Apologies to regular readers but I am going to return to a recurring theme come bottomless well of personal resonance, again. Coincidences, unsought parallels and junctures of meaning, events that hint at an unseen order and harmony to our universe and give life meaning—sometimes profoundly so; such things I take an avid, even obsessive interest in.
Being as I am committed to a regular practise of meditation, a student of meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy for the past eleven years, and a practitioner of meditation at least once a day for several more, it should come as no surprise that I make a habit of connecting dots, or to be precise, painting them in vivid colours not pencil-thin lines, more akin to the French pointillist Georges-Pierre Seurat than a statistician’s graph.
Like the New Zealand poet James K. Baxter, who shrouded everyday events in a cloak of myth varying shades Jungian and Catholic, and whom believed people to be islands joined at a deeper level by the waters of the unconscious, I find that opening oneself to the deeper flow of life, which the act meditation does so profoundly, combined with a heightened awareness of life’s finer, smaller details—the meaning hidden between written lines—throws open a new, inner universe of meaning in almost everything that we do.
Which is why I was pleasantly surprised to discover recently that several of my favourite artists and musicians of yester-year practise meditation. Surprised, because my affinity for them wasn’t conscious in any sense—I liked them certainly, but had never given thought to the how and why.
Howard Jones, and yes I am going back, back, back in time to the 1980‘s, a British synth-pop star of the decade many would rather forget or regret, has been a Buddhist for almost twenty years now, and a re-examination of the lyrics from any of his chart-topping albums discover once overlooked references to the philosophy of India’s Vedas and China’s Tao Te Ching, in number more repetitive than a broken record. Perhaps not so surprising really—Jones from the beginning was a master of an uplifting message as well as a catchy tune—song titles like“Things can only get better” and“Everlasting love” should have been a clue that my then childhood self was wiser than I assumed.
Another in whom I once found an innate sense of meaning, at the time undefinable beyond a wordless affinity, was film director David Lynch. Of course I should admit that I studied film at university—it is the basis of my stuck somewhere at the bottom of a box Bachelor of Arts Degree—so it is not just an accident of fate that I am able to roll the titles of his filmography with ease and familiarity from my tongue, or write thousands of empty words about their symbolism or meaning.
In all of the odd, random and downright disturbing imagery of his work, there was a mystical, otherworldly symbolism which I unconsciously responded to—a depth of psyche so rare in contemporary film I forgave him 85 minutes of“difficulty” for a treasured single straw, wheat personally salvaged from field of chaff.
Such was my love for Lynch’s films, even if the meaning I found in them was mostly my own, it wasn’t really a surprise to discover that he has been practising meditation for over 30 years.“Of course he has!” I exclaimed at this after the fact vindication of my once upon a time obsession. It was almost predictable, such is the thick thread of synchronicity in the events that lead me to meditation.
I avidly followed Twin Peaks while in High School without quite knowing why. It was a breath of fresh air, certainly, something of a revelation in a time of personal spiritual and cultural aridness, and seemed to hint at something which, although I could not place a finger on it, I was so desperately seeking in all but name.
A quick re-viewing of just a fragment of the show reveals why: a not-so-hidden, mystical symbolism that had me laughing at the blatant synchronicity of it all—was there ever any doubt that meditation, the one thing that gives my present life a bedrock of meaning, would ever find me?
It seems if you take life to be a path towards something, a work in progress if you will, destination not always known, each forward step brings people and places into your life of like-hearted outlook. It’s that old but sagely saying,“birds of a feather flock together.”
Should it really be surprising that one who now views his life as a from beginning to end journey towards spirituality, which for me is a by-word to a life of profound inner meaning, as opposed to transplanted dogma or thin-lipped ideology, should have been unconsciously gravitating towards people on the very same journey he was about to begin?
In the journey of chance, attitude is all important, because it is in my opinion the positive or negative slant we put upon our experiences and the people we meet that determines what we gain from them, what meaning we take from them. And I didn’t just read that in a book—there are a number of years of my life that I would gladly live over again with a radical change of heart. From the always wiser perspective of hindsight, a life that once seemed barren and devoid of meaning was anything but—but the knowledge and experience that would give it meaning lay just around a corner.
Or even closer actually—already in my hands, playing on my walkman and on my TV.
Synchronicity, serendipity and coincidence happen all the time, but they require a receptiveness to the idea that life may not be quite as random as it seems…
In a another’s vein:
- Sumangali.org: In the spirit of serendipity
- S. Camille Crawford: Now