“Since psyche and matter are contained in one and the same world, and moreover are in continuous contact with one another and ultimately rest on irrepresentable, transcendental factors, it is not only possible but fairly probable even, that psyche and matter are two different aspects of the same thing.” C.G. Jung, On the Nature of the Psyche, CW Vol. 8, para. 418.
Have you ever experienced a coincidence so utterly improbable yet so completely right that it gave you goosebumps and made you feel as if you had been touched by some supernatural power—supernatural because nothing ordinary could arrange so many disparate notes into such perfect harmony—in a song written just for you? Jung had a word for a coincidence that meaningfully connects our interior lives with events in the outer world. He called it synchronicity.
A simple example: You wake up from a dream of your college roommate. You haven’t thought of her in years. As you’re getting ready for work, the phone rings. It’s your college roommate calling to say she’ll be in town soon and would love to see you.
Jung believed we are wired to seek a spiritual counterpart to the objective facts of physical science and integrate the two to become a whole, self-realized person. This happens by paying attention to our waking thoughts, emotions, and attitudes, and actively connecting them to our unconscious through imaginative dialogues with the contents of our dreams. Jung named this regular back and forth conversation between ego and Self individuation.
Regular self-reflective dialogues with the Self become a daily mediation that transforms us into separate individuals with a heightened realistic awareness of the differences between ourself and others. This is when we begin to experience synchronicities, ie. meaningful coincidences. These are not products of the scientific law of cause and effect, but of an imaginative, heartfelt search for personal meaning and wholeness. When you’re in the flow, synchronicity lets you know.
If everything visible and invisible is linked together in the Supreme aspect of soul, then what could be more natural than for objects and events “outside”of ourselves to coincide exactly with our inner, subjective reality?This does not mean that we (our ego selves) caused these events by willing them, but only that through the Self or soul that indwells each one of us, the Supreme aspect of soul actively supports and cooperates with our spiritual growth.
“Synchronistic events are thus creative acts expressive of an absolute organizer or creative force, what Lao-tzu called “the mother of all things under heaven”, or what R.F.C. Hull translates as Meaning with a capital M to show that it is ultimate, undivided unity or soul which transcends space and time.” ~Physicist Vic Mansfield, Head and Heart
To the logical mind such ideas feel dangerously ignorant and superstitious, but to the analogical (metaphorical) mind they make perfect sense. There is no reason or need to choose between one way of thinking or the other. We are meant to use both. Synchronicity is a spiritual aid for the individual, maturing seeker. Does it really matter if my synchronistic event is “true” according to your definition of truth? Not a whit! Not if it fills me with joy and vigor and empowers me to persevere in my journey toward the destiny I believe to be mine.
“I suddenly realized that … everything actually was all-meaningful, that every symbol and combination of symbols led not hither and yon, not to single examples, experiments, and proofs, but into the center, the mystery and innermost heart of the world, into primal knowledge. Every transition from major to minor in a sonata, every transformation of a myth or a religious cult, every classical or artistic formulation was, I realized in that flashing moment, if seen with a meditative mind, nothing but a direct route into the interior of the cosmic mystery, where in the alternation between inhaling and exhaling, between heaven and earth, between Yin and Yang, holiness is forever being created.” Hermann Hesse, “The Glass Beads Game”
Jung analyzed the Austrian physicist Wolfgang Pauli for many years. During that time he received an education in quantum physics and Pauli in the reality of the psyche. Together they discovered the connection between the quantum level of reality and synchronicities. In the book Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, Jung grouped synchronicity into three categories of acausal phenomena, (1973, p. 110)
- the coincidence of a psychic state with an observable corresponding physical event in time
- the coincidence of a psychic state happening at the same point in time as a matching physical event that is not observed, but which is corroborated later
- the coincidence of a psychic state matching a future event that later plays out in the material plane
More recently, journalist and author Lynne McTaggart summarized the latest scientific discoveries related to human consciousness in her book, The Field: The Quest for the Secret Force of the Universe. Among them are these that relate to synchronicity:
- Each of us has a field of influence on the world and vice versa.
- Everything is in connection and balance with the rest of the cosmos via an exchange of energy
- When we wish for something or intend something, an act which requires a great deal of unity of thought, we have an ability to extend our own current thought out into our environment. This represents an almost unimaginable amount of power to create, organize and heal.
When’s the last time you experienced a synchronicity?
Jean Raffa’s The Bridge to Wholeness and Dream Theatres of the Soul are at Amazon. E-book versions are also at Kobo, Barnes And Noble and Smashwords. Healing the Sacred Divide can be found at Amazon and Larson Publications, Inc. Jean’s new Nautilus Award-winning The Soul’s Twins, is at Amazon and Schiffer’s Red Feather Mind, Body, Spirit. Subscribe to her newsletter at www.jeanbenedictraffa.com.
Wow, my dear Jean. This one of yours has so much knowledge and wisdom that I had to read it more than once! I have learned synchronicity from Jung, but I have always believed in Cause & Effect and the connection between psyche and matter. As you know, I often have some problems remembering my dreams or interpreting them. Although, I sometimes dream about an event that happened long ago, and I have never thought of it, or a song that I haven’t listened to for a long time. I always thought I might travel in my dream to the past!
This is a given (by god or whatever) power my brother Al had, or even stronger by my aunt; she had always dreamed what would happen next and was mainly right! I thank you, and I always appreciate your topic. 🤗🥰🙏💖🌹
Thank you, Aladin. As you know, Jungians see dreams as a direct link to the unconscious, but there are other ways to converse with your unconscious. For example, artists carry on an ongoing conversation with the unconscious when they listen to their creative inspirations and act on them. Writers do the same thing. Dancing and journaling are other ways. I’m sure you do something like that when you compose your blog posts.
The point is to listen closely to your inner promptings and find a meaningful, creative way to actively respond to them. Active imagination and journaling were Jung’s favorite methods. He usually carried on active imaginations with dream figures, but you can do them with aspects of your shadow, or complexes you have from early experiences, or simply listen to your emotions, attitudes, or desires, for example, and ask yourself “Who is it in me that desires that thing?” Or, “Who is it in me that just got angry?” Then give that part of yourself a name, and write a dialogue with it just like you’d write a dialogue in a play. You start by asking a question, then wait and listen for an answer that comes up spontaneously, then write it down. Carry on that way until you feel like you’ve learned something about yourself.
The more often you do this, the easier and more effective it becomes. You might even find that it gets easier to remember your dreams. It sounds like you come from a family of people who were naturally connected to their unconscious. I imagine you inherited that quality too, and could probably nourish it with some regular inner work.
As always, thank you for your kind interest in my work. Blessings on you and your work. Jeanie
Excellent explanation and wisdom. Thank you dearly, my dear Jane. I talk to myself often, especially when writing. Your advice reminds me of Dostoevsky’s book, Daemon. The main character in the book sees someone, a stranger, in his room when he is alone and talks to him!
Heartfelt thanks again and blessings.
I expérience it with amazing frequency. It never ceases to amaze me.
It does feel truly amazing. I find synchronicities enormously comforting too. It makes me feel like I’m known and loved by something numinous, something much greater than myself. I imagine you feel something of that as well…..
Such a lovely post thank you Jeanie plus your response to Aladin. I see a synchronicity as a beacon of light which, when it happens, makes me aware of the mysteries, which makes my blood corpuscles expand. Sometimes I feel it as a deja vu kind of experience.
Happy Thanksgiving to you and family! Love, Susan
Thank you Susan. A beacon of light is a lovely metaphor. Metaphors are all we have for experiences like this. Synchronicities are so meaningful when they happen, but so hard to explain to others.
It’s close to midnight here and I’ve had quite a day. Our septic tank overflowed this afternoon and no one could come to fix it today so we had to cancel Thanksgiving dinner at our house for the first time in over 40 years! But our daughter has taken on the challenge for the first time and we’re all excited about that. It’ll be something to talk and laugh about for many years. It’s odd to think that it’s fall here and we’re celebrating Thanksgiving for a good harvest and the love of family and friends, and it’s spring where you are and you’re celebrating the return of light and new life. But whatever the season, I hope yours is filled with gratitude and love for and from your family and friends. Love, Jeanie