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Transcendent Experiences

The Strange Time of Synchronicity

To relate in detail all of the events sketched in this chapter would require an entire book in itself.  I could not have possibly anticipated the amazing harmonies and relationships I discovered between Dan's message, The Name, my own meditations, and Bible study.  Yet it was only the beginning.

Donna and Mark

Just a couple weeks into the 78 spring semester at Chapman a girl told me they were having a training session on how to lead a Bible study.  I said I'd be interested.  About 10 of us gathered on a Saturday, and the leader walked us through a chapter of the Bible, showing us how to lead discussions and all.

Sure enough, it was a sign.  My brother's girlfriend's mother called me (you know how those things can be) and asked, out of the proverbial blue sky, if I would be interested in leading a Bible study at her house.  Of course I said yes.

The Bible study that began in March of 78 met weekly for over 2 years.  At that first meeting I was introduced to (are you ready?) my brother's girlfriend's mother's next door neighbor's daughter.  Her name was Donna.  To make a long story short, we fell in love.  Well, at least I did.

The harmony between us was glorious.  Music, religion, food, style, even the area where we lived...all were in harmony.  The only little problem we had was that she wasn't entirely sure about wanting to be with me.  She was, in many ways, still in love with her first high school boyfriend.  His name was Mark.  So was mine.  Just to keep things straight, since we were both often referred to in conversation, he came to be known as Mark 1.  I was Mark 2.

After this naming convention was firmly in place, I suddenly remembered with a bit of a shock, that the part of the Bible we looked at during the first "How to Lead a Bible Study" meeting was...Mark 2.

A Knock on the Door

Donna and I became involved in missionary activities.  We joined World Vision, sponsoring a child in India.  And we started making weekly calls to the people who would visit the Church where I played the organ.  

It was just amazing.  You learn the most when you teach, and between leading the Saturday night Bible study and the Monday night evangelism calls, I was sharing and teaching a lot.  Who I was, what was true...coupled with the discussions and studies at college, and my ongoing investigations into The Name...continued to combine in a glorious "spiritual incubation environment."  The service & pursuit of God was my job, education, and constant enterprise.  "Whatsoever you do in thought, word or deed..."

And the "coincidences" were nearly a daily event.  I had a daily, nearly constant experience of Yhwh guiding my every step.  Later, as I passed my 30th and then 40th birthdays, and thoughts of the mortgage and business and porting 50,000 lines of code from DOS to Windows started to occupy an ever-increasing part of my mind and soul, the experience of that daily guidance faded.  And I know with ultimate certainty that the problem is me.  As the ancients said, "If God seems farther away, guess who moved."

One episode in particular stands out.  It was not the only one, but one of the most dramatic.  Donna and I were making the Monday night calls.  We knocked on a door.  A lady opened it.  We said, "Hi.  We're from Light of the Valley Lutheran Church..." and this woman SCREAMS!!!  And I don't mean hollered.  Hands-on-her-face SCREAM!  Well, it turns out, she had just been having a very heated argument with her mom.  The lady who opened the door was the daughter, and the mom was full of anger and bitterness about her lot in life.  The daughter tried to say God loves the mom, but mom would have none of it.  The mom then said, "Well, if God really loves me, I want him to knock on that f#$%ing door right NOW!!"  2 minutes later we did.

I know, just another coincidence.  Shake the bag, the watch gets assembled...and wound...and set to the right time.

"Behold, I stand at the door and knock..."  And as we knocked on that lady's door we were Him, knocking through us...One.

Exactly the "Stage-5 Prayer of Love," only in a different form...

It was like that, folks.

Still is, really.


Between services on Sunday mornings the Pastor started leading a study in the Book of Isaiah.

I could spend lots of pages describing this.  It was glorious.  Every verse came alive.  This ancient manuscript (what, 2500 years old?) was living and breathing.  Every verse seemed to be speaking to what was happening in my life at that very moment.  Not in a weird, satanic, voices-from-beyond way, but in a solid, organic, Divinely blessed way.

"Do not call to mind the former things, or ponder things of the past.  Behold, I will do something new, Now it will spring forth."  Isaiah 43:18

I understood historically that this spoke to the people of the day.  But it also spoke to me, then and there.  It speaks to me now.  The Holy Scripture kept coming to life, not as some arcane doctrine to be memorized, but as a living connection to the living God.

And I could share this with people during the evangelism calls.

And I could share this with people during the Bible studies.

And I could write about this and discuss it and be challenged on it during my college studies and discussions.

The 3 were one.

The Happy Bride

Between my junior and senior year of college Donna & I married.  I thought we were soul mates.  We were not simply getting married, we were re-enacting the Cosmic Drama wherein Christ marries to Himself His Bride.

The thing was, the ceremony started almost 30 minutes late.  When Donna finally appeared she burst into tears.  Well, everyone in the building, myself included, thought she was simply overcome with emotion and love.  Emotion, perhaps.  But I would learn years later (people always save things like that to reveal them at just the right time) that it wasn't love causing the tears, it was fear and anger.  She had been standing in the back, telling her sister she felt trapped and didn't want to do this.  Her sister told her to just leave, get in the car and split.  Her sister would cover for her.  Well, Donna ultimately was unwilling to disappoint the 200+ folks who were waiting.  So, she went through with it, hoping and praying that God would some day give her romantic feelings of love for me.  Feelings which she had always and only reserved for Mark 1.

Hey, I may be #2 (I've been told so many times!), but I tried harder...

And folks, I have a distinction.  Not exactly an honor, but a most pronounced distinction.  I've written in plenty of other places how I've always felt weird, out of place, different.  And over the course of the 25 years I've played the organ at churches I estimate I've played at and attended somewhere around 100 weddings.  And of those +-100 weddings, mine is the one and only I have ever seen where the Bride did not kiss the Groom.  When the moment came, she turned her head and gave me a hug.  I can laugh now, but at the time, wow.  And when she explained (years later) the real reasons why, I was devastated.

Yup.  Your host, webmaster and sometimes pastor didn't even get a kiss from his bride at the altar. 

That, Dear Reader, was most definitely a Transcendental Experience.


The Center of Mass in the Eye of the Mandala

The strange time of synchronicity continued throughout my senior year.  Again, many chapters could be written.  Many were, actually, in the form of the term papers I wrote.  Perhaps some day I will scan & post them.  

During my fall '79 semester things went to an entirely new level, even beyond what I had experienced before.  I had 2 classes in the morning, Monday, Wednesday and Friday, one right after another.  The first was a tour of the Far East with Ron Huntington.  We spent most of the time on Hinduism.  Judaism has been called the Father of Religions, and Hinduism the Mother.

Right after the Hinduism discussions I had a physics class.  I thought I was taking an intro class just to get the science requirement out of the way.  It turned out (I didn't learn this until much later) I had inadvertently signed-up for a required course for the science majors.  It was, according to the professor, one of the 3 hardest classes available on campus.  Deep, deep math.  One night I worked for 4 hours on just one problem.  ("Given an incline of 32 degrees, with a wagon connected to a pulley, with the wagon and its cargo weighing 3 kgs, coefficient of friction .12, only one wheel on the pulley exactly 10cm in diameter...if a 1 kg weight is dropped from the end of the pulley, exactly what is the rate of acceleration of the wagon up the ramp?")  

Well, the thing was...I began to notice that the Hinduism and physics class would discuss exactly the same topics on exactly the same day, literally 10 minutes and 300 feet apart.

So my last will and testament for college was called "The Center of Mass in the Eye of the Mandala."  It compared Newtonian physics to Hindu philosophy.  Both professors kept copies, and insisted I try to publish it.  

From the introduction:

"The purpose of this paper, then, is three-fold:

  1. To look at many of Hinduism's fundamental tenets in terms of physics.  I will be concerned only with Newtonian physics and the laws that govern our everyday world.  Einstein's theories of relativity, of which Newton's laws of motion are a subset, are outside the scope of this discussion.
  2. To use the laws of physics as a link between Hinduism and Christianity, as a basis for dialogue.
  3. To apply the methods of scientific research to the quest for knowledge of God."

Yes, I plan to upload it some day.  Reading it really is a trip.  Lots of scientific equations that I explain in terms of the Hindu Scriptures, and relate back to core Christian views.

Learning it, seeing it, let alone writing it, were completely transcendent experiences.

And speaking of Hinduism...speaking of India...


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