Multi-year deja vu: A car repair experience

August 12, 2014

Yesterday was an incredible case of something like multi-year deja vu that had such powerful emotions that it left me standing over the toilet last night, on the verge of throwing up.

The story goes like this: I drove down to New Mexico for a vacation, and in short, after a few days my car broke down about 60 miles south of Santa Fe. This was on a Sunday, so I had to pay over $300 to have my car towed to the Toyota dealer in Santa Fe. They weren’t open on Sunday, so the tow truck driver left my car there, and was nice enough to drop me off at a motel.

Late Monday morning I got a call from the dealer saying that it looked like several of the spark plugs in my car were “broken” and needed to be replaced. I didn’t really believe that this was the entire problem, and when the man told me this was going to cost $400, all I was thinking at the time was “Wow, wow much is all of this going to cost?”

To my great surprise, he called back later in the afternoon and said the car was ready to be picked up. The people at the hotel pointed me to a bus stop, and I took a bus to the car dealer.

As soon as I got the paperwork from the service rep and began reading it, a feeling of “deja vu” began hitting me. Three of the four spark plugs were broken, and even rusted. “Damn, this is crazy,” I thought, “how can the same thing happen to me twice.” Things were a little hectic at that time, so I didn’t think much more about it, other than thinking that shaking the service rep’s hand seemed familiar.

I continued to not think about things too much, other than sending a photo of the repair paperwork to a friend. He wrote back, and what he wrote back seemed like the same thing he wrote last time. I was sitting in the hotel now, and it occurred to me that this was the same hotel where the problem happened last time.

But then several things occurred to me. First, I’ve only been in this hotel once before, and I didn’t have any car problems then. Also, until yesterday I had no idea where the Toyota dealer was located in Santa Fe, and certainly had never been there before.

As I thought about these things, I knew that I had been through this entire episode many years ago in this same hotel, but I also knew that that was impossible. With this, my head began spinning. Like a computer saying, “Does not compute, does not compute,” my brain was trying to process two contradictory facts, and the result was I started to get sick.

I kept thinking, this must have happened before, there is no way I experienced this before. I finally thought to search my old email messages. I never delete my “sent” messages, so there might be something in there. But no, there was no reference to spark plugs. I finally headed to the bathroom, ready to vomit.

I finally convinced myself to breath, and kept telling myself it didn’t matter, even if it was a premonition, it wasn’t worth throwing up about. I calmed down a little, and decided to go for a long, hard walk to take my mind off of this.

Sending events back through time?

In retrospect, the odd thing about all of this is that the repair event didn’t seem like a huge, emotional event all by itself. Certainly I was worried about the total cost of the repair, but if strong emotions are sent backwards from the future back to our present moment, I would think the idea of my car breaking down in the desert in New Mexico would have been a much stronger emotion than having three broken spark plugs.

Of course this is just a theory I read about somewhere. The theory was that very emotional future events are sent back in time (somehow), and if you’re in tune with them, you can receive them.

A thing to mention here is that I was in a meditative state during all of this. I have been reading a book by Lama Yeshe, and have been practicing fairly hard recently, so all during this day I was in the “Twilight Zone” mentally, and if anything was a contributing factor to experiencing this event many years ago, I think that would be a much stronger mental state than any fear I had over the final bill.

(Another theory is that “time” doesn’t exist, at least not as we know it, and if you’re in a meditative state, you can experience things like this, as though you are experiencing all of time at once.)

Multi-year deja vu

In retrospect, this deja vu experience first happened years ago, possibly many years ago. I first came to Santa Fe in 2005 or 2006, so it may have been then. I think I first came to this hotel in 2011, so it may have been then, I don’t know for sure. All I know is that all of this happened before, the three bad spark plugs, the mention of rusty spark plugs, looking at the paperwork, and the emails, it was all the same. I didn’t remember the car dying or the towing experience, but everything after seeing the paperwork was just as it happened before, but years before.

Subtle memories

As I write this blog post it’s now several days later. This morning I was reminded of how subtle certain memories can be, in particular memories from altered states and the dream state. For instance, this morning I had a dream about a particular thing, but it was relatively common daily experience, so I didn’t think much of it.

But the important part about this experience is that I was able to pay attention as the memory faded. So what I’m thinking is that this event may occur today, tomorrow, a week from now, months from now -- I don’t know when -- but the memory was strong early this morning, but had faded from direct memory later this morning.

I suspect (but don’t know) that this is what happened with this car repair experience many years ago. I suspect that I had a powerful dream experience, and that experience faded from memory. I may not have even known about the experience by the time that I woke up whenever that dream happened. But when the same events occurred this past Monday, everything came back to me in a rush, eventually making my brain freak out.

Contributing factors

Here are a couple of notes regarding my current mental state and practice:

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