• March 25, 2016

    I have noticed that I often have the same thoughts as people around me and many of the things that come to mind end up happening shortly after. To what extent does my thinking cause these phenomena?

    I suggest we use the word synchronicity. Some very important observations arise from the experience of synchronicity.

    As the word suggests, synchronicity is not cause and effect. One of our most fundamental errors as humans is that we continually ascribe cause and effect to phenomena. We seek to explain what happens in terms of cause and effect especially when one event follows another. Why? Because it gives us comfort, it ‘explains’ things, justifies them, providing a false sense of certainty, or at least, a sense of order rather than randomness. But relating one thing to another in this simplistic way leads to all kinds of confusion. An understanding of synchronicity enables us to step out of this very limiting frame and into a wider and more magical universe.

    One of my teachers used to say: Masters understand synchronicity while slaves imagine cause and effect.

    What is the correct understanding of synchronicity?

    It appears to me that the phenomena of this world travel in currents. Things of like nature occur together. Phenomena that have similar sensations, perceptions and ideas flow together along the same path. One of these currents will attract the attention of certain individuals who then travel within it and share similar experiences.

    It is important to see that there is a compatibility between the people and the phenomena that draws them together and reinforces the view. We are attracted to what we can see and experience. Another person’s experience may be opaque to us and so we cannot travel with them. The shared phenomena gather force from the power of collective attention. This school is one such current.

    There are many currents flowing and unfolding at any given time. You may participate, consciously or unconsciously, in several of them, subjecting yourself to cross-currents which are nonetheless distinguishable in their separateness although they may also influence each other.

    The master knows what currents s/he is in, the direction they are taking and what is likely to occur. Please understand that this knowledge is not certain and exact but it is workable. Chance also plays a part in what happens as well as the impact of currents we do not sense or feel.

    What sets the master apart is the ability to take everything impersonally, as data. This makes it possible to know and use the available currents. Then, a current can be used to take you where you need to go, like hopping a ride, or to bring you what is required. Similarly, you may refuse to participate in a stream that is flowing in the wrong direction, away from your aim. Discernment is critical.

    The master is master of self, first and foremost. In the beginning, mastery is a path opposing ordinary life because it requires no longer reacting in an automatic way, no longer taking things personally. But this does not mean isolating yourself in your own world. The master does not accomplish aims by pushing against life. There is not enough force to continually swim against the stream, it is too expensive in terms of inner resources. And as we have learned, the pushing force evokes more opposition. So the master uses the streams that are already moving in a helpful direction. This is a matter of sensing more than thinking.

    Does this relate in some way to Easter?

    I think so. In my view, Jesus was a very great master. He knowingly stepped into a very great confluence of currents which formed the perfect basis for the invocation He intended. His life was a pageant which aimed to invoke something new and very great into the human sphere. He connected the currents of the Roman world, the Jewish traditions and Hellenism with humanity’s need for a new beginning. His was the ultimate agreement and His invocation continues to resound in a most extraordinary way after 2000 years, although the religions established in His name may be waning.

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  • February 6, 2016

    Religion makes sacrifice a big thing.  Is there a benefit in this work from sacrifice?

    Yes, but perhaps not the way it is commonly understood. The original meaning of sacrifice was to slaughter an animal or surrender a possession as an offering to win the support of a supernatural being. I would like to go deeper.

    Can we agree that sacrifice is giving up something that you value? Now, why are you doing this? Most often, is it not a kind of trade? I give up smoking so I can have better health. I give up a friendship to keep another friend I value more. I give up meat so I can be more spiritual. Really speaking, these sacrifices are trades. We are bargaining one thing for another. This is true whenever there is a personal benefit, real or imagined, behind our sacrifice. What’s important first of all is to see this.

    Please understand that I do not think this kind of sacrifice is wrong…we should be willing to pay for the things we want. There is a psychological benefit to personal sacrifice….we are more able to benefit from the things we want if we feel that we have earned them. Sacrifice also paves the way for attention to hold and nurture the fulfillment we seek. Attention energizes and magnetizes our aim, often helping to attract the assistance of others.

    Is there another form of sacrifice? Is it possible to make a sacrifice that has no personal benefit, for a higher aim than the fulfillment of our wants? Perhaps this story will help. A mother took her son to the prophet Mohammed. “He is addicted to dates,” she said, “but he won’t listen to me. Perhaps he will listen to you. Please tell him to stop eating dates,” she asked. “Come back in thirty days.” She came back with her son at the appointed time. “Stop eating dates”, Mohammed said solemnly to the boy. His mother asked: “Why could you not have told him that the first time we came to see you?” “Because I had not yet given up dates,” replied the Prophet.

    Impersonal sacrifice opens up a different set of possibilities. You may gain moral authority where moral authority is needed to accomplish a task. You may obtain greater freedom and increased will to perform your work. You may deepen your capacity for inner experience. Your conscience may be sharpened so as to better guide you. You will almost surely recover some of your attention for deployment elsewhere. You may receive a blessing, an infusion of higher energy.

    Of course, as soon as the aim becomes personal enhancement, sincerity is lost and you are striking a bargain again. You must know yourself, especially the tricks of the ego. Innocence is a great protection. Even more so is love.

    As we mature, we may discover a wish to sacrifice personal wants, including our aims and ambitions. It is enough to be. The less we want, the greater is our capacity to work in this path. Personal needs are an enormous drain on our energy and attention. They sustain identifications and inhibit a deeper experience of life.

    If you wish to wake up, reduce your need for anything else.

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