Synchronicity: A Loving Message From the Universe
Guest Writer: Brian Githaiga
Synchronicity is an ever present reality for those who have eyes to see. -Carl Gustav Jung.
"Small world" is an expression that you have certainly used or heard at some point in your life when a random situation occurred. Think a serendipitous meeting with someone you know after you had been thinking of them lately or, more commonly, being introduced to someone you're already friends with by a mutual friend. Most people discard these occurrences as mere coincidences and forget about them altogether. But what if I told that, in fact, there is more than meets the eye here and it all has to do with a phenomenon called "synchronicity"?
In our rationalist, materialist, western culture, we tend to believe that events are rationally explanatory and causal - that is, a cause leads to an effect. It’s just how our minds interpret reality. Maybe it's because we want to know who or what carries the responsibility - or the blame - for something, and we want to be able to make sense of what happens in our lives.
However, there is a subtle difference between explanation and understanding. We explain things by saying that A happened because of B. The explanation has to do with dissecting reality, while understanding includes a broader and deeper aspect of reality, a higher consciousness if you will. Thus, we can know something intuitively, without being able to give a clear explanation of this knowledge.
This is where Synchronicity comes in. Synchronicity originates from "synchronos" and is derived from "synchronous", meaning "simultaneous". Synchronicity, therefore, means "contemporaneity"; to feel "meaningful concurrence" between internal (mental) and external (physical) events that are not mutually related.
Synchronicity is defined by Carl Jung (the founder of analytical psychology and originator of the term) as an "acausal connecting principle," or "meaningful coincidence”. In layman’s terms, it is a coincidence of contemporaneous physical and mental events that defy the likelihood of chance and are meaningful to the observer. It is when two or more different events come together in a meaningful way, without being related causally. It is important to note the word meaningful here. It is the experience of meaning that gives the synchronistic events their quality. Some of the most profound synchronicities of my life are:
I’m having coffee beneath the awning of a popular restaurant in Nairobi listening to the Police song ‘Every Breath You Take’ and out of nowhere a policeman approaches me and asks for a lighter he sees lying on the table. That song was actually from their album ‘Synchronicity’. What are the odds of this happening?
Another great synchronistic event involved the Great Russian writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I was having pints at a bar and this random girl (we became great friends) began a conversation with me. The conversation drifted into literature and she asked me which I thought was the greatest literary work of all time. I told her The Brothers Karamazov and she was gobsmacked. She opened her tote bag and showed me a copy of The Brothers Karamazov. It was what she was reading then.
Jung's own example involved the golden scarab beetle, where a young female client had dreamed that she had received a fine jewelry work in the form of a golden scarab. While the woman narrated the dream, Jung heard a gentle tap against the window-pane. He turned around and saw that it was a scarabaeid beetle or common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), whose golden green color most nearly resembles that of a golden scarab.He opened the window and caught it, and with the words, "Here you have your scarab," he gave it to the woman.
I have no idea of how common it is in the general population but in order to experience it, I believe, you have to be perceptive. Synchronicity is a matter of the soul, thus we have to open our eyes to a deeper truth. We have to avoid or at least minimize what William James called the “Blooming buzzing confusion of every piece of information entering us at every moment. And how can we do this? Psycho-spiritual practices like meditation which bring us into the current moment so we can experience reality as it is really happening rather than our interpretations of it.
Synchronicity is the way the Universe tells you that you are on the right path. Or, in other words, that you are right where you need to be - in the right place at the right time. Pretty cool, IMO. In addition to the assurance that everything is just as it should be, there may be some additional messages for you, as it may be important to be open and curious.
In my view, synchronicity is one of the coolest, most fun and most magical things in life. It adds piquancy to the vicissitudes of everyday life; it reminds us that there is a meaning to life as well as more between ourselves and the cosmos than we can just see with our eyes.
Marie-Louise von Franz: About Synchronicity and Divination. 1980