In the late seventies I published Coordinate Point, a magazine that explored the nature of consciousness and being. To pay the bills and supplement my wife’s income, I delivered desserts three days a week to hotels and restaurants from South San Francisco to San Jose. Since dreams and psychic phenomena were never far from my mind, they often became topics of discussion with the people I met on my route, especially the women. Catherine, a new business customer from South San Francisco, seemed particularly interested and quickly became a friend.
During one of our discussions about dreams and intuitive experiences, I asked her if she had ever participated in a Guided Imagination Exercise (GIE). She didn’t know what it was so I shared a personal experience with her (See: Healing By Fire). When I finished, she asked me to conduct a Guided Imagination Exercise for her and some friends. I agreed, and we set up a time for the following week.
Catherine was alone when I arrived at her house in South San Francisco. Two of her friends had agreed to come although both made it clear to her that they were afraid of hypnotism and subliminal suggestion. When they arrived, I tried to set their minds at ease by sharing a personal experience with them but, evidently, it didn’t work. I don’t know whether it was my inexperience, their skepticism or a lack of imagination on their part but, after the exercise, only Catherine said she “thought” she could see something when I suggested they picture a scene of trees, grass and flowers in their minds. The other two women said all they could see was the black behind their eyelids.
Despite the poor results Catherine and her friends had, the longer I spent conducting the Guided Imagination Exercise, the more relaxed and intuitive I became, unknowingly setting the stage for what was about to happen. As I left Catherine’s house for the drive north up highway 101 to my home in San Francisco, I felt playful and alive. My whole body tingled with spiritual energy!
THE “SUCK FACE” INCIDENT
This extraordinary waking experience illustrates the power of words and the role thought and imagination plays in the creation of our reality. As young children, many of us are told things like “you’re bad, stupid, ugly, lazy, crazy or worthless.” Occasionally, negative judgments like these are even punctuated with slaps and punches for emphasis.
As adults, how often do we get upset with our children and do or yell terrible things to them, things we regret the rest of our lives? Even the way we think about each other in the privacy of our own minds seems to affect the behavior of those we think about, including ourselves. When we understand how the power of thought and imagination shapes our experience, will we be more selective in how we use it? This experience reveals a multidimensional aspect of life few of us choose to see or take advantage of. Without it, I don’t think I could have resolved this issue to my satisfaction so quickly, if ever.
The late night traffic on the five-lane Bayshore Freeway (Hwy. 101) was light, so I settled into the middle lane and drove at the speed limit, 55 mph. Highway 101, between South San Francisco and San Francisco, is five lanes wide to accommodate the extra traffic generated by the presence of San Francisco International Airport and Candlestick Park, home of the Giants and 49ers. Less than a minute after I was settled into a comfortable groove, two rough looking guys on a Harley Davidson passed me on the right, in lane number 2. As I watched them slowly move by, their “look” triggered a torrent of playful observations and judgments, like: Wow, these guys really look rough! I wonder how much time they’ve spent in San Quentin knocking out license plates with dirty acronyms? (a personal joke here because I often amused myself by turning the letters on license plates into sexually explicit statements while driving) And look at those identical Mackinaw coats they’re wearing – they look brand new! I wonder which warehouse they stole them from? (Mackinaw coats are short winter coats made out of wool with a plaid design. They were once worn in the northern and western United States by Indians and lumbermen.
As amusing as my thoughts were, I couldn’t help but notice their emphasis on slicing and dicing my two road buddies into pieces with negative stereotypes and categorization. With a moment’s glance, I had these two guys accused of crimes, judged, and hung. To salve my faint twinge of guilt, I reminded myself that I was only playing with them; that deep down, I knew we were all one and basically good. This gave me a sense of even more freedom and I thought, as long as I don’t take my thoughts seriously, I can be as playful and outrageous as I want to be. Not!
As soon as he passed my car the motorcycle driver turned and entered my lane without signaling, just missing my front bumper. Was he really a bad ass or did he somehow sense my thoughts? In reaction, the motorcycle passenger turned and stuck his left arm out as if to apologize and signal the turn at the same time, even it was a little too late. Noticing his passenger’s action (and to add fuel to the fire of my imagination?), the motorcycle driver reached back and violently started pounding on his friend’s arm to make him put it down. Evidently, he wanted no one to apologize for his actions.
What was that all about, I wondered? Damn, are these guys really thieves? Did they really break into a warehouse and steal those Mackinaw coats? How many did they steal? Where were they hiding them? Who are they selling them to, and, jokingly, how much money are they going to make from the deal? After this flurry of spontaneous questions my thoughts settled down. Once the motorcycle driver established a safe and steady distance between us, my thoughts turned in new directions. That is, until I saw them take the same freeway interchange I had to take to get home. Suddenly my full attention was back on the motorcycle with growing irritation and concern.
As we approached the Fell Street Off-Ramp, the exit closest to my home, I found myself holding my breath and “willing” the pair on to the next exit, but to no avail. As fate, or magic, would have it, we were meant to continue our private little drama until it reached some, as yet unknown but hopefully meaningful, conclusion.
Once again I watched as the motorcycle passenger signaled their turn and the driver, seeing him do it out of the corner of his eye, reached back and pounded on his arm, even more viciously than he did before. Why is this guy so goddamned contemptuous and angry, I wonder? And, why isn’t the red light at the foot of the off-ramp turning green for Christ sake? There’s no traffic around!
So here we are, sitting at the foot of the Fell Street off-ramp, which is now split into five lanes. We’re impatiently waiting for the light to change. The two men on the motorcycle are in the middle lane, waiting to head up the hill on Fell Street. I’m in the far right lane, waiting to turn right onto Laguna Street. The stop line angles back for the turn onto Laguna Street, which puts me several feet behind the motorcycle. Feeling safe from this vantage point, I study my two new “friends” while we all wait for the light to change, which seems to take forever! As I look at them, I think, Where did the driver get the money to buy such a nice motorcycle? With his temper, I don’t see how he can hold a regular job. Also, I wonder, what circumstances brought these two guys together and what kind of relationship do they have? The passenger seems to be pretty well meaning.
Suddenly, my mind and body are on full alert! A strong impulse tells me to shift my eyes away from the driver. With deliberate calm, I slowly turn my head until I’m looking at a large Victorian house on the hill, slightly ahead of and a half block beyond the driver’s position. As soon as my eyes come to rest on the Victorian, the motorcycle driver whips around and screams, “What are you looking at, Suck Face?” Before the words completely leave his mouth, he realizes, with horror, that I’m not looking at him but at something beyond him. Turning forward again, almost as fast as he turned to look back at me, he stiffly stares straight ahead.
Even though the outburst is over, the energy of his question (accusation?) continues to reverberate loudly in my mind. Intentionally keeping a look of innocence on my face, I slowly turn my head and eyes back to look at him with an expression that says, Are you talking to me? The energy of his emotional outburst was so graphic and powerful, the image of a man’s face with a large sucking mouth, if you can imagine that, appears in my mind. Continuing to stare straight ahead with a look of utter desperation on his face, his look says, “Come on light, change – let me out of here!”
Still shaken by the violence of the motorcycle driver’s outburst, I continue to study him and his motorcycle, until movement at the top of his head attracts my attention. Curious but on full alert again, I watch as another man’s head begins to emerge through the top of the driver’s head. This new head, bald and bodiless, is soon floating free in the air above the driver’s head. Mask-like for its hollowness, yet real at the same time, it slowly turns to face me, locking its hypnotic, shiny black eyes onto mine. With grinning arrogance and a look of hungry anticipation, it slowly moves toward me, sizing me up as it comes. As the gap between us narrows, I begin to suspect that this “thing” is a living manifestation, a psychic projection of quasi-matter, given birth by the sheer intensity of the driver’s thoughts and emotions. Somehow, I’m perceiving inner and outer reality simultaneously.
As the bodiless head moves closer, it cunningly rises to a position above my head, just beyond my reach, and begins to change before my eyes. In amazement, I watch as it transforms into a circular stone wheel sculpture with two flat sides. The side facing me has lines etched into the surface to form closed eyes, ears, and a nose. Below the hint of a nose is a large hole, a gaping mouth that goes completely through the stone.
As the stone face hovers over my head, I’m reminded of a primitive Sun God. Deep grooves radiate out from the closed eyes like rays of the sun. I wonder, did I stop it, or did it stop on its own? Suspecting the latter, I wonder, what will happen next? What kind of disturbed energy did the motorcycle driver unleash when he turned and yelled at me so violently? Suddenly, the face springs to life! The stony eyelids fly open while the very stone itself reverts back to its original human form and flesh tone. The head’s shiny black eyes once again lock onto mine, and with a look of maniacal glee, it drops down, open-neck first, to force its way over my head. Sensing it wants to possess me mind, body and soul, I quickly reach up to defend myself.
Forcing both thumbs up inside the opening of the mask’s skin-like neck, I clamp my fingers down tightly on both sides of the fleshy neck before it can slip down over my head or get away. This gives me control over the mask as it alternately struggles to force itself down over my head and free itself from my grip. As we both struggle, thoughts about what will happen if this maniacal personality wins the battle between us, race through my mind. Frightened by the possibility, I tighten my grip and resolve to fight it off.
Sensing the growing strength of my rejection, the mask redoubles its efforts to alternately force its way down over my head and break free of my grasp. My arms feel like dead weights but I refuse to let go. As our violent struggle continues, I become another me standing on grass next to a wooden fence in the residential area of a large city. Nighttime lights illuminate the street as I hold an almost lifeless mask in my left hand, like the one in San Francisco. Every once in a while it flutters weakly, letting me know it’s still alive. In a fleeting moment of sympathy, before it completely dies, I release it, half expecting it to fall to the ground. Instead, it floats up into the air and, much to my regret, it quickly takes on new life. With renewed energy, it moves toward the darkened city with a look of renewed hope and determination.
Using my inner senses, I also take to the sky and follow the mask at a discreet distance as it combs the city streets and buildings looking for a new victim, one more willing than I. Invisible to him, I watch as he feels out potential victims. Finally he settles on a depressed looking young man sitting on a park bench. I’m amazed at how fast he subdues his new victim. The young man almost gratefully accepts the “Suck Face” personality, as it easily slips down over his head. Using a kind of psychic shorthand to skip forward in time and space, I watch as a total biological and psychological transformation of the young man takes place. The human body that once belonged to him now belongs to “Suck Face”, the personality forged from the anger and contempt of the motorcycle driver, still impatiently sitting beside me at the foot of Fell Street.
Next, a large white room swims into focus. Suck Face is standing in the middle of it naked, except for a small loincloth and wide, studded leather belts. One is wrapped around his waist while the other runs up his chest and down over his left shoulder, attached to the right side of his waist belt in front and back. Holding a leather Cat-O-Nine-Tail whip in his right hand, he’s using it to both sexually stimulate and punish the naked, man crawling on the floor in front of him.
A quick flashback shows him picking a homeless man up on the street with the promise of food, wine, and wild, uninhibited sex. Watching this scene from a point in the air between the two men, I know the man on the floor will get his night of wild, uninhibited sex, but he’s also going to get something he didn’t bargain for. At the end of this long night of sexual abandon and sadistic pleasure, he will be killed and, like others before him, his body parts dismembered, wrapped in plastic, and scattered throughout the city for the police to find.
The contempt and loathing Suck Face feels for himself and the other homosexual men he meets has grown in proportion to his open homosexual activity and the public’s condemnation of it. Unable to reconcile these two strongly opposing forces, he has become self-destructive. While outwardly seething with contempt for those who condemn him and his behavior, unconsciously he accepts it as the condemnation of his father, the motorcycle driver. He looked for ways to appease this energy but couldn’t find any; so, ironically, he chose to destroy those who gave him the most pleasure, his male homosexual partners. In this way he could express his contempt for society and punish himself at the same time. Inwardly he knew that playing this gruesome cat-and-mouse game with the police would ultimately lead to his downfall but, outwardly, he denied the possibility.
Able to move forward and backward through time and space at will, I watched from an invisible point in the air as Suck Face moved through the city streets, hiding the bloody, plastic-wrapped body parts of his latest victim. Each offering was a gift to the societal limitation and fear that condemned his behavior, “one more dead ‘queer’ for those who hate queers”, he thinks. Resisting the urge to pay the ultimate price, he taunts the detective in charge of investigating his serial murders through cryptic letters. He faults him for not being able to put a stop to the reign of terror he’s inflicting on the city’s homosexual community. Knowing the police are closing in on him in this alternate reality, I return to the present and renew my grip on the struggling mask.
With these terrible thoughts fresh in my mind, I decide my course of action. The Suck Face personality, forged from the negative thoughts and emotions of the motorcycle driver, will not gain its freedom today! Enough anger and contempt is loose within the world already. As my resolve solidifies, I return my attention to the mask. The look on its face changes; where once it wore a look of arrogance, strength and superiority, now it wears a look of fear, exhaustion and defeat. Tightening my grip on the mask even more, I project my energy body through the car side window like Plastic Man from the comic books and attempt to jamb it down over the head of the motorcycle driver, more than ten feet away. Although my move catches him off guard, he reacts quickly and forces me all the way back to my car, with the mask still in my hand. Again and again, we drive one another’s energy bodies back and forth in pitched battle, neither one of us willing to accept final possession of the mask.
As the motorcycle driver and I grimly fight on, each refusing to accept ownership of the mask, a look of apprehension and fear grows on the mask’s face. In utter shock and disbelief, it gives up, letting the strong glow of life that once animated its features completely drain from its being. Surprisingly, I feel a touch of sadness. The motorcycle driver and I are now battling over a limp, lifeless rubber mask. Still determined not to accept it, I reached over and tried to stuff it into the right hand pocket of the driver’s Mackinaw coat once more. Still unwilling to accept responsibility for it, he angrily pushed my hand back with the mask still in it.
Finally, the traffic light turns green and we’re both forced to shift our attention back to the outside world long enough to get our vehicles moving. As they head up the hill on Fell Street, I turn right onto Laguna Street. I still don’t want to keep the dead mask so I reach back again to stuff it into the motorcycle driver’s coat pocket but to no avail. He still refuses to accept it. After several more futile attempts, I arrive home two blocks away to park my car, clean up, and go to bed.
Lying in bed next to my wife,Sandra, I find myself unable, or unwilling, to let The “Suck Face” Incident go unresolved. Doggedly, I start rerunning the image of the motorcycle driver heading up the hill on Fell St. In each sequence, I put the mask in his pocket but every time I remove my hand the mask comes with it, as if glued to my fingers.
Before sleep can claim my awareness, I start an internal dialogue with the motorcycle driver. I admit to him that: as we drove north from South San Francisco, I was amazed and amused by your look and behavior. I apologize for making fun of you and, in an attempt at humor, I add: but it did look strange to see you beat your buddy’s arm so violently just for signaling turns! He kind of laughs and I admit that: I had no right to pick on you. I’m sorry.
With this admission a sense of brotherhood and understanding blossoms between us and I use this moment to remind him that: When you did turn around to yell at me, I wasn’t looking at you, and that alone should be reason enough for you to take responsibility for disposing of this mask. With my appeal to his sense of fairness, he silently reached down and opened his coat pocket, giving me permission to place the dead mask inside, which I did. Then I watched the motorcycle driver and his passenger disappear over the top of the hill on Fell St., taking the mask with him and out of my life forever. With this delightful image still in my mind, I rolled onto my left side and fell fast asleep, in peace.
© Copyright 2007, Roger A. “Pete” Peterson
Pete – http://realtalkworld.com
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having (creating) a human experience.” – Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
“How you define yourself and the world around you, forms your intent, which, in turn, forms your reality.” – Seth
In other words, we create our reality from what we believe about ourselves, and the world around us.
If we don’t consciously choose our beliefs, we unconsciously absorb them from our surroundings.
If our beliefs, attitudes, values and expectations create our reality, can we afford not to question them?
The more we love, understand and appreciate ourselves, the better we treat ourselves, and the world.
The secrets of the universe lie hidden in the shadows of your experience. Look for them!