Soul Healing

 

 

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Tarot card, The Sun– The archetype of the Child, Rider-Waite, P.Smith 1909

 

We get so involved in survival we often leave our soul behind and the everyday battering we are subjected to can bury it ever deeper into a protective layer so that we lose sight of who we once were. Soul recovery and healing is probably the single most important task you’ll ever undertake in this life because without a healthy soul that difference that you’re so desperate to make and experience cannot actualize.

There are many soul healers in the world, but there’s a soul healing technique I learned from a book written by Robert Moss* that brought me back to an earlier dream I had titled “The Blue Fresco”.

In that dream a woman floating above the ground invited me to leave the world I was in and to travel down a path that lead into the distant hills (was I going forward or backward in time?). Angels climbed up and down a staircase to and from the sky while children ran up a grassy hill. This dream has afforded many interesting looks into my inner world. I offer it here in hopes that you will be able to use it for your self.

Moss suggested that I enter a meditation where I re-envision the dream, giving it life once again and entering it with the intention of getting answered two important questions: “What do you want when you reenter the dream?” To which I answered, “What’s down the road?” The second question was, “What do I want to find there?”

What I wanted to find was the “powerful child”, the once competent and confident child, and its whole and undamaged soul. As suggested I also put on a shaman’s drum CD and focusing on my breath I counted four breaths in, hold, and four out and doing this until my body rested and my mind began to quiet.

Re-envisioning the dream I began to talk to the woman in blue, who clearly was my mother. She invited me to walk with her down the path and into the hills where I once again saw the story of my life, and all those events where I had felt loss and defeat. “You chose your meanings long before you ever experienced them and thus limited your self, Robert.” She said. She then encouraged me to shift their meaning so as to see another side of their reality.

As I did this, each event began to transform into something new, betrayal turned to love, abandonment either disappeared altogether, or became the prequel to an embrace. I began to see that every interpretation could have yet another hiding behind it and even though I once had chosen one meaning, I could as easily choose another.

This would become easier, I thought, if I were to shift the context of my life from “me” centered to “us” centered–from I to thou.

Further back into the hills I found a young boy sitting with a drum quietly tapping out his rhythm.

As I approached, this toe-headed boy turned toward me and smiled then rose from the grass and crawled into the lap of a large mama bear and nuzzled his head under her chin. Wrapped in her embrace, warm, and secure he was loved. He was in the power of the mama, the power of the bear. Everything began to fog and I found myself in the embrace of the bear. I had become the boy.

Soon I found myself running beside Onoma the she wolf, with my breath frosting like steam as we panted through the snow-covered forest. Suddenly I was lifted and rose above the trees as the she wolf looked up grinning at me. I twirled and spun with my arms outstretched like a da Vinci Vitruvius and flew higher while racing headlong through a tunnel of lightly falling snow then reached for a star that was quietly waiting at the tunnels end. With outstretched arm I grasped for it and pulled it in to me, this light, with its warmth, and its power held close and finally mine.

The drum, its rhythm, my rhythm, my song, my dance, the beat of my soul, pounded out every step to show me the way–the way back home. My soul was in the trees, the bear, the mother, the wolf, and the light that was mine to claim once again.

Once again on the ground I looked down and to my right and there was the boy looking up at me with a worried look on his clear, bright face.

“Where’ve you been?” He said as he took my hand and we strolled across the mudflats of his world. “I’ve missed you.”

“I’ve missed you too”, I said.

“You’re always welcome you know.” He said encouragingly.

“I know. Can I come any time?”

“Yeah! Any time.”

***

Many of you who have been reading my Blog or website will recognize the meditation as a form of Active Imagining, or Dream Tending. I offer it here as another means for lucidly reentering a dream for the purpose of not only understanding the message of a dream, but to also heal the soul and re-enliven the child who has never left any of us–to see the world through the visions of childhood.

“The appearance of things change according to the emotions, and thus we see magic and beauty in them, while the magic and beauty are really in ourselves.”

–Kahlil Gibran, Lebanese Poet

For this article I have used the image of the Tarot card of the Sun** for it is representative of the unification of opposites through the Mother and the Father where the conscious and unconscious unite to form a self-conscious being, that is a being fully aware of itself i.e. the Child.

Psychologically, in this meditation the man also unites with the boy and together they become more than their sum. It is this unity that helps to heal the soul and recapture its power.

Actually all the major and minor arcana of the Tarot can represent the unification of opposites, thus bringing forth psychological wholeness.

Animals whether they show up in dreams or in meditation make statements about our own vitality. Often they are messengers from the deepest part of ourselves. The Greeks, according to Robert Moss, considered the sender of dreams the “Mother of Animals”. The condition of these animals often reflects your condition in your waking life.

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* Moss, Robert, Dreaming the Soul Back Home, Ch 5 “The Royal Road to Soul Recovery”, Pg. 99
** I use the Tarot to illustrate psychological principles not as a means for divination, though I do believe that they can be used as images for the process of Active Imagining.

 

10 ways to get in touch with your greater Self

 

3846532.jpg In the world of dreams the unconscious taps into the greater Self (the center of the psyche–the transcendent, unchanging part of what we are). One can take the information from this world and in combination with his conscious self become a self-actualized whole. Many of the world’s mystics, shaman, wise men and women have discovered varied paths leading to the ultimate of the Alchemist’s dream–to transform our humble selves into the stuff of gold. The following represents nothing new, or profound, just another way of taking the path.

 These 10 lessons toward expanding one’s consciousness are by no means the only means for attaining greater awareness of Self, but each require an ability to open one’s psyche to a greater whole than your ego-self ever imagined existed.

These lessons are deceptively simple and require constant practice. At first the path will seem smooth and flat, but after a time it will rise radically and become full of stones and tree roots ready to trip you at every step. Winds will rise around you and squalls will pummel you leaving the road slick and muddy.

The mind will give its all to convince you that you cannot do it, or that it is not worth the effort. There will be times when you seem to have reached the top only to find yet another mountain peak beyond that can only be reached through yet another valley. Basically, enlightenment is not for wimps and the closed-minded will never even find the path to begin the journey. Some will become distracted and wander into the bush and be lost forever. Only a few will have the courage, heart, or the wherewithal to find what lies beyond the veil of the mind.

If you wish, you could think of it as a digital game where you collect power and resources that will help you to attain levels of understanding that will guide you to the highest levels of awareness, sort of a Mario Bros. of the spirit world.

Does this seem a bit too dramatic? To those who have begun the journey my description is but a mere reflection of the trials experienced when one decides to take this journey. They also know that they often travel alone for this is truly the road less taken.

Do you wonder if you’ve got what it takes to travel this road? You’re already on it or you wouldn’t have read this far!

The Beginning 10 ways:

 1) Embrace ‘not knowing’ and see what you get. Knowing fills the mind

and crowds out the empty spaces where the spirit dwells.

2) Be curious and live in the incomprehensible. The already explored and

comprehensible is of the small self–the limited self. Why explore what

you already think you’ve visited?

3) See with your heart (the head has its place in the realm of

things, but it is the soul that reigns in the greater world of the spirit)

4) Let go of expectations (they only limit you to what you already think

you know)

5) Surrender your willful point-of-view. A singular point-of-view rules

out all others and leaves you spiritually myopic.

6) Give up control. Control is of the ego-self–the small self. It is also part

of the defensive self that is only needed if you don’t feel safe–see below.

7) Embrace vulnerability because it expands what you are open to. The

opposite is to be defensive and that puts up walls and closes down

possibilities.

8) Daydream a little (Einstein was expelled for daydreaming too much,

but it was in his musings that he discovered the secrets of the universe)

9) Be a little impulsive and less reasoned. Creativity cannot be found in

the past that is gone–or in any future–which doesn’t exist. It grows out

from the moment.

10) Imagine what can be (it broadens the realm of possibilities and

encourages you to see what’s around the next bend)

 

So, what do most of these lessons have as their foundation, in what way are they similar? This not a frivolous question, and is perhaps the fundamental lesson to be learned in this group.

In future blogs I’ll explore other ways to reconnect with what the Jungian Analyst Dr. Murray Stein called “The spirit of the depths,” the instinctual unconscious. Carl Jung, a founder of Depth Psychology, looked for a way to bridge the gap between our conscious and unconscious selves. He suggested that it was symbology that could bridge the gap. He also went on to say that to leave the gap unattended would create and was actually creating worldwide neuroses. To him it was because of this disconnect with our archetypal instinctual selves that the world’s religions were becoming stagnant, adverse to growth, and no longer alive (or enlivening).

10 interesting facts about dreams

 

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1) Surprisingly, your body is virtually paralyzed during your sleep – most likely to prevent your body from acting out aspects of your dreams. According to a Wikipedia article on dreaming, “Glands begin to secrete a hormone that helps induce sleep and neurons send signals to the spinal cord which cause the body to relax and later become essentially paralyzed.” This fact often accounts for those dreams when we actually feel paralyzed. This is especially true when we first wake, but are not yet fully conscious.

2) If you are awakened out of REM (Rapid Eye Movement) sleep, you are more likely to remember your dream in a more vivid way than you would if you woke from a full night sleep. Studies have shown that our brain waves are more active when we are dreaming than when we are awake. Women tend to have more frequent dream recall than men.

3) When you are snoring, you are not dreaming. This may be partially true in that people with sleep apnea don’t usually get the deep sleep that is often characterized by dreams. However, we also experience dreams when in the lighter, Alpha, stage of dreaming that may not be affected by sleep apnea.

4) When you dream about some particular subject or even a person you know, it is not necessarily what the dream is about. Dreams speak in a deeply symbolic language. The unconscious mind tries to compare your dream to something else that has similar aspects or characteristics. Whatever symbol your dream picks on it is most unlikely to be a symbol for itself.

5) A full 12% of sighted people dream exclusively in black and white. That means about 88% of us dream in full color. We also tend to have common themes in our dreams, e.g. situations relating to school, being chased, running slowly, or in place, sexual experiences, falling, arriving too late, a person now alive being dead, teeth falling out, flying, failing an examination, or a car accident.

6) In an average lifetime, humans spend a total of about six years of it dreaming. That is more than 2,100 days spent in a different realm! On average, we dream anywhere from one to two hours every night. Moreover, we can have four to seven different dreams in one night.

7) In a recent sleep study, students who were awakened at the beginning of each dream, but still allowed their 8 hours of sleep, all experienced difficulty in concentration, irritability, hallucinations, and signs of psychosis after only 3 days. When finally allowed their REM sleep the student’s brains made up for lost time by greatly increasing the percentage of sleep spent in the REM stage.

8) People who become blind after birth can see images in their dreams. Those who are born blind do not see any images, but have dreams equally vivid involving other senses of sound, smell, touch and emotion.

9) Nightmares are common in children, typically beginning at around age 3 and occurring up to age 7-8. In adults between 2 and 8% are plagued with nightmares. Occasional adult nightmares experienced by many are usually the result of extreme stresses experienced in their waking life and is the mind’s way of dealing with them.

10) Dreams have been here as long as mankind.  In the Roman Era, profound and significant dreams were submitted to the Senate for analysis and interpretation. This was true of most tribal groups and continues as a practice within some small communities throughout the world.

Meditation and Magic

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“Come Fairies, take me out of this dull world, for I would ride with you upon the wind and dance upon the mountains like a flame!”

–William Butler Yeats

 

“On my meditation walks I am often moved by the life going on about me– boys with hockey sticks battling in the streets at dusk, flocks of screeching Crows nesting in trees, the smile of the crescent moon with the brightly seductive Venus off her bow. And on a warm night there’s crickets and barking dogs, but on a cold and crisp one there’s nothing but silence and the sound of my own footsteps. Sometimes a breeze whips through the branches and rustles the leaves and I hear the raucous laughter of a dinner party just seen through the picture window of the house across the street.

And the world seems right.

But on other nights my mind is disturbed with its thoughts that whirl like a demented vortex and I hear nothing but my own voice. It’s a boring voice droning on and on about inane this’s and that’s and burying the peace of the night in rubble.

And nothing in the world seems right.

I long for the magic I’ve so often felt on so many earlier sojourns through the dark, but on this night it’s not to be. This is when I cry out to the dark denizens of the otherworld, “Come oh magic creatures of the imaginal and entertain me. Bring to me your mystery, your awe, your wonder, and your hidden treasure– make it better than it is.”

That night’s dreams brought me headstones and skulls, darkness and gray empty fields– a reflection of the mood carried back from the earlier journey. And then I ran across the poem by Yeats and I thought, ‘It’s not the fairies of the land he is calling to, but those of the inner soul who are entreated to crawl out from the rubbish and dance with me ‘.  And I remember once again that it is I, it is I who can summon the magic from within.

And the world seems right again.”

“True magic is discovered in creative interaction with the world and one’s inner life and imagination, not the misguided desire to have power over the world of time and its illusions. The Magus liberates one from bondage to the world of appearances, teaching that the secret of true magic is the right use of will and intention based in recognition of the holistic nature of reality.”

–L.J. McCloskey, Tarot Revisioned, 2003

 

Mystical Experience

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Many people over the years have shared their unusual experiences, bidden or unbidden, eyes open or eyes closed and all having profound effects on their ordinary state of consciousness. All those who shared seemed to experience a deep sense of connectedness or union with others and/or the environment.

Some people have had these experiences while in deep meditation, through their dreams, or while just walking down the street. There is for all a sense of transcending the self i.e. the ordinary self identified by name and body to a place of communion with something much, much greater.

Some years ago when descending from a hilltop building toward the parking lot below I happened to look out at the dusky glow of the city as it was slowly being cloaked by the evening light. My focus went to the traffic on the street slightly below me and made eye contact with one of the drivers.

Suddenly something else looked out from those eyes driving by. It was a spirit so profound I could only imagine it to be that of God. As I scanned other drivers this same observer looked out and saw a man standing on a hillside about to descend toward a parking lot. I was both seeing them and seeing me through them. The boundary between us disappeared and the stress of the day melted away.

I continued down the embankment with tears in my eyes knowing that something had changed forever in the way I was seeing the world. As I climbed into my car and pulled out of the lot and into the traffic on the street the experience lasted for at least another few minutes, or longer, or shorter, I don’t know because time too had stopped. Fortunately this didn’t last too much longer or I’d no doubt have ended up in a fender-bender.

This is what some philosophers call a mystical experience, though others might label it a brain burp caused by some random misfiring of neurons.

The phenomenology of mysticism was summarized in Borg and Wright’s book The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions (Chapter 4 page 61) where a five-part description of a mystical experience was presented.

Borg suggested that the pre Easter Jesus was a mystic and that “If one takes seriously that the sacred can be experienced, and that people who have such experiences frequently and vividly may be called mystics or Spirit persons, then it seems apparent that Jesus was one of these (62-63).”

Though Borg was describing the pre Easter Jesus he was also defining the experience of mysticism and mystics in general. Borg’s description seemed spot on with my own experience as well as those shared by the many people who have written me over the years.

Mystical experience generally involves five characteristics; Ineffability: where the experience can’t really be described through ordinary words, Transiency: where the experience is somewhat brief, Passivity: in that they are usually unbidden, received rather than achieved, Noetic: produce a knowing of something not known before the experience i.e. a new reality. This may also include a sense of awe and joy. Fifth in the series is that these experiences are Transformative: they transform a person’s way of being in part because they see the world differently after the experience.

For me the experience on the hilltop above the parking lot was one of many I’ve experienced throughout my life all of which have shifted radically my vision of reality. Though my ego-self continues to insist that I view reality through a vision of separateness I know and am able to easily access the “knowing” that has grown from my experiences of the mystical.

I wish that I could share that there was some secret means for accessing the mystical spiritual but nearly all of my experiences have come unbidden though my tendency to give emphasis to such things as dreams, meditations, spiritual, psychological and emotional exploration may have left me more open to it. I have often had a dream or a meditation or rumination that I thought should have produced something deep and profound only to have it reach the level of interesting but hardly awe-inspiring. It’s one of those pieces of “magic” that can’t be made to happen but can be allowed or given room to happen.

 

 

An example of the power of intentionality

In Paulo Coelho’reality-illusion-296x300.jpgs book The Alchemist he spoke of a person’s Personal Legend– what they wanted to accomplish in life and that of course got me thinking what’s mine, what did I want to accomplish? I thought a lot about that over the next two days even though it’s a question I’ve been asking and musing over in some form for most of my life. But all I could come up with were the same old conditioned responses so I decided that I wanted a fresher answer than what I’d come up with in the past and tabled my musing so as to give the question time to percolate in the cosmos.

Two days later a follower’s comments reminded me of an old Richard Bach quote from his book, Illusions and stimulated my earlier ponderings regarding the Personal Legend. Because I use seemingly unimportant and unconnected occurrences as an excuse to converse with the universe I went back to Bach’s book to see what else showed up.

Upon opening the book I found some written notes stuffed between the pages some three years ago. Interestingly the notes didn’t seem to correspond to anything written on the pages where the notes were stuffed, but was no doubt more about the way my mind wanders in that one word can set off a cascade of musings tangential to whatever I was reading at the time.

On closer inspection I noted a few lines scribbled regarding Carl Rogers, Abraham Maslow, Carl Jung, and Margery Williams. Under Roger’s name I had written about living fully in the moment with each moment being new. He also encouraged readers to trust in the inner workings of the whole psyche and then acting accordingly with all the activated feelings and reactions of the moment instead of being afraid of them and suppressing or retreating.

The Maslow note suggested that in order to grow and meet our greater needs we needed to move through the process of discovering what those were at any given time so as to identify our motivations.

The Jung comment focused on the process of integrating the disparate parts of the psyche in order to become whole.

But how does Margery Williams fit in I wondered? Then I remembered her children’s book, The Velveteen Rabbit. The book was a story about becoming real and it was this idea of “becoming real” or “becoming whole” that showed up across my notes. In fact it has shown up recently for me through a number of iconic images e.g. Pinocchio, the Nutcracker, and the Velveteen Rabbit story all of which takes me back to Richard Bach’s book where the protagonist is pulled into a journey where he uncovers his own realness or wholeness.

Suddenly the answer to my question earlier in the week popped out at me in the form of “My Personal Legend is centered around becoming real.” But what does that mean?

I for the most part have lived my life as a fictional character imagining myself to live in a world the same as all others, but that isn’t true, my world is uniquely mine, not yours, not my parents nor my culture. To imagine anything else is fictional, it doesn’t exist. So what is “me” and what have others said is “me”, what’s real? That’s the journey isn’t it?

I also noticed that in those fictional characters mentioned earlier what all shared on their journey toward realness was one essential aspect of the universe; love. They were all loved into realness but it wasn’t until they realized the love from within that they were able to overcome the fiction of themselves. I think that the whole world is “loved” into existence but that we don’t become real until we love ourselves.

“If you will practice being fictional for a while, you will understand that fictional characters are sometimes more real than people with bodies and heartbeats.”

–Richard Bach, Illusions

 

 

Our emotions have colors

 

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To the left is a gift created by my  teenage granddaughter for my birthday.

Dark strings of twisted gray fear, aimless light blue swirls of sadness growing darker into the deep, red hot blobs of oily anger, and the sparkling pink cotton of happiness these are the containers of “bottled emotions” a potpourri of the feelings of not just adolescence, but of us all at any age.

Our emotions can be painful whether they reflect the pangs of love, the searing pain of anger and loss or the heavy blanket of depression. Is it any wonder that we tend to shove them back into the darkness of our unconscious when they conspire to overwhelm us?

But they never stay down there, they’re never fully hidden or forgotten, never quite out of sight or out of mind and hovering just below the surface of our consciousness ready to wash over us like a tidal wave and drag us out to sea and into the deep chaos of our unconscious selves.

Un dealt with these creatures of the lower world control our actions in the upper world. Our relationship with them colors our reality in a kaleidoscope of ways effectively blinding us to what is all around us and informing our existence in ways we seem to have no control of. And yet, we have control when we don’t manhandle and stuff them below consciousness.

We are very much in control when we allow them to be by not resisting them. We can have anger without becoming our anger, feel sad without being our sadness and express our love expansively and creatively without reservation or trepidation of losing it in the next moment. It’s simple really i.e. being what we are when we are being what we are– no judgment, nor critique, no should or ought projected onto what we’re being.

Try quieting the “little judger”, the voice in your head that’s always tempering your moments. “Be here now” said Ram Dass i.e. be what you’re being when you’re being it. This is how YOU run the show.

Life is not an empty dream

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Not too long ago I read an article in the New York Times. It was a story about the museums of death found in many places around the world. I was surprised by the title for I thought all museums were about death aka Natural History museums with all its carefully displayed dead animals, Art museums where most of the painters have been dead for such a long time, The National Funeral museum in Houston, Tex., antique auctions museums where you can find really old furniture from the houses of dead people, well you get the idea.

And what’s the fascination with cemeteries and skulls and horror stories?

I think that we dwell in awe and fear at the world’s greatest mystery, death. It’s that part of life that terrifies most of us because it portends something we can know nothing about, non-life, specifically our own. What is non-life? We know it’s the opposite of what we have now, but what is the opposite of life really? And why do we even ask the question? Fear? Fear of the unknown, fear of what is dark to us? Our unconscious mind is dark to us but as long as we are alive we have potential access even though we’d rather not, but death? Now there’s a darkness and unknown we can’t even begin to fathom. It’s a bottomless abyss that goes on forever.

For some it’s not death that is feared but the process of getting there because it can be so frighteningly painful and mostly uncomfortable or so it looks. We humans will enter into almost anything if we truly believe there’s a pot of gold at the end of it– something better than what we have though we’re never satisfied with what we have. But not to know? Too scary.

The promise of no pain and eternal peacefulness seems a pretty good draw for letting go of life so as to enter some kind of heaven, but the “Great Decider” determines whether we wind up there or in the burning cauldron’s of hell, or so we’ve been told, though I’m pretty sure those stories come from the same type of folk that wrote the stories for the Brothers Grimm and for the same reason, to keep the children in line, whether they be little children or adult children. This reflects the belief that left to their own devices people won’t do the right thing. That is of course a pretty cynical view of humanity usually portrayed by the “fearful ones” who don’t know who they really are and by extension who we are. You know them they’re called Republicans.

Some folks have solace in the belief that they, body and all, pass into another realm. But the ego part of us is of the flesh, that 3lb squishy thing inside our head that some of us occasionally think with and that decays and shrivels and turns to dust– we like with everything else in life can’t take it with us. So what is it that goes on to wherever we imagine consciousness continues on to?

“The soul! The soul goes on” cry still others. But what is that? Have you ever seen it? How often have you been aware of it? Do you actually identify with it? How many of us truly know that that invisible, ephemeral ghost in the machine is us, after all aren’t we the thinking, feeling, frightened, pain wracked, memory-filled, squealing thing with a name and social security number?

So what is the soul? Is it a living thing? Well if it is living within the body wouldn’t it be subject to the same decaying effects after death? Ahh, so it’s not alive, it’s, what, a spirit? What’s that? And why does it need us as a host to visit the world? And if it loses its host where is it, what does it experience then? Is it conscious? Was it our consciousness all along only we became duped by the not so long lasting ego that convinced us that we were actually the ego?

Recent research has shown that even after a person has been pronounced brain dead, usually a no-turning-back step beyond clinical death when the heart stops, that “consciousness” may in some cases continue beyond the functioning body1. This is known as an OBE or Out of Body Experience. What that consciousness is however, that appears to be separate from the brain has scientists stumped.

This soul thing probably has no fear of death because death isn’t part of its life but the ego is a jealous thing and envies and fears the soul because of its non-death. It dreams of being like its opposite and creates a myth of everlasting life. There is everlasting life, but probably not like the life we currently experience, but the ego doesn’t want to hear that, so let’s just keep that between us.

Still others see the soul as a transmitter of the spirit into the receiver of the brain that then allows it to be manifest in the world making us sort of like a TV with arms and legs.

 

“Tell me not, in mournful numbers, 

Life is but an empty dream!

For the soul is dead that slumbers,

And things are not what they seem.

Life is real! Life is earnest!

And the grave is not its goal;

Dust thou art, to dust returnest,

Was not spoken of the soul.”

The Psalm of Life

by– Henry Wadsworth Longfellow

 

I go into greater depth with the exploration of death in the Chapter from the “Dragon’s Treasure” titled Death, Yours, Mine, Ours (pg. 168).

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1 Life after death? Largest-ever study provides evidence that ‘out of body’ and ‘near-death’ experiences may be real, independent.co.uk/news/science/life , 7 Oct. 2014

“Coincidences indeed!”

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I’ve been reading a book by Deepak Chopra this week on the Essence of Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence. In it he suggested keeping a journal of coincidences, warning that they don’t often come to us in rapid linear fashion or even in a way that would be so obvious to us that we’d immediately see them. But he insisted that it was these very coincidences that presented us with much opportunity for meaning and wisdom in our lives. An interesting idea I thought and promised myself that I’d be on the lookout for any future coincidences if they showed up.

I had to stop reading because wouldn’t you know it while absent-mindedly chewing on the end of my glasses I cracked a tooth. After a moment or three of washing my mouth out and beating myself up for being so stupid I called the dentist and made an appointment. I thought about going back to the book but was in no mood. But a walk to my favorite coffee shop seemed like a good idea and besides it would distract me from my troubles.

I got my hat and sunglasses and headed out the door. On the way I noticed that the chin lanyard that I’d hurriedly stuffed into the hat was bunched up and pressing against the top of my head. Mildly annoyed and still walking I took off the hat to adjust it and it caught on my glasses. While juggling this mess I walked across a tree root jutting up from the path and wouldn’t you know I caught my toe on it and stumbled winding up sprawled on my back and looking around shamefacedly to see if anyone had noticed my rather foolish faux pas.

As I got up brushed myself off and tried not to look as though I’d just fallen I limped toward the coffee shop looking very much forward to the quiet relaxation the ritual of coffee and newspaper would bring, God only knew I needed it this morning I thought.

Upon arriving I greeted the people I knew and the barista at the machine already had my usual brew waiting having seen me limping up the walk. After a few more pleasantries I found a chair and sat down with coffee and paper and looked forward to a little peace and distraction.

In the paper was one of those blow-in card advertisements that I hate to fool with but normally just toss but for some reason I angrily grabbed it with the intention of crushing it into a ball but in so doing cut the end of a finger on its edge. “Blast!” which of course wasn’t what I said. “I hate paper cuts!” I added under my breath and started to feel very abused given everything that had happened since I got up this morning.

About half way through the first section of the paper and only a half-dozen sips of coffee my injured foot from the fall, cracked tooth, and the incessant sting from the paper cut all started to throb and all conspiring to make this mornings routine a painful one.

Seeing that I wasn’t going to get any peace I got up and left the shop, walked back along the path I’d come and feeling very sorry for myself. Back home Chopra’s book was sitting face down where I’d left it, but I was in no mood. “Coincidences indeed! As though they could mean anything” I muttered at the book and slumped into a nearby chair.

Now some might say that I’d had an awful very bad day and they’d be right. Others might say that in every unfortunate incident I was not paying attention to what I was doing and suffered the consequences and they’d be right as well. Clearly these occurrences were more than coincidence. Clearly they were a message that I tend to injure myself when I’m not being mindful in my actions. Sometimes the injuries are unseen like I miss the wave of greeting from a friend from across the room or a smile from a pretty woman, or the joy that I feel in my heart when I hear the laughter of a child all because I’m being self-absorbed and distracted from the world around me.

Though my recent string of seemingly coincidental hardships weren’t the normal they did make a very poignant point about the power that these little synchronisms have in teaching us about our consciousness and its relationship with the world we are passing through. Coincidences indeed!