When a middle-aged clinical psychologist begins working with a client describing bizarre mystical experiences, his own world changes radically.
In the midst of a busy workday, Tom McLaughlin, husband, father and clinical psychologist, meets a strange new patient named Paul, who not only complains of severe depression but also reports a terrifying and recurring religious dream. Paul starts treatment with Dr. McLaughlin. As Paul’s psychotherapy unfolds, he begins describing strange mystical experiences that rapidly transform his life and problems and, even more alarmingly, begin to alter Tom’s own state of mind – almost like a contagion. Tom the psychologist starts to doubt his own sanity and he has no clinical frame of reference for what’s happening.
Needing space to regain perspective, and hounded by his patient’s avenging wife, Tom impulsively answers an ad for a Native American “vision quest” in the Nevada desert. In the harsh and unforgiving isolation of the wilderness, Tom stumbles into his own mystical breakthrough. But Tom’s journey is hardly finished, for he is ill prepared for the shocking events of aging racing toward him. Deep in his own personal meltdown, Tom begins to realize that aging involves a profound deconstruction of self and identity, and at the same time, an initiation into a new state of consciousness that will transform his life and very possibly change the course of human evolution.
Who are you? (clinical psychologist, minister and author. I write and speak about the psychology and spirituality of aging)
Why did you write this book? (having written 7 nonfiction books, I wanted to get my ideas more into the mainstream through a good story)
What is this story/book about? (Tom McLaughlin, a psychologist whose client starts having mind-bending religious experiences that soon alter the psychologist’s own mental state. The shrink begins to question his own sanity.)
What kind of experiences? (It starts with a client’s terrifying religious dream which rapidly turns into a profound expansion and awakening of consciousness – the world literally becomes a divine place for him)
What happens then? (the psychologist’s training has not prepared him to treat a religious experience so he’s completely lost. Then his own mental state changes, freaking him out, so he impulsively signs up for a Native American Vision quest hoping for clarity, only to experience the same shocking expansion of consciousness as his patient)
How does the psychologist cope with his altered state? (Tom eventually finds a way to accept, share and live in this new consciousness but his journey is not over, for he is ill prepared for the shocking events of aging racing toward him.)
Why can’t you retire in enlightenment? (Tom gets nailed with a horrifying medical crisis that steals his career, community, and income. Deep in his own personal meltdown, he realizes that aging represents yet another expansion of consciousness that will change both his life and the course of human evolution)
What is this New Aging? (We are living decades longer than ever before, but what is this new developmental stage for? Tom realizes that aging is enlightenment in slow motion, a death-and-rebirth journey that may even awaken planetary consciousness. The implications are awesome: A new kind of aging and perhaps even a new kind of human. In sum, aging can be the crowning achievement of human life)
How much of this is autobiographical? (I only write about what I know personally: I lived the experiences in this book!)
What is your religion? (I have studied the mystical teachings from across religions and eras looking the deepest truths)