A21. What happened?

I looked out my office door at 4:59 pm on Sunday, December 23.  And precisely at 5 pm DJ walked down the darkened hall towards my office.  (For some reason, no one else was seeing patients at that time.)


“DJ!” I exclaimed with some relief.  “You made it!  Where have you been?  Why did you not respond to my e-mail this morning?”


“I changed my e-mail address,” he replied.


“And what happened to your phone?”


“I changed my phone number a few weeks ago.”


“OK then,” I said.  “So, what happened?  How was the transition?!!!”


“Nothing happened,” he said in frustration.  “That’s why I didn’t e-mail you.  Nothing happened.  I’m very confused.”


“That makes no sense!” I said.  “In my experience, when a subconscious says something is going to happen, it does.”  I thought for a moment.  “Let me ask your subconscious about it.”


DJ sat down and closed his eyes.  They fluttered a bit as he entered the hypnotic state.


“Did DJ experience his transition two days ago?”


The “Yes” finger rose.


“Did he fail to realize this was his transition?”


The “Yes” finger rose.


“Am I supposed to help him figure out what happened?”


The “Yes” finger rose.


“OK, DJ,” I said as he opened his eyes.  “Tell me what you did on December 21.”


“Nothing,” he protested.  “In the morning, I typed with my subconscious and he wouldn’t tell me anything about the transition.  I was really frustrated.”


“What did he say?”


“He told me that I need to lead the ones I love.”


“Did he tell you his name?

“He said he chose the name Joshua, after the character in the Bible.”


“Did you print out what you typed?”


“He told me not to print it out.  And when I asked him why not, he replied, ‘With great power comes great responsibility.’  I have no idea what he’s talking about.  And besides, my printer is broken,” he grinned sheepishly.


“Then what happened?”


“I got angry,” he blurted.  “And I kept typing yesterday hoping that he would tell me about the transition.  And then he said that I missed it on the previous day.  And this morning all he tells me is that I already knew what I had learned.”  He paused.  “I am so confused.  I thought whatever was going to happen would be much more straight forward.”


“And what else did you do on December 21?”


“All I did was read a book!”


“Tell me about it.”


“It’s a book by Jack Kerouac. It’s called, ‘The Dharma Bums.’”


I had never heard of Jack Kerouac or that book.  “What’s it about?”


“It’s about Jack and his buddy Japhy who go hiking all over the countryside and have adventures.  It’s kind of rambling.  Sort of like stream of consciousness writing.”


“I have a question for your subconscious,” I interjected.


“Go ahead.”


“Did you help DJ pick out this book?”


The “Yes” finger rose.


“Did something in the book help DJ have his transition?”


The “Yes” finger rose.


“Did DJ miss it because he thought it was in the book?”


The “Yes”: finger rose.


“DJ,” I said, addressing him.  “When you read, do you visualize scenes based on what you are reading?”


“Sure,” he replied.  “I imagine things really well.  They seem real.”


“That’s what happened, then.” I explained. “You must have had your transition but didn’t realize it!  You thought it was part of the book!  Tell me about the book in first person,” I suggested.


“OK.  Jack Keourac calls himself Ray in the book and he is narrating.  So, my friend Japhy and I go backpacking in the woods.  We were at a campfire.  I hiked into the woods by myself and found five different paths.  I wasn’t sure what path to take.”  DJ paused, as he collected his thoughts.  “Japhy came up behind me and said it does not matter which path I take.  They all lead to the same place.  He added, ‘You must be concerned with yourself and just be yourself.  Do not be troubled by outside judgments.’”


“So what did you do?”  I asked.


“I realized that I need to follow a path in order to feel happy with myself.  I also got the sense that it my responsibility to show others the right path.  So, I take one, and I come across a bridge.  I see people that I know are following me.  I lead and we cross the bridge and find ourselves in a beautiful green place.  Then, the bridge disappears and we are stuck there.”  He paused again.  “I’m not sure how, but then I found myself back in camp with Japhy.”


As DJ was relaying the events as he recalled them, I developed a growing feeling of certainty about what was going on.  “DJ! “  I exclaimed.  “Those events you just described, were not in the book!  That was your transition!”


“No, it was not!” he replied.  “What I just told you was in the book.”


“I am certain it was not,” I responded.  The source of my certainty would only be revealed to us a few weeks later.  “Let’s ask your subconscious.”   DJ put his hand on his leg.  “The description of the multiple paths and what happened after that, was that in the book?”


The “No” finger rose.


“Was that DJ’s transition?”


The “Yes” finger rose.


“Was the book just a way to help walk DJ through the transition?”


The “Yes” finger rose.


DJ stared at me in apparent astonishment.  I said, “You go check the book and find out for yourself.  You can tell me what you find out next time we meet.”


“But what does the transition mean?” he asked.


“How did you feel when you went down the path?” I asked.


“I felt more confident in myself and in the people who were following me,” he replied.


I turned to DJ’s subconscious.  “Was one of the purposes of the transition to help DJ gain more confidence?”


The “Yes” finger rose.


“Did the transition happen when DJ realized all the paths lead to the same place?”


The “Yes” finger rose.


“Was another of the lessons of the transition that DJ is supposed to become a leader?”


The “Yes” finger rose.


“But I don’t feel comfortable as a leader,” protested DJ.


“Many times leaders are chosen, even when they do not feel worthy,” I said.


“But I don’t want to appear self-centered as a leader,” he said. 


“Leaders aren’t better than other people,” I explained. “They are just further along the path.”


“I can feel comfortable with that notion,” he said.


“Why don’t you ask your subconscious what else you are supposed to have learned from your transition,” I suggested.


DJ sat back in his chair and closed his eyes for a few moments.  When he opened them, his face relaxed.  “The subconscious told me that the lesson I learned transcends death.  He told me that now that I have transitioned I will begin to change.  As it sinks in, I will need to deal with new emotions.”


“Very good,” I responded.  “You might want to study the Bible to learn about another reluctant leader, by the name of Moses, who was chosen for his role despite his misgivings.”


Only later did I realize that perhaps I thought of Moses because in the Bible he was aided by Joshua, the same one that DJ’s subconscious had chosen as his namesake.

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A27. Dreaming of a House

I had expected to have several more sessions with DJ in order to continue our post-transition work. However, we met on only two other occasions to discuss his career development path, and then he felt he no longer needed to return.

A26. Another Synchronicity of Events

After living in Syracuse for a number of years, my wife said that she was tired of the difficult winter weather there, which affected the city nearly half of each year.

A25. Guided through Life

During the summer prior to medical school I met with the Cantor at my parents’ synagogue and asked him to help me to continue to learn how to chant from the Torah.

A24. Finding my Spiritual Self

The amazing events with DJ reinforced ideas and feelings about life that I had been developing for a couple of decades. Thus far I have shared how my involvement with the world of medicine helped instruct me about how life can work.

A23. Return of a Friend

During the following two weeks until DJ’s next appointment with me, I kept thinking about the remarkable lessons that DJ and his subconscious were teaching.

A22. The Role of a Leader

DJ brought a copy of “Dharma Bums” to his next visit with me two weeks later. “You were right!” he exclaimed. “The part about the paths was not in the book.”