Robert Alan Silverstein
all started on my birthday, exactly one year ago, at this
exact time: 10:43 am. That's the time it says I was born on
my birth certificate. I have this odd quirk of noticing when
10:43 arrives - almost every day, and sometimes twice a day.
But except for the moment I began my life, nothing else remarkable
had ever happened at 10:43.
That birthday moment seemingly launched a course of events
that led to the most profound weekend I'd ever experienced.
So amazing, at the time I could barely believe it was real!
Unfortunately, that's the very concern that has plagued me
every moment since.
One year ago, at 10:43, I stumbled onto that strange blog
page while going through my morning routine of checking email,
facebook and twitter. I have no idea how I ended up there.
Believe me - I've tried to figure it out over and over and
All I can remember is, one instant I was glancing down at
the bottom right hand corner of my screen and saw with a smile
that my birth moment had arrived, and the next instant I noticed
one of my browser windows was open to someone's blog -- "Maya's
Mysteries" part of my brain registered, but my attention was
focused on the picture of Maya in the bottom left hand corner
of the page.
It's not just that she was incredibly beautiful. It's that
even though I had no idea who she was, I had this overwhelming
feeling that I KNEW Maya; that I'd always known her. In a
flash, I felt half-remembered snippets of conversations racing
through my mind: fragments of a dream I'd had last night;
a daydreamed reflection I saw for an instant while brushing
my teeth this morning. A maelstrom of broken memories came
rushing forward from yesterday, the week before, and dozens
of years ago, all barely graspable, and instantly forgotten
as soon as they arrived, but all clearly memories of Maya
Memories of a life of shared meaning and purpose. Of creative
collaboration for a higher mission. Of striving side by side
to create a utopian future for all who've ever lived and ever
Yeah. All that Big stuff.
Needless to say, I was on pins and needles and barely remembered
to breathe while I read Maya's blog entry. Honestly, I can't
remember exactly what she wrote, but every single word seemed
to echo through my mind, ringing truer than anything I'd ever
heard, even though it was the strangest thing I'd ever heard.
Maya described the journeys she'd been on into the deepest
corners of her mind, and the place she'd discovered InBetween
reality and dreams, the future and the present and action
and awareness -- a timeless, spaceless, infinite moment of
She suggested that we are all InBetweenians -- everyone can
InBetween. (Yes apparently it's a verb and a noun and an adjective
- and probably other things, too, but then again, grammar
was never my strong suit, so I'm not totally sure.) Anyway,
for most people it's nearly impossible to find the space in
their hectic lives to have the stillness needed to travel
InBetween. And even when we do, the instant of awareness is
over so quickly and, even more importantly, we barely remember
the eternal moment of experiences when we 'return.'
In her travels, Maya had discovered that she wasn't alone
there InBetween. Over the years she met many others from all
around the world, and in fact, travelers from long ago in
the past, and from far into the future. It wasn't long before
she realized that many she encountered weren't even from our
own universe, but were from divergent timelines of parallel
Okay, I know. Pretty whacky stuff! But her words had weaved
a spell on me somehow, and everything she described resonated
so clearly and felt so real. Or at least I wanted to believe
Maya described how she'd spent years InBetweening, studying
how to attain the state more easily, how to make it last longer,
and how to retain more of the insights and wisdom she discovered
from those infinite moments when they'd passed. And now at
last she was ready to share what she learned, eager to help
others to travel InBetween. She was facilitating a retreat
for would-be InBetweenians, and oddly enough it was starting
that very evening.
InBetween avec moi?" she invited.
Okay. So I completely lost all sense of reason. Without hesitation,
I got up, started to pack and within half an hour I was on
my way upstate for a three hour trip to a retreat center I'd
sort of kind of heard of, maybe, to lay out way too much more
than I could afford, to spend a weekend with, what would undoubtedly
be a bunch of whackos, who'd probably, make that definitely,
try to lure me into their cult.
I realized all that of course, but my life was such a mess
that I really didn't care. I needed something. I knew I was
way too much of a skeptic to be sucked in to becoming a cult-follower.
I wasn't worried about that. But I needed a weekend away from
everything so badly, and this was just too intriguing to pass
As I sat there glancing at the faces sitting in our welcoming
ceremony circle that evening, I was feeling a little let down.
The truth is I had been expecting something magical. But the
retreat center was pretty normal, as far as my limited experience
with retreat centers could tell, and the dozen people who
had shown up and were sharing a little about themselves in
our circle seemed like your typical retreat-goers.
And I must admit, I was disappointed that the skies didn't
open up when I met Maya earlier. It wasn't that she wasn't
as beautiful in real-life as I'd imagined from her picture,
because she was. Not that I was, well realistically, hoping
for something romantic. But I had sort of imagined that when
we met, we'd both instantly recognize a deep connection between
us. Right. Well, although her welcoming smile was warm and
inviting, it was the same smile she gave each of the dozen
But perhaps the most devastating realization was that no one
seemed to have read the same mysterious blog that I did. Not
even Maya. When I'd first settled in and looked over the weekend's
agenda, I didn't see "InBetweening" even mentioned. Apparently
this was simply a weekend of healthy food, guided meditation
and relaxation. I must have imagined most or all of what I'd
thought I'd read in that blog!
Well, my empty apartment was a three-hour drive away and I'd
already charged the weekend on my credit card -- I resolved
to make the best of the situation, even though I knew all
too well that I'd never been good at meditating or relaxing,
or spending weekends with strangers who did enjoy that kind
of thing. But for me to have imagined such bizarre and crazy
expectations - and impulsively acted on them -- well, obviously
I needed all the healthy food, meditation and relaxation I
Turns out the weekend was pretty relaxing after all. I actually
made a few nice connections with some of the participants,
and I really felt that I was kind of getting the hang of meditating
- I certainly felt like I was getting a lot more out of it
than the times I'd tried to get into it in the past. I can't
say it calmed my mind enough to figure my life out, but it
did help me get to a place where my world didn't feel like
the constantly overwhelming cyclone of worries, disappointments
and regrets it had somehow become.
Before I knew it, it was Sunday morning and I was getting
comfortable for our last guided meditation before the weekend
would be over and I'd have to go back to my lonely existence.
Maya had been a good teacher, and the weekend's trainings
and the music and her pleasant voice helped me slip into a
quiet, peaceful place rather quickly. My thoughts were still
and I suddenly realized, I was InBetween.
I expected the moment to pass as soon as I became aware of
it, but it didn't. The moment stretched, and I felt so alive,
so much more than myself. In an instant I felt everything
- all of eternity. You could have asked me any question about
anything at all, and I could have told you the answer without
Then I noticed I wasn't alone. Maya was there and she was
smiling at me. "You did it!" she whispered and held out her
hand. "We're InBetweening together!"
We were. And the moment lasted forever. We explored so much,
together. We lived a million billion lives, hand in hand,
mind in mind, heart in heart.
We discovered so much truth, so much wisdom. Somehow, we knew
it would all be lost when this moment was done, but we were
there in that moment and that was all that mattered. Still,
there was One truth that I wanted us to bring back. That we
had been together InBetween. I began to panic - worrying that
that knowledge would slip away along with everything else.
Maya kissed me forever, and I knew we could never forget.
There was one other Truth, above all the others, that we recognized
we should remember. A higher mission and purpose for our lives.
For all lives.
People had been meeting InBetween for all Time - sharing ideas
and insights with each other -- and though only a grain of
wisdom was remembered when the eternal moment of Betweenity
had passed, it was helping to guide humanity towards a much
more peaceful, just and sustainable future. But now, by InBetweening
together, and forming InBetween Teams, we could help each
other remember more of the wisdom we'd shared there InBetween,
and there'd be a quantum leap in conscious evolution, and
a great acceleration towards that utopian future.
Maya whispered, as we felt the moment slipping away, and we
hugged each other tightly not wanting it to ever end.
My eyes jolted open as eternity slipped into reality. I had
the strangest feeling that I was forgetting something important,
but I couldn't recall what it was.
Before I knew it we were all in the parking lot, hugging our
goodbyes. It really had been a pleasant weekend, I thought
with a smile. Maya hugged each of us and told us to keep in
touch. When she went to hug me, a puzzled expression rippled
across her face. Our gaze lingered a bit longer than we'd
intended and something definitely lit up in her eyes. But
then someone was saying her name, and she blinked and quickly
finished our hug, gave me a questioning smile, and turned
to face the person who'd called her.
I felt strange for some reason and sat in my car in the parking
lot a few moments lost in a reverie of jumbled thoughts. Then
I noticed Maya driving past my car and out onto the road.
For some reason her bumper sticker caught my attention. "Je
And suddenly, I did remember. Maya. "Maya!" I gasped aloud
as I looked up and saw that her car had disappeared into traffic.
For a second I imagined myself racing after her, cutting through
traffic to catch up and then … what. No this isn't the movies.
I'll wait until I get home and then thank her for the weekend
and somehow broach the subject … the possibility that… that
we had really spent a forever moment together InBetween, and
that we'd discovered our shared higher mission to help guide
the world to a utopian future. Yeah right. She'll think I'm
a certified nutcase! But then again, that look she gave me…
It looked like she was remembering it, too.
I spent the entire three hour drive arguing back and forth
with myself about whether or not I should contact her. Well,
at the very least, I'll sign up for another retreat with her,
Unfortunately, when I got home and checked my browser history,
I couldn't find her blog.
I tried googling everything I could think of to find her.
My credit card bill for the retreat! I quickly signed on to
my credit card account. No retreat center bill. Must not have
been posted yet, I sighed, refusing to give up hope that I'd
find some way to track her down.
That's when I looked down at the bottom of my screen and saw
that it said 10:43. And the date was my birthday.
Wait. What? None of it had happened.
But, I had these crystal clear memories of an entire life-transforming
weekend. I know I'm a crazy writer, but I'm not that crazy
or that good of a writer to have imagined something so real,
and so detailed - all in a fraction of a moment. But I guess
I must have.
I'm not sure how I got through this past year. At first, I
admit not very well. I had just had the experience of a lifetime.
I had started a chapter of my life that I knew with all my
heart that I was meant to continue. But apparently it wasn't
real. The truth is, I didn't know what was real at all anymore
- only that I would never be the same again.
It took me a few weeks to get over the deep depression I plunged
into, but then I was determined to find that reality I knew
existed. Somehow. Every day I tried to practice the techniques
Maya had shared with us in that imagined weekend.
But I already knew I wasn't very good at meditating. I got
a bunch of meditation-for-dummies-type books, and they helped
a little. Sometimes I really did feel the InBetween. For brief
I got desperate and tried a few medicinal routes to the InBetween.
Some of them definitely brought me where I wanted to be. But
again, only briefly.
But I stuck with my resolve, squeezing in time to go InBetweening
as often as I could, and made sure I tried at least once or
twice a day.
Even though I couldn't InBetween very well, it actually wasn't
all that long before I began to meet other travelers on my
meditative journeys. Soon there was a whole team of regulars.
It's amazing how real a writer's imagination can make delusions
seem, part of me that refused to believe this was real insisted.
Whether it was real or not, it was wonderful. And I wasn't
at all surprised one day when I found Maya there, too. Only
I'm pretty sure that's not her name. Maya is a character's
name from one of my old novels. The truth is, I don't know
what her name is in real-life. We don't have labels like names
there InBetween, we just Are. And it's forever. But I'm pretty
sure that if in real-life I ever meet any of these 'soulmates'
-- my Team InBetween - I'll KNOW them. At least I like to
hope that I'll 'remember' our connection from there InBetween.
That's why this past year I've also gone to a few new-agey
retreats, hoping I'll 'recognize' one of my InBetween-Team
members, but retreats are not really for me. I have met some
really interesting people. And sometimes I almost feel that
kind of connection. Sort of. But I'm usually too embarrassed
to talk about the InBetween. "Hey, you wanna go InBetweening
with me?" Yeah. The few times I've broached the subject …
well, they definitely thought I was missing a screw or two.
Maybe I am.
I know this all sounds kind of insane. But that's what this
past year has been like for me, and I wouldn't trade it for
anything. Even if it's only all in my head. A writer's longing
imagination, and that's all. Somehow, I feel like it really
is something more.
I live my life like everyone else, but truthfully, those half-remembered
moments I spend with my InBetween-Team are more real and more
treasured to me than anything I've experienced in reality.
Of course, I keep hoping it isn't really just in my head.
I hope somewhere out there in the world, the Team, and yes
Maya-whatever-her-name-really-is, really are InBetweening
with me, and that someday we'll meet and form a real-world
team. Then we'd InBetween together, and help each other use
the wisdom we share there to change the world here. What a
life that would be!
I keep toying with the idea of doing a blog about the InBetween,
and setting up a retreat to explore the mysteries of the InBetween
together with others who might have tasted it and longed for
more. Maybe if we practiced, we could really journey InBetween
together. Maybe someday I'll have the courage to do something
In the meantime, I figured I'd start on that journey by writing
down this story. Maybe somebody out there will 'remember'
me from one of their InBetween-journeys and they'll
contact me with one of their InBetween-tales and we can start
InBetweening together. Wouldn't that be nice. Oh and look
at that - It's 10:43.