Michale Leibow - Spark 2014. Owen’s Lake, Lone Pine, CA
I just finished reading this NY Times article A Rationalist's Mystical Moment. It triggered off remembrances of my own “Lone Pine state(s) of mind” – some were consciously sought out and other times just happened without warning. Let me add none were drug induced as far as I know, though there is no accounting for what goes into our water these days.
I think my mind is very open to suggestion when I allow it to be. My first conscious experience of being receptive to outside manipulation was when I was around sixth grade age or so.
I was attending a weekend church camp with school chums. It was on the second evening when the prayer meeting was going full force and the leader was appealing to the lost souls amongst the group to receive the spirit of God.
Without any forethought I found myself leaping to my feet, hands raised high overhead and lips muttering “praise God” – all of this to the delight of the believers within the group.
Had I found Jesus or maybe more correctly had Jesus found me? Right there in my Lone Pine state of mind. I doubt that was the case, more than likely I was experiencing an over-receptive mind moment and a tinge of mass hysteria.
Another time in my life, this time as an adult, I grew curious about this group of evangelists that were based in my home county but whose tentacles reached far and wide across the globe.
It was Trinity Broadcast Network under the leadership of Paul Crouch and his very tearful wife. I would watch their broadcasts, even going as far as to attend one broadcast in person at their studio near where I lived.
I would kneel on the floor in front of the television and will myself to join with their spiritual minds. Other times I would get quiet and open my mind to receive whatever was out there. On several occasions I found myself “speaking in tongues” – or so I thought. Babbling incoherently was probably more accurate.
And yet another time when I was in college taking a Behavioral Science class, the class attended a weekend retreat. As a group we spent all of our waking hours together, being prepped and manipulated unknowingly by our two professors to bond as a group. That unit became one and we as individuals ceased to be.
The class numbered twenty-four in all and only one person refused to become a part of this melded group. I remember her stepping back outside of the circle and not joining in.
There was no pressure to make her do otherwise and we were all free to not participate. It was an interesting phenomenon that the majority just always wanted to belong.
It took such a short period of time to make this cohesive group when you have willing participants. I watch television shows today like The Following and shutter a bit how easily this can be accomplished.
But our little class experiment had an abrupt turn. After the intensive bonding of the group over the weekend session and when our first regular class session was held the professors quickly put us in to a competitive one on one situation.
It felt like the tides turning inside our bodies, pulling and tugging in different directions all at the same time. It was very unsettling to suddenly compete against those we had bonded with so closely.
Other odd experience was what I call “hovering” ~ being not on the earth but slightly above it, seeing and hearing everything in a kind of detached sort of way. This experience could happen under any circumstance. But it has not happened in years.
Perhaps it was a hormonal thing. Or just maybe it is because I have moved farther away from Lone Pine.