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Mystical Experience

In January of 2006 I hiked to the end of Tomales Point – the northernmost point of the landmass on the western side of the San Andreas Fault.

Over the course of the 10-mile hike, on the way away from civilization, among herds of wild elk, with cliffs to the sea on either side, buffeted by LSD, sunshine, and salty wind, the hike quickly took on deeply spiritual overtones and became a “Pilgrimage.”

By the time we reached the point, I was experiencing a full-blown “mystical experience,” as all distinctions between all things dissolved.

My normal, limited perception of time, the boundaries between self and the universe, between “out there” reality and “in here” consciousness – it all was stripped away, leaving me awestruck at the infinitely connected Oneness of all things.

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mystical experiencing

mystical experiencing

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It sounds hippy-dippy, I know, but it felt more real than anything I have ever experienced, and there was simply no way to deny it.

On the way back toward civilization, coming down slightly from the peak experience, I began trying to integrate this new perspective into my limited human life and outlook.

The main “take away” was about the importance and validity of Intuition – I’d previously discovered that Reason alone cannot help answer any of the truly important questions in life – but had been at a loss when trying to figure out how to proceed from there. The realization that all things were profoundly and mysteriously interconnected opened the door to all kinds of possibilities, with only one way to navigate through them – intuition, continual leaps of faith, trust in myself and in the universe.

However, this flew in the face of all I’d believed – or more precisely, disbelieved, for so long, in my formative years as a hardcore rationalist.

For years I had steeped in a nihilistic, meaning-denying atheism based in a fundamentalist hyper-rationalism, in which all faith was a crutch for weak-minded people, and spirituality was a bunch of feel-good make-believe for people unable to face their own meaningless mortality.

Powerful as the experience on Tomales Point was, the new perspective it gave me  soon came under sustained assault by my habitual well-honed skepticism and doubt.  I quickly found myself struggling to hold onto the meaning and beauty I had known to be True back in California.


Synchronicity

Is the universe really magical – or at least interconnected enough to be indistinguishable from magic?

Does consciousness exist more or less locked up in the black box of the skull, or does it interact with reality directly in ways that cannot be accounted for by a narrow reductionist/materialist perspective?

Could intuition really be a useful compass for navigating reality?

Questions like these were constantly, heavily on my mind in the days following my return to habitual life in Minneapolis.

Then, the week I got back from California, I went to a thrift store with my friends, where I found myself powerfully and pointlessly drawn to purchase an old aluminum teapot.

I had no idea why the heck I liked it (it was missing a strainer and I didn’t drink tea, anyway) – but in the spirit of following my intuition, as I’d vowed to do in the aftermath of my mystical experience, I could not resist. So I bought it, telling my friends that “I don’t know why, but I just feel like I want this in my house.”

The teapot came home, and I tried to wrest some meaning from it … but as the days passed and nothing meaningful or even interesting came to pass, I inevitably began to accept that I hadn’t been hearing the voice of mystical intuition when I bought it, after all – I’d just been stoned at the thrift store, and bought some shiny junk.

One day the following week, I signed the papers to buy the house I’d been renting for 8 years – no longer worried about this major transition, thanks in large part to the perspectives I had acquired during my mystical experience on Tomales Point.

Later that same evening, I suddenly decided I was going to explore the crawlspace under the back stairs – which, bizarrely, I had never even looked into during the last 8 years – in spite of my primary passion for exploring places hidden, forgotten, and underground.

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exploring the crawlspace

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As I crawled beneath the stairs, I felt something hard in the soft dirt beneath the plastic sheeting – a kinda domed bulge, sticking up slightly above ground level.

So I wormed one arm under the plastic, and probed the mystery object, which was embedded in the dirt. Carefully pulling it out, I twisted onto my back to examine it with the flashlight.

It was a teapot I’d discovered – ancient-looking, aluminum, covered in white corrosion, missing its handle, powdered grime pouring from the spout …

… and identical to the teapot I’d just been compelled to buy.

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synchroniciteapots

the two teapots

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It seemed inescapable; I had asked the universe if I could really believe in intuition, in, essentially, magic … and the universe had answered with a resounding “yes” – in the form of “synchronicity.”


Aftermath

After the teapots, I started paying a lot more attention to coincidences. I wrote down several of the stories in various places – emails, social network sites, etc – and in 2007 or so I decided to try to compile them all into one place.

Some clearly seemed like synchronicity, others like mere coincidences – most were somewhere in between – sometimes they seemed likely to be mere, random co-incidences … but other times, it seemed possible or even probable that they were evidence of mysterious connections.

That list of synchronicities and coincidences was the seed that this blog has sprouted from.

Once I had them compiled, I felt compelled to share them, open them up to the world, and see what might come from it (the same compulsion that led me to post the Teapot story on my urban exploration website, even though I was embarrassed to be discussing such “new-age hippie” thoughts in public).

So this blog is my exploration of synchronicity – I’ll be writing up the experiences I’ve had over the past few years, new ones as they come up – and whatever thoughts seem worth sharing on the way.

Where we wind up should be interesting – stay tuned.

synchronicity

Related posts:

Crawlspace Exploration (original writeup on ActionSquad.org)

Teapots Happen v1 (2/17/06 email)

Teapot Tale – alternate ending

surf to a random post

synchronicities timeline

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Responses

  1. hey – so glad to see you are jumping into the synchronicity thing. thanks for the link to connectingstories.com.

    This is a great line: “… it was more real than anything I have ever experienced, and there was simply no way to deny it.” But then you began trying to deny it. We all do it.

    best,

    Jane

  2. Your teapot story is great! I’m reminded of the characters from *Close Encounters of the Third Kind* who kept seeing Devil’s Tower in their heads without knowing what it was, and then got confirmation of their visions when they saw it in person. I was instantly compelled by the image of the crawl space – such a tangible example of exploring the hidden nooks and crannies of existence! Looks like this Action Squad is doing plenty of that. Ralph Metzner once made a comment about something that happened to him during his first “mystical experience”: He said there was a shift in his consciousness in which he began to see himself not as a passive observer of his surroundings, but an active participant. The example he gave was of trash cans: If he were walking by a trash can, rather than merely having it make some kind of impression on his senses, it occurred to him that he could lift up the lid and see what was underneath. (He didn’t actually do this with trash cans – this was just an example to illustrate the perspective shift he’d gone through.)
    Speaking of Metzner and his explorations, it appears that you and I had the same catalyst for the type of consciousness change that can bring on these types of synchronistic experiences. The things I saw and learned at a conference in Palo Alto got me very interested in the potentials of certain transcendental medications (with which I’d had minimal experience before then), and from there, mind-blowing synchronicities started happening left and right for me. (I often don’t mention this, because a lot of people who hadn’t had first-hand experience with this sort of thing would simply assume my experiences were hallucinations brought on by brain damage!)
    After having had more synchronistic experiences than I can count, I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re essentially psychic in nature. In my opinion, when you think of someone you haven’t seen in years, and that person calls at that exact moment, it’s because on subconscious levels, you “heard” each other. It comes as no surprise to learn that Jung’s full name for synchronicity was “psychic synchronicity,” because almost every case of synchronicity that I’ve seen can be interpreted in this way. My perspective: You subconsciously knew that the teapot was in your house, and you also knew that there was an identical one at the thrift shop, so you led yourself to the places where they both were. Why you did this isn’t for me to know, but I suspect it was at least in part to prove to yourself that this stuff is real, and that the recent perspective shift you’d undergone was valid. As you said, you brought back a souvenir! May it serve as a reminder that information is nonlocal.

  3. TIMELINE

    01/15/2006 mystical experience

    01/22/2006 teapot 1 bought

    01/30/2006 teapot 2 found

  4. Awesome synchronicity………. I read it in crawlspace and I’m so grateful to have been in sync and finding your lovely story, thank you for sharing it……. I was laughing when you were talking about the mystical moment……I can really resonate with the feelings that you might have been experiencing while you were typing it (OMG people are going to be thinking “He’s lost the plot!!!”) All my friends and family think I’m a bit cukoo! It’s all good!

  5. Hello, Kindred Spirit! I love your story–all of it–your mystical experience at Tomales Point, the synchronicity (and whimsy of that!) with the teapots. I’m looking forward to reading your posts! Yes, magic is real, and fun, misty-swirly sometimes, but but down-to-earth in cowboy boots in others.

    Thanks for the duck video you posted on my blog. What a delight!

    Blessings and Beauty,
    Jane

  6. Thanks for writing. . . Consider that the “cognitive dissonance” you experience is that of someone who questions the status quo, the prevailing cultural “truths,” and ignore the labels (and guilt) that people like to assign. Synchronicities seem to be the signposts to larger experience.

  7. Carl Jung wrote, “In writing this paper I have, so to speak, made good a promise which for many years I lacked the courage to fulfill. The difficulties of the problem and its representation seemed to me too great…

    If I have now conquered my hesitation and at last come to grips with the theme it is chiefly because my experiences of the phenomenon of synchronicity have multiplied themselves over the decades.”

  8. I love the teapot story, it’s fabulous – how wonderful for you!

    I also really like your ‘down-to-earth’ approach. I too was a skeptic until around 1995, when I finally had my eyes opened. And I’m also aware that my family may well think I’m slightly nuts – but what the hell, they’re the ones missing out on one of the more exciting aspects of being alive. And I KNOW this stuff is real ;)

  9. simon here, the real name is robert. i like the teapot story. Check original synchronicity stories web site, as of 7/10, 5 out the last 16 are this guys (2%of all his stories). but point is I know Point Reyes, unfrotunately because of, well whatever, have never taken the oppurtunity altough have wanted to for a long time, to go out there to lands end, where your sorounded 340 degrees by sea water.

  10. this is so strange!!!! i just found a freaking teapot just like that! we were trying to find out the value since it was so old like early 1900′s any guesses or should i take this as a sign or a blessing of sorts

    • Wow, amazing that you found your way to this blog in your research – so yes, I’d take it as a good sign at least … they certainly seemed to be good for me, anyway. :) I don’t know that they are worth much, but if you find out let me know … especially if you learn more abotu when they were made, etc – I’d be curious of course!

  11. i got the shivers reading the teapot story. from now on, every time something unexplainable happens i’m going to say “teapots happen.”

  12. I tend to read your story of the teapots whenever I find myself wallowing in the doldrums and afterwards I always feel somehow enlightened and aware that living and life isn’t full drudgery and sorrow and pain unless we decide it is.
    So thanks for your teapots.

  13. i love this – and the synchronicity of finding two other Janes in the list of people that replied (when i was considering whether i should or not, did i have something profound to offer or not….)

    the universe gave me some Janes….

    i love the gift of synchronicity- i love the feel ing of how those moments just are like a rocket booster through life – propelling me through – giving me faith in the steps i am taking helping me to trust this wonderful life….

    your teapots will stay with me – is there a way i can follow your postings???

    jane

  14. yup – just click on one of the “subscribe” options at the bottom of the right column, and you should get an email whenever I add a new post.

    And I’m glad you commented!

  15. Dear Jane from another Jane:

    Love your phrasing: like a rocket booster through life… giving me faith!!! So true. Keep looking, keep reading. Check out my stories of synchronicity too at

    http://www.connectingstories.com

    Teapot guy and I have been doing this for quite some time… Join us!

    Jane

  16. You wrote: “For years I had steeped in a nihilistic, meaning-denying atheism based in a fundamentalist hyper-rationalism, in which all faith was a crutch for weak-minded people, and spirituality was a bunch of feel-good make-believe for people unable to face their own meaningless mortality.”

    What’s interesting to me, as a natural born spiritually oriented person, is how my experience of atheists as described here produced the same conclusion about them: that rationalism was a crutch for weak hearted people, people who could not sense a presence and intelligence at work in the world greater than their own minds or egos.

    Funny.

  17. Too much brain, too much heart, too little of either … balance is key to keep, but easy to lose it seems. In my case, I threw out the baby of spirituality with the bathwater of religion.

    (See this post for a little bit more on the dangers of hyperrationality: http://teapotshappen.wordpress.com/2009/06/24/apple-eaters-anonymous )

  18. I love it, teapots. Love it. Thank you (well, thank universe, divinity, collective unconscious . . . . . .) for discovering my page and providing links for myself and angelicboy.

    I like the layout of your blog as well. I like that the first page tells us what we’re getting into. I’m going to poke around, get some more ideas so and see if I can’t come up with a similarly tasteful and easy to navigate page for myself.

    Very, very cool.

    Sending hugs to you, stranger,
    ~Tessagirl

  19. Nice nice story! I’m reading “The spontaneous fulfillment of desire-harnessing the infinite power of coincidences” by Deepak Chopra and I just decided to search the Internet for synchronicities journal and “Teapots happen” was the first to pop. I had the shivers too when I read your story. Il bookmarked your blog! Thanks for sharing!

  20. I can’t help but comment…it appears you’re drawing Jane’s to you.

    Synchronicity gives me a rush, excites me, opens my eyes wider and wider. I love looking for what happens next.

    Thank you for sharing.

  21. Fun!
    Before you know, you ruin one, or give it away or sell the old one, or something. And, before you move out of your house, burry the other, the new one, into your crawlspace. Just to find it back in 50-or so years by you, jumping back to the first time you started out on earth.
    :-)
    You never know, isn’ t it?

    ps. I see synchronicity as a power humans share among each other. Because we are not the same, we are alike. It is why we can love each other, for instance. It makes us mate, share values, genes, whatever.

  22. This is awesome. I love stories like these! Synchronicities are powerful clues from someplace cool ;)

  23. Hi

    I don`t think that atheism rules out being interested in what is usually called “mystical”. There`s bound to be an endless number of things in the universe we don`t still understand, but maybe one day things like synchronicity are “just” as natural a part of our everyday lives as the law of gravity, when we get to explore and understand them.

    • yep, I agree with you now, although my atheism in younger years left no room for such “new age” thinking, and had no tolerance for anything that hinted at spirituality. I don’t think atheism HAS to be that way, but for me it was a “fundamentalist hyper rationalism.”

  24. A very impressive synchronicity to say the least. It certainly appears that this kind of “message” is a cosmic green light reinforcing the experiencer to keep traveling in the direction they are going. However there is a crucial question at this point which has been the prime motivation for my 50 year investigation of the perplexities of meaningful coincidences (synchronicities). Messages imply a sender, sender implies a location, sender and location imply consciousness. The messages are also directed at particular selves who experience the messages as directed for themselves. The answer to this question is divided into an implied debate starting with Plato and Aristotle (a transcendent realm of ‘spirituality’ on the one side to an immanent realm of existential humanity expressed in science- and progressing to current times in an implied debate between the Jungians and the Freudians (and object relations theorists.
    The conclusion I have reached is found in my soon to be released book called DEMYSTIFYING MEANINGFUL COINCIDENCES (SYNCHRONICITIES: The Evolving Self, The Personal Unconscious, and The Creative Process.

  25. Gibbs – I am intrigued by your effort to ‘demystify synchronicity.’

    While a subconscious psychological process seeking to resolve difficult problems could make sense of many synchronicities, it does little to explain things like my teapot experience, or many other such stories in which the subject could not have the necessary knowledge, consciously or unconsciously – at least not without telepathic or psychic powers, or the ability to tap into a consciousness far less limited and narrow than the personal.

    I tend to think that you can have a perfectly “naturalistic” explanation that does not limit the “messenger” to the personal subconscious: by recognizing that consciousness is not quite as hermetically sealed in our skulls as mechanistic materialism assumes, and by being open to the possibility of consciousness existing outside of brains.

    Of course, until science catches up with my mystical intuitions (heh) I suppose any such theorizing is unlikely to attain the label “naturalistic” … do you think the personal subconscious is at all able to access information in strange ways? I can’t quite tell from your website.

  26. http://www.crystalinks.com/synchronicity.html

  27. Doood. So awesome!!

  28. Just thought of you/this site and thought that I better send a note – hope all is well.
    Fran
    (the maker of that horseshoe crab card)

    • glad you thought of me! I’m doing great, in spite of a break-up, a lay off, and a blown head gasket … things are as they are supposed to be and I’m having a lot of fun! The synchronicities are still rolling in but I may be getting to a point where I am less awed/dubious and more likely to simply smile and nod, duly noted, thanks – accepting that this is how the world works. Been getting better at following my intuition without getting all hung up on my rationalist skeptici … aw man I should probably get back to some updates now that I’m laid off, or at least a “I’m still here and all’s well” post …! thanks for the reminder. And the horseshoe crab card!

  29. Nice story :)
    Although I may not be as spiritual in my understanding of a connectedness, I appreciate the manner in which you presented things.

    I’ll visit again…

  30. [...] For a really good explanation of Synchronicity, along with some great examples of it’s power, read this guys story:  Tea Pots Happen [...]

  31. I may have missed it, but what does it all mean? I mean really? Where did the teapot under the house come from?? Why was it there! So interesting. Amazing story, I am reading more of your blog but I sure wish you kept up to date…how I ventured to your site was I was remembering a trip I took to Brainerd years ago, along the side of the road was a church and a huge old abandoned building, it was spooky. I did a search…found urban ruins, I have been reading that for a good hour and got to your story and clicked here. I never did find out anything about that building.

    • “What does it all mean?”

      Heh … that’s a question I am not going to pretend to have answers to. For me though, hmm … nutshell: the teapots meant that I can accept (as meaningful, useful, valid, and even ‘true’) the experience/understanding I had of reality while I was having my “peak experience” in California. I guess maybe it turned me from a Reductionist Materialist Atheist into a Perennialist Mystic Atheist, if that helps. :)

  32. Well.. one blatant interpretation would be “As above, so below”.

    I love your story.

    I think there are as many reasons for a synchronous experience as there are such experiences. We live in a, for the moment, deeply mysterious Quantum Universe which is often ‘unfathomable’.

    The closest that I and many others have come to solving this mystery in the understanding that our thoughts create our reality.

    We are ‘as gods’. We are simultaneously in awe of, and in denial of, indeed terrified of our power.

    I think that some synchronous experiences are provided as a way of our ‘higher Godlike self’ … our non-local Quantum Mind (which sees and knows all) calling attention to ‘something’ that needs to be pointed out for one reason or another … almost like a warning or danger signal.

    Other such experiences may be a ‘call to faith’… to lesson designed to point out that the ‘solid predictable world’ we see ain’t necessarily so… and to TRUST in what we call our ‘intuition’.

    I like to think of intuition as an almost audible dialogue with our ‘higher Godlike self’…. our non-local all-powerful Quantum Minds.

    Sometimes, when we get powerful hints of our ‘higher Godlike self’ power via seeming ‘coincidences’ and ‘synchronous phenomena’, we begin to believe in the power of Magick.

    I think Magick is a way of FOCUSING our awesomely powerful ‘higher Godlike self’ Quantum Minds on a desired outcome… and is a very ‘concrete’ way of bringing about a result for people who are skeptical of spiritual ‘unseen’ methods of doing the same thing by people who are tuned into the sheer creative power of their ‘higher Godlike self’ Quantum Minds are able to achieve by thought/mind power/ alone.

    About 40 years ago I had an encounter with a UFO which haunted me for years! It was an encounter which was so utterly vivid that I had no doubt of what I saw. What haunted me… what begged for an explanation was the fact that it changed shape… from saucer like with rotating lights to a ‘flying wedge’ comprised of giant balls of flashing red and green lights making a rather menacing ‘buzzing’.. .zzzzzzzz sound… then back to a flying saucer shape with rotating portholes/windows (it was a lot closer by now)… then it instantly sped off at an unimaginable speed eastward toward the ocean.

    In doing some research of the literature, I learned that other people had experienced ‘shape shifting’ UFO encounters as well. And the speed at which they travel is legendary.

    Equally puzzling about ALL UFO encounters is the fact that they leave no physical trace… and thus are the butt of jokes and the fodder for skeptics.

    Many years passed, and I read about Quantum Theory, but its connection to my UFO encounter/experience still it didn’t sink in.

    Then I read an account by Immanuel Velikovsy, who had been friends with Einstein toward the end of his life. One day he was sitting with Einstein as they were looking out the window which I’m guessing overlooked a stretch of marsh or grassland of some kind (Einstein lived in Princeton, NJ)… the kind of terrain where you are likely to see vast flocks of starlings wheeling about, forming themselves into all kinds of fluid, amazing shapes.

    If you want to see what this has to do with anything, much less UFO’s, take a look at the FB note I wrote entitled “How Being Scared by a Flying Saucer in 1970 has Led to Discovering a ‘Unified Field Theory’ of ‘Reality” : https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=192368204141179#!/note.php?note_id=494238507925

    Bottom line, as of now, we are left with an ‘unprovable’ thesis… due to the fact that ANY observation, whether believing or skeptical, will alter the results accordingly!

    So we ‘stuck’ with our own ‘conclusions’.

    I personally believe that each of us has the power as ’100th monkeys’ to alter the course of history… for the best… by imagining and thinking the very best thoughts.

    Of course, if you don’t believe that, then you get to validate that ‘dis-belief’ as well!

    cheers!
    <3<3<3

    Jacqueline


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