Cotton, a soft fluffy fiber that forms a protective capsule around the seeds of the cotton plant. How can something so simple have such an impact on a person’s life? His life.

He took the cotton into the palm of his hand and felt it while he sat, eyes closed, breathing stilled, all muscles relaxed. He remembered what the sensei had said, “When you can feel the cotton in your hand, though it isn’t there, you will be ready for the next step.”

He relaxed his hand allowing his fingers to open and the cotton to fall onto the cushion of the couch. He closed his hand and tried to imagine the cotton was still there. Being the pragmatic, engineering trained, highly logical being he was, he had trouble with imagining things. Even one as simple as this. If it wasn’t literal and solid, it just couldn’t be.

His newly hired consultant at work, his sensei, had told him he should do this exercise to be able to feel the q and expand his awareness. The consultant was for chemical processes in his plant, but spoke four languages fluently, had three degrees, traveled the world and had an IQ of 185, not to mention, he solved the problems he was hired for. Logically, this was a man that had words worthy of listening to. He, the one playing with a cotton ball, was not one to pass up knowledge, however far-fetched it might seem, if the person imparting it was knowledgeable. He remembered his college chemistry and how most objects were space and not really solid at all. He learned to believe that then. He could learn to believe more now, once his erroneous paradigms were replaced.

All of that, along with the demonstration the sensei gave him of this qi energy clinched his need to learn about this otherworldly stuff. Knowledge was like a drug to him. He had been trained to learn and it fueled his spirit. It drove his life. The demonstration was beyond his previous experiences and had to be investigated.

“Okay, now put your hand out, palms up and cupped. Good. Now bring them together as if you’re holding a basketball-sized object made of water. Good!”

The sensei then gave him this “thing” from between his hands. It felt resilient against his compressing touch. It was a tangible, touchable object that he couldn’t see. It was like holding a balloon in his hands, yet it didn’t have the feel of rubber around it. He felt it compress when he squeezed it between his hands but there was nothing to see! This “thing” was an object without objective reality to it, tangible, but not visible. He opened his hands and felt it slip away. With a total look of confusion on his face, he looked at the sensei and asked, “What was that!?”

The sensei explained, “That was what your mechanical bridge is bringing you. I don’t know how your mechanical bridge is doing it for you but it is. It’s simple energy. There are other ways to get it too. It’s something called q. I’ll give you some practice tasks if you want to develop yourself.”

He continued his practices when he was able to; relaxed, at home, in the quiet. It took him weeks to be able to imagine the cotton in his hand when it wasn’t, but, he did.

Now he was taught to imagine feeling the q he had felt with that demonstration from his sensei. Of course, he had to know why it felt as if the energy that he was now able to stream up and down his body was real. The energy he could feel rise through his feet and fill him - the energy that shifted and changed when things around him, or his environment, changed. As he thought about it he thought, ‘Just because you’re imagining it doesn’t mean it isn’t real. It’s just working in reverse. Instead of experiencing things that are already there, you’re creating it by experiencing it first.’

He became adept at calling and feeling the qi without the aid of his exercises or his meditations. He had learned to relax and drop his heart rate, in seconds, to ten beats below his normal at rest rate, to 54 beats per minute. His breathing would still to a point that others wondered if he were alive as he passed the time in the airports waiting for planes, or meditating for hours on his deck. He could immerse himself in another world or, he’d open his eyes and see the auras of those around him. He could tell if someone was lying to him. At times, he knew what others were thinking and could even see through a certain person’s eyes when they were miles away. He confirmed what he saw with them and it was all true.

The more he thought about it, the more he worried he had ventured into insanity. He searched for more answers and found others like him. A lawyer to the rock stars called it a Shamanic shift and had written a book about what happened to her. A neuro-scientist and physicist had written about how consciousness is created and he saw the connection to the q . But, it was all too much and he intended the magic should leave him. The telepathic connection left. He stopped asking for the qi to come. The world became as it was once more.

He saw a cotton ball that had slipped under the couch. He picked it up and threw it into the garbage so the dog wouldn’t try to eat it and choke on it. He mowed the grass, washed the car, and thought if it was all worth it. It was. Maybe someday, when he’s ready, he’ll reopen that door and take the seed he planted and water it. What could the possibilities be then?

A.J. Aaron 2012 e-mail: