers, family challenges and health issues. Our new program, Health & Healing: Navigating Life’s Health Challenges (formerly '5 Days to Live') , focuses on navigating significant health challenges and decision-making with greater ease, clarity, and clear purpose.

We are not a medical facility and we do not dispense any medical advice. We have and would always guide our program participants, to consult with their doctors, healthcare providers, and family members in making medical decisions for themselves and those they love. Neither Mass General Hospital nor any member of its medical staff endorses any program being offered by the Option Institute and its teachers.

NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration



PRE-REQUISITES for attending Advanced Power Dialogues are:

  • Completion of The Option Institute’s PowerDialogues program.
  • If it’s been more than 5 years since you attended PowerDialogues, please call 413-229-2100 to discuss options.

NOTE: Attendance of live sessions via Zoom are required to complete this course.

Please note, this is a per-person registration


Dear Donor,

Jeannie Reid was searching for answers to the challenges she and her family were facing. Jeannie and her husband Stuart’s son, Carson, had been diagnosed with Pervasive Developmental Disorder, a condition on the Autism spectrum. For Carson that meant being completely involved in obsessive behaviors and only using minimal words to identify objects, as well as frequently and completely melting down.

Soon after, Jeannie found the book, “Son-Rise: The Miracle Continues” and when she read it, she KNEW she had found what she was looking for. She began using some of the Son-Rise techniques described in the book on her own until she was able to come to The Autism Treatment Center of America for the Son-Rise Program Start-Up. As she put into practice what she learned there, Carson’s world was opening up. Today Carson is attending a Montessori school as a 'typical' student and functioning at or above typical grade level, being fully verbal and conversational, and very interested in learning about the world and interacting as much as possible with other people. He is even taking swim lessons at the local YMCA and doing great!

“It has been wonderful to get, and stay connected with other people and Son-Rise parents from all over the world. My son’s progress had already come very far, but now I truly believe we can go all the way!”

Jeannie wrote.

Stuart Reid then attended the Empower Yourself course and brought home a new sense of clarity, balance and personal power. He shared his new empowerment with Jeannie and she in turn gained in confidence, strength and enthusiasm. Their own relationship began to flourish anew, as well. Life-altering changes were happening for Jeannie and her family.

Jeannie journeyed again to Sheffield, this time for the Fearless course at The Option Institute to help her recognize and overcome her personal obstacles. Jeannie wanted to continue her amazing journey as she had found using the techniques she learned in The Son-Rise Program and in Fearless had absolutely changed the lives of everyone in her family.

But, because the Reids’ finances had been seriously stretched by then, their next steps were put on hold. Then an amazing event changed everything. Jeannie’s college roommate and lifelong friend decided to start a Son-Rise Program scholarship fund for people from the Cleveland area. Since then Jeannie has been able to move ahead with her courses, taking Radical Authenticity, Son-Rise Maximum Impact and Son-Rise Wide Awake ... and eventually she became a Certified Group Facilitator.

Jeannie Reid’s story is about wanting BIG and making it happen. She is about to embark on her renewed private practice as an art therapist, and plans to be a super advocate for The Son-Rise Program in her area. Her wonderful new life is a product of her persistence and belief, and of the wheels she helped set in motion for others when her friends learned of how she and her family had been impacted by The Son-Rise Program.

“I know I will be able to give back by helping others, and that will be the top of my personal mountain! Thank you to everyone who donates! You are making a big difference in the world!

Jeannie Reid


Dear Donor

Two years ago, Antonio's kindergarten teacher told us something was not quite right with our little boy. He was not socializing, he somersaulted all the time and hardly spoke at all. At the time I was working for a municipality close to Florence, Italy and basically I had nothing left after seeing to basic necessities.

In the meantime, I looked up Autism with Google and as I was also looking for happiness and personal growth, I was guided to The Option Institute, thence the Autism Treatment Center of America. I read up as much as I could and started trying to apply the “Happiness is a Choice” suggestions. I'm not quite good at it but it has helped me with attitude, and everything else that seemed trying is really different after all this.

When I decided to come for The Son-Rise Program Start-Up, I really had little or no money to pay for it. I spoke to my friends, old and new. My mother helped me, friends I thought couldn't [help] tried their very best and the scholarship did the rest.

What the scholarship did was give a HUGE boost to my fundraising. About six friends contributed the rest, at the travel agency a very kind lady who I may now call a friend helped me some more. I am overwhelmed with gratefulness. Here I am, happy to have attended the Start-Up program and looking forward to learning more and praying to God for guidance.

So the gist of the matter is, I am a happy mum who hopes to implement a wonderful relationship with her child and is riding a not so easy moment with lots of hope in her heart and THANK YOU is not enough for what I feel. I still remember William's words, “If you do what you've always done, you will get what you've always got.” Now I'm trying to do different, bit by bit, day by day. I feel the difference already.

About Antonio ... we are going on with the Italian program and I play with Antonio after school in a quiet room in the house. Knowing what the little guy is exposed to (he's always putting his fingers in his ears and he seems to have problems with too much light in his eyes), I find him very brave as he bears it tolerably. Drums a lot to digest it all.

When we went to the doctor, just weeks after starting the program at home, she told me that she found him more attentive. His attention span has increased. He is also tagging or pulling at one's arm when looking for attention. The child psychologist last Saturday reported the same thing and what's more, my son has always required that I enter the room, hence assisting in every session. Well, this time he went in along with the doctor and told me, “See you later.”

At school, his teacher who speaks English as well, read up and watched my DVD (Kyle’s Journey, Jade and “I want my little boy back”). Now she's changing, bit by bit and I do appreciate that very much. He seems to be OK with her and actually sent me away from class this morning, again telling me, “See you later.”

He is now ONE HUGE GREENLIGHT and I'm hoping to be able to really have volunteers (still looking), raise funds and settle down to business.

God bless,



Dear Donor,

I am the mother of three children, all on the Autism Spectrum. Before I heard of the Son-Rise Program and the Option Institute, I was a desperate, angry and depressed person…. I was on Anti-depressants, sleeping multiple hours of the day, and for a period of time, using alcohol to run away from my pain.

Then I heard of the Son-Rise Program. I called to find out more about it and thought “this if for me!” But I could not afford it. You see raising one child with Autism is very expensive but raising three is just outrageously expensive with all the therapies and dietary interventions that we were doing.

But I was offered a full scholarship to the SRSU program. I have since attended all of the Son-Rise Programs and many of the Personal Growth programs offered by the Option Institute.  Each time I have been given a scholarship and each time I go I learn more about who I am and I change for the better each and every time.  Because of your most generous support, my children are recovering from Autism, I have found happiness in my life!  I am no longer on anti-depressants and I have so much more energy.

YOU are the reason that my family is in recovery. It is because of YOU that my oldest son now is enjoying school.  YOU are the reason my second son is speaking. YOU are the reason my daughter is no longer as rigid and controlling as she once was.  Thank you does not even begin to cover how much gratitude I have for you.  I thank God every day for you and I do not even know you.

Please know that you are changing lives with your donation to ATCA and the OI.  It is because of you that every day people are getting the help that they need. Thank you, thank you and thank you!

With so much love,

Kerry Rihtar