Throughout college, and even in high school, everyone called me "Doc." I definitely took the title to heart. I spent all of my spare time studying. Even in college, when other guys were out partying, I had my nose in the books. It took me only five years of college to get my PhD in theoretical physics. During that time, I also worked as an assistant to several professors, and before I graduated I had been offered a professorship at several colleges. I literally went from studying physics to teaching it.
Of course, the policy for most professors, especially new ones who had not received tenure, was "publish or perish." I had several articles published in small but respected scientific journals on such varied topics as superstrings, time in parallel universes, and the properties of quarks. I hoped to have a book that would help readers understand the inherent unity that exists between sub-atomic quantum physics, the Newtonian physics of everyday life, and the theoretical physics of the vast universe. This literally took up all of my spare time.
My condo was, quite frankly, a mess. I had a maid service that came in every couple of weeks so it wasn't dirty, just very messy. Books, documents, journals, and printouts were stacked everywhere. I literally had no time for anything other than work.
Some time ago I had noticed that I was developing a bit of a pot belly, so I cut an hour's sleep from my schedule and started going to the gym. In a month or two, the pot was gone, but I was exhausted due to the lack of my regular amount of sleep. Here I was, looking to impress women with my physique, but I couldn't stay up to go out on a date.
Of course, that wasn't a surprise. I had only had a few girlfriends in my 45 years on this earth. They all left me, appropriately, because I never had time for them. The truth is, I never had time for anything or anyone other than work. But then I started to think that I might have missed something and wondered about having a wife and children.
I had always figured out things logically and scientifically, but I knew of nothing that would allow me to do so to attract a partner. That notion made me feel sad and, perhaps for the first time in my life, inferior at something. Each day increased my level of sadness. This, combined with the lack of sleep, could have led to a breakdown. Instead, it led me to a breakthrough.
What I came to call The Event began simply enough. I had spent a week not just missing some sleep, but missing a great deal of rest. I had some sort of psychosomatic insomnia, turning and tossing at night, thinking about what life might have been like if I had been married.
The buzz of the alarm clock that day didn't wake me, as I was already somewhat conscious, but it told me it was time to get out of bed. I dragged my tired bones to the bathroom to shave. I use the old-fashioned soap-brush-hot water method because my personal tests have shown that for me it results in the best shave possible. So I stood there, spinning the brush on the soap and building up a lather. Because I was so tired I felt my mind begin to drift into a hypnogogic state as I stared at the mirror. A beam of light coming through the window made an almost-perfect circle about a third of the way down from the top of the mirror, and it caught my attention. I just stared at it.
Suddenly, I heard a loud clanging and yells and screams. I didn't know if it was in my head or in the mirror, but I saw what seemed like thousands of warriors from Greek or Roman times. (I'm not sure. It may have been from some other culture. I'm not a history expert.) They were battling their way through some sort of city. The defenders of the city were overwhelmed and overrun. People scurried to escape the invaders. One soldier ran into a small building and found a woman cringing in fear. I knew as he looked at her that he instantly fell in love with her. He said some words that I didn't understand but somehow knew their meaning: "Don't worry, I won't harm you. I'll protect you." Then he turned and for the first time I saw his face.
It was me.
Startled, I dropped the brush and cup holding the soap as I jumped back two steps! I rubbed my eyes and came back to normal consciousness. What was going on?
Well, I'm a scientist, and one of the first things a scientist will tell you to do is to repeat an experiment. I picked up the soap and put it back into the cup from which it had fallen. I also retrieved the brush and started to lazily rub the brush over the soap. I let myself slip back into that dreamy state and once again looked at the circle of light in the mirror.
In seconds, a new vision was in front of me. It was night and people in black robes were dancing around a bonfire to the tempo of someone playing drums. Suddenly, the drums stopped. Everyone threw off their clothes and ran into the woods. I followed one man who tackled a fleeing woman. I didn't understand their words, but it was clear that they were no strangers. She was laughing with happiness and pleasure. When she turned over, it was the same woman as in my first vision. The only thing I knew for sure was that he kept calling her "Gina." They made love, and when they finished, he turned and I saw, once again, that it was me. I blinked my way back to regular consciousness.
That was it for my experiments that morning. I finished shaving and went to teach my class that day. But I couldn't concentrate. What was happening? Was I going insane? Who was this "Gina?" I made an appointment to see a friend, Evan, who was a neurologist.
It would be several days before my appointment with Evan. But the mirror seemed to beckon, wanting to tell me its stories. I rigged up a light bulb and a tube so it would project a white circle onto the mirror. I tried just using the relaxed state rather than work with the soap and brush. I quickly discovered that it was the relaxed state and my staring at the white light with my head slightly tipped back that resulted in the visions.
I'm not going to list them all for you, but some of the visions I had were nothing short of remarkable. Once, I was an Native American saving Gina, who was a European, from attack by other natives. Another time Gina was a nurse during WWII and I was a wounded soldier. Several times we were wanderers protecting and helping each other. Once I was a poor young man in India who saved Gina from having to cast herself onto the funeral pyre of her elderly, deceased husband.
As my experiments continued, the visions became clearer and more detailed. But they always had two things in common: Gina and me. Gina was the most beautiful woman I had ever seen. She was also intelligent, strong, daring, fun, and clever. She was everything I had ever wanted in a wife.
Then it dawned on me. Perhaps I was creating this all in my mind. But if that were true, what are all of these strange situations and languages that I had never known? I was becoming terrified because I didn't know what was going on in my mind. But there was one thing of which I was sure:
I was falling in love with Gina.
And this, too, terrified me. Because if I was falling in love with a fantasy, was I losing all touch with reality? Was I losing any real chance of having a wife and children?
Finally, I had my appointment with Evan. All I told him was that I was having visions and I wanted to find out what was causing them. For a couple of weeks I came to his office every few days for tests. I had cat scans and MRIs. I got plugged into an EEG and did tests with lights, cards, sounds, and many other tools. His final report: everything under usual conditions was normal.
"I have one more test I'd like to try," he told me. We ended up in my bathroom with my head hooked up to a portable EEG. "Just do what you would normally do to see your visions," he said.
It took a while to get into the hypnogogic state with the wires connected to my head, the machine making noises in the background, and Evan in the room. But eventually, I got into the right frame of mind. Soon, there was an image of people wearing triangular hats and speaking French (I had studied that for a while so I knew a little). A cart led by horses came slowly down the street. In it, standing proudly, was Gina. People all over were insulting her, spitting on her, and throwing things at her. Still, she stood proudly.
There was a turn in the road and I saw Gina's eyes get large. For a second her knees weakened, but she stood straight and tall. Ahead, looming in front of a cloudy sky, was a guillotine. Suddenly, a man on a horse forced himself through the crowd, grabbed Gina, and made his escape. As they rode off, I knew that the man who saved Gina was me. I blinked myself out of the vision.
"Amazing," said Evan. We looked at the paper, which had recorded my brainwaves as printed out by the EEG. "See all these active lines? That shows your frontal lobes were working overtime. Your mind is creating all of this."
We talked for a while and I was left with several mysteries. Was my mind simply creating the visions in my head? Was it linking to something external and triggering something in me? Was it actually exteriorizing something from within me? Further, I know from history that rescues in front of the guillotine during the French revolution didn't happen. Was all of this just an invention of my mind? And I still had to wonder if Gina was real. Evan gave me a phone number. He said, "As a neurologist, I'm a specialist in what goes on in the physical matter known as the brain. This is a number of a woman, Dr. Sillen, who is a specialist in what the brain does, that murky area we call the mind. Give her a call."
I set up an appointment. Luckily, she had one available for the next day. She welcomed me into her office herself because her assistant was ill. I told her my story. We ran through a bunch of tests. As with Evan, I turned out decidedly normal. We sat at her desk and she tented her fingers. "I'm going to suggest an alternative explanation to your visions."
She pulled out a book called Soul Mates, by Richard Webster. She thumbed through it and gave it to me, opened to page 153, a section called "Mirrors."
I'm a scientist and I have always ignored the New Age and the occult. But as I looked through this, I was shocked. It read, "Place a small, circular, self-adhesive label to the mirror, just above the center...you should be looking slightly upwards to see the label...Relax as much as you can and stare at the round label on the mirror. Your eyes will soon feel tired. When you reach this stage, keep on staring at the circle, but start thinking of your need to explore one of your past lives. If you are seeking your soul mate, specify a lifetime when the two of you were together.
"You will find, quite suddenly, that scenes from this past lifetime are reenacted in the mirror. Keep focused on the circular label..."
"This is almost exactly what happened to me! Are you saying that this has happened to others?"
"Many times. Why don't you take the book and read it? It may give you some help in understanding what is going on. I'll set up an appointment for you for three weeks from today, Okay?"
I went home, anxious to read Soul Mates. But I had seen something in the book that gave me an ulterior motive for reading it, too.
DRAWING MY SOUL MATE
As I read the book, the nature of my visions became clearer to me. I had seen my own past lives with my soul mate. In Soul Mates it says, "If we accept the definition of soul mates as being a strong bond between two people that has existed through many incarnations, we also need to accept the idea of reincarnation." (p. 3)
The book explains reincarnation and past life regression. However, assuming that I had observed past lives, how could such an observation have included something I knew was factually false? The answer, I think, is simply that although some of the experiences may have been past lives, others may just have been wish fulfillment. But there was a uniting thread in all of this: Gina and me. I had been focusing on the idea that I needed a wife. My mind was giving me the answer.
I needed to find Gina.
So I decided to try another experiment. I followed some of the techniques in the book for drawing a soul mate to you:
I was sleeping better, now, and in my nightly dreams it seemed as if Gina and I were meeting and talking. It was like we were the two faces of a coin. The coin was only complete if we were together.
The book includes a script for doing self-hypnosis to meet your soul mate. I recorded the instructions into my computer and then had the computer play it back, leading me into the hypnotic state. Here is just part of what it says to do once you are hypnotized:
"...as you are enjoying the sensation of exploring this beautiful scene, you become aware that someone is holding you by the hand. You realize instantly that it is your soul mate. As you turn to smile at... her you find yourself looking into the face of someone who you have known forever. The two of you have been together in countless previous lifetimes, and the recognition is powerful and immediate. The attraction is like a bolt of electricity. You have both waited so long for this moment.
"The two of you fall into each others' arms and lie down together in the soft grass. It is a magical moment, one that you'll remember forever. You taste your soul mate's sweet lips. You smell the fragrance of the grass...Every part of your body seems alive, in a way that you've never experienced before and your senses absorb every precious second.
"It seems as if you have spent your whole life waiting for this moment, and you wish it could go on and on forever." (p. 97)
There is more, but you get the idea. I now spent almost every moment of my waking and sleeping life focused on bringing my soul mate and me together.
Time passed. No Gina. I went back to Dr. Sillen's, wrote down my name on the list, sat down and started to read a copy of Sports Illustrated that was about six months old. After a while I put it down and brought out my Palm Pilot with the list of the qualities I wanted. I read the list over. And over.
I leaned back and closed my eyes. I focused on the image of Gina as she looked in my visions. In my mind, I called to her as I had done so many times before in my dreams. "Gina. Gina. Gina..."
The assistant finally called my name to come in for my appointment. I looked up at her and couldn't move. "Gina?"
The assistant looked up from the folder. Her mouth dropped. "No... I don't believe it... You couldn't be... Say, how did you know my name?"
I never saw Dr. Sillen that day. Instead, Gina took the rest of the day off. As we walked out of the office I could swear I heard Dr. Sillen laughing as if she knew something we didn't.
Over the next few weeks we saw each other every day. For the first time ever I actually made time to see someone. We were alike in the sense of fraternal twins -- much in common but with enough differences to keep our relationships fresh. It turns out that Gina had been looking for her soul mate, too. She had never had visions, but she had seen me in her dreams and I had virtually every quality she had wanted in a partner.
Six weeks later we were married. A year later she was pregnant with our first child.
My visions have stopped. They were interesting while they lasted, but they are part of my past. Gina and our child are my present and future. In fact, I'm reading "How to Keep Your Soul Mate" in Richard Webster's book. I want to make sure that Gina and I stay together for this lifetime...and any lifetimes to come.