Jung on Synchronicity

Jung postulated the concept of synchronicity to aid us in our understanding of socially conscious unifying phenomena. Synchronicity was absolutely involved in the or in his terms – the individuation process. We can now infer that many of our most significant leaders have experienced a phenomena (or been subjected by it, as the case my be) whereby, “the unfoldment of an individual experience of a single person is actually synchronistically linked to the unfoldment of the collective destiny of a social group.” Aziz 203, explaining the Jung’s thought on the matter.

Jung explains (after having many terrible visions of destruction right before WWI broke out), “Now my task was clear: I had to try to understand what had happened and to what extent my own experience coincided with that of mankind in general…” Aziz 206 And further: Neumann writes about “the interplay between the psychic struggle of a single individual and the problems that threaten the collective consciousness,
“A sensitive person falls ill because of his incapacity to deal with a problem which is not recognized as such by the world in which he lives, but which is, in fact, a future problem of humanity which has confronted him and forced him to wrestle with it.”

This explains the lack of contemporaneity, the remoteness and the eccentric isolation of these people— but also their prophetic role as forerunners. Their fate and their often tragic struggle with their problems is of crucial significance for the collective, since both the problem and the solution, the criticism which destroys the old and the synthesis which lays the foundation for the new, are performed by these same individuals for the collective, which in fact takes over their work.
Similar to the manner in which shamans, as Eliade informs us, ‘have played an essential role in the defense of the psychic integrity of the community.’” Aziz 204

Because the whole project stands on our ability to become more conscious. So after Jung’s experience with vision, casting him into the ranks of seers whose personal story ‘coincided with that of the mankind in general,’ we can see that the purpose to these sorts of experiences is, “to provide mankind with the means to bridge what Ross Woodman describes as “the discrepancy…between the demands of our global village—the earth as one country and mankind its citizens—and the level of consciousness at which we continue to function.” And further that, “The purpose is to create a consciousness commensurate to the demands that our century with increasing urgency imposes upon it.” Aziz 206

“…in certain cases, when one individual acting in harmony with the self raises the compensatory meaning of a constellated archetypal pattern to consciousness, all who are contained within that same archetypal pattern benefit. Through the efforts of one individual the pattern as a whole is transformed. It could be said, then, as Jung himself does, that from a synchronistic point of view the social contribution of a single individual pursuing his own wholeness many be far greater than one would otherwise imagine it to be. Commenting on this specific point in a letter to Miguel Serrano dated September 14th 1960, Jung writes:
Whoever is capable of such insight [like that achieved in the individuation process] no matter how isolated he is, should be aware of the law of synchronicity. As an old Chinese saying goes: “The right man sitting in his house and thinking the right thought will be heard a 100 miles away” … If the archetype, which is universal, i.e., identical with itself always and anywhere, is properly dealt with in one place only, it is influenced as a whole, i.e., simultaneously and everywhere. Aziz 210

The New Motivation

I go to a whole bunch of recovery related meetings. At each meeting each attendee is usually given a couple of minutes to share. For the past three and half years I have attended at least three meetings a week or something. That means, that on average over the past 3 something years, I have practiced public speaking about 156 days, two minutes at a time, totaling about 312 minutes which is about 13 days of cumulative public speaking.

As you might imagine there’s a great deal of unconscious, boring ass, rambling ass shit in those thirteen days. BUT, there is also, and with increasing regularity, incredibly relevant and inspiring moments of awe flowing from all the possible conscious contact one soul helping another can conjure – tonight’s share was one of those moments.

It’s almost an out of body event. The experience of flowing before an audience is absolutely intoxicating. The power of sharing it, of unifying consciousness across a field of bodies is unmistakable. It’s a living resonance that’s tangible. Everyone was laughing, and when I finished my friend next to me gave me a high five! I kept thinking that I was only the vessel, the high five was on behalf of the Event, not the agent – the Godding, a moment of incarnation – “I,” wherever that was in the experience, felt embarrassed for being so bright.

The topic was “Motivation.” I started by relating a story I heard on an speaker tape which was fine. Blah, Blah, he was asked to pray for his business partners son in the hospital and he questioned his motives. Were his motives for the continued business relationship or for the genuine selfless act of prayer for his partners son? He concluded his story saying that God spoke to him with a question: Did praying for his business partner’s son violated any of his spiritual principles? …which of course it didn’t. Motivation? Who gives a shit.

Then I shifted to talking about how I’m crazy:
My school is an all girls school. They’re putting on this huge event for women’s empowerment. I’m a dude, and I’m all for women’s empowerment. My job doesn’t exactly feel that secure so I thought I would volunteer for the all night workshop a few days ago, and I got an e-mail back saying men weren’t allowed to volunteer for the all night think tanks. Ok. I felt a bit put off. They did hire me as a teacher AT the ALL GIRLS SCHOOL. Anyways, I guess I’m too much of threat in my masculine body to be an all night volunteer. Or their just misanthropists? Whatever. Today at lunch – I was sitting at a table of almost all men – I mentioned how I had volunteered and been turned down for being a man. It was hilarious. They all gave me hard time about it and the consensus was that I was a dumb-ass. Its an all girls event you dumb-ass. All the women organizers say they want men to come, but come on! Men have had their turn – over the past 5,000 years or so the story goes. The point is how my unconscious character defects orchestrate the very condition of my playing the victim again. “Oh! They don’t even want me to volunteer now! Well, Go Fuck Yourself!” What?! BUT, yeah… that’s where my crazy-ass mind will go. Not for long, but it’s there. So again, I come back to the truth of things: I don’t know why I do anything! BUT, the more that I become conscious of that deep, disturbing truth – the truth that I am at heart and at best an actor in this play and NOT God – the more easily, peacefully, and lovingly I perform my duty.

Those wicked scenarios that I will unconsciously manifest to feed my ego – the very stuff of my life where I play the victim or the most gracious – have consistently diminished over past three and half years as I have done the work of growing spiritually conscious. So motivation? Who gives a shit? 🙂

The Long Journey

I am enjoying the longest sustained employment in my life. Funny. Among a number of other superlatives this past year, I will be singing as a guest soloist in my first concert with an all girls choir; I just produced my first green screen video explaining a mnemonic device to learn the names of all the South East Asia countries (view here); I am about to move into my own house and buy my own car; WHAAAT?! I play more soccer than I have played in years, and my body is stronger and faster than it has been in years – since college.

The really cool stuff isn’t as grossly measurable as the material lists of change. It’s the subtle stuff, the spiritual stuff, the very stuff that the material manifestations of empowerment are founded upon – as Allen Watts might say, “the space between the notes.” We hear the melody out of the silence, the gaps between the notes and tones. The creativity is in the stillness and silence as much as the active hits of materialized vibrations. This is such a good analogy for my experience over the past 4 years.

How do I explain the subtle stuff then? How do I tell you, my 3 readers, what transformation feels like? It is specifically configured around AA, which is at heart a consistent growth and maintenance of spiritual experiences. Spirituality has become a number of integral practices designed to intervene on my will. All my ideas about how things should unfold have to be utterly smashed. My identity is literally being born again – Christ was right. The problem with my will is its complete obsession with itself which stunts my ability to act differently. The self (with a little “s”) is absolutely bent on serving its own narrow livelihood. Eventually, it binds/contracts/grinds down under the weight of this management – an obsessive cost/benefit analysis – that leads to futility, and in my story, loneliness and addiction.

Perhaps all this is simply age. I am 34 years old, I feel like a late bloomer. I am a body that divides the space between Gen X and the Millennial’s – a mixture of political and historical identities. On the left an intellectual radicalism and counter-cultural values and on the right a deep care for sustained responsibility and faith. Those go together right? Perhaps I spent to much time in San Francisco. I recently joked that I have PTSD from having spent to much time in San Francisco. I’ve resided in Chattanooga, TN for over a year now. God help me if I spend to much time here!

Comedy and the Absurd

Its a new year. Jan. 2nd of 2015. I turn 35 this year. I’ve been writing down my annual goals for many years now. The last one I can see that I have saved is from 2011. My goals reach the height of their absurdity in 2012 and they weren’t all impossible, just absurdly improbable. What is it with youth and lack of visionary proportion?

I’ve always been a dreamer, but I’m a little dumb. In 2011 one of my goals was to write my first book. Seems reasonable enough… just stop doing drugs long enough to find the discipline or rent money (whatever) and then I’ll just sit down for three months straight and knock that shit out. Right!!? I think I wrote the same goal for 2012 and then again for 2013. Admittedly, during 2013 I spent more time than any other year building a book out of old blog posts. Editing 200 plus posts into something the least bit organized or “creative” turned out to be much more than the total, laughable, 15-20 hours I spend working on it. If it wasn’t funny it would be embarrassing.

Reflecting on the previous year’s grossly unobtainable writing goals, for this year my goal is to get an article published. SURELY!!! SURELY! I can pull that off. I guess I get better at setting goals. No, I get better at knowing who I am and exactly what proportions of work are probable for Adam. It’s called humility. The past three years of sobriety have been a path jettisoning me into adulthood. What powers have grown in me are all due to a relationship with a Higher Power. What a relationship looks like is practice and the “Higher Power” is a constitution of non-coercive, mutually enhancing love.

Tonight, someone in a meeting was talking about be frustrated with the “normal” conceptions of God: “He”, blah, blah, “heteronormative,” blah, “Christian,” blah, blah, blah. I was thinking that God is a “non-coercive, mutually enhancing force, both personal, impersonal, intangible, symbolic and material, evolving, creative, etc, etc. and after the meeting I remember what my important point was… Comedy. It’s all absurd! Each theology, each goal, offers us its gift of absurdity. It’s not, not important and sooo serious; its just also absurd, AND that’s hilarious. My conclusion: There should be more comedy in Church.

No Children

It’s a sad track. No children. What is a man without children? Who remains to carry on his name? My last post was titled “Masculinity.” It was a post all about being an ally to women. I suppose this post would be more at the heart of masculinity. Children capture a powerful dream – a dream of legacy and survival.

I’m feeling a bit sad about my own circumstances here. I have no children. I remember the last time that I had sex and the distinctive insult I experienced when she asked me to put a condom on…”Don’t you think I’m good enough to have children with? WTF!?” Weak thoughts from a momentary lapse into self-pity. I remember attempting to become a sperm donor, qualifying (the qualification process is overwhelming!) and becoming a substitute teacher which made it impossible to continue the program due to scheduling conflicts. I was asked why I would like to be a sperm donor. I had a number of exquisite, thoughtful answers, but one was always a sort of alpha male excuse about spreading my seed or something; it was always so funny in the past.

Tonight I asked my sister if she thought I would have children and she said, “No.” I discovered in an instance that I take my sisters perception of me a bit more serious than I have been willing to admit. I remember standing in what will soon be my house’s backyard a number of years ago and my sister basically telling me to come back home to Chattanooga, get a job at one of the awesome private schools here and coach soccer. I completely scoffed at the proposition. “Shittt!! I live in SAN FRANCISCO!! ARE YOU KIDDING!?” And here I am living the vision my sister had for me less than 10 years later.

I map all these moments to view the insecurity before me. I’m afraid that I will leave no legacy and have no children. I’m afraid that my genetic line will die with me. I’m 34, etc., etc. I know that I”m not alone in this fear. I have counter-narratives over and over. I am a teacher. I currently have 82 children. I do my best to meet both my curriculum goals and pour as much of my spirit in to each of my students as I can. My sponsor once encouraged me to look at my presence circumstance. I wanted children and God has sent me more than I know what to do with. The love that is with me is constant and exceptional. When I was hired recently a number of people reassured me that I was already a teach, the only difference is that I’ll be paid for it now; they were merely fb comments but I took them to heart.

I believe that being a man is more about the accepting attitude, the perseverance of character, and penetrating love (something about penetration!). Consciousness is much more than genetics. Jesus had no children. It’s Christmas anyways…

Masculinity

I’ve been so deeply attentive to feminist thought, as praxis, that I feel a sense of nostalgia about masculinity. It’s more than nostalgia; it’s a feeling of duty I sense. The world is still hyper-masculinized. A 5,000 year old legacy of masculine domination isn’t neatly balanced by a few successive waves of feminism over the last 150 years. Feminism is still in its infancy across the globe, but in highly developed areas feminism – the empowerment of women in general – is outstandingly successful. So much so that I wonder what spaces men should stand – as allies, as human beings with gifts to offer.

Understanding the privileges I carry as a masculine body has been an enormous gift. I have labored to be an ally not only to women, but to non-heteronormative bodies (queer/trans bodies)- those whose subject positions, constituted by their gender, do not afford the same privileges.

Currently, my life is thriving in an all girls school. I work with very few men. I am surrounded by women, and I love it! I have found a space where my attentiveness to dynamics of gender is of benefit to an entire community of girls. This is the space that I am thinking about my masculinity. Everyday I perform masculinity that has internalized the critical lenses developed by feminism. Its a gift to have those lenses, especially as they enact justice. I whole heartedly believe that grasping the perspective that our world is gendered – power is negotiated with/through gender – is a huge step toward understanding broad contexts, and most humans around the planet have yet to posses that gift, for reasons of poverty, privilege, and ignorance (the latter two plague these United Stations).

Now, for me, what does a post-feminist male perform? What are his commitments? I seem to have lived into a space where a post-feminism must thrive for the sake of preserving masculinity. There is a real danger that justice is overshot for the sake of self-definition. I think all critical movements risk falling from grace into retribution. You don’t want a feminist voice to be so loud that you crush the creativity constituted by gender dynamics. By in large, this is a microcosmic problem that flows from special contexts like the one in which I find myself.

Feminism still has a long way to go! Instances of privilege are being statistically mapped to greater and greater degrees – from worker pay to developmental policy the world still privileges white males. I suppose I live my way into the answer… or not.

I’ve always valued integration. It’s absolutely amazing to recognize someone who is mastering an identity hospitable to genders. I find those individuals more interesting, but in any case, it is difficult to judge – the act itself is privileging.

Consciousness and Anger

I can’t afford to be angry any more. I would like to be angry, to be enraged… and it can come so quickly, but I have been down a path of anger and it almost destroyed me. I’d like to think that anger is just boring now. It’s not quite creative enough, is it? But it does have power. Anger can sustain entire movements of social change.

I am connected to an entire community of social activists and scholars whose fb posts continually update the unfolding events tied to Mike Brown’s and Eric Garner’s death by the police. There is to be a “Day of Anger” march in a few days in New York and San Fransisco – cities all around the nation. Actually, Anonymous is calling it a “Day of Anger,” but there are other names; Popular Resistance, is calling this Saturday a “Day of National Action: Wave of Indignation,” and a “Day of Resistance.”

Its a movement for a community of color and all their allies to be heard, felt, seen… for what is a deep need to express the pain that comes from multi-generational violence and injustice. Life is valid. The raced momentum calling for justice is absolutely valid. This is a cultural movement seeking liberation for the oppressed, disenfranchised, the marginalized of these United Stations. Paulo Freire writes beautifully about the oppressed. Freire’s book is entitled, Pedagogy of the Oppressed. Listen to the spirit of his voice:

“[T]he more radical the person is, the more fully he or she enters into reality so that, knowing it better, he or she can transform it. This individual is not afraid to confront, to listen, to see the world unveiled. This person is not afraid to meet the people or to enter into a dialogue with them. This person does not consider himself or herself the proprietor of history or of all people, or the liberator of the oppressed; but he or she does commit himself or herself, within history, to fight at their side.”

AND…

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom, the means by which men and women deal critically and creatively with reality and discover how to participate in the transformation of their world.”

AND…

“This, then, is the great humanistic and historical task of the oppressed: to liberate themselves and their oppressors as well.”

Change is built. Freedom is not a gift it is forged through tears, gas, blood, bodies, broken walls, shouts; It’s work. It should be paid, but its the driving faith of internal conditions – will, love, heart, hope, courage, anger, rage – that constitute its becoming.

Perhaps, all I can be to a movement is an author. I touch these fb posts, and I feel deep seeded rage begin to boil. It’s not cowardliness that causes me to recoil from angered engagement; It’s the knowledge of that path in my personal journey. In my past I become self-consumed with enacting misplaced justice. Anger is shared so easily. You can pick it up on the street like a damn cold. I’m called to pray. Praying is one of the most courageous practices I can offer the world. My prayer life is built from the hospitality I offer myself… as I love myself…others in my presence are unconsciously given permission to love themselves. This is what I would ask of a movement. Learn to love yourself. Discover what compassion has to offer the world. As for judgments about others or movements (raced or classed) I can’t afford to be angry.

A Year’s Growth

It was this time last year that my employer would hire a new English teach to replace me. I was living in Guilin, China at the time. I had the most adult bedroom there… I had found little Christmas lights and taped them above my bed in a spiral fitting the very evolutionary turn my life was taking. I loved that damn bedroom! Anyways… I had indeed cursed in the classroom. Fuck those Chinese students! They were dicks and needed to be told. Right?! 17 year olds need the HAMMER! My compassion, my capacity as a skilled teacher, had run dry after only three months and I lost it one day in the classroom. As sensitive as I am, the tears were plentiful.

After I was hired this past summer one of my dearest friends and fellow choir members looked at me with an entire dose of love and intensity and told me that I would be just fine, I would even do great, “Just don’t curse in the classroom, Adam.” To which I respond with a nervous, enthusiastic laugh, “Right!” Nervous, because I didn’t walk into school that day in China and think…”You know what? Fuck those kids! I’m going to let them have it today for being so disrespectful to me!” I arrived that day to succeed and I was absolutely powerless over my actions that led to my termination. It’s super humbling to realize the truth. It’s true that I had little support a year ago. It was a new program and my enthusiasm to succeed would only carry me so far.

I remember interviewing for my current position over the summer and being asked to give an account of a challenging circumstance in my life and how I handled it. I talked to my hiring committee about China and my termination (in vague enough terms – I left out the particular details of the cursing and the incident with the little child – he didn’t die). I explained how challenging it was to fail, to see the power of my enthusiasm exhausted in its attempt to compensate for lack of skill, of experience. Every teacher I spoke with assured me that I was on the right path – the first class is always the hardest.

A year later, I am forced to acknowledge a deep gratitude for the support around me. I am still employed, still… Still, it seems that the course of my evolution – in character, profession, skill, manifestation, in power and overcoming – winds cyclical. The very forces that I have struggled with over the past month are of the same character of those that shook me down a year ago. And I fear that I will relive another termination – a fear, not necessarily grounded in any reality. The difference is reality.

I get to keep showing up with my best and let God decide… Reality is the velvet hammer.

The Gift of Death

Death has been making visits as of late. Last weekend I attended a funeral of a friend whose brother had committed suicide. His father had committed suicide in the mid-2000s. I attended the funeral last weekend in Atl. It was such a gift to see my old friends from college and so strange that death would be the driving power to bring us together after years. I had been estranged from one friend for many years prior to last weekend. Pain was at the heart of our separation, and I often wondered if our relationship would ever renew. Death had its gift though us.

This past Sunday I was driving through my neighborhood to find my old friend’s parents house occupied with people. My first though was a feeling. Was the gathering a celebration? Or is that mourning I feel? I stopped by to find out that my friend from high school had died – sitting on his couch, beer in hand, football game going on the television. The past few days the house has been filled with people. Jimmy was an only child. I’ve been in prayer for their family, and I have found myself in reflective contemplation at strange times – as I play soccer, enjoy veterans day with my father, laugh with my beautiful students – one of the most exceptional students I have in every way – made a passing comment during class that meant the world to me, “Everyone loves you Mr. Hudson!”

My life is a gift today.

One of my favorite thinkers wrote a book titled, “The Gift of Death.” The father of deconstruction, Jacques Derrida, enters into a mediation on death. He says that Death becomes a question of responsibility. How to die? It is a mystery that is at once terrifying and utterly demanding – mysterium tremendum – because when death is encountered it produces the terrible realization that what is required of us is our entire being. The responsibility is to make a gift of our death, that is, of sacrificing ourselves for the sake of the Other, God.

I am discovering this slowly – that life gives way to death. I’m discovering how to work without regards for myself or my needs. Working without regards for the body or this desirous mind. I’ll find this space on the track – running into oblivion, at the limit of my capacity I will speak over myself, “It’s unlikely I’ll die.” So you see how young I am. In the face of death my commitment extends only in the most selfish of ways: “I’ll get some exercise!”

The point is the loosing of oneself for the other – in duty to the other. In loosing all desire one paradoxically finds exactly what one was searching for in the first place. Death is a Gift.

The Mundane and the Spirit

Yesterday, my father let me know that he was having cataract surgery. Is it even a ‘surgery’ anymore? “Surgery” the word/meaning/experience doesn’t even have the same morbid weight it used to carry. He’s having a normalize procedure that removes the entire lens of his eye and replaces it with an artificial lens. Ideally, after the surgery his vision will be more powerful than it has been in years. ‘Hell… why not keep going?’ I thought. I asked him if he would continue to replace his worn out body parts if he could. Why not? New mind? New limbs? Sign me up! Perhaps that’s my 30’s speaking. My father wasn’t so sure. He said he didn’t want to go back to work. Fair enough.

I’m super interested in all the worlds that collide today. Is it still artificial if its inside your body, working intimately with your other organs? Blurring the lines between the artificial and the organic, the material and symbolic, the machine and the human are absolutely fundamental to living in the contemporary order of secular-salvific opportunities.

I prodded my father a bit further when I asked him if he might be interested in living forever. Many thinkers have outright said that to live for eternity would be absolute tyranny. Who wants heaven forever? Wouldn’t that get boring? Granted, it was the Existentialists whose disenchantment with all things “here-after” offered us the perspective that in the end we have to imagine Sisyphus happy – the myth of his eternal state rolling and re-rolling his rock up the hill he finds the essence of life in the absolute mundane… the smell and touch of the rock, its closeness, the weight of it on his shoulder, each breath an offering to the only thing worth contemplating – life itself.

The space where the absolute mundane becomes the incomprehensible sacrament, where all that was drudgery becomes utterly sacred…this is the heart of religion and the goal of spirituality.

That my father is getting new eyes… that’s a miracle and its good medicine.