SELF RECOGNITION

For a number of years I operated a piano tuning business in the Niagara Falls area of Ontario. Most of those years I lived in the small village named Stevensville about ten miles west of Ft. Erie in a room behind my workshop. Later, I moved, first to a metaphysical centre on a small farm near Welland and then to the city of St. Catharines.

I want to share with you another very wonderful experience I had. This experience had happened to me a time or two before, but not as intensely nor as movingly as this particular occurrence. Each time I had this experience, by the way, involved a woman.

One day I had to tune a piano in the basement of a church in Ft. Erie. The church was locked and I had been instructed to get a key from a lady who worked as the receptionist for a dentist across the street.

I had never met the woman with the key and had no idea what she looked like. I only knew her name. As I drove into Ft. Erie I had no reason to suspect that anything strange or otherwise out of the ordinary routine might occur on that morning.

It was a cloudy winter's day and the air felt crisp. Frosty, but not particularly cold. I parked my truck in the church parking lot and walked across the street to the dentist's office to retrieve the key.

The office capped the second floor of a nondescript building on the main street of Ft. Erie. I mounted the stairs, passed through the door at the top of the landing and entered the reception room.

A long, waist high counter spanned one side of the room. Empty chairs and a couple of magazine strewn tables filled the rest. A large window looked out over the street.

At first glance I could see no one. Then I noticed some distance beyond the counter an unoccupied desk or two. A woman stood at a file cabinet behind one of the desks. She did not see me for a moment after I walked into the room, but went about whatever she was doing.

I walked to the counter and leaned my elbows on it, waiting for the woman to notice my presence. She finally did so, smiled, set some papers on top of the desk and took a couple of steps towards me. That's when it happened.

What happened next was wonderful and marvellous. But it is very hard to describe accurately. So many of these experiences are difficult to describe. Yet they must happen to many people, for I do not think that I am peculiarly blessed.

The woman took a couple of steps towards me past the desk and stopped. We were both looking at each other at that moment and just smiling. Being pleasant and cordial, you know what I mean. Neither of us had said a word yet.

I was looking at her eyes and I could see she was looking at mine. I could see her dress and her figure and her round face framed in black hair. But I was looking mainly into her eyes. I do not remember if I could see what colour they were. If I did see their colour at the time, I have since forgotten what the colour was. Maybe hazel or green.

She looked petite. Small framed, about medium height, not delicate or fragile, but slight. She had moved smoothly, like she was gliding over the floor. She had stopped rather like a fluff of down running into a window pane. Instantly, but with a softness of touch.

When she stopped I felt a bit like a passenger on an elevator starting down. An instant of weightlessness. Then her face blurred slightly. I felt like I was moving, or she was moving, or both of us were moving.

Suddenly, I knew her. I mean that I KNEW HER! I felt as though I had come home from a long journey, to Antares or the Horsehead Nebula, someplace far away like that. She was here and I was here, not there any more. I was back again. That's how it felt. I was back again. And she was here. Only she.

My sense of knowing this woman was so strong that there are no words that I know to describe the intensity of my knowing. But what I knew was not this feminine personality who was standing ten feet in front of me beside a desk.

I was not seeing the same woman she had been an instant before. Yet I was seeing her! She was not the same but she was still the same only she was different now. But still the same as before! I know this sounds crazy. But I said this experience was difficult to describe.

She glowed like a Van Gogh sunset. My feeling of being home after a long journey intensified. I felt like I was sinking into her, dissolving into the knowledge of her presence.

Joy and pleasure filled me to the brim! I felt warm and cosy. Snugly and safe. I felt like I was home. No. HOME! For the first time in my life I felt like I was HOME!

Slowly the feelings faded. Slowly she began to look more and more like the woman who had been standing next to the file cabinet when I came in. The glow disappeared.

Yet still, she did not move. I did not move. We could not move. I knew she had experienced this with me. By the look on her face, in her eyes, I knew she had known me as I had known her for that moment.

How long? I can not remember how long it lasted. A minute or two? Certainly no longer. Time had stopped. We had stepped out of time and space for an instant. We had stepped out of time and space together! She had seen something in me and I had seen something in her that can only be seen outside of time and space.

After the experience ended, we both continued standing there staring at each other. Kind of stunned, I guess. Like someone had just punched us in the stomach and the air was all gone. Finally, I said something to her. I don't recall just what. It does not matter, any way.

She came the rest of the way to the counter and gave me the key to the church basement and I left and went over to the church and tuned the piano. Just like that. I said nothing to her about the experience we had just shared and she said nothing to me. I guess at that moment we just could not speak about it. Or that it required no further comment.

I never approached her again, even though afterwards I wanted to know what she had experienced. I wanted to know if it had been the same feelings for her as for me, or different. Had she seen something entirely different from me? Had I got out of focus for her? Had I glowed like a golden sunset? I wanted to know but never asked her.

I still wonder now what exactly she experienced that morning. I only saw her again once, several years afterwards. She was singing in a chorale that I attended. I wondered then but I never asked her. Now I do not know why I never did.

Had we seen ourselves in each other? Had we recognised the self that animates all of us and all of the universe smiling through the costumes of our personalities? Had we realized ecstasy? Perhaps. I think so.

Why? Why her? Why then? So many why?s. Yet there is only one answer to the question why? Why not?

Whatever we had experienced, I shall never forget. Neither her nor the experience. May she come to this understanding again.

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