Founder: Master Charles
Date of Birth: March 14,1945
Birth Place: Syracuse, New York
Year Founded: 1983
Size of group: Because the clientele is dispersed, exact figures are difficult to obtain. Members of the Recognitions Program, currently estimated at two thousand (according to sources at the Synchronicity Foundation), live all over the world, and members of the Synchronicity Community live in residence at the Synchronicity Sanctuary (note that the members of the Synchronicity Community participate in a separate meditation program than the Recognitions Program).
After twelve years of study in India under the meditation master Paramahansa Muktananda, Master Charles returned to the United States to fulfill his master's request- to spread traditional Eastern teachings to the West (Charles 239). Upon return, he "Westernized" his name to Brother Charles (Charles was his given name, and Brother because he viewed himself as a monk and an equal to all others). He settled in the remote Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia, close to Charlottesville. There he intended to enjoy his state of awareness and share his experiences and knowledge with those who were interested. Slow and steady in forming, the group began with only a few people, and grew to a now community that stands close to the original dwelling. Renamed Master Charles, his small group of followers found the title more appropriate, since they viewed him as a teacher and master of meditation, rather than a fellow student (Charles 239).
The unique nature of Synchronicity Contemporary Meditation varies greatly from its Eastern roots, as Master Charles found the necessity to contemporize the practices he mastered over a period of twelve years through a process of total commitment. He legitimizes the application of contemporary methods to traditional meditative practice as he states that truth is eternal, but the method used to discover this truth is ever changing (Charles 241).
This trend holds true in the transfer of many Eastern traditions to the Western World, as methods are adapted to increase compatibility Western society (for easier understanding and acceptance). Hence the introduction of neurotechnology to produce a more efficient road to reaching the state of awareness. Through the incorporation a specific brain entrancement technology, created by Master Charles, the Synchronicity Foundation claims it can help one achieve relaxation and awareness in a fraction of the time that traditional monks and masters spend meditating. In a hectic, contemporary world, this High-Tech Meditation brings new opportunities to the average American. Now, one can benefit from the physical and mental benefits of meditation and awareness.
Sacred or Revered Texts: Synchronicity Contemporary Meditation follows no sacred texts, but Master Charles does offer several important tools to help guide one through their study and practice. Three meditation soundtracks that include alpha, theta, and delta ranges are available through the mail. These tapes include commentary by Master Charles along with relaxing soundtracks for daily meditation. Beginning with the alpha range tapes, each set of soundtracks provides a deeper level of meditation. The Recognitions Program, which utilizes the delta range tapes, is the deepest level of experience and is available "only through a correspondence course formats of home application" (Larsen 61). Each level is described as a "complete and unique experience" (Larsen 61).
Through this neurotechnology, with the dedication of just one hour a day, one can achieve the same results in a fraction of the time that monks with total dedication achieve. Through this Accelerated Contemporary Meditation Program, a practitioner may reach novice level in a matter of months, compared to about five years utilizing traditional methods of meditation. Moderate experience is attainable within three to five years of contemporary meditation, instead of the traditional ten to twenty.
Finally, an experienced level achievable in five to seven years rather than twenty to forty (These levels of experience are measured in the brain wave frequencies). Rather than escape to a cave, isolation and focus is achieved through the use of headphones and sound technology. This allows the busy Westerner to continue their present lifestyles, while still enjoying the healthy benefits of meditation.
Master Charles also offers to the general public his autobiography, which traces his steps to and through his study with Muktananda in India, and well as his reasons for returning to the United States and starting the Synchronicity Foundation. Enlightening Times is a quarterly newsletter which includes the happenings within the Synchronicity community as well as within the broader world of meditation exploration and advancement. Note, however, that Enlightening Times is not a direct publication of the Synchronicity Foundation. Finally, for those who wish to experience Master Charles in person, he offers retreats at the Virginia headquarters, and Synchronicity Centers in New Zealand, Germany, and Australia.
The Source, the achieved state of total awareness, is indescribable and can only be understood by those who achieve it. This state includes a blissful freedom (Charles 247)and a complete understanding and acceptance of the diversity in the world, and this thought process exceeds all polarities of opposites (Charles 242). Awareness entails ego transcendence and an understanding of the ultimate reality of life (Charles 238). The illusion that someone or something could have power over a person (which causes suffering) is replaced with the reality that everything is one Source, which leads to peace and happiness. God, by whatever name, is seen as the manifestation of one Source "that is everything" (Charles 247). Life is described as a Creation Game to be enjoyed and used as time to explore one's role as a human, and meditation, or subjective focus, is the means for this end (Charles 245). Death, adversely, is seen as only another dimension of awareness (Charles 238). Symbols that Master Charles describes in his life story include Divine Mother (a female vision Master Charles encounters from a very early age) and Muktananda (his teacher) , which are both the manifestations of Source, God, deity, and truth. These manifestations guide him in his path to awareness (Charles 238). These beliefs, as outlined by Master Charles, provide a basis for Synchronicity Contemporary Meditation.
Remarks: Master Charles finds a personal understanding and dedication far more important than regular worship in a designated temple. For this reason, he does not specify any particular place to meditate. He maintains the best place to worship is in one's heart, the center of being(Charles 246). Master Charles does, however, offer retreats as an option to those interested. Along the neurobiological lines of the program, the bliss of freedom or Enlightenment (as referred to in ancient terms) is attributed to the release of endorphins, a natural high from self-produced opiates (Charles 242). It is claimed, therefore, that the practices incorporated with Synchronicity Contemporary Meditation have proven physical advantages, as meditation has calming, relieving, and, at the highest level, naturally aesthetic benefits. One additional fact of interest is that Synchronicity Contemporary Meditation falls under a NRM (New Religious Movement) category called New Age. This particular category has flourished in recent years.
Ali, Antero. 1997. "Meditation from the Vertical Oracle." The Enlightening Times Fall:17.
Charles, Master. 1997. The Bliss Freedom, a contemporary mystic's enlightening journey. CA: Acacia Publishing Cooperation.
Justice, Sallie. 1997. "Body, Mind, Soul." The Enlightening Times. Fall:4.
Larsen, Cynthia and Paul Shannon. 1993. The Synchronicity Guidebook, High-tech Meditation. VA: Amethyst Publishing.
Powers, Tashi Grady. 1997. "The Bliss of Freedom, an autobiography of an enlightening journey." The Enlightening Times. Fall: 5.
Powers, Tashi Grady. 1997. "From the Editor." The Enlightening Times. Fall: 3,20.
Powers, Tashi Grady. 1997. "Interview with Synchronicity Founder, Master Charles." The Enlightening Times. Fall: 12-13.
Scherr, Alan. 1997. "Eclipsed." The Enlightening Times. Fall:10-11.
Stark, Rodney and William Bainbridge. 1979. "Of Churches, Sects, and Cults. Preliminary Concepts for a Theory of Religious Movements." Journal For Scientific Study of Religion. 18(2):117-133.
Synchronicity Foundation, Inc. 1997. The Art and Science of Conscious Living. Va:Synchronicity Foundation, Inc.
Charles, Master. 1987. Synchronicity. Synchronicity Foundation, Inc., Stereo chrome.
Created by Jackie Fowler
Soc 257: New Religious Movements
Fall Term, 1997
University of Virginia