Synchronicity walk with me

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.

george_seurat.jpgLike 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:

  • Camille Crawford
    Posted at 13:36h, 16 March

    John, I’ve been leaving this note in your comment box for hours now. I’ve just finished, LOL. I haven’t known what to say in response to my name appearing in your website. Somehow, ‘thank you’ doesn’t seem fitting. But thank you none the less. I continued this conversation in my most recent post, which I think is more appreciation than a simple thank you.

    A Foundation To Live For


  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted at 13:57h, 16 March

    Gosh Camille—my ”wonderful prose!” Honoured that you think so, cause this post didn’t flow forth quite as easily as I would like—felt rather like I was assembling a jigsaw puzzle with a pair of scissors, cutting off edges that never seemed to fit.

    I am very happy if it was inspiring in some sense—I may not have stated this here yet, but I do hope in this blog to share a little of the things that I find inspiring.

    And linking to your site was the least I could do after seeing myself in your sidebar.

  • Camille Crawford
    Posted at 06:04h, 18 March

    Well your prose is wonderful. But don’t worry about that. It’s good that you do what you do, whatever the reason.

    Someone recently asked me ‘Who do you write for?’

    In thinking about it, I realized I was writing for the people who mirror who I hope to become. In that manner, I hope that they will teach me how. Not a direct form of teaching but something that I assimilate through reading about their personal journeys. So I just wanted to share with you, that you are one of those people, and that I am ‘tagging’ you into this meme that I’ve become a part of.

    Don’t feel that you must participate… I just wanted to let you know.

    Thank you for blogging…

    Camille NOW

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted at 10:40h, 18 March

    Thanks Camille. I appreciate being read, and complimented even more so, and will definitely check out the meme.

  • Mallory Matson
    Posted at 13:18h, 18 March

    that was a really great entry 🙂 lately i have been experimenting with meditation when the world seems to be crashing in on me and it’s like just for a moment i achieve this sense of peace and well being. i guess you could call it enlightenment. if you have any methods of meditation that you find particularly comforting could you please let me know? I’m new to all of this 🙂 thanks

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted at 13:55h, 18 March

    Thanks Mallory! While I certainly wouldn’t call myself a master of meditation, I do keep trying, and can certainly vouch for—with regular practise—its benefit. Enlightenment is probably a long way off, but a hint of inner peace, calmness and the odd flash of wisdom do occasionally make an appearance.

    At the beginning though, meditation does seem very much like a small, fleeting island of peace, almost impossible to land upon, and what is more it is only when you make this first attempt to silence your mind that you realise how overactive it actually is. Unused as they are to sitting still and “simply doing nothing,” our minds, bodies and emotions sometimes do their best to distract us.

    There is no remedy other than regular practise, and finding a technique that seems to work for your own particular temperament—there are many meditation techniques precisely for the reason that we are all subtly different.

    While not a master myself, I do know a few people with some insight, and one of these, who has been taking classes for over 20 years, has written an online guide. I hope it is of some use:

    Learn to meditate online.

    Btw, a quick look at your own blog (nice!) revealed a shared interest in Kurt Vonnegut. You may perhaps then find this recent post of mine also worth a look: Kurt Vonnegut’s Last Speech.

  • alf
    Posted at 15:44h, 19 March

    This will laugh you: Noivedya interviewed Howard Jones last Thursday for the Canberra Times.

  • Jaitra Gillespie
    Posted at 16:58h, 19 March

    Good old Howard! I also wrote about him the other week—am waiting for it to be published before I post it here.

    I don’t know if I like his music as much as I once did, but I very much admire his lifestyle—Buddhism and meditation, not rock ‘n’ roll.

    Do post a link to the article if it appears online

Post A Comment