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Earl’s Court, London, UK
Introduction: This presentation will recount some of my anomalous experiences of synchronicity and psychokinesis (Dunningham, 2013). As the theme of this conference is connections, I will present this material through a series of connections and parallel frustrations that highlight my personal journey from occult (hidden) agnosticism, dominated by paranoia, to apocalyptic (unveiled) epiphany, characterized by signs and synchronicities. Connected with this, I will conclude with a discussion of how spirituality could progress from a situation of individual occultism and isolated meaningful coincidences towards an awareness of global synchronicity within a connected, enchanted world.
Connected frustrations that I wish to raise:
i. I started experiencing feelings of paranoia when working in the oil industry in Cairo in 2005. I particularly noticed correspondences between what I wrote in private emails and mentioned in telephone calls and what unconnected people would say when they later engaged me in conversation.
ii. As time progressed, I started noticing more coincidences but, due to my non-spiritual, materialist background I had no logical way of accounting for these events other than by arriving at the conclusion that I was at the focus of a human conspiracy.
iii. During episodes of emotion, I experienced instances of apparent psychokinesis.
iv. I became aware of a spiritual presence which continues to manifest itself through muscular ‘pulses’ (fasciculations) at times of meaning (for instance if I hear a nearby sound or I am reading a significant sentence in a book).
v. In the UK, members of the psychiatric community determined that I should begin taking anti-psychotic medication, which I refused as all the ‘meaningful’ coincidences were taking place in the ‘external world’, as I saw it. I did not believe that taking medication would alter my view of what I was witnessing.
vi. Through my own reading, I eventually became aware of Carl Jung and Synchronicity (e.g., Jung, 1960), but I was not introduced to this material through the orthodox medical community.
My frustrations are manifold, and they are the reason I believe it is now time to move away from the concept of the occult (hidden) and instead precipitate the apocalypse (unveiling)! I personally would have preferred not to have been left to ‘flail around’ for fifteen years to come to terms with changes in my personal worldview. People often say to me – “ah, but you’re on a spiritual journey!” That may be so, but there is no reason why that journey should have to be so convoluted and taxing.
i. Western psychiatrists should have the ability to practise psychotherapy and stop automatically prescribing psychotic medication (e.g., Davies, 2013). If one person I had spoken to in those early days had said – “have you heard of Synchronicity” – it would have helped me to understand what I was experiencing. No-one did this.
ii. Spiritualists should dump the concept of the ‘occult’. The fact it is ‘hidden’ means that people on spiritual journeys are constantly repeating the same mistakes, with little support or interaction while they do so. Moving away from the occult means being clearer and more open regarding what we talk about when we discuss spiritual science. Personally, I am aware that I am connected to a larger spiritual presence, which has intelligence. Calling this presence ‘God’ might be loaded with history, but at least people from all backgrounds understand the meaning of the term in the general sense.
iii. Instigate a global synchronicity ‘big science’ project where people can express their personal numinous connections with events of global significance to help reenchant the world. Many of us will have seen synchronicity in our personal lives (e.g., Schwartz, 2017), but I believe it might be fruitful to expand the breadth of our synchronistic awareness. I regularly feel a numinous connection between my life and global news events, which can at times be particularly strong and impactful. I am sure that I am not the only one to experience this and we could probably expand the concept to include ‘significant’ events that have historically been called ‘signs’ in the traditional religions. If several people begin to feel a strong connection with these events or signs, we should be able to raise general awareness of the numinosity of these occurrences on a global level. It would be a case of bringing enchantment back into a world in which ultimately all events can be viewed as being orchestrated by God. Note that this proposition is like the concept of an evidence-based faith, as put forward by other workers in this field (e.g., Schwartz and Simon, 2006).
Davies, J. (2013). Cracked. Why psychiatry is doing more harm than good. London: Icon Books.
Dunningham, J.P. (2013). The Unbound Universe. A voyage into a new reality. Createspace Independent Publishing.
Jung, C. G. (1960, 2015) Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle. Taylor & Francis Limited.
Schwartz, G. E. & Simon W. L. (2006). The G.O.D. Experiments. How science is discovering God in everything, including us. New York: Atria Books.
Schwartz, G. E. (2017). Super Synchronicity. Where science and spirit meet. Param Media.
After studying Natural Sciences at the University of Cambridge and completing a PhD in Geoscience at the University of Edinburgh, Christof began working in the oil industry where he began to witness anomalous events that he later discovered to be episodes of synchronicity and psychokinesis. It is these personal experiences that encouraged him to think about the wider implications of synchronicity and the possibility of using these episodes to increase global re-enchantment.