TRAUMA AND TRANSCENDENCE -- Conjunctions of Meaningfully Parallel Events

For those readers who have experienced synchronicities, "signs," or what I have called "Cosmic Postcards" — the attached document is a deeper way of looking at them.  Perhaps our "signs" are showing us deeper meanings and we haven't known until now how to read them.  The  document (link below) is my attempt at explaining one deep CMPE (Conjunction of Meaningfully Parallel Events ) that happened recently.  I’ve listed references at the end of the document to help you go deeper if you want to understand this better.  In fact, there is a reference to connecting with Robert Perry, the originator of this brilliant theory — so you too could have one of your deep signs read by him.



Anonymous said...

Hi Barbara,

This is a topic that I have spent a lot of time with -- so, my multiple comments. My experience with synchronicities is that they should NOT be interpreted as meaning anything in particular except that there is strong energy around two events coming together -- what this energy means is up to the experiencer to ultimately figure out. In other words, lets say that I had a dream that I met my new lover-to-be under a full moon; then the next week, there was a full moon and as I stood under it,a very attractive man came over to me and asked me out on a date. Does this mean that I should automatically assume that this man will be my new lover?

When people make such assumptions, invariably there can be a problem. I believe that the only assumption that I can make from this synchronicity is that there will be the opportunity for my psycho-spiritual growth and development through this possible relationship -- meaning that I might decide he is the wrong person for me, or maybe even that he is the right one, or he may reject me and thus cause me to lose a bit more of my ego -- but there should not be any cause-effect interpretations built into any synchronicity. I guess what we can all agree on is that a synchronicity is a sign that God exists -- and through such guidance we are given the opportunity to move closer towards reaching our potential.

Dr. Judith Miller

Anonymous said...

Dear Barbara,

You were writing about the kind of complex, multi-faceted topic that is very difficult to express in writing!!! And you did a very good job -- no reflection on you that I didn't understand something!!

So, could you explain the term "trauma transcendence interface.

I am curious about something and wondered if you could clarify it for me: In the first paragraph under the heading “The First Event in the CMPE” you make a reference to “two experiences” that were described in the dissertation you were reading. However, you only quote the description of the second experience. What was the first experience?
Teri Degler

Barbara Harris Whitfield said...

My first experience in the dissertation was my Life Review in my near-death experience which was triggered by fear. My nurse forgot about me and the door was closed.

No one was coming to rotate me back. For some of us who were repeatedly abused or traumatized as children, we have a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder that can be dormant and then triggered during another trauma (See The Truth about Mental Illness, Whitfield C). Trauma is a big trigger for transcendent experiences.

If we look more closely at some "NDEs" including mine, my heart didn't stop -- I was in the middle of a trauma -- in the first NDE it was the trauma of starting to die, in the second it was the trauma of feeling isolated and abandoned -- something I felt many times as a child. There are other classic examples that Kenneth Ring wrote about in his books.

To explain CMPEs a bit more, here is a quote from Bruce Greyson's review (JNDS Vol 28,2, winter 2009) of Robert Perry's book: (reading the book however, it the best explanation.)

What Perry has in mind, however, is more than just simple instances of alignment between an internal experience and an external event. Perry differs from other investigators of synchronicity not only in the rigor with which he defines meaningful coincidences, but more importantly in his empirical criteria for determining when one has occurred. He has labeled his brand of coincidence “conjunctions of meaningfully parallel events,” or CMPEs, which he truncates to “signs.” But this is misleading, because “signs” in common parlance usually signifies single events, whereas the compelling feature of CMPEs is that they are not in fact single events. Single events, no matter how attention-grabbing, can often be dismissed as random occurrences. In contrast, Perry’s “signs” are conjunctions of multiple events so parallel that they push the hypothesis of randomness beyond the breaking point – “a sort of super-synchronicity in which the skeptical explanation becomes extremely strained” (p. 8). Perry starts by pointing out the evidence of seemingly random coincidences in our daily lives, and then proceeds to analyze them through the lens of meaningfulness.

Perry has two independent goals in this book: the first is to encourage the use of CMPEs as a powerful tool for guidance; and the second is to provide evidence regarding the nature of ultimate reality and the existence of God. He sees these two goals as inextricably linked, although he acknowledges that they need not be. In fact, he argues that the CPME “requires no faith assumptions. Rather, it can and should be investigated on its own merits” (p. 187). Perry suggests that even if CMPEs do not provide irrefutable evidence for God, their very appearance makes them “a natural participant in the conversation about” whether God exists (p. 187). But whatever the effect of CMPEs on our view of reality and of God, they remain a practical tool.

Barbara Whitfield

Barbara Harris Whitfield said...
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Robert said...

Barbara, thanks for such a good explanation of the model. I would basically agree with Judith about a lot of synchronicities. With garden variety synchronicities, it's very risky to discern the message, and quite possibly there is none there at all. In this case, though, we are talking about a different phenomenon, a very specific phenomenon to which different rules apply. CMPEs seem designed to "say" something, and what they have to say, in my experience, is surprisingly reliable.

CR said...

As I read through your blog I am drawn to the experience you had when your father died.
You stated:
"When he died in the middle of that night, I was sleeping on my parents’ sofa in the living room. I heard someone breathing in my sleep so I opened my eyes, trying to see in the dark if it was my mother or my brother. I was alone. The breathing went on for six or more breaths and then it stopped. Within five minutes the phone rang and I knew my father had died. I wasn’t with him so he came to me for his last breath."

Would this be considered a synchronicity with a message meant for you?
I had a similar experience where I was given a clear message from God, that my sister was going to die, no medical or other evidence to support it, just my experience the day she became ill, and an overwhelming 'message' from God to me. My experience and her illness were totally unrelated, many would have probably laughed at me if I had shared it with them, but the message was clear. The meaning became clear after. Because I had been 'told' what was going to happen, I was able to begin my grieving process, and prepare myself (as much as one can) for what was to come. She died 6 weeks later from a freak disease, and because of my experience, I was able to be a source of strength for my parents and my younger sister, who were devastated.
I am concerned with the idea that experiences like these would require interpretation from someone other than the person having the experience. I would agree with Dr. Miller’s thoughts that these synchronicities do not require interpretation, but should be used by the person having the experience to make their own meaning. If I have to go to an outsider to help me figure out what my experience means or what message it may be delivering, then I am placing that person in a position of being a mediary between me and the source of the message, which in my case, was God. It says to me that the interpreter has something that I don’t have, and I am not capable of achieving meaning without them, even though they were not a part of my experience. I do not believe anyone has the capacity to accurately interpret the message that is being given in an experience in which they were not involved. It is the choice of the person who has the experience to make meaning of the experience. They need only to be open and willing to hear.

Barbara Harris Whitfield said...


I agree with you on a single event synchronicity. We can and should stick with our gut reaction to what it means.

But the Perry model isn't just for interpretation, it is for gathering information to analyze data to prove that double event synchronicities that have at least 8 or more parallels can be quantified and qualified to prove beyond a statistical doubt that these things do exist.

Other than that simplified explanation I just gave you, I refer you to Perry's book for more info on this new area of study which to me is very exciting.

And by the way, Perry does agree with you, and Dr. J. Miller who wrote about the same thing above. This is only for double event synchronicities to be studied scientifically and shown to exist beyond a statistical doubt.

Barbara Whitfield