Last week I was in the school library reading a book for my thesis when one of my professors came and sat down next to me. After a few minutes he glanced up and pointed to the book I was reading being referenced in the book he was reading. That might not be meaningful if I were reading a popular book, the one I had was one of the most obscure books I have ever read. I found it in an old bookstore when a close friend of mine handed it to me after finding it on the floor.
Shortly after this happened I went to the restroom and passed a book that seemed to jump off the shelf at me. It was called, “Soul Moments: Marvelous Stories of Synchronicity — Meaningful Coincidences from a Seemingly Random World” by a local author Phil Cousineau. The book is a collection of essays about different people’s experiences of synchronicity.
So what exactly is a “meaningful coincidence” and how do we know we have experienced one? Jung is credited with creating the word “synchronicity” to describe a moment of connection between our inner and outer realities. The etymology of the word “synchronicity” comes from “synchronous” in Latin meaning “happening at the same time.” The definition entails two or more seemingly unrelated events occuring in a relationship.
Jung coined the word after a therapy session with a woman who was describing a dream where she was presented with a golden, scarab beetle (a symbol of transformation). During her description there was a bug at the window trying to get into the room from outside. Jung went over and opened the window and in flew a golden beetle, which was an incredibly rare thing to see at that climate.
I too became a major “synchronicity scout” detective after seeing a scarab beetle in the middle of the desert at Burning Man a few years ago. It has since become one of my most favorite synchronicities (I believe everyone should have a few). When I’m really paying attention and present in my life I notice them everyday. They pop up as me waking up singing a song and then walking outside and hearing the song in a nearby car, or thinking of a person right before they call. Most times I can’t know if it is a premonition or if my thinking itself created the circumstance. I realize that it doesn’t matter, it is the correlation that counts. It is the moment of realizing that we aren’t separate from our perceived external experience.
In moments of synchronicity I experience my life and everything in it as magical. One of my favorite Einstein quotes speaks to this way of existing that I’ve become proud of, “There are two ways to live; you can live as if nothing is a miracle or as if everything is a miracle.” In a world where our societal paradigm believes the universe to be random and without meaning or purpose, synchronicities offer a differing truth. Synchronocity is universe’s way of telling us we are on track. The allow us to revel in the awesomeness of our cosmos.
Many years ago I was deeply involved in the Landmark Education community, and the idea of meaningful coincidences was the most major source of disagreement for me. While for Landmark we create the meaning in our lives and positively we can make it support our life goals…for me, there are things that I couldn’t just have made meaning….or would seem silly to toss away as just the meaning being projected solely from me. This universe is too grand and beautiful for me to take credit for being what gives it meaning. Every moment could be filled with such magic if we choose it. And while I don’t walk down the street and make meaning of everything, there are moments when it has to be acknowledged that something larger than ourselves was at work.
While I don’t want to become someone who analyzes every moment as a message from elsewhere, I want to recommit myself to paying attention to the everyday miracles of synchronicity. Being insynchronocity seems quite a marvelous thing to be in tune with.
[Photo: Dave Jones]