Roger Nelson of the random-number generator EGG Project at Princeton has had years to collect evidence of a global consciousness that connects us all as individuals and collectively. Here's what he concludes:

"Good research over a period of several decades has given a scientific expression to our experience of subtle interconnections, and it clearly shows that the human mind is not isolated within the body. There is solid empirical evidence that we do interact directly with each other and the world in the domain of consciousness, despite physical barriers and separations. Repeated experiments show an effect on our [EGG] instruments, not only of individual intentions, but also of group consciousness."

I begin this way as a possible explanation of what I'm about to share about my late mother Elaine when she lived in Hershey, Pa., in 1989.

I'd just been selected by a vote of the journalism faculty at Ohio State to a five-year appointment as director of the Kiplinger Public Affairs Program for professional journalists. At 42 years old with 20 years' experience, I was anticipating the opportunity to give back to undergraduate and graduate students, as well as the 10 Kiplinger fellows I'd select each year.

As I was in Phoenix packing to leave for Columbus, my always-curious mother accompanied a friend to a lecture being given by a woman in the community who had developed a respectable reputation as a person with the ability to read the minds of strangers and offer comments about their lives.

Attendees had been asked to bring a personal item for her to hold when she asked for it. Mom had chosen my late father's wedding ring.

The woman began moving up and down the rows asking for items, holding them for about a minute, then sharing her observations and feelings. After a few stops she arrived at Mom, who was seated on the end of an aisle. "And what do you have for me?" she asked, extending an open palm.

Mom placed the ring in her hand. She closed her fingers around it. The woman became quiet, closed her eyes and inhaled deeply. Finally she opened her hand and handed the ring back.

"You have an older son who is in the middle of going to a new job far from where he now lives," she said. "He will be doing something entirely new to him but tell him he will be very satisfied and happy in his work. He made a good decision and he will have a positive effect on many lives."

Mom was startled that this stranger could possibly know any of that. Then came the exclamation point on her message apparently taken from Dad's ring.

She looked directly into Mom's eyes and softly said "Mike."

As am I, my mother had been a lifelong Christian, while also being open to mystical aspects of this life. That evening left her convinced her experience was an amazing reading of what was unfolding not in her own life but in her son's over 2,000 miles away.

As it turned out, the woman couldn't have been more accurate about what was transpiring at that moment in my life and what was to ensue over the next five years.

I wanted to meet her during a long weekend getaway with Mom a year or so later. Making an appointment without mentioning my mother, I went to her house and sat across from her, handing over my watch. She flipped on a tape recorder and sat back clutching the watch with eyes closed.

When she returned from wherever she'd momentarily faded to in her altered state, she talked about me lately arriving at a job and being happy there, then went on to discuss numerous personal details no one else could possibly have known. When I left, she handed me the tape.

I know of no one who can explain this phenomenon, which is why I began today's column talking about the EGG Project's well-documented evidence of a global consciousness, which helps me understand the nature of our unspoken connections. Had a similar experience, valued readers?

Violin in the rain

Light rain was falling on a cold day when I jumped from the car and quickly headed into the warm, dry grocery store.

Over my right shoulder I heard the mysterious sweet strains of a violin enveloping the parking lot, the last thing I expected in Harrison.

Back outside 20 minutes later, the music was still swirling and I could see a mid-30s man standing beside his car 80 yards away, playing his heart out in the continuous drizzle. Pulling alongside him, I read his sign that said he had three children and needed help.

His name was Oliver. I handed him what cash I had and asked if he played for parties. He said he did, so I took his number, hoping to have him come to our home for a gathering.

My thinking about Oliver is anyone who ventures into the rain on a frigid day to play for donations in an Arkansas parking lot has a demanding job and deserves whatever he earns. Plus, he plays beautifully.

Now go out into the world and treat everyone you meet exactly like you want them to treat you.

Mike Masterson is a longtime Arkansas journalist, was editor of three Arkansas dailies and headed the master's journalism program at Ohio State University. Email him at [email protected].

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