“Why one and not another
has the power to make us dream,
and cast on us a magic spell
of Happiness supreme?”
From the Mystery of Love by Joanne Everett
The event that shook my world started with a simple reflection on women and why I had not found a new relationship; I had been separated for almost two years and apart from one spectacularly disastrous encounter, I had not been remotely interested in anyone. I was driving to Whistler on a beautiful starlit night just before Christmas 1995 when my musings recalled a gorgeous, interesting and spiritual woman I had met at an advertising industry awards show. Little did I realize that this simple pondering would trigger a sequence of events that would shatter my existing worldview and change my life forever.
Over the previous few years I had become fascinated by the power of intention and had developed a belief that intention supported by a belief in cosmic energetic support could create the power to manifest; those who have watched The Secret will be familiar with this concept. It is with some embarrassment and a little shame that I admit to putting these forces to work to achieve a goal of a relationship with this alluring vision, so over the holiday period I would bring my desire into my meditation and ask for support from the cosmos to achieve my goal.
It was the first week of the New Year when I asked her to lunch at a beautiful seafood restaurant in Vancouver, and somehow overcoming a mouth that seems to challenge me on such occasions by becoming dryer than the Sahara desert, I asked her out. To my amazement she said, “No.” So much for the cosmic reinforcement of my power of intention! She was very sweet, told me she was flattered but she had just met someone else who she felt could be the potential partner she had been seeking. Of course I was crushed but putting on a brave face I expressed my disappointment and a little bit of surprise that she picked up on. “You are used to getting your own way,” she stated more as a fact than a question. I replied in the affirmative and somewhat shamefacedly explained that I had been enlisting the support of the cosmos in my quest. “Ah that explains it” she exclaimed, “I knew you were thinking about me over Christmas and I wondered why.” This puzzled me so I asked her what she meant. She seemed surprised by my question and that I had never had a similar experience. Lunch concluded, we hugged farewell and I took my disappointment home.
It was made more challenging by the fact that she had been so sweet and if anything that made her even more desirable. For a couple of days I found myself haunted by lost opportunity, almost obsessing over what felt like a bereavement then mid afternoon on Saturday, as an act of completion, I bought her a thank you card that I wrote and mailed. I have never quite understood how it arrived as quickly as it did but on Monday evening she phoned me, not to tell me she had changed her mind, rather to suggest that she felt I had been trying to pressure her. I was confused but did admit my short-lived compulsion then assured her I had stopped. “Yes I know, it was four in the afternoon, I felt you let go”. This was the exact time I made the decision to purchase my completion card. This confounded me. I felt a strange fascination with this form of energetic connection that I would never have believed possible. It seemed to suggest a bond between us but what did it mean? It seemed to be over before it began but little did I know that what I thought was the completion was actually the start of a strange psychic love affair that would test my sanity and cause a total collapse of my existing paradigm.
“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern.
William Blake from his poem The Marriage of Heaven and Hell
I noticed it was challenging to completely disassociate myself from my feelings; for one thing we were in regular contact through a mutual client; for another her image would pop unexpectedly in my mind sometimes when I was meditating and occasionally in the lull between sleep and awakening. It was not that I was trying to think about her, it was more like a moth drawn to a flame and once the thought was there it was difficult to let it go. When we met there was no awkwardness, if fact I imagined I could feel an energy between us that was difficult to shake off. I found myself convinced that she had some feelings for me. It felt so strong that one morning after she showed up in my meditation, I asked her if she was sure about how she felt. This drew an irate response as she accused me of trying to invade her energy field; ironically I had shown up in a dream she had the same morning. It was all a bit much; I felt out of my depth and was relieved to be heading out of town for a ski trip.
I was going CAT skiing in Revelstoke, a town about six hours drive from Vancouver. (Cat skiing has nothing to do with domestic felines; it is transportation by a tracked vehicle to access fields of pristine powder.) My trip took me over a high mountain pass across the Coast Mountains; the road was relatively deserted and it was a comfortable drive on a clear, dark night. Then something strange occurred. Suddenly I imagined myself transported and I was observing the object of my desire contemplating changing her mind and going out with me. Our thoughts seemed connected, somewhat like the Vulcan mind meld from Star trek; I began to feel tears rolling down my cheeks; not tears of sadness rather they were related to a sense that I had no control over my future life; I had a sense that my life was going to change but I had no influence on the direction it would take. Then into my emotion intruded a strange comfort, a sense that was I being looked after and no matter what happened the result would be positive. This feeling was so palpable that I recall glancing over my shoulder to see if someone had mystically been parachuted into the back seat. I had no idea what to make of it; was this just the delusion of a lovesick mind? I felt very alone; I had no one with whom to share this experience; yet I was also intrigued, had I had a psychic encounter? Was such a thing possible?
For the next week I tried not to dwell on the memory, I had a wonderful week skiing however my curiosity haunted me like a powerful dream. Had this actually happened? I realized that there was only one way to put it to rest, I needed to connect with her but I was worried about the reception I would get. I called and left a message but got no reply. Finally in some desperation I left her a detailed message explaining what I had experienced and asking if she could put me out of my confusion by at least telling me if these were solely delusions of a deranged mind. Finally we spoke and the conversation was to say the least “strained”. She made it clear that she did not want to have any further conversations about our spiritual connection. “But can’t you tell me if I just made this all up,” I pleaded. I can still recall the combination of fear and excitement that her response created in me. “No you didn’t but that’s all I am going to say.” It is hard to describe my reaction. It was as though I had received a glimpse into a possibility that I had never even imagined. What did this say about energy, consciousness and human interaction? It felt quite overwhelming. Had I been looking at life through one of those narrow chinks that William Blake references? Was this an unexpected opening to the infinite? The foundations of my reality were quavering like aspens in a breeze, yet my exploration was just beginning.
When you find yourself with the Beloved, embracing for one breath, In that moment you will find your true destiny. Alas, don’t spoil this precious moment Moments like this are very, very rare.
From Thief of Sleep by Shahram Shiv
There was a strange anticlimax to all the excitement I had been feeling around this extraordinary encounter. I felt let down; I had received a glimpse of a relationship on a level that confounded me but now there was nowhere to go. My partner in this adventure refused to have anything more to do with me. Our relationship had become strained. The positive energy between us had evaporated like a will o’ the wisp. I think she felt that I had been abusing powers inherent in the universe; she believed I had been invading her psychic field and that I was the cause of this strange connection between us. I felt at a loss, wondering what this was about for me. Eventually I decided to put it behind me; it was time to move on. Although I seemed unable to control her image entering my conscious mind, I could make a choice on what to do when it happened. I resolved that whenever her image appeared in my mind, I would consciously switch gears and impose another thought or image. I would be like a pirate ship repelling rebel boarders who would not gain a foothold in my mind. I committed not to create the train of thought that led irrevocably to fantasy.
All went well with my new strategy; the power of her image to impose itself on my conscious awareness began to diminish, I seemed to be winning my battle and I felt hopeful that perhaps I was no longer having a negative effect on her. Then something very strange happened. I woke up at 2.05 am to a sense that there was a presence of some kind in my bedroom. For a moment it felt quite alarming, then I knew it was loving and I sensed it was connected to the object of my psychic connection. I relaxed and began to feel something like a charge of electrical energy flowing through my body. I did not try to understand it; I relaxed and allowed the connection; it felt quite blissful, somewhat sexual, a communion; it was as though I was experiencing a spiritual intimacy with my Beloved. It went on for hours then finally I felt the energy disappear; it was 4.30 am. Was it a dream? The word in my mind was bliss, which seemed so appropriate when I checked the meaning, “extreme happiness, ecstasy, spiritual joy and rapture.”
This blissful encounter repeated itself four times in the following week. Somewhat remarkably I did not feel deprived of sleep despite losing two or three hours every other night. Overall I felt positive to my strange encounters but I felt lonely; I had no one to share this with. Most of my friends would likely have referred me for psychiatric treatment. Another week passed and the connection continued on a regular basis. Finally I knew I had to tell someone but who? I had a client at Whistler that I thought may be helpful and supportive; I had already sensed a strong unconventional spiritual aspect to her nature. My intuition was right but her reaction amused me. “It’s not fair” she exclaimed, “It’s like all my life I believe in Santa Claus and you don’t. Then you’re the one to meet him!” She contributed some wonderful advice, “Do nothing, enjoy it and don’t worry.”
So another couple of weeks flowed by with continued visitations and blissful encounters. The only drawback occurred one night when I asked the presence to leave; the result was waking the next day feeling tired and irritable, a bit like an addict missing their fix. However after three weeks I became concerned about the long-term effects of this kind of nocturnal love affair. I knew that eventually I would have to share the details with the other party. After much coaching from my Whistler friend, I left a message explaining that I was having this intense spiritual encounter that I suspected had to with her but I had no idea how to stop it. She called me back and was not happy, to say the conversation was icy would be an understatement, frigid perhaps would be more accurate. She told me that for the first time in her life she had been having sleeping problems. She was waking in the middle of the night and knew I was involved. She accused me of deliberately focusing my energy on her and worried that my spirit was possessed with evil intentions. In return I shared that I had no idea how to stop it happening and that my sense was that her spirit was engaging me.
However she was convinced that it was nothing to do with her, she just wanted it to stop. We had reached a contretemps to which there appeared to be no ready solution. It seemed sad that for her it was all discomfort and disturbance while for me it has been beautiful and joyful. Were we to be stuck in this strange pas de deux for the foreseeable future? I was willing to let go but had no idea what I needed to do.
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.
Theillard de Jardin
Over the next few weeks the nocturnal visits began to diminish and finally stopped all together; I felt a combined sense of relief and disappointment although on a positive note, my friend’s wariness of my agenda began to shift and she became more open and willing to talk with me. She confided that after our telephone conversation, she had sought the advice of a Medicine Man. He had given her a crystal to prevent her spirit from wandering; something had definitely shifted and it felt like we had completed this shared journey. But the question still remained; what was this all about? It had opened my mind to possibilities that I had never imagined yet I still had no idea what it meant and why it had happened to me.
It was a short while later that I was walking with my ex-wife when she pointed to an image in Common Ground, a new age monthly magazine that featured an advertisement from psychotherapist she had interviewed for a paper at school. As I glanced at the face she indicated, I knew I had to see this person and ask her about my story. I am not sure why I felt so convinced that she was the person I should see, I just did. And it was not long before I found myself nervously sitting in her North Vancouver office wondering if it was all a big mistake. She was warm, attractive, easy to talk to and for twenty minutes I spilled the details of my strange adventure. As I concluded I somewhat plaintively asked “Does this make any sense to you at all?”
Her response was one of those pivotal moments in my life; it shifted my worldview for ever; “Of course it does,” she said “but you’ve got it back to front, you are not a human being having a strange spiritual experience, you are a spiritual being living a human one.” Suddenly it all made sense, I felt like a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. As the session continued she placed a context around my experience that helped me make sense of it. She talked about each of us being connected to a greater whole – Spirit or whatever words we wish to ascribe to it. She hypothesized that perhaps at some other level of consciousness, my friend and I have a deep soul connection that for some reason has bled through to the human plane of existence.
It all made sense but more importantly created a huge desire to explore this new potentiality. Something was catalyzed in me a little like yeast being added to dough; my curiosity expanded dramatically. She recommended a number of books that I devoured; this new spiritual reality convinced me beyond any doubt that my life must have meaning and my task while in this body was to pursue it. I felt a little like a knight of the round table seeking the Holy Grail. Much may have changed, my concepts of the divine have shifted, I had to learn some humility and that we don’t find answers to all of the mystery no matter how hard we try, but I have not lost sight of this quest during the ensuing fifteen years. (See http://wp.me/phAyS-as )
Postscript: I lost touch with my psychic friend after she left the advertising community but I received a lovely card including these words, “Anyway I wanted to let you know that you’ve touched my heart. It’s a strange connection that we share but I have stopped questioning it, instead I am thankful for knowing you and for the things I’ve learned from this process. You have taught me more than you’ll know. I wish you love and light on this earth walk.”