Meaningful Coincidence

“Synchronicity is the coming together of inner and outer events in a way that cannot be explained by cause and effect and that is meaningful to the observer.” -Carl Jung

Analytical or Jungian psychology emphasizes the primary importance of the individual psyche and personal quest for wholeness.  His theory of synchronicity purports that humans experience the unconscious through symbols found in all aspects of life such as dreams, art, religion, personal drama and experiences.

In the 1920’s, Jung introduced and defined the term synchronicity as “meaningful coincidence”.  It wasn’t until the 1950’s that he published “Synchronicity–An Acasual Connecting Principle” which explained a collective unconscious and archetypes common for all human beings. Anthony Storr, a renowned English psychiatrist and author, debunked Jung’s work as a bout of mental illness in which Jung believed he was a prophet with “special insight”. Jung referred to this time in his life as when he realized that everything in the Universe is intimately connected. Skeptics counter Jung’s outlook as the result of apophenia, the ability of the human mind to find meaning and significance where there is none.

Spiritualism, the religion founded on the premise that those in spirit had the ability and desire to communicate with the living, peaked in the 1840’s through the 1920’s.  Jung’s grandfather, Samuel Preiswerk, believed himself to be continually surrounded by ghosts and would devote one day every week to talk with the spirit of his deceased first wife. Jung’s grandmother, Preiswerk’s second wife, was believed to be clairvoyant.  And the couple’s daughter, Jung’s mother, kept a diary of ‘strange occurrences’ because they happened on such a regular basis. Jung’s own paranormal experiences began around the age of seven or eight. Throughout his career Jung subtly intertwined his personal and from the sound of it, genetic, influences on his work as a pioneer in field of psychology.

Jung noted that synchronicity often happens during times of emotional intensity and upheaval. Births, deaths, falling in and out of love, rescues from danger, at personal life turning points and even travel, all seem to increase the probability of synchronous events.  During these highly emotional times, we’re drawn into a larger existence.  Routines are disrupted and our senses are wide open leading to more awareness. When we are falling in love, it’s easy to be more aware of synchronicity because we want so much to recognize a sign from Divine that this is as wonderful and perfect as it feels.  At significant turning points in our lives where the old and new converge, we are again open in a way unprecedented in the routines of daily life.  Graduations, losing a job, buying a house, or when a child moves out are all times in our lives that can stir more openness and awareness through increased emotional sensitivity. Experiencing  the new surroundings, foods, smells, and sensory overload of travel can influence our propensity to be looking for clues but also acutely tunes our senses.

Synchronicities occur as a single event, a string of events, or a cluster of events. A single synchronicity is simple and direct.  It has a beginning, a middle and an end. It stands out from everyday life.  An example is when you think of a friend you haven’t seen for years and run into him later that day.  In addition to chance encounters, telephone calls, unexpected emails or letters, and lucky numbers all fall in this category. Strings of synchronicities happen one after the other. The friend you bumped into on the street is someone you had a crush on in high school. Later that day you hear a song that puts you right back into that time frame of your life. A couple of days later you read an article and notice the author has the same name as your friend. Clusters of synchronicities are a string that involves linked events which are more complex. So, you see the friend, old memories, yada, yada. But, the old friend was only in town for a few days after being away for years. He asked you to go meet some friends for dinner. Your plans had just been cancelled right before you ran into him so you agreed to go.  His friends at dinner are having a heated discussion about a political situation involving global upheaval that mirrors the argument you had with your spouse the night before.  You leave vindicated with your opinion. Driving home, you see a billboard advertising the opposing political view and it suddenly clicks why your spouse and this other person feel so adamant about the situation. It allows you to release the anger and be more open-minded plus you gain a deeper understanding of your own position.  Goal–Jung!

I truly do believe everything happens for a reason and the Universe is always trying to light our way by showing us we’re on the right path. Being open, responsive and attentive to the world around us and within, welcomes synchronicity.  Those in Spirit use signs as synchronous events to get our attention. The other day I was waiting in line at the checkout and glanced over at the ridiculous wall of lottery tickets.  I rarely buy tickets but felt prompted to ask my mother which one I should buy. Clearly I heard “22”. I looked again and saw a bag of horehound candy that someone had left right by the tickets.  I used to send my mother a bag of those when I lived in different places around the country.  Long story short, the ticket won $30.00!

During production of The Wizard of Oz, a coat bought from a second-hand store for the costume of Professor Marvel turned out to belong to L. Frank Baum, author of the children’s book on which the film is based. He died in 1919 and the movie was produced in 1939. Baum’s widow and tailor verified it was his coat. How cool is that?!

Pay attention and be amazed at what can manifest! “Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see.” -Carl Jung

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