What is synchronicity? Carl Jung put forward the idea that many coincidences (seemingly random, but weirdly connected events) are not coincidences at all but rather, ‘synchronicities’. He developed the term from the word, ‘synchronous’, which means two or more things happening together, in harmony. For example: a conductor and his orchestra are working together, hopefully, in synchrony.
Jung held the view that many random, similar, same-time events, which appear to have no shared causal relationship, have synchronistic meaning for the person or persons experiencing them.
Examples of Synchronicity
- A young lady wanted to call her friend but had no credit on her phone. A few seconds after she had the impulse to call him, he rang her.
- A woman put some items for sale on Craigslist because she was moving out of her apartment. One of the people who came to purchase mentioned that she’d been in the apartment before – she’d come to view it when she was looking for somewhere to rent but decided it wasn’t right for her. Another woman and her partner arrived to buy an item, and she said that she’d lived in the apartment some years previously until she felt the urge to move out. The person telling the tale thought it was quite odd that two people with connections to the same apartment showed up ‘randomly’ on the same day. She also realized that if they hadn’t taken those decisions, she wouldn’t be living there now. Along with this realization is the fact that those two strangers (and others) had impacted her life enormously – there was no telling if her life would have taken a completely path if she had lived elsewhere.
- My partner rang me and said he was anxious because his ex had called to say their 17-year-old son had left home after a disagreement and she hadn’t heard from him in days. In his frustration of not being able to do anything to help, my partner asked me to light a candle for his boy. So I did, with a little note underneath, asking the boy to contact someone. Less than 15 minutes later our phone rang again, and it was him, reassuring us that he was fine and staying with a friend. How could the action of me lighting a candle prompt my partner’s son to call? He didn’t call his mom, his sister or grandmother; he called me.
- A girl was considering visiting a country in South America but was hesitant and indecisive. She asked for a sign to confirm if she should go. Five minutes later she met an old friend of hers that she hadn’t seen in a while. The friend was a native of that country.
You might wonder how these things can be called synchronicities if they didn’t happen at exactly the same time? You must remember that the other person is acting upon a thought or impulse at the same time although the result, the action, took place a little later. They are close enough to be called ‘coincidences’, therefore close enough to also be considered synchronicities.
What Do Synchronicities Mean?
The meaning of synchronicities depends on the person observing them. If the person is aware and looking for confirmation of a decision, as in the case of the girl visiting South America, then they are incredibly meaningful. On other occasions, it is the action taken as a response to the initial thought, wish or action, as in the case of my step-son and the girl wanting to speak with her friend.
On the surface, there is no way that a mere thought could make another person, many miles away take action to satisfy the desire of the thinker. But we’ve all experienced them, haven’t we? Usually in the form of thinking of someone, and either meeting them ‘coincidentally’, or they call or email us ‘out of the blue’.
Spiritual people are often aware of synchronicities. It reaffirms to them how they are in tune with the universe. For example, if someone thinks of a butterfly and then sees one, then that merely confirms that they are harmonizing with source energy/their deity of choice.
Those who practice magic (not conjuring) view synchronicities as the evidence that their magic is working. Either by delivering the result they desire, or as a confirmation that the result is on its way to material manifestation.
So What is Happening When Synchronicities Occur?
Jung believed wholeheartedly in the ‘collective unconscious’ – a pool of accumulated human wisdom that everyone has access to. He believed that synchronicities are the result of people tuning into the collective unconscious. He also thought that when an event occurred shortly after someone expressed an interest in such an event, it was to do with their psychic ability, either to predict the event or to cause it to happen.
To take a more scientific view, we turn to quantum physics and the theory that any one particle in the universe can be connected to, and affected by another in an entirely different place. All there needs to be is some connection. As all particles are made of energy, and thought is also a form of energy, it is possible that thought alone is capable of making that connection. That would give credence to Jung’s collective unconscious, except that it isn’t merely a field of human consciousness; it is the energy that permeates everything.
How to be Aware of Synchronicities
Simply be aware. Notice if you say or think something and your words are repeated back to you. I find this happens a lot when the TV is on in the background. My partner will mention a particular soccer player and lo and behold, a reference is made to that player. Sometimes within a minute, sometimes a day later, there will be a feature relating to the player. You might think of a movie and then change channels only to catch the tail-end of that very movie.
Whether they are meaningful to you or not will depend on how important it is. To some it is merely an amusing phenomenon, to others, it is a vital sign.
It is very meaningful for myself and my partner, whom I met on the internet many years ago when there wasn’t anything like social media. It was ‘pure chance’ that we were on the same site within a few minutes of each other. He responded to a post I made within an hour looking for a particular person to fulfill a pretend role for a character I was writing about. We discovered that we lived 30 miles apart and had both just left our previous relationships. We’ve been together since that time in 1999. A few hours, or a day later, and he might not even have seen my post as it would have been relegated down the page. Our children might not even exist if it hadn’t been for that synchronicity.