When most people think about synchronicity they often assume that the synchronicity is like a road sign that attempts to point the person in a certain direction. That the direction is often deduced as something occurring in our outer world is frequent. For example, a set of synchronicities may give rise to the belief that a new relationship is around the corner or a new job. It is relatively easy to see why we often come to such conclusions. For instance, we might be pondering buying a new car and in the next few days or weeks a certain model of car might appear in our lives on a frequent basis. We then make a decision based on the belief that buying a new car is what the universe intended for us. When it comes to synchronicity we are especially prone to ascribing the phenomena as a sign from god/universe.
However, synchronicity is an interior function – we create the synchronicity. This is how synchronicity was first coined and explained by Carl Jung. It is, in principle a psychological function (albeit often unconscious) which coincides with an acausal event which occurs in the physical world. In the car example used earlier it is our thinking about the car that has a connection with cars appearing by ‘coincidence’ in the external world.
We can and should test this principle on a regular basis. Think of something for a few days to a week on a fairly regular basis and more often than not it will appear in our lives as a coincidence of some description. But remember that we are talking about unconscious forces here and garnering the unconscious attention towards an object. Sometimes the unconscious will not follow our conscious desires, so just thinking about something may at times not produce a result. Its more the attention to a subject that is given that is crucial than the specific thoughts we use. If we look to the result as stemming from our unconscious we can usually see the pattern that was formed in the outer reality. There are a few cautions that we should take heed off where synchronicity is concerned.
The first is that we do not fall into the causal thinking trap. Where synchronicity is concerned there is no such thing as our thinking creates the event/object. What we are dealing with are largely unconscious forces that in some way bear a relationship to an external event. We might start thinking about money in the hope that we magically acquire more money. It is this type of cause and effect thinking that we have to train ourselves out of, in order to best understand and utilize synchronicity. The unconscious aspect is often why we misinterpret the signals of synchronicity. The unconscious is often not linear in the same way our unconscious minds, so it is easy to misinterpret the intentions and forces at play in sitations.
Synchronicity as noted previously is primarily a relationship between our psyche (inner) and the external world (outer) where we function on a daily basis. The inner does not cause the outer, nor does the outer cause the inner, yet both are interrelated in such a way as to give rise to a synchronistic event. In this view it is wise to see synchronicity as a form of relationship between two things as opposed to one thing causing another.
Another cautionary note: Sometimes we mistake confirmation bias for synchronicity. For instance, we might favour purchasing a red car and unconsciously start to pay particular attention to red cars in our lives. We dismiss blue cars and green cars barely noticing their appearance, but when red appears, we take it to be important. Our minds are tricky in this regard and we need to pay close attention that we are not fooling ourselves.
When I explain synchronicity in the above terms I am sometimes asked the following. If it is not about providing a direction or answer in life as is commonly believed, then what is it about? Far enough question!
Synchronicity is an opportune moment to pause and reflect on what our deepest fears, desires and aspirations are. It is a pointing inward, an opportunity to examine ourselves in a new light. It is rarely about buying a red car, but synchronicity might call into question our deepest attitudes and beliefs about material success and trappings. There is something in the synchronicity itself that we need to learn about ourselves.
This does not mean that sometimes synchronicity does never provide a direction or course to take in life. But it does mean that is secondary and of lesser importance than the attention inward we are being asked to partake in.
For example, it is certainly feasible that once we look at our inner workings we decide that we are not using a particular talent or ability in the way that we would like. This may lead us into exploring a new job or career path and in this sense the synchronicity has played a role in leading in a direction. But it is a secondary function to the one of introspection and examining ourselves. Similarly we may be pondering whether to end a relationship or not. We might look to signs (synchronicity) as this is the direction to go. We use synchronicity as a justification for ending the relationship. But and it’s a biggie, what usually occurs is a repetition of a cycle where in a few years’ time or a decade or whenever we are once again pondering whether this ‘new’ relationship should end.
What is being called for in these situations is to really examine ourselves in the context of a relationship with another person. It might be asking us to look deeper than what we currently are in order to understand why we are in the position we are. It might be asking us about our roles in the relationship, where we generous, kind, compassionate? Was there a hidden agenda for being involved in this relationship? It’s this sort of inner introspection that is being asked of us.
Synchronicity may well be asking us to examine our attitude to relaxing, slowing down in life and finding time for the simple things in life. That fast red car may well be a red alert to slow down…
Once we start looking at synchronicity in this manner it sheds a new light into our roles in shaping the course of our lives. It can be a very powerful tool for examining our inner nature, because it also occurs in the outer world. It is in front of us in a powerful, almost magical way that is hard to ignore. We usually do take notice of the synchronicity if only to say wow that was weird. What I would strongly contend is that it is beneficial to also pay synchronicity its due and give it the attention it deserves. As the old saying by Socrates goes;
“the unexamined life is not worth living”.
From this perspective synchronicity is a calling to examine our lives.