Norman Allan
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Norman Allan : the story
book two: secrets
  Chapter 1: Maybe Cynthia                        Chapter 6: the substance of life and painting the city
Chapter 2: Past Lifes                                    Chapter 7: Three Portraits of Lucky
Chapter 3: Stoner                                          Chapter 8: Creep
Chapter:4: the Sacred                                   Chapter 9:The Psychic Lover
Chapter 5: Spring 2015                                Chapter: 10: the Devil's Story

Chapter 2: the past life story (1)


  In the last chapter, when we released the constriction in Maybe Cynthia's gut, that was cranio sacral stuff, and cranial 's part of my "past life" tale  too.
     Craniosacral? I first heard of the term at the interdisciplinary seminars a Doctor Brian (2) organised once a month, in the Croft Meeting House! This would be some time in the second half of the nineteen eighties.

The Croft had been the chemistry lab at the UofT, and the roof was conical
so that if an explosion occurred in the lab the roof would simply be blown off (allowing the blast to vent) - and it worked! The roof was blown off twice!
       At one of these interdisciplinary gathering… of course, I was there because of Pomeranz… I heard a nurse (or physio?) describing how, with a patient who has suffered neck trauma/whiplash, holding the patient's head, you might "follow" the spontaneous movements in their neck allowing the body to unwind and release the "energies" trapped in the tissues… (tell you more later)
     In the early 1990s I was drawn to cranio work and I dove in deep. The last module (of four, back then), the Advanced, was with John Upledger himself. Very intense, the work, and John. All day long - the work.
    At the end of the second long intense day, Upledger said that he was curious, having noticed that I was often holding my hand in front of my mouth as I spoke. What was that about? "I think we should do a past life regression with you tomorrow and find out."
     Trepidation. What would we find? I feared that "in another life" I may have said things, spilt secrets, with dire consequences for some… Ah, but do I even believe in this stuff and… I'm not a great believer in past lives, but I can suspend disbelief. Indeed, much of CranioSacral for me, with it's subtle movements and "energies", is an exercise in riding the waves of intuition in such a suspension… but I'm a skeptic too. Yeah, let me tell you the story of the T.A. (training assistant) from Dallas in the prior module, the third Cranio module: they called that "SomatoEmotional Release", Upledger's term for the unwinding release described (above). At the SER module were there 50 (or a 100) students, 10 (or 20) T.A.s? Each day we were put into groups of five students, and assigned a trainer. One of the training assistants, a lady from Dallas - let's call her Dalla - was very enthusiastic about "rebirthing". She and her group were frequently sliding their "patient" from the table and guiding them to the floor to reenact the birth experience! It can be therapeutic, they say. But…

    But the trick with couselling, with psychoanalysis, with CranioSacral, with all these sorts of therapy is for the facilitator to "project" as little of their own agenda onto the proceedings as possible, to leave all one can in the hands of the patient and their subconscious. (One can't completely avoid "projecting". I do my best, and try to bring our attention to that phenomenon, projection, when I'm aware it may be in the offing (3)
     Back in Florida at the SER, one day one of the students in my group, Armand, was from Dallas, and known to Dalla. When it was Armand's turn on the table, Dalla came over to contribute, or intervene. Was I guiding? I think so. There were four of us "working" at any time, but one of us would be designated leader. Armand told, volunteered a story about how when he was five years old, at Christmas time, among the decorations, perversely, there was a crown of thorns! Armand put it on his head and danced around. Discovered thus, he was severely reprimanded, and deeply humiliated.
     Now Dalla took the guidance from me, and she and Armand discovered him in a past life, in Jerusalem, during the Passion, where this former Armand offered solace to his Lord. A past life? Far more likely a fantasy to salve the Christmas decoration débâcle.
     I guess we're not going to get to my past life for another moment, for in this prior seminar, that same day, when it was my turn on the table, and Armand was "guiding", Dalla again inserted herself.
     At one point in the session I reported a feeling, an oppressive quality. "Does it have a colour," Armand asked. It was blue. "Where is it in the body?" Strangely, perhaps, this time it wasn't in the body. "Where is it in your body," Dalla now took over.

       "It's out here," I said, "sort of," indicating the space before and above me.
     "Where is it in your body? Feeling are in the body."
     "It's out…"
     "Look! It's somewhere in your body!" Dalla insisted.
     I took myself away from Dalla, as it were. Indeed, brought myself inside myself, and sighed, "Om nama Shivia." (I was into a Hindu guru at this time.)
       With this, Phil, our assigned T.A., who was at my feet, holding a foot, asked, "Do you know Babaji?"
     "Yes," I said. Now I was thinking of crazy Haidakhan Baba, while Phil, I learned later, was referring to Baba Hari Dar (who would later be a dear, if not close, teacher of mine), but this was of no consequence.
       "Go to Baba," Phil counselled. And, by God, I did. As it were, my crown chakra opened. I was flooded by a blinding light. And I was elated. I sat up, abruptly, beaming. I felt as though I was a third again as large as my body. (I didn't fit in it. I was expanded beyond it.) And I walked from the hall to the beach (the seminar was at a Hotel, in Jupiter, near the Institute), took off my socks, and stood in the Atlantic under a warm Florida winter's clear night sky.
     And what does this tell us? Little more then that ecstasy is possible. Oh, and beware of bossy fascilitators.
Past life. I remember the "past life" fragments clearly, but not the "regression" procedure, though I'm going to pretend I do. Did Upledger do the guiding? "Imagine yourself as you were at twenty years old." A short pause to allow this, but not too long so as to wander. "At ten years old." At seven, at five… in the womb at term, at five months. At conception. And in the dark, before conception. And there left hanging.
       We were escorting Jews through and out of a small Czech town. A muddy road. The parade, the march of Jews we herded, what five six abreast. A bit of a straggle. A round little man in tatty clothes, to my left - I was to the right of this herd, rifle in hand - was trying to get my attention in his pigeon German (Yiddish) - his wife was suffering, finding it hard…
     With a brisk jab of butt of my rifle, I struck him! (head? shoulder?) And I was horrified with myself. (I was young. Early twenties.)
     The scene changes abruptly. I was in a dug-out earth work. A large room. I, Norman, knew that he, me… (I don't actually know his name. I sometimes think of him as Hans. I believe he, I, came from a military family. Prussian?) I, he had deserted the Wehrmacht. I had joined the resistance. Yes, there was a German resistance. I had been caught, somewhere in Poland, and I was being tortured. They had just put out one of my eyes, with a bayonet. I laughed. How stupid they were to think I would give them what the wanted after that.
     And I think I spoke all this aloud, described it to the group, in Florida. And it felt to me like I was inventing, just telling a story. Though I could see the folk in Czechoslovakia, though I was in the dim lit dug-out room in Poland, it felt like I was contriving a story. "It's often like," said Upledger.

There's one more piece and some bits of the past life story still to tell: the piece sparked by a therapeutic exercise… How much background do we need here? My friend Teresa has always been searching out gurus, looking for the ultimate guru, and finally finding her satguru (true teacher). He's called Nityananda. (Eternal Bliss). I've generally sampled Teresa's gurus. (We spoke of Haidakhan Baba and Baba Hari Dass above.) Nityananda, in some of his seminars/workshops pushes the spiritual with psychotherapeutic type exercises, (4) to open the chakras? To clear the system. In one of these exercises, while marching on the spot, waving ones hands (perhaps chaotically), one talks gibberish: that's "talking in tongues", glossolalia. (And there is a loud music-like-noise going on with this.) You'd guess that all this is pushing your normal, executive mind aside. I had followed Teresa to an "awakening" workshop, and there was a C.D. disc to work with at home. And doing this exercise at home (this is some years after the CranioSacral past-life regression) I found myself now outside that Czech village, town, recoiling in horror. My colleagues were machine gunning, massacring, those Jews. It was numbing!


Do I think that this "past life" was real? that in my last lifetime I was this soldier? I have no way of knowing. It could more easily be explained as a fantasy I've generated to rationalise why I find it so costly to keep secrets. Secrets like Jillian Jones, at University with me back in the early sixties, who confessed that she liked to be on top in sex, in control. (5) That was a big dark secret for her, back then, and I held it sacred, for decades, till it didn't matter. Oh, and patients of mine, their confidences are sacred. But if it doesn't need keeping…
     And my deepest secret? We'll get to that…
     Do I even believe in reincarnation? Back in my sceptical scientist days I found a piece of scripture where Jesus was challenged and asked if gentiles could enter the Kingdom of Heaven. He said, "My Father can raise sons of Abraham even from these stones." (6) I thought this a nice retort to reincarnation. The biologist in me doesn't think that minds need all that priming, but we know so little about minds. And we learn some things so slowly that perhaps it does take eons. Nowadays I think, I say, that so many of the wise believe, I have to give it some credence. (Baba Hari Dass says/writes that he is in contact with his departed teacher.) It's an open question. If I knew that soldier's name and checked the archives? But I don't. (7)

  I should mention that I'm not a follower of Nityananda, knowledgeable and powerful though he is. I'm turned off by what I judge to be his narcissism. My Buddhist teacher, Philip, was/is humble. Oh, there was a personality there (sometimes a little gauche), but very little "ego". And our biblical Jesus had simplicity as well as prowess: "Oh what a friend…" as they says.
     I went to a grand meeting, with Teresa, when the satguru visited here in Toronto, a decade back. I don't remember it well. But yes, Nityananda, Swamiji, had an aura of power, of energy, charisma, like Mick Jagger I thought.
     And I went with Teresa another time to meeting with one of Swamiji's lieutenants. At the end of the meeting there was a long line up to receive a "blessing." "Why not?" The subguru put his thumb against my "third eye": and I was transported. It was bliss, but it wasn't somehow mine. And I've not pursued this sect. Hmm? Is that a self denial? Jealousy? Maybe. I think I just can't hack his style. Ah, but there is a least one jewel I've garnered from Nityananda..
     Teresa lent me one of Nityananda's many books. On the second page he speaks of the word, the term, "ananda". Oh but first, I'd like to give this a particular context.
     Philip Starkman told how, early in his seeking, he had spent 18 months in bliss, in ecstasy, and that ecstasy was an agitation. It was exhausting. Beyond bliss, the Buddhists say, is tranquil abiding.
     Nityananda explains that the word ananda literally means "that which cannot be lost or divided." And that is tranquil abiding, which is the ground of consciousness, the substance of the divine.

  Long ago, early nineteen nineties, crazy Françoise, (8) out of the blue said, "Do you remember how you used to sell water, in the desert, in Morocco. And how, and how the buttons used to shine on your coat." I took that to be a separate "vision" - I felt she was referring to a European soldier's greatcoat. (9) This conversation predates the Wehrmacht past-life regression experience. But it might have primed it? seeded the "fantasy".
     This last summer I was walking in the Annex with Ezra, and we passed by Françoise twenty years on now panhandling. I gave her a "toonie". I'm usually rather "tight fisted": worried about money, but being with Ezra, whio is so generous… I offered the two dollar coin. Françoise is round, rolly-polly, swathed in many layers of cloth, jumper above whatever and whatever (even in the summer), weathered brown skin. "Is this all for me," she said beaming, childlike. It was touching.
     Oh, and there's another poem with Françoise, but again for the footnotes. (10)

  A few years back Ezra and I were standing stoned on the Danforth one day, and Ezra said, "I wouldn't go to see you as a Chiropractor. You don't look healthy. You should do yogo. I'll teach you." My fee was to bring him a spliff for each lesson. And Ez encouraged me to get high with him for our classes - and the greatest part of those classes was "philosophy". Our Ez is quite a philosopher.
     One memorable class, in his kitchen, possibly, was, "Repeat after me, "I Norman"…"
     "I Norman."
     "I am the Light. I am Shiva." ....
     And I'll buy that. We are the little lights of God. Extensions of the Source. (We are not "alpha and omega", the All and Everything (which is the Source and all it's extensions). Consciousness is like water (one water on the planet - one Being, one consciousness in the creation, sometimes in this vessel, sometimes in that. Sat Chit Ananda).
     So in this class, or another, Ez went on to say, picking up on my fear… one of my default states…
    I sometimes say, how if your childhood in unhappy, your default state is unhappy; and with me, too, there seems to be quiet a lot of fear.
    So Ez was saying, "There really is nothing to fear. We are eternal. And we have already endured and survived the worse things we could possibly image. And as he said this, I flashed back to the Wehrmacht, outside that Czech village, my body arching (where I sat), my eyes opening in awe as I "flew" there. And Ez, seeing me vanish, as it were, jumped up and grabbed me. "Come back! I'm not losing you, for God's sake!"

  Ezra's philosophy is mostly very positive. Ez's God is Love, and they (should that be capitalised "T/they") talk together every day. So I was a little surprised, last summer, on the veranda, I was speaking of my shame at spiking that Jew with the butt of my rifle…
    "Not to worry," Ezra responded. "He probably had it coming to him."

  I think that that's all I have to say about "past lives" here. And present life? "What's happening," some might ask, "You started Norman Allan: the story, for Ezra with TAiS:tm. (Ted Allan in Spain: the movie) What's happening with that?"
    Mark, my illustrator, illuminator, is, one, taking his time, but assuring me that timing is/will be perfect, and, two, Mark is a stickler for detail and authenticity, and that takes time. For instance, TAiS:tm opens at the offices of the Daily Clarion, the Canadian communist newspaper (11) with Ted expecting to go to Spain as the Clarion's war correspondent, so Mark needed (12) to find the Daily Clarions "bannerhead", and this was quite a quest. Finally he found that there were copies of the Clarion in the Reference Library's archives. Would I like to go with him?" (13)
    The Reference Library is so spacious. I've heard a grumbler complain about the waste of space. But it's a cathedral to literature!
    The archives are in the basement. And the Clarion was on microfiche! And we, Mark and I, were like excitable rowdy teenagers. Shushed twice! And the second front page that we looked at, there was Ted's bye-line! Wow.

TAiS:tm, the promo-package (for publishing houses: we'll canvas houses that specialise in "graphic novels", and publishing houses in Madrid and Barcelona.) is almost there, almost ready, Mark says. I've posted a trailer for the "trailer" on my website.

Finally I'm ready to let go of chapter two with two poems, and with an apology that I can't tell you more about past lives.
     The first poem in, in some sense, a light hearted vein ….


In my last incarnation
I was a bleating sheep
I followed the sunshine gladly

I remember the journey to slaughter
stock car stock yard
electric prod and stun gun
all your humanity

Ba ba black
ain't coming back
waiting your curse
your knife
my life

Now I'm lamb chops

    And finally finally, a piece written for Ezra's mother (14)

(everyone is afraid of letting go of the holocaust)

ten thousand tears
haven't cooled the phoenix
she's still smoldering
beating her wings
fearing to remember
trying to believe the sky





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