Today we're talking with Tim Bickel, author of Chronicle of the Ones
FQ: Are Shambala and the centers you speak about based on the Awake Living Center that is located in Erie, PA? And, in the same vein, is the character of Patrick based on you and your experiences?
Shambala is a concept to provide a space for a freer mind to play in, a 'place' to still exist in when the mind begins to trancend body identification. It helps to eliminate fear, like the 'heaven' of Christianity.
The ideal of the Center in the book has been with me a long time. In the book, it is expressed to the max. Here, the mind spaces I carry the characters in the book into, are partially expressed. I'm not sure a 'real' Center on Earth would be quite like the one in the book, though that would be very ok with me of course. But the still and powerful space of peace is real. We teach that 24/7 without exception. But it shows up a lot less dramatically. In fact, where the book meets many opposers and then peaces them out, we have found - opposition just doesn't show up. The story line of the book is there to capture the interest then take it to the place of peace in the mind of the reader. Similarly with healing. We don't much get sick any more. Linda and I haven't had health insurance for a long time - because we feel no need for it at all. The peace of knowing is beyond faith and belief. And I have experienced a lot of healing sessions with others where some pretty amazing things have happened. It is an easy thought in my mind to expect things like at the Center in the book, but not 'demand' them and lose the peace space for the demand. I can state with complete certainty that anyone who plugs in with us will get healed, though it may take a little longer. This applies to every condition, cancer, MS - I have seen a man eliminate the symptoms of AIDS, a woman eliminate the symptoms of MS - and more.
I feel we are just coming into an awake enough state that we could begin having a more dynamic center like the one in the book. Right now, we do our work through raising into peace awareness and its clarity ourselves, with other people. They then get their own experience of that in their mind. Then the adventure of undoing and continuing awakening follows for them. We live in a fast growing circle of friends in this who wake up happy everyday, and truely see life as an amazing adventure. That is the real center. The core of the 'center' energy which is as real here as in the story is: I can just decide to be truly happy and peaceful. Right now! Then actually experience that.
The Patrick character personality is loosely based on a bright and very awake person I knew who was just always happy and who flowed with joy in everything he did. The deeper character of Patrick as a healer and teacher is my ideal of what I, or anyone, may become with this awakening. At the time I wrote it, I was unable to put myself as first person, being that awake, even as an idea. In the sequel I am working on, the perspective shifts to my personal adventure in first person, along with Linda and darling daughter Cory and many others, where we have gained most of the abilities Patrick demonstrates - but also are definitely still learning.
FQ: Was this a concept that was taught to you at an early age, or was there a specific time in your life where your “rebirth” occurred?
Looking back, I can see there was a lot of awareness in me early on, but it was never identified and certainly not encouraged. When I was 29 I began working with the Edgar Cayce teachings and joined an A.R.E. study group, and the conscious adventure of awakening took off. I have been facilitating awakening groups since 1990, and we opened the center in 2004.
FQ: I noticed throughout the novel that many different “religions” are addressed such as the Tao, Christianity, and others; can I assume that the center offers all faithful – no matter the sect – a chance to learn and apply your Course?
We happily meet anyone from any tradition or path. It's not the path, but the fact that they are walking - moving - that interests and excites us. If they need to think it is their path that is doing it for them - for a while - that's ok with us. We just love Them. Paths, traditions, religions and beliefs are irrelevant. Awake awareness is a state of mind you can only experience right now, with no thought about it at all.
FQ: People are usually frightened of what they don't know or understand...have you come across that in your work?
Yes. That fear remains a significant thing I remain aware of. I am always mindfully asking how I can better bridge that fear with new comers. Once they have a true awake moment, that kind of fear just disappears. But until then, well, we lose a lot who start and then begin to have some weird mind experiences. It's funny but for a mind that is so used to being suspicious, if it receives a deep experience of peace and love - it becomes immediately more suspicious that something is now controlling their mind, and the good experience was just a bait to make them accept mind control. We all have to work through that one to rejoin the awareness of Oneness.
FQ: Kindness, faith, hope…awareness, are special gifts to be able to “see” and receive. Have you met some, however, who have had so much negative in their lives that they can never "see"?
Sadly, yes. Their fear and defense of self is so strong they can never relax to let awareness take over their mind with peace. However, that is always a temporary condition. I have seen some really tough ones suddenly come to awake awareness. Higher mind is always offering them the peace and love, and like Leonard Cohen said in Anthem 'There's a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in.' However, they still respond to the awake awareness in another. And literally cannot attack the light no matter how negative they are, if we hold in peace and loving them. And they will experience some peace and love while they are near us.
FQ: With the plot, as well as the dialogue, do you see this as a “Bible” of sorts for the Center?
No. It is a fun thing to stretch the mind. We do not use any 'bible' of any kind, though everyone has their favorites. I really like the A Course In Miracles but rarely even mention it anymore unless it is of interest to the other person.
The book gets me though. It's really rude sometimes. When I attempt to wallow in misery or desire to attack of some kind, some passage from my own book comes to mind - and how can I argue with myself - for continuing misery?
FQ: What types of courses/classes are available at the Awake Living Center?
We do not offer any structured classes. Awakening is very personal. We do have weekly groups at the center and in Erie with some teaching about recognizing or applying awake mind awareness. You can hear them on the Awake Living Center website - Audio Talks. The real effectiveness of the groups comes from sitting with other people who act as if this far out crazy stuff is real and right as rain. And there really is a high energy and power of awake awareness. Sitting in such a group is like putting your mind in a cosmic microwave - higher mind does the transformation and awakening just for your coming to sit in it and accept it. Our love helps people accept it. And the joy and fun we have in group, makes the sitting easy. Then you just watch their lives change, deeply, for the better.
We also work a lot with people plugging in one on one to work through difficult parts in their mind.
And as much as anything else, the Center is simply known as a place where it is always happy and peaceful, and it feels good and fun to just hang out there. In that, it also serves a mental reference for others 'Oh, if I was at the Center, I would feel at peace about this. Wait! I can do that right now, right here.' Everyone who has come here has commented on the peace and love they feel here. Even those who then say it was too weird for them and never come back, still acknowledge what good they felt here. That's a nice thing.
I most like to think of the Awake Living Center as a reference point for peace and love that gets established in anyone's mind who has come here. That is its most powerful activity. Then we all individually can go out, shining, and be further references that others can think of again - for an alternative of what and how life can be.