(Global Heart | Esther Haasnoot) God and Love on Route 80: The Hidden Mystery of Human Connectedness is a remarkable true story of faith, love, and destiny, along Route 80, which started with the “Blue angel dream”.
“The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” – Eleanor Roosevelt
The invitation of a sacred and mysterious pilgrimage
At a young age, while he was a student at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire, Stephen G Post had a recurring dream. The dream came to him about a half dozen times over a couple of years, identical in its details: It was early morning, misty and silver-gray, at the end of a long road to the unknown west. High above the sea, a long-haired blond youth leaned outward over a ledge about to let go, when out of the mist appeared the light blue image of an angel’s face. Speaking softly and with great love, the angel said, “If you save him, you too shall live.” Then she faded back into the silver-gray mist.
We are all connected in the collective unconscious, which Jung thought was the core of all spiritual experience and symbolism. People have dreams, intuitions, and prodigious premonitions. Some things happen for reasons we do not know or understand yet. We all have had surprising encounters that are much too perfectly “set up” by the universe to come from chance and that point the way to a destiny of which we know nothing yet, but looking back we can connect the perfect dots. These experiences is something that we have to discover and not give up on because in the long run, we might find out where we headed.
There is a power for good in the universe greater than us that awaits us down Route 80, revealing itself at the right time and in the right place and way. Just stay on the road. – Stephen G Post
“Anything is possible if a person believes.” God and Love on Route 80: The Hidden Mystery of Human Connectedness is about the way divine Mind whispers and winks at us by synchronicities as we move in faith down the highway of life, it is a story for everyone on a spiritual journey.
An Interview with Stephen G. Post, author of God and Love on Route 80: The Hidden Mystery of Human Connectedness
Esther Haasnoot: Your Route 80 journey began as nothing more than a spiritual whisper that most would have missed entirely. What was your “Blue angel” dream about?
Stephen G Post: My Route 80 journey began at age 15 with a mysterious recurring dream that set me on a different kind of road trip. Had the dream only come once I would have ignored it, but it recurred about six times over the course of a year or more. So I thought that maybe it was the work of the infinite Mind trying to break through my worldly consciousness. Here is what I dreamed as a student years back at St. Paul’s School in New Hampshire:
The dream: It was early morning, misty and silver-gray, at the end of a long road to the unknown west. High above the sea, a long-haired blond youth leaned outward over a ledge about to let go when out of the mist appeared the light blue image of an angel’s face. Speaking softly and with great love, the angel said, “If you save him, you too shall live.” Then she faded back into the silver-gray mist.
I spoke about it with my Rev. Welles, a Jungian Episcopal priest. One afternoon we drove to Yale Divinity School, where he had graduated. I spoke of the dream in a seminar. The students were surprised when I told them that while all read Emerson’s The Over-Soul up in school, I was the only one who believed that all our minds are part of a larger Mind and that the dream had convinced me to apply to Reed College on Portland, Oregon, where “Paulies” never go.
Two summers later, back home in New York, my parents refused to let me tutor kids in the Bronx, which I really wanted to do. They thought the Bronx was too dangerous. So after a few days of argument and Mom saying that she would not help me pay for Swarthmore, I relented and Dad got me a job at DeBono’s lampshade factor cutting cardboard. I drove Dad’s old grey Mercedes 190 to work and lasted two weeks. On a Friday night, I drove out to Westhampton Beach. About 11 at night I told my friends I was driving west come what may follow the dream and also escape the factory. I had my classical guitar, $50, and a copy of Siddhartha. I drove west through the mid-town tunnel and over the George Washington Bridge. Then I saw it: “Route 80 West.” I drove through the night and at five in the morning decided to turn around and head back, but the generator broke, so there were zero power and the car quickly stopped as I was just able to get over to the right shoulder of 80. I thought that this was all divine synchronicity telling me that I was really destined to go west. There were no phone booths in sight, just countless miles of cornfields. So I pulled a piece of paper out from the glove compartment and wrote a note:
“TO THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: Please return this car to Henry, my dad. Call 516-669-5655.(His son who just quit the lampshade factory for good)”
Guitar in hand, I stuck out my thumb and a huge white truck pulled over and a guy named Garry flung open the door and asked me where I was headed. I said west. Many things followed, but eventually, I made it to the Mission District of San Francisco and slept on the floor of my cousin George’s apartment, played Villa Lobos in Hispanic restaurants, and chanted at the Buddhist Temple near the corner of Market and Chenery Streets. But I drew a bad draft number, so I called Reed. I had told them earlier that I was not coming, but they re-opened a spot for me because they wanted to help. About seven in the morning I said goodbyes and hopped on the Market Street bus to Golden Gate Park, walked across it, and started over the Golden Gate Bridge for Portland. I walked along the pedestrian path on the west side of the bridge, its edge rimmed by nothing but a breast-high railing, and just below it a thin ledge buffeted by a swirling moist wind over the Bay. I could only see a few feet ahead through the thick silvery mist as I neared the center of the great span. I glanced to my left and saw somebody just a few feet away on the ledge and leaning outwards. He was about my age or maybe a little older, with stringy blonde hair and a thin face. For one intense moment my eyes and those of the youth met, and then I said quietly, “I really and truly hope you don’t plan to jump, kid.” “Why not?” he challenged me. “Life is just nothingness.” And then, desperately shouting at the top of his lungs out across the miles of empty space, he recited Shakespeare’s monologue about despair. I clapped and smiled.
A conversation ensued, and Harry calmed down. He came over to look at the beautiful Gohonzon scroll that I pulled out of my backpack. And I explained the scroll’s symbols and that it brings luck. “It’s all yours, Harry, but you have to do one thing if I give it to you. You have to walk through Golden Gate Park with this Gohonzon in your hand and take the Market Street bus straight to the Buddhist temple on the corner of Market and Chenery in the Mission District, and you have to ask for old Gus. Tell him I sent you. And here is my cousin George’s address. Promise me, Harry.” Things turned out okay for Harry, but read Route 80. For me, it was all perfect synchronicity.
Esther Haasnoot: What does having a premonition mean and how were you inspired to follow it?
Stephen G Post: It took the hard push of the argument at home, the factory, and the lure of the dream to get me out on Route 80. As I walked off the Golden Gate Bridge I felt it was all synchronicity, including the car breaking down. That was when I first felt sure of the dream.
Esther Haasnoot: There are plenty of synchronicity whispers, intuitions, premonitions, opportunities, and messages if we want to listen. How do you explain the universal Mind and how it speaks to each of us?
Stephen G Post: In the beginning was Mind before Matter. This is what the great scriptures state, and a lot of physicists today accept the idea that before the Big Bang there was in infinite original Mind beyond time and space. All the thermodynamic constants came from this Mind, and its prime energy underlies all the energy and matter. We each have a small drop of this Mind within us in the form of inner light. It speaks to us because we are inwardly one with it.
Esther Haasnoot: In your book, you wrote: “When premonitions occur, it is a sign that the walls between “I” and “You” have been replaced by oneness, and at that frequency of love the miracles of premonition and synchronicity are most likely to happen”. Can you tell us more about that?
Stephen G Post: Premonitions happen, especially when a mother wakes up at night knowing that her son or daughter is imperiled or dead on a battlefield, and the like. This is not explicable unless there is something “nonlocal” (Dossey, Chopra) about mind, something that is underived from material, from cells, brain, and biology. When I was at Reed my mom called at 2 a.m. from New York because I had just been scared to death on a motorcycle driven by a mad man. He let me off after two hours of speeding down the Pacific Coast Highway at 180 mph, though I had thought I was dead. Mom called me from 3000 miles away when she woke from her sleep sweating and scared because she thought I was dead. I told Mom that I nearly had died.
Esther Haasnoot: The line between authentic synchronicity and just “magical thinking” is not always clear. How do you tell what is synchronicity and what isn’t?
Stephen G Post: Walking off the Golden Gate I felt that my dream at St. Paul’s 3000 miles away and two years earlier had been more than just my mind making things up. Somehow, the dream came true, like a premonition, and I knew for sure that our minds are much more connected than we typically realize and that we are all part of a supreme of infinite Mind that cherishes us in uncanny moments of synchronicity, and that is not bounded by space or chronological time. And I knew that we flourish when we help others. It was inspired but not “magical thinking.”
Esther Haasnoot: Shamans the world over have staffs that they use in their rituals or to find lost objects, and Native American medicine men carry a spirit stick to evoke powerful, healing spirits. What are the benefits of using rituals and objects? What did such stick meant for you?
Stephen G Post: In Route 80 I tell about how my friend and I were outside a hotel in University Circle Cleveland late at night about 11:30 and I had a lot of doubts about moving from Cleveland for a new teaching job in New York. Out of the shadows walked an elderly African-American man with an elaborately carved walking stick or staff. He approached and said he had had an intuition that I would need a staff for security on a difficult journey. I keep that stick to this day, and there is a picture of it in the book.
Esther Haasnoot: In your book, you refer to the Upanishads, a collection of sacred Hindu texts, that declare “What you think you become.” Do you believe Mind creates Matter?
Stephen G Post: Mind came first, and from it all else derived. Mind underlies all of reality, and it is a Mind of Pure Unlimited Love. Mystics call this the “ground of being.” Mind created and sustains Matter.
Esther Haasnoot: The power to use our mind to create our future reality depends on, and demonstrates, our continuity with the infinite creative Mind, which wants to help us express creative love in the world. What is the Golden Rule to live by?
Stephen G Post: The future begins with a clear vision, and with living by the positive Golden Rule, “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” In that space, we come closer to Pure Unlimited Love. But on 80 you follow destiny more than make a future, other than by your responses to surprises.
Esther Haasnoot: Divine time (kairos) and human time (Chronos) are different. In due time infinite Mind works miracles on divine schedule. Can you tell us more about that?
Stephen G Post: When we slow down and forget about Chronos, we are free in the now for a higher kind of time, for what the Greeks called Kairos, which is really time beyond time. Mystics meditate and pray to escape ordinary time and center on their timeless Inner Being.
Esther Haasnoot: Hope is having faith that difficult moments are good moments in disguise. How do you change a negative view to a positive one?
Stephen G Post: Expand the canvas. Bad things happen to everyone. The best thing to do when things collapse is to focus not on the self or the problems of the self, but instead to contribute to the lives of others. In the middle of every Jackson Pollack canvas was just a splash of ugly paint, but he covered it with beautiful lines outwards to create beauty.
Esther Haasnoot: You seem to have followed several spiritual paths during your travels on Route 80, how has your spiritual connection deepened by exploring other paths?
Stephen G Post: I especially connect with Hinduism. I appreciate Buddhism, and remain Christian because I have mystical appreciation for the atonement. A mark of infinite love is to undergo infinite persecution but still to forgive.
Esther Haasnoot: Do Blue angel dreamers and Route 80 questers eventually have to end up at the Divinity School?
Stephen G Post: The Divinity School of the University Chicago allowed me to work with the world’s greatest scholars of spirituality and mysticism, including Mircea Eliade and even for a little while with Joseph Campbell. Those great scholars loved to hear of the dream and the car.
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About Stephen G. Post, Ph.D.:
For over twenty years, Dr. Post has spread the science of giving and commitment to the greater good across the globe. Funding over fifty scientific studies at top universities and conducting his own research, Dr. Post lives and teaches the uplifting message that by giving to others, we become our fullest selves. Post is the best-selling author of Why Good Things Happen to Good People: How to Live a Longer, Happier Life by the Simple Act of Giving, the founding director of the Institute for Research on Unlimited Love, and the founding director of the Center for Medical Humanities, Compassionate Care, and Bioethics at Stony Brook University in New York. His new book, God and Love on Route 80: The Hidden Mystery of Human Connectedness (Mango Publishing, August 2019) explores the meaning of life and the importance of spirituality.
Connect with Stephen G Post at https://stephengpost.com/ & https://unlimitedloveinstitute.org/