Thursday, July 26, 2012

Seemingly innocuous feelings

One of the most interesting things to think about is why things happen the way they do. How do belongings disappear or wrinkles appear or trees fall in the woods when there's no one around? What kind of forces are beyond our control, yet sometimes feel like they are inexplicably linked to our psyches, maybe even dictated by our thoughts.

I'm not really one to believe in serendipity, fate, karma or any other far-fetched property of spirituality. But this morning when I was driving to work, I was listening to music in the car and thinking to myself the useless thoughts that I often do during my two hour commute.

While I sat in my seat and pondered on the light traffic of the 134 freeway, one song of my iPod playlist ended and another was about to begin. In that two second window, a thought occurred to me for no apparent reason.

It's not often that I think about the next song from my playlist that will come on at any particular moment, but at that second I remember saying to myself, "The next song that comes on will probably be 'I Will' by The  Beatles."

Out of the 10 + hours of music that could be played, in that moment I just happened to be right. And I couldn't fathom how or why.

In the same moment, I drove past Forest Lawn Cemetery. Without getting too morbid, I'll explain that my mom passed away when I was 15 and she is buried at Forest Lawn, which overlooks the 134 as well as the Walt Disney Animation Studios, and which I see every day when I go to work.

For some reason, when I drove past Forest Lawn and "I Will" came on, I started tearing up. Even though the song is about a romantic relationship and that love that comes from that, I could feel a connection with my mom in the lyrics.

Particularly at the moment that Paul sang "love you when we're apart," I just couldn't handle my emotions and started bawling while merging into the left-most lane on the freeway. I'm sure anyone who peered into my car thought I was nuts, but I couldn't help myself.

Now, let me reiterate that I just don't subscribe to religious theories of interconnectivity with the afterlife or with a higher power. But at a time like this I have to second guess even my most devoted beliefs - or lack thereof.

What if there is some force out there allowing us to maintain contact with deceased loved ones? Or to have insights into our own futures? Or affect our lives for better or for worse as a result of our actions? How could we rightly know?

I guess we could say that we rightly know because we've never experienced anything profound that proves the "what ifs" probable.

But then we're in the car on our way to work and we start crying because we do have a profound experience.

It's possible that anything I felt in that moment was due to coincidence. Chalk it up to an overactive imagination and random luck that I started sobbing while driving. Then again, we could also blame the universe which - despite being so huge and so impossibly undefinable - occasionally likes to throw our minds and our belief systems for a loop.

I was thrown for a loop today, but in the most wonderful and positive way.

And even though I so often profess my feelings about indoctrination and personal choice, about discovering your spiritual life for yourself and not being influenced by religious systems that aim to make you believe in what you may never fully comprehend, I think I was really meant to share this story.

Because even though it may be simple, and even as a result seemingly innocuous, it was pretty darn significant. And if you're smart you don't just let go of those moments, you fix your thoughts on them until they make sense.

Before writing this, my experience didn't make perfect sense. But with every word, it starts to feel a bit more clear.

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