There was a time in my life where to some degree I must have been emulating Carlos Castenada. I wasn't able to get through his books but I had gone into many a desert and stared at rocks long enough for most people to question my sanity. I spent most of my time alone thinking and hoping perhaps that a burning bush would say something nice to me. Mostly I just heard a small voice in my head say things like "This is boring as hell"
But those were the days when it was necessary to 'quest' after stuff. Back to nature was in the air and Baba Ram Dass was busy being somewhere. I read William James' Variety of Religious Experience and for a good decade or so I was entirely ready for something BIG to happen. A Vision. A Religious Vision......It never did (without the drugs)
A few years before when I was in my teens we (Im not sure anymore who all was there)were packed into the car with my Aunt who was known for many colorful escapades. My father, her brother ,was driving. My aunt was dozing and we were driving through a lush green pastoral setting. Suddenly my aunt sat up....looked out the window ...and said in a loud voice, " It looks just like Egypt". Perhaps God had come down, anointed her at random, and delivered unto her a vision of Egypt.....I don't know but for some reason my aunt's outburst really set my father off. " It looks nothing at all like Egypt!" my father bellowed. He had an even louder voice than mine. "Its GREEN for God's sake and Egypt is a desert!" My aunt, perhaps cornered by her little brother, persisted...."Well It did look like Egypt...there for a minute or two....maybe an oasis or a valley or something." She was not backing down, nor did she back down about what she saw for 40 more years . I believe that was the only time I can recount when I witnessed a person having a genuine hallucination.
Gradually I forgot my need for religious fervor and my vision quest and went about living a more careful life.
Recently. however, I was in Denver traffic. I had gone to Denver with my then 16 year old daughter to buy her a car. It was a small car, a Toyota Echo and it was perfect in every respect except it wasn't blue. My daughter drove.Perhaps it was the novelty of the situation but I felt unusually tense. It was getting dark and I was trying to act as a guide to the city, and I was also trying to reassure my daughter by my demeanor that I was not afraid.
Suddenly a blinding light hit me with its full force. Clear as day a 1956 Ford (blue, 2 door) was barreling straight toward us at a speed that seemed physically impossible. I shut my eyes and I must have jumped. Had an electrocardiogram been hooked to me it would have frowned. This was it. Its over. The End. As soon as I could bear it I opened my eyes.
Nothing ....no lights ...no Ford ...no mangled bodies ...nothing. There was nothing there . I looked over at my daughter and there she was, calmly driving the Toyota.. "It's happened" I thought ..."the religious vision has come." Waves of emotion crested throughout my body.
" Whats wrong Daddy?" my daughter asked.