Welcome to Bedtime stories for grown-ups, a podcast where I, Michael Kazarnowicz, tell, well, stories for grown-ups. Consider me a spiritual entertainer, if you will, as I tell stories of the things I discovered after swallowing the red pill while falling down the rabbit hole. These stories play out in our reality, and as such are true to the best of my knowledge, but they originate in weird and wonderful places outside it. These stories can be true for you too, if you want them to be. Just check your knowledge at the door and use your heart to listen to the space between the words. If you feel something resonate, it may well be your white rabbit moving around in the bushes, making itself known. I dare you to follow it. If something provokes you in any way, or feels outrageously untrue, remember that these are mere stories, told by someone who went out of his mind.
I am just like you. Maybe not on the outside, but if we remove the illusion of difference that our bodies create, we are the same. I am just like you. It’s knowledge that creates the illusion of separateness. Knowledge, you see, requires a subject that knows it, so when we got knowledge, we also got what we call consciousness. Everything you learn reconfigures your reality. Science, in a way, is a way to confirm and evolve our consensus about an objective reality, or as close as we can get to it.
The problem with knowing is that once you know that you know, there’s no way back to the bliss that is ignorance. This is why growing up is a trap, since growing-up means learning what separates a child from a grown-up and applying that knowledge. We learn how to act like an adult, which means not acting like a child. Imagination requires a disregard for knowledge, a disregard children have mastered and grown-ups have forgotten. I hope my bedtime stories, adapted for modern grown-ups, help you remember. All you have to do is check your knowledge at the door, and listen to the space in between the words. You may find a resonance there. That’s your white rabbit stirring in the bushes. I dare you to follow it.
My white rabbit led me to my super power. It’s a crazy feeling. I almost don’t believe it myself. Whenever I want to use it and it doesn’t work, I feel a panic creeping on: what if I’m just delusional? What if all those times it worked, were just some crazy fluke, some weird freak of nature? But then it works again, and I feel like a little kid anew. The the more I try it, the better I become at using it. I still don’t fully understand it myself, but it feels awesome. I actually only fully realized I had it a couple weeks ago. It is too early to tell you exactly what it is at this point, but imagine believing you don’t know how to surf. You think it would be nice to learn, and you put it on the “some day” list, only to realize that “some day” never comes. It’s always today. Then, when you move it from the “some day” list to the “today” list and finally go surfing, you realize you quickly master it and start doing tricks you never thought possible. I believe you have a super power too, but I don’t know what it is. I think I have a way for you to find out.
It’s hard to tell when it all began. I think Robert Jordan captured it best in the first paragraph of the first chapter of the first book in the Wheel of Time series: “The Wheel of Time turns, and Ages come and pass, leaving memories that become legend. Legend fades to myth, and even myth is long forgotten when the Age that gave it birth comes again. In one Age, called the Third Age by some, an Age yet to come, an Age long past, a wind rose in the Mountains of Mist. The wind was not the beginning. There are neither beginnings nor endings to the turning of the Wheel of Time. But it was a beginning.”
I want to give you a heads up, that just like the Wheel of Time, this story that I have begun telling you has no end (unless you believe the heat death of the universe to be the end, then this story ends about then). Even though this is scripted, and the first season is set to have 10 episodes. I’ve only finished writing and producing the first seven, so the end is as yet unwritten. I’m not sure whether the script I’m playing out is a fagulous hybrid of the Matrix and Alice in Wonderland where I’ve discovered a pattern to synchronicity thanks to my Mad Hatter, or an unfortunate combination of Weird Science and One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest. where a geek experiments with psychedelics and turns himself into a person who ought to have his whole head examined. The end is yet unwritten, and you, friend, can help me figure out the end of this.
The “a beginning” of my story happened exactly a year ago, on June 17th 2017. That’s when I woke up the first time. At least that’s what they call it in The Matrix. You know, that scene where Neo sleeps on his desk and the computer screen suddenly says “Wake up Neo… The Matrix has you… Follow the white rabbit. Knock, knock, Neo.” The actual experience wasn’t too far off, although the wake-up call is not that literal, but the signs are there when you’re ready. The Wachowski siblings did get the outside world, the real world, as they calI it, wrong. But you can’t blame them. It’s very hard to depict a five-dimensional universe using only four dimensions. It’s a little like trying to explain a mind-blowing prostate orgasm using puppets. You just can’t take it seriously.
There are many names for that which I have experienced, depending on your culture. Kundalini, thummo, Sattori, Bodhi, Kensho, Grok. In the western world we sometimes call it “enlightenment”, sometimes “waking up”, and if it’s religious: “being born again”. While I could call my experience all of those, I would not add the “again” to “being born”. “Again” implies that I was born the time before, but since I don’t remember it, I can only take my mother’s word for it. Of course she believes it, but how does anyone really know what’s real? The nature of illusion is that it’s synonymous to delusion, hallucination and mirage. When you’re stuck in it, it may as well be reality.
This particular time on that Saturday in June a year ago, I was born in the sense that I fully realized what – who – I am once you remove my body. At that point, I was like an infant, only able to grasp the simplest concept of my superpower, not yet consciously aware that I have it, let alone how complex it was. Just like an infant who can’t even control his face, let alone his bladder probably has no idea that one day, he may have the body control of Bruce Lee, the facial expressions of Jim Carrey, or the multi-skilled comedic genius of Bo Burnham.
Contrary to popular belief, being born isn’t a traumatizing event, at least not in my experience. Have you ever had a dream that that you were so sure was real? So real that even after waking you aren’t sure it was just a dream? A dream so good, that when you wake up you feel a profound sense of loss? Perhaps you had a lot of money, or had met the love of your life. Perhaps you had a super power in that dream, like being able to fly. Whatever it is, it’s amazing and feels so real – but when you wake up, you realize you’ve lost it.
Being born is a little bit like that, but instead of losing something, you gain it. You are not sure what “it” is yet, but you just know it. It’s like being in love. No one can tell you you’re in love, you just know it. Through and through. Balls to bones.
Before you listen further, I have a warning for you: I have no red pill to offer you. The red pill is a symptom of the times we live in, when everything should be achieved as quickly as possible. My diet is better than yours. My yoga is faster than your yoga. My guru is smarter than your guru. We look to listicles giving us ten points how to be happy but never take time to reflect over what brings us real happiness. I have no red pill, but you may find the makings of your own in the space between the words, just like I did. Once you’ve found it… After that, there is no turning back. You stay in Wonderland, and find out how deep the rabbit hole goes. You may fight the fall, but that will just make the pain worse. Remember: all I’m offering is a truth. Nothing more.
Still there? Good. I have one more warning:
If it isn’t traumatizing to be born, it’s the more traumatizing to make sense of this world once you are born. It’s actually mostly the fault of humans. We do some very weird things, both to ourselves and not each other. I’m not talking about sexual stuff, consensual acts of doing weird sexual things to each other – and let’s face it, most sexual things are weird, not to mention the ridiculous faces we make while we do the weird sexual things – those consensual acts are awesome. But the other weird things, like the fact that we believe that a lonely millionaire is richer than the person who has just enough money and close friends, these weird things lead us to chasing money and screwing both people and the planet over for it… it’s traumatizing.
This was when the suffering of being born started for me. It’s different for everyone. Some experience physical pain. Some become depressed, or worse. I’m pretty sure that you cannot get through it without facing every single one of your fears that you haven’t dealt with yet. It means facing your desires, and the inevitable tragedy of either not getting what you desire, or worse, getting it. Much like Galadriel did when Frodo offered her the Ring of Power:
“In place of a Dark Lord, you would have a queen! Not dark, but beautiful and terrible as the dawn! Treacherous as the sea! Stronger than the foundations of the earth! All shall love me, and despair!” Tolkien knew that power corrupts, and that absolute power corrupts absolutely. Galadriel passed that test, but many on this path don’t. They use their newfound wisdom to gain power and money, which just like the Ring of Power, corrupt us to the core.
Following the white rabbit means a high price to pay, a great risk to take, but the greater the risk, the greater the prize. Did I mention I have a freaking super power?
You will need people. I was helped by many people. In fact, any person in my life that I can think of helped me in some way. Some did it without even knowing that I exist, like RuPaul, for example. RuPaul is like Heath Ledger’s Joker, except with wit and gorgeous outfits instead of violence and chaos. “Why so serious?”
Some people helped knowing very much that I exist, like my friends. Maybe this sounds weird to you, me stating that my friends know that I exist. But I’m not sure how to express it in any other way, because on the journey I’ve met people who I didn’t know existed. Like my brother, who was born at the same time that I was. We had met six years before either of us realized we were brothers. We met at a rooftop party in Brooklyn, and we hit it off in that way you do with certain people. I’m lucky that my brother is good looking, because back then I was so superficial that I mostly talked to good looking guys at parties. It’s a common thing among us humans, we want to get laid so badly that people we consider unattractive become invisible to us. Gays are exceptionally good at it.
Have you heard about “the cheerleader effect”? Also known as “the bridesmaid paradox”, “sorority girl syndrome” and for a brief window in the 90s, “the spice girls conspiracy”. It could also be called “the groomsman enigma”, “frat boy deception” or “Backstreet Boys conundrum” because it applies to men and women alike. It’s not just something Barney in “How I met your mother” came up with, although he did say it five years before a study backed it up. The more scientific term for it is “the group attractiveness effect“. Circuit parties are the epitome of “the group attractiveness effect”. If you don’t know what circuit parties are, they are big dance parties attended by muscular gay men – the kind we affectionately call “gym queens” – who see them as a sort of advanced, collective foreplay. My moment of realization that I was part of this illusion was in 2015, when me and a group of friends were in Berlin for a big party at the legendary club Berghain. We had a dinner the night before, and one of us too took a group photo. That photo looks like fourteen versions of the same guy with different levels of scruff. The realization shook me, and I thought “I can’t be THAT superficial, all my friends are really smart, funny, loving people”. But even if you pick your friends only from the subset of people you find physically attractive, you’ll still end up with people who also are smart and funny and loving, because those are some of the traits that make friends, friends.
So, when I met the person turned out to be my brother in July 2011, I was fortunate that he is good looking. If he hadn’t been, chances are I would not have talked to him. Had I not talked to him, we would not have become friends on Facebook, and he would not have been able to nudge me to follow that trail of seemingly unrelated breadcrumbs of chaos that eventually led to me to my super power.
Sorry, that was a long digression from the warning I wanted to give you. But I trust you now understand the risks of listening to these crazy bedtime stories.
If this was a website, this is where the checkbox or button saying “I accept the risks” would be, but it’s a podcast of bedtime stories. If you accept the risk that should the best and worst happen (they’re actually the same thing),when it happens there is no turning back. If you accept it, just subscribe and wait for the next episode. You don’t even have to be serious about it, as long as you are sincere. If you like the story so far, there is one thing I would ask of you: pick two friends you think would enjoy it, and share this episode with them. It’s the dream of every storyteller to reach as many as possible, and you can help this storyteller’s dream come true.
Until next time: sleep well, my friend, until you wake up.