Synchronicity: Opening to the possibility of Magic
At a time in my early 20s, I’d anxiously been going around for several days, obsessing over the question on what to do with my life. I wasn’t happy with my job and found myself deeply frustrated with life in general. One day, I went out to lunch with a friend. Finally, I was able to wrap my mind around other things than the explosive question mark I felt was getting ready to blow up my head at any time.
We sat at an outdoor café, enjoying our conversation under the sun. For the first time in what seemed like ages, I felt happy and relaxed. Maybe that’s why I decided to stay put there a little while, after we said our good byes. That’s when the magic happened. Out of nowhere - literally out of the blue - a pen fell onto the table in front of me. I instantly knew it was the answer to my question - and the answer was clear: Write.
It was breathtakingly unbelievable. I tried to think of logical explanations, but I was the only one sitting there. Above me was nothing but a clear, blue sky. Still, it just seemed so dreamlike, that I figured I had somehow imagined the whole thing. I did what we in the western parts of the world are conditioned to do - I let the rational part of my mind take over. In doing that I dismissed the whole experience as if it had never happened. And just like that, a moment of true magic was wiped away in favour of confined, ordinary reality.
Though not conscious of it yet, the experience had changed something profound inside of me. Perhaps it was the first spark that ignited me. The spark that would lead me on an eager path to find out what it was really was about. Similar kinds of coincidences became increasingly frequent in my life in the years after the event, up to the point where I could no longer overlook it.
Thanks to the internet, I found out what I had experienced was a worldwide reported phenomenon, which had been experienced by thousands of others out there. I found out that Carl Gustav Jung, as early as in 1952, had published a whole book on the matter – the concept which he called synchronicity. I was amazed to have found it and fascinated to read it. Jung describes synchronicity as the case of two or more, seemingly random events, that together form a highly meaningful coincidence. These kinds of coincidences can’t be explained through causality, in the regular way that event A leads to event B. Events that together form synchronicity happen in a non-linear way – and is not explainable through probability.
In the experience of synchronicity, it’s as if the universe melts together the mechanistic world (the one we usually think of as reality) and a dimension beyond space and time. For a moment, one is shown how interconnected everything is; The causal and the acausal, the mind and the external world. Jung called it ‘an act of creation in time’. In that moment, your perception feels so exceptionally tuned, that you can actually see through your very own eyes, the creative process of your mind and the universe, as it unfolds in front of you.
I’ve learned that synchronicity takes on various forms, but the feeling it fills me up with is always more or less the same. The closest word I can find to describe it, is magical. It feels like true magic. Apparently, Einstein once said, that the most important that we must ask ourselves is, ‘is the universe a friendly place?’ Through synchronicity, I’ve found the universe to be friendly beyond the imaginable. Having gotten to know its loving and joker-like nature through synchronicity, the universe has become my hero.
The universe has shown me how interconnected everything is, and how powerful thoughts and emotions can be. Through the glimpses it has offered me, into the realm beyond, it has proven just how magical reality can be if one pays attention. In the characteristic moment of synchronicity, I see clearly how it – instead of being a moment where I am passive, judgmental and consumed by thought – is a moment in which I am present, open and aware of my surroundings. This can happen, whether conscious of the raised awareness leading to the moment, or not. In that sense, experiencing synchronicity can in some cases be described as a feeling of being thrown into an experience of mindfulness!
Based on that, it appears that there may be a direct link between synchronicity and mindfulness. A lot of people that practice mindfulness on a regular basis, attest to experiencing an increase of synchronistic events in their lives. This explains why perhaps the most common advice, to those that wish to experience more of these wonderful coincidences, is meditation.
In Buddhism, meditation is used as a tool to explore the true nature of mind. Perhaps this can be seen in context to what Jung pointed out that synchronicity shows us: There is a meaningful connection between our inner thoughts and emotions and the external world. Worth mentioning here, is that Jung is considered a pioneer with regards to bringing eastern methods into western psychotherapy. Jung may well be who we first and foremost have to thank for the fact that mindfulness and meditation has such significance in our psychology, and even popular culture, today.
He explained that he himself, after experiencing the limitations of western psychology when it came to understanding human motivation for growth and spiritual seeking, turned to eastern psychology for answers.
Often synchronicity appears like a crossing of dream and reality. You are fully awake, but what appears in front of you can seem dreamlike, like material from the subconscious made conscious. It can feel like a universal experience with a message specifically tailored to you. Due to its subjective nature, the meaning is often revealed through symbols specifically meaningful to the person it concerns. Therefore, people who’ve not experienced synchronicity themselves, may have a hard grasping how deeply meaningful it feels for one who has.
I’ve read a lot of people describe how synchronicity can guide you towards your life purpose. I certainly feel that way too. Repeatedly, the universe has let me know I should write. I could probably write an entire book about these experiences, but they are way too personal and intricate, to be explained here and now. I’ve written my whole life, but I’ve always feared putting it out there. It wasn’t until recently I finally got the guts to fully listen and believe. Since then, wonderful things have happened, and signs keep showing up everywhere letting me know I’m on the right track.
A little while ago, I entered a writing contest with the topic ‘turning point’. A few weeks later, the text of another contestant was published. Reading it almost made me feel like the universe was playing a prank on me. The story felt identical to mine. Though different words were used - the idea, the execution and the resolution - they were all astonishingly similar to my piece. At first I reacted with frustration, even envy. ‘How can this be?! My text that is similar, but of so much higher quality should have won’, I thought to myself. When I became conscious of the thought, I examined it and read the text again. I decided it was well written, and I could even feel happiness on the behalf of the other contestant. A few days later, an email came in. ‘What a beautiful text! We definitely want you as a finalist in this contest’. As it turned out, I had misunderstood. The published text didn’t come with the declaration of a winner, but of a finalist. I can’t help but wonder if this would be the case, had I not changed my reaction and accepted the situation. There is often a lot to learn from synchronicity.
When I decided to write this article, I went to the library to pick up a book I had been waiting for. With an urge to write, I put the book in my bag and sat down at one of the computers. I wrote three pages straight, in a state a flow, really enjoying myself. For some reason, just as I was about to leave, I decided to pick up the book and open it at a random page. I didn’t know much about the book, except that it addressed creativity and overcoming blocks. What met me, was a literal case of synchronicity – in big letters. In fact, an introduction page to a whole chapter dedicated to the topic. I feel like happenings like these are signs from the universe, telling me I’m going in the right direction.
For those who’re looking for tips on how to invite synchronicity into one’s life, I’ve got one very simple piece of advice. Open up to the possibility. You can do it just by reminding yourself of the possibility daily, or by reading books or articles on the subject. And of course, any kind of mindful activity is always helpful. Like Jung stated:
‘Synchronicity is an ever-present reality for those who have eyes to see’.
Theresa Stenersen is a freelance writer from Norway. She can be contacted via
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