Umm…That was REAL

I would have sworn on my life that I was standing in my living room. Something felt odd, but there was the oversized couch slumping on the East wall just as usual. The same stains dotted its cheap cloth surface. Magazines were carelessly strewn about on the coffee table. I looked toward the window. The blinds were down and slit open just enough to let the last light of the day through. The red seeped through the blinds and expanded through the air, casting an eerie glow on everything.

“This has to be a dream,” I said to myself. Everything appeared perfectly real, but something felt wrong. I looked down at my hands. They were lined and creased in all the right places. I saw the faint color of veins under the surface of my palms. Real…but I could not shake the feeling.

“I need a test,” I decided. “Details. I’ll look for details. If this place is a dream, There’s got to be a limit to how much detail I can explore.” I glanced around the room trying to decide what to investigate. After a moment of contemplation, I decided to examine the rug under my feet. 

It was perfectly normal. The geometric border of green and cream around the edge of the rug was just as it should be. The floral accents in light rose twirled in the corners, “God, why did my mom pick this thing?!” It was ugly. The twirled yarn of the fringe laid like seaweed across the floor. It looked right. I was almost convinced, but I needed a closer look.

I crouched down on my hands and knees. My face went down to examine the geometric patterns in earnest. I looked like an ape searching for bugs on his mate as my fingers rapidly separated the fibers of the rug and my eyes peered for detail. Each fiber of twirled fabric moved as my fingers parted them. I saw their attaching points, where they twisted, and where they ended. I saw the barriers between one area of color and another as my fingers crossed from one geometric pattern to another. I was convinced.

I stood amazed and said to myself, “I was wrong. This IS real.”

Then I woke. 

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This happened to me when I was around 18 years old. I had another dream several nights later where I performed an equally mind-boggling test; I caught my face in a mirror and did another detail check. I got only inches away from the mirror and peered into my reflection. I took careful note of my iris. It was blue and freckled with tinges of hazel near the pupil, just like in real life. The detail was astonishing. What sold me was when I happened to see a Coca-Cola can reflected in the mirror and the logo was correctly inverted in a mirror image. I concluded the dream was real then woke.

This tells me a few things. 

  1. The mind can imagine seemingly impossible detail.
  2. At least two parts of my mind were working independently of eachother; the part that was trying to convince me it was real and supplied the detail (The Convincer), and the part which suspected it was false and scrutinized (The Conscious).
  3. It’s a little disturbing that these two different parts acted like they had diametric agendas.
  4. The Convincer part was aware of what the Conscious was thinking, but the Conscious was clueless about the existence of the Convincer.

I will have to ponder these things some more. This relationship between the Convincer and the Conscious seems like a microcosm of the relationship between God and man; or at least my God and myself.

the daily prompt

An Obscure Synchronicity: Nathan Drake, Terence McKenna, John Dee, and House, M.D.

Nathan Drake, Terence McKenna, John Dee, House M.D.

Nathan Drake                               Terence McKenna                             John Dee                                           House M.D.

I have been keeping an eye on synchronous patterns for some time. I get immense satisfaction from seeing unexpected connections. I am filled with a sense of amusement at the force behind these impossible coincidences. I just experienced one of these strange connections between two obscure terms, “John Dee” and “ergot.” Here is how it came about:

Just the other day I was playing a video game I recently acquired called, Uncharted 3: Drake’s Deception. The game stars Nathan Drake, an Indiana-Jones-type adventurer with a knack for obscure history. In the chapter I was playing through, Nathan Drake gave a brief history lesson about a 16th century inventor named John Dee. I had never heard of Dee and passively noted from the dialogue that he was an inventor of sorts who worked with English royalty.

It was later the next day that I began listening to a Terence McKenna lecture for the first time entitled, Hermeticism & Alchemy. In this lecture, McKenna describes the Alchemical scene in England during the 16th century. He launched into a detailed account of John Dee’s activity in Alchemy and the occult. As he spoke about Dee, my mind raced to recall where I had heard of this guy and quickly remembered the video game’s account of him from the night before. I was amused at the coincidence of running into John Dee’s biography twice in 24 hours from two very different sources. But it was nothing compared to my surprise at the subsequent synchronicity which immediately followed.

As the lecture continued, McKenna talked about a curious substance called ergot. Ergot, he explained, is a type of fungal infestation which grows on improperly stored grain or corn. It appears as a stinky, black goo which drips down the plant and ruins crops. Ergot, as McKenna recounted, was possibly consumed for its hallucinogenic properties during Dee’s time, but it is also highly toxic. I was very amused by this new information and was shocked when less than 4 hours later, this obscure topic came to me through another bizarre coincidence.

That evening, after listening to the McKenna Lecture, I turned on one of my favorite TV shows, House M.D.  Season 4, Episode 4 entitled “Guardian Angels” featured a young woman suffering from hallucinations. After several failed diagnoses, the light of revelation dawned upon Dr. House and dawned upon myself simultaneously… ergot poisoning! I chuckled under my breath as I listened to Dr. House rattle off a similar rap to that of Terence McKenna about how ergot grows and its effects after consumption.

So there it was in a little over 24 hours… Nathan Drake presented John Dee, Terence McKenna presented John Dee and ergot, Dr. House presented ergot. Strange little sandwich.

What does it mean? Who knows! Ten years ago, my younger, more zealous and insecure self would have prayed fervently, fasted, and searched the Bible trying to get the message God was shouting through the light-years of cotton filling the space between His voice and my ears. But I have settled into a great deal more security in my relationship with Him. I feel I know more of His character now. He’s a bit of a trickster. If anything, I take this incredibly unlikely pair of coincidences as a sign that He’s listening. He is interested in my interests. And He weaves his signature through my life as a reminder of that.

I take it as a sign that God is looking over my shoulder, reading along with me in this book of my life.

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If you are interested in hearing Terence McKenna’s account of John Dee and ergot, I think most of it is in the first two hours of the video below.