3 impossible (true) stories, 1 way to feel more God-like. ~ Ben Ralston

Via Ben Ralston
on Oct 3, 2011
get elephant's newsletter

There have been times when I’ve felt so bad I’ve wanted the Earth to swallow me up. Times when, if I’d had one wish, I would not have wished for more money or time or power; I’d have wished to disappear in a puff of smoke.

And there was a time when I very, very nearly killed myself.

We’re all human, which is to say, we all have the capacity to experience tremendous pain. I’m talking about emotional pain here, but the same goes for physical…

I think it was Primo Levi who said something like:

A human is an animal that can adapt to any circumstances, no matter how appalling”.

I once watched a documentary called “The Boy Whose Skin Fell Off”. It was about a boy with a rare disease – his skin fell off his body every few days. His skin kept falling off all the time. His parents had to bandage him up, and he lived with that pain day in, day out, his whole life. In the end, he died of skin cancer.

I don’t think I’ve ever cried so much, or been so moved, as I did and was by that movie. That boy’s courage and dignity will remain with me, always. You can watch it here. You will be moved and shaken and inspired.

I wrote recently about feeling like an Ant. And about feeling like God.

To me, the difference between the two is just all about where we place our attention (and where we place our attention is the greatest sign of our intelligence)…

So I want to share with you a great way to shift your attention from the mundane, painful, ant-like aspects of life, towards God:

It’s called synchronicity.

Some people call it co-incidence, but I like to say that there is no such thing as co-incidence. Others call it luck, and I like to say that we make our own luck, and one of the ways in which I’ve made mine (and I’m one of the luckiest people in the history of luck) is by doing what I’m about to tell you about.

Actually, a better word than synchronicity is perhaps ‘miracle’. Because although mathematicians can work out the odds of some of the things I’m about to tell you about happening; and although they might say that there is a billion to one chance; I’d say that it’s simply impossible. So it’s a miracle.

In 1999 I was reading a book about synchronicity.

I was living in a shabby little room in a big shabby house in Stoke Newington, London. For those of you that don’t know London, that’s very close to where the recent riots all kicked off.

The room I was in had one thing going for it – it overlooked a small park (I think it was called Stoke Newington Green).

And one morning, as I was making myself breakfast, I was thinking about the head-on car crash I’d had when I was 18 yrs old, when I’d only seconds earlier put on my seat belt – in itself, a kind of synchronicity. I never used to wear my seat belt, but that day, and I don’t know why, I did. It might have saved my life. It certainly prevented any injury, and the other guy wasn’t so lucky…

Anyway, I’m standing there making my breakfast and remembering that car crash, when suddenly I hear an almighty KRUNSCH. I look out the window, and across the other side of the park, two cars have just collided. This blew my mind. But it’s not the punchline.

The very next day, standing there making myself breakfast again, thinking about the previous days synchronicity… KRUNSCH. I look out the window, and in exactly the same spot, two cars have collided.


When I was working as an actor I had no work. I was a terrible actor. So one day I had to go out and get myself a job, and after walking around London literally all day without success, I told myself: “One more”.

I walked into one more bar and asked if they needed a barman. The girl behind the bar (full of piercings and tats, with a shaved head, and a ton of attitude) said ‘no’, at the same time as a guy appeared from the stockroom. As I turned to leave, thoroughly dejected, he called out:

“Wait a minute, we might be looking for someone”.

So I sat down with him for a coffee and had an interview.

While we were talking I noticed a photo of two naked men walking down the beach away from camera, hand in hand. Then I noticed that my interviewer had a handlebar moustache and a leather waistcoat. Then I noticed the girl behind the bar again, and all the other very obvious signs that I was in a gay bar.

The owner – the guy interviewing me – was called Robin.

On the wall, above the photo, was a metal sign:

“The Back Bar.”

As I clocked the photo on the wall, Robin asked me:

“Is it a problem for you, working in a gay bar?”

I thought about it for a moment. I couldn’t find any reason why it should be a problem.

“No”, I said.

And so I worked there for a year. It was a great year. I loved almost every minute of it. And a tip for any single young straight men reading this: working in a gay bar is a great way to meet girls. Trust me.

A few years later, and a few weeks after the double car crash synchronicity, I was in a rehearsal studio with my band (I was the drummer). As we left the studio, we were all talking about what a terrible drummer I was. (I was worse at drumming than I was at acting). I’d been thinking for a while about drum lessons, and just as I was thinking about it again, we walked past the door of one of the other studios… and heard the most amazing drum solo. There was someone in there playing the drums like I’d never heard the drums played before. We all stopped. I had to go in there. It couldn’t be a co-incidence.

So I went in there. I slowly opened the door and saw this young guy playing the kit as if it was a part of him. He was amazing. But the most amazing part of it all, and the reason I stood there with my mouth wide open for a while even after he stopped playing – on the wall, above his head, was a metal sign:

“The Back Bar.”


When I moved to Slovenia, my (now) wife and I talked a lot about getting a dog. We had both always had dogs around us, but right then we were a little afraid of the doggy responsibility. Now we have a dog, two cats, and a baby, and I’m still afraid of responsibility.

So we were thinking of getting a dog for 2 years, and it went like this:

“Let’s get a dog?”


“Hang on, what about the responsibility…”

“You’re right, forget it.”

One day we were out walking in the hills and the same conversation came up. And this time my wife said:

“Let’s ask the universe what we should do”.

I’d never heard of this ‘ask the universe’ concept (sounded a little too ‘New-Age’ for me to be honest), but we did it. We put this question out there to the universe, and simply waited for the answer.

We didn’t have to wait long…

After the walk, we were heading into town. We got into the car, and my wife was fiddling with the radio. Our usual radio station wasn’t available, and she was trying to find another channel.

Suddenly (on Slovene radio) an English voice said:

“And now, from 1966, ‘I Love My Dog’ by Cat Stevens”.

It’s a cool song (“all the pay I need comes shining through his eyes”). My Dad had a cassette tape of Cat Stevens when he was Cat Stevens – before he changed his name to Yusuf or something and converted to Islam. I’d always been intrigued by him and that old, worn cassette tape. It would have been sign enough, even without the obvious dog song.

“That’s it, that’s the sign, we’re getting a dog!”

In town we saw a poster. A woman’s dog had had puppies. When we got there, only one puppy was left. His name:



We renamed that puppy Jai.

Jai on dry land

 I could go on and on giving examples of synchronicities, or miracles, that have happened to me. On and on and on. Because the more open you are to them, the more you see them. They happen all the time. Life is a long succession of miracles. You are a miracle.

So here’s what to do: be open to miracles. Keep an eye out for synchronicities. Because when things like this happen, you stop feeling like a helpless little ant, and you realize that you are part of a much bigger picture. You stop and say ‘wow’.

 Just WOW.

That’s impossible.

You are a miracle. It’s a miracle that you have read this. It’s a miracle that you can spread the love of the miraculous just by pressing a button or two – please use the buttons below to share! And leave a comment – notice any synchronicities recently?!


About Ben Ralston

Ben Ralston has been practising personal development—necessity being the Mother of invention—since he was about six years old. He’s been teaching and sharing what he’s learnt along the way for a couple of decades. His main thing is Heart of Tribe retreats—whose very purpose is to help you fall back in love with life, no less. Leading these retreats alongside his woman Kara-Leah Grant—also an elephant journal writer (that’s how they met!)—they combine a deep well of lineage-based yoga teaching experience, with expertise in healing trauma and various other methods of personal development. Ben also works with clients one-on-one via Skype, writes, makes videos from time to time, and is passionate about parenting. He lives in an intentional, tribal community in the hills of Croatia, where you might find him gardening barefoot and talking to the rocks. Connect with Ben on Facebook or YouTube or check out his website for more info.


23 Responses to “3 impossible (true) stories, 1 way to feel more God-like. ~ Ben Ralston”

  1. Pamela says:

    I watched the boy who's skin dropped off, it was brilliant, that must have been some years ago. I loved the way he carried the whole families love as they watched him suffer how he just kept on loving, Amazing and very humbling.

    Now I have to go and ask the universe about a cat, because I think that might be too much responsibility….

  2. TonyaD says:

    Love this post. It reminded me of my friend Jim and the wonderful stories he used to tell. Like this one, he recorded on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G0UmcENyZw4

    I say "used to tell" because he died last year from cancer.

    Thank you for all that you do.

  3. David says:

    Thank you sir, very interesting to think about.

  4. Ramesh says:

    Truly wonderful stories, Ben, and very funny, too. Jai to the dog and God of synchronicity!

  5. madgrooves says:

    Synchronicity blows my mind to shreds always bringing me back to heightened awareness and appreciation. Thank you for this beautiful reminder tonight, Ben =0) I really needed to bring my focus back on all the miracles and signs that I've encountered, as it's an intensely challenging time in my life that is triggering some of deepest wounds from very early childhood. Sometimes it consumes me and I have to surrender to the pain for a while before I can move on, as have been the last 2 days. Thank you for throwing me a rope, a divine sign to jolt my memory <3

  6. Ben_Ralston says:

    Damn, I've been so busy lately – wanted to watch these videos but didn't get round to it yet. But I will. The quick look I had made me like him! Thanks for the link, and isn't it beautiful that Jim is still telling stories on youtube?!

  7. Ben_Ralston says:

    That's somehow beautiful. Thank you.

  8. Ben_Ralston says:

    I don't know if it is less spiritual than yours!
    My theory is just that everything is connected, and that usually people don't see it. They think that they are alone, in a universe very big and empty. But the truth is, there is no universe, and there is no person, and emptiness is fullness, and when you tune into that, you see it reflected everywhere – even on the sides of lorries!
    Science and spirituality, if you ask me, are singing the same song – but different languages… slowly though, all language becomes one…

  9. Ben_Ralston says:

    Jai Jai Dog goD God doG Jai Jai!!

  10. Ben_Ralston says:

    Pleasure Madeline. Where were we with your session? I lost track in my recent crazy busy-ness. Let me know…

  11. Ben_Ralston says:

    "I don't need science to tell me what I know experientially"
    Yah. Bingo. Science is too much in the head… I want the totality of my being-ness please. Head, heart, guts…

    Jai Fishbone!

  12. Ben_Ralston says:

    Ah, that's what it's all about. Letting go of the 'structure' in our head that says "this is possible, this isn't possible" (surely you can't ask a coworker you don't know out for dinner?! Are you crazy?!
    When we let go, and go with the flow, we see that everything IS crazy, and embracing that apparent craziness is actually the only sensible, sane course of action.

  13. TonyaD says:

    I watch his videos when I miss him. Social media keeps him alive. 🙂

  14. rlpittner says:

    I noticed a synchronicity. Before reading this article I was looking on the internet for a good description of Carl Jung and synchronicity, to help explain to a friend why tarot works (law of synchronicity and Einstein's theory of relativity). I read a few websites, then decided to read another another elephant article, this one. On synchronicity. But I didn't know it was about synchronicity. Ha. I thought it was funny.

  15. Ben_Ralston says:

    Ha! And look what happened in the last 6 weeks…
    Someone, was it Paulo Coelho in The Alchemist? described synchronicities as Omens, or signs along the way. Have to say that this would prove the point…
    Lots of love Rebecca

  16. Jon Marks says:

    I might say that I am a victim of synchronicity. After a wonderful 4 day weekend (where we read The Alchemist together) with the most wonderful woman I'd ever known, and an overnight with her at a conference three days later, she watched me tie my tie and decided she needed more. She went to a poetry reading and heard a poem. And two days later – even with many intervening "I love yous" – with no explanation other than the Universe told her to do this, she broke up with me and I was to have no further contact with her.

    This is really great: we now cobble random events together and use them as rationalizations for whatever we want. And I will never be the same. How can her universe be so different from my universe?

  17. Jon Marks says:

    Or, let me ask the question that this leaves me with: when can we feel safe from distructive interpretations of random events.

    We need to pay attention, but the notion of messages out of randomness is just not acceptable. I need to trust and randomness is, by definition, not trustworthy.

  18. Ben_Ralston says:

    Jon, thank you for an interesting comment.
    I would say that anyone who says " the universe told me to do " anything is not to be trusted! The 'universe' is not separate from us, and it doesn't "talk" to us…
    The Universe is an extension of us, and whatever we perceive outwardly is really (in some way) just an expression of what we have inside us. So to find meaning in what happens in the outer world is one thing; to feel that you are being 'spoken to', or actively guided by some outer force is quite another.
    The real key here is to trust YOURSELF… and I sense that this is the lesson for you in this – trust yourself more, love yourself more.

  19. […] Most things are not impossible. Don’t beat the odds, be the […]

  20. Anasthasia says:

    I finally read Many Lives, Many Masters tonight by Brian L. Weiss, M.D.

  21. Isreal Clark says:

    Could all this be Cal’s doing. You know, the info’ suggesting these kids are going elsewhere the BANG they sign with us. And Cal grins from ear to ear on espnU… Then, he tells these 2 to go recruit Bennett and Oriakhi.