Traditional academics didn't work for me. I had to find another way to learn.

When I was 9, I found that you can program your subconscious mind to do tasks and solve problems. Around the same time I realized that you can use your imagination as a training tool. If you imagine doing something, it is the same as actually doing it.

At the age of 12, I learned some Judo. One of the first things you learn in Judo is how to fall without getting hurt. The wisdom of knowing how to fall was not lost on me. Up until that time, I thought the key was to never fall. Learning how to fall in Judo taught me the value of falling and the value of getting up after a fall.

I met some college students in that Judo class. They invited me to their home to try something called yoga. At the time there were no commercial yoga classes or teachers in the US. We learned postures from a book. After 20 minutes of yoga, the book said, you should sit still and meditate for an hour. We did that twice a week for three months.

During those meditations I experienced what I call a waking dream. In a waking dream your consciousness is both present in the room and, at the same time, somewhere else, like what you experience in a dream. I realized that our consciousness is far larger, more complex, and more accessible than anyone had ever told to me. It was like going down into a small cave opening in the ground and finding a vast cavern with many tunnels leading off in all directions.

That was in 1972. I continued practicing meditation from then on. I was intent on exploring this huge space that is our conscious awareness. I tried every meditation practice I could find, most from various religious practices. I looked closely at each religion that offered something similar to meditation to see what else their teachings included.

I came to realize that following a path only gets you what is on that path. There is a wide world of wonder and beauty that is not accessible by following paths.

I worked in construction, auto mechanics, farming, fishing, and the food service industry. I did all of it by taking jobs at the bottom and learning the trade. Because I used my subconscious mind and my imagination as learning tools, because I could dream while awake, and because I knew the value of falling down, I was able to learn new skills and concepts very fast.

When micro computers became available in the early eighties, I applied the same methods to learn how computers work, computer programming, and database design. I have used these tools to expand my knowledge as the computer industry has grown. I have worked alongside people with masters degrees and Ph. D.s in computer science, biology, and electrical engineering, all without anyone guessing that I hadn’t finished high school.

I resolve problems and create new designs by looking at what is desired, looking at what is there, and studying what is possible. Then I go do something else for a while. Possible solutions start emerging. When they do, I test them until I find one that best meets the desired goal.

While I am waiting around for solutions to emerge, I study spiritual practices, religions, and people. I meditate on larger problems, like the nature of being human, and the reasons that so many people follow others into such dark places, without even questioning where they are being led.

I now teach people how to use their minds as I do and to thrive in any situation. I have developed tools, demonstrations, games, and simple exercises to quickly show the basics of focused learning. I use sound to give people the experience of a waking dream.

People underestimate their own abilities by about 90%. Most people believe that they must stay on the path or they will get lost in the woods and die alone. What I have done, with nothing but my own mind, is available to anyone. Paths are fine, but wouldn't you like to be able to get along without one?

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Kelly MacInnis. Photo By Ally Sweeney