Friday, November 18, 2011

2 pennies and a quarter: What do the occurrences, the coincidences mean?

Last night was one of the  most interesting evenings I have had in a long while. I was sharing with my friend Molly a few days ago about how my day changed from the norm because I exited the building via a different door. Since that day, I have found occurrences to be shifting in ways that are predictable, yet surprising. I feel some of this revolves around a quote I read out of the Rock Warrior's Way (by Arno Ilgner):
"Develop your receptivity to intuition. When you receive an apparently random thought, don't simply discard it. Stay curious and follow it. See where it leads. Intuition whispers to you between your conscious thoughts. Listen to those subtle thoughts and feelings just below the level of your consciousness (p. 96)."

After struggling mentally and emotionally with a precarious situation involving my RAs, I read an email from a man I had met briefly at Appalachian State. He produced the video for Project Big Green Tree. In the email he shared thoughts about how...
"your words stuck with me. I and my 3 year old daughter walk our dogs everyday, and while we are out, we pick up trash along the 2 miles that we walk...everyday. While we are doing this I try and teach my daughter the importance of not littering in the first place and why we should be responsible and pick up other peoples litter too. It makes me feel good to see a clean stretch of road or to pick up a piece of litter off of a sidewalk that others simply ignore and step over."
These words stuck with me. I, in many ways, could not even begin to comprehend the impact of what this man had written. His thoughts were so sincere, and I feel like I barely had gotten to know him for more than a few hours. But, in that short span of time, this man harbored something that I envisioned and cherished and decided to pass it on back:
"So thank you for your influence on me. I hope it spreads to more people in the future. I know am trying to be part of the solution instead of part of the problem. That is one reason I am not there anymore, trying to take care of a problem that was not suppose to be known. But when something tries to put you down, keep on keeping on...especially when you are doing the right thing like you doing. Take care of yourself Al and I hope we meet again one day."
Reading that, I had no clue what to do. The hour was getting late but I had no desire for sleep. My girlfriend Maura had told me of a meteor shower going on in another hour or two at 12 midnight so I decided to venture outward, outside my comfortable apartment.

My walk took me up and around Boone, into the quieter parts of town. I passed a few college students going the same direction as I down the dark street, and in not knowing what to say, told them there was a meteor shower happening from 12p till 5am. They thanked me as I continued past them, bundled against the cold wind on a cloudless night. I eventually came to one of my favorite spots in Boone, Junaluska Neighborhood Park. In this space so close to town, I sought release from the woes of my mind, my day.

As I walked through the parking lot barefoot, having removed my shoes and socks on a passing whim, the blaring yellow of the bright street lights pinned a reflection off a metallic, copper looking object. It was indeed a penny that I had happened across, cold and solid in its perch upon the concrete. My friend Luke would have been stoked! Now, this is where the story takes on some crazy, unexplainable things, but perhaps it relates back to what Arno was saying about receptivity to intuition...

As I picked up the penny a thought popped into my head with the date 2007 (I always am interested in the date of a coin, because I imagine it as a tiny fractile of someone's life that I am picking up, and that I have a duty to be responsible with it). Sure enough as I turned the coin over in my gloved palm, "2007" was the date! What?? How could this be....?

I shrugged it off as luck and paid little attention to the premonition I had in my head about the date. A few steps later, the street light again cast a glimpse off a familiar object: another penny! Again, a date appeared in my head before I even picked up the penny: "2010." Indeed, the date confirmed 2010! What was it that led to this? After the 2nd occurrence of a penny, I realized I had observed an intuitive thought - and in my reflecting and reading this morning - indeed the thought was generated below the level of my consciousness, something that intuition whispered to me, begging curiosity to follow.

Now, if you feel the story has reached its climax, you may be right - as I, too, initially thought. However, this was not the case. I went on to practice rail walking the square wooden fence that lines the park. This fence, maybe 2-3 feet of the ground, is as wide as a 2x4 and as thick as a human thigh - enough to support my weight plus some. In this period of forced concentration, intentional breathing, and bodily balance, I observed the instability of my mind, perhaps my Ego, as I sought to move along the fence line without falling. Many times I took the short stumble to the ground, landing on my feet, but that was only the half of it. I witnessed, as I have in the past on the same fence, the distraction of the higher mind. This cerebral space culled me to be focused in reflection and abstract to the events passed, and away from the 'here and now.' After continually observing the distracting thoughts as I took in the night sky above and felt the chilly air of the evening,  I decided to lay down - hoping to see some meteors as Maura had mentioned.

In that open, face-up position on the ground nothing came that could be attributed to things of interest. I enjoyed the quiet space my mind and body found together for a number of minutes and decided that it was too early for the meteor shower. I stood up and proceeded through the far side of the park back towards downtown. Along my way was another smaller park that I often frequent for solitude and reflection. This park had no trees above its square, green play space, and so therefore sightlines yielded to the open sky above. It was here that I lay down along the edge of the mulching to take in the view overhead.

"Stronger my concentration grew while faster and faster my eyeballs in rapid movements moved as thoughts spun and spun."


As I gazed above into the vast void, face-up, my eyes quickly distorted focus and the stars in sky above began to quiver and disappear. Gone into my mind my thoughts and vision went. I became a passenger on a whirl ride of visions. Many of these visions were reflections of my life to date: my sister Stephanie and I having a snow ball fight from 15 years ago, a fight we had over the vacuum cleaner that resulted in upset; the spot where I lost my virginity - the details about the scene never noticed before; to name a few that I can recall. As the VCR-like fast-forward continued in reverse, I found the images to be dizzying, yet I wasn't loosing focus. Stronger my concentration grew while faster and faster my eyeballs in rapid movements moved as thoughts spun and spun. No longer was my mind engaged in my body, but solely in the inner space near the body's 3rd eye. Eventually there was an apex: my thoughts settled into numbers and then onto one number: 33. This was where the spinning and swirling of thoughts ceased. In this clairvoyance, I once again felt stability in my mind, and feeling in my physical self as my eyes slowly blinked open.
My body had become quiet cold as I had shunted all attention to my mind, completely relaxing my body - as we practice in yoga class at the end (corpse pose). I rolled over, sat-up and proceeded in silence down the narrow path towards a large parking lot with silence registering in my consciousness. In each intentional direction I looked, I saw instances of the number 3. The few parked cars that were there had almost all, in some form, an iteration of the number 3. I saw a few North Carolina plates, but nothing that surprised me outright. In the next moment I observed the thought of an Illinois plate in the low light only to realize it was a Georgia plate (my oldest sister lives in Illinois). I kept following curiosity and eventually came to a parking spot numbered 33. At first glance, nothing seemed out of the ordinary. Nothing at all. Then, similar to how Arno writes in the Rock Warrior's way, I had an intuitive moment to continue following curiosity and commit to less thinking - giving way to a lower, perceptive brain center to lead me. I found myself moving to observe the empty parking space from a different angle; to perceive it in a light I hadn't upon first glance. As I stepped backwards and again to the left, my curiosity led me to the spot beside it, number 32. There on the ground at my feet was a shiny quarter, an Illinois quarter to be exact! To many people, finding change isn't unusual, but in many occurrences before this, I had pursued loose change in this same parking lot with intentional thought and mind, only to come away empty. This time, however, I had found a rarity in the change-finding world: a quarter! and one that connected a loved one with my thoughts.
The pennies and quarter discovered!


*****

As I lay  down to bed, I slept with no recollection of any dreams I may have had. I barely even remember laying down. I awoke the next morning to the thoughts of the evening and events that had transpired. I had to write, to cast out what it is that I had experienced the evening before. 

What is it that I am to learn from all of this?  The events that transpired in the detailed story above serve to demonstrate something in my life. Perhaps you the reader extract something different, but to me, I have new renewal in my life. To follow my curiosity, to continue the non-violent fight for preserving what it is that I am passionate about: the wild spaces. And, to find a way to communicate the message about our responsibilities as humans on this Earth.

As I sit here and finish these final thoughts, I recall a moment earlier during my writing when I looked out my apartment window and saw 2 University employees smoking cigarettes, only to see them (sadly) discard their finished butts on the ground...

...and that is why I am alive, here on this Earth!
If you wish to join the non-violent fight, I would love to connect with you.

Much love to those that harbor thoughts towards a future different than the today. To those that have not seen the possibilities yet, I also have love for you because I know somewhere inside you is a bit of compassion for something you love; and, in turn, life will seek to extract that out. Be patient, stay the course of possibilities...always.

Much appreciation to all that have helped me in my path; and to those I have yet to meet, grow, and learn with.

Alan
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