Something happened that I still cannot explain. I saw, or more accurately felt, a shimmer of light in the corner of the room above the foot of the angiography table. I quickly looked to see if the pump team was using a lighting device that perhaps reflected off the wall, but they were not. I looked again, somewhat puzzled, and suddenly had the profound sense of a deep, overwhelming, calm presence, in stark contrast to the frantic activity in the room. It was unmistakable! I was amazed.
Staring intensely at the ceiling, she wondered why no one else could see it and whether she was losing her mind. Then a thought formed in her with clear words, “He’s watching . . . and he’s fine!” Despite frantic efforts by the medical staff, the patient died. After the doctor reported the sad news to his wife, Amatuzio sat alone with her and felt a shiver when she heard, “I can hardly believe this has happened. . . . He said he would be watching . . . and he would be fine.”
Another incident in Beyond Knowing is an example of precognition, knowing something through extra-sensory means. A husband appears at his wife’s bedside saying he’s been in an accident and his vehicle is in a ditch where it can’t be seen from the road. She calls 911 and officers find him in a ravine not visible from the road. Later the desk sergeant says thoughtfully, “She told me that it didn’t really seem to be a dream. . . . He was really standing there, next to her bed.”
I have heard and read countless stories like this, and less dramatic incidents have happened to me. Just yesterday I was asking myself why I felt inexplicably glum and then minutes later learned some bad news. My most striking experiences with precognition are too personal to tell here. The stories fascinate me, and they also console me. When the world is too much with me, when human greed, wretchedness, perversity, stupidity, and ignorance depress me, my soul is refreshed by evidence of Spirit, “the still point of the turning world” where reigns peace, wisdom, and beauty.
I am not unique in having experiences that science cannot explain. Everyone I talk to about this can tell her or his own stories except committed, fundamentalist atheists who are also physicalists, firm deniers of that reality which is beyond description.
Three Cups of Tea tells the story of American Greg Mortenson building schools in the backwaters of Pakistan. One person critical to his effort was nudged aboard by a providential occurrence. Julia Bergman was traveling over the Himalaya Range on a helicopter when the pilot asked if they wanted to visit a typical village. They happened to land near the one that had saved Mortenson’s life when as an injured mountain climber he’d wandered into it. Captivated by the villagers’ simple goodness, he had built his first school there, funded by another climber in the Himalaya, Swiss scientist and entrepreneur Jean Hoerni. Julia said,
I looked at a sign in front of the school and saw that it had been donated by Jean Hoerni, my cousin Jennifer’s husband. Jennifer told me Jean had been trying to build a school somewhere in the Himalaya, but to land in that exact spot in a range that stretches thousands of miles felt like more than a coincidence. I’m not a religious person, but I felt I’d been brought there for a reason and I couldn’t stop crying.At Jean Hoerni’s funeral, Julia met Greg Mortenson and offered to help. When he said he wanted to create a library for the school, she felt the same sense of predestination she’d felt before. “I’m a librarian,” she said.
This is an example of synchronicity, spiritual patterns discovered by Carl Jung. Synchronistic phenomena are connected by meaning but not by external causation. No ordinary reason can be found to explain Julia’s helicopter dropping down by precisely that school, and to claim it was only chance is preposterous. Her tears also signal a spiritual event, a moment when Spirit wrenches us out of the ordinary and into stupefied awareness of Itself and Its purposes.
Fundamentalist atheists deny the meaning in these phenomena because it threatens their physicalist belief that Spirit doesn’t exist, it interferes with their denial of all spiritual reality.
They’ll deny my friend Athleen’s story too. In response to an inner urge, Athleen changed her plans and went to church on All Soul’s Day, exactly two years after her mother’s death. Sensing someone at her side, she looked and saw her mother, who didn’t say anything but just stayed there a while and then disappeared.
Physicalists will deny my friend Tina’s story. In an email she said they were planning for her brother’s end.
Yesterday he told me he was ready to go . . . it was just he and I with the sun streaming in the room and it was such a nice peaceful chat. He said he was ‘over there' and they told him it was OK to come. Everything was all right.We are lucky, those of us who accept the mystery.
"I saw Grandma,” he said. “She was wearing a blue skirt and had her hair all up like she did it."
“So what did she say?”
"Oh nothing. She just smiled and waved at me."
Our maiden name is Walz, and on the way out of the hospital it came to me. Blue Skirt Walz. I smiled all the way to the car.