Synchronicity: The Bridge between Matter and Mind and the Resurrection of Spirit in the World
May 8-14 2014
Synchronicities are those mysterious and inexplicable coincidences that occasionally erupt into a life. At times we may feel that those around us are confined to a narrow world of logic and physical law, a world that admits no hint of mystery. This can give rise to a feeling of isolation within an indifferent universe and in an increasing complex society whose members are reduced to ciphers. Synchronicities, by contrast, open a doorway into a very different world: a world that also has resonances with the deep insights that have been revealed by the new sciences.
True synchronicities are more than mere chance occurrences. They are characterized by a sense of meaning and numinousness. They provide a bridge between inner and outer worlds, between our private thoughts and external, objective realities. Within a synchronicity, patterns of external events mirror an inner experience; likewise dreams and fantasies may seem to flood over into the external world. To distinguish synchronicities from mere chance occurrences Carl Jung stressed that they must always involve "meaningful coincidence" that lie beyond any explanation involving causal links and connections. They reveal to us an underlying world of patterns, forms and connections that transcend any division between the mental and the material.
Synchronicities also act as markers in time, moments of transformation within a life that occur in chairos, when “the time is right”. Thus, while causality ties us to our past, synchronicities can link us to our future. They can also act as significant encounters when a door is opened through which we can pass. One notable encounter took place between the psychologist Carl Jung and the physicist Wolfgang Pauli. This meeting of people from two very different worlds will be explored during the course, including the way it led to Pauli’s remarkable series of dreams which caused him to explore the relationship between psyche and matter and believe that the time was at hand for the "resurrection of spirit” within the world of matter.
The week in Pari will explore a number of connections between our subjective, internal world and the objective, external. One route will be to reflect on the metaphor of alchemy as a pathway to inner transformation. This will include an exploration of the deep links between art and alchemy. In the field of literature we will meet James Joyce’s notion of an epiphany – that moment when meaning coalesces into the world – and the poet and priest Gerard Manley Hopkins also wrote of inscape, the authentic and individual voice within the natural world that speaks to us directly.
An introduction to some key ideas from depth psychology will be given. Archetypes as the structuring principles of the psyche will be compared to notions of an underlying implicate order to reality as discussed by the physicist David Bohm. The therapeutic encounter will be viewed as an alchemical vessel in which “frozen accidents” to the psyche can be melted and transformed by generating psychic heat.
The spiritual dimensions of transformation and transcendence will be discussed with examples from a number of mystics including the Sufi, Ibn bin’Arabi. From the New Sciences we shall explore new notions of chance, connectedness, order out of chaos, the changing nature of matter and the notion that proto-mind may have existed from the beginning of the universe.
The course will also feature a day with Dr. Shantena Sabbadini, author and translator of the Eranos I Ching. Sabbadini will explore the ancient Chinese notion of the significance of patterns of meaningful chance. He will explain how participants can frame a question to the Book of Changes and “read” the answer given by the I Ching.
The course will explore:
- Synchronicities, illuminations, epiphanies and the sense of connectedness as events that sum up a life or anticipate the future
- An overview of Freud and Jung, their lives, theories and approaches
- Jung and The Red Book
- The nature of consciousness and its connection to the body
- Theories of Mind and Matter
- The nature of the Archetypes and other structuring principles of the psyche
- Cinema and Reality: the way in which ideas from depth psychology find their way into films
- Laws of matter and mind. Are they a priori or do they evolve?
- The role of the New Physics (chaos theory and quantum theory) and its connection to consciousness
- Connections between minds, and between mind and matter
- Metaphors of alchemy and the process of individuation
- Wolfgang Pauli, his dreams and relationship with Carl Jung. Pauli's vision of the resurrection of spirit within the world of matter
- The current state of our world and the need for values and ethics
Shantena Sabbadini, who has recently published a new translation and concordance of the I Ching will also give a workshop on Ancient Chinese views of synchronistic connections and on how to consult and interpret the I Ching.
Synchronicity: The Bridge between Matter and Mind will proceed via lectures and group discussions. Participants will be encouraged to keep a journal. Participants are also encouraged to take advantage of the thermal hot springs below the village. Since exploring ideas can be tiring, a morning will be set aside for an excursion to Siena, or an excursion for wine and olive oil tasting.
Note: This course is intended for well-balanced participants who are in search of new insights and those who would like to explore the implications of synchronicity and its connection to such areas as the nature of consciousness and the New Physics. It does not offer any form of psychotherapy.
8 May . Participants arrive, welcome and dinner.
On the following days there will be two daily workshop sessions:
10.00- 12.30 Lecture and question period
4.00 - 6.30 Lecture and discussion of the topic of the day. At times participants may wish to amplify on the material discussed via art work or journal keeping.
Since absorbing new ideas can be exhausting a morning will be set aside for sightseeing, for example a trip to Siena.
14 May . Summing up. Participants leave following lunch
Cost: 1,500 Euros
This cost includes accommodation and all meals (traditional Tuscan fare, vegetarians can be catered for), from dinner on 8 May to lunch on 14 May. It also includes the cost of the one-day excursion, all art materials, etc. To ensure a place on the course a non-refundable deposit of 200 euros is required.
Please note: Payment can be made via check or bank transfer. It is also possible to use the PayPal system with a credit card. If you wish to use Paypal we will send you an invoice with instructions on how to pay. The actual transaction is managed by PayPal so that we do not learn any of your credit card details.