The Mind of God


9. The Praying Mantis

On pages 88-89 of chapter 9, "Synchronicity and the Nature of Reality," is a story involving an amazing chain of coincidences with a praying mantis. The mantis was worshipped by African bushmen and symbolically represented for them prayer, watchfulness, and the hunt for meaning in their lives. The following note was sent by a lady after reading the pages listed above:

"During my year of self-discovery in finally allowing myself to touch the center of my sorrow and therefore my soul, in allowing myself to be opened by life's betrayals and no longer closed in fear of further pain! I learned to sit with my pain, to meditate and touch God's healing power within me. I searched for the true meaning of my life, my pain, my joy. During this time a praying mantis found its way into the house. The first time, my daughter discovered it. It freaked her out. She had never seen a praying mantis and had no idea what it was. Her stepfather and I both came to the rescue as she screamed hysterically upon her encounter. We safely put the insect outside. I later encountered the insect again one morning near my reading chair. Again, I put the mantis outside in its rightful habitat. The praying mantis continued to dwell in my garden just outside my front door. I would see him often as I would go to and from and marvel at him. I have since come to find out that the praying mantis has had significant meaning for others."

This E-mail was sent from another reader:

"I was reminded last night as I read through chapters 8, 9, and 10 of your book for the second time about an interesting synchronicity associated with my reading of the book.

One night last week as I read through those chapters for the first time, I was struck by your reference to Laurens Van der Post's tale of the relationship between the bushman and the praying mantis. What tweaked my interest the most was that I had also quoted Van der Post on my web site. From what little I've read of his writing. I very much appreciate the depth of his expression.

Yesterday morning, I went to the store bright and early and the car was low on gas so I pulled up to the pump. Before I'd even opened the car door, I noticed from the window that a praying mantis was perched atop the space of metal just above the pump handle. It threw me. I've held them before and marveled at how fragile they are. But I also noted the memory of your having cited Van der Post and the praying mantis.

What hadn't stuck in my mind from the first reading was the significance that the bushman had given to the praying mantis. When I read that part of your book again last night, I thought this little story might be something you would enjoy. I probably spy a praying mantis once in an incalculable number of years so it was an especially pleasing gift for this one to appear when and where it did. The smell of gasoline was strong and that fragile insect appeared so out of place. I watched as it slithered by so as not to disturb it and it turned its head as I passed by, seeming to follow my intentions. For some reason, I couldn't get the electronic keyboard of the pump to work so I got back into the car and drove away without any gas.

The thought of that praying mantis stayed with me from time to time until I finally stopped at a different station a few hours later and filled the tank. It wasn't until I started reading again last night that I thought of it again.

I love the symbolism. It's beautiful. It's as though we pass through moments without a conscious distinction of time, although that's a state of being very difficult to express, perhaps because it requires time to express it?"