Hot Tubbing with Angels

By Keith Varnum 
What lies before us and what lies behind us
are small matters compared to what lies within us.
And when we bring what is within out into the world,
miracles happen.
                                        – Henry David Thoreau

Twenty-five naked women and men lay between me and the exit. If I could have jumped across the collective mass of quivering skin, I would have bolted from that basement in a split second. As it turned out, I found myself inadvertently trapped in a situation that would lead me to astounding new levels of awareness and abundance.


My escapade began back in the ‘70s when a long-time, trusted friend in California wrote me about a versatile, vivacious woman named Alana. She was traveling from Los Angeles to Boston to present a seminar on a human potential method called “rebirthing.” He felt I’d like to meet her and learn about this new and exciting approach to spiritual growth. I’d grown to trust my friend’s keen, intuitive knowledge of my soul’s agenda. My roommate Matt and I decided to attend Alana’s program. We anticipated, at most, a captivating lecture on an unknown subject.


We joined a group of people in the quaint living room of a modest Victorian home located in Brookline, a close-by, unassuming Boston suburb. For some time, the room was filled with hushed conversation. Then Alana appeared. Wrapped in an exotic Indian sari, she commanded immediate attention with her long, jet-black hair parted just enough to reveal very large, piercing eyes.


After only the briefest introduction to the topic of the rebirthing process, Alana invited the assembled newcomers to proceed down a steep cascade of old, rickety stairs to the basement of the house. I dutifully followed the group, intrigued by Alana’s description of rebirthing as a way to re-experience and release the emotional trauma of one’s physical birth. In a cramped antechamber, she instructed us to take off every stitch of our clothing. Believe it or not, we all complied. Hey, she was from California. In Boston, this is what we expected from someone from California!


Then she shunted us into an even smaller room with a sunken hot tub in the corner. Quite suddenly, I realized I was trapped naked in the middle of a room, separated from the only door by twenty-five equally bare strangers. A mild panic began its journey up my spine.


Alana started to read aloud to us from a book called Birth Without Violence by Frederick LeBoyer. The book was the rebirthers’ bible. LeBoyer described in unsettling, graphic detail how most humans come into this world. It was much more than I ever wanted to know about the birth process! With great feeling and drama, Alana read how most of us came out of our mother’s womb into a freezing cold hospital room, are turned upside-down and then whacked on the butt until we cry. And, as if that’s not shocking enough to newborn humans, a stinging medication is poured into our eyes to kill a certain type of bacteria.


The gut-wrenching description of a normal birth seemed to me to go on and on. As Alana read about the inhospitable, heartless conditions into which our souls arrive, my mild panic escalated into full-blown terror, spreading from my spine throughout my body. I held no conscious memory of my own birth. Yet listening to this literal, blow-by-blow description of the usual birth process was tortuous to me. Acute fear and stifling emotions were coming up. I was having trouble breathing. I felt trapped by her images and by the mass of nude bodies crammed into the tiny space. I didn’t want to sit there and listen any longer. In search of a way to graciously flee all this raw nakedness and escalating emotional pain, I desperately scanned the room. I could find no avenue to freedom.


      Then I heard Alana ask for a volunteer to become “rebirthed.” In my terror, what I heard was “a way out!” I volunteered. Exactly what I was volunteering for, I didn’t know. At the moment, I didn’t care. Escape from the growing phobia of such a closed-in space and subject was all that was on my mind. Get me out of here!


Submerged in the sunken hot tub, breathing through a snorkel, I floated face down in the water, reassured and supported by Alana’s gentle touch. The temperature of the water, like the surrounding air, was deliberately adjusted to match the temperature of my body. When the temperature of the water and the air touching the body is sensed as being the same as the body’s temperature, people generally lose their discrimination of difference and separation between their body and their surroundings. This loss of skin sensation, coupled with silence and a feeling of weightlessness, stimulates abounding pleasure in the floater. The experience is similar to being immersed in a sensory deprivation or isolation tank. You feel as if you no longer have a body. You are a consciousness floating with complete comfort in a warm, womb-like environment. It is a life-changing, liberating interlude.


     However, as is the intent of the rebirthing process, the experience is usually as ephemeral as it is ecstatic. The temporary rapture turns quickly into trauma. And so it was with me.


      POW! There I was in the delivery room. I’d just come out of my mother. I re-experienced in full, living color and sensation all the torture of a typical clinical hospital birthing. My body tensed and my spirit recoiled.


Several assistants gently lifted me out of the tepid water onto a waiting bed of soft, warm cotton towels. A couple of hours of conscious deep breathing, loving massage and tender coaching by Alana were necessary for me to move through the memories and emotions of my violent birth. Old, dead energy of my birth struggle exited with each exhale. Fresh prana energy of new possibilities infused every cell of my body with each inhale. Pleasure replaced the pain. Euphoria replaced the agony. I entered into a state of full body orgasm. Every cell of my physical body felt fully alive and electric. I entered into an ethereal state of physical, emotional and spiritual bliss.


     My roomie Matt went into the hot tub after me and had a similarly sublime experience—paradise, then trauma, followed by elation. After being shaken to our core, we didn’t dare drive. We left our car at the house and practically floated the two-mile trek back to our home.

      Both Matt and I awoke the next morning to find our living room filled with twenty to thirty full-winged angels! I had vague memories at the time of glimpsing angelic beings when I was a small child. However, I’d never before been in the presence of so many clearly visible and radiant heavenly beings. That I wasn’t totally overwhelmed by the sight indicated how open I’d become from the rebirthing. My ability to embrace the love pouring forth from these heavenly messengers was also remarkable and spoke volumes of the power of the previous night’s expansion. Matt was also able to accept and absorb the majesty of the moment. The incongruity of so many beings fitting into a small apartment living room never occurred to either of us.

     This “impossibility” is a prime example of the phenomenon of physical space adapting to the spirit of the moment. Our intention determines our reality. The expansiveness and flexibility of the beliefs in our consciousness decide what can occur in our universe.

      These golden messengers spent the next three weeks pouring golden light on, through and around Matt and me. We were filled with such serenity and bliss, we had neither the inclination nor the ability to go to work. Happy as larks, each day we called in to the natural foods business that employed us both to tell them we simply weren’t yet capable of coming to work. Our spacey, euphoric tone and demeanor on the phone were more than enough to convince our boss we were correct in our assessment. Since the philosophical focus of our employer, Erewhon Natural Foods, was authentically spiritual in nature, the management gave us wide latitude and empathetic understanding.

In retrospect, I’d describe Matt and me as having been in a state of perpetual grace. We could barely talk coherently. We would fall silent in the middle of a sentence and then begin another, without noticing we failed to finish the previous thought. Yet we communicated. A meaningful exchange took place. We simply knew what the other was trying to convey. We conversed heart to heart, soul to soul, through direct transmission.

      In this elated state, we were incapable of—or more accurately, disinterested in—even the simplest tasks, like preparing food. Friends from work dropped off meals for us. We attempted to mouth words of thanks, but usually our friends would leave quickly, sensing we were in a special space that needed to be protected and honored. Spiritually, Matt and I grew tremendously from the rebirthing. Our worlds expanded to embrace the magical and the divine as an everyday possibility.

During those weeks of grace, Matt and I also underwent a release and renewal. Outmoded limitations and old, dead beliefs were purged and cleansed from our personalities. Fresh possibilities emerged from our revitalized souls. It was a miraculous period ofdivine alchemy, a transformation of our fundamental, core groundof being. Most of the healing and transmutation took place on an energetic, vibrational level. We had little conceptual sense of which old patterns were changing and leaving. Yet every so often I’d catch glimpses of a part of my current life, or a past life, that were being released—or, to put it more precisely, integrated into my being with a fuller understanding.


      Finally, after about three weeks, Matt and I were capable of maintaining our physical balance and could walk about without collapsing. We left the apartment and sauntered across the street to a large city park. There, in a sizable playing field within the park, our limited personal world expanded even further. Crying tears of joy and gratitude, we gazed upon hundreds of angels, layered row upon row, reaching into the sky as far as we could see. We were granted a vivid, exalting vision of the Heavenly Host, complete with the magnificent, melodic sounds of celestial music. Basking in the beauty and blessing of the revelation until the coolness of dusk reminded us that we were still residing in human physical bodies, we retired to our home with a sense of all-prevailing peace. It’s an inner serenity that’s never left me.


      The next morning, Matt and I awoke to a house void of angels, but filled with the energy of resurrection. Our youthful spirits of innocence, openness and enthusiasm for life replaced the disillusionment, withdrawal and despair we previously felt in our lives. We instinctively knew it was time to re-enter our everyday world.


      Back at Erewhon Natural Foods, our regenerated exuberance for life and expectancy for goodness was evident to everyone. The remarkable changes in Matt and me inspired most of the company’s two hundred employees to go through the rebirthing process. The reborn openness and playfulness of our staff proved to be infectious to our customers. Every natural and health food store in the Northeast wanted to buy from us because they loved the genuine warmth and thoughtfulness of our salespeople who called on them and of our truck drivers who delivered the goods. People ordered food from us because they wanted to interact with the energy of our employees in person and over the phone. The company’s sales tripled. Matt and I continued to grow more honest and intimate with ourselves, each other and all our friends and relationships. It was a joyous spiritual opening for everybody in my life, both personally and professionally.


I am still expanding in my rebirth as you read this.


This true story is an excerpt from Keith’s latest book, Inner Coach: Outer Power:

Forty-eight firsthand stories reveal the amazing creative powers within you that can heal your body, expand your heart, and attract phenomenal abundance into your life. Fresh and captivating, Keith shows you the practical, everyday use of levitation, alchemy, multi-dimensional travel, near-death experiences, out-of-body journeys, parallel realities and time-tripping. Spiritual teachers unveil their secrets to happiness. Ancient shamans impart how to manifest an easy flow of money. Angels illustrate how to heal the body instantly. Nature devas share keys to attracting soulmates. Spirit guides demonstrate how they can save your life in a crisis. Using his vast exploration as a healer, mystic, acupuncturist, urban shaman, filmmaker, personal coach, and seminar leader, Keith helps you become a real Miracle Maker!

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