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The Whimsical Nature of Time and Space
by Raul daSilva

In the autumn of 1967 I was working as a public relations account executive in Pittsburgh, PA, at the branch of what was then, and to my best knowledge, still the largest public relations agency in the world, Burson- Marsteller. Since my background had been that of an ad and promotional copywriter, my immediate supervisor, Bob Carter, a Vice President, began to lose patience with the promotional slant in my writing style and suggested I take some journalism courses at the University of Pittsburgh. Hopefully, I would be purged of my fanfare skew. It was cinched when he said Burson-Marsteller would pay for it if I delivered an "A" average.

By November, I had been happily attending the University after my workdays, for two months. Since the job entails applied time and I would have to account for each hour of my work-day, I would sign out of the office on Oliver Street at 5PM, then go directly downstairs where there was a 5:15 bus to Shadyside and the University Campus. On a bleak, cold and drizzly November Thursday, I signed out of the office at 5PM, took the bus and got off at the campus stop at 5:45PM automatically, by this time. It always took me exactly ten minutes to walk to the hall where my classes were held and by 5:55PM, I would be sitting at my desk, awaiting the first of two instructors in my two back to back writing classes which ran roughly one hour and thirty minutes each.

This time, when I walked into the class I realized right away that I had walked in on a class already in session. I looked around and noticed everyone, including the instructor, was strange. Thus, I quickly and incorrectly, estimated I had walked into the wrong room. Out in the hallway, beyond the door, I saw that it was the exact room so I then quickly assumed that the last class had been extended beyond its time limit. Glancing into another room across the hallway, a room always empty in the evening, I saw it was also filled with students with an active class in session.

Stopping a young woman in the hallway, I asked her if she knew why the classes were held over so late. She looked at me with a puzzled expression and said, "These classes are not held over, they don't let out until 5 PM."

For a stunning moment I felt as if I had mistakenly walked out of my office, downtown, at 4PM by some bizarre mistake, but quickly recalled that others had signed out with me. I told the woman that it was just about 6PM and she rejoined that I was incorrect and that my watch was running one hour ahead.

Finding a telephone, I called my office. The receptionist, usually gone by 6PM, was still there. She greeted me and asked if I had forgotten something. I told her I was at Shadyside and the University campus and she laughed and said, "Right, you made it there in two minutes?" Then I realized she was telling me I had just walked out of the office. She assumed I was downstairs in the lobby of the office building where Burson Marsteller was then located.

Completely baffled, my head spinning, I decided not to think about this and to just let time explain this puzzler to me. How was it possible to gain one hour of time or to expand one minute into one hour? No, I would not think about it. But now I had a full hour to spare before my class started. Somewhat in shock, I decided to walk outside in the cold drizzle and pull my thoughts together. For obvious reasons, I recall that event vividly and remember pulling up the large collar on my raincoat over my ears. Then I drifted toward another, large hall, apparently a science hall. When I entered I realized the lobby was extremely large, as in a museum or library. Glancing around, I saw an interesting facade or replica of a facade of an ancient temple over to my right. I found myself walking toward it. When I was about six paces in front of the temple facade, I found that my perceptual reach had gone beyond the time and space of that cold and rainy November evening.

Now I felt a hot sun on my shoulders, almost as if I was in a dream within a dream. Children were playing, noisily, off at a distance, shouting in their games. Deep olive oil cooking, which to this date I have never seen in this lifetime, became obvious as the unmistakable, spicy and pungent aroma filled my nostrils and lungs. Behind me, I heard a large cart being hauled by what I assumed was an ox. Turning around with the burning desire to see it all, I fainted and fell to the marble floor. Moments later, I was shaken by someone and asked if I was okay. My sense of bewilderment was peaking and I got up and walked out, deciding to stroll back to my classroom. My memory tells me that from that point on, that late afternoon, I could only feel that a large cotton ball had replaced my brain. If the instructors had asked me any questions I would not have been able to respond.

When I got back to my apartment at 25 Stanwix Street in the Golden Triangle of Pittsburgh, I announced to Renee, then my wife of only one and one half years, and also attending college, that she should divorce me because I was now losing my mind. It is clear in my memory that I told her she could not afford the psychiatry bills soon to come. She listened to my story and patiently told me that she did not believe I was losing my mind. The very next day she began to bring home books on Edgar Cayce, Helena Petrovna Hahn Blavatsky and others. These books became my obsessive focus for the next few years. A few years before we divorced, some 12 years later, I recalled the incident to Renee and she did not remember a single moment of it, although I still have most of the books she brought home, books that I had consumed so voraciously in those days.

This was the incident that began not only my search for meaning but brought to mind many memories, long ago forgotten, mystical experiences out of the normal that I had as a child. Now, my spiritual life had begun in earnest.

Later, I read of many other people who experienced similar events that plunged them into paths of seeking. I learned that no matter our grasp of logic, intellectual level, or what we believe reality to be, we cannot trust the careful, intricate structure we have set up and in which we so fervently believe. It is simply not real. Not to cast fear, real life is vastly greater and more joyous than most of us can possibly understand. For all of us, even the lowliest of the low, we have ahead, joys and wonders that we cannot now possibly conceive.


Excerpted with permission from Raul daSilva's book, "SPIRIT GUIDES: A Finite Adventure in Human Consciousness by the Eternal Spirit."


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