About twenty years ago today, I was travelling in India when I had an interesting realization. I had, for a number of years, become slowly aware that I would see 11:11 appear on digital clocks an inordinate number of times – bordering on the supernatural. So often, when I would glance down at my cheap Casio travel watch, I would see an 11:11 flashing up at me. It felt somehow special or meaningful, so I decided to start keeping track of it.
That day in India, I began writing down every time I saw 11:11, where I was and what I was doing. And a pattern began to emerge. 11:11 actually seemed to be acting like a kind of Beacon. — The more frequently I saw 11:11, the more it seemed I was making Right Choices in my life, and the less often I saw it, the more it seemed to feel like I wasn’t living, perhaps, as authentically as I could.
Somehow 11:11 felt like a message system from somewhere deep in the universe, a warm/cold ticker-tape of my daily direction choosing, my own direct link to a personal, supernatural guide. Each 11:11, a little wink from the Creator. The more often the numbers appeared to me, the more I felt like I was getting closer to their Source! I felt like Richard Dreyfuss in Close Encounters of the Third Kind, who starts carving mountains in his mashed potatoes, and keeps seeing the same mountain with more and more frequency, until the mountain finally draws him to it.
But what was my mountain? If I was being given a magical guide through life, what was the goal? Where was I being led?
As I peered ahead into the future, creating over the years an increasingly complex personal, numerological mythology around 11:11, it was hard not to imagine that, somehow, today – 11/11/11 at 11:11 – was when it would all become revealed. The goal, the meaning, the purpose of twenty years of mystical messages.
And yet here I am… Today, just a few hours left to go. And I’m no clearer on what any of it was about, not the numbers, nor any of the daily choice that carried me from India to Culver City.
But that’s not a surprise. In truth, I stopped writing down every 11:11 that I saw a long time ago.
I’m left with an interesting 200-page journal of random moments over a couple decades – but it lacks any kind of synthesis or clarity. The thing I craved long ago, when I felt like a carefully-coded treasure map had been handed to me, was the treasure at the end. And that treasure was the meaning of it all. And here I am at what must be the end of the rainbow, the greatest accumulation of 11’s that all those other 11’s long ago were leading me to – and the pot’s empty. There is nobody behind the curtain waiting with answers.
Yet, here I am. And I have to be honest with myself. I look around at my life, and it’s a good life. I’m happily married to the woman it seems like I was destined to be with. We’ve created a child who is stunningly precocious, and could only have sprung from the union of our two souls. And I have a career that pays me to be creative, and work at home in pajamas. All I lack, it seems, is the meaning of it all. But really, who ever gets that?
Maybe this is it. Maybe this is exactly where that beacon was leading me.
Life is good days and bad. And I still seem to glance up randomly just in time to see an 11:11 on the clock whenever the days are good ones. And when the days are bad, a sudden, surprising 11:11 sighting will still fill me with warmth and a sense that, despite everything, I’m actually doing okay. That I’m still going the right way.
11/11/11… This isn’t the mountain that I’ve reached today, but really, just another heightened moment to check in, and ask myself: Am I living as authentically as I can? Are we all?