In the past few years there has been an upsurge in the discussion and interest around the phenomena of synchronicity. This is perhaps due to the wild success of ‘The Secret’ and its guiding principle ‘The Law of Attraction’.
Much like the teachings of The Secret, synchronicity has perhaps existed for thousands of years but been given different names. Harbingers, portents and omens for example – we humans have been making meaningful connections to events for a long time.
Harbingers, portents and omens however, all talk of the future. They are signs of a coming event and their nature gives an indication of how that event will be viewed. In olden times, typically omens and the like were left to skilled interpreters to read and decide on whether they made good or bad news. These days we tend to use all three words with negative connotations. Synchronicity on the other hand is something that tends to be more personal and more immediate.
Coincidence has been trivialised. People say ‘it’s just coincidence’ to remove the magic out of two or more events occurring that seem miraculously connected. Co (together) incidence (incident) simply means two events happening together; nothing more, nothing less.
But we all have times when we notice something odd, a weird chain of events, a friend ringing who you were wondering about, a book dropping into your hands, a certain song on the radio at a certain time. In these moments we feel something deep inside. It moves us emotionally and we gain a fleeting glimpse into a greater world; a greater pattern.
It was Carl Jung who first used the term ‘synchronicity’ to explain an “acausal connecting principle”. Things happen that seem to have no common cause yet experienced together create a greater meaning than each individual occurrence. In Greek ‘Syn’ means ‘together’ and Chron means Time. Old Father time was once known as Chronos to the Greeks (Saturn to the Romans). Therefore synchronicity links together something in time.
When you go to a gig, you want to hear the band play together in time with each other. It doesn’t matter whether it’s folk, hip-hop or jazz; to create meaningful music all the band members need to be in time. Think of how painful it is to sit through a performance where the guitarist can’t hear the vocalist or the bassist is oblivious to the drummer. Being ‘out of time’ jars your senses, can make you anxious or angry and makes you want to escape the noise. Whilst we all have certain musical genres we prefer, essentially there is an order to music; a pattern. It is this underlying order that creates music instead of noise. We talk of creating drum patterns showing the order and structure in rhythm. Playing in time together, following the pattern, the band can communicate their song whether it be about universal love, gang war or Christmas.
Music is a vibration, a sound wave that travels, enters your ear and affects the tiniest bone in your body. The movement of this bone (after a sequence of other events) is translated by your brain as sound and you hear the music. Science by the way, doesn’t know how the brain translates electrical impulses into the latest Britney belter.
But everything has a vibration, everything has an energetic signature from you, to other people, to the trees, to the stars. The universe is a vast choir.
Much like a song, a synchronous event can mean different things to different people. Whatever happens, it’s how you interpret it that defines the meaning. The beauty of synchronicity is that when you notice it, it means exactly what it is supposed to mean – to you. Even if your best friend is stood right beside you when you notice something, they may interpret it in a different way to you. They may not see it at all. It’s what makes synchronicity such a difficult concept to prove when it comes to science.
I believe that the waking world is built much the same as dreams. Life is simply a waking dream. What we class as ‘reality’ is malleable, flexible and open to discussion. Philosophers have been doing it for years and the ‘if a tree falls in the forest…’ question still rages. You and I may agree on many things but we will still experience the world very differently. Take five different people who witness the same event, you will get five different stories. There may be similarities but there may also be startling differences. Synchronicity speaks to us because we each have a unique view of the world.
How you experience the world is based on many things but you can guarantee that your emotional state is certainly going to colour it. Just imagine those heady days of falling in love and compare them to the devastation of separation. The world changes in an instant. These subtle and unsubtle changes in your awareness will play a part in what you perceive around you.
So we have the unique world that you inhabit and then we also have the something else. I believe that the ‘something else’ is an intelligent presence that is woven through the entire universe. Some might call it God or Goddess, some may refer to it as a higher power, some might feel it is alien. I don’t know what it is only I sense it – a greater cosmic pattern.
And this cosmic pattern has a song. When you experience synchronicity suddenly you feel ‘in tune’. You know you are connected to that ‘something else’ whatever you choose to call it.
I believe life is in constant communication with us. Sometimes it whispers, sometimes it hums just to let us know it’s there. At other times it shouts joyfully and says “look, look, LOOK what you are part of!”
Every thought that you have ripples out into the rest of creation. Your thoughts are your song. The question is whether you are creating something that is in harmony with the universe or whether you are creating discord. When you are in tune with yourself you feel clear about the message you want to carry into the world. You know that things feel right, that there is a flow. When you are clear (in tune) the universe speaks back to you. It’s rather like joining an orchestra. You take up your cello and begin to play a melody. A few bars later the violin echoes the melody, perhaps playing only a short phrase from it but it is enough to create a sense of unity.
Synchronicity is like this, a call and response between you and the universe. The more clear you become about the song you are writing (the life you are creating), the more clearly you hear the accompanying music of the rest of creation.
Synchronicity can come in all shapes and forms but it is usually characterised by repetition or relation.
Repetitive synchronicity is literally when a symbol or theme is repeated. For example a fox appears in the road ahead of you whilst you drive home and then upon arriving home you find your friend has sent you a card with a picture of a fox on it.
As well as specific symbols, specific themes can also be repeated. The following happened to me earlier this year.
I was walking to work pondering a vivid dream I’d had about moving to Lisbon. The dream was exciting and inspiring and filled me with happiness then *bang*, my eyes were drawn to a bus passing me and the advertisement upon it practically threw itself into my eyes.
“Here today, gone tomorrow”
That brought me up short. I felt deeply disturbed. Despite knowing that this could simply be a message saying ‘life’s too short, just go for it”, every part of me knew it was something more, something else.
I pondered the message all the way to the office. As I sat down at my desk my colleagues began discussing whether they would want to be buried or cremated. I don’t know what triggered the conversation but my skin began to crawl. I went outside onto the roof terrace with my coffee and a crow shouted loudly from above, perched clearly opposite me. That was it. The third confirmation.
I went back into my colleagues and spoke quietly to one of them.
“I’m really worried” I confided in her “I’m getting death messages. I think someone’s died”.
She asked me who I thought it was but I had no idea at all. I just knew.
I was told of a death the following morning.
In this instance, the synchronicity was there to give me important information. Whilst I believe the primary reason was to inform me that a friend was in need, the secondary reason was indeed to tell me that life is short, we never know what is around the corner and therefore to allow myself to really live my dreams before it’s too late.
Whilst the above example is very strong, I feel it illustrates the point. Themes can be anything from life: love, money, desire, sickness, learning and so on. Repetitions might be a single word, a name, an image, or animal that is repeated amongst a myriad of other things but what catches your attention is “oh, there that is again, how odd!”
Relational synchronicity tends to ‘relate’ directly to a situation that you have been thinking about or are experiencing. For example, maybe you’ve been thinking about getting a new job and someone starts telling you about a vacancy. Maybe you are wondering whether to visit a certain place and suddenly you turn the TV on and there it is. Maybe you decide you want to read a certain book and then someone gives it to you. These kind of synchronicities relate directly to something that is occurring in your own life. Quite often I see these as ‘confirmations’. It is as though the universe is simply confirming that the way ahead is open should you choose this path. At other times the universe is quietly confirming what you already know but have not perhaps brought into conscious awareness.
The following happened to me one morning: –
I was washing up, not thinking of anything in particular. The handle of the cup I was washing suddenly snapped off in my hands. I threw it away without reading anything into it. I picked up the next cup, managed to clumsily knock it against the tap as I put it in the washbasin and the handle fell off. Instantly I was filled with dread.
The two of cups in the tarot indicates a love relationship. My immediate interpretation was that a relationship was about it end and I wouldn’t be able to handle it. It did and I couldn’t.
I believe that we have free will and that we are free to choose what we do with our lives. However, I also believe that there are some things that we are meant to do or experience. I believe that the universe will often give us a guiding hand in the matter, giving us pointers and clues in the form of synchronicity to nudge us in the right direction. Whether you consider it to be your higher self, your guardian angel, Life or God that does the nudging, certainly many of us have experienced the kind of synchronicity that points the way.
To recap then, synchronicity can: –
Make you aware of a situation that is currently outside of your conscious awareness.
Bring you an important message.
Confirm a decision you have made.
Bring you information you need to develop your awareness (for example, showing you a power animal that is currently working with you).
Show that you are on the right path.
Point you to a path you need to experience.
Warn you that you are in danger.
Recognising synchronicity is part of developing your awareness. In time you intuitively come to know what is synchronicity and what isn’t. I think one of the most important tricks to learn is how to notice instead of look. Actively looking for signs can be at best confusing and at worst drive you mad. Imagine for example you walk into a large hall full of people. As you make your way to the drinks table you hear snippets of conversations. One group are laughing about a previous night out, two friends are discussing how they hate their job, three woman are talking about their partners and a couple are having a heated whispered argument on whether to visit family at the weekend. To think that every overheard phrase might have some meaning for you would be incredibly confusing! If you are actively listening there is nothing to define what is and what isn’t meaningful.
What is meaningful is when you are merrily going along your way and then something strikes you. A phrase you have overhead seems to reach out like a beacon. Whilst consciously you know that the person who spoke wasn’t speaking to you, somehow you know that you were meant to hear.
When synchronicity happens I experience a sensation of recognition. I often feel like something has just zipped into my heart chakra. My heart rate speeds up a notch, I feel my awareness expanding, there’s a sensation that somehow everything is lighter. It can be gone in a moment but I just know.
Synchronicity is like hearing a lyric from a divine song. It shows us that life is a waking dream and that everything is connected. It raises our awareness, allows us to see the greater pattern and confirms to us that we are part of it.
Painting- ‘Sign’ by Nicholas Roerich