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Happens

by on April 4, 2015

                                                                        Happens

                                                                by Marco M. Pardi

Note: All comments are appreciated, read, and responded to accordingly.  The comments sections for all previous articles have been opened for use.  I will certainly look forward to your comments. 

“Meditation is the breeze that comes in when you leave the window open; but if you deliberately leave it open, deliberately invite it to come in, it will never appear.”

KRISHNAMURTI (1895-1986) Meditations, p.14, Shambhala Publications edition, 1991

The use of that word as a title is unsettling, and meant to be so. Many people will reflexively try to preface it with “What” or “This” or some other variant that denotes a subject.  Even when so prefaced it can be disturbing as I noted decades ago when opting to avoid the cliché “What’s happening?” greeting by using “What happens?”  People often broke their rhythm;  “When?”, they asked.  I later tweaked that further by simply saying, “Happens”.  And they extended that from What or When to How, To whom, Why. 

It seems the concept of moment must be enfolded in some kind of context, some kind of before and after. Yet moments occur, and we often find ourselves attempting to discover the cause, seeing the moment as an effect not as an individually valid entity. We try to justify its occurrence, deeming it valid only if it fits within a paradigm which “makes sense” to us. And that paradigm, if unexamined, easily becomes a continuum which simultaneously generates and supports linear thinking.  Aristotelian cause and effect, Newtonian “clockwork universe” and the age old debate over Free Will versus Determinism ensue.

I sometimes comment that if I sense myself having a moment of happiness my first thought is I must be having a mini-stroke.  But perhaps my happy molecules just need to stretch once in a while.  And some events, in retrospect, can be amusing.  During a hard landing on rain soaked rocky ground I seriously twisted my left ankle.  Since any medical attention was days away I re-laced my boot extra tightly to contain the swelling and pain.  When I did get care for the by then grotesquely swollen and discolored ankle it was injected with a long acting pain killer and put in a hard plaster cast.  As I was dropping asleep that night my right foot bumped against something very hard and cold.  Living alone, and having been born lacking the Flight part of the Fight or Flight response, I instantly threw off the bedcovers and scrambled around to grasp and subdue the intruder. Finally accepting that an intruder could not possibly have escaped my bed so quickly – despite the women who came close to proving otherwise, I reasoned that my sedated left foot had been unable to signal my brain that my right foot had bumped it.

There again, I reasoned out cause and effect.       

But what about those moments that “come out of nowhere”?  Is it simply that we have not worked hard enough to identify the cause?  Since early childhood I have had spontaneous moments that are labeled as transcendent or mystical,  entirely untainted by any thought or sense of a god or similar woo-woo stuff.  I’m talking here of neither entheogenic states, arising from an internal chemical stimulus or change or of observant states in which externals are altered while the unaffected observer takes note;  I’m speaking of states which in fact defy linguistic description.  Even to say connectedness to all things is misleading since it divides ego from experience, implying one is joined to but not an indistinguishable part of Allness.  And, these are not experiences which can be summoned.  To my knowledge, one cannot say, “I’ve got an hour between appointments so I think I’ll transcend.”  One can buy a myriad of trinkets, stones, fragrances, “essential oils”, chimes, DVDs, mats, whoopie cushions and so on and still be the spastic with the beach ball – kicking it away each time you reach for it.

Happens.  Enjoy it.

Still, some events are so thrilling, so mystifying that one cannot escape wanting to “do it again.”  And, with some experiences it is hard to not search for meaning, for the What happens, the Why happens.  In knowing that some people see two sets of circumstances connected by “karma” and others see the same two sets of circumstances connected by random coincidence, the person experiencing these spontaneous states may pull back and question into which camp he or she falls, and why.

On one of my “anthropological” trips, long ago and far away, I was sitting in a village tavern with my contact/guide as he chatted up one of the local men for information about the village and any unusual persons coming through.  As the hours fled somewhere behind us these two men got increasingly drunk and my contact accepted an offer from the man that we stay the night at his home.  The man, whose age was hard to determine, was a widower who lived alone.  He was also the live-in caretaker for the village cemetery, a little over a kilometer outside the village.  His very modest home was a small cottage atop a slight rise in the (dead) center of the cemetery, a much battered Lada wagonette alongside. 

Once there, the two men went for a swim in the copious store of locally made “vodka” kept in a couple of dozen unlabeled bottles obviously re-used many times.  By 23:00 they were both near comatose.  I went back to the village to have a look around and found it dark and silent.  There was no wind.

Returning to the silent cottage around 01:30, I found the lavatory.  Apparently an addition stuck onto the back of the house, it projected out just far enough to house a toilet backing on a windowless wall.  To either side were open windows with curtains, each within arm’s reach from the toilet.  As I was sitting on the pot, passing judgment on the day’s events I realized I was humming along to some of the most beautiful singing I had ever heard.  There were no discernable words, just a lilting, high pitched feminine sounding chorus of many voices – coming from outside.  As I registered this I saw the curtains on each side blow inward and settle slowly back.  And, as my mind placed the sounds and recognized the improbability of the movement of the curtains the singing abruptly stopped.

I rushed into the main room and found the men where I had left them, not snoring, breathing so shallowly I thought of using a hand mirror to check if they were alive.  I checked each of the other rooms and found no television and only one radio – turned off.  Still, I knew the sound had come from the outside so I went out and looked around in the moonless gloom.  Nothing.

Now, I recognize that I am looking for a cause for this effect, this “happens”;  a What, or a Why. It was an observant experience.  I also recognize that since early childhood the reality of non-corporeal existence has been matter-of-fact with me, without any of the religious, Chief Spirit trappings so many people fall into.  And I suppose hanging out for a group sing along is something for the disincarnate to do.  But why in a cemetery, with a bunch of stiffs in boxes?  I had not had anything alcoholic to drink; I was wide awake.  The singing came from the cemetery, not from inside my head.  The curtains moved toward each other, not in on one side and outward on the other as they would do in a breeze.  Years later I did take an audio-visual crew into cemeteries two nights running with a wide variety of equipment.  We got both audio and visual anomalies, but no singing.

Hopefully, the disincarnate singing gig is voluntary.  While I prefer working at night that isn’t exactly my calling.  In the meantime, as I still ponder this “happens”, I would take great interest in your thoughts – even your singing if you’re up for it. 

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10 Comments
  1. “One can buy a myriad of trinkets, stones, fragrances, “essential oils”, chimes, DVDs, mats, whoopie cushions and so on and still be the spastic with the beach ball – kicking it away each time you reach for it.”

    Well said, Marco. The mystical experience needs nothing. Why does it seem so few (in my experience) realize this?

    It’s in every one of us.

  2. Thank you, Dana. I’ve often said, “So long as you think you can’t do it, you can’t”. I think our culture stresses empiricist thinking, with no discussion of the limits of that kind of thinking. We are encouraged to distrust ourselves.

    • I’ve had several items in my workplace trigger mystical experiences. One was a purple drape of fabric covering a display shelf.

      Admittedly, I have looked longingly at it several times since – fully knowing the moment of bliss will likely never happen again in that manner.

      The ability to discuss these spontaneous occurrences openly, without fear of judgment, is vital to me. I wonder how many others keep theirs a secret as I did for so many years.

      I no longer try to make sense of them, but I do appreciate these discussions.

      • Thanks, Dana. I think your question might be tempered with another question: How many people recognize what is happening when it happens – or even after? I’m really glad you are in an environment that is so very healthy for you.

  3. Marco, I’m glad you mentioned this. I certainly didn’t know what my experiences were for many years. I recall one as far back as six years old, in my back yard. Yet only as an adult did I often find these unsettling.

    Another that stands out is one my daughter experienced at the same time I did, when walking through a mall parking lot about five years ago. I felt it begin but said nothing. Then she remarked, “Mom, suddenly everything looks like it’s in HD, especially the trees. What’s happening? It’s so weird…” We sat in the car and were able to enjoy the moment somewhat, and I’m still astounded we both experienced it at the same “time.” Thanks to you, I’ve been able to tell her what it was.

    I wish for others to have the same good fortune I’ve known.

    I’m also glad for an environment where people choose their various paths, but never ridicule others for choosing differently.

    • Thanks, Dana. I also find your shared experience astounding, and have not heard of this before. That suggests a really special bond with your daughter. Of course, you are right in being cautious about whom you speak with about these experiences. I find it odd that so many people in this culture value non-rational experiences only if they appear to come from the “approved source”.

      • Marissa and I have a special bond I have with no one else. Like you, I would venture that is why it might have happened.

        We often say and notice things at the same time, and read one another’s thoughts. We’ve grown accustomed to it, but it’s been going on since she was very young. She is a highly intuitive individual.

        My sister and her daughter, now 24, share this same type of bond and relationship. My sister has answered her daughter’s question before the question was voiced aloud. Hannah will say, “I didn’t even say anything! How did you know what I was about to ask?”

        My sister’s response is usually. “But you DID say that, didn’t you? I heard it!”

        I find it all so fascinating, and wonder if we might have experienced this type of bond with our own mother had things been different. My mother is intuitive as well, but sadly squelched her gifts and intellect long ago.

  4. “Happens” is my go-to response when something untoward happens, often accompanied by a shrug or a sigh. I am pragmatic; I have always thought of these things as being just another part of life. I never talked to anyone about these things until well into my adult years, yet they were a part of my life for nearly as far back as I can remember. I sense, see, hear, and smell things others around me do not, but it’s such a normal part of who I am that it never occurs to me to speak of it.

    Often, there seems to be a reasonable explanation for these things. Sound travels at night, and that alone might account for your choir, but it doesn’t account for the movement of the curtains. I learned long ago to just accept these things, and to enjoy what they bring to my life.

    Sometimes I wonder if I just tell myself that these things occur, or if they are a special part of my reality. It’s good to know that I am not the only one to whom these things “happen”. Rose

    • Thank you, Rose. Indeed, you are not alone. And, I’m glad to read of your lifelong experience in this area. The incident I described took place long after the village, nearly a kilometer away, had gone silent and it definitely sounded right outside the house. When the curtains lifted inward, there was no accompanying breeze; it was as if they had been pulled inward by something central in the room. Obviously, I’ve tried to “rationalize” this over the years but it’s clearly beyond the realm of rational explanations – at least to me.

      And, like you, I’ve had a long history of various kinds of perceptions.

    • Rose, so glad you shared. And how happy I am we have the Internet to connect with others and learn of their experiences. Sure, I would love to see you face-to-face, but the depth of your words displays a great deal of who you are.

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