THE FOURTH DIMENSION
The first book in the Shambala Mystery series covered the investigation of the four elderly residents of Happy Acres, who mysteriously disappeared. We got to know the four key players on the Detective Team – Lucky Two Crows, Taylor Banks, Jimmy Meriweather and Lily Vahn. We also learned a little about the four old people – Maggie, Sopi, Howard and Robert. The first book was most 3D drama of sorts. The Director of Happy Acres, Mildred Rice, caused a lot confusing, accusing both Howard and Robert of murder. Taylor was a bit of a drama queen and Lucky attempted to make it interesting. It was all Third Dimension Missing Persons Investigation suspense.
In this book, both the old folks, later followed by the detective, meet the Immortal Master Arguna in Big Sur. Another Master Tenzen also enters the story, as does a tengu from the mountains of Japan. A lot of supernatural stuff is introduced to the story, which is why it’s titled The Fourth Dimension.
ROBERT St. CLAIR
Robert St. Clair is eighty years old and a recluse billionaire. For the past 45 years he has build Shambala Natural Foods into one of the largest grocery chains in the world. He has done most of his work in seclusion, living a semi-monastic life. That life began when he was five years old, left by his American parents in Tibet, actually in the mystical land of Shambala, to become the next Rinpoche in a lineage. His training there lasted 30 years. Now he’s ready to return to Shambala, and bring his three best friends with him. But a few matters need to be taken care of first.
The book begins with ROBERT telling his story of how and why he escaped from Happy Acres. We learn about the life of Robert. St. Clair, and also the lives of Maggie Miller, Howard Johnson, and Sopi Nguyen—all in their late 70’s. In Big Sur they will meet a young Immortal Master. They continue on to the Yucatan in Mexico to an unknown temple portal to Shambala.
Two compelling stories happen in this book, continuing in Book Three. The four elders journey to a most sacred temple of Kulkukan in the Yucatan. And then, guided by the young Immortal Master Arjuna, they face one life threatening challenge after the other. At the same time the detectives are led by Tenzin, a rapidly aging Immortal Master. After entering the portal in the Yucatan, they trek through the mountains in Eastern Tibet, a thousand miles away from the old folks. Tenzin prepares them for the 5th Dimension. Will the two groups meet at the entrance to Shambala? How are the detectives related to Robert St.Clair, and why lead them halfway around the world?
Three months before present time
I was old. Eighty years old. After twenty-nine thousand moons I welcomed death, even though I entertained no good reason besides old age to suggest it. Still, it pulled me to itself . . . until finally . . . a stroke took me by surprise. In physical weakness, with mental and spiritual resignation, I thought I was ready, stood most willingly at the tunnel entrance, waiting for the passage light when, the massage came: you must return to Shambala. With those words, my passing was postponed. My entire being was suddenly shrouded in stillness. Starting in Aries, the days of Taurus were lost in coma, in the almost certain dark curtain of death.
They said it would all end that still dark night; the monitors said so, the doctors knew. But I knew differently. It was time to heal.
Robert St. Clair
Dying is quite unnecessary, especially now
Six weeks or so before the detectives took the case:
While Robert St. Clair was in Portland’s Providence Hospital, motionless, lying in a coma, hooked up to life-support machines, Clarence Two Moons was sitting in his tipi, at his estate outside of Great Falls, Montana.
The two distinguished gentlemen first met soon after Robert’s stroke, which had put him in this dying situation, a month later. He was registering the very low score of four on the Glasgow Coma Scale, which meant that his cognition, thinking and physical skills and his emotions and behavioral abilities were barely functioning. At age eighty his prognosis was imminent death. His flat line horizon was days away.
They said it would all end before sunrise; the monitors said so, the doctors knew this would be his fate. His few close friends had come to say goodbye. But on a higher plane of consciousness, Robert was as healthy and coherent as any person could be.
During the month following his stroke and up to this near moment of death, Clarence and Robert frequently journeyed through the Door to Everything. They went to his former home, the pristine valley of Shambala. Being in the 5th Dimension of reality was more ecstatic and to him appeared more real than life on the 3D earth. The two men were in this exotic location with the agreement of thought, where they engaged in stimulating conversations with no consideration of time. It was here where they had become best of friends.
In severe juxtaposition of one reality with another, the czar of organic farming and food supply for his physical earth, and the czar of alternative energy in the State of Montana, agreed that their 3D earth was in grave danger.
One day, while lounging by the most idyllic mountain view lake, Clarence revealed that he was in three places at the same time. He was Clarence Two Moons living in Great Falls, Montana in the 3rd Dimension. The medicine man Wolf Eyes, living in a Blackfeet village in Northern Montana in 1876, in the 4th Dimension, all at the same time while he was sitting with Robert overlooking the 5th Dimension lake.
Robert listened. After he left his 30 years of monastic life in Shambala, he had set aside his writing and study of esoteric philosophy. In his current near-death state, he was surprised to be alive in a 5D heavenly place, while still technically alive and conscious of his precarious 3D situation.
Clarence reminded Robert he still had work to do on earth and it was shame to be lying in some hospital in a coma. “For you, dying is quite unnecessary, especially now,” he said. “We both have the ability to live in great health in three dimensions, simultaneously.’
“At my age I’m not sure I want do this?” Robert said. “How could I possibly be as healthy there as I am here?”
“Be embracing your multi-dimensionality, Robert. Didn’t you learn how to heal any disease while in Shambala? Apply those techniques to heal yourself and others. You need to renew your life passion; your purpose for living. It’s time for a new inspiration; something which totally rejects the notion of dying.”
“A new inspiration? Like what?”
“Like replacing your shame with joy. What are you ashamed of? What is it that you should have done but neglected? Make doing it your inspiration.”
“Oh, I’ve wanted to,” Robert said with a sigh, “have them in my life. The timing was never right . . .” He leaves that thought dangling and goes to the next. “And those damn agri-business cartels. I’ve always wanted to fight them; to stop them from poisoning the food supply. I never had the strength or the guts to stand up to them.”
“You did so much good for this world. There is no shame in not having done everything. And now you’re an old man, apparently dying. But it’s not too late. You can still inspire the next generation to do those things you didn’t do. What if I introduced you to a younger man, who really wants to take on those cartels and has the strength and knowhow to do it?”
“What kind of knowhow?”
“This man thinks he knows how to hack into their computer systems, to steal all their money and give it to the poor. He wants to right the wrongs and put the cartels out of business.”
“Impossible. These cartels are protected by the most sophisticated firewalls and are too big to fail.”
“That’s the kind of thinking that caused you to surrender to death. You’ve been trying to fight a bulldozer with a shovel. This young man may have an even bigger bulldozer. He has the passion to shove them off the face of the earth.”
“Who is this person?” Robert asked, intrigued.
“His name is Lucky Two Crows. He’s a Native American detective who lives in Portland. His plan is on hold because he lacks the financial means to purchase the most cutting-edge computer equipment.”
“And you’re thinking I’ll be able to help in this regard?”
“Only if you’re alive.”
“I see where you’re going with this. What interest do you have in him?”
“I will invite him to Montana to solve a murder, that never really happened.” After Clarence said this the two men had a long stare down. “Most importantly, and to your benefit, in a month’s time his understanding of multiple dimensions of reality will have totally changed.”
“I mentioned, or started to mention what I was ashamed of, what I’ve regretted. There are two people who should have been in my life, but I was too stubborn to face them. If this Indian can bring them to me, I will give him all the money he needs for his revolution.”
“Sound like a plan. But first I want to give him the opportunity to marry my daughter and help me run my Montana businesses. Will you give me a month to see how that pans out?”
“Why not? In the meantime I need to figure out how to heal myself, and then I’ll need a month or so to recover, and then figure out what I want to do with the rest of my life . . . and how to arrange to meet the two people I’ve neglected for so many years.”
Trust life. It’s the bridge to eternity.
Leading up to when the detectives got involved:
The following morning, in the darkest hour preceding his anticipated death, Robert decides to tend to his comatose body by attempting a rarely taught ancient immortality technique on himself, something which he learned nearly fifty years before.
After hours of trial and error, he’s finally able to successfully send a concentrated blast of rejuvenating life force energy into every cell of his immobile body. In one knowing second, he experiences the thrill of transition, as his 5th dimensional body merges with his 3rd. He has self-healed, as Clarence suggested. He’s now awake, not sitting beside an idyllic lake, but in a hospital bed, attached to wires and a breathing tube. And yet, behind all the modern medical contraptions, he’s in bliss, thrilled to be alive.
When his intensive care nurse arrives that morning, he pretends to almost still be dying. He senses her hovering and is ready for some fun. When she removes his breathing tube, a morning routine, he bolts his eyes and mouth open. She screams. The doctors rush in and after some very serious poking and probing and making sure the monitors work properly, they declare his recovery a miracle. Robert is now coma free; his vital signs are normal, and he can talk. “Looks like I’m all better,” he declares. “What’s for breakfast?”
The next day he returns home with Lily Vahn, his personal assistant and Executive Tribe member at Shambala Foods, who lives in his mansion, in a studio apartment with a private entrance, at the end of the hall. She agrees to watch over him, though caregiver isn’t on her list of interests. She immediately hires a Portland State student, a twenty-one-year-old Tibetan man named Tenzin, to be at Robert’s beck and call; a manservant since he no longer needs a nurse.
Prior to his stroke, Robert lived a hermit’s life. He rarely had visitors come to his hundred-year-old Frank Lloyd Wright mansion. He employed a quiet, laid-back Zen Buddhist couple, who did the gardening, housekeeping and much of the cooking. Robert and Lily would often go a week without seeing each other, and he had no other family or friends, besides those sequestered in an old folk’s home. But now, post coma, he hangs out in the kitchen, and living room, walks all around the house, inside and out, down the shaded path, talks with Lily, talks with Tenzin, his caretakers, orders home delivery Chinese, but mostly Indian curries, and turns up the stereo as if he’s ready to dance.
In the weeks that followed, Robert revealed to Lily he had undergone a body, mind and soul transformation while in the coma, mostly due to his time in the 5th dimension. Her response was an incredulous, “What?”
As if he had never really considered it before, the reality of him being a billionaire dawned on him. He could buy whatever in the world he wanted. So, he called the Tesla dealership and had a Roadster delivered. Lily would drive him to places like the Rose and Japanese Gardens, Multnomah Falls, and even Portland Meadows, where he bet $100 on the horses and lost. He also purchased a new white Ford Flex and he spent a few days at the old St. Clair family lodge on the foothills of Mt. Hood with a new friend from Montana, Clarence Two Moons. The two men, with Lily and Tenzin in observation, spent hours-on-end discussing multi-dimensional reality, alternative energy, the evils of large food and oil cartels, Robert’s previous life in Shambala, and Clarence’s current life in the nineteen century. The last two subjects more than confused Lily. Tenzin grinned.
Back at the Portland estate, he spent hours playing chess and talking with Lily, his most trusted business consultant, about the business dreams his stroke kept from being realized. He especially like talking about his plan to lease massive plots of land in the Shah State of Burma. There he would buy agricultural equipment, supplement hundreds of farmers and guarantee a livable wage, allowing them to grow crops for Shambala Foods, in their traditionally happy way. This would replace the poppy fields and the cruel rule of opium war lords, forcing the brutes out of Shah for good. This was a good dream.
One afternoon while playing chess, Tenzin said something wise beyond his years. “Tulku,” he kindly spoke the name he called Robert, “there is a mystery teaching from the Upanishads I would like to share with you.” When Robert nodded his head, Tenzin quoted from memory,
“Two birds, one of them mortal, the other immortal, live in the same tree. The first one pecks at the fruit, sweet and bitter; the second looks on without eating. Thus, the personal self pecks at the fruit of this world, bewildered by suffering, always hungry for more. But when he meets the True Self, the resplendent God, the source of creation, all his cravings are stilled. Perceiving Self in all creatures, he forgets himself in the service of all; good and evil both vanish; delighting in Self, playing like a child with Self, he does whatever is called for, whatever the result.”
At that moment Robert realized it was time to make his biggest dream come true. He would do what was called for, whatever the result.
The next day, seven weeks after his stroke and after forty-five years living in his mansion, Robert informed Lily it was finally time for him to move out. It took another day to convince her to make sure a room was available for him at Happy Acres, the nearby exclusive gated dementia facility he secretly owned. He insisted on registering under an alias, Archie Goodwin, pretending he indeed belonged there. He told her his best overall long-term happiness option was to be around people, especially his three best friends Howard, Sopi and Maggie. She finally agreed.
Robert knew a move to Happy Acres meant he’d be in the midst of twenty-six mentally ill renters, a full staff of cooks, cleaners, attendants and a director he’d rather fire, Mildred Rice. He had never been around so many troubled people in the same place at the same time in all his eighty years. It would be quite an adjustment. But it was the first step in his calling, and it was about time he forgot his self, in the service of his friends.
The above photo is of a Mayan Temple in the Yucatan
The sage leaves behind all traces. Disappearing into the light
Thursday, Robert’s first day at Happy Acres:
After living in Robert’s estate for four years, Lily understands why Robert actually enjoys living in isolation; that his life isn’t a psychological malady which needs to be cured. She is very aware that most people who dedicate their lives, build empires and become billionaires, must spend a great deal of time alone, remain focused and avoid being distracted. Often while lost in her own biological research projects, she would also be considered a hermit.
In studying her boss, she long ago concluded that Robert didn’t possess negative self-esteem traits, such as not liking himself. He was comfortable with his level of success in the world and cared less whether people liked him or not. He liked who he was, enjoyed being alone, and when in the right company, was quite sociable. His avoidance of people stemmed from his Buddhist inspired conclusion that the vast majority of them, nearly all people, especially Westerners, were suffering. It wasn’t his job or lot in life to counsel or heal anyone; whatever was going on in the mind or economy of another human was none of his business. His business was running a grocery empire, not a religion or psychiatric hospital.
His spiritual and logical system orientated background guided his business success. He simplified it into ,if you pay your employees well, take care of their security, health and education issues, “ease their suffering,” they will be loyal and more productive, and the business will thrive.
Although he wouldn’t tell anyone about his life before the grocery business, at age five while with his parents in Tibet, Robert was chosen to be the successor in a line of tulkus. In the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, a tulku is believed to be incarnations of a Bodhisattva of Compassion. In his education as the Rinpoche of his lineage, Robert was taught that gossip, hearsay, small talk and the detailed explanations of ones’ life or defense of one’s actions, were outward signs and “confessions of suffering.” For thirty years Robert was taught to be a revered spiritual leader; each moment to be a living example of spiritual correctness. For all eighty years of his life he never forgot his discipline or went off track. His life was a living meditation, upholding the most correct righteous standards possible, as taught by the greatest scholars of all antiquity. The list of things Robert would never do was a mile long. Sex, drugs, rock and roll, or hanging out in a bar with friends never entered his consciousness.
Whether he had an avoidance personality disorder or was simply not interested in engaging in the distractions of the world, the irony was that with his avoidance, or disinterest, he had become one of the wealthiest men on earth.
Robert was up before dawn on the morning he would move one suitcase of clothing to Happy Acres. Always aware and attentive, Tenzin brought him his morning tea. After the young man left, Robert remembered back seventy years when he was taught to memorize the very same teaching from the Upanshada, which Tenzin had quoted the day before. It continued,
“Self is everywhere, shining forth from all beings, vaster than the vast, subtler than the most subtle, unreachable, yet nearer than breath, then heartbeat. Eye cannot see it, ear cannot hear it, nor tongue utter it; only in deep absorption can the mind, grown pure and silent, merge with the formless truth.”
Robert stared into space for a long time, surprised he remembered these words, and then continued,
“He who finds it is free; he has found himself; he has solved the great riddle; his heart forever at peace. Whole, he enters the Whole. His personal self returns to its radiant, intimate, deathless source. As rivers lose name and form when they disappear into the sea, the sage leaves behind all traces when he disappears into the light. Perceiving the truth, he becomes the truth; he passes beyond all suffering, beyond death; all the knots of his heart are loosed.”
The man who could buy anything he wanted but, up to the day of his stroke and subsequent coma, not including what his Shambala Natural Foods empire spent, would only buy solitude. He never went shopping. The care-taking couple would buy food and home supplies, and in the last four years Lily would buy clothing, although she too hated to shop, and he was content with the closet of white clothing he had. True that his house was like a museum of world treasures, but all of it, regardless of the price, was bought to help support the village craftsperson; the artists who put their souls into these created objects of beauty.
Robert moved into the Frank Lloyd mansion soon after his thirty-sixth birthday. The main house had five big bedrooms, including the massive master suite his parent occupied. Robert chose the stand-alone guest cottage, a bit removed from the mansion, with his own private courtyard. He was comfortable there, away from the sounds and interaction of whatever happened elsewhere. Several years after he moved in, he had a big natural rock waterfall with koi pond installed; his Zen garden, and then surrounded it all in a mini forest of black bamboo. He slept in his beloved guest cottage for the next forty-five years, with no desire to live elsewhere. His parents master suite became the servants quarters. Two of the bedrooms were combined into one, which became Lily’s apartment.
Whenever Robert traveled the world, a Shambala Foods travel specialist, and later Lily, would book him the most secluded, and often most expensive, room in the area’s best five-star hotel. If he had to be away from home, he didn’t want to be bothered or fuss with anything: his suite had to be fastidiously clean, comfortable, with light dimmers, and most of all . . . quiet as a mouse.
And now, after his most recent rebirth, he was willing to experience life from a slightly altered point of view. He instructed Lily to make sure there would be an available room at Happy Acres. He didn’t ask for it to be sanitized, or most comfortable with dimmer switches to combat his light intolerance. He didn’t ever care whether or not it butted up to another room, or rooms on both sides, or that it was quiet as a mouse. He already knew it was four-star resort quality, with the highest quality furniture, and the walls insulated for sound: he had it build that way. For him it was simply a place for him to sleep while his plan unfolded.
At two o’clock on Thursday afternoon, Robert, Lily and Tenzin arrived at Happy Acres and walked into Mildred Rice’s stuffy office. Robert wasted no time making it clear that he required the help of both Lily and Tenzin, that they were to have open access to Happy Acres, the gate remote, and it was non-negotiable. Mildred had no idea that Robert owned the place and assumed his were the demands of a mentally ill man. Mildred’s first inclination was to turn all his requests down. When she said she doesn’t negotiate with new arrivals. Lily remained calm. She explained to Mildred that Robert was quite wealthy and used to having his servants around, especially now since his mind had headed south. “We mean no harm or disrespect. We wouldn’t get in anyone’s way.” Mildred relented when she put $100,000 cash on the table, and then handed her a separate envelope with another $5000, to shut her up. Mildred gave lily two remotes for the front gate code, and keys to Robert’s second story room, and then escorted them there. The room was a large studio with a queen bed, sofa, a Lazy Boy recliner, small dining table with two chairs and a desk. The bathroom had a tub with many handles to grab onto, insuring the old folks an easy exit. It wasn’t his secluded cottage, but he would adjust.
Change your mind often: Dying is predictable, Living isn’t.
Robert’s arrival at Happy Acres, was quite unexpected, at least to Sopi. Only two weeks before, she was in Mildred Rice’s office with Lily, as her daughter pleaded and threatened legal action if Mildred didn’t give her mother and Howard Johnson a three-hour pass to leave Happy Acres, to say their goodbye’s to their friend Robert on his death bed.
Only Sopi was allowed to leave, since Howard’s family guardian was Robert, who was in no condition to give permission. Once they were in the hospital’s intensive care room, Sopi, Lily and Jennifer had no doubt he wouldn’t last the night. Observing the pale man hooked up to the slowly bleeping monitor, Sopi said her prayers and cried, the only one who did. A half-hour later, upon leaving, the three women were sure they had seen their old boss for the last time.
The next morning Robert’s doctor phoned Lily, telling of Robert’s miraculous recovery. She in turn went to Happy Acres to give Sopi and Howard the good news. Howard was confused and unable to make up a fun story about the near death of his best friend. Sopi was overjoyed that her prayers were answered.
Strutting into the dining room promptly at five, neatly dressed all in white, with his signature black sunglasses, appearing full of life, displaying a new kind of vim and vigor, as though his death door drama never happened. Sopi’s first words are “What the hell?” She had been Robert’s dear friend and employee for many years and knew right away his miracle healing had to be thorough. She had never thought of him as a man up to something, and now he was. Whatever ruse game he had in mind, she couldn’t dare object, since she too was playing one.
When Mildred Rice was hired to run the “resort,” Lily lied to her about her mother, who was already living there. And about herself. She introduced herself as a doctor, leaving out the words of Biology, and insisted her mother most definitely had dementia.
Sopi’s surprise was she never expected to see Robert show up in Happy Acres. She knew that in his forty-five years of Portland life, he would never walk into a room of strangers. Only a few of thousands of Oregon Shambala Foods employees had ever laid eyes on him, so apparently Robert had changed his mind about being a recluse; now, instead of avoiding peoples’ sufferings, he came back ready to engage in them, if you will.
As Robert walks up to the table, Howard, whose dementia had everything to do with losing track of time and space, stands and gives him a huge hug, and then holds him at arm’s length and says, “I’m ready to go fishing.”
Robert studies his best friend Howard Johnson, who wasn’t born with a motel name, and then kindly says, “I know. I’m sorry. Soon. I have a cabin on a lake just for us.” Howard smiles.
The two old men had been best friends and business partners for twenty-five years, and when Howard first showed signs of dementia, Robert decided to do something with the old former Mother of Mercy Catholic boarding school mansion, which he had purchased years before.
Robert first visited the property in the mid-1990’s when his Shambala Natural Foods empire was beginning to flourish. At that time, he was acquiring land all over the world, establishing organic farms, and had built several research facilities. He purchased Mother of Mercy not only because it reminded him of Troutdale’s iconic Edgefield McMenamin’s, which was the local Poor House for seventy years until the 1980’s, and was now a resort, but because of the not yet registered heritage Grand fir and Big leaf maple, and a small grove of Giant sequoia and Coast redwood, growing without fear of logging, protected by the Catholic Church for well over 150 years. His plan was for his biological research department to study this hidden-in-plain-sight diverse pristine environment, and hopefully extract and package organic medicinal remedies from their findings. Robert’s ecological gold mine in the middle of a thriving metropolis was many times more valuable than the old brick building, which hid it.
St. Mary’s Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception was established in Portland in 1862. A few years later the archdiocese acquired the twenty-acre plot in Troutdale, which forevermore became a Catholic Church hands-off sacred site, exempt to taxes and public scrutiny. The main building was originally built in 1874, as a seminary, with hopes to build a larger Portland archdiocese, with new priests to guild the flocks.
The mansion was first used as a seminar, and then a nunnery, and then was the Mother of Mercy boarding school until 1988. By then the 114-year-old building’s need for renovations far outweighed the dioceses improvement budget and was shut down. It was never posted for sale. Robert’s Shambala attorney offered the Archbishop, who officially owns the “corporation sole,” more money than God would allow him to refuse.
Robert has no interests in his personal wealth. His enormous monthly salary goes directly into has savings and stock portfolio; an accumulated forty years of unspent wealth. He had inherited his long-ago paid for Frank Lloyd Wright mansion. Shambala Foods paid for his household staff salaries, home improvements and utilities. Since his company paid for everything, his out-of-pocket expenses never added up to more than $10,000 a year.
A company car took him wherever he wanted to go; a Shambala corporate jet flew him around the world, and the company paid for his suites in five-star resorts. His attention to detail could only be met at that level. Unlike most wealthy executives, he had no interest in expensive cars or luxury yachts; he never gambled, drank, awarded beautiful women with diamonds and furs, or invested in vineyards. His only private investment extravagance was his Japanese resort in Big Sur, California.
Therefore, restoring the old mansion to five-star resort level, on the priceless heritage tree land, for his best friend, was a very wise Shambala Foods investment. As soon as he made the decision to go forward with the restoration, he met with the general contractor who had built his nine-story Shambala Foods corporate headquarters. This man coordinated with the architect and various sub-contractors, and the interior design company. Six months later the huge mansion interior had soundproof insulation between walls, each room painted and decorated with new best-brand beds and the best furniture, new carpets and Persian throw rugs for ambiance, new larger bathrooms, TV’s in every room, couches and easy chairs. They built a gleaming stainless steel industrial kitchen, behind a dining area with rosewood tables and chairs. Another large empty area would soon be filled with desks and scientific equipment. A shack out in the woods was turned into a studio apartment for the live-in gardener, next to a very large all-weather greenhouse.
Howard would occupy the executive apartment, with a live-in nurse to watch over him, plus a cook, maid and yardman. The other twenty-six rooms would eventually be filled with research scientists. The greenhouse next to the gardener’s cottage would be the first of many.
On the day Howard Johnson moved in, when it was vacant living spaces and the kitchen dining area just for him, he proudly declared to Robert, “This is my Happy Acres!” Robert never wanted it to be anyone’s happy acres, but Howard insisted, saying it whenever they met. Robert knew the name made his dear friend happy, so he finally began calling it that, too. At the time Robert had no idea his restored mansion on twenty acres of old growth was destined to become something it was never supposed to be a home for elderly dementia patients.
This began when Howard got bored, and then demanded that Sopi, love of his life only after he forget she wasn’t, join him. At the time it didn’t matter that she was dementia free; they both needed a companion. She was flow to Portland from Australia. Several weeks later Robert got word that an old friend, Maggie Miller, also had dementia. He made a deal with her stepson: she could live there rent free for the rest of her life. Robert figured the nurse, cook and gardener were the only needed hires to attend to three patients. In the meantime, a tribal head was assigned to oversee the hiring of forest and environmental experts and purchase the necessary lab equipment. The newly hired scientists and staff would each be given an apartment and the kitchen staff would grow accordingly.
But after Maggie arrived the three of them conspired. Howard needed more people to entertain and she, a career massage therapist, needed bodies to touch and people to heal. They would be far from happy if their request wasn’t honored.
Robert finally had no choice but to acquiesce, to fill the space with their peers. The Shambala Foods Forest Research Center was put on hold.
Robert handed this assignment over to Lily, who soon placed an ad in the Oregonian. Within a week the 4th and 5th and 6th paying guests arrived. Howard and Maggie were thrilled, entertaining the new arrivals in place of caregivers and a director, a job Lily also reluctantly covered, when necessary.
When the time came to hire a facility director, Robert had his attorney alter the name on the ownership papers from Shambala Natural Foods, to SNF27, Inc. – a shell corporation in the Cayman Islands, so no internet search would link Happy Acres to Shambala Foods; or to him. Before Lily hired the first director, he advised her to simply state she represented the corporate owners. The new hire was never to know about the billionaire Robert St. Clair, or that Lily Vahn was Robert’s personal assistant and currently one of Shambala’s top executives, or that Howard Johnson, the man with dementia in the executive suite had retired after twenty-five years as Shambala Foods second highest-ranking executive, the company COO, in charge of their global organic farm empire, or that Sopi Nguyen, only pretending to have dementia, had worked for Howard for over twenty years. Maggie also wasn’t aware of any of this and could care less. She had no idea that she had been the owner’s personal massage therapist and confident for sixteen years, fourteen years before.
Lily soon hired Mildred Rice, who had a resume which qualified her for the position as director. Robert didn’t really care whether all the rooms were occupied or not. Happy Acres was a diversion, which the Shambala Foods Board of Directors disagreed on; it should have remained a company research facility. But when the Directors looked at the profit potential of this unusual investment, their research showed that the average monthly cost for assisted living in Portland was between $3000 and $6000. After a walk-through they decided on $8000 a month, or one-hundred-thousand dollars a year per person, with tax. Ten guests would gross one-million dollars a year, making it a profitable venture. Lily believed the high cost would attract very few people, and Robert felt that there was no rush to fill all the room. Regardless, one of the first things Mildred Rice did as director was place an ad in AARP, the American Association of Retired Persons, with thirty-eight million members. In reality, a four-star resort, close to the best hotels in downtown Portland, set in a very private gated wooded estate compound, was very attractive to wealthy families of an elderly parent or grandparent. Once the ad was published, it took one month for the twenty-four rooms to be rented. Howard and Maggie were now every happy. He had an audience for his crazy make-believe stories, and she had many people to heal. The Board of Director were happy with a surprise venture netting over a million dollars a year.
In the months to follow, it wasn’t difficult to notice how much Maggie cared about the new guests. She was a delight to others, with her compassion and desire to act as if she were in charge of their care. Two years soon passed, and the three original occupants of Happy Acres were well-established in their roles. Robert St. Clair never showed up and Mildred Rice apparently had no interest in meeting the owner.
Fourteen years before Happy Acres, Robert and Maggie had been friends for nearly sixteen years. She was his massage therapist and one of the only people he spoke to of personal issues. He had found a safe confident in this lovely woman. They were never physically intimate, and at the same time, to him, her chemistry was confusingly intoxicating. Because of this he finally had to say goodbye, and that was that. He had a staff member keep track of Maggie during the passing years and when it was discovered she had dementia, she was offered free room and board at Happy Acres, something her stepchildren readily accepted. Maggie also had no idea he owned Happy Acres and probably never thought about it.
And now here he is, a man whose appearance nobody can forget, standing in front of her. She immediately remembers him, since her distant memory is intact. A lot of water had gone under her bridge in those fourteen years, with the last four in sort-term memory loss, nevertheless she’s surprised to see him again, and wonders why in the world he was re-entering her life. “Do you remember me?” he asks.
“Of course, I do, you louse. You were my best client. Then you disappeared. Is that anyway to treat a friend?” Robert is taken aback. He thought she would be too incapacitated with mental illness to remember him, let alone say such a thing. It renders him speechless.
All he can say is, “I’m sorry Maggie. I hope you will forgive me.”
In the weeks to come Robert couldn’t help but notice that Maggie spent a lot of time with Betty Wilson, a seventy-one-year-old woman suffering from Alzheimer’s. One minute Betty would be as sweet as pie and the next she would spew anger at anyone in her path. Maggie would talk about how much she wished there was a cure, and how much she wanted to help Betty. Seeing Betty’s wild mood swings and listening to Maggie, moved Robert to a level of compassion he didn’t know he possessed.
At the end of his third week at Happy Acres, on a Saturday night, Robert made a decision to heal the woman of her horrible plight. He snuck into Betty’s room while she slept and sent the same healing energy into her brain that he used to heal himself. While chanting an ancient healing prayer while sending the energy to her head, he felt a calmness enter her brain. She shivered. When he smiled at his success, she smiled too.
The next morning the attendants found Betty dead in her bed, with that same smile on her face. Robert now had to live with the thought that his good-will gesture may later come back to haunt him.
The flower of life. Blooms for your awakening
After the word was out that Betty Wilson’s dead body was discovered that morning. Robert knew that he probably had something to do with her dying but concluded at least she passed in peace. Smiling. During his month in a coma, on life support, Robert had let go of his 3rd dimensional body and lived in his 5D body, in paradise. He figures that Betty is now in her own paradise, relieved.
Betty’s death was the main subject of chatter for the next three days; kept alive by the staff asking, “Where’s Betty?” “I don’t know. Did she die?” they’d ask over and over, most of them having forgotten the yes answer soon after it was given. They’d express mixed feelings of sadness, relief and indifference, and then forget all about it. Memory loss protected them from their fear of inevitable death; Betty had passed on and not them. End of story. Robert was curious why the male staff, Mildred’s boys, kept talking about Betty’s death.
After she died one thing was for sure, Robert needed to rethink his plan on how to heal his friends. He may have sent too much life force energy into Betty’s confused brain, forcing it to shut down. When the brain stops communicating with the heart, it’ll stop beating. With Maggie and Howard his energy would either do nothing, make them dementia free or kill them. The last thing he wanted was two more dead bodies and spend his remaining years in prison. He was ready to return with them to Shambala and his dream wouldn’t work if they were dead. He could see the headlines:
“Recluse billionaire moves into home for dementia and murders three.”
Thursday was bingo night, and everyone was seriously lost in B4’s and G6’s, hoping they would be the lucky one to win the right to shout BINGO! Maggie also offered a face massage to each winner, but they were always offered free to anyone at any time. The women thought it was a wonderful prize. Nights like this reminded Robert he actually lived in the loony bin. He refused to play this nonsense game. Howard had begged him to come, so there he was, sitting without a bingo card, wondering how or why anyone with a sound or disturbed mind could enjoy this insult into the lowest bardo of human functionality. His plan, his reason for being at Happy Acres in the first place, was certainly two dimensions more worthwhile than being excited about ping-pong balls popping out of a box.
Robert finally told Howard he was going to bed, and then walked into the woods out back to visit the estate gardener, Brad. The young man, who was infinitely more interesting than bingo, was sitting on a log in front of his campfire, staring off into nothingness.
Robert enjoyed Brad’s company, since staring off into nothingness was much more worthwhile than nonessential chatter about bingo. Brad could mow lawns and trim bushes with great precision, never alluding to his brilliant scientist mind. A lifetime of things to study surrounded him, and he could do that, as long as he paid attention to the grass and hedges and didn’t upset Mildred. Brad masterfully maintained a park-like setting, and then spend his remaining hours in the greenhouse, growing organic vegetables, experimenting with different types of kale or cabbage and in the far corner, different strains of cannabis and psilocybin mushrooms.
Robert, still keeping his secret, considered Brad a godsend drawn to this particular forest; a gardener who was really a scientist; in the right place at the right time. Mildred, in turn, considered him a common laborer and begrudgingly paid him fifteen-dollars-an-hour, only because Lily had set the wage when he was hired. To Brad it was over-abundance, since he also got free room and meals and had no desire to leave the property. After a year, Mildred agreed on a $3000 a month salary, which was wired directly into his bank.
Brad Tiller was a thirty-three-year-old loner with a degree in Environmental Science from Stanford. For him this job, on this land, was a godsend. He would rather live alone in the woods, never bored with endless things to study, then engage in the mindless folly of society in general. In many ways Brad and Robert were kindred spirits, connoisseurs of organic infinite reality. Brad was awed with Robert’s stories of Shambala, convinced the man didn’t have dementia, and even if he did, he had a brilliant mind. The old man who wore black sunglasses even at night could have been a graduate level professor at Stanford, and like Brat, most curiously, a student of the flower of life.
Robert decided to secretly hire Brad as a research scientist for Shambala Foods, in addition to his day job. He told Brad of his extreme wealth. One day, with Lily’s help, he handed Brad an envelope with $20,000 and told him to keep up the good work. This was a bargain, since if it weren’t for Howard’s need to entertain, there would be twenty Brads living in the mansion, studying the trees and eco-culture, each with a salary upwards to one hundred thousand a year, the same amount going out, which was coming in from the guests.
On this night Robert is in a dilemma. There was no way he will tell Brad how while in a coma he used 5th dimension life force energy to heal himself, and then tried to heal Betty Wilson with it, which may have killed her. Silently sitting across from the young man, warmed by the blaze, he thinks about his journeys through the Door to Everything; his sitting in front of the 5th dimensional pristine lake at sunset, talking to Clarence about healing himself in 3D. Now, sitting in silence in front of the crackling fire with Brad, it dawns on him that it was his ego that killed Betty; his cockiness that he could heal her and talk about the miracle the day after. He suddenly realizes that if he doesn’t do something about his ego, he will also kill his friends.
So, he decides to tell Brad about the other side of the Door to Everything, a place he was only able to visit while in his coma, while in an altered state of consciousness.
“Well, all right then,” Brad lights up after hearing about multi-dimensional travel. “Sounds like heaven to me. That’s my goal, too . . . to find nirvana. I have the medicine, which will take us there.”
“I don’t have the slightest idea what you’re talking about,” Robert responds. “A medicine to take us to somewhere I could only find while in a coma?” Robert thinks about this, and then confides, “I have no idea how else to get there or how I got back. There is no map. I doubt you can take us somewhere unknown to either of us.” He studies Brad who is also lost in thought. “I’m talking about a place in another dimension of reality. Does this medicine you speak of know how to move through dimensions?
“I believe so. I’ve taken many journeys into alternate realities. Would you be willing to take a trip with me? To see if we can get there with this medicine?” Brad asks.
“Maybe. But how? What medicine?”
“Mushrooms. Magic mushrooms. Very powerful psilocybin mushrooms.”
“I see. Do you have these mushrooms? Here?”
“And you think they will get me, or us to and through the Door to Everything?”
“I have no idea,” the young man confesses, “but I’m willing to try if you are. You in?”
“Why not?” Brad leaves the fire and comes back a few minutes later with a jar containing four fat mushrooms marinating in a honey brine. “First, we need to bring our spirit guides into this circle.”
Robert nods, quite engaged, and Brad continues, saying in a more confident voice, “We call on our Spirit Guides to join us, to clear this space of any negative energy; to help bring us into the highest frequency and spiritual vibration.” Brad gives enough time for the unseen Spirit Guides to appear, still unseen, and when he’s satisfied, he says, “Okay, they’re here.” He pauses, obviously making it up as he speaks. “Most beloved guides, we ask for your assistance. We have no idea where the Door to Everything is. Please guide us there.” Brad smiles as he holds the jar of rich looking magic up to the fire light. “They will. I suggest we set our intention. You’ve been there before and may recognize this Door, while I’ll be going in blind, with the help of my spirit guide. What is your intention?”
“I want to know how to heal my friends without killing them,” Robert says.
“Interesting,” Brad remarks, considering where they are, in a dementia home. Out of respect, he decides not to pursue the story. “If the Door to Everything leads us to a realm where the “everything” means the answer to how to heal your friends, then all right. Let’s do it. Are you ready?”
“I am,” Robert simply answers.
Brad looks deep into the old man’s eyes, and then takes one fat mushroom out of the jar and cuts it in half. “This is our sacred medicine,” Brad says as he places the two mushroom slices on a wooden platter and then looks around. “Sorry. I’ll be right back. Need to get a couple lawn chairs and some water.”
Comfortable in his reclining lawn chair, Robert relaxes and slowly eats the honeyed mushroom, at the same time as Brad. He takes a drink of water. Several minutes pass. Eventually his head starts drifting as his eyes close.
As if gliding into a lucid dream, he’s facing a magnificent bald eagle. “Do you know who I am?” the eagle asks in Robert’s mind. “I do. You’re my spirit guide,” he says with confidence as the eagle grows in size, becoming as big as a horse. It then morphs into a Pegasus with eagle wings. He sees the face of the horse, and then it’s the face of Clarence Two Moons, and then the eagle’s face, over and over. He opens his eyes, or dreams he’s opening his eyes, and watches Betty dancing around the fire, very much alive. Brad is glowing, eyes closed, there but not. The eagle, the Pegasus and Clarence keep weaving in and out of each other. They’re waiting for him to get on and ride. Betty disappears. He jumps on the horse’s bare back and it lifts off the ground in the speed of no time. In an instant he’s on the threshold to the Door to Everything. The Pegasus has disappeared. He looks for Brad, but the young man isn’t there. He’s alone.
A voice in Robert’s head says, “Jump.” And he does. Into nothingness. And then, in the same no time, he’s sitting in the same lawn chair, in front of the fire, but this time at a familiar pristine mountain lake at sunset. His friend Clarence is sitting in the other lawn chair, and two goblets of Amrita sit on a small table between them. “Isn’t this nice?” Clarence asks. They raise and click their goblets, and then swallow the sweet, honeyed mushroom elixir. Robert ascends into an even higher state of bliss. “Yes, this is nice,” he answers, understated.
When the unreal settles into a semblance of realty, Robert tells Clarence about why he came. “I want to return to Shambala and bring my friends with me. Howard and Maggie have dementia and Sopi is dying of cancer. They must be healed before we begin our journey there. I healed myself while I was in my coma . . . while I was in . . . this . . . this energy . . . immersed in this divine essence. When I tried to heal a woman named Betty, while not here, while not in my divinity, she died. How can I be there, in that mortal world and heal my friends, to move this energy into and through them, without them dying?”
“There is no separation between here and there,” Clarence states with cryptic certainty.
“What do you mean?” Robert asks. Even though he had been reminded of this by his master teacher for so many years, it never made practical sense.
“You think that the 3rd dimension everyday life on earth is separate from the life I live on the 4th dimension as the 19th century Blackfeet medicine man Wolf Eyes, is separate from this . . . us sitting in front of a pristine lake drinking Amrita in the 5th dimension. It is all the same. At this very moment if a person were to show up in your 3rd dimension, they would see you sitting in front of a campfire, thinking you were napping, while a person would see me sitting in front of a campfire in the 4th, thinking I was in deep meditation. How can this be?”
“You’re saying all life happens simultaneously?” Robert asks, though he knows it is.
“Exactly. There is no separation in time and space. Only the illusion of a separation of force fields. You choose your frequency wherever you are.”
Robert perks up. “So, are you saying that if there is no separation of realities, while here, there or anywhere, I can choose to vibrate at this higher 5D no time, no space frequency, and heal my friends?”
“Precisely,” Clarence answers.
Robert pauses to consider. “Easier said than done.”
“As easy said as done,” Clarence corrects. “You’re sitting in front of a campfire in two dimensions at the same time. What got you here?”
“Magic mushrooms,” Robert confesses with a chuckle. “A young man named Brad gave one to me and we took them at the same time.”
“Then why not use them again while you heal your friends, if you need that security. Let’s experiment. Open your eyes to where you are in the 3rd dimension.” Robert does. “Do you see Brad?” He does. “Now ask Brad how he’s doing.” Clarence waits until Robert says, “He said ‘far out man.’”
“So, you can do it . . . be alive, awake and aware in two dimensions at the same time. When you’re ready to heal your friends, eat the mushroom and do what you just did in reverse. Come to the 5D frequency level, where you have the ability to heal. You’ll know the perfect amount of energy to extend to correct the problem.”
At the very same time Robert entered another Door to Everything, Brad did too. While actually still in his lawn chair he was able to effortlessly climb to the top of the tallest Coast redwood on the property. From there he rejoiced in his view of the night lights of Portland city and the billion stars in the late Spring sky. He then realized himself as a flying squirrel. As the squirrel spirit, he jumped over the moon, and then back to the tree without stopping he flew into the tree and through the leaves, and into its roots, and then way deep down into the middle earth. There he saw a beautiful pristine inner paradise. While this was all happening, his questions weren’t being answered, they were being seen. Everything he moved through, everything he saw, had a heartbeat. Each and everything were vibrantly and gloriously alive. Even the dirt was alive, and it all spoke to him. “Welcome home, Brad.”
Suddenly they’re back. The young man and old man open their eyes at the same time. They feel the lawn chairs, feel the last heat of the fire’s burning embers, feel the chill of the night, feel thirst. They drink the water and sigh.
“Did you get through the Door to Everything?” Robert asks.
“I did. Incredible. Did you find the answer you were looking for?”
“I did. Thank you, Brad. Just make sure you save one of those mushrooms. I’ll be back. It’s the medicine I need to get us home.”
With this said Robert bids his young friend goodnight and heads back to his room, for his best night sleep yet at Happy Acres.
Secrets and lies. What else is there?
On the morning of Betty Wilson’s death, Mildred Rice called the police. Two thirty-something street patrol officers showed up and followed Mildred to the corpse. They looked down, and then at each other, and shrugged. They saw an old dead woman, obviously happy to have found the Pearly Gates, lying there with a smile on her “its-about-time” elderly face. The cops knew all about Happy Acres; an exclusive resort for the mentally ill, with a seventy plus age requirement and hundred grand entrance fees. A place for the crazy old rich to die.
The cops excused themselves and went out in the hall to talk. This was a situation where an ambulance would be called, where the EMT’s would find a dead body and haul it away. Why call the police? They seriously wondered if the matronly looking woman showing the body was actually the director, or one of the delusional patients.
Once the police were back in the room, Mildred began insisting that Betty had been murdered. They rolled their eyes and one asked to see the real director. When Mildred objected to the insult, the police asked her to leave the room. They called an ambulance.
In the lobby they questioned a male staff member who told them Betty had Alzheimer’s, that her days were torture and her death a relief, to everyone there and no doubt to herself. End of story. Half an hour later an ambulance arrived, and they hauled Betty off to the morgue. A brief autopsy revealed what the officer’s had suspected all along: the old woman died of natural causes; most likely a blood clot stopped the flow of blood to her heart.
The blue and red lights of the police car and then the ambulance got everyone stirred up. The same staff member told Maggie and a couple other old gals the story of Betty’s passing, Mildred’s allegation, and the news spread like a brush fire. Within fifteen minutes it became the source of gossip for the next three days.
Robert was silently upset with the news. He figured a ten percent chance it was Betty’s time to die, and ninety percent his healing energy quickened her demise. He walked away when anyone started the gossip that someone murdered poor old Betty. He figured any one of the thirty-five live-in people, including Mildred herself, could have snuffed out Betty’s life with a pillow. Who and why was the big question in the swirl of gossip. Robert alone knew what really happened but since Mildred wasn’t naming names, he kept his mouth shut.
Mildred Rice had her boys walk around joining in the gossip, stirring the fire. Robert’s first consideration was to have her fired. The very act of calling the police instead of the EMT, and then talking to the guests of a possible homicide, was reason enough to let her go. But then on further consideration he realized what Mildred had done would fit perfectly into his long con. She was a crafty old hen who, sooner or later, would turn Betty’s murder and his escape into a real-life Agatha Christie suspense thriller. She would never have mentioned foul play to the police, and then kept her suspicions quiet, if she weren’t chomping on her bits to orchestrate a Happy Acres murder mystery. It was a mystery to him how she suspected there was more to the story and was willing to patiently wait for his plan to unfold, since he had only briefly mentioned it to Howard, Sopi and Maggie.
Soon the days settled back into routine. The other twenty-five guests and their watchers were once again lost in activity; bingo, hearts, picture puzzles, watercolor, exercising, eating, old movies, and stopped talking about the Betty murder altogether. Robert focused on the reason why he purchased the twenty acres in the first place. Twice a week he enjoyed playing bridge with his best friends, but on the other nights he’d wander off into the woods to continue conversations with Brad.
Robert St. Clair came from privilege; a family which historically nurtured nepotism. After returning home after thirty years in the Himalayas, he started right in as equal partner in the family grocery business. His passion for excellence grew his parent’s four stores into one of the largest grocery chains in the world.
Brad Tiller came from another sort of privilege: new money earned from climbing the corporate ladder. His father was a chemistry club nerd through high school, an all-business-no-play student through college, graduated from Stanford with a master’s degree in Chemical Engineering and was hired by a corporation he hoped to stay with for the next forty years. There he was stuck in the fear of a negative review career for the next twenty years, stuck in the fear for ten years not wanting to lose a convenient loveless marriage to a wife who sired two children he never wanted. After the divorce he felt unwanted, addicted to evening alcohol, mindless TV and computer porn. Even though the sad father spent thirty-five years of his life in artery-hardening career insanity, without ever taking the time to enjoy his large income, this was the trajectory he encouraged his only son to follow.
Brad was raised by a single mother from age six on. In all his twelve school years he rarely saw his estranged father. Following his high school graduation, the father found that Brad had a near four-point grade average. Father encouragement was surprising, as was the introduction which led to his acceptance at Stanford, where he graduated four years later near the top of his class in Environmental Science. By this time his fascination with and desire to protect the environment, his love of trees and plants and all of nature, was diametrically opposed to his father’s philosophy: slash and burn, and then plant genetically modified crops in perfect, chemically sprayed rows. By the time Brad considered his career, his father was Senior Vice President of Chemical Engineering at Piedmont Syn, the petrochemical company which Brad believed was part of an evil cartel, hell-bound with greed, committing unceasing draconian acts of poisoning the food, land and people who inhabited it.
Even though they had never met, Brad and Lucky Two Crows were part of a very large and mostly silent American underground, aware of what was happening to their land and people. They were on the same page regarding Piedmont Syn.
Six months after Brad graduated from Stanford, his father proudly offered him a well-paying entry level position as an assistant field agent in Angola, Africa. His job would be to educate local farmers on the benefits of Piedmont Syn’s weed killer Groundup, with a goal of convincing them to grow GMO crops. As the top executive Chemical Engineer, the father sincerely believed Piedmont Syn’s innovations in farming would save the African people from starvation. He couldn’t understand why Brad would turn down a rare opportunity to help end world hunger, while being well-paid. He was even more confused with his son’s anger; Brad’s claims of being insulted and the ensuing argument proclaiming Piedmont Syn’s good or evil, which pushed the young man further from his father; a breach which would never heal.
After ten years in and out of boring paper-pushing environmental jobs, Brad decided he was better off mowing lawns.
One evening, while everyone was lost in watching “Gone with the Wind” . . . again, since the two staff members cruelly, or maybe correctly, believed none of them remembered having watched it a week before, Robert sat with Brad by the grounds keeper’s fire, convinced he had found a valuable ally; someone he would readily hire without seeing a resume. He told Brad about Lily Vahn, the head of biological research at Shambala Natural Foods, and that he had arranged for her to join them this night. It was another bingo night. Everyone knew Robert had no interest in playing, so when she arrived, they went for a walk and were soon sitting with Brad by the fire. The bright spirited young man immediately impressed Lily. Robert told her about Brad’s degree from Stanford in Chemical Engineering and his interest in researching Happy Acre’s unique environment. What Brad then suggested totally surprised Lily; that she take a magic mushroom trip with him and Robert. Then, he said, she would get a better idea of who Robert was and the truth to his fantasy.
Lily trusted Robert and agreed to eat half a mushroom. Her journey was similar to Brad’s first one; she flew around and into the trees and plants at Happy Acres and clearly saw Robert’s original vision of opening a research facility there. In her vision she saw Brad running it. He would head the Happy Acres Tribe.
So, after she came down from her high, they talked about it. Lily proposed he stay on the land as both an environmental scientist and yard man. It would be their secret, especially kept from Mildred Rice. When he wasn’t’ busy cutting grass and trimming hedges he would catalog the forest and identify each and every tree, with a Shambala Foods salary. It would be the first step in their urban forest research project.
Robert agreed but had an even better vision. He reminded Lily that she would soon be going with the detectives, following him to Mexico, and that she would return in a little over a month. As soon as she returns and the attorneys have the paperwork in order, Mildred and her staff would be dismissed, and the guests sent back to wherever they came from. Brad would then hire a team of young live-in scientists, to search for indigenous cures from whatever the forest had to offer. Instead of being the gardener, once Lily returned, he’d be promoted to full-fledged research scientist, head of the Happy Acre’s Tribe, compensated appropriately for his degree in Environmental Science and life experience. Brad was over-joyed and swore he’d rise to the occasion. His lips were sealed. Although Robert finding Shambala and living there forever was still hard to digest, Lily was now accepting that Robert, Howard, Maggie and her mother Sopi wouldn’t be returning to Happy Acres. It would make an ideal Shambala Foods research campus, another one of Robert’s wonderful legacies.
Later Robert and Lily talked about Mildred Rice. On the morning of Betty’s death, a normal “competent” director, as far as they were concerned, wouldn’t have called the police, suggesting foul play. But Mildred did, and now Robert would have to use it to his advantage. His master plan was to heal his friends and get the hell out of there, take them to Shambala, while engaging three particular detectives in the chase. Without her suspecting, Mildred would soon be fired, so this would be her last chance to shine. He knew of her obsession with crime, so he trusted she would somehow concoct a good reason for the detectives to chase after them. A kidnapping or murder or some such high crime. He had one more week until the day of their escape, so Robert’s focus would be directed to Howard, Sopi, Maggie and Brad, while ignoring Mildred and the dilemmas of the remaining twenty-three guests.
That evening with Lily, his third mushroom journey with the young man, Robert and Brad’s cosmic bond was strengthened. In their post mushroom conversation, Robert confessed he was a multi-billionaire who owned Shambala Natural Foods and Happy Acres. Brad had gathered as much from their evenings together.
Discovering Brad reminded Robert of Howard, who he found barely getting by working a backroads Mississippi farm. In his world travels he often found farmers, some with minimal education, who proved to be exceptional at their job. Understanding the lowly worker, Robert was compassionate and fair to all his workers, field hands and office staff alike. At the same time Robert couldn’t help but notice that Mildred Rice had never once lowered herself to a speaking level with Brad. She sent one of her “boys” to the greenhouse to give him orders, an indication he was beneath her and wasn’t welcomed into the mansion. For other unexplained reasons he was likewise ignored by all members of her staff, even the cooks, who put his vegetarian meals in plastic containers on the back-kitchen porch twice daily. This hard-working man wasn’t even worthy of three meals a day, as if he were the village untouchable, caste aside for no good reason.
Maybe somehow, they subconsciously knew that one day this same untouchable man would be running the place, and they would all be gone.
What is crazy here. Makes perfect sense there.
Three days after their mushroom trip with Lily, Robert and Brad take mushrooms together for what would be the last time. This time, to Brad’s surprise, they meet at the Door to Everything and jump, landing in Grandfather Wolf Eyes 1876 Blackfeet tipi.
Before they consumed the mushrooms, Robert had told Brad that he wanted him to meet Grandfather Wolf Eyes on the other side of the Door to Everything. He also told Brad that his present time friend Clarence Two Moons is that same Grandfather, who has the ability to consciously, simultaneously, live parallel lives. Brad wanted to meet Grandfather so, it isn’t entirely unreasonable they ended up there together.
Once in the tipi, Robert and Brad sit in front of the slowly burning scrub-brush fire, facing the medicine man. Two Crows, his wife White Feather and her cousin Peta, or Golden Eagle, soon join them. White Feather immediately recognizes Brad, who just happened to be the contrary heyoka she had briefly married, before her presumed dead husband Two Crows returned to the village. They all laugh about this odd encounter and the fact that Robert is Peta’s father, who is the current tribal chief. After all the recognition chatter dies, Robert begins telling his story, thoughtful to incorporate their cultural and time references.
“In my time, I live in a very large lodge for crazy people,” Robert begins. “There was an old woman who also lived there who had a big problem in her head. She was the craziest of all. This problem upset everyone there. I was trained to be a medicine man, when I was much younger. I wanted to heal this woman.” Robert pauses. Everyone’s listening, but he’s leaving out a major part of the story. “I’m sorry. I need to start over. Before I moved into this big lodge, my body was asleep for one full moon. In my sleep I would meet with Grandfather, in his modern form, in a different place, which we call Shambala, in the 5th dimension. It was there where I used my medicine to heal myself on the 3rd dimension. You are all living on our 4th dimension. One day I was dying and after healing myself, I was in near perfect health.”
“I’m very confused,” Peta interrupts. “Is the 4th dimension dreamtime?”
“Yes. It is confusing,” Robert kindly answers, as a father would. “You are living on your 3rd dimension and your dreamtime is of the fourth dimension. My 3rd dimension dreamtime is of your 4th. This is different. Brad and your heyoka are the same person living two lives at the same time.”
“They are nothing alike,” White Feather says. “I don’t understand how you can also be in this 5th dimension place?”
“We can all go to the 5th. It’s like . . . I don’t know how you say it . . . the feeling like you’re in your happy hunting grounds, while still alive. It is the place of love. Our happiest feeling. We can experience it while living the 3rd dimension. It’s a place beyond fear, struggle and confusion.”
“I am here with you right now,” Grandfather adds. “I am also alive in Robert and Brad’s time, and in my meditation, I can find great happiness with the great Spirit in a most beautiful paradise. This is where, as Clarence Two Moons, I met Robert.”
“You are speaking of three different times, all happening at the same time,” Peta starts in. “I only know of this one. Only this one is real to me. It is very hard for me to understand any of what you’re saying. How can these two men have come from a future dream time? You’re not a dream I’m having, are you? This is very confusing. Even more confusing is that you look just like my father. How can that be? You say you are living with crazy people. Are you crazy? Am I crazy to believe this is real? Grandfather?” She looks at him with pleading eyes. “How can this be?”
“You will understand as White Feather now understand, but only when you accept my medicine bundle and ride the High Pony,” he answers. “What we are telling you is the truth.”
“I’m sorry to confuse you,” Robert speaks to Peta with compassion. He takes a moment staring into the young maiden’s eyes, now realizing he has just met his daughter. “There is a reason you are here. When you begin dreaming, you must speak to Grandfather about it.”
She nods but then adds. “If you are my father here, and Grandfather is someone else in your time, and Two Crows and White Feather are also alive in your time, then who am I in your time?”
“You will see when you begin dreaming of her,” Robert answers, “but not now. May I continue?”
“But . . .”
“So, I was living in this big lodge and I wanted to use the same medicine I used to heal myself on this troubled woman,” Robert continues, “and heal her too. Late one night I snuck into her room. We have rooms there, not tipis. After I give her my medicine, she smiled. The next morning, she was dead.”
“You killed her?” Peta asks.
“That was not my intention,” Robert answers. “But it became my secret.”
“This is the first time I heard you confess,” Brad finally speaks. “Everyone thought she died naturally, except Mildred, who probably suspects what you just admitted.”
“So, the woman died,” Wolf Eyes speaks. “Old people die. We all die. It was her time to go, and you helped her, that’s all. It is for you two to work out in dreamtime, and no one else’s business. I do not see a problem here.”
“Let me continue,” Robert persists, “and then you will see the problem. I healed myself in the 5th dimension and using that same energy in the 3rd, she died. I want to heal my three friends in my time, in the 3rd dimension, and I am afraid I will kill them too. I’m not sure what to do.”
“I have already told you what you should do,” Grandfather strongly counters, remembering the same conversation he had as Clarence.
“Maybe it’s worth repeating. Robert brought me here because of my medicine,” Brad interrupts. “I think I’m here to learn, so I can better understand what’s going on with my medicine journeys to other dimensions. Robert talks about parallel lives. I was like Peta. I needed to come here to believe his words. He also talked about living in the 5th dimensional of reality. That made no sense to me until now.”
“I know exactly what you’re saying, ”Two Crows finally speaks. I not only went to your present time, but I also met myself there. Once I began riding the High Pony, Grandfather spent many hours teaching me about dreamtime, the dimensions and parallel lives. So, when I was suddenly alive 150 years in the future, I didn’t think I was crazy.”
“I could only see my future self in my 3D dreams,” White Feather offers. “We’ve never been to the 5th. But I know Grandfather will teach us how to be there when the time is right.”
“I want to do this,” Peta says. “I want to go to all the dimensions.”
“Robert tells me it’s on the 5th dimension where you two normally meet,” Brad say, looking at the two elders. “If you were to go to the 5th dimension with my medicine while still in the 3rd, then you can successfully heal them. Being here makes me believe it’s possible.”
“Aho,” Grandfather grunts. “A contrary here is usually more intelligent than people think. You are a most intelligent man both here and there.” He turns to Robert. “My totem tells me that his mushrooms are good medicine. Do you think you can do what he suggests, Robert?”
“I will,” he answers.
With this said Robert opens his eyes and finds himself back in the lawn chair in front of Brad’s fire at Happy Acres.
“Holy shit,” Brad exclaims, returning at the same time. “I was in an Indian tipi a hundred and fifty years ago. You were there too. The old medicine man agreed. He said my mushrooms are good medicine to heal your friends. That was the most awesome trip. I think you should do it when playing bridge Wednesday night. Do it while you’re dancing. Everyone will feel the love. What’s the worst thing that can happen?”
“I’ll be so stoned that I kill my best friends?”
“Not going to happen. Come see me Tuesday after dinner. I’ve been marinating a more powerful blend, one where you can go in and out of alter states at will, without feeling so stoned. You’ll see. You’ll heal them. It’ll all be good, man.”
With that said Robert goes to his room, back into dreaming of his Blackfeet daughter, considering the “who am I there?” question; someone he had also never met.
Love’s cure. The healers prayer come true.
Robert St. Clair had spent thirty years living in what he later realized must have been the 5th dimension: a pristine valley nestled in the Himalayas’ called Shambala. There everyone experienced physical, emotional, mental and spiritual well-being. There was no illness, poverty or lack; death was an option.
Until the age of thirty-five, Robert was constantly showered with love and uplifting attention. He never experienced or knew anyone who suffered from illness or mental disease, or death. In the valley of peace and harmony there was no need to fight or gossip or engage in any of the normal occurrences of modern societies. Nevertheless, after his first guru lecture in New York City in 1967, he left it all behind. Now, forty-five years later he longs to return to that extraordinary life with his friends, as soon as they’re healed.
The night has finally come for Robert. Following another forgettable Happy Acres dinner, Robert excused himself and soon joins Brad at the campfire. This time he‘ll eat a quarter of a mushroom, trusting that what Brad says about this strain is true. Brad takes a mushroom from the honeyed jay and separates a quarter slice. “This particular strain will allow you to go in and out of the 5th dimension at will,” Brad confidently states. “You’ll need to program your mind to do this.”
“How?” He asks, ready to swallow the mushroom.
“Repeat after me, ‘When my eyes are open, I am sober.’” Robert repeats. “’And when I close them, I instantly ascend to the 5th dimension of love.’” Robert repeats that too. “Don’t close your eyes until your head touches your friends. Once you do, you’ll be in the 5th dimension, and can send your healing energy from there.”
Robert swallows the mushroom and feels the rush of psychedelia. He then opens his eyes and calls for the inner strength to not close them; to delay his inner bliss mushroom journey until the right time. “So, just because my eyes are open, I’m not tripping,” he affirms. “Can I close them to test it?”
“You’ll want to dwell there. Don’t.”
“I won’t.” After Brad nods, Robert closes his eyes and immediately goes into a mild bliss, not as potent as with a full mushroom. When he opens them, he’s sober. “Wow! It works. Still, you’d better walk me to the dining room back door, just in case I forget.” Robert laughs, knowing he won’t forget.
Once back in the dining hall, Robert joins his three friends at the dining table, which is now clear for their card game. Even with his eyes open, he feels a waiting to be released high; his awareness and alertness are pleasantly exaggerated. He smiles at Maggie, Sopi and Howard as if everything is normal.
After the customary small talk, they begin their weekly congenial game of bridge. He looks over at the only other foursome, still amazed they can play bridge with dementia, and the others who have simpler card games to play. The white uniformed attendants watch them like prison guards, even though the chances of these peaceful old folks doing anything out of line is slim to none.
The logic of Mildred Rice’s security measures baffles Robert. As a business, one he owns but has never before observed, very few of the rules make sense. For instance, since every guest is required to pay a year’s non-refundable rent upfront, she already has their money, so what difference would it make if they decide not to stay? Their $8000 a month should pay for an excellent room, excellent food and excellent entertainment. Group trips to the zoo or a mountain stream should be a normal part of the entertainment package. But under Mildred, a simple day trip outside the gates is never granted, except with a letter from the Governor, or so it seems. Robert sees no reason why she doesn’t consider Happy Acres the same as a health and fitness club for the elderly. They should be free to leave to visit relatives for however long they want. Mildred’s job is to run a resort, not a prison.
Mildred has a different point-of-view. She believes her job is to be the protector of their mental health; that any disruption whatsoever is detrimental to their fragile peace of mind. A projection as far as Robert is concerned. Since her personal life requires a set routine, she gives them one to follow and demands compliance. Even though she spends hours each day in her office reading murder mystery novels, often napping, nobody is allowed to vegetate. Her boys are ordered to keep them moving; to follow the daily regimen of exercise, arts and crafts, games, TV shows, and outdoor walks. No exceptions. Starting with the 8am breakfast, the list of daily activities never changes. Mildred figures the only way a dementia patient can remember is with muscle memory. The routine also includes two card nights, two bingo nights, one karaoke night, and two movie nights. The only except is bedridden illness, or death.
Despite Mildred’s strict rules, the guest all appear happy and content with their life there. They like being together, entertaining one another with stories of their lives before moving there, either real or imagined. For everyone, except Robert, life at Happy Acres is much better than wherever they were before.
While shuffling cards, Robert stays focused on his task at hand: to heal his friends so they can get the hell out of there. He grins, confident in his plans, forcing himself not to shut his eyes and feel the bliss. He’s pleased that he’s about to do the unimagined.
Robert has lived at Happy Acres for six weeks and his three friends have come to accept his presence and even like him; their old friend with a new name: Archibald Goodwin. Maggie prefers the name Archie, Sopi goes along with it, and if Howard were to say his name was really Robert and he was a billionaire and owned Happy Acres, everyone would laugh it off as just another of his fantastic tales.
He winks at Maggie. She responds with her usual giggle, use to his flirting, confident he’s a harmless and quite entertaining friend. He stirs the closest emotion to love she’s felt at Happy Acres. She loves the nights this foursome comes together to play cards; glad Robert’s presence makes it possible. This was part of his strategy, to get his friends to love and trust him. He knows that while in a higher dimension of love, they’ll be safe. He’ll intuitively know exactly how much ki healing energy is needed to heal Howard and Maggie of dementia and Sopi of Stage 4 cancer.
Up until the age of thirty-five, while in Shambala, Robert was a celibate monk. He was put off by the very rare advances of available women. His celibate life was interrupted only once by a brief encounter, when he was fifty years old. He has lived his entire life as a single man, which he now regrets since, like Krishna, he always believed his one true love, his beloved, was out there somewhere.
One timeless day, in his coma, while sitting by a lake in Shambala, Robert had a vision within his vision. Maggie was his beloved. If he told her this, she would dismiss it, and then ten minutes later she would forget it was ever mentioned. Maggie has an exacting memory of the many happy times in her life. He ability to massage and play bridge are the same as before, but when confronted with psychologically challenging information, her mind will shut down. Even if she didn’t have dementia, Robert realized that showing up and announcing she was the love of his life, just wouldn’t work.
This night he’s drawn to the tiny white polka dots on her dark blue dress, the way her gray hair is held in a bun with waterfall strands touching her shoulders, and how her baby-skin complexion is accented with a touch of pale red lipstick. He likes her smell, maybe a light spray of Chanel Eau de something perfume. She is the most beautiful woman he has ever known, and he has no doubt of his intentions.
Howard’s dementia is totally different than Maggie’s. His memory’s still sharp but he’s long ago lost the ability to tell the difference of fact from fiction. His mind confuses time, space and accepted reality, scrambling the facts, making most of his stories factually untrue. He will listen to Robert’s stories but will come up with an even better one, usually non-sensical, but absolutely real to him.
Sopi, the love of Howard’s life, likes his story better than Robert’s, even though she knows they aren’t true. She has a perfectly clear mind but no idea that her days are numbered with terminal colon cancer.
Once the bridge game begins, Robert’s surprised that he can actually remain sober. He’s not only impressing himself but is also impressed with how Maggie and Howard remember hundreds of technical terms, the rules and intricate maneuverings of the complicated game. They can care less about keeping score, winners or losers, which they won’t remember anyway. In the midst of counting cards, making bids, plays and runs, they share pleasantries, as all bridge players do. To Robert, watching Maggie is intoxicating at this moment, with residual bliss swirling, guarded, so near. He expands extra energy to keep his eyes open and act normal; to remember how to play bridge, while on mushrooms. He trusts Brad, who has proven to be a well-seasoned expert on the varieties cannabis and strains of magic mushrooms.
After what seems forever, yet only fifteen minutes, Robert sighs, takes a Tony Bennett CD out of his white jacket pocket and gives it to the attendant, who thinking nothing of it, slips it in the CD player and turns up the volume. Maggie loves Tony Bennett and shyly squeals with delight when he stands up and asks her to dance. I left my heart in San Francisco . . . high on a hill . . . it calls to me . . .
The bridge game is forgotten when Robert leads Maggie to the middle of the dining room, keeps his eyes open and begins dancing, staring into her lovely eyes. He notices when Howard takes Sopi’s hand, bends over, and lifts her from the wheelchair and holds her frail body. He puts his cheek to hers and joins his friends on the dance floor. This amuses the two evening attendants, who would be shocked if they knew that Robert was high on mushrooms and what he has in mind.
After a minute of slow dancing, Robert proceeds in doing what he most purposefully intended to do. Maggie is curious as to why he places one hand on her head and slowly brings his cheek next to hers. He closes his eyes and immediately soars into 5th dimensional consciousness, almost too high to remain on his feet, yet successfully beginning the energy transference.
She immediately experiences a contact high; feels tinkles throughout her body, which makes her giggle. Something extraordinary is happening and without realizing it begins thinking about the healing energy Robert is sending into her mind. She then consciously realizes she’s thinking logically, coherently, about what’s going on, which she hasn’t done in years. “Archie,” she whispers in his ear, “Did you just do what I think you just did?”
He smiles. “I did,” he whispers back as he opens his eyes and returns to sobriety. “You just received a mega-dose of Ki, 5th dimension life force healing energy. Do you remember your last intelligent thought?” That question surprises her.
“I do. I was thinking that you just healed my dementia. Did you?”
They move their heads back and he removes his sunglasses so they can look into each other’s eyes. ”You did,” he answers. “You healed yourself.”
“I did? How?”
“First, you relaxed, trusting me. Feeling safe, you remained present, here, not distracted, and then effortlessly joined me in the 5th dimension, where your cognitive functions are normal. Once you surrendered to the pure wave of cosmic healing energy flowing between us, you returned to perfect mental health. All I did was express my omnipresent love while giving your brain a bit of a kick start, to remember its full potential on how to work properly in the 3rd dimension.”
“Amazing. I know this is true . . ,” she whispers in his ear, “but I never thought my brain could actually heal, like this. I had forgotten what healthy normal was like. What do we do now?”
He puts his cheek back to hers and whispers, “Act like nothing has happened.” He closes his eyes again. “Now, work with me with the life force energy . . . you and I together . . . on the rest of your body. Let’s fill it with healing light . . . right now.” He puts his hand on the small of her back and with no fanfare she helps heal herself of osteoporosis, arthritis, and the first stage of cancer she wasn’t aware she had. As the song comes to an end, Robert opens his eyes, bends Maggie over, which almost makes her eyes pop out of her head; a stretch which moments before was physically impossible, and whispers in her ear, “How do you feel?”
“Thirty years younger!” she answers, still whispering. “Can you do that to Howard and Sopi, too?” The next song comes up, I’ve got the world by a string . . . what a world, what a life . . . I’m in love.
“Everyone has the same potential to do what you just did. Sopi’s next,” he answers, as he taps Howard on the shoulder and asks, “May I have the next dance with your lovely lady?” Robert takes her into his arms, and then closes his eyes and proceeds to heal her terminal Stage 4 cancer, a disease she knew nothing about. When the song is over, he takes her to the table and places her back in the wheelchair.
Maggie smiles at him and begins whispering with Sopi about what just happened. He then leans over to Howard and says, “You know that place we always talked about going?”
“Oh do I. You mean up in the mountains? That fishing hole? Under the moon and the pines. Oh my, yes, I do know that place. It’s one thing I do remember,” he says, even though the thing he remembers never existed.
“I want to take you there, Reggie.” In private he often calls Howard “Reggie,” since, after all, it’s his real name.
“Well, okay then . . . there’s still plenty of trout to catch, lots of beers to drink, stories to tell. If I’m with you, it’ll be good.”
Robert looks deep into his dear friend’s eyes. “You know I would never do anything to harm you. You know that don’t you?”
“Of course, I do. Don’t be silly. We’re just going fishing.”
“Okay then. Let’s, you and I, go to the little boy’s room.” They excuse themselves and go to the men’s room, where Robert again closes his eyes and feels the love, cups Howard’s head in his hands and sends healing energy into his friend’s brain. Later Howard tells him that the Latin names of botanicals flooded his mind and the horticulturalist wondered about his office and lab and an experiment he was conducting before he forgot. All he can say is, “Oh my god.” He hugs Robert and they return to the bridge table.
Maggie and Sopi are both grinning when they return.
“Keep quiet, all three of you,” he whispers. “Stay in your wheelchair Sopi . . . practice walking while in your room. Don’t let anyone know, or even suspect anything, especially the attendants . . . most especially Mildred Rice. You must act as if nothing has changed.”
“Why?” Maggie asks.
“Everyone would want to be healed and Mildred would sell tickets. No, anyway, I have a trip planned” He looks at his best friend. “It’s time for you and me, Reggie, to go to the best fishing hole in the world and bring these two beautiful women with us.”
“So, where is this place?” Howard asks, looking around to see if anyone else can hear.
“Well,” Robert pauses, “Shambala. I want to take the three of you to Shambala.”
“Shambala? Like Shangri La? That’s just a myth,” Maggie offers, her mind suddenly sharper than ever. “There is no such place, Archie.”
“Sure, there is. I’ll prove it. We’ll begin our trip there next week.” With that said Robert excuses himself. He retires to his bed with eyes closed, to enjoy the rest of this journey in the 5th dimension.