If, like me, your conscious mind has repeatedly been blown by a varied array of unusual adventures and left you asking, "What the...?", you may want to read on. What you'll find here are musings on morality and personal stories of the (as yet) unexplained, or what I call...
Angles for Unlikely Mystics
"It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul."
From Invictus by William Ernest Henley
Dead reckoning (nautical): a method of estimating your current position based on a previous position calculating with course and speed over a known interval of time.
In broad daylight on the sidewalk of a busy street I had a brief and overwhelming experience that forever changed the course of my life. At the time, I was torn between two impressions of the event. Either I was having a psychotic break, or I’d experienced the onset of something novel, benign, and beneficial.
On a beautiful autumn day, I was walking down the street when suddenly, everything disappeared. I was held spellbound, suspended in soft murk, a kind of dynamic near-darkness that coiled and swirled in front of me. I watched as a picture formed.
Less than a second was the longest moment I've ever known. I'd taken only half a step on the sidewalk; I stumbled when I regained my vision. In the brief aftermath I was bewildered and completely confused and so utterly moved, I wept.
During the cold winter months, I tried forgetting, with little success. I wanted to dismiss the event as random, a one-off, and live convinced it would never happen again. I also wanted to believe in a powerful hunch that nagged and haunted me - the experience felt like receiving a message from across a vast distance.
In good conscience, I could not choose one perspective over the other.
Then, on a warm spring afternoon six months later, I walked into the scene.
I instantly recognized the picture from my moment of madness on the street and understood the reality of the previous event. In that amazing moment, I knew beyond the shadow of a doubt I had briefly glimpsed the future.
I was equally astonished, perplexed, and deeply moved (without the shock and the weeping) but the second event was like setting in place the last piece of a large and complicated puzzle. My rational mind was appeased and relaxed, almost as if to say, "Good luck with that," quickly delivered with more than a little sarcasm. My contrary opinion, the one suggesting a message, left me at times ecstatic and always insatiably curious. In the weeks and months and years that followed, I was driven to discover the dynamics at play in that mysterious moment.
But...I had conditions. I wanted practical answers, not platitudes and puzzles.
Eventually, I found some of those answers by using my own methods, in the same way a navigator might use dead reckoning to determine position and set a bearing.
I didn't have to choose between thinking of myself as little crazy or wondering if I'd been shown a window into other worlds. As it turns out, both perspectives are partly true, but only true strictly speaking, in a highly biased atmosphere of ridicule and fantasy, the mood created by the body of material written on the topic.
Over time, I’ve been learning - and struggling with - how to encourage and manage my unusual experiences in what some call "non-ordinary reality”. I'll confess - I'm a bit of a late bloomer. I've spent almost as much time sabotaging my dreams as I have creating them, and so I’m going to describe my process as “gonzo mysticism” (Thank-you, Hunter S. Thompson) and do my best to depict a wealth of genuine, bizarre, and fantastic events while sharing my personal perspectives on one of the most controversial topics of all time.
As an atheist and a guy who, like many people, scoffs at the term “paranormal”, I find myself wanting to use a different, more personal and, I believe, a more appropriate vocabulary for an mostly undiscovered and common natural ability.