Yancey Gates is a fictitious character, yet he is not so much unlike you
and I; an imaginary figure, yes, but so are we. Our existence is not so
much more real than that of our soon to be friend Yancey’s. We are
energy; our identity a mental construct no more real than words on a
page. Our minds form the images, symbols, words, that surround us in
both dreaming and in waking.
You are about to go on a journey with Yancey, a seeming ordinary man who
sees that it is not enough to live a life knowing he will die, going
through the pleasures and joys and the pains and sorrows, to one day
disappear into the abyss, knowing not what it is. He wants to know,
he’s found a path, and he will lead you down it.
IT DOESN’T COME QUICKLY
I’m not like others. I spend time wondering who I am, where I’m
going, why I am here in this world, on this land, in this place, here
right now. And contrary to the conventional wisdom there are answers.
Yes, they’re here if we look, and search, and wonder, and think. Other
societies know things that our society deems demented; a lifetime goal
for Buddhists, Hindus too, and these crazy New Age gurus of whom I’m
leery but they are at least searching.
It didn’t come quickly, but it did come, just as day follows night.
Young and dumb, I had just left the Army, my former friends all married.
I didn’t know at the time it was to be the beginning of my knowledge
quest. I make friends, but not easily. I snagged a job that I hated, had
no friends, I hated living; everything fine otherwise (that's a joke).
You look around, you see misery. What’s the point? People pretend,
they go around making believe, as though they’re happy, but they’re
really miserable. Why? There is no reason, no reason for anything; no
reason to live, no reason to die. All is futile, making small-talk,
watching sports games that amount to nothing except for the corporate
sponsor who makes the cash. And he’s not happy, he just imagines he is
and doesn’t know the difference. But that was then, it’s been
several decades, I’m at peace, happy now, for I know where I am and
where I am going. I would like to share this; I'm writing a book –
You go from one identity to another; you live, you die, then you wonder
what the hell just happened and what the hell it was all for, then
you're pulled by your desires into another body, a new identity, and
here's where you actually "die", but you don't actually die, you lose
your memory. Why? Because you weren't able to handle it, you went crazy
if not during your physical life then right after when you realize you
just died. I've studied this, it's the nature of things, it's what it
is. Asians call it reincarnation, that's a nasty word to the so-called
educated. But it is quite simple. Call it a soul, I call it awareness,
the part of us that is cognizant and decides things, the "us" part of
us; this part of us doesn't die, only the outer form does, only the
outer garment. It was our identity, but the curtain is opened and we see
through the narrative, we were play-acting, following a script that we
more or less write as we live. I'm Yancey, that's where I began this
life and where my former identity fell away. I began this life as
Yancey, Yancey Gates, and forty-seven years later I'm still Yancey
Gates, and I'll be Yancey Gates another thirty years perhaps, and then
poor Yancey will begin to fall away, decaying until some part within him
fails completely and he dies. I'll be in that new world, where I'm dead,
Yancey no more. But I know enough now so that I can expect to maneuver
about, knowing I 'm not really Yancey; he's dead, I'm not, that's how it
will be. And I know quite a bit now about the choices I can make then,
returning to a new identity or move on to an entirely different system.
I'm inclined to pick the latter.
I didn't know all this at first but I did have a sense that there was no
easy way out. We're here in this world with all its problems for a
reason, and that, exactly, is what we need to be working on while we are
here -- our various problems. At just twenty-two years old life had
passed me by already, or so I thought; it was an illusion, a sucker
trap; life for me was really not even yet starting; that would come
about a decade or two later. A whole life was awaiting me but I didn't
know, I thought it was over.
I suppose for most of us the Bible will mark the starting point; it did
for me, and I had felt it was all silliness, and God knows, maybe it is,
but it was the only thing offering something other than certain death,
and if it seemed crazy then how crazy is it to be doing things in
expectation that your life will never end all the while knowing it will,
with certainty! This book that says it won’t end; also says we’ll
get our just rewards, not from the world, from God. But what is God? Say
we go to “paradise” when we die, or to be with the damned; what does
that mean? What is paradise, why would we go there, what would we do
there? Why would “God” even care? Too many questions; no answers. I
I landed in Berkeley, in the East Bay across from San Francisco. I had
dropped out, not working, and was living in an old van. It wasn’t bad,
and I was mobile, I could go anywhere, just so my bank account held out.
Cody’s bookstore near the UC campus; I searched the religion section,
next to the metaphysics area, and bingo, I found what I’m looking for
spelled out in plain language, and by numerous authors. The better
authors are not alive or even dead; they are in the very world I was
searching for, they are spirits, gestalt awareness, and they are
explaining the whole thing to anyone willing to read it. This was the
big breakthrough and right there on the shelves of a major bookstore.
For the next several years I buried myself in these books. Now, these
invisible people write the books as I said, but for that to happen they
enlist help from people living in this world, through various different
means, such as automatic writing and dream communication. I soon found a
whole area of the bookstore dedicated to material that comes from the
mouths of spirits of whom most of us cannot see or hear. Well it’s
Excerpted from "Yancey Gates: A Dialogue With Self" by Arthur Telling. Copyright © 2017 by Arthur Telling. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.