Wednesday, March 21, 2018


Synchronicty, Jung's term for our ability to discern meaning in events that have no obvious common causality, is holy ground. Not only does it bring a measure of intelligibility to the realm of spirit and intuition - a nuanced, one-word poem for real but non linear truths - it also provides a rational way to consider the mystical without degrading or limiting the numinous. Jung wrote:

How are we to recognize acausal combinations of events, since it is obviously impossible to examine all chance happenings for their causality? The answer to this is that acausal events may be expected most readily where, on closer reflection, a causal connection appears to be inconceivable.

That is, just as some events share a common source, others share commonality through a "meaningful coincidence" or even "acausal parallelism." As Jesus was want to say, "The Spirit blows where it chooses: like the wind you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born (nourished/cognizant) of the Spirit." (John 3:8) The Hebrew Scriptures are equally resonant on this matter, too: "For my thoughts are not your thoughts nor are your ways my ways, says the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts."

For as the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return there until they have watered the earth, making it bring forth and sprout, giving seed to the sower and bread to the eater so shall my word be that goes out from my mouth; it shall not return to me empty, but it shall accomplish that which I purpose, and succeed in the thing for which I sent it.
Isaiah 55: 8-11)

I note all of this because snchronicty is about specificity. In my tradition, we call this the "Word becoming Flesh." Fr. Richard Rohr recently wrote that authentic Christianity:

... does not teach individualism but incarnation. The universal incarnation always shows itself in the specific, the concrete, and the particular—refusing to be an abstraction. Poet Christian Wiman puts it this way: “If nature abhors a vacuum, Christ abhors a vagueness. If God is love, Christ is love for this one person, this one place, this one time-bound and time-ravaged self." we come to universal meaning deeply and rightly through the unique and ordinary, not the other way around, which is the great danger of all the ideologies (overarching and universal explanations) that have plagued our world in the last century. Everything in the universe is a holon and a fractal, where the part replicates the whole. Go deep in any one place and we will meet all places where the divine image is present. (Rohr)

When I read these words this morning I couldn't help but think back to a conversation that took place yesterday while working on some new music. In response to an emerging song currently called "Little Things," we started talking about our search for meaning in the patterns of real life. "Perhaps that is what all ways of knowing (or religion) is about" we mused. My thoughts went directly to 21st century mystics like Rohr, Bourgeault, Coakley. They make a strong case for non-dual thinking as essential for discerning patterns of truth in the specificity of our existence. "The kingdom of Heaven is really a metaphor for a state of consciousness," Cynthia Bourgeault observes. “What the theologian shrinks from," she likes to say, "the poet grasps intuitively." So, too, the artist, the musician, the dancer, the film maker, etc. That's because our discernment of meaning "is not about right thought or doctrine or belief, it's about right practice." Like Richard Rohr, Bourgeault then articulates the creative meaning of the law of three:

One can only imagine how greatly the political and religious culture wars of our era could be eased by this simple courtesy of the Law of Three: (1) the enemy is never the problem but the opportunity; (2) the problem will never be solved through eliminating or silencing the opposition but only through creating a new field of possibility large enough to hold the tension of the opposites and launch them in a new direction. Imagine what a different world it would be if these two simple precepts were internalized and enacted. (Bourgeault)

One of the many reasons I am so energized about this new music project is that I get to make music with one of my oldest and dearest friends. He became a friend in 8th grade. Later we played in the same garage band doing Stones, Yardbirds and Zeppelin covers. A few years later, we reconnected and did folk tunes. As lives changed, we drifted apart only to rediscover one another 40 years later - and now we're making songs again. Another reason is that while our paths have been profoundly different - and we often speak words that begin in different places - the poetry and music evokes congruence. There is a startling unity taking place among us that is grounded in beauty, compassion and honoring human vulnerability. Fr. Rohr uses words from my tradition to speak about our shared music:

(Unless what we create) gets to concrete acts of charity, m
ercy, liberation, or service... (we will) just argue about theory and proper definitions without incarnating a meaningful and practical way to live that compassionately focuses on the now, the particular, the concrete, the individual. (The early Franciscan John Duns Scotus) makes love, and the will to love in a particular way, more important than intellect, understanding, or any theories about love or justice. (The key is to) start with loving one situation or one person all the way through. That is the best—and maybe the only—first school for universal love. (Rohr)

So the music we are playing and creating is mystically connected to leaving behind the work of the local church as well as a specific friendship that is over 50 years old. My calling beyond the local church is connected to the way L'Arche Ottawa has nourished my heart. The compassion of L'Arche Ottawa has opened me to a spirituality of tenderness born of the school of love that must always be made flesh (Vanier.) My own vulnerability has awakened me to the shared fears and shame each individual knows and struggles with. This morning's reading from the Gratitude book my daughter gave me last week says: "Wherever you are is the entry POINT. What can I do right now, big or small, to help make a change I long for?) The phone call I placed this morning about an emerging, multi-media ballet grounded in the Golden Rule painting of Norman Rockwell resonates with every a pattern of clues that have been bubbling to the surface. Once I started to pay attention to the patterns the Holy Spirit took root in reality. St. Paul enjoyed telling us: "Now we see as through a glass darkly, later we shall see face to face... Three things remain - faith, hope and love - and the greatest of these is love." In ways that were calling to me but I did not grasp, the creative movement of love has awakened me - and I am grateful.

+ Sound Scape, Sandra Duran Wilson @
+ Evolve and Ascend, Synchronicty @,
+ Synchronicity, Larry Lewis @
+ Sofia Bonati @,

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