The Rabbit and the Turtle: Unconscious Prayer to the Mystery

It seems seems there are some interchangeable words when talking about coincidences. When I go looking for something very deeply (like deep research for several days), synchronicities abound. A secular view might be that intensely focusing consciousness creates a feedback loop which manifests similar ways through different times, like how waves hit the shore almost the same way, just separated by time.

The secular world should acknowledge that the Bible has a very advanced account for the phenomenon of synchronicity. However, the understanding between secular and sacred is garbled around the misuse or misunderstanding of words. What a secular person may describe as consciousness focus, a person like myself uses a broad understanding of the word “prayer.”

I’m reminded of the scripture:

“So I tell you: Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened. (‭Luke‬ ‭11‬:‭9-10‬ NET)

What Jesus talks about here (in context) is how God the Father answers persistent prayer. I beleive persistent prayer and intensely focusing consciousness are one and the same thing…at least for me. There are a host of examples in my life where my consciousness was moving and I could not distinguish the difference between God’s still small voice, my prayers, or the wandering of my own mind (see my entry Snakes on a Plane in Church).

For me, prayer is sometimes synonnymous with daydreaming or idle-mindedness. I say that only because of how often I am shown that God engages me through the messy medium of my mind, not as kneeling at an altar on a holy day as conventional models of religion would have it. To illustrate this, let me explain two amazing synchronicities which occured for my daughter and me. 

The Rabbit

My daughter is still quite young. She absolutely adores any animal. She has an almost spiritual connection with anything from grasshoppers and earthworms to cattle and horses. About three weeks ago, she was getting quite antsy indoors since it had been raining so much. 

“Honey, lets go outside for a hike.”

She wailed in displeasure, “I don’t wanna go outside!” She had a severe case of cabin fever, so I needed to do some coaxing. 

We had seen a family of rabbits in our backyard several times so I lured her outside with the promise of a rabbit hunt. “Let’s go on a rabbit hunt and see if we can find one.” (Really, it was just a way to get her out of the house.)

She perked up, “Okay, Daddy. Let’s look in the backyard for the baby and the mommy one.”

I knew we would not find anything so I set her set expectation low, “We will look hard, but they might be hiding because of all the rain.”

So I played the part of a rabbit hunter with her, checking all over the backyard and property behind us of corse to no avail. By this time, she was distracted from the rabbit hunt by the great outdoors, so we set off on a hike.  

We treked for quite some time to an area I had never been. It was just behind another neighborhood. The path we were on ended at a beautiful stand of trees with low-hanging branches. Under the branches flowed a swift and deep stream, swollen over its grassy banks by the recent weeks of rain. As we neared the tree, I spied a small stone bench. 

“Okay, honey, this is the end of our hike. Lets play here for a little bit then go home.” 

As we threw rocks into the wayer, my daughter looked to the low-hanging branches where the water entered and gasped, “Look, Daddy! We found the rabbit!”

Sure enough, only about eight feet away, a small rabbit had jumped out of the trees to investigate us. We sat frozen for a while looking at the little bunny. My daughter marveled at the rabbit, and I marveled at and answered “prayer.”

The Turtle

A similar thing happened the week after our rabbit hunt. On a drive home from the store, my daughter and i passed over a bridge where a neighbor had found a tutle several weeks prior. Wanting to spark my daughters imagination I said, “They found a turtle here on the road a coule weeks ago. Lets drive slow and see if we can find one.” Of course I was not expecting to find one, and we did not. I just wanted her to feel the excitement. 

“Daddy, when we find the turtle, we can bring him home, and he can stay with us!”

I pulled into the driveway and drop her and the groceries off with mom, then I quickly drove off to get to an afternoon shift at work. As I pulled back over the same bridge, not five minutes later, an enourmous painted turtle huddle in the center of the road. Astonished, I pulled the van over, threw the turtle in, and raced home to show my daughter what God had sent for her amusement. She was awestruck. 

The Magic

These stories can be used to illustrate the different interpretations between unaware Christians, and secular synchronicity seekers. The Secularist may say that me and my dughter’s intentions were so strong that the desire manifested the coincidence. That misses the magic of an interaction with a soverign Consciousness. Because I accept this interaction, the event took on a beautifully poignient meaning for me. I recognized how much God values my daughter’s love of nature. He reinforced it by either sending a rabbit and turtle, or by sending us to them. For me to see someone that big, powerful, and loving take care of my daughter in such a meaningful way made me love Him more. 

The Glory

A Christian might say the rabbit was not an answer to prayer per se because I didn’t pray. That misses the glory of what prayer really is. Prayer is an unedited stream of consciousness between me and the Mystery. Its a messy, tangled-up, and tumbling fluid of my mind and His, so that I am unsure of where I end and where He begins. Either God spoke to a rabbit to travel to our location or He planted the idea of a rabbit hunt in my head, masked it as my own idea, set the timer on all the little decisions I made about where to hike, how fast, where to end, so that we would happen upon the bunny. That level of interpersonal mingling is starling and comforting at once. 

Originally penned Jul 8th, 2015

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What Makes Coincidence Meaningful?

Carl Jung coined synchronicity as a meaningful coincidence. Some may say coincidence has no meaning; that odds will eventually churn out some strange things, but those have no signifficance. So how do we defend the position that some coincidences are meaningful or more significant than others? I will attempt to address why a purely statistical analysis of coincidence is inadequate, and why the experience of meaning is central to coincidence.

The Scenario
Imagine you place a dime on your driveway. Now imagine you take a second dime and hurl it straight into the air. The dime you throw lands near you, bounces several times, and lands dirletly on top of the first dime.

What are the odds that this would happen? What are the odds that the winds and humidity would be just right? What are the odds that each of the millions of muscle myocites in your arm would fire in just the right way to send the coin hurtling through the air in its precise trajectory so that it falls in the precise place, at the exact angle against the rough concrete surface to bounce several fortuitous times, topple over, and rest on its twin?  There are two ways of looking at this.

The Incomplete Statistics
One way to look explain the odds is to say that the odds of the tossed dime landing safely with other in the same precise location is not interesting; it is statistically equal to the dime landing in any other location. In other words, the odds of the first dime landing on the other is just as unlikely as it having landed a millimeter away, a centimeter away, or a meter away. The dimes on top of each other have no special statistical significance.

There is a problem with this view, though it is mathematically sound. This view is entirely objective and discards the experience.

The Experience
Consider the second way of looking at this scenario. The first dime placed on the ground actually is experientially significant because it a focal point for attention. Thought is focused on that one spot because it differs from all the other trillions of locations on the pavement around it. So mind endows the dime with signifficance. Now, when the focal point of the dime on the ground and the focal point of the dime falling from above harmonize, we have a cosmic alignment, a celestial event, an eclipse of staggering signifficance.

The Final Test
So this is the test of where truth resides… Some could argue all day that there is no more significance to this event than any other occurrence happening. But I ask, which person, if this actually happened to them, would not remember this coincidence for the rest of their life?

Conclusion
What makes coincidence meaningful is our God-given perogative to focus our attention. We deem focal points worthy of attention. When disperate focal points align, there is synchronicity.

In the face of synchronicity, statistics take a back seat to the baffling experience of impossible significance occurring.