“What you seek is seeking you.” ~ Rumi
Recap: For the past four years, I’ve been haunted by the image of a Venn diagram.
Its persistent nudging reminds me of Steven Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind, the part where a bunch of people began obsessing over subliminal mental images of a mountain-like shape, sketching it, dreaming it, and making models of it. (Remember Richard Dreyfus and the mashed potatoes?) It turned out aliens were trying to make contact with them, luring them to that very mountain for a close encounter. And ultimately, they did.
For the record, I do not believe aliens are trying to contact me. Ha-ha, the very idea. However, (gulp), I am going to state as bravely as possible that I do believe someone/something is. Why? Because I asked for it, specifically. I sent an earnest call out into the universe. Then I sat back in silence to listen.
Mystical experiences are nearly impossible to describe. It’s hard to trust they could possibly be real, unless they’re happening very specifically to you. But I ask you to consider the Venn diagram in terms of your ability to accept what I’m about to share. Label one circle THE HOPEFUL BELIEVER, the other THE CYNICAL SKEPTIC. The sweet spot is in the middle—the almond-shaped mandorla where the two circles intersect. (The Hopeful Skeptic, perhaps?) That’s where one can embrace the mystical while still feeling grounded.
That’s the place from which I speak when I tell you: I felt a presence. I had an experience.
It was a night shortly after the 2016 election, and I lay in bed in that drowsy, gauzy mandorla sweet spot between AWAKE and ASLEEP when I called upon The Something Good, The Better Than Good, The Best I Could Fathom, and she and I made contact. We had a close encounter.
Who is ‘she,’ and what exactly was this encounter like? Get on with it already! Yes, yes, I hear you, and I’m trying. Really. I hesitate because I want so badly to explain in a way that won’t rile up your CYNICAL SKEPTIC self and cause you to deem me crazy or deluded.
But I guess I just have to take that chance.
It happened like this: I felt a whoosh of energy rush into my body, and I gasped. It brought with it a startling expansive feeling, a breathless, transcendent, floaty sensation that seized my chest and caused my heart to swell. My body warmed and hummed in response, taking in this energy like lungfuls of pure, fresh oxygen. My chest expanded as I drew more and more of this luminous force into my body, until it could hold no more and my chest seemed to crack wide open, to explode light out of the center of me, radiating, streaming outward in all directions. I gripped the bedding, and held on.
Then, something weird happened to the crown of my head. It too seemed to crack open, right in that place where in newborns there is a soft spot that eventually closes up into solid skull. But in that moment, it seemed not only porous, but wide open, to accept an overwhelming download of information. At least, this is how it seemed. But it was too much for me. Our brains are not capable of absorbing so much so quickly. I felt like I’d learned so much, but retained little of it.
Behind and within it all was a female presence. An indescribably warm, tender, mother-like presence that cherished me beyond reason. I have no choice but to express the overall sensation of the experience with the most overused and inadequate word in our human language: Love.
Then she asked me a very pointed, very specific question. It went something like this: Okay, so let’s get right down to it. Are you willing to accept this assignment? For real? If not, that’s okay, but we’ll need to find someone else.
Assignment? Okay. I’m a writer, and my career has been all about writing assignments and deadlines. But clearly, this was no normal “assignment.” For one thing, I wasn’t sure exactly what it was yet. But I understood that with or without me, this work would get done. If I declined, some other writer would step up and accept the job. So even though I could have said no (free will being what it is), the particulars seemed far less important than accepting the call to do it. The details will work themselves out later, I sensed. This, right now, is about making the commitment.
So I said yes. Of course, yes. I said, let it be me.
And I don’t mind telling you, it felt good to accept. No, that’s not accurate. It felt way better than good. It felt wonderful. My heart pounded and I was flushed with euphoria. It felt a whole lot in fact, like falling in love. Admittedly, there have been moments when my goofy, smitten smile has slipped and I’ve asked myself: “Yikes—now what?” Yet at the same time, a fire has been ignited in me that continues to simmer and glow and blaze.
Because soon after I said “yes,” the messages started coming.
(Collage by Cal)