Thunderous waves crashed up the slope just a few yards away. But I was relaxed, sitting on a beautiful, isolated beach on the Virginia shore; I let my mind drift. The ocean carried it away and left me feeling empty, but fine. Then something subtle dropped in out of the breeze. Who knows, really, where inspiration comes from—probably not a place at all. Poets make guesses about such things. For me, it’s the Muses. You know, the nine Muses of Greek mythology, lead by Apollo, oracle-poet sun god. I often ask for help from them, particularly Calliope and Clio.
Inspiration comes glancingly, in a subtle image or turn of phrase at the edge of thinking. Most people don’t even notice when it flashes by. The poem that opens this book began that way for me, except that I noticed. In retrospect it was all about priming the pump. But I had no idea at the time. The verses just flowed out, intact, onto the paper.
I finished writing, just as my old friend and fellow-traveler arrived. Michael Linde lumbered up the beach, out of the jostling waves, and stood dripping Atlantic Ocean in front of me. Michael is a man with a large frame, and a skepticism to match. Now and then, when I’m feeling brave, I test my poetry on him. So, I ventured to read the lines aloud, shouting above the din of surf.
Reading poetry out loud brings life to it. Michael listened, but didn’t say a word. He nodded thoughtfully and turned back to the breakers. I stared after him until he was just a dark speck in the foam. I continued staring into the beauty of the ocean. Pelicans glided, singlefile, low across the sky. Gulls and sandpipers raised a haunting chorus around me. The wind made brush strokes over my skin. The poem, I sensed, had given me a fresh way of appreciating this moment.
After a respectful pause, I picked up my journal again, feeling some other inspiration flirting nearby. It might have been another poem. But no, it was just a straightforward question. It simply popped out of the void, into my thoughts: “What if you got a letter from 500 years in the future?” I wrote that down, and waited. I didn’t judge it as a silly question—though I might have done. I just let it be.
Slowly, the question began to stir, and call up some kind of presence from down below. I watched myself then start to write about impressions that seemed to come right out of the question itself—in a voice that wasn’t my own. It was as though someone were talking to me, with my own words. More questions came: What if right now, this year, were the year zero for some future civilization? What if that future world could talk to ours, about the times we’re living in now?
Many prophets and teachers, of course, have been saying we’re on the threshold of a transformation in consciousness—a worldwide, human sea change. If that is true, just what is it that’s coming? What will the world be like after the change—that is, if we survive? Who will the people be? If we could hear them, what would they want to say to us? Could I imagine a believable conversation between our ages? All this wondering began to build up inside me.
There was nothing for it but to start writing. Soon, I found myself scribbling furiously to keep up with the dictation that was coming. I expected to fill a page maybe, then sit back and watch the ocean some more. After all, I was here to relax, and space out. Hmm … so much for expectations. After two hours, I had written over a dozen pages in my journal. I was exhausted and exhilarated at the same time. I rose, looked around, and staggered off the beach, spaced out indeed.
Next morning I set out for a cup of coffee. No sooner had I put my cup down on a sidewalk table, than the impressions started flowing again. It was the same rush as yesterday. Now it had become an actual conversation. I was able to ask questions and receive replies. Excitement and skepticism both, battled for my attention. At times, I wanted to challenge the whole notion of what was happening. If this was going to be a real dialogue, then I was determined to ask some very hard questions. I had no idea what kind of answers I might get in return.
To my astonishment, quite believable responses came back. Issues that had bothered me for years were being taken on casually, but seriously, by this internal voice from far away. It was talking to me like a teacher and a wise friend. This had become much more than what I originally thought. And beyond that, I had the distinct sensation that this was only the beginning.
After a week, I called my friend, Judy Welder, and told her what was happening. She immediately wanted to read the Letters. I sent her a few pages. She read them and demanded more—all of them. She was almost more excited than I was, and without the skepticism. She even started suggesting questions for me to ask. My first reaction to that was resistance, but I finally decided to try. I was genuinely surprised by the answers we got. In the end, Judy’s questions nudged the whole story in their own, new direction—as in meeting up with homo angelicus. There was something going on here, much bigger than me.
That Fall, I was traveling again. At 4 am, in a hotel room, I woke suddenly out of a sound sleep. Ideas for the Letters were crowding into my mind; they wouldn’t leave me alone. I jumped out of bed and grabbed my laptop. In the space of one hour, I transcribed what is now Letter Eight—one that touches me deeply.
I want to clearly state for the record, perhaps to my chagrin, that I had no plan as I wrote any of this book. Every new letter was a complete surprise to me. At the start of each one I would have a kind of empty feeling, like I was a blank canvas. In fact, it often felt like there would be nothing to write this particular morning. My mind was quick to supply worries about that. Perhaps, it reasoned, the whole effort was fizzling out, and was about to leave me with nothing but a pile of disconnected ruminations. But then the pen would pick me up, so to speak, and start off again. The muses would put me into the character of the adventure in ways I could not predict. I often did not foresee what my own dialogue or behavior would be until the moment it was being written.
Overall I must say, it was a lot of fun once things got rolling. On top of that, I was actually learning from the transmissions. There were many messages that made me sit up and exclaim in amazement. I looked forward eagerly to each new day. What on earth would we talk about next? It was always a delight when I found out. As time went on, my confidence grew. I was beginning to feel destiny in these pages. They had a life of their own, and I couldn’t tell where that life might be leading.
Another feeling was at work as well—a sensation at the deepest levels of physicality. When I trace the source of these messages, it leads down within myself, down below the level of senses, to the very core. What is that core? It seems to be a subatomic portal, if you will—whatever that is. There’s a life force and sensibility down there in that tininess. I’m sure it’s within everyone, and in every bit of matter. It vibrates to the rhythm of the universal Life. I could feel it shaking me sometimes, deep down, when the messages came through. That deepest level of sensation seems to be like a carrier wave for the infusion of inspiration. I think this is what it means to “read between the lines’, or “intuitively feel” the space around thoughts—and most importantly, what it means to appreciate.
My interpretation of how these messages came through, may sound strange. Nevertheless, I feel they used this system of microscopic portals, within every atom of my body, of anyone’s body. I’m thinking that any reader of this material can learn how to resonate at that level of universal sensation, and pick up inspiration and guidance. In fact, that is probably a much clearer way to understand than by reading the words.
Five months to the day after my first journal entries, I typed the last line of the last letter—New Year’s Day, 2009. I was stunned when it all stopped. This had been a daily, and nightly, practice for all those five months. I had become totally absorbed in it, maybe obsessed. What would I be like without the daily intercourse with my new, invisible friends?
Fortunately, I had something to occupy my time. Months before, I had made plans to stay in France for six weeks. On January 9th I flew to Nice. The manuscript came with me, of course. In a sense it was complete at this point, but still very much raw footage. So began the tedious editing process. To be truthful, it was a joy to reread it. I became my own spellbound audience much of the time. I was happy to have such a good traveling companion.
During the course of writing and editing, I continued traveling a lot. The manuscript-on-laptop accompanied me to Niger, West Africa for three weeks during filming for a documentary I’m co-producing. As mentioned, I carried it around Europe, working on it in Nice, Siena, Venice and Paris. Then it flew with me to Seattle twice, and down to North Carolina, across Pennsylvania and Ohio. I mention this because I feel somehow the journeys play a part in maturing the transmission. It was exposed to the energy fields of three continents, five countries and at least seven cities.
Finally, I ended up at Judy’s farm outside of Asheville in May; she had offered to help with the editing. It turns out she’s a lot better editor than I am. Together we tore into the manuscript, and got nearly halfway through before I had to leave. As I was walking out the door, she said, “You’ve found an editor. The next thing you need is an agent.” I shrugged, “That’s probably the hardest part! But I’ll be open to the idea.”
A month later, along came an old friend, Stefan Bright, whom I hadn’t seen in years. After a short visit, as he was about to leave, he said something that reminded me of a passage in the Letters. I looked it up quickly and read it to him from the laptop; he raised an eyebrow, and asked if he could have a copy of the manuscript. He took it back to Los Angeles and read the whole thing in a few days. To my surprise, he called back immediately, very animated. He said, “This is the kind of information I’ve been searching for all my life. You’ve got to publish it. And soon.” Instantly Stefan was the agent Judy had urged me to find.
So, where did these Letters come from? I’m certain they did not arise solely from my own thinking. Yes, there was plenty of after-the-fact, left-brain analysis. I have indeed had my way with the text through hundreds of hours of rewording, rearranging and tweaking. This is definitely not a channeled piece! But whatever it is, there is a deeper source involved. I’m very happy about that. Like poetry, if I try to make it up, it falls flat. These Letters, to the contrary, just came to me, through me. I was almost forced to write them. Sure, I wanted to be forced. But resistance would have been futile in any case.
What happens next? I honestly do not know. It’s all beyond me. I haven’t known much about that part of it from the very start, even minute-by-minute. I always did feel, however, there was something happening, downright mystical. As I said, the Letters have their own life energy. Still, I have to wonder.
The story, I know well by now. It’s an allegory about what might happen to consciousness on this planet in the next 500 years. There’s also a personal narrative woven in. It’s a story about people. The Letters give us some perspective on humanity’s current woes, and also on our ultimate destiny. They say that our species’ primary attribute, the ego, was too much for nature to keep supporting. Ego’s fitness for survival, in an over-crowded world, became the final, terminal issue of our evolution. Notwithstanding, I like to think the Letters give us hope. They foretell that humanity’s finest hour is about to arrive.
My heart tells me there’s something very powerful in these pages, a force that will, if given attention, awaken people to their own deepest appreciation. That is my sincere intent. In that light, I’m honored to be a vehicle for the words, and whatever gifts they may bring. Finally now, there is one other possibility. As bizarre as it sounds, the book might actually be Letters from 500.
Robert Lee Potter,
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, August 2009