Updated: Jan 15, 2019
"Synchronicity is an ever-present reality for those that have eyes to see"
-Carl Gustav Jung
Carl Jung (1875-1961) was a Swiss psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, and the founder of analytical psychology. Amongst the many concepts he devised to define various aspects relative to that school of thought was that of Synchronicity, in which he asserted that events are "meaningful coincidences" if they occur with no causal relationship (no apparent link between them), yet seem to be meaningfully related.
In his book "Synchronicity", Jung tells the following story as an example of a Synchronistic event:
"My example concerns a young woman patient who, in spite of efforts made on both sides, proved to be psychologically inaccessible. The difficulty lay in the fact that she always knew better about everything. Her excellent education had provided her with a weapon ideally suited to this purpose, namely a highly polished Cartesian rationalism with an impeccably "geometrical" idea of reality. After several fruitless attempts to sweeten her rationalism with a somewhat more human understanding, I had to confine myself to the hope that something unexpected and irrational would turn up, something that would burst the intellectual retort into which she had sealed herself. Well, I was sitting opposite her one day, with my back to the window, listening to her flow of rhetoric. She had an impressive dream the night before, in which someone had given her a golden scarab — a costly piece of jewellery. While she was still telling me this dream, I heard something behind me gently tapping on the window. I turned round and saw that it was a fairly large flying insect that was knocking against the window-pane from outside in the obvious effort to get into the dark room. This seemed to me very strange. I opened the window immediately and caught the insect in the air as it flew in. It was a scarabaeid beetle, or common rose-chafer (Cetonia aurata), whose gold-green colour most nearly resembles that of a golden scarab. I handed the beetle to my patient with the words, "Here is your scarab." This experience punctured the desired hole in her rationalism and broke the ice of her intellectual resistance. The treatment could now be continued with satisfactory results."
This is as far as I'll go into Jung's theory and experiences with synchronicity for now though- I may talk more of his theories in a future piece, as he contributed some valid and very interesting concepts. This piece is more on a personal level- just me sharing my own experiences- ones that have made me really consider the possibility of Synchronicity. I don't know if these experiences absolutely fit the bill, but to me they sure felt like they did!
I daresay many of us have had those moments where something happens that makes us consider the possibility that there is some sort of intelligent design to the universe- that something might be running the show, so to speak. I've had a couple of them, and they remain firm memories to this day.
The first example on my part comes from about 20 years ago, but it has a little bit of a backstory that I should relate first. When I was 15 years old, I ran away from the home my adopted father owned, due to the abuse I had suffered at the hands of my stepmother. I left behind two younger stepbrothers, D__ and R__, and an older stepsister, Michelle..but as I left, I told them I'd see them again someday.
Fast-forward about 7 years, and myself and my boyfriend had moved into a house shared with my boyfriend's best friend Brad, and a work colleague of Brad's, Pete. I had met Brad, but had never met Pete until I was sharing a house with him. As I got to know both Brad and Pete, I'd hear occasional mention of Pete's girlfriend, Michelle. I thought nothing of that at the time- there are many Michelles in the world.
One afternoon, on arriving home from work, I noticed a letter on the hall table, addressed to a Mr. D. J. W__. Well that's odd, I thought, those are the initials of one of my stepbrothers. Something clicked almost audibly in my head then- I thought of the fact that Pete's girlfriend was named Michelle..and I started to wonder..
When Pete arrived home, I practically bombarded him with questions- "is Michelle's last name W__?" "does she have two brothers named D__ and R__?" "does she have a mother named S__, and a stepfather named D__?" The answer on all counts was yes, and I felt myself turn pale..after all those years with no contact, somehow it seemed I might now get to fulfil my promise to my step-siblings- that I'd see them again someday.
To cut a long story short, I did see them again..and to this day that chain of coincidences remains one of the strangest things that's ever happened to me.
There have been other odd coincidences too, although I'm again not sure if they fit the description of synchronicity..
..Like a very vivid dream I had around 12 years ago, in which I was wearing a silver ring with a large red stone set in it. On a random whim, a week or so later (it was summer, I was on holidays from work, and I was restless), I decided to take myself to one of my favourite little towns for a wander about. This particular town contains several antique shops, and as I love all things old, I of course had to explore their contents.
About 10 minutes before the shops were due to close for the day, I glanced at a display cabinet in one of the antique shops..and found myself looking at the ring I had dreamed about! Needless to say I bought it, and it remains my favourite piece of jewellery to this day. I can't say for sure that this was synchronicity- perhaps it was some form of precognitive dream I had had..but it certainly was a strange and meaningful coincidence!
And then there's the coincidences that led to my finding a copy of one of my favourite works of fiction, a hauntingly beautiful book called "Cloudstreet", about 10 years ago. I'd recently watched the miniseries of the same name, and upon discovering that it was based on a book, I fervently wished for a copy of that book..but it had been published several years earlier and, being unfamiliar with the concept of online shopping back then, I held no hope of finding one.
On a whim one afternoon, a few weeks later, myself and my boyfriend decided to go and explore my favourite second-hand bookshop. I love the shop because it's like a treasure hunt every time you go in there- there's no order to the shelves, and stacks of random books lie on the floor everywhere- you never know what you might find!
There was one book on my mind that day, although I had no expectation of finding it- I wanted a copy of "Cloudstreet". The bookshop is a large one, and I scoured the shelves for almost 2 hours..and then gave up hope. As I waited in line at the register with my other purchases, my boyfriend called out from where he was standing, near a shelf not too far away.."hey what was the name of that book you wanted? was it Cloudstreet? because I just found it!" He'd been helping me search for the book, and had found himself staring absent-mindedly at the very shelf where it lay, but hadn't realised at first that he was looking right at the very book I sought!
That book takes pride of place on one of my shelves to this day, and I'll never forget the seemingly random chain of events that led to my owning it.
As I said earlier, I can't say for sure that all of what I've related is necessarily synchronicity- perhaps some form of precognition led me to the ring, and the book..I still can't explain how I came to reconnect with my step-siblings after 7 years..but these experiences remain exemplary in my mind, and are what I thought of upon reading Jung's theory. Perhaps there is more to the universe, and perhaps what may seem random actually isn't. I can't say for sure..but I do wonder!
Have YOU had any strange coincidences happen in your life? Feel free to tell me in comments, I'd love to hear about them!