Wednesday, October 19, 2016

A Buckshot of "Ask and Ye Shall Receive"

In a random book, I read of someone listening to a NASCAR race on the radio. Afterward, I had the thought: You know, I've never once heard a race on the radio ...

After thirty-some years of life on Earth, you'd think I'd have heard at least a race or two. But no, not once.

The next day, I was in my car, traveling through a small town in another state, when I lost my radio station. Upon scanning for a new one, I came to a station with an announcer rather than music -- for a NASCAR race.

* * *

A few days ago, I noticed my toilet bowl needed cleaning. My first thought was to go for the chlorine-based spray I've always used, but I was stopped by a thought: This stuff is toxic, and pollutes the environment when flushed. There must be a good, nontoxic way to flush the toilet ...

Thirty minutes later, when reading a random magazine, I came across a how-to article for cleaning house -- which mentioned that baking soda and vinegar were great as a "nontoxic way to clean the toilet."

As it were, I had both. Worked great, and no nastiness.

(Oh yeah, and the magazine? An issue of 'Parents,' the first I'd never seen, which I'd been Compelled to get from the library's "free" bin, despite being neither a parent nor a parent-to-be nor having the slightest interest in anything parent-y. And, of course, there was nothing about toilet-cleaning anywhere on the magazine's cover ...)

* * *

When on the way to a doctor's appointment, I randomly thought of the waiting room there, and how I would sometimes read its complimentary copies of Rolling Stone. This triggered a second thought: Been a while since I've read a Rolling Stone. Wouldn't mind reading one again sometime.

At the doctor's, I was seen to right away, so I was deprived of waiting in the waiting room and, thus, of leafing through a Rolling Stone. But no matter, because, during my visit, the doctor informed me that she'd recently cleaned out all the magazines in the place, and had felt "led" to save all the copies of Rolling Stone -- for me.

I left with a veritable stack of the things, as to require a double-bagged bag.

* * *

I could list more -- many more. But I won't. You get the idea.

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Book-Synchro Returns

For those unfamiliar, allow me to recap.

The "book synchronicity," as I've dubbed it, is, categorically, as follows: I'll read of something in a given book -- usually a rare, new fact previously unknown to me -- and then, very soon after, I'll read of that same thing a second time, in my next sequential book. Usually, said books will have been purchased totally randomly, and read in a similar fashion; likewise, the books will be completely different (subject matter, author, type, etc). Another common component of these incidents: I'll have been Compelled, in a special, illogical way, to buy the books in question, and similarly motivated to read them when I do. Thus, a typical, patternistic reading-synchro would involve me being Compelled, for no particular reason, to buy several books, at different time periods, and then read them randomly, perhaps after they'd been sitting in my stack for weeks or months or longer, just waiting for me to get that illogical green-light to at last crack them open -- only to find that the two books will contain notably similar facts, mentions, or themes, and with a precision and nature that would render such recurrences highly unlikely (sometimes shockingly so, as to be of astronomically low probability).

To see what I mean, browse some past examples, why don't you.

* * *

Now, I've experienced some good, convincing book synchronicities, and plenty of them, such that I've stopped blogging these incidents unless they are truly exceptional.

Case in point.

This one breaks somewhat from the typical book-synchro pattern, in that the incident's first ingredient was a newspaper rather than a book. And, also somewhat unique, the paper came to me, and for free. As it were, the paper was in a supermarket I frequent, though not for sale; rather, it was lying atop a cooler, just beyond the checkout. When I passed, the paper Jumped Out at me, demanding my attention, in that special way typical of Compellings. So I stopped and picked it up, finding myself holding a week-old copy of The Wall Street Journal (from August 23rd, 2016). It would seem that some considerate soul had left it on the cooler after reading it through, to be recycled as is customary. Though not much of a Wall Street Journal-type, I proved to be the paper's savior from that lonely cooler (after I checked with a cashier that, indeed, the paper was fair game rather than just a misplaced for-sale copy). I had little interest in WSJ subject matter, of course, but interests don't factor into Compellings.

That night, we come to this incident's first synchronicity: While reading through this paper, I came across an article that mentioned the recent acquisition of a company called Syngenta, which I had never before heard of in my life. And then, approximately a half-hour later, when reading through my current book at the time (Fast Food Nation, as it were), I came to a section on GM foods, in which it mentioned the company Syngenta.

A classic book-synchro: my learning of something for the first time in my life, in some randomly bought- and read piece of reading material, and then, a short time after, encountering that same thing elsewhere, despite the sources being entirely different in subject matter (and time of purchase, and about everything else). It's only more notable that, in this case, the original source was a cast-off, week-old newspaper, involving news and information for which I had no logical need, and picked up totally on instinct in an equally random place.

But that was just the start. (Remember: the blog-worthy ones gotta be truly exceptional, these days.)

Next up, Exhibit B: the vitamin book, Planet Heal Thyself.

Here, we must rewind several weeks (remember, also, that my book-synchro books are often acquired weeks or months apart). This part, too, comes with a twist: instead of randomly buying this book, I got it for free, unexpectedly, when buying a vitamin supplement. When considering the supplement, I hadn't seen a sign for a free book; I learned of this bonus only upon checking out (the supplement was on sale, too, and I even had a coupon -- my lucky day!). The complimentary book, called Planet Heal Thyself, was about vitamins and minerals and the like, but I wasn't much drawn to it at the time, so it went in my stack, where it would sit for the next few weeks, while I entertained more-attractive books. Only after finishing Fast Food Nation (the book that first echoed Syngenta, thus instigating the whole mess) was I Compelled to read the vitamin book.

This too followed the pattern, with the book just seeming to glow amongst its brethren in the stack, saying Pick me! Pick me! in that special way I've come to recognize.

That brings us to the second synchronicity. Within the first few pages of the vitamin book, it mentioned a website, "23andMe," where one can have their DNA analyzed for various things. I'd never heard of this site before, and despite previously having no real interest in exploring my DNA, I was Compelled to write it down and visit it. However, as it turned out, I didn't get around to actually looking up 23andMe until a few days later, in a fit of determination to clear my desk of notes and other I'll-do-it-laters. Similarly, on the same evening, about thirty minutes later, I got around to finishing that curious copy of the WSJ I'd started reading the other night (I do this, picking through a section or two of a newspaper at a time). In the paper's final section, I came to an article about genetic testing, which mentioned a website where the public can be tested for various genetic conditions:

This recurrence, too, fits the book-synchro pattern, doubly so: first, I'd originally learned of the site just days before; and, second, I re-encountered it in the paper less than an hour after actually visiting the site. (And, keep in mind: the paper's mention of 23andMe was in the last, innermost section, totally concealed and out of view when I'd initially snatched up the paper and even after I'd read the first few sections -- so it's impossible that I could've been subconsciously influenced by it, in even the most subtle and imperceptible of ways).

Exceptional yet? Apparently not, because two days later, it happened all over again.

Same deal: another randomly bought book (a heady historical title called DNA USA, this time), read as randomly, just after finishing Planet Heal Thyself -- and, sure enough, this one, too, mentioned the 23andMe website. So, after somehow remaining ignorant to 23andMe for the several years of its existence, I suddenly bumped into it three times within a matter of days, from three sources that couldn't have been more random and misdirected (and, as it were, adhering to the pattern established by dozens of past incidents, which cranks up the notability factor exponentially).

For this third one, though, I can foresee an obvious rebuttal: Weren't you already thinking of genetics and the like when you began reading a book with "DNA" in the title? Ah, a good point, Watson, because this scenario would indeed suggest some subconscious influence in my choice of reading material. Except, here's the thing: I'd bought the DNA USA book before reading Planet Heal Thyself and the unexpected copy of The Wall Street Journal -- that is, before I'd ever first read of Syngenta and 23andMe in the others (and even before I'd come to the relevant part of that first, initial book, Fast Food Nation). As it so happened, just a couple days prior to my receiving the paper on charity, I'd picked up the DNA USA book from a thrift store, despite having a good, full stack of unread books back at home -- being Compelled to buy it, illogically yet distinctly, as is prominent with these things.

So, yeah ... exceptional.

Saturday, August 13, 2016

You Just Can't Force These Things

It was one of "those" days.

The synchronistic phenomenon was in full swing: the incidents coming left and right, the world alive with them, as to leave my head spinning in a surreal, living-dream daze. On the day in question, I'd experienced several "reading"-type synchronicities in particular, where my random thoughts and experiences would coincide with equally random phrases read in books or on signs and the like. To my resident skeptic, however, such high levels of "activity" only inspire negative, glass-half-full comments. For example: while I was sitting outside a coffee shop and read "A bell jingled," and no bell jingled in answer.

With that, my mind's resident skeptic spoke up: If you're really experiencing these surreal synchronicities as you think, then why no bell?

Good question, I thought in reply. Absently, I then set the book down to take a sip of coffee. Afterward, upon resuming the book, I picked back up where I'd left off, at "A bell jingled."

Immediately upon reading it this time, I heard a bell sound from behind me -- and not just any bell, but a jingling bell, a Christmas leftover, with holly and mistletoe and all, hung on the coffee-shop door (despite it being August). The door, opened by some random patron exiting the shop, lay at my back, totally out of sight, such that I couldn't have orchestrated its opening and my reading the phrase even subconsciously -- yet the two had coincided perfectly, as is patternistic of this phenomenon (and of the dozen or so similar occurrences that had transpired that day alone).

To this, my inner skeptic had no rebuttal. I sat silently for a moment, then laughed.

But, striking at this was, it wasn't through (whatever "it" is).

A minute later, a couple paragraphs down in my book, the phrase was repeated, exactly: "A bell jingled." And, again, a jingling bell coincided perfectly with my reading the words (albeit from a different door this time).

My skeptic and I shared another telling silence, then I refreshed my laugh.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Stressing the Point

The numbers. They were at it again.

Not that they'd ever stopped (or had for the last several years, for that matter). But, rather, they were just on an uptick again, inordinately present and ridiculously abundant, as well as particularly ornery -- even witty, seeming to toy with me. On the day in question, I'd not only seen the number 37 and its variants somewhere in the neighborhood of several dozen times (at least that many; I just lost count around the 30-40 mark), but the number had appeared to track me down. In parking lots, for instance: everywhere I parked, the number would be on a neighboring car(s) in some fashion, usually the license plate, and always in a manner both conspicuous and unlikely (and impossible to have been even subconsciously orchestrated by myself, due to, say, invisibility of the number until I parked and, hence, brought it into my view).

Naturally, with so many number-repeats that day, I made several entries into my endless log of such incidents, that evening. However, even at that late hour, there was still one more in store.

As it were, I was making said entries in a gym lobby of all places, staked out on their complimentary couch with my laptop on my knees, the setting sun coming in through the picture window at my back. It was then, while pecking the day's synchronicities into the keyboard, that it happened: with a dull roar from behind me, the window darkened, drawing my attention. Instinctively, I turned around: a truck had parked at the curb outside, feet from me, with a large trailer hitched at the back. And, the way I'd turned around, it was the rear half of this trailer that crowded my vision.

Advertising a landscaping business of some sort, the trailer was crowded with a phone number in large, eye-grabbing type, the last four digits of which were directly in my line of sight: "7337."

Precisely as I was writing about the dozens of 37s, as if to stress the point. No, I'm not making this up.

With a chuckle, I simply made a new entry in my log, transcribing this latest head-spinner. It took seconds; I still had the log file open in my computer's text editor.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Welcome to the Living Dream

You know how you can lay in bed sometimes, neither awake nor asleep, in those twilight hours between late night and early morning? That's how it was for me that night: a long, purgatorial period of non-sleep, of which I was conscious but not really awake.

Until, suddenly, something woke me up all the way -- I don't know what, just a vague, silent prompting to Get Up, involuntary and almost physical. So, I got up.

A split second later, an alarm went off nearby, as to coincide perfectly with my totally spontaneous wake-up.

There followed a moment of stark confusion on my part, as I simultaneously clawed through my blear of half-sleep while trying to trace the source of this alarm that had so synchronistically announced itself. This alarm, I determined, was my watch ... except, I hadn't set any alarm (I don't even know how to; best I can figure is, some buttons got pressed randomly during the course of the preceding day). And, equally eerie: I tried to tell myself that the alarm had started before I woke up, thus signalling said wake-up ... except, it hadn't. The alarm had sounded only a hair after my awakening -- but definitely after, as to coincide with my levering upright instead of the opening of my eyes.

I then sat on my bed in the perfect dark, in an awkward, half-risen angle, listening to the alarm chirp its minute-long chirp. Once again, I'd been synchroshocked.

I remained in this awestruck position for some minutes afterward, long enough to irritate my back. Finally, I reached for a pen and a Post-It, and wrote "alarm synchro -- with blog post."

Monday, May 23, 2016

Mind, Machine, and the Empathic Revolution: Manifesto for a New World

Free eBook from Aaron Garrison:


Like most revolutionaries, I have a dream: of genuine empathy between people -- as to truly see through someone else’s eyes, and discover all it can teach us.

Also in the revolutionary spirit, I have a manifesto, presented as the following essay.

Available as an eBook from the following vendors (for free, except at Amazon and Barnes & Noble):

Available as a print book, via PoD, from the following vendors:

Saturday, May 7, 2016

More Number-Fun

I've reported on my fun with numbers, certainly; and I've reported the newish, "combination-types" of these sort of incidents, too. Well, here's a little more of the latter.

This time, it involved bumper stickers.

First, I've been seeing numbers lately (which goes without saying, really, for the phenomenon hasn't stopped since it started, years ago). Second, the predominant repeats as of the last couple days have been 317, 144, and their variants (73, 14, 44, etcetera). Which brings us to the bumper stickers I got in the mail today.

The bumper stickers in question were for my websites, to be put on my newest vehicle, as to promote my little web-enterprise (the extent of my advertising, as it were). Upon opening up the mailer, however, I gave pause: there, staring up at me, were more my latest, most-popular numbers -- a whole cluster of them, at the bottom of the bumper stickers (their print numbers, I guess). I found this notable from the outset, due to the sheer amount of the repeats, and their total randomness, and their arrival precisely admidst a storm of these very numbers, lasting for days.

Though, what really made this incident blog-worthy was the underscore of irony, given that one of the stickers was for (drum-roll) (Another patternistic component of these incidents, as it so happens, such as when I experience book synchronicities while reading books about synchronicities ...)

But wait, there's more!

When I opened the scanned image in my photo editor, to crop it for this very blog post, I was met with yet another number-repeat, now in the scanned file's timestamp, as a Sundae-topping cherry of sorts.

Upon seeing the cluster of numbers on the bumper stickers, I'd smiled. Upon seeing the file's timestamp, I laughed (which, it felt, seemed to be the point of that little footnote, as if some force wasn't satisfied until getting that response ...).