Occasionally, we put up blog posts that have previously appeared. This is one of them, and it was old enough that at first I didn’t remember it. It’s a good one and worth bringing back for an encore. Here it is.
+ + +
Since we often write about our books here, we like to plug other people’s books from time to time. This one, Synchronicity, Science & Soul-Making, by Victor Mansfield, has been around awhile, published in 1995. In fact, when we wrote our first synchro book, The 7 Secrets of Synchronicity, Mansfield’s tome on meaningful coincidence was one of our reference sources. The writing is somewhat academic in tone, as might be expected from a physics professor, but the pages are filled with an abundance of interesting stories.
Here’s one from a young woman who was preoccupied with a question that repeated itself over and over again in her head: Who am I? “I have carried it for years through studies in psychology and philosophy and it has been the foundation for many hours of meditation.”
Her story began with a friend telling her that the Havdensvanee (or Iroquois) name for Seneca Lake was Ganadasege ti karneo dei. He told her the spirits of the lake love to hear the old name as no one says it much any more. And they respond, he added.
“I am a person who believes in the living nature of our surroundings and so, without much hesitation, decided it was a friendly gesture to go to the lake and chant the name. I frequent a particular beach, so I grabbed my coat, hat, and my mother, who was visiting me, and headed to the beach one cold blustery October morning.”
She and her mother walked along the shore, both chanting the ancient name for the lake. At one point, she felt warmth. She continued on and it was cold again. She backed and found the place of warmth. For some reason, she thought, she was being called to this particular place on the lake’s edge. She looked down and scanned the small rocks until her gaze fell on a peculiar stone. It was smooth and black and had several hollows in the surface that seemed to form eyes, two nostril holes, and a gaping mouth.
She stopped chanting and picked up the stone. She felt it was important for her to take the stone home. She kept it by her bed and at night before turning off the light she would pick it up and ask: What song am I to hear? The stone offered no response.
One day her brother-in-law came to her house and picked up the stone. He blew into one of the holes. Suddenly, a sharp whistling emanated from the stone. He kept blowing until he discovered eight distinct tones. They named it the ‘Singing Stone.’
She continued asking the stone what song she would hear, and one night she got an answer. She came home late one night from a philosophy class, stood outside and gazed at the stars awhile. When she went inside, she had an impression that she should look at her bookshelves. She was drawn to two books, one of Native American stories, the other by Ramana Maharshi, a Hindu sage.
Opening it, she was stunned to see: The Story of the Singing Stone. Her spine tingling, as she read about the story of a girl’s long search for the Singing Stone, a stone that would be magical for the one who found it. She searched in the four directions, but was unable to find the stone. One day, she stood on a bluff and looked down to see her family below, their arms open, beckoning her. “Welcome home Singing Stone!”
The book went on to interpret the tale as addressing the question: ‘Who am I?’ The young seeker was the Singing Stone.
The woman picked up the second book, and opened it to a chapter entitled, ‘Who am I?’ She realized the stone had answered her through the story. She was the Singing Stone. This was her song.
As if that story within a story was not strange enough, I should add that I’m in the midst of writing a meditation book, based on the meditation classes I teach, and recently I was working on a new meditation. It’s called: ‘Who am I?’
Postscript: 2008 was a significant year in Victor Mansfield’s life. His last book, Tibetan Buddhism and Modern Physics: Toward a Union of Love and Knowledge, was published and included an introduction written by His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Victor gave a copy of the book to him during a visit to Colgate University, where he taught for 35 years as a professor of physics and astronomy. Also in April, he was the co-recipient of the Sidney J. and Florence Felten French Prize for inspirational teaching. He died of lymphoma June 3, 2008.
That meditation book mentioned that I was writing at the time is called Jewel in the Lotus: Meditation for Busy Minds. It was published in 2015 and includes a meditation called “Who Am I?”