Sunday, February 12, 2012

Unus Mundus

Have you ever felt like you need to reinvent, or at least take another look at, yourself, and what your doing with your life?  I have been feeling like I need to change in some way for a couple years now. I got in a rut where I just worked, and slept, and in-between spent my free time with online games, or surfing the web. Occasionally I would go to an underground music gathering, or go to a lecture, read a book, spend time with my family, or visit some old book store or incense shop I used to like. I felt like a touch of agoraphobia infected some part of my mind though. Staying at home and saving money up was more interesting to me than going out for a night on the town. Perhaps the economic downturn "turned ME down". In hind sight, it was a very two dimensional life, lacking the depth I was used to in previous years.

Last summer an old friend who I haven't seen for almost a decade, paid me a visit, and we spoke for a while about the world, our lives, and the people we have met over the years since we last saw each other. As you would expect, we revived memories of old friends we had, and talked about the good times we had together. I even found an old video of us when we were very young, which we both got a kick out of. I met his girl friend, and embarrassed him a bit by telling her of escapades we were involved in. I even spent some time with his son, and his ex-wife who I used to know as well. Memory seems to work that way. You forget the bad times, and remember the good times. I suppose it's the way our minds heal, and move on.

Eventually, he mentioned that he wanted to make some music together like we used to, and I was intrigued. To make a long story short, we started recording music together. He brought his keyboard over, and I bought some recording software. We worked on a couple songs for a month off and on, it felt very natural. We finished them, and then we drifted apart again. Maybe one day we will meet again to record, or just hang out, but the point I am trying to make is our meeting seemed synchronistic.

Soon after him and I went our separate ways, and I finished the recording we made, I began to feel the need to change more, and more. Evolve would be a more accurate word.

I suppose this all began in 2010 when another friend of mine who I lost touch with also contacted me, but it was through Facebook. He asked if I was still playing music and recording. I responded "no," but for some reason felt naturally compelled to dig out my 8 track and put some spoken word I wrote down on an old beat I dug up from ten years ago, and then I emailed it to him. He sent me a hip-hop recording he made as well, and it felt good to be exchanging ideas with fellow musicians again.

Around the fall, or winter time, last year, all I could think about at that time was poetry, music, and drawing. Many of the other things I enjoyed doing before that time suddenly became uninteresting, and even when I looked in the mirror I felt out of place. So, I cut my hair, and bought some new clothes. Rearranged my apartment drastically, but I still felt like I was living the wrong life, somebody else's life. When I create art it has to occur when I am at the right state of mind, right mood, in the right environment.  It can never be forced.
Another example of this synchronicity happened last week when I was told by a coworker that a person I used to do business with many years ago was back in the trade, and at my office. I walked out to say hello, and we fell into a wonderful conversation about what we have done over the past decade in our business trade. Then, we both spoke about our personal lives. I remembered he played the jazz flute, and asked if he still plays. I also mentioned that I made some recordings last year. He seemed surprised I still made music, and was even more shocked I remembered he did too. Without much hesitation, he reached in his truck and handed me two CDs of some recordings him, and other musicians, made. I ripped them into my computer when I got home, and was very inspired by the inventive solos, and raw music, him and his friends were making. This ofcourse inspired me to play more music privately, and now I am totally consumed by it.

When I created this blog, I felt like it had to be created. Just as a mason knows the cornerstone of a structure must be solid, I know these ideas must be documented, and the path I traveled marked and understood. Normally, these thoughts would be kept in a journal or diary, but placing them here seems to focus my attention more on what I am doing, and why. There are logical arguments to be made to explain all of these events, but it seems more accurate to explain it as synchronicity. My hope is that in a future time and place, someone, maybe me, maybe you, will read these words, and use them in some synchronistic way to better themselves. Perhaps it will remind us to be perceptive of when the universe is tapping you on the shoulder to do something important.

Unus Mundus, or One World, was a concept coined by Gerhard Dorn a Belgian philosopher, translator, alchemist, physician and bibliophile. He also studied the works of Paracelsus. In his work The Speculative Philosophy he explained that the individual must unite with the World Soul and heal the splits in their psyche, and resolve the duality within. Carl Jung also explained this as an underlying reality that we all emerge from, and return to. Wolfgang Pauli, and Carl Jung, both agreed that life was not just a series of events, but instead was based around a mysterious order, and structure, that lead to spiritual awakening. Jung also believed that synchronicity aided people to transmute their consciousness to a more wholistic attitude, much like dreams do.

Picture of the concept of synchronicity by CG Jung with English text substituted for original French

In his book Synchronicity (1952), Jung tells the following story as an example of a synchronistic event:

A young woman I was treating had, at a critical moment, a dream in which she was given a golden scarab. While she was telling me this dream, I sat with my back to the closed window. Suddenly I heard a noise behind me, like a gentle tapping. I turned round and saw a flying insect knocking against the window-pane from the outside. I opened the window and caught the creature in the air as it flew in. It was the nearest analogy to a golden scarab one finds in our latitudes, a scarabaeid beetle, the common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), which, contrary to its usual habits had evidently felt the urge to get into a dark room at this particular moment. I must admit that nothing like it ever happened to me before or since.

Cetonia aurata 
To conclude: in the last couple years, I have met, or spoke with, three musicians that I used to know over a decade ago, and have recorded music with them again, or exchanged recordings of ideas we had. They contacted me, I didn't contact them, which agrees with Jung's synchronicity theory. The result of these meetings was that I was inspired with an over flowing energy to play music again like I used to, maybe more so now than ever. The difference now is I have more confidence to enjoy playing music by myself. In the past, I depended on others to motivate me every day, but now it seems effortless, and I don't depend on anyone anymore. This re-defining of self feels qualitatively like a noetic spiritual awakening, and I am returning back to the Unus Mundus from which I came. Within the last few months, my life has changed radically from where I was, to where I am now, and I can't imagine going back to my old habits, and old life now.

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