Leo Knighton Tallarico interviews John E. Mack, M.D.

Originally aired October 21, 2002 on Renaissance Radio, KSFR Santa Fe

Listen to the interview (48 min, mp3)

Leo Knighton Tallarico: Welcome to Renaissance Radio Hour.

This is Leo Knighton Tallarico and each week the purpose of Renaissance Radio Hour is to help bring our consciousness and lives out of an old paradigm and age, an old way of looking at things, a dualistic kind of consciousness, through a purification and transformational transition period and into a new paradigm and age. And this week we will have a guest on who will certainly be in line with what the purpose of this show has always been. Tonight we are going to have on Dr. John Mack.

Dr. John Mack is a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School, and he’s the founding director of the Program for Extraordinary Experience Research. He’s also a Pulitzer Prize-winner as an author in the section of biography. And his most recent book, the one that I have read very recently, is called Passport to the Cosmos: Human Transformation and Alien Encounters.

And Dr. Mack has interviewed many people who have said that they have been abducted by aliens. And he, being someone of course, as a psychiatrist and a professor of psychiatry at Harvard Medical School certainly would have to be considered an extremely intelligent man by any definition. And he has interviewed these people and he says that it’s not just a bunch of crazy wacko people, but it’s got a lot to do with the transformation of consciousness here on the planet. He believes that and we’ll talk to him more about it. I don’t want to give the whole book away. I’d like him to speak for himself. But he sees these alien encounters as a way of bringing us as a human family out of an old paradigm and into a new world.

One of the amazing parts of these interviews that he’s done with the people who say they’ve been abducted by aliens is that the aliens have convinced and persuaded the people, the “experiencers” – those who have been abducted – that our planet is in dire trouble, and their consciousness gets expanded during these abductions to the point where they all begin to work for the betterment of the Earth and the human family.

So it’s an extraordinary book and we’ll have Dr. Mack on soon. Is that Dr. Mack who called in?

Deborah Knighton Tallarico: And Dr. Mack is on the air.

Leo: Oh, wonderful. Welcome to Renaissance Radio Hour. It’s nice to have you on the show.

John Mack: It’s good to be on.

Leo: And I know of course that you’ll be speaking at the Altered States of Consciousness Conference this coming Tuesday, won’t it be a week from Tuesday?

John Mack: No, it’s… yeah, a week from tomorrow, right.

Leo: Yeah a week from Tuesday. And that’ll be in in Albuquerque at the Crown Plaza Pyramid.

I’d like to talk a lot tonight about your book Passport to the Cosmos, which I finished reading today, Human Transformation and Alien Encounters – quite a fascinating book. A lot of books have been written about alien encounters, but never has that I’ve come across as one been written that also takes into account the transformation of human consciousness as a part of that.

Let me ask you this first. Dr. Mack, can I call you John or Dr. Mack? What is it?

John Mack: Please call me John. And your name is Leo?

Leo: Yeah.

John Mack: Alright.

Leo: John, how did you, someone who’s a psychiatrist and a person who’s been to Harvard as a professor – I guess you’re doing that now, right? You’re a professor at Harvard University.

John Mack: Well, I’ve survived. Yeah.

Leo: [laughs] How did you get involved in this whole alien abduction scene?

John Mack: You mentioned altered states of consciousness and the conference. Well that was an interest of mine that long preceded getting involved in the alien encounter phenomenon.

I trained with Stanislav Grof in holotropic breathwork, which is an altered state, brings about an altered state of consciousness for therapeutic purposes or exploring the psyche.

And so I was open by my travels in non-ordinary states of consciousness to a lot of possibilities about the intelligence or intelligences that could be in the universe. So when I heard about an artist in New York, Budd Hopkins, who had been working with people who were reporting encounters with humanoid beings that were taking them into spaceships, bizarre as it might sound, even to me at the time, it wasn’t so bizarre that it was like off the walls.

And I ended up spending some time with him and making up my own mind about whether this was some kind of psychiatric problem or something that’s real.

Leo: Well, you know, I worked back in the Bay Area as a counselor for the Spiritual Emergence Network some years ago and taught a couple of classes at ITP. So I kind of understand the wavelength that you’re on. You probably had worked so much on your consciousness prior to that, that your mind was open to all sorts of possibilities.

John Mack: That’s exactly right. I was… My Western worldview was already porous, leaking in many places by the time this phenomenon came along. So UFOs could pass through pretty easily.

Leo: As a psychiatrist, when you first started interviewing people, and I assume – how many people did you actually interview about their abductions?

John Mack: Until, up to what point?

Leo: Oh God, up until now?

John Mack: Well, by now it’s several hundred. I’ve seen people in many different countries and continue to see a limited number of people now here.

Leo: And of course you had to do an evaluation with each one of these [to see] whether this was an abnormal psychological state or someone who’s emerging spiritually. How many people would you say, what percentage did you feel good about?

John Mack: When you say “good”, you mean that they were valid experiences or in the sense that it was a positive experiece?

Leo: No, valid. You’re exactly right. That’s right. Thank you for doing that.

John Mack: I used to keep track of that statistically. I’d have categories: Yes, probably, maybe, doubtful, you know. And of the people that came to me more than half were in the yes column. Well, they wouldn’t come to me. It’s not something that people are looking for. It’s not a club anybody wants to belong to. It’s quite disturbing in many different ways. And people tend to shun people that openly acknowledge these kinds of contexts. I guess that’s changed some now, but certainly when I started this, that was true.

Leo: But there must have been a whole lot of people that you interviewed, who just were not together psychologically, let’s say.

John Mack: I see what you’re saying. Ah, well, that’s a remarkable thing. Of the first hundred people, two had had psychiatric hospitalizations. One was really quite, I thought, pretty paranoid. And one was a guy that was disturbed by his experiences because they were so overwhelming to him in their power and religious meaning that he was just [having] difficulty handling them. But as soon as he got into the hospital and learned not to talk about them, he was soon released.

So the other 98% or 98 were people of sound mind as far as I could tell, who were reporting experiences that they described in the way somebody describes something troubling that’s happened to them, not like any sort of fantasy or delusion or anything like a dream or something like that.

The only problem is what they were saying that happened to them isn’t supposed to be possible, in the worldview that I was raised in.

Leo: Mine either. What’s amazing to me is how many of the people had very similar experiences. And, I’m assuming that this is not something that people are talking about together and calling each other up on the phone. So here we are with people that are having experiences that are amazingly similar.

John Mack: That’s one of the criteria that brought me to the conclusion that this was real. And that’s only one, but that’s an important because the people have not been in communication with each other, and the details about this were not in the media, at least not when I was starting out. And there was really no way to account for this on the basis of their personal dynamics or what they’d read or something they had to gain. It was a genuine mystery.

Leo: The things that stick out the most as being in common with the people that you’ve interviewed, a) the lights, the vibrations, and then most amazingly is they all come out of the experience with more caring for the world that they live in, for the Earth itself.

John Mack: Yeah. Well that depends how they work with their experiences. There are many people that have these experiences that become kind of like “victims of aliens”. You know, they feel they’ve been badly… they’ve been probed and poked and understandably frightened, and remain sort of stuck in this position of feeling they’ve been put through some kind of terrible abuse.

Leo: You made it clear that lots of people were actually conflicted between, on the one hand, felt like a victim and they were probed and things like that, and then at the same time, they felt like my God, I spiritually emerged during this, so maybe it wasn’t so bad that I had been probed and poked and things like that.

John Mack: Well, they only emerge spiritually if they go through something like a “dark night of the soul”, which has two parts to it. One is the experience itself and the trauma of it, just the fact that they’re helpless and taken someplace against their will and subjected to these intrusive procedures. That’s traumatic in itself. Dealing with the terror of that can be transformative, just like any kind of disturbing experience. But the other thing that is transformative is having your worldview shattered. You realize things just aren’t the way you thought they were, and that’s true of the experiencers as well as it would be true of you and me.

Leo: Right. Of course many people go through different means to transform their consciousness. This, as you say so well in the book, is just one way to go through the same kind of transformation of consciousness. A person can have a horrible thing happen to them and go through this same dark night of the soul and then transform in their consciousness. A person can have a drug experience and go through a similar kind of a transformation.

John Mack: Yeah I sometimes quip that there’s three fast routes to transformation of consciousness: alien encounters, LSD or the equivalent, and near-death experiences. Well we can’t prescribe near-death experiences, and alien encounters we don’t have any choice about… or, some people think that experiencers have made some kind of agreement perhaps in a past life, but that gets into the more esoteric aspects of it. So that leaves only various paths that one can initiate on one’s own, through one’s own efforts.

Leo: Yes. For those that haven’t read the book, before we get too far into transformation of consciousness, perhaps it would be helpful if our listeners could hear some examples of what people have gone through with the alien abductions.

John Mack: You mean particular cases?

Leo: Yeah. Like what happened with the light coming through their window, et cetera, et cetera.

John Mack: This would be like a composite.

Leo: Yeah, that’d be good.

John Mack: A person, a typical situation would be that a person is in their bedroom or driving a car or someplace, sometimes it happens in fairly public places although that’s less common. And they will see a strange light which may actually flood the room so much so that they would be able to – they think it’s almost blinding, and yet there’s no light coming in from the street or from anything else. And sometimes they can see that the light is related to an object, which is just outside the window, up-close kind of UFO.

They will also sometimes feel an intense kind of a sense of vibration in the body or hear a humming sound. Usually there’s not a lot of noise, but they may hear a kind of vibrating humming sound.

Then they find themselves unable to control their own movements. They may see one or more small humanoid looking beings about three and a half to four feet tall. Although there are sometimes other types described. And then they are moved, “taken” as they sometimes will describe, down the corridor, and then through a window or a wall up into the sky. Mind you, when I describe this, I’m not saying this necessarily literally physically happened, but that’s, that’s what they report. And they report it the way you would report something that literally physically happened. And there’s no you could… the only reason you wouldn’t think so is because we don’t know how you can move people through walls without doing damage to the body. And then they are taken up into some kind of enclosure where they – they may or may not see a ship hovering outside their house.

And inside there are other beings around there may see other humans, they’re often brought onto a table. Somehow they’ve lost their clothes often. And then the cardinal things that occur are the various kinds of probing. There’s a big reproductive narrative that goes on in which sometimes the hybrid babies are creative that they see on subsequent times that they get taken.

They also are getting a great deal of information that’s conveyed through telepathic communication or shown on television-like monitors inside the enclosure, which generally has to do with education about the destruction of the Earth’s living systems. But lots of other information, about mathematics that they didn’t know, somewhat like the way a channeler will report getting something from another dimension. Or, like one man, a medicine man in Africa described that he was given knowledge of how to build double hull ships, which of course, far from the water he had no knowledge of, except that double hull ships could protect the seas. So that the information is often environmentally useful in that way.

There’s a great deal of information that comes through about what’s happening to the Earth and what has to be done about it. And many experiences become deeply concerned about the environment in a deep kind of visceral way.

Leo: Yeah, that’s the most amazing part to me. Is that it’s in common with most of the people that you mentioned in the book anyway, that even after the dark night of the soul, they then have this tremendous caring for the Earth and for taking care of her and for moving out of all the fear and duality that we experience as a human family. And you know, I find that absolutely amazing that that’s such a common experience.

John Mack: Now, I must say that this is not true of every investigator. Some investigators will say that these are nasty little critters that are colonizing the planet and trying to take over the Earth and do harm to people and leave them traumatized. I mean, there’s a very negative kind of viewpoint about this among some researchers. My viewpoint is not what everybody who investigates this discovers.

Leo: Even within your own research, there’s more than one person that you mentioned in the book who did feel kind of negative about the aliens. In fact, the males that you mentioned in the book more than the females, I noticed, at least that was my observation, more than one of them. Like Credo, for instance, have a very cynical attitude about what happened to him and about the people that abducted him.

John Mack: Absolutely. And yet, you know, even Credo – this is, for those unfamiliar with the book, this is a Zulu medicine man who had never talked about his experiences before and they were very embarrassing to him and very similar to what I find from people in this country. And yet he was very emphatic about what these experiences were teaching us about what we’re doing to the planet. And to the whales and to creatures that are necessary and important to the balance of life on the planet.

His personal experiences were nevertheless quite nasty, just like many of the people that I see here.

Leo: Wasn’t it Jim Sparks who believed that they were only out for themselves, they were doing this so that they could repopulate their own planet? He didn’t believe that they had any altruistic aims at all. Or at least that was a part of what he had to say?

John Mack: Well, a lot of experiencers say that, but then Jim Sparks himself was getting very powerful messages from them. “Your planet is dying. It doesn’t belong to you. You have to stop the killing, wake up”. And in the manuscript of his book, he put large black letters when he was writing about that kind of communication. And he said that the symbol that one group of beings showed him was of the phoenix, and the phoenix is a bird that does not take anything, devour anything, doesn’t destroy anything, and is a symbol of creativity and rebirth.

So whether he personally had negative things to say, the fact is that what he came across in his experiences was highly educational in terms of the Earth. And then he became a person himself very committed to a kind of a program of transformation and education. So the by-product of it for him, it was just as transformative as for anybody else.

Leo: You know, the part that’s the most disturbing is the hybrid experiments. I mean, as a human being, if I’m picturing myself getting carried away and people are poking and probing me, and then they’re having me give up my semen for reproductive purposes, that would be extremely disturbing.

John Mack: It would be. And at the same time, one of the curious things is, okay, so where are these hybrids? People are brought to see them in the ships, and it’s very real. And I’ve seen mothers and fathers too weep over the fact that they have this poignant relationship with these hybrid beings but have no say about when they get to see them. So there is a powerful reality here.

Nevertheless, it doesn’t necessarily mean that if we went up someplace in the skies we could find a spaceship with little hybrids running around inside. In other words, it’s… we don’t know what dimension of reality this is happening in, and yet it can be powerfully real as anything in this dimension, or maybe even more powerfully real.

Leo: Well, a couple of the experiencers actually, when they saw the hybrids, if I remember right from the book, said that they looked kind of sickly, they weren’t doing very well.

John Mack: Yeah. Apparently the point there was that – and this gives it a kind of reality too, and a poignant reality – that the aliens didn’t understand the essentials of parenting in their early experiments. And several of my cases described being bonded with another abductee parent to raise the hybrid babies because they needed some kind of parental nurturing. And so, it’s as if the program had advanced as the beings came to understand the necessities of human parenting.

Leo: If we’re getting into metaphor, we could say that people are going through a transformation of consciousness and they’re visualizing perhaps what this new being would be inside themselves. And that would be the “hybrid” to them. Like for instance, the part of them that is part of the old world and a part of them that is a part of the new world. And these are merging together and developing as a “hybrid”, which of course is our own human experience of where our consciousness can go in order to truly help this planet someday.

John Mack: Well, yeah. I mean, you think of… this is so beyond the way our literal consciousnesses has developed here. But if you imagine that this is an interdimensional phenomenon and that the hybrids exist in some kind of limbo in-between state, what would be something like a purgatory, although that has all kinds of dark, religious apocalyptic meanings. But nevertheless, some sort of Bardo – I guess that’s a Tibetan Buddhist term for that in-between – that they exist in, some intermediate dimension which is altogether real, and which can be accessed by the experiences under the conditions that the beings create. But is not literally our three-dimensional reality. It’s almost impossible to get… to grasp this the way we’ve been raised in this culture. Eastern cultures have no problems understanding this and indigenous cultures, Native peoples, you have a number of Native groups out there, and they have very little difficulty understanding the kind of thing I’m talking about here.

Leo: I know. We are talking to Dr. John Mack. This is Leo Knighton Tallarico, and we are on Renaissance Radio Hour. Deb, you want to give a little station break?

Deb: Yes. You are listening to KSFR Santa Fe’s only public radio station at 90.7 FM on your dial, simulcasting with channel 6. And this is Renaissance Radio Hour. Back to Leo and John Mack.

Leo: John, you know, speaking of metaphor. We could look at the Bible, we could look at dreams. We could look at even, like, when we talk about past lives, all of that could be about metaphor, right?

John Mack: Well, it depends, again, what you mean by metaphor. The connotation of metaphor is it’s a kind of sort of privately constructed symbolic expression which isn’t real but has a sort of poetic meaning or force.

We don’t think of metaphor as having as much tangible reality as say the physical world. So the term I’ve introduced, just kind of invented for myself to deal with this, is what I call “reified metaphor”.

Leo: Say more.

John Mack: Well, what I mean by that is something that is both tangibly real physically, but also expresses a metaphor.

Leo: Oh I like that.

John Mack: For example, let’s say that a person experiences that they’re taken from wherever. They are taken through the sky on some sort of a thread, a light thread, which links them to the mother ship. Well, there is… it’s not a thread, but there is some kind of thread-like energy tube or field that moves them, but the thread idea is a metaphor. It’s a connecting, energetically connecting link that takes them up into the mother ship, say. It could be thought of like an umbilical cord or something of that kind.

There are many images of birth, rebirth, pregnancy, this kind of [thing that] been noted about this. It would be a mistake however, to say that those metaphors explain anything. They just reveal a deeper level of reality that is meaningful and metaphoric and symbolic, much the way a poet will describe multilevels of reality, and Native peoples almost always think in language that is both, can be both tangibly real and symbolic at the same time.

Leo: Yes. Let me give you an example of my own. Maybe about three years ago, I was kind of feverish. I had been sick for a couple of days, and I got into that wonderful state, like half asleep and half awake. And at that time I could picture very clearly a circle of robed men around me. And I heard audibly, a gong hit. And as the gong hit, from one of the men with the robes, I could feel myself leaving my body – like vibrating and leaving my body. And this happened to happen on Candlemas, which is a time of the year that the ancients knew as a time of initiation.

And I can tell you that after that, a lot of my work actually improved appreciably after that. So, I mean, isn’t that kind of the same thing. I mean, I don’t know whether that was…

John Mack: Well it is, but in the Western worldview a physician might say, “oh, you just had a fever, and you were delirious and hallucinating and it was part of what your brain was doing under those conditions”, and would let it go at that. Whereas you’re open to the transformative meaningfulness of this for your consciousness, and you’re a different person as a result.

Leo: Without a doubt. Okay. Have you ever read Zachariah Sitchin’s books like The 12th Planet? What do you have to say about those books? I mean, he tries to make it all pretty literal, doesn’t he?

John Mack: You know, Leo, let me step back on that, on that matter – his books, the whole ancient astronaut world here which is associated with Sitchin and Von Däniken and a number of other researchers that find in ancient documents evidence of visitations from beings from another planet – okay?

I am completely incapable, myself, even if I could read the documents in their original language, like Syrian or Assyrian that Sitchin can, I would have no way to know whether this should be taken as something that happened literally, historically, so many years ago, or whether, again, this has to do with a kind of creation myth like we have in the Bible, that God made the Earth and so many days, and that there were creatures from other planets that came and races that mingled with our races and all of that.

I mean, that’s an entirely different kind of… its a kind of creation story, which may be just as true as the literal one that has to do with the Big Bang on up, but it’s not necessarily to be taken as literal geological history. That doesn’t make it any less meaningful. But I think it’s when these researchers want to say, “this is the true history” that I begin to say, well, how do you know that?

Leo: That’s right. That’s right.

John Mack: I mean, the whole thing here is, and what, I guess if I had to ask your listeners to take one point from this conversation, it would be to think in terms of multidimensional reality. In other words, that there are things that are occurring in this plane of reality. There are things that occur in other dimensions. Physicists are finding they need 10 planes or 11 planes to account for all the subatomic particles that they’re inventing, but that these matters that are in the ancient astronaut texts that people encounter when they have out of body experiences, when they do remote viewing, or all these efforts in altered states of consciousness, which is our topic here, to enter into other worlds and discover other worlds are just as real as this world but they may be in another dimension.

We don’t have other ways of talking about that. But to, to get, I guess I’m saying the job is… the first transformative task is to overcome the literalness of the Western mind that we’ve been educated in the last few hundred years.

Leo: Yeah. That makes sense. And that is a real stretch for most people to really understand that, because we have such a split between the spirit and matter, as you say so well in the book.

John Mack: Yeah. I mean, even people that think the way you and I are talking here now will, in a weak moment, say to me, “okay, John, is this really happening or not? Re the abductions?”.

Because they don’t want that complexifying, the multidimensional thinking and all of that.

They want to know, are the aliens here and not? Are they going to take over the planet or are they not? Are they good for us or are they not good for us?

Leo: [laughs] And how come no one took a knob off of one of the ships and brought it back for us all to see?

John Mack: Yeah. This kind of literal dumbing down of our spirit that has happened over hundreds of years that makes us think that way. And you know, it sure happened to me when I was growing up.

Leo: Yes, to me too, God, me too. And I’m sure everyone who’s listening.

Of course the most amazing part of all this is how we relate that to the transformation of consciousness. And, you know, we use that in a way that that’s out of context. If we don’t say that right now we are in a real crisis as a human family. And in fact, if you look at the news every day, the sense of duality is getting stronger, it seems, to most people who are looking at the news.

John Mack: Because we are led by a dualist, a person who divides the world in the simplest knee-jerk ways, of good and evil. There was a statement that today that the president referred to these people that do these terrorist acts as having “no soul”. Imagine that – no soul.

Leo: Totally a projection, of course.

John Mack: Well I don’t know if he has a soul or not. I mean, we all have souls, but the idea that one person, any person could say of another person that they have no soul, I mean, what that means… to say that you have to be God. Only God knows about souls, really. So have we become gods that decide who has souls and who doesn’t?

Leo: I know. So, John, I mean, to the average person who’s looking out there, they’re saying my God, people are talking about how we’re getting closer and closer to a better world and to healing our Earth and to healing the human family. But yet when I look out there, what I see is it’s getting worse. How do you respond to that?

John Mack: Well, you know, Dickens, “It was the best of times and the worst of times”. I think we are in one sense we’re heading for a kind of a catastrophe on a scale that we’ve never seen before. I mean, there’ve been reports that of the cities of Iraq with hundreds of thousands, millions of people could be killed. And the only reason we could do that is that we don’t value other lives the same way we do ours. It is an extreme form of nationalism, that American lives are different from other lives. I think the transformation of consciousness means the ability to identify with the value and the life of all beings, not just humans, so that you actually feel your connection with the other so you can’t make war against them. You’re forced to find an alternative. You can defend yourself, but to initiate violence towards others becomes unthinkable.

Leo: Do you feel that some of the prophecies that we have on this Earth, like the Mayan prophecies and the Biblical, the Hopi prophecies and things like that, do you feel that we’re at that place right now?

John Mack: I mean, I’m not… I don’t know, other than as a sort of a journeyman listening to some of those prophecies, but they suggest what’s occurring seems quite consistent with some of them. But the thing about karma or prophecy or all of these kind of predictions or best understandings of what is sort of happening all are dependent upon being asleep, not waking up. The way you change the future is you wake up. You become, because the forces that propel you in the direction you’re already going are so powerful, the only alternative is an altered state of consciousness, is an awakening, is an opening to the connectedness and the love that permeates all-that-is. I mean, but we’ve kind of gone into a, I don’t know what you call it, we’ve sort of fallen asleep at the switch, over the past two or three hundred years.

Leo: Do you believe in the hundredth monkey theory, or do you believe that the collective consciousness of humanity is going to have to get to a certain point for us to really heal this Earth and our human family now?

John Mack: I don’t know, I get humbled with… questions like that sort of humble me. I mean, all you can ask is that each person ask themselves, “am I doing everything I know how to do to contribute to the survival of life and to bring love into the world and overcoming the forces of destruction?”

And each person has to ask what they’re going to do. I don’t know how many people it’s going to take, because everybody doesn’t wake up. It’s not an all or nothing thing. You know, somebody might be a little bit awake and someone else might be a lot awake.

Leo: That’s a great answer, I appreciate that.

John Mack: There’s much more involved here than peeling bananas, you know.

Leo: [laugher] That’s right. You know, people like Karin and Isabel in your book are such, such conscious people. And so filled with love.

John Mack: Yeah. I mean, that’s right. Which isn’t to say that the aliens are nice being or treat us well or whatever. But that their souls have been so expanded, opened by these encounters – and not just by the encounters themselves. And this is a key thing. It’s how they work with another person to integrate the encounters, to open to them and hold that energy. Because just left on their own, it could be just…

Karin you mentioned. She described, initially when I saw her in 1996, these ugly little beings with black eyes, and was angry and screaming at them. And she came a long way in the next four years or so.

Leo: There’s an actual affection that a lot of the people that you write about in the book, the experiencers, actually have for the people that abducted them.

John Mack: It develops into a very deep sense of connectedness. And you can get… one person will say these nasty little being are indifferent, they’re just harvesting body parts for their own purposes and are indifferent and cold. And another person, who’s in a different place in their evolution, will experience the most profound, loving bond with one or more of these being that they’ve ever experienced. Stronger than anything they’ve felt on Earth. I mean, Whitley Strieber, who is a pioneer in writing about his experiences in Communion has told me personally, it’s in my book, that he felt a connection that was more intense, loving connection with one of these beings than he’d ever felt. And he has a very good marriage.

Leo: That’s amazing. But you know, we’re talking about a kind of love that’s not kind of love that we experience, you know, like falling in love with someone here. And then of course someone breaks up with you and you have a broken heart. I mean, that’s kind of like how we commonly think of love here on this planet. But we’re talking about a whole different kind of love here.

John Mack: Although they’re not, you know, they’re in the same universe, you know? It’s just that… We all struggle to transcend our humanity, at least the woundedness that we are. And I don’t think we’re ever going to escape the heartbreak of those wounds. I think that’s part of what makes us human, you know?

Leo: Yeah. That makes sense. They have like big eyes, most people see the aliens with these huge eyes, isn’t that right?

John Mack: Yeah. Well, the so-called grays, but even the other, some of the more luminous being. A lot of the intensity of connection occurs through the eyes, the sense of engulfment that they will feel, or the sort of melting away of their ego as they connect through these eyes. I’ve heard that countless times. And again, it gives it a kind of reality.

Leo: Well, I think my mother told me that when I was a kid about about the eyes being the mirror to the soul.

John Mack: Well, yeah, there’s a fast mirror and a slow mirror. [laughs]

Leo: I hear you.

John Mack: Big mirrors, and little mirrors.

Leo: Have you ever, John, have you ever had an encounter yourself?

John Mack: That’s the strangest thing. I’ve had a number of people who say that they’ve seen me in their experiences, on ships or whatever. And I have no conscious memory of it. I’ve and I, I don’t know why, why this is. I think that if there’s somebody up there or some intelligence up there, which you might say is in central casting, I’ve been, the part I’ve been given is not to be an experiencer but to be a facilitator of experiencers. A witness to the witnesses, if you will. And that’s the only way I can explain it. Because I’ve done a good bit of work to open to the possibility that I’ve had direct experiences myself and I have not uncovered any direct experiences.

Leo: Must be difficult for people who’ve had these encounters to then go back to their normal lives. I mean, here they are, their consciousness is changing, they’re vibrating at a whole new level. And then they have to go back to their normal and regular lives with regular and normal people. How do they explain that?

John Mack: Well, they do it with great difficulty. I mean, many of them changed their lives. They go to the… they leave their cities, they leave their jobs. Many of them go into the healing professions, they leave their mainstream corporate jobs and go into something that is entered in the creative fields or the healthcare or healing, particularly energy-healing, kind of work.

Leo: One last question for you, John. I know that going back to Source or going Home is what a lot of people state through these experiences, that they have this sense of going back Home or going back to the Source. What do they mean by that?

John Mack: There are very few words left to us in the English language that describe what people used to mean by God, because God means a deity of a very rather concrete image. Whereas if you’re talking about the divine, the all, the ultimate intelligence in the cosmos, then that has less baggage. And Source is another term that the experiencers very often use for the sort of “loving all” that is the cosmos, when you go more deeply into the connection, that mystical connection. And Home is another term they use, which of course as the word implies means the sense of returning to where we came from in the first place.

One of the questions that I have, and this sounds Woody Allen-like, but one of the questions I’ve often asked is, well, if we started off that’s our home and that’s where we began with God, then why do we have to go through all this trouble, why didn’t we just stay there in the first place?

Leo: [laughter] It’s like leaving the Garden of Eden, no?

John Mack: Yeah. Why go through all this only to get back to where we… to home, where we began? So, and the only answer that I can come up with is, like you see in some of these discount houses, that there’s some “value added” by the trip through a lifetime. That we come, we return with something more, something learned. But now you’re getting into really religious questions that I feel kind of a bit lost in.

Leo: Well, you know, that kind of makes sense. I mean, it is almost is like the metaphor of the Garden of Eden. Why’d, you know, why did they leave the garden and go out, grabbing the knowledge from the tree and going out of the garden? It’s kind of the same thing. The garden is a metaphor for this kind of perfection.

John Mack: It’s like trying to improve on the divine. It’s another sort of crass way of saying, “well, I want to try to do it my way, not God’s way.”

Leo: That’s very human!

John Mack: And then… but there’s… who knows. I mean… We’re trying to experiment. The universe is nothing but experimenting anyway. So wouldn’t the divine be busy experimenting all the time? Stan Grof writes about this in a book called The Cosmic Game. What would God do to keep things interesting, except experiment and see how far you can travel from Source and then have the experience of returning to itself, and all kinds of things.

Leo: There’d be no creativity without what you’re saying. The creative impulse would be gone.

John Mack: That’s right, creative work has some value. It’s the something added, I think. You know Ram Dass, and other people that did a lot of psychedelics, they found themselves close to the divine and they would ask, well, why not just stay there? Why not trip all the time?

Well, it’s a good question. But the answer was that there is work to be done. There are people to be brought to a healing place, or, there is transformation that has to occur through service. There’s all levels of awareness and suffering or joy or ecstasy, and I think that it’s just part of what makes the whole process interesting. There’s a man named Silvan Tompkins, a psychologist, and he said – he did experimental work – that one of the most basic sort of emotions that babies are born with is interest and curiosity. That’s not something learned – it’s added to. But part of what it is to be a living feeling being is curiosity, is creating, is an interest in bringing something into being. That’s part of what continues to make life interesting.

Leo: Yeah. That makes total sense, John.

John Mack: So if we were just kind of high all the time, you know, rolling around Heaven all day – which is a desire that people speak of in spirituals and in all kinds of places, a return to paradise – but you think paradise might even get boring after awhile? In its conventional way of thinking about it anyway?

Leo: Exactly. I think you make a strong point there. There’s something in the universe that there’s a need to always be growing and creating. And I think that’s what you’re trying to say.

John Mack: Yeah.

Leo: So John, I want to thank you for being with us tonight and I hope to meet you out at the conference next week.

John Mack: Oh yeah. Look me up, okay? Cause I know you probably can find me easier that I can find you.

Leo: Well, that’s the truth. Yes. Thanks a lot doctor.

John Mack: Okay, Leo, take care.

Leo: Good night, John.

Deb: Thanks so much, John.

John Mack: Okay. Good night, Deborah, bye.

Deb: Bye-bye.

Leo: What a lovely man. That was really, really nice.

Deb: That was a nice interview.

Leo: Very bright man with a very nice heart.

Deb: Very nice heart.

Leo: It was really nice to have him on.

Deb: I really look forward to meeting him at the Consciousness Conference.

Leo: And for Deborah and I, it’s time for us to go this week… and until next week, everybody out there, you know, we care about y’all and have a wonderful week.

Deb: And you’ve been listening to Renaissance Radio Hour. And for all you dreamers out there, remember to imagine a whole new world filled with love, caring and compassion. Till next week, have a wonderful week, everyone.

Leo Knighton Tallarico is a transpersonal astrologer, spiritual guide, counselor/therapist, writer and radio host. He founded, with his wife Deborah, the Spiritual Renaissance Center, an organization dedicated to help bring in the consciousness for the Age of Aquarius. Leo specializes in using the lens of Astrology to help others transform their consciousness and lives to be aligned with this New Age. He offers readings and ongoing counseling to help bring fellow souls through the crises and transformational challenges required for evolution of consciousness into the Age of Aquarius. Besides the readings and counseling, Leo writes a weekly blog that includes an Astrology Forecast at
; an every other week Radio Show at Oneness Radio. You can use his website leoknightontallarico.com to connect with the forecast or the radio show; and also from the website you will see his services. He can be reached at soulus@aol.com. He lives in Sedona Arizona but does most all sessions remotely through Zoom and Skype.
His wife Deborah is a transpersonal psychotherapist, Planetary Priestess, Soul Healer, and Spiritual Guide. She weaves together flower essences, past life regression, ceremony, crystal sound healing and astrology into her sessions and offers Priestess training and Women’s Empowerment and Spirituality sessions, classes and sacred circles. All her services can be received remotely or in person in Sedona, AZ. She can be reached at: www.gaiasophia​templeoftheheart.com / elelia@gaiasophiatemplfotheheart.com.

© 2002 Leo Knighton Tallarico
Originally aired October 21, 2002
on Renaissance Radio,
KSFR Santa Fe
Presented on this website
by kind permission