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Observations placeholder

Cash, Johnny – What's happened here is that only my body feels pain, not my spirit, and in going with my spirit to Alaska I've left my body behind



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience

Cash – The autobiography of Johnny Cash

From Johnny Horton I learned how to hypnotize myself, and these days I use that knowledge when I'm in pain. It's not a technique that has anything to do with the occult - I've never dabbled in the paranormal or had anything but an average amount of idle curiosity about that whole spectrum of experience - but it is a spiritual kind of technique, a way of traveling into myself to find God's peace.

I find a place where I know I'm not going to be disturbed, sit down, go quiet, and then count down slowly from ten to one. That takes me away to where the pain can't follow. It's a very specific place, chosen because I think of it as the most beautiful environment I've ever experienced on this earth: a little spit of sandy ground in Alaska where two pristine creeks, Painter Creek and Salmon Creek, come together.

 I can sit on that ground and feel the sand between my toes and taste the salt in the air on my lips. The wind's blowing in from the sea, the Gulf of Alaska just a few miles away. About a hundred yards up the bank of Painter Creek, peeking out from behind a grove of trees, I can see one wing of the little float plane that brought me here. Salmon are jumping, and a beaver splashes into the water and swims across the creek, then dives beneath the opposite bank to the entrance of his lodge. I see seven wild ducks - always seven; I count them every time. The sun is warm on my skin. The air is crisp. Somewhere out on one of the Aleutian islands, a volcano is active, and I watch the faraway streak of smoke it sends into the air and think about how the water in Painter Creek comes from a volcano, too, inland from where I sit.

This is water purified by fire; this is a place so clean and right and elemental that it feels sacred. In my mind's eye I stand up and music starts playing – that began about a year ago; before, there were just the sounds of nature - and it continues as I walk, barefoot, over the sandy ground and then across patches of little pebbles which hurt my feet, up the bank of the creek toward the airplane.

A male voice, I don't know whose, is singing 'You'll Never Walk Alone' accompanied by a full-orchestral arrangement of very great skill and beauty. The song of course has meaning. The song ends and I stop, then turn around to retrace my steps, and it begins again, so that when I get back to the meeting place of the two creeks, I've heard it twice all the way through. That takes about ten minutes.

Ten minutes in beauty, beyond pain.

What's happened here is that only my body feels pain, not my spirit, and in going with my spirit to Alaska I've left my body behind. The next step, I think, is to take the pain with me and leave it there. Bury it by Painter Creek.

Leave it with God.

The source of the experience

Cash, Johnny

Concepts, symbols and science items



Science Items

Activities and commonsteps