By Keith Varnum
On my sojourn across the country, a night spent camping in Idahoï¿½s
mountain wilderness demonstrated to me the power of the human mind
to create a physical reality from its deepest emotional fears. A
phone call in Boston foreshadowed the mystery to come. Half asleep,
I picked up the receiver in my Boston apartment at 1 a.m.
Who could be calling at this hour? It was my good buddy Gary
in Boise, Idaho. He wanted me to come out to his neck of the woods
and go hiking at 10,000 feet in the Rocky Mountains.
ï¿½Youï¿½ve got to come. Itï¿½ll do you good. Fresh air, endless space,
perfect quiet,ï¿½ my friend implored.
ï¿½Sounds like fun, but why are you calling me right now after
three years of no contact?ï¿½ I asked incredulously.
ï¿½I had a dream last night. You and I were on a most excellent
adventure in some alpine mountains and we both had major spiritual
awakenings,ï¿½ he explained breathlessly. ï¿½I want to find that dream.ï¿½
I was already planning to drive right through Idaho on my way
to the West Coast. On some level, Gary must have known Iï¿½d be ready
and open to his proposal. The coincidence didnï¿½t really surprise
me. Since the good old days when Gary and I hung out in Boston with
our wild and beloved spiritual mentor Michio Kushi, we always had
a synchronistic connection and a natural harmony of desires. For
years, weï¿½d get the same intuitive hit at the same time to travel
to a specific place in the mountains or by the ocean, or to explore
a particular new metaphysical topic or meditation method.
Besides, Gary knew I was not a person to pass on an adventure,
especially a spiritual one. I had that feeling in my gut that demanded
I say ï¿½yes.ï¿½ So I did. I was intrigued. The core of his invitation
was thrilling: to deliberately go after a vision! To place oneself
in the setting of a dream and welcome the substance of that vision
to manifest. What a concept! I was ï¿½in!ï¿½
A new perspective on life was just what I needed at that time.
The fact that the opportunity came through a dream vision of Garyï¿½s
made the prospect all that much more exciting. Iï¿½d just lost my
bid to be selected as the official instructor in Boston for the
Release Technique, the human potential program of my current spiritual
mentor of many years, Lester Levenson.
This teachership had been my primary goal in life for the last
five years. With the prize taken away, I felt lost and empty. I
needed to fill myself again with new purpose and joy. The rugged,
remote beauty and tranquility of the Sawtooth Mountains of northern
Idaho provided a most favorable environment to begin my search for
the next focus of my Earth journey.
At the end of our first day hiking in the pristine wilderness,
Gary and I discovered an inviting natural hot spring. We floated
under the starry umbrella of the Milky Way for several hours. If
youï¿½ve ever soaked in a hot tub or hot spring, you know that not
only does your body relax, but also your spirit, heart and emotions.
In this open state, people often experience heightened awareness
and direct connection with their inner coach. Often this opening
also causes unconscious feelings to bubble up. In this state of
extreme relaxation, some people spontaneously go into an innate
rhythmic breathing that liberates extremely suppressed emotions.
In the soothing, warm waters of the alpine hot tub, Gary instinctively
entered into this natural process of release. During the evening,
Gary courageously encountered many childhood memories and adolescent
traumas. Buried fears resurfaced from his past. He spent hours confronting,
embracing and dissolving deep-seated anxieties heï¿½d carried around
since early youth. It was a poignant evening of intense feeling,
letting go and cleansing in the hot spring. We crawled into our
two-man pup tent later that night feeling light, open and vulnerable.
After securely zipping up and sealing the tent at both ends, we
finally drifted off to sleep.
About halfway through the night, Garyï¿½s fierce thrashing and
screaming abruptly roused me from my tranquil slumber.
ï¿½Itï¿½s got me! Itï¿½s got me!ï¿½ he was yelling.
Trying to calm him down, I reached over, gently massaged his
shoulders, and said in a soothing voice, ï¿½Youï¿½re only dreaming.
Itï¿½s okay. Youï¿½re all right now.ï¿½
Still asleep and trembling violently, Gary cried out, ï¿½This animal!
Its teeth! It has me!ï¿½ I continued to murmur comforting words and
softly nudge him. Gary gradually awakened from his nightmare. I
asked him if he could remember what had frightened him.
ï¿½A wild animal grabbed my wrist and was gnawing at it. I was
afraid I couldnï¿½t wrestle my hand free from the beastï¿½s iron grip.ï¿½
Gary was shaking uncontrollably. It was obvious the nightmare
still had a hold on him. I kept trying to calm him down, repeating
that it was just a bad dream. Then I felt something wet on my hand.
I reached behind me with my other hand, retrieved a flashlight and
shone the light on Garyï¿½s wrist. It was bleeding profusely! There
were sharp teeth marks across the whole back of his hand. His flesh
was ripped open, exposing a few small wrist bones.
I quickly applied some antiseptic salve from my knapsack and
wrapped his hand in a pillowcase.
ï¿½There has to be some creature here in the tent with us,ï¿½ Gary
said in a strained, terrified whisper. ï¿½You probably spooked it
when you sat up. It must have gotten scared when it realized there
were two of us.ï¿½
I concurred. We frantically started checking our securely zipped
shelter for some sort of small wild animal. We searched every inch
of the little pup tent. Both sleeping bags were turned inside out.
Our knapsacks were cautiously emptied. No animal could be found.
Then we searched for any tears or openings in the tent that a creature
could have passed through. There werenï¿½t any openings.
Gary and I talked. We searched our worlds for a possible explanation.
We couldnï¿½t find a plausible scenario, much as we wished it. But
the conversation served to dispel some of our trepidation.
In the course of our exploration, I shone the flashlight on Garyï¿½s
face and mouth to check for bloodï¿½or any other sign that he might
have gnawed at his own hand. None. I even examined my own face and
teeth, desperately searching for some rational source of the bites.
Nothing. Exhausted from the traumatic attack on his person and frustrated
at the mystery of its origin, Gary eventually sought refuge from
his ordeal in sleep.
However, rest eluded me. I lay awake contemplating the enigma
of my friendï¿½s chewed wrist, Gary had been in the throes of a scary
dream. In the nightmare, an animal had grabbed his wrist and chewed
on it. It took me a long time to wake him from his horror. It was
very real for him. But there were no animals in the tent. If any
creature had been inside the shelter, it couldnï¿½t have escaped without
leaving a rip or some sort of opening.
I recalled how, just prior to our retiring, we spent a few hours
in the relaxing hot spring. Gary confronted and resolved many fears
in the therapeutic waters. I knew the mind was powerful. I knew
fear was a potent force. I also knew dreams were symbolic.
Maybe, I pondered, some entrenched anxieties arose in Gary that
he hasnï¿½t consciously acknowledged or released. In my healing practice,
Iï¿½ve witnessed many instances of unresolved emotions materializing
into physical form. Ulcers are a prime proven and accepted example.
Hives and rashes are two more. So, I theorized, when we have a fear
and donï¿½t deal with it in some way to free the energy of the feeling,
the fright can manifest in some physical form.
Gary presented himself as a macho, rough-and-tumble, Wild West
type of guy. He liked to be seen as a modern-day John Wayne, strong
and stoic as a rock. He definitely suppressed and denied a lot of
his emotions in life. Although he tried to hide it, I could tell
from previous conversations that he was extremely worriedï¿½perhaps
even terrifiedï¿½that his life was falling apart. Recently his wife
had threatened to leave him, taking with her the three children
he adored. And his business was failing. In the hot spring, Gary
liberated some of his bottled up tensions. But obviously, he only
released a little steam from the top of the pressure cooker, just
melting the tip of the iceberg of panic within him.
The more I reflected on the situation, the more enthused and
intrigued I became. I didnï¿½t know exactly what unresolved fear was
ï¿½eating awayï¿½ at Gary, but I could hardly wait for morning to discuss
it with him. Iï¿½d glimpsed the unleashing of Garyï¿½s mind and its
power to manifest the energy of his dread. Iï¿½d witnessed how the
mind can use emotions to create physical experiences in the physical
realm. Once Gary isolated his anxieties and fully felt his feelings,
he could resolve the nightmare. The wounds would lose their mystique.
The power would be drained from the issue.
Lying there in the quiet of the night, I contemplated the personal
import of the nightï¿½s drama. I promised myself that from this day
forward, Iï¿½d make a conscious effort to recognize and acknowledge
the fears in my life. Iï¿½d open myself to feeling the energy created
by each apprehension. Iï¿½d find a way to integrate and dissipate
the energy and power of my feelings. Iï¿½d seek methods to handle
my anxieties internally so that they wouldnï¿½t have to externalize
in my physical universe.
Indeed, Gary and I had found his dream vision and opened to a
most excellent spiritual breakthrough. I drifted off to sleep, thankful
for the life lesson I learned, and looking forward to enlightening
my friend at dawn.
From the roots of indigenous cultures and ancient spiritual
traditions, Keith Varnum shares the underlying principles of
all healing, transformation and success. After curing himself
of blindness, Keith has perfected these practical secrets in
his 30-year career as an author, therapist, filmmaker, acupuncturist,
radio talk show host, gourmet chef, restaurateur, vice-president
of a natural foods company and international seminar leader
with his ï¿½Dream Workshopsï¿½ and "Sedona Shaman Vision Quest."
Keith helps people get the love, abundance and body they want
through his FREE ï¿½Prosperity Ezineï¿½ and FREE "Prosperity