Psychic Dreams and The MetaStory

The Only Story In Town

Stories. Have you ever stopped to think about how important they are to us?

To have someone tell us a story (perhaps in the form of a book or movie) is our first impulse after winding down from work, and the last, heartfelt, request our kids make before going to sleep.

There are news stories, sports stories, love stories, family stories, work stories, and neighborhood stories (also known as gossip).

That’s just for starters, and all, apparently, fill a need.

But perhaps the best way to gauge our affection for such things is to follow the money. Of all the professions, which do we tend to reward most lavishly? Surely near the top of that list would be actors, directors, producers, authors—you get the idea.

Storytellers.

Evidently, there’s something fundamental about our love for stories of all kinds, real or imagined. And perhaps that’s because in them, we see the dramas that are our own lives, reflected back to us—often with our secret thoughts revealed, or with alternate life trajectories explored, possibilities that inspire, horrify, or simply intrigue us.

I’d like to tell you a story about myself. It’s just a slice of life, really, and hardly inspiring, but it will help me make a point.

A TV hero, mid-century style.

In 1957, when I was ten, a new prime-time show debuted on American TV screens. It featured a character named Maverick, and at a time when Western-themed shows dominated the airwaves, Maverick was a cowboy unlike any other.

Played by James Garner, this guy was everything I wanted to be: handsome, witty, smart, confident, and highly successful (in his career as a clever, but surprising moral, gambler).

Maverick was courageous, too—though, with his self-deprecating humor, he would never have admitted that.

But above all, as the lonely kid I was couldn’t fail to notice, he was the darling of any girl who was pretty enough to catch his eye. He was loved.

So I made a decision: I was going to be Maverick.

Now I don’t mean I bought a wide-brimmed hat and took up poker. But all those traits I so envied—well, why not simply appropriate them? (Though when it came to his good looks I knew I could only go so far.) Why not just change my behavior with Maverick as my model, and transform myself into the lovable person I was meant to be?

So that’s what I did. I remember walking to school, immersed in the suave, confident, persona of this TV icon to whom I had become attached, feeling and thinking my way into the role. “I can do this” I felt, “I can pull this off, and it will change how people see me.”

You understand, I wasn’t responding in a healthy way to someone I admired. I wasn’t allowing Maverick’s best to bring out my best.

No, I was trying to do the impossible: replace my flaws (as I saw them) with someone else’s strengths. I was reacting to all those parts of myself I felt were unacceptable—and there were many—by giving up on them.

To no small degree, I was pushing the real Bruce Siegel out of my life.

Or that was the plan, anyway, a strategy that kept turning up in different guises, and would define my life for years.

The story inside.

Now imagine, if you will, what was going on in my mind. To try to succeed by impersonating someone else—how must I have thought things work, for this to seem a good idea?

Clearly, I saw the world as a place in which at least some of us have to go to extraordinary lengths just to fit in. Constant vigilance and pretense were what mattered; in the reality I knew, simply being myself wasn’t going to get me very far.

In short, I saw my world as largely devoid of love. (An understandable conclusion given my childhood circumstances.)

Let’s give such a perspective, be it true or false, a name. Let’s call it a metastory. Our personal understanding of how the world works.

Expanding the scenario.

Now here’s the thing: we rarely appreciate the importance of our metastory until we stumble on a different one.

In fact, we may not even know we have such a model, until we step outside its boundaries, and begin to see our lives from a fresh perspective. Then we can look back and smile, as the limitations of our former understanding sink in.

But maybe you know what I mean. Perhaps at some point in your life you’ve emerged from a “box” in which you’ve long felt confined, looked out on a landscape teeming with unthought-of possibilities, and felt: “Omigod. There’s a whole different way of seeing the world.”

We sometimes taste liberation of this sort as we begin an important relationship—or end one. It can happen in launching a career. Or in pursuing a hobby, or while reading a book.

One paradigm-busting moment in my life (to fast-forward to my twenties) was entering psychotherapy. It rocked my world. It showed me that the neglect I had suffered as a child was still reverberating inside me, and that I needed to stop running from that sadness, and allow myself, finally, to feel it. For only then could I let it go.

And only then was I able to grasp the futility of my former mindset. For I had been trying to change my behavior while ignoring what was driving it—my pain.

Other surprises were still to come. My worldview was to be challenged again and again, and in Dreaming The Future, I talk about revelations that would stretch my understanding in ways I wouldn’t have thought possible.

The big picture.

All of which might lead one to wonder: forget my worldview or yours, is there a metastory so fundamental it deserves to be called the simple truth? Does it make sense to think in terms of a grand design or model that’s objectively real, one we all share?

As you know, science and religion each has its version of such a tale. And whether or not we buy into them, they tug at us.

For in a world in which mainstream science plays a dominant role—many would call it the new Church—who can remain immune to its pessimisim? Who can completely ignore science’s insistence that we are accidents, brought into this universe by chance, and destined to leave it forever?

Likewise, who is unaffected by traditional religious attitudes? Who can fail to wonder, at some level, if there just may be a God who finds us essentially sinful, one who frowns on so many of our thoughts and behaviors?

So this, you see, is where my experiment in precognition comes into play. For remember: I was a passionate skeptic prior to it. And what astonished—and ultimately, excited—me, was to discover, partly through my dreams, a different way of seeing my life and my world, a vision that jerked me out of the religion-and-science-based storyline I had been living, and introduced me to a new set of possibilities.

To be clear, my newly-discovered psychic ability wasn’t the only factor leading to my change of heart. Other discoveries and experiences had important roles to play, and I look forward to talking about them. For now, I’ll simply share, in the briefest of synopses, what I’ve gleaned from the adventure as a whole.

The one tale.

Stories are second nature to us because storytelling is what this cosmos is about. Or to put it differently, there’s an epic drama being enacted here. Just a single narrative masquerading as many—a plot unfolding in infinite versions, simultaneously. (Two of those being you and me.)

It is a story that embraces oneness and separation, a descent into darkness and return to light; a tale in which death, our most feared enemy, turns out to be our best friend, our ticket home.

And in each retelling—even when it’s seemingly nowhere to be found—love is the hero. Love doubting itself and denying itself.

Above all, love rediscovering itself, endlessly.

This, then, is the MetaStory. And to be clear, it’s not my discovery. (Though my use of the word, in this context, may be original.) Many of us have arrived at a similar conclusion.

But each of us sees the thing differently, each has stumbled on it from a different direction, each has his or her own version to tell. Here’s hoping you’ll find something useful in mine.

What you’ve just read is an early draft of the first chapter of my next book. (Working title: The MetaStory.) Other chapters are in the works, and I look forward to sharing them here as well.

Note that I use “metastory” (lower case) to describe a personal worldview, and reserve “MetaStory” for our mutual, ultimate, reality.

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8 Comments

  1. Cal on June 21, 2017 at 1:45 pm

    I really like this article! I wanted to be the 6 million dollar man!

    • Bruce on June 21, 2017 at 2:09 pm

      Thanks, Cal!

  2. Stuart on July 10, 2017 at 4:24 am

    Bruce, I lacked a positive male influence in my childhood and I, like you, took inspiration from TV characters. First it was Simon Templar (Roger Moore) in the Saint. Later, I switched to Steed, from The Avengers. The lifestyles of both were alluring; for they both had purpose in their lives, seemed to find money no problem, lived in beautiful surroundings and, of course, had a way with the girls.
    I cried when Emma Peel said her final goodbye, to Steed! However; unlike yourself, I found it near impossible to model myself upon them. Yet, although my life took a strange and sometime terrible direction, ( I spent a long time in a box:…literally) I still like to believe that something of those idols remains, within. A sense of fair play, an attitude of politeness, I took and still strive to keep. So, I would say that those models provided me with something of a positive attitude towards life. Its just a pity that the self-destructive attitude that developed within me, prevented me from maturing into a well-rounded individual. Therefore, in acknowledging these problems within myself, I find mysteries of the unknown, whether it be of a dimensional nature, such as paranormality; or scientific explorations of space, extremely intriguing. Added to my own experiences, upon the paranormal front, I can manage to sustain a sense of normality (however flimsy) upon my mental processes. Was it the same, for you?

    • Bruce on July 10, 2017 at 9:45 am

      Stuart said:

      “However; unlike yourself, I found it near impossible to model myself upon them.”

      Thanks for reading and commenting. But I think you’ve missed something. After talking about my desire to emulate Maverick, I say:

      “You understand, I wasn’t responding in a healthy way to someone I admired. I wasn’t allowing Maverick’s best to bring out my best.

      No, I was trying to do the impossible: replace my flaws (as I saw them) with someone else’s strengths. I was reacting to all those parts of myself I felt were unacceptable—and there were many—by giving up on them.

      To no small degree, I was pushing the real Bruce Siegel out of my life.”

      So my “plan” didn’t work either. And I’m grateful for that!

      • Stuart on July 10, 2017 at 10:42 am

        Bruce, from what you say, it seems that you were trying to harden yourself against the world. Yet, by the same token, I too suffered with an inferiority complex.However, I chose the nicer aspects of my idols, because that was all I could do, realistically. I think that; if you model yourself upon the more dubious aspects of someones morality, then that is more likely to lead to a whole character change. Its harder to achieve what you want, if you have no natural inclination to behave in that way. But hey! We were children, right? We were not fully-cooked. Lack of a good role model, can shape our existence. Sometimes for the better, but mainly, I feel, for the worse.

  3. Jens on July 10, 2017 at 8:39 am

    This is a fascinating topic, and I’m thinking about buying your book. There is, however, one problem. In this blog post you wrote about “oneness and separation”. Do you advocate some kind of “oneness” or “everything is one” philosophy? If you do, then I can’t buy your book because I don’t want to support that philosophy.

    • Bruce on July 10, 2017 at 10:04 am

      Hi Jens, thanks for your interest in my book. I do indeed believe that we all emerge from a single Source, and return to it after we leave the body. So in that respect, oneness is at the heart of my worldview.

      However, Dreaming The Future, my book on precognitive dreams, is not about that. It’s about how the evidence in our dreams proves that psychic ability is real. I don’t dwell on the larger truths that *underlie* that premise, except to explain, late in the book, that the reality of the paranormal supports a spiritual perspective.

      So by no means do you have to subscribe to the notion of oneness to carry out the dream experiment I detail, and prove to yourself that precognition is a fact of life.

      Make sense?

      • Jens on July 11, 2017 at 4:34 am

        Bruce, thanks for an honest answer to my question. I think your reply made sense.

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