Some Recent Findings on Synchronicity, Dream-Like Experiences, and Spiritual Emergence Processes By Darlene B. Viggiano, Ph.D. (MFT) (continued)

Case 2: In this kundalini-type spiritual emergency (Grof, 1990), Lucy wrote:

Synchronistically, when I went to my first class at the **** the teacher told us he was teaching Kundalini yoga.  I felt as though I was in the right place.   I told a friend of mine from Quaker meeting about my experiences.  She hadn’t heard of [Kundalini] happening, but said she would ask at Friends General Conference if anyone knew what was going on.  She did find a woman who gave her a packet about Kundalini awakenings.  The woman’s name was **** ******* and she had had similar experiences.  The information was helpful and let me know I wasn’t going crazy.   How Lucy’s case relates to the literature. "Synchronicity," wrote Coward (1996), “depends directly on the Taoist Chinese text the I Ching, with which Jung experimented for a whole summer in 1920....  His experiments demonstrated to Jung that there are meaningful connections between the inner psychic realm and the external physical world” (para. 1).

Case 3: Similarly, Linda’s is an exemplary case of the dream-like quality of synchronicities.

She wrote:

I don’t hear voices or see things, but have a strong compulsion to change direction. … In short, I was led one step at a time to do something totally beyond my capability.  Each of those steps was a dream-like message…

How Linda’s case relates to the literature. 
It should first be noted that part of this case example is documentary evidence from What Canst Thou Say (May, 2004), a Quaker publication.  Linda’s case spotlights the dream-like essence of synchronicities and their function in spiritual opening, in parallel with various authors listed in the following table.  It also mirrors in part Hollis’ (personal communication, July 15, 2009) concept of a calling or sense of summons, also understood as a vocation. Linda’s case has this is in common with the final case to be reviewed, that of Murray.

Case 4: Murray’s case exemplifies the dream-like essence of near-death experiences.  It additionally centers on spiritual images and visions.  Murray wrote in an extensive recounting of his “Visionary Encounters with Cancer and Buddhism:

With a powerful condition such as cancer it was natural that I would seek meaning and indeed meaning came.  Some curious experiences and synchronicities happened prior to having cancer that in retrospect seem connected.

He further noted regarding his Buddhist spirituality:

The way I got this initiation was synchronistic and wonderful.  The initiations I received are traditionally given only after much Buddhist practice and preparation.  Having cancer and perhaps my near-death, visions and spiritual training were the ticket for me.

How Murray’s case relates to the literature.  Murray made many references to initiatory experiences and initiation in his case, even citing Kalweit’s (1989) literature on shamanism in relation to his personal experiences.  The significance of Murray’s case in terms of the literature centers, however, on near-death experiences.  Importantly, Murray observed that his visions intensified subsequent to his NDE.  In comparison, Atwater (2008) noted regarding NDEs:

it wasn’t until I wrote about my work with child experiencers … that I finally published figures: ... With adults, published throughout most of my books and on my website in the flier on aftereffects: More vivid and intense dreams and visions – 79%. (p. 6)

This case therefore lends credence to an understanding of dreams/DLEs as performing a function in terms of spiritual transformation, as additionally corroborated by various researchers such as Kalweit (1989) and Atwater (2008).  Murray’s narrative regarding numinous phenomena matches the extensive work of both authors.  As in the cases of Carl and Linda, Murray’s case also supports the synchronicity literature. 
 
Labyrinth
 



Conclusion

As a result of doing this research, the present author concludes that while acausal principles may remain something of a mystery to much of science, acceptance most particularly of synchronicity as a working concept and also as dream-like experience, as well as its role in spiritual emergence processes warrants further study due to its practical application.  As Jung (1961/1989) himself observed, “What counts, after all, is not whether a theory is corroborated, but whether a patient grasps himself as an individual” (pp. 131-132).  He further noted in his own practice that he “avoided all theoretical points of view and simply helped the patients to understand the dream-images by themselves, without application of rules and theories” (p. 170).

In this regard, the present researcher agrees with Jung (1961/1989) in that it seems necessary “to develop a new attitude toward my patients” resolving “not to bring any theoretical premises to bear upon them, but to wait and see what they would tell of their own accord.” p. 170.  He further wrote:

In view of all this, I lend an attentive ear to the strange myths of the psyche, and take a careful look at the varied events that come my way, regardless of whether or not they fit in with my theoretical postulates. (p. 300.)

Thus, if by paying attention to synchronicity, a patient is able to come out on the healthy side of a spiritual emergence process, the venture will have been worthwhile.

References

Atwater, P. M. H. (2008). Changes in dreaming after near-death states. Paper presented at Psiber Dreaming Conference. Retrieved March 12, 2010, from http://www.cinemind.com/atwater/articles/2008%20Psiber%20Dreaming%20Conference.pdf.

Bolen, J. S. (1994). Crossing to Avalon: A woman’s midlife pilgrimage. New York: HarperSanFrancisco.

Bulkeley, K. (2000). Transforming dreams: Learning spiritual lessons from the dreams you never forget. New York: Wiley & Sons.

Coward, H. (1996). Taoism and Jung: Synchronicity and the self. Philosophy East and West. [Electronic version]. Retrieved November 8, 2008, from http://www.highbeam.com/doc/1G1-18776043.html.

Ferrier, M. (1999). Living on the edge: Personal spiritual experiences as the new dispensation in the age of Aquarius. Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Pacifica Graduate Institute, Carpinteria, CA. [Preview]. Retrieved October 31, 2008, from ProQuest Dissertations & Theses: Full Text database. (AAT 3008506).

Gadamer, H-G., Weinsheimer, J., & Marshall, D. G. (2005). Truth and method. (2nd revised ed.). New York: Continuum. Retrieved March 23, 2010, from http://www.amazon.com/Method-Continuum-Impacts-Hans-Georg-Gadamer/dp/082647697X/ref=pd_sim_b_1#noop.

Grof, C., & Grof, S. (Eds.). (1989). Spiritual emergency: When personal transformation becomes a crisis. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher.

Grof, C., & Grof, S. (1990). The stormy search for the self: A guide to personal growth through transformational crisis. Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher.

Grof, S. (2006). When the impossible happens: Adventures in non-ordinary realities. Boulder, CO: Sounds True.

Hollis, J. (2005). Finding meaning in the second half of life: How to finally, really grow up. New York: Gotham Books. Retrieved March 14, 2010, from http://www.amazon.com/Finding-Meaning-Second-Half-Life/dp/B000GUJHJY#reader_B000GUJHJY.

Jung, C. G. (Ed.). (1964). Man and his symbols. New York: Dell Publishing Company.

Jung, C. G. (1989). Memories, dreams, reflections (Rev. ed.). (R. Winston & C. Winston, Trans.). (pp. 288-289). New York: Vintage Books. (Original work published 1961) Online reader retrieved October 31, 2008, from http://www.amazon.com/gp/reader/0679723951/ref=sib_dp_pt#reader-link.

Kalweit, H. (1989). When insanity is a blessing: The message of shamanism. In C. Grof & S. Grof, (Eds.), Spiritual emergency: When personal transformation becomes a crisis (pp. 77-97). Los Angeles: Jeremy P. Tarcher.

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Kvale, S., & Brinkmann, S. (2008). InterViews: Learning the craft of qualitative research interviewing, (2nd edition), Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. pp. 148-150. Online version retrieved July 2, 2009, from http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/0761925422/ref=cap_pdp_dp_1#reader.

Lukoff, D. (2007). Visionary spiritual experiences. Southern Medical Journal, 100, 635-641.

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Todres, L., & Wheeler, S. (2001). The complementarity of phenomenology, hermeneutics and existentialism as a philosophical perspective for nursing research. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 38(1), 1-8.

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Viggiano, D. (in press). The role of dreams and dream-like experiences in psychological and spiritual development: Scientific analysis of seven cases. New York: The Mellen Press

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