Inner Peace by Don Chapin: I was even more deeply surprised to "observe" three small people in appearance, beards and green clothing EXACTLY like the "little people" — the leprechauns of Irish lore.

The experiences listed below, which, per Maslow, might be called "peak experiences," are presented with the intent to encourage others to acknowledge and write about their own revelations on the path to inner peace."

Santa Rosa, Calif., 1990: While driving to work, I often took a slow back road route through some grape fields and old farms. One particular morning, I involuntarily "entered into" and temporally "became" an old, rusted sheet metal "no trespass" sign on a fence beside the road. I could feel the granular nature of the metal, the joy of simply BEING and of serving in whatever capacity was necessary ... the joy of being of service.

Glancing over to the other side of the road, the very same thing happened with an old barn that was in the process of falling down: I was suddenly inside a wood plank and could feel the cellular nature of the wood. Again, the feeling of BEINGNESS, of ABSOLUTE JOY at being of SERVICE, was almost overwhelming ... the joy of SERVING in whatever capacity was possible. I can still feel that desire and satisfaction of being of service ... in whatever capacity, in whatever way.

Hong Kong, November 1992: Another experience that I had originally thought to be too "weird" to discuss ... visiting a very popular Buddhist temple, having never before visited one, and approaching the "alter." Suddenly, I was FOUR different people! I was (1) in the "present space-time as an American tourist," yet was (2) also an earlier supplicant before the alter, (3) a "monk in learning" back in the temple, watching the proceedings, and (4) a monk behind the railing of the alter, conducting whatever the service was. This four-part-harmony persisted for quite some "time," to the extent that I had to strongly concentrate to simply walk in my "present" body back from the alter. I got the very distinct impression that this particular temple wasn't the one at which all of these other parts of my existence were manifest, but that this visit to such a temple triggered these previous-life/parallel-life identifications.

Reno, Nev., 1995: In a shaman class where we were told to strongly "ground ourselves," I was in the process of "sending" a shaft of energy deep into the Earth for that purpose. Apparently, my consciousness was following that shaft, because I was surprised to see that it had broken into a cavern deep within the Earth's crust.

I was even more deeply surprised to "observe" three small people in appearance, beards and green clothing EXACTLY like the "little people" — the leprechauns of Irish lore. My light shaft had surprised them, also, and temporarily blocked their way through the cavern. "Temporarily," because the older of the three quickly regained his composure and walked around the light shaft to get on the other side. I never did see that his exhortations to encourage the other two to follow him (who were trying to hide behind some stalagmites) were successful before I went on my way to keep from disturbing their lives any further. Somehow I knew that the "older" one to be more than 400 years old, while the two "younger" ones were in the range of only a little more than 100 years.

Tennessee, 1970s: As an R&D program manager I often traveled between Nashville and Tullahoma, through some beautiful evergreen tree country. As I drove, I had a habit of "extending my consciousness" as far as I could to both sides of the road to "become one" with that beautiful vegetation.

Time went on and in 1990 I was driving on a very curvy road for the first time from Santa Rosa, Calif., through second-growth redwoods to get to the ocean at Jenner. On the way, I started doing what I had done many years ago in Tennessee, extending my consciousness to "merge" with the trees. However, this time I almost had a wreck when a very clear and distinct voice popped up inside my head, saying, "Hello old friend, it's been a long time!" So many implications!

Retired from the USAF and aerospace engineering, Don currently works with the local Veterans for Peace chapter. Contact him at donchapin38@yahoo.com.

You are invited to submit a 650 to 700 word article about your path to Inner Peace. E-mail your submission or questions to Sally McKirgan at innerpeace@q.com. For previous articles, visit dailytidings.com.