Monday, February 12, 2007

Einstein Plugged In: The Theory of “Real-activity”

Effort equals Motion times Coincidence Squared (E=MC2 ). All I did was take Al Einstein’s relativity formulation and apply some alternating current (AC) – plugging it in, so to speak, and transforming “relativity” into “realactivity.” That’s what happens when one acts as an agent of synchronicity and consciously recognizes that there is a reason behind the coincidental occurrence of events that seem related but are not explained by conventional mechanisms of causality. Carl Jung posited this notion at the end of the 19th century. It didn’t really come into vogue until about 20 years ago and got a big boost from the series of books that have been generated by James Redfield’s The Celestine Prophecy.

As Redfield explains on the book flaps of his most recent installment in this series entitled The Celestine Vision, “Increasingly more of us, it seems, are becoming aware of the meaningful coincidences that occur
every day. Some of these events are large and provocative. Others are small, almost imperceptible. But all of them give us evidence that we are not alone, that some mysterious spiritual process is influencing our lives. Once we experience the sense of inspiration and aliveness that these perceptions evoke, it is almost impossible not to pay attention. We begin to watch for these events, to expect them, and to actively seek a higher philosophical understanding of their appearance. . . . Both of my novels are what I call adventure parables. They were my way of illustrating what I believe is a new spiritual awareness sweeping humanity.”

It has been my experience that volunteerism is one of the most fertile grounds for activating synchronicity. What’s really interesting, though, is that a quick check in any dictionary reveals the following tidbit: voluntarism, (an alternate spelling) also just happens to be the name of a theory that conceives free will to be the dominant factor in experience or in the world.


This means that if you get off your butt and donate your time to lend a helping hand to any of a myriad of worthwhile causes (motion), and then pay close attention to the many coincidences that abound in a typical day, most of which usually go unnoticed, you can consciously set into motion any number of meaningful synchronicities that could have far-reaching, highly beneficial consequences. Once they get used to doing this, most people get excited about looking for synchronicities and soon find that the more coincidences they set into motion, the less effort is required.

A bonus consequence is that synchronicities act as boomerangs – you know, “what goes around, comes around.”

I clearly remember the first time I realized that I had consciously helped to activate a set of synchronicities that resulted in a happy marriage, fulfilling employment for a near-destitute person, and a new circle of great friends. And the only thing I’d done was give a friend’s business card to a homeless man.

It was like knocking over the first domino.

Kodak was his street name. His street compadres called him this because his drawings were almost like photographs – a homeless Norman Rockwell. We met at a local soup kitchen one of the times when I had volunteered to sling hash. What intrigued me about him was that he was sketching something on a napkin at a table in the corner by the kitchen door.
When I finally found a few moments to find my way over to him and introduce myself, I caught a glimpse of his drawing. Much to my surprise, his subject looked familiar – as it should have, because it was yours truly! I asked him why he had chosen to put my ugly mug on paper, and his answer was that I was the only one behind the counter who was smiling. I also presented a challenge since I was constantly in motion – most likely attributable, I told him, to the animated gestures that accompany my jokes. At this point, while consciously looking for a reason for our “chance” meeting, I casually put my hand into my pocket and felt the card that would answer my question – it was the business card of one of my friends who had been looking for a local artist to paint a mural on his back garden wall. Kodak accepted it without much ado, so I really never expected anything to come of it.

The surprise voicemail message came several months later. It was my friend Paul: “Hey, Bob. Paul here. Just wanted to thank you for sending that terrific artist my way! I’d like you to come to a little get-together I’m having this Sunday afternoon to welcome Spring by sharing the beautiful mural your friend just completed – you know, the one I’d been trying to get painted for a couple of years? Come around 3. No RSVP necessary. You will be there! Don’t make me come get you! Take care.”

Both weather and mural were exquisite. Kodak was there that Sunday, too, which really surprised me, since he usually shies away from gatherings of any size. That’s when I saw him smile – beam, actually – for the first time. He walked away that day with no fewer than five new projects. As he stopped to stay hello on his way out of the garden, he discreetly handed me a small envelope, put an index finger to his lips and quietly told me to wait until I got home to open it. Now that was more like the Kodak I had come to know the past several months during which, by the way, he had acquired a nice little apartment with a loft that he turned into a studio.

What awaited me in that envelope was the finished sketch of me he had started that day in the soup kitchen. I am now the proud owner of an original Kodak, a limited edition of one, that hangs in my foyer. Attached to the bottom of his picture is a makeshift holder for the business cards I made for him that are free for the taking by any of my visitors who might be interested in commissioning his talent.

I’ve already refilled it three times.

By the way, it just so happens that one of those visitors was my friend, Annabelle, who admired the sketch when she first saw it, but declined to take one of Kodak’s cards. Annabelle and I get along so well because we share what some of our friends term a “raucous sense of humor bordering on mischief.” I have heard some people attribute her jocundity to her ample girth, a problem that has plagued her most of her life. We are also both writers. The purpose of her visit that day was to recruit me as her aid in interviewing local homeless people for a compilation of stories she wanted to write on how it was that people ended up in such circumstances. I agreed to help get her started with her first one or two interviews. While she ducked into my bathroom to powder her nose just before she left, one of Kodak’s cards “accidentally on purpose” found its way into the outer pocket of her purse.

That’s how she met the love of her life.

No, not Kodak. Jimmy, my friend, the personal fitness trainer.

It turns out that while Annabelle was performing her annual “purse purge,” Kodak’s card fell out right on top of everything else that she had dumped out. She finally recognized Kodak as the artist of my sketch and recalled my having told her that he was homeless when I had first met him. She still needed some more material for her little compendium, so she decided to give him a call and he agreed to let her interview him. Jimmy was just leaving Kodak’s pad when she showed up for her appointment a week later. Jimmy has an eye for fitness potential, especially when it can translate into another success story, and that’s how Annabelle got his card as they briefly exchanged introductions in passing that day. She literally ran into him as she tore around the corner of Kodak’s row house, late for her appointment, as always. I think that’s why Jimmy tells people that he knew she was a real “knockout” from the moment they met.

The rest is history.

Annabelle gained a great story and lost 150 pounds in the ensuing months, with Jimmy’s help. She’s now a gorgeous bride-to-be, and with Jimmy has invited me to their wedding this afternoon. Oh yeah – Kodak will also be there to present them with their wedding portrait.

So I’d better get a move on.

After all, it wouldn’t look good if the best man were to show up late.

© 2003 Robert R. Cole