Briefly, as explained by his character in the book, it expresses the coming together of various elements, energies and ideas (as in the confluence of rivers) which subsequently influence our thinking and motivations.
The word is apt in my own experience and I can easily apply it (at least spiritually) to my own personal belief system, ground out through the years from Christian dogma (both Catholic and Protestant), Buddhist study, new-age awareness (the law of attraction), Vision Quests, Quantum Theory, Yoga and Ayurveda.
Have you ever felt the rush of emotion that comes when you visit an historic site for the first time and you feel all goose pimply with awareness? That this is not a new experience, but . . . memory? That you are filled with the sense of history there, the feel of another time, another life, another self? To me this is only one indication that we’ve lived more than this life and that we’ve actually been to this place before. Or, that we have a spiritual connection to the people who once inhabited such a place -- before. I really doubt there are very many of us who haven’t experienced that feeling at one time or another. Those who deny it have probably experienced it but simply ignored it because they are not open to an “irrational” experience.
Since it’s happened to me many times, I tend to believe that feeling of awareness has meaning. I’m not sure this “awareness” is the same as faith; faith is an amorphous term. Faith in what? In an all-knowing, Christian God, faith in oneself, faith in the inherent goodness of humanity, faith that we are here for a purpose? Or faith that we are all connected and on a space-time continuum that allows us to experience past present and future all at once—and because of our "awareness," are much more than a glob of particles that swirled around our universe eons after the big bang in a way scientists are still trying to comprehend.
My faith is pretty simple: that we are eternal beings and that we are all part of the same ONE which is God, thus becoming God or god-like in our own manifestations. We are like (individual) drops in the sea of a vast unknown cosmos made up of multiple universes and multiple selves. Alternate selves populate alternate universes. And we are now living multiple existences with multiple ideas and multiple outcomes resulting from multiple decisions.
Which brings me back to this idea of the “confluential.”
Our lives are filled with the unknown and the unknown can be difficult and frightening. Being thrown about at life’s confluence of all these choices makes us uncertain about the direction the turbulence will carry us. But this is our opportunity – exposure to new places and new ideas makes us stronger and gradually begins to reach inside and expand our awareness. We begin to wonder if those eerie moments of recognition or familiarity-- are real. We grow; we learn; we expand. That is where I am in this moment of my infinity. I’ve always been here, but was not always “aware” of being here. And I will continue to be here, hanging on to whatever will keep me from going down the drain of arrogance and certitude, watching the tide recede after a tsunami. Yes, it’s scary; it’s an adventure to be sure, but it’s an adventure for the adventurous that I’m not eager to let go of. I call it life.
This blog originally appeared @ http://www.gfsmithbooks.com/ and has been slightly revised since then. sm