#BlogElul 5 – Know



The psychologist Carl Jung, when asked whether he believed in G-d, famously responded “I don’t believe, I know.” While Jung later said that he regretted this unadorned answer for the misunderstandings to which it must inevitably lead, I really like it. And not in a woo-woo kind of mystical way, but in a very practical fashion.

So what do I mean by that? I’ve been rereading Julia Cameron’s book The Artist’s Way. I love the way she describes the creative force of the Universe as bringing about opportunities for those who seek them, in the way Jung described as synchronicity.

As a person who has actually studied quantum mechanics and has some idea of what it is about, I’m not about to suggest that synchronicity works through wave functions or peptides or whatever other pseudo-scientific buzzwords people use to try and give this phenomenon some kind of scientific basis. I know Jung himself did, and the great but possibly crazy physicist Wolfgang Pauli walked that road as well. I really don’t think we can currently explain synchronicity through physics.

There is also such a thing as confirmation bias, and even the amazing tricks we play on ourselves known as apophenia – the human capability of finding patterns where none exist, seeing faces in the moon and in shadowy tree trunks.

Regardless, I am going to affirm that I know that this phenomenon exists, even if “only” in our own minds. When we are determined to do something, opportunity will appear. Who knows how this happens? Maybe it would have appeared anyway, by chance, and we only noticed it because we were paying attention. Or maybe our attention brought it into existence. Just because we can’t explain the latter possibility with our current paradigms, doesn’t make it necessarily untrue.

In the context of our preparation for the High Holy Days, the cleansing of our souls and focusing of our minds on making a better life for ourselves in the coming year has got to bring on opportunities for a better life. The trick is paying attention and grasping those opportunities as they come along, and not wasting the abundance that the Universe, or G-d, is offering us during this intense time.

What do you think, did you glaze over or does it make some kind of sense to you? Let me know!

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