This book that you hold in your hands is a remarkable artifact rich with valuable data for those interested in exploring the nature of the human psyche. Within its pages lies a tale of strength and triumph as well as a portrayal of the resilience of the human spirit against crushing and shattering forces of opposition and adversity. Though it is a deeply personal account of one man’s encounter with the forces of darkness as they showed up in his own life in an utterly unique and challenging way, in a very real sense it is everyone’s story, resonating throughout with the relentless challenge of being true to one’s self and authentically human, thereby having deep relevance as well as providing potential inspiration for all of us.
Having known Paul as a close friend for over two decades there has been a chief feature or a recurrent motif arising within his personal process to which all of his close friends can attest, namely a consistently strong and dedicated commitment to tell, explain, describe and understand as clearly as possible the extreme ordeal that he underwent in relation to his father—what his friends and Paul simply call his “father process”—and how it has affected him in dramatic and traumatic ways. The reason behind this insistent resolve that Paul has to express and communicate what happened with his father and then, later on, with psychiatry is not simply coming out of a neurotic need to be understood or because he is stuck in a pattern that is perpetuating a victimhood dynamic as some who first encounter Paul and his work may initially and mistakenly assume, but instead has a vaster and more sublime impulse and intent behind it.
This has to do with the fact that not only was Paul’s ordeal with his father and psychiatry abusive to an extremely heart and soul shattering degree, but most importantly, it was also initiatory. The sense of urgency Paul attaches to people understanding what he endured with his father (and subsequently with psychiatry) is driven by a desire to share something important with us, not just something about what he went through personally, but something that was revealed to him—through his modern day shamanic descent into the underworld—that has profound import for all of us. This story of a tragic breakdown of relations between Paul and his father (and later, with his mother) is not being told merely to recite a personal tragedy but to reveal a subtle and nearly invisible dynamic that is actively at work in innumerable forms within each of our lives. In Paul’s life this process took such a relentlessly tragic form that he was forced to recognize this hidden dynamic and gradually came to see how it insidiously pervades human affairs and is thereby enormously important for us to learn to see its operations within ourselves and others. Paul’s work as a whole is an invitation into this new world—practically a parallel universe—that he, along with an increasing number of others, has discovered, yet hopefully without having to go through the same amount of pain and suffering that he had to endure. This book is his personal story of how he was led to discover this new vision of reality that reveals a universe shimmering with an expanded spectrum of human possibilities that becomes available to us once we are able to see and overcome the relentless tricks by which our own mind deceives us into buying into a limited, impoverished and fear-ridden view of both ourselves and the world.
Encoded within Paul’s story lies evidence for and an opening into a radically different and redeeming worldview—an enchanted universe imbued with intrinsic sentience—a vision that can function as an antidote to the dangerous epistemological dead end that reductive materialism, with its view of a meaningless universe composed of separate parts mechanically interacting, has led us into. The abuse that Paul underwent eventually transformed into a portal through which he was introduced to a new way of seeing, an enhanced mode of perception that led to a profound series of insights and cascading revelations into the deeper nature of reality. Paul began to see with increasing clarity the hidden dynamics by which human interpersonal interactions are being transpersonally orchestrated by an invisible underlying unified field that without our knowledge or awareness influences, shapes and informs our thoughts, perceptions, judgments and mental states in ways which we are generally only dimly aware. Paul, in the course of the narrative that is his life story, has undergone a profound ontological shift from an ordinary awareness that sees the surface of things, to a deeper, more lucid awareness characterized by a trenchant transcendent insight into the deeper nonlocal field dynamics that organize and coordinate everything with everything else. Like a secret initiatory curriculum uniquely designed for him alone, this insight was revealed to him with ever-increasing degrees of lucidity, gradually revealing a transformative vision of the world that corresponds precisely with the heart-essence of the world’s great spiritual and mystical traditions. This kind of realization is not merely mental or intellectual but requires a phenomenological transformation of the entire fabric of one’s immediate experience. This transformed perspective was directly revealed to Paul, often in the most painful and crazy-making ways, through the course of the ordeals that he describes in this book. For us, as the reader, to realize what Paul is pointing to requires an openness to a similar transformation within ourselves.
Paul’s story is a human tragedy that, through the unconscious, often uncanny behavior of his “loved ones,” remarkably revealed to his trauma-tenderized mind the same general conclusions about the deep structure of reality that the founders of Quantum Physics were inexorably drawn to by the equally bizarre and counterintuitive behavior of the quantum world. This is to say that despite all the apparent diversity and measurably separate, separable and solid-seeming nature of matter composing the physical world, that all things—including people—in actuality are seamless expressions of a singular, unitary indivisible wholeness that is orchestrating the whole display of the material world in a nonlocal way that transcends time, space and linear causality.
Paul has been sharing these insights into what he has been calling the dreamlike nature of reality through his writings, talks, interviews as well as his Awakening in the Dream Groups for years, but the full story behind how he arrived at these transformative insights has remained obscure because the full story of his personal ordeal of awakening had never been told in full. He has been telling his story in pieces to his friends for decades, but because the story is so long and has significant complexity to it, it is not generally easy for others to comprehend the whole picture of what led Paul to become the uniquely gifted teacher and vision-holder that he is today. Awakened by Darkness represents the whole story laid out so that its most essential features are told in a way that allows the inner thread connecting the whole narrative to be seen.
This book is likely to trigger a variety of reactions and judgments in its readers. I respectfully ask the reader to put their judgments of Paul that may arise as this narrative is read in brackets—i.e. to temporarily suspend their judgments that may come up while reading the text—because it is to this very process by which we may be triggered to form judgments and become convinced of their “rightness” to which Paul is hoping to draw our attention. These triggers arising within our minds are actually opportunities for us to self-reflect, to ask ourselves what within us is being touched in our reactions. This very process whereby we receive information from our experience and then interpret it in the particular way that we do, is a process taking place within our mind and this is precisely the locus where this invisible nonlocal field can operate on us in very subtle, insidious and potentially divisive ways, ways that are more thoroughly explained in Paul’s previous book Dispelling Wetiko. Paul makes great efforts to be vulnerable and bare his soul by presenting unflattering situations that occurred in his life as a vehicle to reveal the perverse and maladaptive workings of wetiko within his own mind and life. He invites us to subject our own lives to a similar fearless investigation in order to detect the covert operations of these same aberrant psychological dynamics within the reactions of our minds to his story. This is not a typical book, in that Paul is inviting the reader, through the unvarnished telling of the abusive drama that he lived through, to actively marshal a greater degree of self-reflective meta-awareness so as to creatively participate in, rather than unconsciously react to, what is being touched—and potentially illumined—within us by his story.
Awakened by Darkness provides the reader an intimate first person case study of how, through an excruciating ordeal, the author was initiated into being able to see and map out with increasing acuity the insidious ways that wetiko deviates our minds, convincing us of things that are not so and then, based on these delusions, leading us to act out behaviors based upon these erroneous convictions, often with a sense of self-righteous conviction, that have seriously problematic consequences, both for ourselves and others. This process collectively adds up, feeding upon itself to produce the pervasive patterns of madness, misunderstanding and conflict that characterize so much of our world today.
This book is a remarkable testament describing and exposing important aspects of the deep psycho-spiritual dimensions of human trauma. Paul’s experience of trauma resulting from the abuse he endured from his father reveals that under the right circumstances a severe trauma can cut so deep that it wounds the soul and approaches soul murder. His story illustrates that such forms of severe emotional abuse can inject and transmit a toxic psycho-spiritual complex that characterizes the psyche of the abuser into the recipient of the abuse in such a way that the dynamics of the abuser literally becomes installed into the personal psychological operating system of the recipient as a pernicious form of psychic malware that can require enormous efforts throughout a lifetime to repair and transform. The soul-crushing trauma that Paul received from his father—abetted by psychiatry—cut through the level of the personal human shadow, contacting the deeper realm of transpersonal archetypal evil. This is one of the things that makes Paul’s story—and this book—unique; it is not just the story of one man’s confrontation with his own personal shadow, but is an encounter with the seemingly cosmic forces of darkness themselves. In somehow managing not to become destroyed by this experience, but rather, being able to communicate and shed light on what he has lived through—in the form of this book—Paul is truly offering a gift to each of us.
Paul’s story is also a valuable contribution in helping us understand the seemingly other-worldly power and sway with which the archetypes of the collective unconscious operate in and through our lives. This is accomplished by Paul’s capacity to look at his own personal trials through the eye of symbolic awareness attuned to the deeper archetypal patterns that are informing the personal events in his life. In particular, he powerfully elucidates the archetype of the negative father, which is an enormously active force in our world. This is a deeper, underlying mythic pattern that is being enacted unconsciously by countless men, fathers, male (and sometimes female) authority figures, institutions and nation-states in our world today. In the course of his unfolding drama constellated around the archetype of the negative patriarchy, it became increasingly clear to Paul that he was being shown something extraordinarily profound, the sharing of which with the world was to become his life’s work.
A rich knowledge of the work of Carl Jung, present in all of Paul’s writings, is another of the valuable aspects of this book. By using Jung’s own words to illustrate and illumine the dynamics of his own lived-through experiences and how he has worked to transform, integrate and overcome them, this book contributes to our knowledge and appreciation of the depth and breadth of Jung’s work in a unique way that goes far beyond the mere abstract scholarly study of Jung’s writings. With this enhanced insight we can potentially be inspired to re-contextualize our experience in ways that can help us feel less isolated and alone by seeing our day-to-day challenges as part of a collective mythic evolutionary struggle in which our entire species is involved. We can thereby find new ways to connect with each other, empowering us to take more effective action in our personal lives—as well as collectively—to help us overcome, heal and transform ourselves into people better able to contribute positively and share our gifts with the world. Our doing so adds an even deeper meaning and significance to Paul’s story, which has a universal dimension to it, as it involves the sacred quest to follow the calling of our inner voice no matter what obstacles may appear on our path. This is a never-ending story we are all writing—and dreaming—together.
Mark is Paul’s best friend and a life-long student of physics, as well as the world’s spiritual wisdom traditions.