Ben told us that on his late walk home last night, a street dog started walking alongside him. Strange behaviour for the dogs in Ubud. In the three full weeks prior I’d hardly observed them to be anything but utterly lethargic in the intense Bali heat. At nightfall they’d perk up a bit, but even then they seemed to have official street-doggy-business to get up to; never showing interest in people. Ben also understood that this particular dog’s behaviour was out of the ordinary, though it seemed harmless enough. So he carried on but soon came across yet another dog, except this one was a far cry from harmless. The dog was erratic and barking aggressively at Ben, but before he could even react, his new companion dog jumped out in front of him. It had a noisy standoff with the viscous dog until his alpha status was apparently established. With the other dog backed off, Ben was able to carry on homeward, shaken but unharmed. Ben’s four-legged hero continued walking right by his side – his personal escort – until he arrived safely at his door, at which point the dog unprotestingly wandered off.
Ava and her partner met Ben a month prior while travelling in Thailand and we all ended up crossing paths in Ubud, Bali. Ben is an openminded, self-reflective Belgian. Despite his regular travel escapades, he seems to knowingly be on a more inward than outward journey. He’s also incredibly bright and a no-nonsense type guy that you can always count on to give it to you straight. That being said, after recounting his thrilling night, even Ben seemed to know what we were thinking. There was no need for persuasion or discussion, we all unhesitatingly agreed: ascended master.
Ever have some seemingly random stranger cross your path who seems to leave some modest, yet profound wisdom in their wake? Or perhaps they provide you with some ephemeral information that you only later realize to have had some significant influence on you. Well, these are what me and a handful of my friends lightheartedly, semi-jokingly refer to as “ascended masters.” Ben’s guardian dog is a perfect example of an ascended master; appearing in some out of the ordinary series of events, apparently to provide him with protection. Sure, the notion of ascended masters might sound airy fairy, but open your mind to the realm of their possibility and next thing you know you may have some Baader-Meinhof phenomenon on your hands. That is, you may just find them popping up all over the place.
Ascended masters are transitory by nature, but if you're paying attention you can start to spot them. The following are some common characteristics that I've come to recognize in many of my ascended master encounters. This list has no particular order and is by no intentions finite or complete. There's always exception to the rule, and in this case, there isn't even a rule.
- Peculiar circumstances. Ascended masters take habit in popping up in unusual situations or series of events. The circumstances may seem flukey and often serendipitous. One sunny afternoon me, Ava, and Emma (my basically unofficial fourth sister) were walking home through a nice Vancouver neighbourhood when a man called after us, asking if some small paper in his hand belonged to us. At first I thought he was crazy, but then I realized he was holding the little plastic growing instructions for the new plant that Emma had just purchased in town. Apparently it had fallen out of the pot and onto the sidewalk outside this man's house, which moments later he noticed and took upon himself to return to its rightful plant. When the encounter led to some spiritually insightful conversations, as well as his non-prompted mention of both being a photographer and having a friend who sells cars (at the time, Emma was starting to get serious about her photography and Ava was somewhat urgently looking to buy a car) it became clear that we had quite likely encountered an ascended master. It's not that something particularly profound has yet materialized from that encounter, but sometimes when you sense those ascended masters vibes, you just know.
- Limitless form. There are no boundaries to the number of forms in which ascended masters can appear. A human, an animal like in Ben's case, an inanimate object, an advertisement you notice on the subway, you imagine it (or don't imagine it), it's possible.
- Sageness/Aid. Like in the case of when my dad's car broke down during a weekend camping trip in Muskoka, ascended masters tend to arrive at opportune moments to impart wisdom, guidance, or some kind of assistance. We were parked on the shore of an isolated lake off of a basically deserted backroad and it was raining, cold, and very early morning. With no luck getting the car started, we were donning our rain gear, preparing to walk the 10 kilometres to the nearest town when suddenly another car pulled up. The chipper driver (who couldn't provide any good reason for why he'd decided to stop by the lake on such a dreary morning) just so happened to be a retired car mechanic with the skill set to diagnose our problem and get us up and running again. It was a classic ascended master encounter where after the fact you're left with that feeling of "did that just really happen?"
- Fleeting. Ascended masters are elusive buggers and their encounters can be brief. They can enter your life in an instant and disappear just as quickly; often before you can fully realize who they were or the impact they've left on you. Ava and I had an ascended master experience of our own while in Bali. Caught in a sudden torrential down pour, us two and a stranger happened to seek shelter together at the same cafe table. We got talking with the woman and her ascended master status soon became obvious. On the physical level the woman appeared completely in the ordinary - a healthy 40-something-year-old, nothing eccentric or particularly noteworthy about her. But the conversation that unfolded was something strange and wonderful. She spoke about doing what you love and refusing to compromise, about self love and independence. About the real important things. It wasn't in a preachy manner, but through sharing her own experiences about her careers, her relationships, her travels, and her children. She oozed wisdom. She had this essence and radiating energy about her that was so powerful I could feel it. I don't know if I've ever felt so many goosebumps (ahem, truthbumps) during a conversation; they came in tidal waves. Later in the conversation she revealed that she was clairsentient. It would be in vain to try and regurgitate all of the things we talked about, so try and trust me when I simply say that it was profound. At some point one of us checked the time (we all had different commitments and places to be afterwards) and only after double verifying it with a stranger's phone did we finally believe what we saw. Three whole hours had passed in what we all felt could not have been more than 40 minutes. I've never experienced such an intense time warp. We were all late. We literally jumped from our seats and scattered our separate ways - Ava and I nearly ran out on our bill. And in those 3 hours spent together, we somehow never even exchanged our first names. Her powerful presence lingered, but physically, the ascended master had slipped back out of our lives.
Every ascended master encounter is unique. These are some of the characteristics that summarize my experiences, but you might have a completely dissimilar experience and for whatever reason find yourself thinking you just met an ascended master (and that's a good indicator that you probably did). How do you know for sure if you've met one? I can't say. There's never going to be a complete list in which we can check all the boxes; a way to totally verify intuition. I can't necessarily prove to anyone the profoundness of my encounters, and you won't be able to either. Maybe ascended masters are epic manifestations of some greater divine in the universe. Maybe they're just regular old people who for whatever reason standout to me. Or maybe they're something different all together; something I can't or don't care to try and truly understand.
We all get to choose our own lens in which to view our experiences, our world. It can be one of magic, of possibility, of playfulness and imagination. Or it can be a lens which attempts to reassure that these odd encounters and intuitions are actually not so abnormal after all; that they're indeed ordinary and at best coincidental or ironic. But for myself I figure, what's the fun in that perspective? It's not that there are any rights or wrongs when it comes to perspective, but the power of perspective cannot be overestimated. So choose carefully. Because after all, whether we recognize it or not, it is a choice.