published in Volume 2, Issue 3 on May 21, 1995
Yafmenn was meditating when the Illumination came. Like the stages of a supernova, his experience seemed to implode so that the past became present. Then, it expanded outward and the future became the present. It was as if he had become a light cone, experiencing the past, present, and future all at once.
And while still in the moment, there came to him a Luminous being. He grew before him, as if from a grain of cosmic dust.
"Welcome, brother", it said in a voice so sweet it nearly made Yafmenn weep.
"Thank you", he replied. And as he spoke, he returned to his sentient self; sitting again in his office, the Inspirational Message Screen Saver (IMSS) on his monitor floating the same message he'd seen before he closed his eyes (one he had found in a liqueur add and entered into the program):
"Anything Can Happen"
The being sat across Yafmenn's desk in his windowless, but spacious office. It sat in one of the seven chairs lined up along the far wall, It's halo obscuring a good portion of the National Geographic poster of the universe (from the June 1983 issue).
Yafmenn blinked and shook his head several times.
"Is this it?", he asked, as his senses returned and he felt himself not so changed after this soul-altering experience.
"Is what it?", replied the Luminous Being knowing full well what was coming.
"I just reached Nirvana. Aren't there supposed to be garlands being thrown around and gods singing my praises. You know, like when the Buddha reached enlightenment."
"Well, you know how it is: you get a couple guys reaching enlightenment; they try and document what happened to them; they're a little tipsy from the experience; they exaggerate a little...", He smiled broadly as his voiced trailed off. Yafmenn noticed how it wasn't quite as musical as before.
"What about transcendence? Aren't you supposed to get this big dose of Forgiveness, or something? I still get pissed when I think of what my former boss did! And, I don't feel Omnipotent or Omniscient. Here, I'll try and create a glass sphere in the palm of my hand" Yafmenn held out his hand as if he were cradling something.
"Hey! Stop that!" shouted the Luminous Being. "You know the energy you'll generate? You'll torch this entire office!"
Yafmenn pulled his hand back, rubbed it against his other, and noted how warm it was.
"What's the big deal, can't I create stuff out of thin air? I'm illuminated, I got privileges!"
"You're still living in the physical universe! You've got to abide by it's laws. There's no such thing as something from nothing. We're talking basic physics here: take a few atoms, stick them together, squish out the excess energy and what do you have?"
"I don't know, what?"
"You get fusion. You know, the sun. Tokomak. Princeton!" It shook Its glowing head, "Sheesh!", It quietly muttered.
"You know that forest in eastern Asia?" It continued. "Where all those trees were flattened?"
"Sure. In Tunguska, 1908.", replied Yafmenn.
"An Illuminated soul did that."
"What?", Yafmenn replied incredulously.
"He was on a date when his wagon wheel broke. He didn't want to dirty his cloths, so he tried to create a new wheel and woosh... Anyway, just because you get enlightened doesn't mean you can find where Andrew Wiles made his mistake!". 'Oops', It thought to Itself. But Yafmenn was too preoccupied to catch the reference.
"But I thought I'd be able to perform miracles, you know, events beyond the realm of physics. Says here ...", Yafmenn grabbed the paperback Webster's New World from behind his Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey calendar. "...Says here... 'Miracle' blah blah blah 'an event or action that apparently contradicts known scientific laws'."
"Sorry, that's a myth. Besides, you missed the 'apparently' qualifier."
"What about all the stuff Jesus did? Water-walking, the fish thing, all that healing stuff?"
"Jesus Christ! that's all I seem to hear! Sometimes I think we ought to have an FAQ just for the newbie enlightened! When Jesus 'apparently' walked on water, it was really just a huge block of ice - he changed the water to ice as he stepped. Nearly slipped and broke his neck, too! I wouldn't recommend you do any miracles. Most enlightened people say away from them."
"What about doing some good in the world. I wouldn't mind making it rain in, say, Ethiopia. So they can get a decent planting season going. Anything wrong with that?"
"Actually, you run into a conservation of mass problem. Don't you remember that episode of I Dream of Genie, where she loses her powers and what's-his-name get them? Remember what she said to him when he wanted to do the same thing?"
Yafmenn shook his head, "No, not really. I actually didn't pay much attention to the dialogue."
"She said, 'If you make it rain in the desert, you may empty a river.' Conservation of mass."
"Ok, so I can't affect the physical world, what about knowledge?", asked Yafmenn.
"What about it?"
"I've got questions I'd like answer to: One, Dark Matter, what's is made of. Two, what's the deal with Cold Fusion. Three, the guy in the next office has been working on disabling the AIDS protease. He's got a bunch of chemicals he's testing. I'd like to know which will do the trick so I can tell him."
"What, I look like Robin Williams? You figure you have 3 wishes I have to grant?"
"No, no. I don't want you to answer them! Look. I worked hard to get here. I studied, thought, stayed away from wild women, only did a small amount of drugs. I was expecting a little transcendence; a glimpse into the mind of Infinite. I thought I could do something good for the world. Maybe you've forgotten - or maybe you've never been incarnate - but his place needs a lot of help! Besides, I always thought I was going to so something special in with life."
"You're starting to sound like Oprah! But I understand. You're still attached to this flavor of your being. That's why you have all these desires. And you also have the limitations imposed by the laws of Nature. But if you tried to drink from the pool of Infinite wisdom, you're head will explode! And I mean that literally! To bring back the answers to the questions you seek will take painstakingly careful dips into the Infinite Pool. It would take just as long for you to find the answers as it would for anyone else. As far as Cold Fusion is concerned all I can say is that there are Universes that follow other laws..."
'I thought so!', thought Yafmenn. 'They somehow tapped into a parallel universe'
"...And one such universe is the one that Ponns and Fleshman inhabit. All by themselves!"
At this, the Luminous being roared with laughter. This went on for several minutes. At one point It fell to Its knees and pounded on the floor, repeatedly. Yafmenn looked on with irritation. Finally the laughter began to subside.
"Sorry", It said and sat back down. This time in one of the rolling chairs that rock. " But those guys crack me up..."
"So what do I do now? I don't see what good came from any of this. I can't perform miracles; can't access the Infinite Mind; can't bring anything back to the world to help."
"Your journey is your gift to the world. So just go on living your life. There's really nothing else you can do. You see, gaining enlightenment is like winning the lottery: you don't change as a person, you just don't have to live 'paycheck to paycheck' - 'moral' paycheck, that is. Besides, you'll notice little changes in yourself from this experience."
"Well, you might start wanting to change your cats' water and litter a little more often. At least, they hope so!" The Luminous Being smiled.
'Boy that is little', Yafmenn thought.
"And, as an added bonus, you might find yourself able to stay awake at those chemistry seminars."
"If anything, this conversation has been enlightening", Yafmenn said.
The Luminous being stood. "Well, that's my queue. I've gotta go. But if you need me for anything, just click your heels 3 times." The expression on Yafmenn's face, made the Luminous being add quickly, "It wasn't my idea, a standards committee came up with it..."
The Luminous being smiled and began to fade. Yafmenn thought he heard it chanting, "Living in the material world...". As he turned back to his computer, he saw his IMSS float the next random inspirational message: