Final paper for “Synchronicity” with Professor Allan Combs at California Institute of Integral Studies, Summer 2004
Can one ever know the trickster? Perhaps we can know him better, but in order to do that we’ll have to hunt him down. Join me as I rifle through the universe in search of the trickster’s many homes and maybe we’ll pick up a few tricks of our own. Where in the universe does the trickster live? The trickster lives at the pivot points of unpredictability, where the door could swing either way – in or out. Any time you make a decision that is a pivot point. Stars are pivot points in the transition between energy and matter. Black holes are pivot points between space and time. A photon is a pivot point between locality and universality. Relativity is a pivot point between temporality and atemporality. The eye is a pivot point between the external and the internal. The collapse of the wave function is the pivot point between potentiality and manifestation. Tensegrity is the pivot point of the structure. The pivot point is an unpredictable, where the probability is fifty-fifty and there’s no determining which path reality will choose.
Synchronicity is best characterized as a coincidence of two “unpredictables” – one unpredictable being the internal self and the other unpredictable being the external universe. The unpredictability of the internal and external self can be characterized by many names and concepts. I will refer to them as individual will and universal will. Universal will actually manifests through the deep determinism behind physics in a bottom up approach. Perhaps the depths of determinism also somehow cause the decisions of an individual will, but those equations have not yet been deciphered, as they have been treated in a solely top down manner thus far.
We use physics to describe the universe in a predictable controllable way. But the scope of physics is limited by unpredictability. We can often identify the laws and equations which govern certain systems, but the complexity of the situation often prevents the possibility of prediction; the equations cannot be solved, so the outcome is always a surprise. Complexity enters the equation whenever one attempts to integrate an isolated system into the larger world of multiplicitous variables. For instance the equation for how long it will take an object of a certain mass to fall to the ground is pretty straight forward, that is, until you start considering wind, air resistance, the shape of the object, imprecisions of timing, etc. A simple problem can become very complex very fast. A boundary is crossed between determinism and deep determinism, where the predictability becomes theoretical rather than actual. In an actual prediction we can tell you exactly what will happen next and how it will happen. In deep determinism increasing complexity prevents us from identifying more than a probability of what might happen. Deep determinism is the determinism which governs chaos theory and quantum mechanics. It is the determinism that cannot be determined. It is the mechanism of action for the universal will.
The other unpredictable that physics pretty much ignores all together, except perhaps some consideration in the philosophy of quantum mechanics, is that of the human. The complexity of this system brings an element of unpredictability to every situation by virtue of the mere, often invisible fact, that it is human consciousness that is orchestrating the experiment. For example, the mere choice of what order to perform a number of operations in can alter the outcome of an equation, or more fundamentally, the choice of measuring the device can yield different results. In quantum mechanics if an experimenter is trying to establish that light is a wave, she can choose the experiments which will illustrate the desired result. Whereas another experimenter may want to prove that light is made up of particles, and by looking for particles, he finds particles. One might make the comparison to Bible debates – one can find a quote to support just about any view – even contradictory ones, or to the use of facts and statistics in politics to paint a partial picture which may be contradictory to the other parts of the picture or even to the whole itself – Bush’s policies on the environment and education come to mind. All of these are examples of how unpredictability always tends to underlie predictability when one attempts to integrate the pieces into a larger, more complex picture of reality.
A simple action is likely based in a complexity of motivations. Thus the next action in a similar circumstance could be entirely different, based on the nuance of interaction between the complexity of the circumstance and the motivations. We tend to assume that a little bit of conscious rationality implies entire conscious rationality in decision making when it comes to humans. We tend to assume that people make certain decisions based on external constraints, internal drives, and logic. The internal drive is the mystery in that bunch. Drive can help one beat the odds as an underdog, come out on top, or as one once poised for success driven to the bottom by an addiction. It is the factor that cannot be accounted for, it is the pivot point where the trickster lives. We often refer to the inner complexity as “free-will” and the outer complexity as random chance or fate.
But the question of predictability exists on either side as well as in the interaction between them. It has long been a debate in the world of psychology, before it was even psychology I’m sure, as to whether a child is a blank slate to be written upon, wholly determined by their circumstances and upbringing, or something unpredictable that descends entirely formed from some nether realm. These are the psychological correlates to the Newtonian worldview of determinism vs. a worldview with room for mystery, like quantum mechanics and chaos. It seems obvious that the manner of interaction between all of these complexities make up the reality we live, and while one may seem to take precedence over the others in specific situations, in general none can claim definite supremacy. The interesting question for me here is not necessarily which variable might take precedence in what proportions, but more of what is the essential underlying unity that these seemingly incompatible notions are describing?
One place to approach this question is in the realm of philosophy. The philosophical correlates to the above mentioned physical and psychological descriptions of reality are determinism vs. free will. Interestingly, fate seems like it could go on either side of the determinism/ free- will divide. It matches up with determinism in that it is destined, already written. It differs however, in that is draws on the unpredictable element hidden deep in the complexity of determinism, because determinism is predictable while fate is hidden. In this way fate seems more aligned with free-will in its unpredictability. But these two are often considered counter to each other as well, in that while fate may be unknown to us, it is “known” somehow, whereas free-will is wholly “unknown”, and determinism wholly know in theory. So it seems we have stumbled upon another pivot point, another home of the trickster, where free-will meets determinism we find fate as their synchronicitous meeting.
How the might the relationship between free will and fate and synchronicity seem to be pointing to the same thing from different perspectives? By recognizing their similarity might we gain a better understanding of the aspect of reality which remains a mystery, or is mystery their most essential identity? In looking for the trickster, surely we will just find more tricks? Perhaps the lesson is a lesson in reality that is fluid and evasive rather than solid and certain as we would like to have it.
One perspective of the identity of fate and free-will crops up in the mysticism of many religions. The two sides of unpredictability, the inner and outer, are the same thing which meet at the surface of one’s skin, both emerging out of the unifying substrate of entirety of the universe. The miracle here is the paradox of separation within unity. Our individual selves are like solar flares arcing off the sun’s surface and meeting back up with it thinking it’s encountering something wholly different from itself, not realizing it is made of the same stuff. We are like children who have forgotten our mother’s face. Thus the task for these two faces of the same substrate is to come to recognize themselves again.
One possible way to recognize fate and free-will as the same thing is to take a different perspective on time. Imagine that all of your decisions were made within the one decision, of who you would be, that was made outside of space and time. This decision can then trickle through your space-time unfolding in millions of different ways throughout your life. Imagine that this decision not only manifests itself in all of your decisions, but that it will also be moving toward your every moment from the future fulfillment of its timeless entirety. That is your destiny, your fate, calling you, it is the decision you made outside of time that manifests as all that is determined and all that you choose consciously in your life. And when you remember that you are the universe you can see how your particular manifestation was chosen at the very beginning when the universe chose to come into existence and that your life path is lived not only for your sake but for the sake of the universe, for the sake of a new way of being itself, for greater creativity and complexity learning to balance and live through all the dark and twisted passageways.
Thinking about time in this way, as one a continuum with timelessness is tricky and nuanced, especially when we tend to think of time as a mere vehicle for cause and effect, if we think of it as all. But there is scientific reason to stretch one’s brain into this alternate mode.
Synchronicity as Physics
Often synchronicities show up when we think something and then it manifests in some seemingly unrelated way externally. One way to think about this is to question the unidirectional flow of time. Perhaps it is by connection to future events that our thoughts are sometimes influenced. I enjoy speculating on the nature of time and have a few different models I like to work with.
The first is based on relativity. The faster you go the slower time goes, in a sense the moment expands. For photons traveling at the speed of light time freezes, thus their moment expands to encompass all time yielding a perspective of omniscience. For photons there is no passage of time, and thus no distance between spatial points because travel is instantaneous; all is present at once. This implies that all photons could be one photon, multiplied into many only in the temporal realm, the realm where time flow exists for slow moving objects like us.
I tend to think of this like a balloon ride into the vertical dimension, as you get higher you can see more and more of the landscape below. When standing on the ground your horizon is much smaller than when you’re 1,000 ft in the air. Now imagine a timeline under your feet in place of the landscape and imagine the vertical dimension as velocity, so greater height corresponds to greater speed. When standing on the timeline you can only see the landscape / timescape directly ahead and behind you. But when traveling in the vertical dimension increasing velocity increases our distance from the temporal horizon and thus the amount of the space / time visible within that horizon. So our view from within time, when stationary / on the ground, is a limited perspective of a greater whole existing simultaneously and visible from greater speeds.
Thus any interaction with light, which sets the speed limit for the universe and thus has the best perspective, is an interaction with timeless eternity and a possible avenue for information from the future. In Chopra’s book The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire he refers to the connection between the personal soul and the universal soul as a connection that allows us to, “tap into the part of the soul that is universal, the infinite field of pure potential.” (Chopra, 79) Here light as pure energy, as the embodied presence of that infinite potential from which all matter is built continually bathes us in the very pure potential which makes up our very being.
In addition to revamping one’s perspective on time and identity, this also sheds some light (pun intended 🙂 on the issue of the double slit experiment and non-locality – unexplainable in the temporal realm, but not so illogical if one understand that light exists atemporally. Chopra also refers to the universal soul as the non-local self.
Another way of thinking about time in an unconventional manner also comes from relativity, but this time deals with light cones. A light cone is a space time diagram of light’s path through time. The vertical axis is time pointing up toward the future, and the horizontal axes are space. A light cone looks like two ice cream cones, one upside-down on the bottom and one right-side-up on the top. Where there tips touch in the middle is now, above = future, below = past. The slope of the cones is the speed of light and the cone delineates the boundary of where light could have come from in the past and where it can go in the future bounded by it’s speed limit c.
So the neat thing about light cones is that they can tilt. As light travels around a massive gravitational object it tends to go around rather than traveling all the way down into the object’s space-time dent and climbing back out the other side. In other words it chooses the shortest path. So the question then becomes if light cones can tilt, can they flip? It they tilt due to gravity, it would require a massive gravitational force to flip them. Just such a force may be present in black holes. In fact when a light cone falls into a black hole it ends up on its side – essentially space and time have been reversed. If the light cone were to continue on over until it was upside down then it would be traveling backwards in time flying out of the black hole as we observe it going in. Anyhow, so flipping light cones offer a mechanism for looping time which may also facilitate information exchange with the future on very subtle levels.
So here are two theoretical mechanisms of physics for how the future might influence our present reality as occasionally experienced as synchronicity. I believe they also have to do with consciousness as a space-time structure, but that’s another story.
Another issue that surfaces when one starts questioning the relationship of time to synchronicity is that of causality. Some nuance of causal distinction can emerge in the discussion of synchronicity as Psi.
Synchronicity as Psi
One difference I see between synchronicity and Psi experience are the causal links involved. Psi experiences seem to be classified as such when there is no other causal explanation for the perception, like one woman’s anxiety preceding an earthquake. If her anxiety had been linked additionally to an earth shattering event in her personal life then I would call the incident synchronistic, in that both occurrences had causal explanations independent of one another – plate tectonics for the earthquake and personal trauma for the anxiety. The fact that they shared a similar dynamic and coincided is synchronicitous, rather than predictive or causal as Psi might manifest. So it seems that synchronicity may just be a form of psychism, cloaked in a layer of causality that we recognize therefore allowing us to rule out paranormal notions of causality not bound by time or space.
On the other hand it seems that both Psi and synchronistic experiences seem to connect events via the implicate, interior realm rather with the explicate realm of manifestation in ways our consciousness has not yet integrated. We seem to understand how the explicate informs the implicate, because we take the explicate world of shared experience to be primary to, or more real than our interior worlds, because we can verify it with others. We are only just beginning to understand how the implicate order of potentiality and imagination informs the explicate order. Both Psi and synchronicity offer gateways to an expanded awareness of the complex nuance of multiple causalities.
One of the alternative causalities which often express itself through synchronicity is karma.
Synchronicity as Karma
Repetition tends to forces us to eventually take a new perspective on a situation or at least see things that we didn’t see before. When patterns in one’s life repeat themselves we often see the lessons of karma within the synchronicity because we notice the repetition and start looking for reasons. A practical reason for repeated experience is that there is still a lesson that must be learned from that experience and once the lesson is learned, you will quit drawing that experience to yourself. Or maybe the reason is just practice, something you have to do over and over again so that you remember how, get good at it and can help others. Perhaps the karmic lesson of my car being broken into so many times is one of letting go, or maybe it is one of maintenance and desensitizing myself to just getting what needs to be taken care of taken care of, or maybe I’m just supposed to get rid of my car. The true lesson is hard to decipher and I would have to sit with the issue for a while to see exactly how this particular occurrence plays itself out in my karma.
One helpful way to work with these repetitive instances is to try to look at them archetypally.
Synchronicity & Archetype
Archetypes are perfect for exploring the realms of synchronicity and atemporality because they provide a fuzzy classification system which is sufficiently abstract to apply to many things thus connecting them through their commonality. I like to think of archetypes as probability, kind of a spread of potentiality that a reality can manifest into. If one can locate their experiences in the archetypal realm, then connections between experiences become clearer as they overlap in the realm of pattern and meaning no longer separated by specificity.
Meaning is an equally abstract notion that allows us to connect occasions of reality, otherwise disparate in time and place. This connective layer of reality forms a web of interconnectedness and pattern which facilitates the recognition of synchronistic experience. The issue of who is pulling the strings goes right back to the notion of linear causality. If we entertain the notion of acausality the relationship between humanity and archetypes looses hierarchy and merely exhibits a co-arising.
Co-arising is a tricky notion for folks who demand linearity for understandability, but trickery is the element of synchronicity and thus the one sure place in the universe where the trickster resides – any place things refuse to go our way or decide to be something other than we had thought or planned, Hermes is having his way with us. It’s happening all the time, so we can either enjoy it or be miserable trying to put up a fight and digging oneself a deeper hole.
Synchronicity and the Trickster
I loved the chapter in Synchronicity on the trickster. It was a much deeper reading of Hermes that I had heard before and I found quite a few significant insights, resonances and even a little tricky activity while I read! Uranus, the Promethean trickster archetype in some versions of astrology, is currently sitting right on top of my sun and moon and retrograding back and forth. For any of you who know anything about astrology this particular transit is a once in a lifetime event (if that, it takes Uranus about 84 years to make its way around the sun). So I’ve been trying to figure out how this will manifest in my life and learning to see Uranus as the archetypal god of paradox and boundaries revealed most clearly how he has been acting in my life, as these are key areas of study for me.
I can not help but attend to the pattern which seems to reoccur in every subject I study, as it seems that its reoccurrence must be some indicator of truth. For instance I study philosophy, religion and physics because I understand them to be asking the same questions and figure where they overlap will lay the greatest truth. It is in reoccurring patterns that they overlap. The pattern that I see everywhere is one based on two dualities, the potential and the manifest, and the expansion and contraction which facilitate the transition between them. The other essential part of the pattern is the truth of paradox, of enantiadromia – where anything taken to its extreme becomes its opposite. I tend to think of that turn around point between a thing and its opposite as the pivot point, the point where matter becomes energy again, where space becomes time, where male becomes female, where baseness is honored, where one becomes two, where in-breath becomes out-breath, etc.
I had not realized that the trickster was the archetypal manifestation of this oh so important element of my philosophical understanding. On page 82 I wrote “pivot point!” in the margins of the description of trickster as paradox, and sure enough on the very next page the very same phrase is used in the text after the description of Hermes as the hinge of the gate, at once peripheral and central.
I love the way the Eshu stirred up trouble in the village and underhandedly taught the people the deeper value of their lives. I’ve always felt a certain attraction to the character of Robin Hood as well and can see him in Hermes rightful redistribution of Apollo’s cattle to the other Gods in sacrifice. I also see him whenever I get a bike stolen or my car is broken into, which is at least in the double digits after a mere 2 years in this city (SF). I often think, “Well, they probably needed it more that I did.” I also think of those people who are natural jokesters and troublemakers and how good they are for me – the often overly serious one who needs to be reminded to lighten up. These perspectives vastly expand my understanding of synchronicity, what it is and how it manifests.
While synchronicity appears in many themes in my life I find it most prominently in two in particular. I’ve mapped these out in a Kismet life map, which I’ve attached at the end of the paper and elaborated on below.
My personal journey with synchronicity has run in two major channels. One channel continually balances me between my individual self and my universal self. And the channel of my individual self which is embedded within the first channel traces a path of intersection between my future and past.
The balance between individuation and unification is painful and difficult, something I realized right off the bat. I know from the reports of my mother that my first few years on this planet were exceeding difficult for me. Not because of any extraordinary external hardship, but apparently for the mere fact of separateness. I cried constantly and threw terrible temper tantrums until I was two years old, after which time I somehow morphed into the perfect child. She reports that I was a “Mommy shadow” and followed her everywhere. My first words as far as she can recollect were, “Carry me!” perhaps serving the dual purpose of self identification, “Kerri – me.” and relief from separateness.
My mom’s strategy for dealing with my temper tantrums was to ignore them, thus she taught me that crying and screaming will get me nowhere. I either have to reconcile myself to disagreeable situations with some form of acceptance or change them myself rather than relying on some external authority to make it all better for me. This is the same philosophy she taught when she would respond to the sibling complaint of, “He/She hit me!” with, “Well, him him/her back!” Thus she advocated the personal agency necessary for one to create one’s own happiness and avoid the traumatization of victim-hood. She set the stage for me to learn the power of individualism.
Perhaps the most profound lesson or test of this development of my individuation was the death of my father when I was nine. He died of a brain tumor so had been in and out of the hospital for 2 years and so his death was not a total surprise for my family. What was a surprise for me however was the contrast between how I felt I “should” have responded and how I actually did respond to his death. I didn’t cry. I didn’t ask why, or think it was wrong or bad, or think it was my fault, or even really feel sad. I accepted that this was part of life, just what happens, nothing I could do about it. It was kind of like I knew it would happen and knew it was supposed to happen. I didn’t naturally imagine life unfolding any other way. I think this is largely a result of the lessons of individuation that my Mom taught me, however unknowingly, as well as a reflection of her honesty with us about the situation even as children. But most of it I think was intuitive unification and internal lack of separate individualism that allowed me to manifest a remarkable external show of individualism. I still talked to my dad every night in my prayers, in a way he became more accessible that an embodied human ever could be.
Here the interaction between my individual will and the universal will (via my parents) facilitated foundational lessons for how I would present myself in the world. The most synchronistic events of life tend to congregate around death and birth, because of their mysteriousness. The birth of a child and the relationship that develops between the parents and the child holds perhaps some of the greatest meaning and inexplicability for the lives of all parties involved. One can think of conception as an invitation to the cosmos to bring forth whatever it needs to bring forth in acceptance of that invitation. One can also consider the notion that a child chooses their parents for the sake of learning certain lessons in this lifetime. With these perspectives in mind, the early relationship between my individual will and the universal will, or perhaps my unconscious will, takes on greater significance and meaning than I would have attributed it had I not considered them in these terms, or considered the role they have played in the continuing themes of my life.
While I focus on the lessons of individualism and separateness here, I feel it is important to point out that my mom also created a space which allowed for the maintenance of natural childlike faith in unconditional love and compassion. The balancing of these lessons of love and separateness is where the effectiveness of either of them lies. The poles of this theme, individuation vs. dissolution into unity, offer the main channel of my life synchronicities, but the embedded channel of my development as an individual reveals another current of synchronistic development.
The pure hard fact of separateness was my childhood wounding and I overcompensated well by continually challenging myself to develop my independence through intellect, physical strength, cultivating an extroversion which did not come naturally to me, leaving my comfort zones, and resisting the dependencies and vulnerabilities of relationship. So within this second channel of individuation I relegated my pursuits of unification to the internal intellectual and mystical spheres, seeking out incongruencies and divisions then setting about integrating, translating and mediating to facilitate their reunion to the best of my ability. This manifests specifically in my interdisciplinary studies connecting philosophy, religion and physics, as well as within each of those categories: recognizing the commonality between all religions, curiosity in a unified theory of physics, and the desire to make it all fit together. This became my the draw of my future, my destiny would be largely centered around synthesis and would be synchronistically directed and developed by several intuitive hints and well placed books.
While it is difficult to sort out the difference between events which caused my path (causal) vs. events which confirmed or accelerated my path (synchronistic), I’ve chosen to include things which seem significantly rare and seem to be nothing more than being in the right place at the right time. Certainly the fact that I was born to a healthy, educated family in the United States in 1979 puts me in a pretty small percentage of the world population before my life even began. But more specifically synchronicity seems to manifest as “AH HA!” moments where something I’ve been unconsciously grappling with is given the words to express itself and make it pass from the unconscious in to the conscious realm. This particular pivot point is one that we certainly have little to very little control over and thus must rely on the graciousness of Hermes to bless or curse us. Luckily most of my significant moments of gaining articulation for intuitive hunches have been of the lucky sort rather than thwarted by the trickster.
I specifically recall my 3rd -5th grade “Talented And Gifted” class projects orchestrated by an especially gifted and creative teacher, Mrs. Gennette, that either directed or resulted from (depending on which perspective of time you take, forward, backward or atemporal) my main passions in learning, including projects on the brain, black holes and Greek mythology. Thus where previously I had felt discouraged in school because everything appeared to have been discovered and there was nothing left for me to do, now I saw the mystery and great unknown of space, god and the mind that has fueled my studies straight on through to my PhD work in Philosophy, Cosmology and Consciousness. I consider this teacher’s presence in my life synchronistic rather than causal because of the rarity of the subject matter she chose to teach and because no one else in the class ended up studying quite the same thing as me, so it was the unique combination of my potential and her teaching which synchronistically led me on my career path.
Additional synchronistically influential courses include high school psychology and Theory of Knowledge (including: Plato’s Cave , Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance, Flatland, Koyaanisqatsi, and my first experience in philosophical paper writing on the topic of identity), both of which were just what my mind was thirsting for. Also during high school, two perfect books found their way into my hands. One, The Holographic Universe, my Mom brought home from a friend who had read it, vaguely thinking I would be interested because it had something to do with physics. The book fed not only my interest in physics but in Psi phenomena and consciousness studies as well. The other, Behold the Spirit by Alan Watts, which I randomly picked up in a used book store, also helped me to articulate that which I already intuitively knew, this time in the realm of religion – specifically by bringing into dialogue Christianity and Eastern thought.
My freshman year I opted out of a class appropriate to may planned career path and into one on a purely intuitive hunch that this was a class I had to take. The class was Creating Consciousness and it set me on a path toward consciousness studies and eventually CIIS. From there on out the synchronicities developing my life path became more self-sought; I was aligning my will with the universal will. I sought out CIIS, and an online class in Quantum Consciousness, both of which have continued to fuel the direction of my life’s work in new and exciting ways.
On the first channel with the poles of individuation and unification, CIIS, specifically, has set the stage for the unification I had relegated to my intellectual sphere to reintegrate with my heart and physicality. Since developing my independence enough to counterbalance my early urges to abandon this self in unification with all else, I have been able to re-access that part of my self which comes more naturally to me and allow for the release of control, ego boundaries, and independence a little bit at a time, where appropriate. This had manifested for me in a few potent ways as of late. Since deciding that I ought to seriously pursue intimate relationship rather than simply cultivating myself and waiting for relationship to find me I have had the opportunity to experience my resistances to abandonment of self through the partial dissolution of the boundaries of self when in relationship.
I had a month long relationship last summer in which I pushed my edge up to a point and then retreated back into the safety of independence. Now here I am, a year later, pushing those same boundaries again. While lying with my current lover he asked me to breathe into my chest saying, “Doesn’t it feel good to open that up.” I realized that for years whenever I breathe consciously I belly breathe. I remember chest breathing being trained out of me in soccer and yoga because you get a deeper breath when drawing it into your belly. I suppose I was taught to fill my chest as well as my belly in yoga, but somehow I tended to leave that part out.
Synchronistically a handout I received in a summer class (Chaos, Eros and Beauty with Sandra Dennis) on the positive essence qualities of the belly, heart and head really offered a profound connection between the theoretical and physical dualities I had experience with, but no connection between. By recognizing the characteristics associated with the belly and the heart, I was able to see the significance of breathing into one’s belly or chest, thus cultivating either independence or love.
I find it interesting that people seem to naturally breath into the chest when asked to take a deep breath and that is in the cultivation of personal strength when we learn to belly breathe through sports, yoga or something else that demands you draw on a deeper inner strength of self. Children are the best chest breathers, and aptly so for such a stage of openheartedness. You can see it in the way their shoulders raise up when they breathe in deeply. I have been consciously working on opening my heart chakra in the wake of an overly developed intellect and being in my head too much. What I never realized was that I was also in my belly. I recognized my own independence and remember thinking that was something I ought to ease up on when I realized that I had a hard time asking for and receiving help. Now I have a physical location for that understanding and cultivation.
When my intimate relationship forced me to breathe into my chest I found the physical link to the heart opening. I had been trying to open my heart through my head intellectually, and with imagery. This same summer class mentioned the significance of the direction of our body’s communication with mind. She pointed out that images come from the mind and sensations come from the body, and that either can elucidate the other but that it is interesting to try to differentiate which is running the show in order to attempt to find a healthy balance between them. So while I was trying to work with my heart chakra I was doing it in a top-down fashion, mind over body, as is my forte as a well cultivated individual and intellect. Thus to breathe into my heart and feel what that feels like allowed for the bottom-up process to take place, it allowed my heart to speak for itself, to have the space to expand and reveal itself rather than just giving it a box created by the mind to inhabit. This is a significant qualitative difference. And, of course, the insight came through relationship, an area of learning I tend to devalue as the realm of merging rather then individuating, but definitely a good balance of bottom–up and top down processing.
I used this insight of body significance during a meditation on the embrace of the perfect mother and found myself integrating belly breathing and heart breathing into a very comfortable rhythmic flow in which I became the rolling in and out of ocean waves on a beach. Only after the meditation did I consciously look at the list provided for us on the metaphorical associations with certain body parts. And remarkably, or perhaps only remarkably to me, they listed they directly identified the qualities of belly, head and heart I had been working with. Having a place to locate these qualities in my body and to access them directly with breath has provided an important link to my further growth and teasing out the complex dynamic of balance between my separation and union states on multiple levels.
This is just one example of the increased synchronicity in my life since opening my heart more within relationship. The presence of intimate relationship on my life has provided me the space to let go and see what arises, the free form being with someone which allows to thoughts to emerge in conjunction with another’s, the openness of heart and of beginnings that allow the universal will into our everyday life in unexpected ways.
So as I’ve been searching for truth in typical Western academic style, I found my self drawn to the overlaps rather than the distinctions and through working with these patterns I come to see that the truth lies not only in my head oriented external studies but in the very heart of my every day life. Once again, this truth I knew to be true all along, but the articulation had to come as a gift from Hermes who alone is able to twist one path into its reverse and prove the paradox by evading solidity. This is where the trickster lives, everywhere at all times, in whatever field you might choose to study or whatever path life takes you because the trickster is fundamental to all of reality living where you meet the next moment, where your will intersects with the universal will, where distinction breaks down and fecund chaos births something entirely new.
Chopra, D. (2003) The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire. New York: Harmony Books.
Combs, A., and Holland, M. (1990) Synchronicity: Science Myth and the Trickster. New York: Paragon.