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Dr. Galland Talks about Already Here
The foundation for Already Here—the reason I ever considered writing this book—was the awesome visual demonstration Christopher gave me of the immortality of his soul, a proof that came in two separate parts.
In life, Christopher was a brain-damaged special needs child who challenged everyone he knew with his unpredictable behavior and uncanny insights. He drowned in 2 inches of water while hiking in the Berkshires. Resuscitation was attempted at a local emergency room. My wife, Christina, and I sat by the phone in New York, awaiting the outcome, crushed under the weight of feeling powerless. Suddenly the room felt supercharged with electricity, as if lightning were about to strike. Christina and I had exactly the same experience: a pure white light flooded our vision. A glowing shape with Christopher’s face, powerful and majestic, emerged from the light. The sublime joy, limitless strength and total freedom radiating from this form exceeded anything I’ve ever experienced or imagined. That was the first demonstration. Three days later, we buried Chris in the Berkshires and at his graveside released 22 yellow balloons. The next day, returning to New York, we stopped at a red light near Columbus Circle. We were stunned when a yellow balloon descended from the sky and hovered in front of our car, then drifted away. I could almost feel Chris laughing. “I know you, Leo,” he seemed to be saying. “Given a little time, you’d doubt the truth of the vision of my soul. You’d dismiss it as a shared hallucination. Just try to explain away this balloon.”
Reversal of roles was the next step in my journey. In life, Christopher’s disabilities left him very dependent on others. After his death, I learned to accept him as my teacher and spiritual guide.
Chris had been the second of triplets, born prematurely. He suffered a brain injury shortly after birth that left him developmentally disabled and suffering from seizures. Despite his disabilities, he had become remarkable in his own unique ways, in his mischievous humor and uncanny insights, in his total fascination with every mechanical or electrical device ever invented and his ability to break anything in the blink of an eye, in his constant demand for attention and his inexhaustible skill at trying the patience of everyone who knew him. Three weeks after his death, he showed me what it was like to be him. I was overcome by a mysterious 6-hour illness in which he seemed to take over my mind. I felt as if I were living through every sorrow he’d known, and I began to understand him and the strength of his character in a way I’d never seen: how he transformed pain into love and disappointment into forgiveness. Later, as I went through a difficult period of overwork and too many commitments, I asked out loud “What should I do?” and what seemed to be Christopher’s spirit answered, “Follow my lead.” At about that time his voice woke me during the night and told me that I had to tell his story, which is how the writing of Already Here began. As I wrote, I would ask him questions like, “Where are you? What’s it like in heaven? Is Jerry there with you?” His answers were amazing and completely unpredictable. As I tried to explain them, my understanding of everything began to change.
The interactions I had with Christopher after his death seemed random and haphazard, but I came to see that they were carefully designed to move my understanding of the world from where it once was to where it is now, so that I could write this book.
After finishing the book, I looked back at my experience and what I’d learned from it, and I realized that there was nothing random about Christopher’s teaching. He had started with a kind of initiation, so that I understood, from his perspective, how challenging his life had been. He then led me to spiritual concepts with which I could feel quite comfortable, ideas like, “Life is like boot camp”, a constant overcoming of who we are to become who we can be. Once I accepted the authenticity of our dialogues, he introduced me to much more difficult themes: the illusory nature of space and time, the origin of evil, the role of human consciousness in the universe. Every conversation challenged what I thought I knew about the nature of the world, but I recognized that Chris’s revelations contained ancient wisdom, held sacred in many traditions.
Christopher revealed profound insights into the nature of reality and the meaning of being human, which I call the Gift of the Opposite, the Gift of Presence and the Gift of Timelessness, but my most important discovery was that these gifts were not esoteric precepts from beyond the grave. Christopher had embodied their principles in the way he lived, and I had been unable to grasp his genius until after his death.
Christopher’s teachings coalesced into 3 themes that I call Three Gifts. The first one, the Gift of the Opposite, describes Christopher’s M.O. He was always oppositional and always looking for the opposite, in ways that might be maddening or just plain funny. It also describes the fundamental organizing principle of our universe: all things contain their opposite, a really profound concept that describes everything and is the basic principle of ancient Chinese philosophy. The Gift of Presence describes a Zen-like way of being attentive that is essential for spiritual growth, and the Gift of Timelessness is a way of entering into what philosopher’s call The Eternal Present. Christopher called it God’s Moment. It’s so challenging I’ve had to develop a guided meditation to help me experience that state. As I wrote Already Here, I realized that Christopher, in his short and difficult life, had actually embodied these Gifts. He lived them, in surprising ways. He was not just teaching me esoteric truths from another plane, he was demonstrating to everyone he encountered practical truths about living that would guide them to spiritual growth, if they were willing to pay attention.
My main hope for readers of Already Here is that they find the Christophers in their own lives, the hidden teachers of the spirit, disguised by their disabilities, who manifest the wisdom of “the last shall be first.” Christopher’s revelations can guide their journey of discovery.
Although to me Christopher seems exceptional, he told me in no uncertain terms that he was “just like everyone else” and that “every soul has something to teach.” We all have people like Christopher in our lives, people who challenge us, who confound our assumptions and expectations, people who are in pain or disabled or simply outsiders. People we’d like to ignore. Christopher would never ignore anyone, and his Three Gifts can help us open our hearts and minds to what these people can teach us.