Sunday, January 22, 2012

I Have Tried to Write

by Richard Crews
Several times recently I have tried to write about a particular subject, but it always seems to require so much preliminary explanation that my essays have wound up being on other topics--they have fallen short. "Consciousness vs. Reality" was one of those essays. So was "The Idea of Cause," and "The Genetics and Evolution of Brain Development," and "The Miraculous Powers of the Human Brain."

The question I want to understand and to answer is, If--as seems clear to me, though I resist accepting the notion--if my mind can really have causative effects on the physical world around me--if I truly commit myself to believing that crazy idea, what . . . what . . . what am I going to do about it?

But first a couple of vignettes. (Yes, here I go again beating around the bush.) In December of 1963 I was living with my first wife, Michael, in a little broken-down house in San Francisco. Every day I would get home from work about 5:00 (I was in my medical internship at San Francisco General Hospital), and I would wait an hour or more--up to four hours--for Michael to get home. I would sit and read about the religions of the world and about mystical experiences, or listen to music or study medicine, and I would wait . . . and wait.

One day I sat reading and listening to music for a while, then I turned off the music and sat in the silence, in the darkness, thinking. I pondered deeply the question, If I really believe all this stuff I have been reading from mystical religions and spiritual teachers, I should be able to "know" when Michael will get home. Her time of return was very variable, and it was completely unpredictable--as I've said, somewhere between 5:00 and 9:00 PM.

I sat there for over an hour; 6:00 PM became 7:00; and I tried to know--and to feel very sure that I knew--exactly when Michael would get home.

Suddenly it came to me: "She's coming--she's almost here." I got up from my chair and walked across the living room and out the front door, and across the porch and down the long flight of steps leading to the street. We lived on one of those San Francisco hills (if you have been to San Francisco, you know what I mean about the hills). In fact, our house was at the very end of Divisadero Street after it becomes Castro--Castro actually ended by becoming our short driveway.

When, after a minute or so hiking down there, I got to the street level, I walked over and heaved open the heavy, up-swinging garage door. And just as I did, her car came into view in the distance, cresting the last hill a block away. Just as I finished opening the door and getting out of the way, she drove up and she drove into the garage without pausing.

As we walked up to the house together, she asked me, perplexed, "Thanks--I really appreciate it--but why on earth were you standing out in the rain waiting for me?"

I didn't answer. I couldn't have explained it to her. I hardly believe it myself.

Through the years I have had other similar experiences of "just knowing" something without any possible way that I could know it. And I have had comparable baffling experiences in long-distance, thought healing, etc.

Which leads me to the present question, if that stuff is really true as it convincingly seems to be, what on earth am I going to do about it? What, specifically, should I be doing and thinking differently in my life?

But once again I have used up my allowable essay length and only introduced, not grappled with--surely not answered--the question. Perhaps the next essay....