Totality Three - More Recent Ponderings – by Jim Ferguson 2023
I am in awe that I wake each morning, and have managed to contnue to breath every day till now, in my seventy-second year, when I always believed that if I made it to fifty, then that was a good result...yet I remain here and am still relatively healthy.
During this hiatus, I discovered a movie that, to some extent, parallels my philosophy of Totality - named "The Adjustment Bureau", starring Matt Damon and Emily Blunt.
As I describe in Totality, our life's journey exists of nothing more than an inifinte trail of binary "T" decisions behind us, ultimately leading us to our current place in ThisNow. For two people to actually meet at some specific moment in ThisNow, each of their separate and individual T-trails MUST inexplicably devolve into that singular place and time - and hence why synchronicity - not "chance" or "coincidence"- is fundamentally valid.
It is NOT fate, destiny, chance or "by accident", since the multitude of each and every T-decision in our past, exists only in and for THAT moment, with every other T-decision only dependent upon the one immediately preceding it, and so are infinitely variable and indeterminate, and hence "free will" also holds as true. Such infinite individual T-choices I suggest, is also the premise endoring the "multiverse" concept, and why I rfer to my present existence as ThisNow.
I have often observed, while driving, one can be on an almost-deserted road, except for one other vehicle travelling towards you fron the front or side and yet we still both arrive at the same intersection simultaneously, when even just a two-second interval, for either of us, would haved saved us both from the need to stop and give-way....haven't you had a similar situation...maybe even just trying to enter an elevator, or queue to a movie, or both reaching for that last item in the supermarket..? Synchronicity...?
So let me discuss Synchronicity further, and I remind you that, while I use and endorse these concepts, they are not mine to own, since I see these all as immutable Truths that entwine us all in this web of Life.
Circa 1925-32, the famous psychologist Carl Jung began using the term Synchonicity to describe the reason for non-identifiable causes to produce real outcomes in people and events. This began after he spent some years studying the Taoist "I Ching" - a divination system that he found to be significantly accurate and later led to him declaring, in a lecture in May 1930, that there was a difference in Eastern thinking to that of the West, arguing that there was both a philosophical and scientific basic for Synchronicity, adding that a complementary nature of causality and acausality within Eastern sciences, which spent time identifying irregularities and coincidence as a more reliable basis for the world, rather than the Western view of causality, or a defined set of proven action/s or conditions...anything that cannot be proven is therefore invalid..!
Expanding on this work, Jung partnered with Noble laureate Wolfgang Pauli to deliver a statement endorsing Synchronicity in 1952, which is now termed the Pauli-Jung Conjecture. Even Albert Einstein and other scientists and physicists were approached to review the hypothesis of Synchronicity, Einstein commenting that the, then new, realm of quantum-physics suggested that the notion of Synchronicity, under certain conditions, the laws governing space and time, can no longer be understood according to the the principle of causality
That is the published origins and use of the term Synchronicity. However, I have now taken that concept further, to suggest that the supposed "acausal" factors impacting upon a future event CAN be somewhat traced back through that interminable trail of binary "T" choices we have all made throughout our lives, which eventually bring us each, to a specific and definable moment in time and place in ThisNow. Totality, in my view, is the repudiation of Synchronicity and vice-versa and if allowed to unfold freely, cannot fail anyone in realizing their own Karmic journey. "Go with the flow ,but keep paddling" says it all..!
So if you can get the opportunity, can I recommend you watch that movie - not for philosophical guidance but for its interesting storyline and entertainment value.
As I have journeyed through ThisNow, and since I last penned my thoughts here, so many new chapters to this book have been added, each serving to prove that time does not stand still and continues to move forward. These latest twenty years have delivered me new careers, a new life partner, travels abroad, grand-children, cultural immersions and so much more.
However, and why I am, once again, writing these words, is to share my re-affirmation on just how much I recognize the Truths espoused, so very long ago, by Lord Buddha, and how I have realized their practical every-day role in the lives of those around me, and especially those I have been invited to share those realizations with over the years.
I make no claims as to being Enlightened, or "wise", or even "intelligent"...but what I am happy to state is that "I hope I am able to share what I believe can make your life more meaningful in a positive way".
Parallel to my writing my thoughts in these pages, I have also been recording my Life's journey through ThisNow, in the form of Japanese poetry, called Haiku, which can be read elsewhere on my website, or download here. This has now grown to around 50 pages, so if you want to read of the more mundane things that have occupied my Life, please consult this log. It also holds more of my philosophical ponderings as well.
In recent times, I have been asked by a number of people, for help in their own pursuits of happiness, and each time I have been drawn into explaining just how Buddhist philosophy is the corner-stone to resolving their individual aspirations. At the same time these, and other discussions, have led me to use the analogy of the double-edged sword in particular, to translate the dharma into the practical application of the Buddha's teachings.
Similar to the "Yin-Yang" holistic perception of Taoist philosophy, I have been led to use the sword to describe the holistic nature of action, i.e. that there can be both a positive outcome AND a negative outcome arising out the same use, therefore complementary and how karma arising out of one action can accrue to more than one, but can also radiate outwards to impact innumerable others i.e. the birth of a new infant into a family, or the unexpected sudden death of another. One reason why I endorse Karma as tangible and a "Real" factor of Life can be demonstrated by considering why a simple car accident on a highway, involving even just a single person (driver) can then generate subsequent outcomes for kilometres, delivering traffic delays, missed appointments and so on. Further, this is not just a human issue, but transcends ALL sentient lifeforms, just as the Buddha describes. Karma IS universal and everywhere. We and everything else are interconnected.
The events that have elicited my responses are not the important things here, but the lessons for me, which have brought me back to this keyboard.
The sword has long been a symbol of power, judgement, authority, since they first made their appearance more than 3,000 years ago - bringing fear to some and command to others, but to anyone who has ever held a sword, especially a double-edged version, one also quickly appreciates the meaning of the term "it can cut both ways...". But more than this, it also has much power and influence simply by understanding that it can also represent the mid-point between good-bad, right-wrong, love-hate, true-false and so on. An example I have witnessed was an aggrieved person seeking media (press) support to progress a case for compensation, whereupon the media elected to prosecute the defendant's stance on the matter. The other related adage is "be careful what you wish for..!"
And so this then leads me to another aspect of Life's suffering - Attachment i.e. Grieving for..., wanting, and all that affliction's impact on getting through our day-to-day lives without such stress. Numerous times, when I have been asked to help friends and others in recent months, all have this as their central cause. And in every case, one of the most significant issues is the need to "Let Go" and allow the yearning for the past to subside and to focus on the next step forward to a fresh start. It is okay to remember all the goods things of the past, for they are too valuable to forget, but the rest needs to be surrendered to make way for the new. Regrets are the ropes that bind us to continued samsaric re-births.
From my own personal experience and thus one I also wish to share, is that of trusting your own self i.e. body, to also guide you in your life's decision-making processes, since it acts in its own self-preservation motivation.
Science now acknowledges that our body is not a solitary living thing, but rather a complex community of both internal and external (living) organisms that work to keep our body functioning properly...and in the Buddhist context, each one of those has a karmic journey to some degree or other (hence why suicide is a big no-no)... and I suggest that they may well have a collective consciousness that protects their own existence, and which can deliver a "gut feelng" and therefore shared as the "trust your gut" saying. These idioms have not come about except for the fact, that this "sense" has been proven time, and again universally, even extending to the "fight or flight" instinct. Once again, a possible "proof" of this concept, is when we catch a fever, or infection, and the body's own defences come into play, and they then fight for their own survival, we suffer while that battle rages, but fortunately for us, our body eventually wins...
Are "Instincts" learned or inherited..? I suspect there are elements of both, but regardless, they exist for a profound reason.
And this is just what it is all about..! Sometimes our minds are so consumed with emotional or other distractions, that we become oblivious to our physical condition, and it then steps in to bring us back to a more present state-of-mind. But it also works to help guide, when there are emotional or other factors at play, and it is then important to "feel" what your body is telling you, from the heart or gut, at least in that place just below the rib-cage - the solar plexus.
Your body is the vehicle you occupy in ThisNow and it too seeks its own permanency, so it subliminaly sends messages to your brain when making decisions. This place aligns with the Solar Plexus (Manipura) chakra and exists to connect the phyical body with the meta-physical/spiritual/energy body that I also hold to be true. Learning how to "listen" to its messages is an important skill, then also placing your trust in those messages is then also something to develop and respect.... I call this your "inner friend!".
When it comes to making a diffcult choice, we sometimes are confronted with our emotional desires, un-validated "facts", and other intangible reasons, both for and against, so how do you ultimately resolve such a dilemma..? Trust your inner friend and go with your gut-feeling on it. From my experience, it is more often likely to be correct than wrong...but either way, you can feel confortable that you made the best decision in that moment.....and this is how our lives continue.
This will continue to evolve as I find more time to key my thoughts, but please cosider this, albeit short, treatise for what it is worth.............Jim
---- as at May 1, 2023 ----