Confused woman
Photo: Polka Dot/Thinkstock
When you experience a chance encounter, a strange coincidence or a funny feeling you can't quite explain—what does it mean? When a moment stands out from the ordinary flow of the day, find out why you might want to start paying closer attention.
Recently I received a letter from a woman, happily married in her 40s, who said that "things" have been happening to her all her life. What she meant by "things" is quite fascinating. She'd notice strange coincidences every day, such as having a word pop into her head and then the next minute hearing that very word being spoken on the radio. She also had funny sensations she couldn't explain, such as a feeling of floating or a cold, prickling sensation, only to discover that someone close to her had gotten sick or died.

Such "things" are quite common, and people often attach religious significance to them. When pollsters ask people if they have ever had a direct experience of God's presence, more than a third say yes. If you expand this to ask about seeing auras or light around another person, almost the same number say yes. Other explanations veer into the paranormal, particularly when someone has a premonition, a telepathic moment, or a glimpse into the future. Yet these "things" pass and are soon forgotten. They don't come together in a way that changes people's lives, at least not very often.

This woman wanted to go a step farther. Was there a way to find out what such anomalies mean? Why is everyday life suddenly punctuated by these tiny intrusions?

Here was my answer: Each tiny "thing" doesn't have a larger meaning, yet it points to a deeper layer of reality. It isn't adequate to call this the unconscious, because countless mental events are unconscious, including most of our memories, secrets, hidden drives and fears we cannot face. The "things" she was wondering about are different, like the sudden streaks of light a meteor leaves across the night sky.

A meteor trail vanishes, never to be seen again, yet each of us has the power to prevent that from happening when we receive personal glimpses of light. In fact, because these "things" are actually aspects of ourselves, we can start to bring them together, and in that way a completely new reality is possible. Instead of trusting that the everyday world is the only reality, why not learn to trust these very personal messages?

Three steps to trusting these "things"

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