An entire universe exists beyond our physical senses. Through a few decades of esoteric practice, I’ve occasionally glimpsed bits of it in sporadic instances of extrasensory perception. After more than forty years of yogic meditation, plus spurious encounters with various mystics, spiritualists, and psychics of all races and religions, I’ve had premonitory dreams, had my aura read and heard my life story recounted to me by complete strangers, and received remarkable messages from beyond through a variety of channels. 

What’s the use of any of it? I suppose it’s debatable. I’ve never been told the winning numbers for the lottery, the cure for cancer, or who killed Kennedy, but I’m pretty sure that bits of psychic revelation have helped me here and there.    

For me one of the most intriguing examples is something that happened in December 2016. It involved me, my wife Marcela, and my youngest daughter Camila who was soon to be nineteen. 

It was the night before Christmas Eve and Camila was melancholic. 

“Dad, it’s almost Christmas, but I don’t feel it,” she said glumly. “It’s not like when I was a kid.” 

“I know what you mean,” I said. 

“I’m not feeling any Christmas spirit,” she said. “Is there something we can do?”

I thought for a moment. 

“Do you want to go downtown and look at the Christmas lights? Maybe we can walk around, see the decorations, and have some cocoa.”

Camila brightened. “I like it!”

So the three of us put on our coats and scarves, climbed into the car, and drove downtown. I parked on Menzies Street next to the provincial legislature and we set out to admire the glitter of Christmas colors. For an hour we wandered around the inner harbor and along Government Street, taking in the lights of the legislature and the shops. When we felt we had seen enough, we started back towards the car. Then things became interesting.

I had been practicing pranayama meditation for 35 years by this time. One of the common outcomes of pranayama—given reasonable time and application—is the development of a degree of “psychic” ability. In its full development, it can appear as clear instances of clairvoyance, such as visions of people or things hidden from sight or yet to be encountered. In other instances, it may be expressed more generally as sensations of intuitive guidance and instinctive “knowing.” This best described me. I had been witnessing the growth of my inner guidance for some time, and I was intrigued by its ability to steer me, quite literally, through strange situations and even unfamiliar physical environments when I listened to it. I had trouble trusting it sometimes, but I had recently made a commitment to start listening better. 

So it was that as we turned onto Menzies Street, I felt suddenly directed to step off the sidewalk and walk up the center of the street. 

There was no rational thought attached to the impulse, only a clear and distinct “command” from within to do it. It felt crazy. But I knew I wanted to get better at trusting my guidance, so I stepped off the sidewalk and proceeded on the pavement. 

Marcela and Camila said nothing. They had grown accustomed to my eccentricities. They simply continued walking along the sidewalk.

I thought to myself, What’s this about? There must be an important reason why I’m being told to walk on the street. 

Just as I had that thought, I received my answer. As I passed by the vehicles parked behind my car, I saw a woman’s purse lying on the pavement beside one of them. It was almost underneath the chassis of the car, beside the driver’s door, obscured in the shadows cast by the streetlamp overhead. If I had been walking on the sidewalk, I would never have seen it. I had to be walking on the street.  

This is it.

Without hesitation, I picked up the purse, smiling, contemplating it like an Egyptian artifact.   

“What’s that?” Marcela asked.

“It’s a woman’s purse,” I replied.  

“What are you going to do with it?”  

I looked around. There was no one else on the street. I was suddenly dumbfounded. 

“I don’t know.” 

I tried the driver’s door handle, but it was locked. I looked around again. 

Should I leave it on the roof of the car? 

Certainly not. Someone will snatch it.   

I opened the purse and looked inside for a driver’s license. I drew it from its plastic sleeve and held it up towards the light. I had to squint as I didn’t have my reading glasses with me.

I saw the blurry face of what appeared to be an elderly woman. I couldn’t read her name or address. I really needed my glasses.

I’ll take it home. I’ll get my glasses, read her name and address, then somehow find her. 

“Let’s go back to the house,” I said to Marcela and Camila.   

As I drove, my higher consciousness and my lower consciousness began to argue. The dialogue went something like this:   

Wow! I wonder who this woman is? Maybe she’s someone special I’m supposed to meet! I wonder why?  

And the reply: 

Jesus. She probably lives twenty miles out of town, and now I’ll have to lose two hours of my life to deliver her purse on Christmas Eve. What have I gotten myself into?  

And then: 

Don’t question. Trust.  

When we arrived home, I went to my office, put on my glasses, and read the driver’s license again. Now I could clearly see the woman’s face. Glasses, grey hair, delicate nose and jaw. Her name was Joan. Then I read the address. She lived four blocks from my house. I had found her purse almost three miles away, but she practically lived next door. 

I went to my computer and found Joan and her phone number online. When I called I was greeted by her answering machine. I explained that I had found her purse and I gave her my address and phone number.

The next day, Marcela and Camila went shopping while I waited for Joan. Just before noon, I heard a faint knock at the front door. I opened it to find a small elegantly dressed woman with intense eyes. There was an air of confidence, even power, about her.   

“I hear you might have my purse,” she said with a soft smile.  

“Indeed, I do,” I said. “I suppose it was quite a piece of luck that I found it, given that we’re practically neighbors. I guess it’s just one of those funny coincidences in life.” 

I didn’t really believe in luck or coincidences, but I wasn’t going to say that. 

“Nothing happens by coincidence,” she replied simply, still smiling. 

I looked at her.    

“Well, I’d have to agree with you,” I said. “Truth told, I don’t believe much in coincidences either.” 

We talked about synchronicity. Both of us had experienced it in our lives, and we admitted that we believed there was an order to the universe beyond what our five senses showed us. Soon we were engaged in a deeper discussion about destiny and divine guidance. 

We talked for about fifteen minutes, then Joan paused. She measured me with her gaze.   

“I’m an intuitive, you know.”  

I knew she meant psychic. Now I was suspicious. And skeptical.  

“Is that right?” I replied. “I think I can sense a bit of that.” I wasn’t lying, but I wasn’t also wasn’t certain if she was full-blown psychic. 

She went quiet. She bowed her head slightly, then held up her palm, signaling me to remain silent. 

“I’m getting a message for you right now,” she said, staring into space. “Would you like to hear it?” 

My stomach sank. This was the morning of Christmas Eve. I wanted to be with my wife and daughter. And here I was stuck with a crazy person on my doorstep. 

“Sure, I suppose so,” I replied blandly.    

Then she told me something about an experience that I had had three weeks before and told no one about.

I had been meditating in my studio as usual. As I had prepared to finish, I had drawn a deep breath to chant Om according to my 35 years of practice. But before I could begin chanting, a strange thought came to me: 

Wait—Om is so powerful—am I putting a destructive force in motion with my chanting? Could I be creating an earthquake on the other side of the planet? Or a tsunami? Or some other catastrophe?

Suddenly I was paralyzed. For the first time in 35 years, I found myself unable to even begin chanting. The notion that Om could create a butterfly effect spanning the globe seemed crazy, but I was afraid to risk it. 

I opened my eyes, got up from my chair and went back to the house. I told no one what had happened, not even Marcela. 

Now this “intuitive” woman had a message for me, three weeks later. 

“I’m being told to tell you,” she said slowly, “that it’s okay to chant Om.” 

My jaw went slack. 

“Does that mean anything to you?” she said.   

I had to gather myself. “Yes, it does—it means a lot.” 

Joan nodded pleasantly, then proceeded to deliver another message addressing another question that had troubled me for a few weeks—again, something I had discussed with no one, and something no one could possibly have guessed. 

I told her both messages were very helpful, and I thanked her. 

“You don’t need to thank me,” she said, smiling. “You can thank the universe!” 

Then she looked at her watch.

“I need to be going now, but this has been delightful,” she said. 

“It’s been wonderful,” I replied. 

She looked at me with a mischievous smile. “I think each of us made a new friend today.” 

“Definitely,” I laughed.

We’ve been friends ever since, and our friendship remains a constant reminder of the significance of “chance” encounters.  

I’ve had many psychic experiences over the years, but for me, my first meeting with Joan remains one of the most compelling and amusing. Many people dismiss the possibility of psychic experience, but I know it is real and has much to teach us. It just takes a little faith and practice to hear that voice within.  

© James Andrew Grove

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