Sunday, November 7, 2010

In Sync with Me

Jung's concept of synchronicity is a featured concept in Julia Cameron's The Artist's Way, which I have been working through with a few friends over the past several weeks.  Essentially, synchronicity is "the experience of two or more events that are apparently causally unrelated occurring together in a meaningful manner."  In other words, seemingly connected events that don't have a high probability of happening concurrently.  While I am much more prone to labeling such things as coincidences unless they are uncannily pertinent to what I'm doing personally, I have been trying to notice when events seem to be lining up in a significant way.  Perhaps this willingness and intentionality on my part has contributed to a feeling of being "in sync" with my life.

Most theories of personal growth and development postulate an even number of phases, cycling through focusing inward and focusing on something external.  The first phase is usually something akin to survival, concentrating all of one's energy toward getting the basic necessities.  A second phase (if one is able to trust that survival will happen) is often adopting an external set of rules or goals, whether they originate from a church, a political organization, or some other institution with established beliefs.  The next phase would be integrating the meaningful beliefs from outside oneself into a period of defining personal identity.  And once deeper self-actualization has taken place, the following phase would address how to engage with the broader society, or at least some portion of it.  I can see this pattern at work when I look backward at my journey, but I have often been wrestling with whatever phase I've been in.

When I was clearly (looking back) in phases of clarifying personal values, I was also often struggling to engage more purposefully with a larger group.  And sometimes when I have accepted a prominent role within a larger group, I have found myself confronted with challenges about what beliefs are most meaningful to me personally.  While the internal and external work can be in balance, I have frequently tried to force myself to focus in a particular direction when I wasn't actually in the "right" phase to do so.  I have wanted to guard against being focused too narrowly and missing some important piece of personal doctrine.  Certain beliefs about what life "ought" to be about have served better at some junctures than others.  To put it another way, I haven't always been willing to let myself grow because I was afraid of what beliefs I might grow out of.

Everyone has a doctrinea system of beliefs they live by.  Some piece of a person's doctrine may be incorporated from external sources, and some may come from an internal sense of what's important or how things should be.  But at some point, the beliefs have to become personal if they are going to have deep value.  Living by a doctrine that someone else created for you doesn't reflect integrity.  That's just a sort of irresponsible obedience.  Integrity comes from taking a personal stand for one's own life, claiming a personal set of beliefs not to judge right and wrong in others but to identify what has true personal value.

At some points in my life, the beliefs that primarily informed my decisions were actually different from what I thought I should believe.  I was in conflict with my own doctrine, but I didn't realize it at the time.  Now, I have been taking time to really think about what beliefs are really potent for me.  I have been giving myself permission to be honest about what's most important to me, without worrying about what might get left behind if I focus in a direction that has personal importance.  Trusting myself, with some confidence in what I have been recognizing as valuable for me, I find a strange appropriate-ness in the opportunities I am creating and discovering.

While I may have told myself so in the past as a reassurance or believed it intellectually, I feel in a very deep way that I am in exactly the right place at exactly the right moment in my life.  It's not synchronicity, but I believe that noticing the "rightness" of my experience comes from being conscious of my personal doctrine and aware of how I am able to engage life in a meaningful way.  And when I know that what I believe makes sense, fear has a lot less of a foothold.

1 comment:

  1. Your last paragraph - that it's not synchronicity. What what you have described here, I think it's very much synchronicity that has guided you to these conclusions. Hope you'll drop by our blog on this topic.