Do You See What I See: Memoirs of a Blind Biker

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The following excerpt is from Russell Targ's book, Do You See What I See: Memoirs of a Blind Biker:


I am legally blind and always have
been. I have to be two feet from a painting or blackboard to see it with the
detail and clarity that you or anyone else sees it at twenty feet – otherwise
it’s pretty Impressionistic. That’s the meaning of 20/200 vision. I also have
been a magician, an enthusiastic motorcycle rider, a laser physicist, and an
ESP researcher and psychic spy for the CIA.

say you? On the contrary, it seems natural to me for a person with very poor
vision to be interested in optics and perception – even extrasensory
perception. I learned from thirty years of ESP experimentation and meditation
that it is no more difficult to see psychically across the planet than it is to
see across the room. My recurring life experience is that “things are seldom
what they seem,” as Gilbert & Sullivan tell us in HMS Pinafore,
“skim milk masquerades as cream.”

my physics professors at Columbia
University gave me a
wonderful grasp of modern physics, they told me less than half the story of the
reality of life. They left out the fact, for example, that it is possible to
experience a world where everything is made of love. And, with the help of
wonderful loving teachers, that’s the world I have been blessed to discover in
my seventy-four trips around the sun.

Huxley’s Perennial Philosophy describes
such a world and the many levels of awareness that we can experience. Perennial
Philosophy being Huxley’s term for the highest common elements of all the major
wisdom traditions and religions. This Philosophy has as its first principle
that consciousness is the fundamental
building block of the universe – the world is more like a great thought than a
great machine. The Buddhists teach that nothing is actually happening in our
world, except for the meaning we give it. That, too, is one of the profound
truths that I have come to embrace about life.
Great writers have long recognized this. For example three of the great
romantic heroines of the nineteenth century, Anna Karenina, Madam Bovary and Gwendolyn, in George
Elliot’s Daniel Doronda, and were literally bored out of their minds “by the
dullness of it all” – even as they were surrounded by wealth, beauty,
revolutions, and social upheaval during one of the most tumultuous times in
world history. They all became mad housewives because they could find no
meaning in their lives. We’re not going to do that.

at the late age of sixty, I finally internalized the idea that “I give all the
meaning there is, to everything I experience,” I profoundly reduced my own
suffering, heartache, and loneliness. I
began to understand that t
hings may indeed be happening, they are just
not happening to me. For example, the
car didn’t actually cut me off on my motorcycle, it just moved in front of me.
I can give it any meaning I like. Maybe the driver doesn’t see me or just
doesn’t like tall nearsighted Jews on motorcycles. More likely, it had nothing to do with me – he probably
didn’t even know I was there. We can learn
to let go of the idea that things happen to
. If you want to really suffer, try personalizing
everything. Even though I have no Buddhist credentials – I have not spent time as a monk. I am not
even a chipmunk. But I have spent many years working on the problem.

Indeed, at this stage of my life, I am much more interested in
questioning answers, than my previous specialty of answering questions. This
questioning is what led to my interest in what the Buddhists call emptiness or
The short summary here is that when this basic principle – that we are largely
making it all up – is internalized, we can greatly reduce our suffering from
all causes. When we catch on to this fact, I have found that we can make the
decision to deliberately move our awareness from fear, resentment, judgment and
craving, to gratitude, peace, love and spaciousness. And that spaciousness,
freedom and fearlessness is real and available to us.

Generally, freedom appears when we finally become unbearably bored with the
repetition of the story of our suffering. For me, it appeared when I noticed
that I no longer needed anything, especially not even applause. That is to say,
no-thing will ever make me happy. Happiness ensues – it’s an inside job.

Our principle source of suffering is our defense of the story of who we
think we are – the story of Me. We defend our business card whether or not we
actually carry one. This is not an abstraction. I recently saw a public
television documentary on the Condition of our Prisons. One of the
prisoners interviewed was a well spoken young black man who had recently killed
a man. The prisoner explained, “I had to kill him. He dissed [disrespected] me
right on the street.” The idea behind emptiness teaches us that we can’t
be disrespected unless we have made ourselves available to be insulted. The self is just another part of our story
of who we think we are.

The world around us may look finite, but thirty years of research into
psychic abilities and verified out-of-body experiences have convinced me that our
awareness is limitless
in space and time – and therefore we are limitless. This is the basic
finding from our two decades of remote viewing research at Stanford Research
Institute. Through my work in this area I have taught thousands of people all
over the world how to get in touch with the part of themselves that is psychic.
And I am convinced by the data and my own experience that some aspect of our personality
survives bodily death.

me, please. I have come to realize that science, history – especially recent
historical events like September 11 – make it clear that no-thing exists and no
event occurs independent of profoundly interconnected causes and conditions.
Things that appear locally are often affected globally. And vice versa. It’s
part of the non-dual, nonlocal view that separation is an illusion.

knew this, too. He tells us that we human beings can access all of the universe
through our own consciousness and our nonlocal mind. That it’s the mind that
fills all of space and time. Physicist David Bohm’s idea of
quantum-interconnectedness has been the hottest topic in physics for the past
two decades. Before that, separation is an illusion was first described
in physics by Noblest, Erwin Schrödinger in 1927 – and in the Hindu Vedas
thirty-five hundred years earlier – teaching that ones self is one with
the entire physical and nonphysical universe (atman equals Brahman).
This philosophy also maintains that we have a nature which is both local and
nonlocal, both material and non-material.

the Perennial Philosophy teaches that the purpose or meaning of our lives is to
become one with this universal nonlocal consciousness that is available to us,
that is, to become one with our Divine, loving, spacious nature (which some
call God), and to then help others to share this transcendent experience of who
we are. This is also the nondual teaching of Jesus, that “The Kingdom of God is
within you,” rather than separate or up in Heaven. I have been exploring
the nature of consciousness and trying to pierce the illusion that this
material reality is all there is for many years, and if you bear with me, I
just might just convince you as well.

am very comfortable talking publicly about areas where I have some expertise,
such as lasers, magic, or ESP research. But recently I was asked to speak at a
large book-signing event in New York
City, right across the street from Town Hall. I know
for a fact that New Yorkers do not suffer fools gladly, if at all. So I was
nervous about my forthcoming talk on the concept of emptiness. I whined to my
wife that I was concerned about embarrassing myself in my old home town. But as
soon as I said the words, I remembered that the whole essence of the teaching
is that there is no self – certainly not one that can be
embarrassed. It’s all just a story. I felt entirely relieved, spoke easily and
sold lots of books. Once one has experienced emptiness, he is not likely to
fall back to egoic thinking, unless he has an impulse to ignorance.

Blind as I am, I have been riding
motorcycles for more than thirty-five years – a bit of a maverick riding the
byways of hi-tech Silicon Valley. The most
important thing I learned from this precarious existence is that it’s wise to
question reality – question what we think we are seeing and experiencing. This
questioning is what has kept me alive while flitting in and out among the cars,
busses, and potholes for all these years. In due time I will explain how I
managed to cloud the mind of the Department of Motor Vehicles year after year,
so that they would continue to give me a driving license even though I couldn’t
read their silly eye chart.

Me and Mr. Magoo

bumbling, nearsighted cartoon character Mr. Magoo has been a somewhat bruising
role model for me ever since he appeared in movie cartoons in the
nineteen-forties. Last summer on a painting adventure to Tuscany
with my artist wife Patty (Patricia Kathleen), I especially identified with
Magoo as I tripped through Italy
with its historical, crumbling and uneven pavement. It’s always been a sort of
French Impressionist world. But much better I admit, than with a white cane,
I’m sure! From a normal viewing distance of a couple of feet, Monet, Degas, and
Renoir paintings look perfectly realistic to me. (Before the Ronald Reagan “tax reform,” my
vision was good enough – bad enough – to get me a Federal income tax deduction
“ on account of blindness.” But the Great Communicator decided to crack
down on all those blind tax cheats, and the deduction is now gone.)

I have
found that focus of attention is much more important than ordinary
seeing. I learned this as I struggled through the humiliations of my gawky
near-sightedness in elementary school. Exams were especially problematic for me
at around age ten. I had to parade back and forth in front of the entire class
with my notebook in hand, copying the questions from the blackboard before I
could sit down to answer them. Then as a teenager I dealt with painful
embarrassments of not recognizing my high school classmates – a continuing
lifelong problem. I couldn’t see the blackboards in college either. And there
were often no textbooks in physics courses taught by fancy Nobelists at Columbia during my
graduate study years.

Whose reality is this anyway? Perhaps out
of loneliness I became a proficient stage magician in my spare time, and got to
create my own reality in the world of science fiction. My sensibilities
especially resonated with A. E. van Vogt’s inspiring short novel Slan – a
hair-raising teen adventure story with two super-bright, evolutionarily
advanced, telepathic children, a boy and a girl, being pursued by the police
and government of a corrupt and decaying state who wanted to rid themselves of
the psychic Slan. What lonely teenager would not identify with that?

leaving Columbia,
I soon found exciting work in the earliest development of the laser, and much
later I created a ten-year laser program at Lockheed – my last corporate job –
to detect invisible air turbulence and prevent airplane crashes with a
premonitory windshear sensor. It seems natural to me that a guy with bad vision
would try to make sense of reality by becoming first a student of magic, and
then an optical engineer – eventually an ESP researcher.

two optics research careers, I sought this clarity by co-founding an ESP
research program at Stanford Research Institute, now SRI International. This
amazing $20 million program (the real X-Files)
was supported by the intelligence community of the U.S. government – CIA, DIA, Army
Intelligence, etc., for almost twenty-five years. And magic, lasers, and ESP
are all part of the illusion that we call reality. With lasers of course, it’s all done with mirrors.

Even a Scientist Can Do it

During one experimental series at SRI, I was working with our
psychic policeman, Pat Price. One day he did not arrive for the scheduled
trial. So, in the spirit of “the show must go on,” I spontaneously decided to
undertake the remote viewing myself. Prior to that, I had been only an
interviewer and facilitator for such trials. In this series, we were trying to
describe the day-to-day activities of Hal Puthoff as he traveled through Columbia, in South America
on a vacation trip. We would not receive any feedback until he returned, and I,
therefore, had no clues at all as to what he was doing. I closed my eyes for my
first remote viewing trial and immediately had an image of an island airport.
The surprisingly accurate sketch I drew is shown below. The site was verified by Hal upon his return.
What we learned from this trial, is that even a scientist can be psychic when
the necessity level is high enough!




produced the sketch when I spontaneously took the role of remote viewer in the
absence of psychic Pat Price.


The photograph
shows the target, which was an airport on an island off San Andreas,
Columbia. I
correctly saw, "Ocean at the end of a runway."


With practice, most people
become increasingly able to separate out the psychic signal from the mental
noise of memory, analysis, naming, judgment, and imagination. Targets and
target details as small as one millimeter can be sensed. Moreover, again and
again we have seen that accuracy and resolution of remote viewing targets are
not sensitive to variations in distance.

reality is the essential first step in the greatest opportunity we have as a
species – the evolution of consciousness. I believe we have completed our
physical growth. Our brains are big enough. I am proposing that species transcendence is the next evolutionary
step for us to take: starting first as animals looking for food, then to
moderately self-aware humans trying to understand nature, and finally to our
destiny as beings with personal awareness of our spacious and nonlocal consciousness
transcending space and time. Every society before the so-called Enlightenment
revered its prophets who had this larger view. Today, when we need such
prophets, they are ridiculed, or turned into side-show attractions – think of
Al Gore, Linus Pauling and Albert Einstein. The suffering, wars, depression,
and confused search for meaning we are experiencing are manifestations of our
inner selves sensing, and crying out for, but not yet grasping our true nature.
The hardware is fine, it’s the software that must be upgraded – and quickly, I

get a bad rap in modern Western society. A mystic will never ask you to believe
anything. He or she will describe to you his or her life-changing transcendent
experience and the instructions allowing you to explore that path yourself.
It’s like a lab experiment. Try this and report back in a few weeks, and let me
know what happened. I have had this totally unexpected experience twice without
drugs, while sitting quietly with powerful spiritual teachers (my teacher
Gangaji, and also with Yukio Ramana) both Americans in the Advaita (nondual) lineage of the great contemporary Indian
Saint Ramana Maharshi. (Advaita means “not two”
in Sanskrit.)

In these almost indescribable experiences, I
felt as though my body was suddenly filled with warm loving syrup – love
without an object. I could see clearly through eyes of love that there was no
separation in consciousness between me and the other people in the room – many
bodies, one consciousness. It’s like in a dream, when you experience many dream
characters, some loving, some frightening – but in reality you can notice that
there is only you – the dreamer. In this epiphany I was overcome, almost faint,
with tears, love, laughter and joy in the sudden blissful experience of seeing
with crystal clarity the perfection of my life and the world. I have come to
understand that who we are, our fundamental nature, is this flow of
loving awareness. In describing this experience of unconditioned awareness, the
contemporary Buddhist teacher, Yongey Mingyur Rinpoche writes in The Joy of Living that: “Clarity, like
emptiness is infinite. It has no starting point and no end.” My writing since
then has been in service to this vision and these experiences.

occasionally fall in love with beautiful and charismatic Gangaji. I was once
present when she explained the situation to an over-wrought, love-struck male
student in a large meeting. She said in effect: “It’s OK to be in love with me.
I frequently reside in love, and you are welcome to reside there with me. Just
don’t get attached to this body or this form. As you know, bodies and forms
change, they come and go.” Such an awakened person can and does spend
increasing amounts of time peacefully “residing in love” and crystal clarity.

my laser research I had the opportunity to work with the visionary physicist
Gordon Gould, who became the patent holder for the invention of the laser.
Interestingly, though Charles Townes and Arthur Shawlow received the Nobel prize,
Gordon got all the financial proceeds from the invention. In our work at TRG
Inc. (Technical Research Group), on Long Island, our little band from Columbia University did not build the first
successful laser, though we were on the right track, and did pioneering
research. The first laser was successfully operated by Ted Maiman at Hughes
Research Labs, in Malibu,
on May 16th 1960.
I well remember the date because it is my mother’s birthday, and also the
birthday of my former girlfriend of many years, who through her deep love
rescued me from spending my life living with the persona of the nearsighted
cartoon character Mr. Magoo.

spent fifteen years of my life working on the development of lasers. I then
went on to devote a dozen years to designing, building and flying airborne
laser wind sensors for Lockheed and NASA – an invention to protect airplanes
from air turbulence and windshear hazards that killed hundreds of people in
several crashes in the 1980’s. These systems were called premonitory sensors
because they could see into the plane’s future, allowing them to avoid
windshear instead of flying into it and crashing. Although the Air Force and
NASA liked and supported this highly successful and innovative research, the
airlines and the FAA decided that “safety doesn’t sell,” so our system has not
been mandated or put into general service. It also worked excellently at The
Cape to measure winds aloft to 80,000 feet for the Shuttle. I believe it could
have prevented The Challenger accident in 1985.

my other parallel life, I co-founded Stanford Research Institute’s (SRI’s)
research program, where we studied Remote Viewing (or ESP), which is an ability
we all have to quiet our minds and describe and experience objects and events
that are blocked from ordinary perception, either in the distance or in the
future. Our program ran successfully for an incredible twenty-three years with
a budget of $25 million, teaching U.S. Army officers on the East Coast how to
be psychic, while at SRI in California were using remote viewing to spy on
Russian and Chinese weapon systems. We also looked in on our hostages in Iran, searched for and found downed U.S. and Soviet
airplanes for the CIA, and were the first to describe an enormous new Soviet
submarine for other parts of the U.S. Defense Intelligence Agency. We even
found a crashed Soviet plane in Africa, still
carrying a nuclear weapon. President Jimmy Carter gave us unwanted public
commendation for this, thereby blowing the secrecy of our program.

1972 to 1995 we were the real “X-files.” You could say that I had a
metamorphosis from Magoo to Mulder. Although our main responsibility was Remote
Viewing – ESPionage for the government, we also published our findings in the
world’s most prestigious scientific journals. Our work has been well replicated
in international laboratories. And our exciting nonlocal findings show that it
is no more difficult to describe a hidden object or person across the globe,
than it is to describe something across town. And most surprising of all is the
fact that the future is also available to a remote viewer just as clearly as the present.

New York artist, and lifetime psychic Ingo
Swann created remote viewing as we know it, and and Stephen Schwartz was the
inventor of “associative remote
viewing,” which we later used to successfully forecast the changes in the
silver futures market.


Photo showing co-founders of the SRI program, Hal Puthoff and me, Russell Targ, together
with CIA contract monitor Kit Green, and psychic police commissioner Pat Price.


Pat Price and Ingo Swann
had already demonstrated that they could describe distant locations that a
co-experimenter was visiting. We had just begun a series of new and more
difficult experiments to describe distant sites, in which the remote viewers
were given only the site's geographical latitude and longitude. Our contract
monitor, a physicist from the CIA, had brought us the coordinates for what he
described as a "Soviet site of great interest to the analysts." They wanted any information we could give
them, and they were eager to find out if we could describe a target
ten-thousand miles away, with only coordinates to work from.

Armed with a slip of paper
bearing the coordinates, Pat Price and I climbed to the second floor of SRI's
Radio Physics building and locked ourselves into the small
electrically-shielded room which we used for our experiments. I joked with
Price that this trial was just like our many successful off-site experiments
around Palo Alto,
only further away. As always, I began our little ritual of starting the tape
recorder, giving the time and date, and describing who we were and what we were
doing. I then read Price the

Again, as was Pat's custom, he polished his
spectacles, leaned back in his chair and closed his eyes. He was silent for
about a minute, and then he started to laugh. He said, "What I see reminds
me of the old joke that starts with a guy in his penthouse looking up at the 3rd Avenue elevated
train." Pat then began his
description: "I am lying on my back
on the roof of a two or three story brick building. It's a sunny day. The sun feels good. There's the most amazing thing. There's a giant gantry crane moving back and
forth over my head…. As I drift up in the air and look down, it seems to be
riding on a track with one rail on each side of the building. I've never seen anything like that." Pat then
made a little sketch of the layout of the buildings, and the crane, which he
labeled as a gantry. Later on, he again drew the crane as we show it in the
previously Secret illustration shown here:



After several days we completed the remote viewing. We were astonished when we were told that the
site was the super-secret Soviet atomic bomb laboratory at Semipalatinsk, where it turned out they were
also testing particle-beam weapons to shoot down US satellites that were taking
these photos.

The accuracy of Price's drawing is the sort of thing that I, as a
physicist, would never have believed if I had not seen it for myself. The drawing in the next illustration was made
by the CIA from satellite photography of the Semipalatinsk facility. Price went on to draw many other items at the
site, including the cluster of compressed gas cylinders shown in the satellite


One of the most interesting things Price saw was not in the CIA drawing
at all, because it was inside the building that he was psychically lying on top
of and unknown to anyone in our government at the time. In this 1974 experiment, he described a large
interior room where people were “assembling a giant sixty-foot diameter metal sphere.” He said that it was being
assembled from “thick metal gores,” like sections of an orange peel, which he
carefully drew. But, they were having
trouble welding it all together because the pieces were warping. Price said
that they were looking for a lower-temperature welding material. We didn't get
any feedback on this for more than three years.
Then we discovered how accurate Price's viewings had been when the sphere-fabricating
activity at Semipalatinsk
was eventually described in Aviation Week magazine

PUSH FOR BEAM WEAPON … The US used high resolution photographic
reconnaissance satellites to watch soviet technicians dig through solid granite
formations. In a nearby building, huge
extremely thick steel gores were manufactured. These steel segments were parts
of a large sphere estimated to be about 18 meters (57.8 feet) in diameter. US officials believe that the
spheres are needed to capture and store energy from nuclear driven explosives
or pulse power generators. Initially,
some US
physicists believed that there was no method the Soviets could use to weld
together the steel gores (sic) of the spheres to provide a vessel strong enough
to withstand pressures likely to occur in a nuclear explosive fission process,
especially when the steel to be welded
was extremely thick. Aviation Week, May 2, 1977.


Although we were happy to receive this confirmation, we were saddened
that unfortunately, Pat Price had died two years earlier. So, from the point of view of the experiment,
he made his perception of the sixty-foot spheres and "gores" without
any feedback at all. Price's detailed drawing of the sections of the large
sphere he psychically saw shows that his remarkable perception was a direct
experience of the site.
He was not
reading the mind of the sponsor, because no one in the United States knew of the spheres.
Nor could Pat have been precognitively looking at his feedback from the future,
because he died before the details of the sphere he saw were independently

We would consider Price to be in the ranks of the psychic superstars, and
it was a privilege to have been involved in the series of transcendent
experiments we carried out with him. I have been longing to talk about them for
more than twenty years. But until recently the secret was so tightly held that
I could discuss it with no one outside of our very small group of SRI
researchers and CIA sponsors. I feel
extremely fortunate to be able to describe these extraordinary events in my
lifetime, and to pay homage to Pat Price's abilities.

This 1974 experiment was such a
stunning success that we were personally forced to undergo a formal
Congressional investigation by the House Committee on Intelligence Oversight to
determine if there had been a breach in National Security. Hal and I went to Washington for the
interrogation. We were supported by our contract monitors – physicist, Ken
Kress, physician, Kit Green, Branch Chief for LSD (Life Science Division) at
CIA and Jack Verona, Deputy Director for Research at Defense Intelligence
Agency, also Senator Claiborne Pell and Representative Charles Rose, who had an
on-going interest in our work. Of course, no breach was found, and our research
into psychic functioning was supported by the government for another twenty
years. The House Committee told us to “press on.” We were taken to lunch in the White House
dining room in the basement of the residence. With its polished, wood-paneled
walls and gleaming silver coffee decanters, it provided a wonderful celebration
for us after our inquisition by a skeptical House committee in an over-heated
committee room. For lunch, they were serving roast pork, collard greens and
black-eyed peas, all contributed by a senator from Mississippi who had just
slaughtered one of his hogs – no kidding.

became very skillful in helping a wide variety of people come into contact with
the part of themselves that is psychic. In 1995 the CIA decided that since The
USSR had collapsed, the U.S.
no longer faced any serious enemy threats, and our program was ended. Since
then, I have been teaching remote viewing to groups of people all over the

We at SRI never had an opportunity to search for
Osama bin Laden, but my good friend Stephan Schwartz and a team of remote
viewers at Virginia Beach produced a remarkably accurate description of Saddam
Hussein’s hiding place in a “spider hole” four months before his capture.
Stephan’s team published a report saying that: “Saddam will be found beneath an
ordinary looking house on the outskirts of a small village near Tikrit. The
house will be part of a small compound that is bordered on one side by a dirt
road and, on the other, by a nearby river” This document included a drawing of
the building with a square hole dig in the courtyard. CNN’s report said:
“Saddam was found near the village
of Adwar in the Tikrit
area in a small compound … a river runs nearby, and a road is in front of the
compound.” CNN 16
December 2003.

remote viewing is not a spiritual path, the hindrances to spiritual awakening
are very similar to those that interfere with remote viewing. They come from
our conditioning which teaches us that we are nothing but bits of talking meat,
that there is no ESP, and that who we are is fully described by our story of
who we think we are. I have learned to
move from this conditioned awareness to spacious (naked) awareness we have to
give up our ego-based, self-centered, rigid and grasping mode of life, and move
into a flexible, unconditioned, nonjudgmental and joyful space. In order to be
psychic, it is essential to find a way to wake up and learn to recognize how
much of what you experience is the result of conditioning by parents, teachers,
and the cult we all belong to, which is called society. Another hindrance to
living in unconditioned nondual awareness is that one has to learn to live with
the seemingly paradoxical notion that most things you encounter are neither
true, nor not-true. “Neither this, nor not-this” is the essence of giving up
judgment and also suffering.

recently took part in a ten-day lucid dreaming workshop where the teacher,
Stephen LaBerge, taught us to awaken ourselves from sleep, during a dream or
nightmare and thereby recognize that it is only a dream. Similarly, to overcome
our societal conditioning we must learn to wake up from the dream of our daily
lives. That is, we must awaken from the dream the world is dreaming for us. I
have found that it is possible to
wake up and not be sleepwalking – at least not all of the time.



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