When I finally read The Candle of Vision: Autobiography of a Mystic, I found a fellow pilgrim on the quest for self knowledge. Although the author, George William Russell, who wrote under the pseudonym AE, embraced a religious frame of reference in his search for noetic illumination, his questions and observations about the nature of reality were spiritual rather than strictly theological. Buoyed by this fellowship with a man who had died 24 years before my birth, I began to seek out other mystics, scientists, and philosophers who might help me along on my journey.

I was well into the third draft of Time Rise 1 (OPUS 1), when I began to find reading materials that actually discussed matters of extraordinary human experiences often strikingly similar to my own. After years of supposing that I occupied one small raft on an immense ocean, I was now discovering a fleet of fellow explorers from throughout this century alone. In 1901, after a fantastic visionary experience, Richard M. Bucke coined the term Cosmic Consciousness. In 1999, John E. Mack, a psychiatrist studying the transformative aspects of modern consciousness, published Passport to the Cosmos. These serve as symbolic bookends to the 20th century’s pioneers whose search for meaning brought some stability to the chaos of changing worldviews. Bucke and Mack, Stanislav Grof, Carl Jung, John W. Dunne, and J.B. Priestley, among many others, candidly offered their insights into the phenomena of Time, consciousness, and subtler realms of human perception.

 

Reaching still further into the literature of cosmic experience I was at first thrilled, then quizzical, and ultimately, cautious. As an outsider, I’d unknowingly strayed into the wrong side of town. The field of extraordinary human experience is a complex of alleyways and dark corridors that are only occasionally intersected by illuminated highways. Often, streetsigns are missing or painted over, and it’s easy to get confused. Becoming lost in the darker sections of this city on the edge of everywhere, I inevitably got hoodwinked by charlatans. I was roughed up by psychopaths, inveterate liars and tricksters. There were the imprudent types who described day-pass excursions to the Pleiadian constellation. Also the uninformed, who, miscomprehending their own experiences, reported Marty McFly-like time-travel, as if Back to the Future were a travelogue, not a movie.

Despite all of this, I managed to gather valuable information from various fields of genuine and authoritative study. Reinforced with such knowledge, I entertained the idea of chucking all my hard work on the first chapter of Time Rise to start over again. Finally, though, I decided that the story’s comparatively naïve perspective was the essence of my experiences, and the framework of its character. Time Rise 1 remained as I first wrote it for publication in the first volume of OPUS.

In the second volume, however, and in others to come, I shall attempt to make use of the information and insights so generously offered by the learned, the inquisitive, the speculators, and the experiencers. Supressing the self-doubt that, I know so very well, comes with the territory of philosophical inquiry, they have been inspired to step forward and be counted as explorers in the realms of transpersonal experience and alternate realities.