The Ground of Faith

Exploring Science Mysticism and Experience together

The Ground of Faith
October 2003[carnyx]


THEME: Synchronicity, uniting matter and Spirit, a gateway to the direct experience of the Divine.

Definitions of Synchronicity.
Some writers on Synchronicity/ meaningful coincidence/ miracle?
Science and Synchronicity 
  • Einstein-Podolski-Rose thought experiment
  • Bohm's phantasm universe 
  • <>Karl Pribram The Holographic Nature of Reality 
  • <>
    Experiences of Synchronicity  
    • <>Books coming together
    • <> Envying the musicians
Stephen on Synchronicity : The Five-fives


Further Items of Interest


Some writers
on Synchronicity /meaningful coincidence

John Lilley
 Physician and psychoanalyst, asks whether guardian angels occasion these coincidences, or is it all-embracing Spirit working out its loving purposes?
Arthur Koestler
Writer, speaks of a Holarchy, a hierarchy of holons, atoms, molecules, cells, tissue, individual humans, humanity and so on up. The hierearchy of whole works as one.

Maria von Franz  Jungian analyst: "What is the relationship  between my conscious self and the Self of the Whole?”

Victor Mansfield  Physicist : "This suggested hidden unity of the inner and the outer worlds. . . is not easily understood or experienced.  I argue that it requires us to transcend the psyche, to consider ourselves more than finite psychological beings.

 Jean Bolen   Analyst: " in synchronicity, the person directly experiences a sense of oneness.  This is what is so deeply moving in experiences of synchronicity,  and is why these events are often felt as numinous, religious, or spiritual experiences."
Alan Vaughan Psychic researcher: "To those who would seek  to find their place in the cosmos, I recommend the shortest of prayers:  'Thy will be done. May my will be Thine'.”

 F.David Peat  Physicist,: "Synchronicities suggest that we can renew our contact with that creative and unconditioned source which is the origin not only of ourselves but also of all reality. By dying to the self and its mechanical reactive responses to nature, it becomes possible to engage in an active transformation and gain access to unlimited ranges of energy. In this way,  body and consciousness, individual and society, mind and matter may come to  achieve their unlimited potential."  

Carl Jung  
 Carl Jung   Psychologist

Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen experiment All affects all else, instantaneously.
#Bohm's Phantasm Universe."More like a Great Thought"
  #In the field of brain research,
 Stanford neurophysiologist  
Karl Pribram has also become persuaded of the holographic nature  of reality.

Experiences of meaningful coincidence:
     Books come together           Envying the musicians

Stephen on Synchronicity A conversation with him about the Christ of the Space Between,  the Christ the orchestrator of the Kingdom.  The pivotal synchronicity  of the Five-fives. A similar message to that of the physicists, but adding the dimensions of personality, love, Spirit, creativity.  (This has been a key event, in the spiritual life of Editor Michael Cocks.)

Editorial:  Meaningful coincidence is just one of many ways in which we can be sure of the work of Spirit in our lives.
        In "Envying the Musicians" above, I had that day surrendered my life to Christ, in a much deeper way. Christ was close to me. That evening I spoil my enjoyment of a performance of chamber music by envying the musicians and their skill. I chide myself for spoiling a spiritual experience.  Before bed that night something prompts  me to look for a book under a certain bookcase, and to look up a certain page. There,  I  find a poem about not envying the musicians because one thus spoils a spiritual experience.
 A very meaningful coincidence, and of course I had no idea what I might find in that dusty and forgotten book.  But what was the point of the happening? I knew all along that envying the musicians was stupid.

    The point becomes clearer if we can accept the words of St Paul at the Areopagus: "[God] is not far from each of us, for in him we live and move, in him we exist." Acts 17.27
       Similarly  "One God and Father of us all, who is over all and in all"
Ephesians 4.6:
        If you look back at the short summaries of what our writers on meaningful coincidence or synchronicity have to say, you will note that they present a similar general picture of ourselves in relation that which is greater than ourselves.
        They imply that our thoughts and our actions are somehow "embedded" in the wider mystery we call God.  
         Another way of putting it is to say that "All life is sacramental", a sacrament being defined as "an outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace".  

          It is not so difficult to affirm this in the presence of love and beauty. But life has much of non-love and spiritual ugliness.  Christians have been accustomed to point to the Cross, as a symbol that the will and the love of God can override the forces of evil. This symbol helps us in unwavering affirmation that "in him we live and move, in him we exist."
         You can believe that all life is sacramental? You believe in one God over all and in all? In that case perhaps you don't really need meaningful coincidence, synchronicity, and miracle.

Christians may like to view all this as the action of  the Holy Spirit.
Our belief in such a God is reinforced by experiences of the holy and the numinous, of selfless love and service of others, through the experience of creativity, and much else. Meaningful coincidence is another way of knowing for sure that we are participants in that which is greater than ourselves.
       "Envying the musicians", then.  Our thoughts can be given us by Spirit,: first listening to the musicians, and then the book.  Synchronicity can demonstrate what we already know that Spirit embraces all, and it can also reveal depths in relationship. A friend, Peter Hayden, called it "the poetry of relationship".


The internal collision that comes between us and the Divine:

In our heart of hearts, can we really believe that the universe is a "great thought"
[Jeans] and  that the world of see and touch,
"are projections of a single totality." [Bohm]  
How much are we in actual fact deeply affected by the modern Western mind-set? Alexander Solzhenitsyn describes it as "rationalistic-humanistic autonomy: the proclaimed and practiced autonomy of [humans] from any higher force above [them]" A world split apart, 1978.  
Are we not deeply influenced by all the media, by our schooling, by society at large? Does not part of us rebel at the whole thrust of what is being  written in this journal? This writer himself is compelled to admit to being so influenced.

What can possibly prise us away from the modern Western mind-set?  One answer seems to be strong incontestible synchronicity.  Look at the synchronistic story in the August issue: The Singing Stone.  Do you believe it? But does it fit into the humanistic mind-set?  It does not of course.
But most of us live with split minds. We accept the synchronistic story that that event was inspired other-dimensionally.  But commonsense has it, we think, that the rest of reality has nothing to do with other dimensions.  That synchronicity mixed thoughts, stones, stories, books, events in ways that absolutely cannot be explained either by chance, or by cause and effect. But ...another aspect of ourselves shouts that it MUST be mere chance, it CANNOT have meaning.
 'Commonsense' and synchronicity: "are in head-on opposition, for according to science we are the more who have been derived from the less, whereas our religions [including answers to prayer as well as synchronicity] teach that we are the less who have derived from the more. In thus contradicting  each other, our two views - one taught in our schools, the other by our churches  and synagogues - cancel  each other out, leaving us without a clear self-image or identity. It is impossible for both views to be true, yet simply by having been born into today's West, we all believe parts of both of them." p.146 Beyond the Postmodern Mind, Huston Smith, 3rd ed, 2003

On the one hand we are deeply influenced by nihilistic Reductionism, on the other hand - we pray. Plainly prayer assumes that the Divine is everywhere, can hear our prayers, and influence us. "We are the less who have been derived  from the More."
Synchronicity is also the world of Taoism. And Buddhism.  We visited a  Buddhist temple in Bangkok one time, and found a fortune-telling machine at  the door. They believe that its chance operation would  be in tune with the activity of higher dimensions, and give you answers.  

What about the Fates, of Greece and Rome? (The ancients treated them far more seriously than their all too human  gods.)
 What about Islamic emphasis on the will of Allah? Or the Christian teachings about Predestination? All assume meaningful coincidence, orchestrated from a mysterious higher level.         
The fact is though, the world of synchronicity is the real and valid world for most of the human race in most ages. The modern Western mindset is the big exception.

We do need to be very aware of our very human drive to create a meaning for events, and that we see connections that are vague and shallow, and very likely illusory. There is always room for error and self-deception in our search for oracles, and in our observing of meaningful coincidence.  Such self-deception can be a barrier to true experience of Spirit.
However, let us also agree that there are experiences, so striking, occurring at such an important juncture in a person's life, that reasonable people will agree that they are truly meaningful. These experiences are often imbued with the numinous, truly acting as gateways to Spirit. "
Those of us who are Christians, who are inspired by the great prophets,  by Jesus and his disciples, by St Paul, who aim at good and loving lives, in accordance with the leading of the Holy Spirit, who aim to abandon self-centredness, and act as salt, and as leaven in the world, will welcome these experiences as sure demonstrations of God at work.

           To carry these thoughts further, do revisit Victor MacGill's article in our August Issue No.2.  It is fine writing and inspirational.
                                     Michael Cocks

The Spirituality of the Unchurched
 A must read:  One might see the mission of the Church as to be alert to - and be in tune with - the ways in which God is already in touch with everybody, inside or outside the Church.


God is working his purpose out,
As year succeeds to year:
God is working his purpose out,
And the time is drawing near:
nearer and nearer draws the time,
the time that shall surely be,
when the earth shall be filled
with the glory of God,
as the waters cover the sea.

From utmost east to utmost west,
wherever foot has trod,
by the mouth of many messengers
rings out the voice of God:
Listen to me you continents,
you islands look to me,
that the earth shall be filled
with the glory of God,
as the waters cover the sea.
A. Ainger, (1841-1919)

...theoretical physicists have amply demonstrated, that once we deal with the ultra small, as in Quantum theory, or the ultra large, as in Relativitiy theory, we find that the universe "is not only queerer than we imagine, it is probably queerer that we are able to imagine" A remark of biologist J.B.S. Haldane.

Prayer of St Stephen
: "Lord, let me forget that I am me, Let me know that I am with thee, Let me not separate myself from thee Because I am me"The Stephen Experience, Michael Cocks. Kelso 2001.

Huston Smith:
Beyond Postmodernism p.210
"Postmodernism was all but created by the French, and France was occupied in both world wars. This has sensitised to the tyrannical tendencies that are latent, not
only in academic fashions such as structuralism, but in political ideologies and regimes as well. As a word, Derrida's "Deconstruction" pulls against Postmodern "constructivism", but the tension lodges in cultural-linguistic wholes themselves: they unite: and at the same time divide by ostracising - to some extent inevitably ostracising - those who fall outside their pale. Deconstructionists are the volunteer brigade within Postmodernism that patrols the dark side of constructivism's socialising agent, society; they are pledged to seeing that the rights of pariahs -outcast  ideas as well as outcast people - are redressed. It is in this light that their crusade against universalistic and tyrannising claims generally, their celebration of difference over identity, and their obsession with variety, heterogeneity, plurality, and otherness in almost every guise is to be understood. Marginalising, for them, is the unforgivable sin, and in their efforts to atone for it, the Other is raised
to an object for holy concern

Comparing Prophecy with synchronicity

        It is a characteristic of the teaching of Stephen, and indeed of most writers on meaningful coincidence,
that our attention is directed to the knowing of ourselves as extensions of a Power Greater than ourselves. It is suggested that our spiritual health is related to the degree to which we surrender our separated selves to this Power.
      Islam, the name itself, means Submission. St Paul had it that we died to self, and were raised with Christ.
        Neither Stephen, nor these writers really concern themselves with prophecy, especially prophecy about the future.
Yet there is prophecy about the future which has been fulfilled.  It is a real phenomenon. Take Nostradamus, writing between 1555 and 1568. It may be true that in the majority of prophecies, they are ambiguous, or unintelligible. However what about the date 666 at the date of the Great Fire of London (1666), connecting it with the Great Plague? He sees both the fire and the plague as retributions for the wrongful execution of King Charles I. He named the French chemist 'Pasteur', and said he would be celebrated as if he were a lesser God. (I am indebted to George Moss A Smudge in Time.)

  # Dr Brian Cocksey of Auckland, has a web site , which deals amongst other things with prophetic Meaningful Coincidence,  and  it is indeed interesting.
    His world-view is very different from that of this journal, as is his view of the Source of all things we call God. Yet his meaningful coincidence raise questions which we from our approach need to think about
#Concerning the Lincoln/Kennedy synchronicities mentioned in "questioning Stephen" in the August 2003 issue: This  internet address (referred to in Cocksey's site) will be of interest.

A reader has noted that the A.A
Serenity Prayer was composed by theologian Reinhold Niebuhr, in 1944.

"God, give us grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be
changed, courage to change the things that should be changed, and the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other."