Exploring the meaning of life…

Archive for November, 2011

Coincidence or synchronicity?

Have you ever experienced something  in your life that appeared to be a coincidence, but you wondered if it could be more than coincidence?  For example, when my daughter was four years old, she didn’t feel well one day and started running a fever.  I stayed home from work that day with the intention of taking her to the doctor.  A couple of hours after she awakened, she started watching her favorite show on tv – Barney.  I was listening to the show as I got ready to take her to the doctor.  The story was about Baby Bop who was breaking out with bumps all over, and found out she had chickenpox.  Not long after the program ended, my daughter showed me that she was breaking out with bumps like Baby Bop.  And indeed, her doctor confirmed that she had chickenpox.  Was this just a coincidence?  Things like this have happened to me repeatedly in my life and so I began to search for an explanation.  I found it in the works of psychologist Carl Jung and his ideas of “synchronicity.”                 

Jung defined synchronicity as the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance and that are observed to occur together in a meaningful manner.  Looking at my situation with my daughter getting chickenpox at the same time that she watches Baby Bop get them on tv, if just a coincidence, would seem unbelievably farfetched.  What if I had turned on another program?  Are these two events related in some meaningful way?  Jung explains it as a governing dynamic that underlies the whole of human experience and history – social, emotional, psychological, and spiritual.  Following discussions with both Albert Einstein and Wolfgang Pauli, Jung believed that there were parallels between synchronicity and aspects of relativity theory and quantum mechanics.  He also believed that this “deeper order” was embedded in an orderly framework and was the focus of that framework.  So, what does this mean?

Swiss psychologist Carl Jung

Consider another incidence of synchronicity that happened to me.  I decided to take my two female cats to the vet to be spayed.  The night before I was to take them, I dreamed that one of my cats, Precious, was a boy.  When I awakened, I laughed and wondered why I dreamed such a silly thing.  About an hour after I took the cats to the vet, I received a call informing me that one of the cats, Precious, was a boy.  For a minute, I didn’t know what to say.  I was a nurse and yet I had never seen any “evidence” that my cat was a male.  Coincidence?  It is hard to get a handle on.  I am keeping an open mind as a new generation researches and defines the grand order of things.

What do you think?  Please leave a comment.

For those of you that would like to read more about synchronicity, try F. David Peat’s book  Synchronicity – The Bridge Between Matter and Mind.                                                                             

Have a happy journey!

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Tolstoy weaves a spider web of love…

   The means to gain happiness
is to throw out from oneself,
like a spider, in all directions,
an adhesive web of love,
and to catch in it
all that comes.
Leo Tolstoy

 

I love this quote from Tolstoy.  So much has been written about love by poets, songwriters and those who are head over heels in love, but this is the first reference to “throwing out an adhesive web of love” that I have ever read.  Like the Apostle Paul, Tolstoy had an amazing transformation that made it plain to him that he had missed the boat in his life.  He was a successful Russian writer of great aclaim, but his life was empty. He experienced a depression during which he questioned everything about his life and the life of all mankind.  His entire system of beliefs seemed to crumble right before him, and it almost killed him.  In order to survive and reorder his belief system, he held tight to one belief – that God existed.  For him, it was the only thing that gave meaning to life.  Many others have shared his struggle.  Danish philosopher Soren Kierkegaard said it this way, “The thing is to understand myself, to see what God really wishes me to do: the thing is to find a truth which is true for me, to find the idea for which I can live and die.”  For Tolstoy the truth was that God existed and was manifested in love.

                                                                                                         

Leo Tolstoy - 1908

Tolstoy received much critisism after his conversion experience, and many doubted his sincerity.  However, if you have read “The Death of Ivan Ilych,” which was his first work after his conversion, I don’t think you could have much doubt that he truly experienced a spiritual awakening.  For me, it is in every page of the story in a way that I don’t believe could be written by anyone that had not come to a truthful understanding of what is valuable in our lives.  In the above quotation, he lays it out for us – it is love.  That is what brings real joy and happiness.  He discovered these truths toward the end of his life, but not too late for him to experience true love and not too late for his readers to understand the value in life by reading “The Death of Ivan Ilych.”  If you are searching for the meaning in your life, give it a try.  Read the book.  You have nothing to lose.

Here’s to love – have a happy journey!            

How did God create what has never been?

A Veiled Mist

When does time begin,
or end, for that matter?
Is it when our nostrils feel breath
or is it when a sperm penetrates the egg?

Life is but a vapor.
Ethereal, a veiled mist,
air that isn’t really there…
but it is life.
It is us.

How, then, did we begin?                                                 

Ether

When we were just cells
or nucleic acids?
Do we all have this
wisdom deep inside
the vapors of our
consciousness?

 What lurks below the layers
of our being?
A monster?
Or a perfect plan?

The answer is there.
I know it is.
I want it badly, too.

I will keep searching…

Have you ever read the first few verses in Genesis and wondered about its meaning?  “And the earth was without form and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep.  And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” Genesis 1:2.  When I read that I think, “Wow!  I wonder what that looked like?”  It is one of the mysteries of Genesis for me.  The earth was without form and void, but yet it existed in some manner which seemed to include water.  Maybe you are one of the lucky ones who can read this and just go to the next verse.  But I am not so lucky.  I want to understand this first so I can move on, but unfortunately, we are not offered any more information about this.  This is how we began and yet it offers very few clues to the actual moment or how it came to be, how WE came to be.  So I am still searching…what are your thoughts?

Have a happy journey!                                     

Our brilliant beginning?

When that which is perfect has finally come…

Today I found myself humming  an old hymn that we used to sing in our church when I was young – “He lives.”  It’s funny how many times we can sing a song and never really pay attention to the words.  Here are some of the words:

“I serve a risen Saviour                                      
He’s in the world today.
I know that He is living
no matter what men say.

I see His hand in mercy,
I hear his voice of cheer,
And just the time I need him,
He’s always near.

He lives, He lives,
Christ Jesus lives today!
He walks with me and talks with me
Along life’s narrow way.” Alfred Ackley

Like me, you may have heard many sermons about what it means to “walk with God.”  The Bible says that Enoch and Adam both walked with God, but what does that really mean?  Some will say that it is a literal translation – that God walked beside each one of these men here on earth.  Others will say that it is a metaphor for having a close, loving relationship with God.  Perhaps they are both right, but it has come to mean something else to me.

Years ago, a close friend of mine wrote an essay that I just couldn’t understand at the time.   He talked about what happens when a student and that which he studies become one in the same. I thought this was an absurd idea!  Was he saying that if we study history long enough, we become history?  That didn’t make any sense to me.  If we study math, do we become math?  I’ve actually thought about it many times over that last couple of decades and finally realized that he meant this in the spiritual realm only, not in the physical “real” world around us.  In that context, it finally made sense to me.  How wonderful to reach a time in our lives when we become one and the same with God – when we no longer know where we stop and God begins!  Could that be what Jesus meant when he said, “The Father and I are One?”  Every now and then, I have a brief and fleeting moment in which I comprehend what Jesus meant.  I catch sight of what it means to love God so completely that there is nothing else but love.  In that moment, everything makes sense and is so glorious that there are no words to describe it.

The Apostle Paul wrote that we only know in part now – we are limited by our earthly minds.  We can’t comprehend the whole story yet, but someday we will.  Paul goes on to say that when that which is perfect has finally come, we are whole and our parts cease to be.  That is when the student and that which he studies become one.  And the brief and fleeting moments when I have experienced that continue to lead me to a full realization of what that will be like.  For me, that is what is meant by “heaven.”

Have a happy journey!  

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