Saturday, June 29, 2013

Is Life A Random Event?

Is Life A Random Event?
©Kenneth Cohen

Chan Si Gong may be translated Coiling Silk or Reeling Silk Qigong. The term refers to the slow turning of a silk cocoon (produced by the silkworm caterpillar) as one pulls the silk thread. By analogy, in Coiling Silk Qigong when parts of the body turn slowly on an axis, energy knots dissolve and qi flows. At the start of a recent Coiling Silk workshop in British Columbia, Canada, a group of ravens suddenly began to perform a concert of croaks, gurgles, caws, and some unusual melodious songs (which they probably learned from other birds that ravens are known to mimic). A beautiful affirmation from a bird sacred to the First Nations people of that area. Then, when the songs were over, a caterpillar suddenly dropped from the roof to the exact center of the teaching space, a relative of the Asian silkworm! A random event? I don’t think so.

Many qigong students have noted that the more they progress in qigong, the more inexplicable, meaningful coincidences (synchronicities) occur. You practice the Deer Animal Frolic in a meadow, and a deer wanders out of the forest to observe you. You learn a new qigong method, and without knowing about this, a friend gives you a book on the subject. You think, “I would love to meet that Tai Chi teacher people have been talking about,” and you realize you are standing next to her in the bookstore. In the Chinese language, such destined meetings are called yuan fen, a term that I like to translate as “karmic affinity.” The Swiss psychiatrist and author, Carl Jung had a great explanation for synchronicity based his theory of “archetypes”: images that arise from the depths of the collective unconscious. When archetypes are activated because of personal insight, powerful dreams, or a lesson that the universe intends to give you, these archetypes constellate to themselves meaningfully related events. The deer inside you draws the deer out of the woods. The wise elder in you attracts the elder you wish to meet, and so on.

The connections between synchronous events are not a result of cause and effect; they are thus “acausal.”  Synchronicity reminds us that causality is only one way of understanding connections between phenomena, and a very limited one at that, as it requires narrowing the field of vision and ignoring mysterious interconnections that exist between all phenomena (think of the Hollywood movie “Groundhog Day”). Rather than causality, perhaps events and phenomena are connected by “correspondence.” Spring flowers, hummingbirds, green color, the rising sun, the east direction, and the feeling of inspiration and new beginnings are all interconnected, but not because one causes the other. To put it simply, life is based on relationship not dissection or the meaningless movement that occurs when one billiard ball hits another. As Einstein said, “God does not play dice with the universe.”