Dr Jerry Burgener
Dr. Jerry’s life has been
as interesting as it has been varied. He has a
Ph.D. in Human Learning and has worked in Schools, Mental Health
Organizations, and as a Forensic Psychologist for the Department
of Corrections. Besides providing treatment, he has trained
other people in how to best help those in need. His techniques
and approaches have been presented in print by news media and on
Dr. Jerry will say his life experiences are equally important,
bringing him to this point in time. He has skydived more than
1400 times, has 3,000 hours of flying airplanes and helicopters,
scuba dives, repels, and is an avid motorcycle rider. Dr. Jerry
trains horses, riding them in the Midwest, as well as the desert
Relationships have been important for this lifetime. He has been
married several times and “in love” with many more, as he has
learned the power of connections in this life’s journey. Dr.
Jerry has said, with a smile, "I have been in relationship
“We create our own universe,” Dr. Jerry says. “Our thoughts
about ourselves, relationships, and life in general begin by the
things we say and think, every moment of our life. These
thoughts provide the structure for our reality and are powered
by the emotions we feel. The people who are in our life have
been drawn there by the pictures and thoughts we create.”
Dr. Jerry wants us to understand this concept of life and use it
to shape the future we want. He writes a fictionalized account
of his own struggle to learn these lessons in Desert Journey,
available on this website.
PageOneLit.com: Where did you grow up and was reading and writing a part of
your life? Who were your earliest influences and why?
Dr Jerry Burgener: I grew up in central Illinois, and reading was strongly
emphasized, especially by my mother. Being a typical boy, I preferred to be
outside, riding horses, walking in the woods, or fishing in nearby creek.
Mom gave me the book, Treasure Island, and told me if I just read it, she
wouldn't make me read any others. And as they say, the rest is history.
Writing was a whole different story. She never expected me to write a book,
and there was never any pressure to explore that avenue of expression. My
mother has read Desert Journey and said it was well written, but she did
have some difficulty with some of new-age concepts, such as past-life
regression and traveling on other planes of existence.
Her only advice was I should "sex up," my next book, and that would help
with sales. What a character!
My parents had the strongest influence on me as a I grew into adulthood.
Being a rebel, I needed their strong guidance to keep me out of trouble.
Besides a working ethic and a sense of honor, they also provided a
springboard of spiritual experiences that launched me into the person I am
The biggest impact of my was provided by Dick, whom I write about in Desert
Journey. Spirit pushed us together, and when we finally met, there was an
instant connection that lasted throughout the rest of his short life. Dick
taught me to skydive, and that was the turning point in my life. From the
time I jumped out of an airplane, nothing else ever seemed quite as scary,
including writing books and disclosing personal experiences for the whole
world to read.
PageOneLit.com: Why do you write?
Dr Jerry Burgener: I write because I have to. I have been blessed with many
spiritual experiences that have bent and shaped me into the person I am
today. Writing was the "price of admission," for the lessons I have
Until someone actually sits down and begins constructing their own book,
they have no idea all that is required, especially if the story they are
telling is about them self. I would much rather be riding horses or my
motorcycle, but my guides would not leave me alone until I put pen to paper.
One tremendous perk has been my own learning. At times, it feels as if I am
taking dictation from my guides, and so, I often am learning as much as the
PageOneLit.com: Your new novel "Desert Journey" is written in first person
singular -- Is this a true story or a work of fiction loosely based on
Dr Jerry Burgener: I consider Desert Journey a fictionalized autobiography.
Much of what I wrote about actually happened, including meeting Dick and the
many relationships I have had. The names were changed to protect the
Tom, my spiritual guide, is a composite of those who still walk this earth
and those from the other side that push and prod me to help me learn the
lessons I need to complete the lessons of this lifetime. At times, I
actually hear the voices of those who guide me from the other side, but
often the input is just soft whispers or gentle bumps.
PageOneLit.com: You are a forensic psychologist with a private practice -
Briefly describe what forensic psychology is and what you do? Did your
profession help write "Desert Journey" ?
Dr Jerry Burgener: As a forensic psychologist, I worked in a prison setting;
interviewing inmates and providing treatment they needed to see their part
in this world and when they were willing to accept responsibility for their
actions, help them develop the psychological skills to re-enter civilian
Being trained as a psychologist did help to understand some of the drives
that can lead us through the maze of life experiences we all face–at times
making good decisions and at times, not. Being a psychologist didn't make me
immune to making bad choices myself, especially involving relationships. But
it did give me the tools to sort out the "whys" and help me to learn from
the experience and move on.
Finding "that right person," is a driving force with almost everyone walking
this planet, and I intended for Desert Journey to not only be entertaining,
but to provide the reader with an understanding of the forces that move all
of us in our hunt. Most of us do not understand all of the issues that come
to bear in our search, and lacking that information can lead to bad choices
and unnecessary pain. But I will say that pain is be a good teacher if we
have the eyes to see and the ears to hear.
PageOneLit.com: "Desert Journey" is well written with great description of
the desert southwest - Have you spent time in that area? Ho did you research
Dr Jerry Burgener: I have spent five winters in the Superstition Mountains
and always feel I have come back home when I arrive there with my horses and
trailer. That area has a mystical quality for me, and it is easier to write
when I can look out my window and see the Mountain rising up majestically in
Some of the information I used as background came from publications
describing the history of the area, but the much of the detail was learned
from being there, seeing it from between the ears of a horse.
PageoneLit.com: In "Desert Journey" there is a quote that says, "dreams are
powerful tools for us to use to connect with other worlds." Explain.
Dr Jerry Burgener: Dreams can come for several purposes, including
connecting us with the spiritual worlds that surround us and are not as
accessible when we are operating with our "critical mind," that is in charge
during our waking hours.
My guides often "talk" to me just before sleep takes over or in the morning
before my mind asserts dominance over my consciousness. All of us dream, and
with just a minimal amount of effort, we can use those experiences to
understand more of the lessons this life has to offer.
PageOneLit.com: "Desert Journey" is about a man who is suffering from a
series of failed relationships. He is also a self-described adrenaline
junkie who loves skydiving, flying helicopters -- So why did he choose to
travel to the American Southwest where life is dryer and slower?
Dr Jerry Burgener: Life is not really slower in the desert Southwest, just
more peaceful. I have ridden down paths only three feet wide that cut across
the face of a mountain, dropping hundreds of feet into rock strewn valleys.
I have had friends seriously hurt when their horse slipped or fell, miles
away from help.
So ... the adrenaline junkie can get his fix in those beautiful mountains
that can be very unforgiving.
PageOneLit.com: What did you learn from writing "Desert Journey"?
Dr Jerry Burgener: I have always been told, "If you want to learn something,
teach it." The ideas and spiritual principles I write about in "Desert
Journey" are just as important to me as they are to the reader. As a growing
spiritual being, my perspective changes with time and experience, and my
understanding of the principles change accordingly.
PageOneLit.com: What do you hope to achieve with "Desert Journey" ?
Dr Jerry Burgener: "Desert Journey" was the price of admission for the
spiritual lessons I have been given. Now that it is done, it is up to the
reader to get what spirit intends for them to have. It has been interesting
interacting with readers. Parts that were most important to me had less
impact on them, and sections I thought were less significant in the story
moved them greatly. So ... I put the book out there and now it is up to
PageOneLit.com: What's next?
Dr Jerry Burgener: I have almost finished editing book two, "Return to the
Desert," which is the continuation of the journey Jerry began in exploring
spiritual lessons with Tom. I lived "Desert Journey," four years ago and
experienced "Return to the Desert," after that. I am now living the last of
the trilogy, "Beyond the Desert," and will be writing about it this winter
when I return to Arizona.
PageOneLit.com: What was the last book you read?
Dr Jerry Burgener: I just re-read "Illusions; The Adventures of a Reluctant
Messiah," by Richard Bach. He is one of my all time favorite writers and I
hold his books in high esteem. Having been in the military and a helicopter
pilot, I enjoy W.E.B. Griffin and his series, "Brotherhood of War.
PageOneLit.com: Do you have any hobbies? What are they? How do they enhance
Dr Jerry Burgener: Riding horses is one of my favorite things to do and it
provides me with the experiences necessary to write about in my Desert
Trilogy. But, taking a motorcycle around a tight curve gets my blood pumping
and provides that adrenaline push I sometimes need.
A beautiful sunset can be equally rewarding, watching God paint the sky in
soft and subtle hues before pulling the screen on the day.