I followed the aliens’ directions and parked the car downtown before finding a bench at Five Points Park. We sat in silence for a few moments. I watched the aliens watch people walking around and through the park and soon let my attention wander to those that they watched.
Some walked slowly. Some walked quickly. Some gave us a friendly nod. Some moved by as if we didn’t even exist.
“What do you see?” Iman asked.
“People. Buildings. Trees. Streets.” I looked at Iman. “Is there something in particular I should be looking for?”
“We’re going to look at energy.”
“Energy?” I asked.
“Yes. Everything has energy. It’s what comprises the universe. However, there are gradations to its flow. Some allow it to flow
strongly through them, and some wrestle with it and don’t allow it to flow as it should.”
“Do you remember your experience with the life window?” Yewell asked.
“How could I forget?”
“What were you thinking about when you lost consciousness?”
“I was thinking about all of the people I’ve let down in my life. I was thinking about all the times I screwed up. I was thinking about all of the things I’d done wrong in life.” As I spoke the words, I could feel my posture start to droop.
“Do you see how those thoughts made you weak?” Iman asked.
“I can feel how they make me feel weak now.”
“Unfortunately, a good part of your population lives in that state,” said Yewell. “They are stuck with that concept of shame as their primary reality. They feel that they don’t deserve anything and neither does anyone else. For them, life is suffering.”
“What does any of this have to do with marketing?” I asked.
“Marketing is all about right understanding,” said Iman, “communicating through your actions and words who you are and what you do. If that understanding is based on a lower stage of consciousness, you’re not going to communicate at your highest potential. You won’t even be able to realize it.”
“I’m not sure I understand,” I said.
The aliens looked at one another and sat on either side of me on the bench. They each placed a hand on my shoulder and stared at me.
“Okay, you guys are kind of freaking me out,” I said.
“Sometimes,” Yewell said “in order to gain right understanding, it is necessary to first view poor understanding.”
“We need you to see something,'” Iman said. “We’re going to give you a mind meld.”
“You’re going to be able to see things through our eyes for awhile. All we want you to do is to sit as you are now and look deeply at the people that share your space.”
“Is this going to hurt?”
They stared blankly at me for a moment before Iman said, “You’ll survive.”
“Okay, that pause wasn’t very convin…”
Before I could finish my thought, both of their hands tightened on my shoulders and my neck craned forward. Searing pain began to develop in my temples as if their eyes were boring into my skull. My vision blurred, darkened, and rose again into a new sensation beyond my optical sense. As much as I wanted to close my eyes, I felt as if my eyes had bugged out beyond the limits of my eyelids.
The people who walked before me no longer appeared as the three dimensional apparitions that I’d seen a moment before. Instead, they glowed with a multi-hued luminescence that transcended the clothes they wore, the color of their skin, or their standing in society. They each glowed with a luminescent aura as if I were looking directly at their souls.
My focus fell on one particular man who was sitting on a bench across from me. A red aura emanated from his lower pelvis, expanding until it overtook his entire body and drew me in like a vortex. My mind zoomed into his and I was shocked by the vision of a psyche racked with shame at a life poorly lived. My mind left his like a gunshot, catapulting my consciousness back to my own body where the multi-colored souls walked before me. Another body was enveloped in red, and again I was drawn into a troubled mind.
I sunk deeper into a subconscious where a raging storm of pain and abuse engulfed me before I was able to break free and return to my own body.
Again and again, my focus fell upon a person who swelled up with red and my mind melded with theirs. Again and again, I was pummeled by a barrage of shame and the weakness of the human condition at its lowest point. My head pounded with pain, my heart ached with sorrow, and my body cramped with the weight of the world upon it. The despair that overtook me made working on the screenplay the night before seem like a trip to Disney World.
I found myself in my own body again, the shame of others bringing me face to face with my own failings once again. The greatest desire that consumed me was wanting to die. With that, the colors of others faded to black and I felt my body slump to the ground on the soft grass as unconsciousness overtook me once again.
This is an excerpt from How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. Order your copy today!
Steve McAllister is the author of The Rucksack Letters and How to Survive an Estralarian Mind Meld. He posts regularly at InkenSoul.com, and sometimes posts atAnything Arts, Sarasota Music Scene, and Elephant Journal, and is currently the Director of Operational Development for the Common Wealth Time Bank in Sarasota, Florida. Follow him on Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.