The area that I grew up in and (coincidentally) the area that I live in now are hot spots for UFO sightings. Now… this is New England we’re talkin’ here – creepy old houses hidden behind hundred-year-old trees. Not a lot of open sky. Lots of skeptics. So what gives with all the extraterrestrial activity? Why are all these flinty Yankees looking up?
Beats me. However…
I recently spent a long winter’s night outside with some hard-partying neighbors. There was a lovely fire in the firepit, a case of beer chilling in the snow, bad jokes, boring stories… the usual stuff. It was loud and fun and then something really weird happened. Big bright lights in a triangular formation moved through the sky over our heads, very slowly, then as we watched, disappeared one by one.
“Gobsmacked” is the word that comes to mind. That and “freakin’ awesome!”
Everyone stood around slack-jawed for about thirty seconds, and then the shouting began.
There are a number of things it could have been, yet almost everyone in our group was instantly convinced that it was a UFO – convinced with the passion and intensity of religious converts. Other explanations were quickly dismissed. Declarations of the “my-life-is-changed” variety were made. This ordinary night had been transfigured into something important, memorable, and binding. When the party broke up hours later it was with a sense of camaraderie. Something had happened.
So I mused upon all of this and came up with a theory. Actually, it’s more of a series of questions, but that’s where theories start.
Mystics challenge mind and body with focused meditation and extremes of deprivation. The average individual lacks both the discipline and will for this type of spiritual journeying – but that does not mean that she/he lacks the ability.
Our lives are full of noise and distraction. Everything happens faster and faster. Months go by like days and minutes last forever. We are full but still feel empty. We barely have time to think but are bored out of our minds. Is it possible, that in this state of constant, numbing stimulation we are approaching the kind of extreme that the visionary seeks through silence? A sort of mirror experience. Could it be that more and more people see unusual things because, like the mystic, our minds are suddenly (and unintentionally) receptive? Are there more odd-goings-on in the world or are we just seeing what has always been there – buzzed beyond pragmatism and conditioned by technology to believe that, yes – anything is possible, and likely?
Once again – beats me.
I just know that I lived much of my life in a landscape of clear air and bright stars – yet I never saw a meteor. Now it seems that all I have to do is want to see one – and there it is. The same could be true for many things. Something has happened, and it is happening still. And this flinty Yankee will be looking up when it does.