I’m in India.

It’s 2005, or something very close to that, I am 35, but my mind is much younger.

As per circumstance, happenstance and the unusual, I am here in the dusty, smelly and undeniably magical streets of Delhi through a very strange, unexpected and mostly serendipitous series of events, that even I could not have calculated or created a few weeks ago.

But that is how my life tends to be unfolding. A series of absurd, extreme and mostly exceptional plot twists. You would think I would have figured this out by now.

These new spikes in my life chart are mostly disruptive, annoying and ultimately illuminating, and make a promise each time. If I am ready, they will shake the foundations, one moment at a time, but with the elegance, intelligence and poetry of a Hindu Ballet, that I didn’t write, or can’t even understand.

But I am here. This is a version of me I didn’t plan for.

An echo of a thought keeps bouncing in my head. “The first five minutes in India, will blow your mind, and change your life forever.”

Maybe. Let’s see.

A lot of weird, simultaneous and interconnected stuff is happening all at once, too. I won’t dive into the details, but just know that I’m here on very important and official business, indirectly representing the grandchildren of the Maharishi Yogi on an eight-day tour of the Motherland. Yes, that Maharishi. True story.

The same one whole stole George’s soul, and freed John’s mind. And we, all of us, are better people for it. Admit it.

I exit the airplane, into the early darkness and morning hours in New Delhi, the city of pure human energy. It is raining, and it looks like the clock has been spun back about 50 years, judging by the old style cars, clothing, haircuts, style, architecture, and everything else my senses could divine.

The airport is near empty.

I can handle this.

Delhi, on the other hand, is not empty. And I can tell that it never is. I walk out into sickly sweet hot night air and am suddenly confronted by one billion mosquitos, all in the same place, at the same time, buzzing with conversation, stories, life and future lives. But these aren’t mosquitos, they are people and I’ve never seen so many, ever before in all of my many lives.

Mind blown. Check. Next scene.

How did I get here, again? Right. I was re-inventing myself. I left my job, and jumped into a whole new scenario, that gave breathing room to these new possible outcomes, that eventually led me to India. Interesting.

I’ve become unstuck in mind. Where is Vonnegut when you need him?

He knew. Reinvention is powerful.

It is the most creative power we have, as human beings, that sets us free from the tyranny of fate, fear and fixed situations. At any point along our journeys, we can stop, think, feel, and then decide to change.


Hitting the human reset button allows you to create opportunities to experience the many different versions of you, (and there are at least a few, admit it,) that are locked, bottled and clogged up, inside. So full of potential, power and progress, that the entire course of future history can be forever altered in its wake and waking up.

I know, it sounds awesome.

And re-definition is a forgotten art form, unless you are luck E enough to be David Bowie, which requires your full and undivided attention and intention, and you need to be alert to re-invent, properly. And the payoff is worth it, as it perhaps the only true and meaningful artistry left or that ever was, as it deals in a medium that really makes the world go round. Life.

Sometime you are the Walrus, and sometimes you are The Egg man. Who will I be today?

Back to India.

I see rickety rickshaws, people, burning garbage on the streets, people, pink turbans, people, cars, motorcycles, bicycles, smog, food, lights, bricks, dirt, and more people.

In fact, I’ve never seen so many living things before, occupying the same space on this planet and in my focal point. It seems that this snapshot of the old world, may be a foreshadowing of what’s to come for the rest of us. And the us inside of us.

An overcrowded new reality.

And Energy. I sense so much human energy it is overwhelming. You can actually feel the people around you, pulsing atoms and the electricity, real energy, emanating from souls of all ages, from 6 to 600, creating a kind of collective human buzzing that perhaps only God can hear.

I’m in a place where I never thought I would be, and this experience, like every experience, will change me. It will allow my quantum selves to step out and into the light of day. And this is also a good thing. Because how would you ever even know the real you, until you meet the different ones?

Yes, this trip changed me, and still chips away at me, like a sculptor, revealing different things, even up to this very moment.

I haven’t even told you the parts of the story where I see the green-eyed lady of the night, the stinky goat cheese pizza, or even the horrifying psychedelic effects of the anti-malarial drugs that left me paralyzed in fear and trapped in a literal living nightmare, all part of my India express package. But we can leave that for another time.

I go back to these scenes in my mind, time trips, when I hit a turning point in my life. I take myself back to the mean streets of humanity to remind me of all of the possible realities that sit waiting for me, to be invited into my current life, bags un-packed.

The ghosts of future people I may never meet, but who always know my name.

Those five minutes in India, have lasted me 10 years, and have taught me a powerful lesson. Anything is possible, and any you is possible, and will happen, if you let it.

And then if you are ready, you can finally meet the many versions of you.

Who are you, next?


  • Paul is: a writer, past academic dean, national affairs advisor, conference founder and public broadcasting advocate.