It appears at the intersection of serendipity and grace. The invisible wings of our most passionate intentions. It offers itself anonymously. No gift. No note. No wrapping. No sign to reveal itself as the gift it is—no way, even, to receive it—except through our awareness.
Whether we call it intuition or grace, the appeal of synchronicity runs deep.
“People love mysterious things, and synchronicity is like magic happening to them,” says Carolyn North, author of Synchronicity: The Anatomy of Coincidence. “It gives us a sense of hope, a sense that something bigger is happening out there than what we can see, which is especially important in times like this when there are so many reasons for despair.”
Whether we feel it as a hunch, a sixth sense or an unrelenting pull—we follow it (or don’t) and watch for the results, watch for those meaningful coincidences that tell us the “magic” is real.
Synchronicity is the experience of two or more events, that are apparently causally unrelated or unlikely to occur together by chance, that are observed to occur together in a meaningful manner. The concept of synchronicity was first described by Swiss psychologist Carl Gustav Jung in the 1920s as a governing dynamic that underlies the whole of human experience and history–social, emotional, psychological, and spiritual.
Jung was taken with the idea that life was not a series of random events but rather an expression of a deeper order. He and Pauli referred to it as Unus mundus (one world). He believed this deeper order was the framework into which we are each embedded and that each of us is the focus of this framework.
Ray Grasse took this idea of “deeper order” a step further by suggesting that instead of being a “rare” phenomenon, as Jung suggested, synchronicity is more likely all-pervasive, and the occasional dramatic coincidence is only the tip of a larger iceberg of meaning that underlies our lives. He saw all phenomena as interwoven by linked analogies or “correspondences.” Though omnipresent, these correspondences tend to become obvious to us only in the case of the most startling coincidences.
But, perhaps these “startling coincidences” might begin to resemble a “deeper order” if we became more aware—if we tuned into the vibrations of synchronicity.
Perhaps if we pay attention, we can fish it out of the sea of sameness. If we remain awake, it will wink at us from across the bay. If we stay open, it will blast its flaming ball of brilliance through our small night sky, present a bonfire of illumination at our feet and burn to ash. What will we see?
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This begins to address the concept of synchronicity but is far from exhaustive. The links and references below provide a fuller picture but again – limited.
Jung, Carl (1960). The Structure and Dynamics of the Psyche (Collected Works of C.G. Jung, Volume 8). Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press. pp. 417–519. ISBN 0691097747.
Jung, Carl G. (1993) . Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle. Bollingen, Switzerland: Bollingen Foundation. ISBN 9780691017945.
Roderick Main (2000). “Religion, Science, and Synchronicity”. Harvest: Journal for Jungian Studies.
Tarnas, Richard, “Cosmos and Psyche”, 2006, Penguin Group, New York, Pgs 50–60
Grasse,Ray,“The Waking Dream: Unlocking the Symbolic Language of Our Lives”, 1996,Quest Books, pages=249-255 lecture notes, Jung Foundation, New York City, 1980s.
Through the Looking-Glass, by Lewis Carroll, Ch. 5, Wool and Water.
Émile Deschamps, Oeuvres completes : Tomes I — VI, Reimpr. de l’ed. de Paris 1872 - ‘74
The Collected Works of C.G. Jung, paragraph 843, Princeton University Press Edition.
Jeffery Mongrain View Statement
My site projects suggest a relationship of historic synchronicity. The contemporary image blended into the pristine Gothic space.
Most of our religious architecture defies the Post Modern aesthetic of appropriation. It continues to distinctly reference the meditative sensibilities of 13th and 14th century architecture. When a non narrative contemporary art object is sited in a space intended to only support a specific religious belief it can be both psychologically bruising and engaging to the congregation.
My site work is intended to raise questions in an environment that typically leads its daily members and defines answers. Even though these beautiful institutions have not made significant philosophical changes over the centuries the population has, in part due to both literacy and the mass communication available by current technologies.
When my work is the most successful it both visually fits the space and questions its politic.
Yisel Duque View Statement
Synchronicity to me… Hard to be concise because… In how many ways does it manifest itself?
If I had to define it in one sentence I’d say: It is the unexpected but meaningful convergence of two or more parallel realities into one. But then again, if I was to “expand”, in simpler words, it’s a friend’s call when I’m thinking of him/her, it’s my grandmother’s alzheimer’s mind telling a perfect chronological childhood story, it’s a feisty magnet that pulls two existences together and no one knows where the magnet is, came from or even that we had such a thing within…
Mark Powell View Statement
If there is anything that drives my work it is not the desire to impose order but to revere it. Jung thought synchronicity revealed, or at least gestured at, the “deeper framework” of our being, and there are moments–synchronous, beautiful–where the fabric of life is shown not to be sewn piecemeal but intricately tangled, larger than us, but frighteningly intimate too. There are names for this, God, Mystery, but naming is a human (and false) imposition, an attempt to limit what is by definition without limit. The only proper response is wonder. The German theologian Karl Rahner defined belief in God as one’s “orientation toward mystery.” There may be no better example of this reverential openness than the willingness to recognize moments of synchronicity.
Advising artists support and help guide the growth and outreach of the Evolve the Conversation experience. Guest artists are present at our salons. Both are invited to provide statements on the topic.
Kelly Coveny View Statement
It is why I write.
To put my finger on the almost thread-bare breeze of meaning, the holy spirit of something-greater-than-me-ness that I believe blows crazily, beautifully, furiously, artfully through everything. That leaves, in its wake, an invisible assembled puzzle of wild joy love. Some see it. Right away.
Intuitives. Channelers. Shamans. Those who have chosen a life path dedicated to this different way of "seeing". I feel my way through it, blind, running the tip of my finger along the depressed gulleys that connect each piece, until, slowly, I feel how they fit.
I write to see.
The shower of hot water rolling down my shoulders, the tears, the huddled-on-the-floor-in-grief me, the shape of my mom's loss in the room. Not a room. The room. The heart-kind, wide-open-space kind, the kind that allows you to be the you-you-are-at-that-moment kind. That kind with room–for kind, for love.
I write to see.
Each image, each thought, each feeling as cosmically connected. Until I see the connection between the room fires need to breathe, palms need to pray, my huddled body on the floor needs to grieve. The humbling beauty of synchronicity.
It is why I write.
Anne Wells View Statement
The very idea of synchronicity gives me hope. It gives me faith. It helps me to believe that a higher power of some kind, a universal consciousness of sorts is paying attention to everything — even to me, a mere speck in the universe, a tiny blip in time. My intention is to live a courageous, loving life of service and transformation. The idea of a life’s purpose (however vague and open-ended it might be) is my anchor that grounds me, especially when everything else in life seems to be running amok. And I wonder, does the universe know of my intention? And if so, does it support me in living out that intention? When I believe that in fact YES it does, I am able to see each day as a string of miracles unfolding… a series of movements, mistakes, meetings and more that MATTER… And everything changes… accidents, illnesses, chance meetings, introductions, births, deaths, moves, phone calls,conversations, words… all of it… It all becomes part of the grand plan of the divine intelligence that supports me (that supports us all) in the actualization of my life’ intentions. And while I am quite unclear about just how and why this divinity, this magic, this serendipity actually works… I sure am happy that it does. If it all matters and it’s all ultimately good, life becomes a fantastic adventure. 30,000 feet can be the best view ever.
Abby Redmond View Statement
So, while wondering about how to express what synchronicity truly means, feels like, how it manifests itself, etc I had a moment of synchronicity:
While chatting with my sister on gchat I noticed her status was Fallstagia, meaning she had nostalgia regarding Fall. So, what do I do? I Google that and ended up at some girls blog, which I read start to finish. All 12 pages. This young woman is witty and clever and has a great blog. Then, I notice she has upwards of 5 blog posts referencing Gilmore Girls and since my sister has a deep, personal and emotional connection with this show I send her the link to the blog. She used to watch this sitcom with my mother when my sister was in college and it was something they bonded over. My sister replies that this woman used to be her own boss’ assistant. She was fired, but I digress… Wow. Strange, yes?
Now, I have some silly TV sitcom on which I have never even heard of and the characters are chatting about how awesome this one girls relationship with her mother is and she references Gilmore Girls.
A moment where simultaneous occurrences are meaningfully related and that the conceptual mind is structured in its own logical way gives rise to relationships that are not at all casual. Not that my example is deeply meaningful and has no spiritual enlightenment attached to it, but there you are with this common thread woven through my afternoon where my experiences may or may not be due to chance and some would shrug and call this intuition.
Debbie Casey View Statement
I love the mystery of synchronicity – synchronicity happens when it is least expected. If you are not in the moment and aware, it may be missed completely. But, when you are in the moment and everything lines up perfectly – it's magical. It's that feeling when everything comes together unexpectedly and just works. It's meeting someone that you feel like you've met before and finding out you have many similar friends. It is a connection whether romantic, familial, or even business. It's coincidence and it provides me with hope and the feeling that there is something larger than all of us out there quietly guiding us along the way.
James Navé View Statement
Most of the people I know describe synchronicity as an unexpected event that produces a good outcome. For example, you pick up a weekly newspaper and notice a small ad in the classifieds for that rare old Martin guitar you've been searching for for years. You ring the number. Find out it's still for sale. Rush over; buy it.
Of course, you have synchronicity to thank for your guitar, but what part of synchronicity do you thank? The moment your eye fell on the classified page? Your decision to go to your local cafe where you spotted the ad? The red light that held you for two minutes?
We often think of synchronicity as "simultaneous occurrences that are meaningfully related." The red light holding you back changes your timing which leads you to decide to go to the cafe where you pick up the paper and read the ad.
To my eye, synchronicity is more than a single event that pops up now and then. Julia Cameron says in The Artist's Way, synchronicity is "answered prayers," a field sign, if you will, of a deeper cosmic order, an order that has always been and always will be.
There are those who call this God. Others call it infinity. Some look up at the Milky Way on a December night north of Taos on the Rim Road and wonder, "what does all this mean?" It means, of course, that we are part of something much great than ourselves, an all pervasive 360 cosmic multi-dimensional synchronicity that's at work all the time
The more you look for synchronicity, the more you notice. "I am a part of all that I have met; / Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough / Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades / For ever and for ever when I move." Tennyson says in his Ulysses.
Your awareness of synchronicity determines how much or how little you experience it. Awareness is only half of the equation; action is the other half. You wouldn't own your guitar if you hadn't made that phone call.
Synchronicity is everywhere; let us all have the good sense to take advantage of its abundance!
Rachel Basch View Statement
My most profound experience of synchronicity occurred well before I knew the word for it. In the midst of a profound loss and through a series of random connections, I found myself being visited in my hospital room by a man I'd never met before. The man was a perfect stranger, by that I mean not only completely unknown to me, but, precisely who I needed to meet. The woman who’d told this man my story had done so in passing, not knowing he’d suffered the very same loss years before. He extended himself to me in the darkest place I'd ever been, and became my spiritual mentor for well over a decade. It was only fitting, that it was in a discussion with him some months later, that I first heard the concept of Synchronicity, which he liked to call, Godinicity.
Kim Bridgford View Statement
Synchronicity is at the center of all art, for it's the chance meeting of right elements that creates the layering and surprise in the work we love. It is also the secret of the best relationships or collaborations: the surprise of recognition, but in a new context.
The word itself—which can seem a tangle of syllables and sounds—is a perfect representation of meaning: the jolt of entanglement, the astonishment of music. It is at the heart of all wonder.
Bonnie Levengood View Statement
I'm intrigued by the connecting principles of synchronicity and singularity (the day in which artificial intelligence surpasses human intelligence.)
Joe Sequenzia View Statement
The meaning of two or more events that take place and seem connected...
After spending some time with this word and wrestling what it means to me... I find myself admitting to it, but rather uncomfortably at first. -For if taken in too much it seems to substitute "free will". This said, I also find myself celebrating it. As if you can see the interconnectivity or rhythm in events, thoughts, things, you can be free to more closely follow your true heart. -Like a surfer who does not ride the waves, but almost anticipates each rise and fall in perfect present moment. At one with the ocean. It has been asserted that Jung's analytical psychological theory of synchronicity is equal to "intellectual intuition", so to speak.
-Relative to Jung and his favorite quote by Lewis Carroll in which the White Queen says to Alice "It's a poor sort of memory that only works backwards." Thereby requiring events to be tied to one another to make a point -And of course the whole Plum Pudding thing, where in the course of a decade or so a patient tells Jung about the three times he had encountered the dessert and each time the person that first served it to him was somehow miraculously present, I feel that he is more of a quantitative observer. –And to me this is missing the boat. More to me is the legendary driver Jackie Stewart who recalls being so in sync, literally merging with his automobile during a Grand Prix race, that when a driver out in front of him went off that track he could literally smell the grass at that precise moment, which in turn, caused him to alter his path, thereby saving his life. And of course the fifth and final studio album by the Police. Notwithstanding Sting's love of Yeats and his really uplifting poem "The Second Coming", the song titled Synchronicity ii is about two events seemingly unrelated occurring at the same time. –And of course they are related. -They are in fact one and the same, as the ocean and the surfer. "Daddy" in the song and the dreaded beast from the "dark Scottish Loch" seem to come to a boil at the same time. To me it is more than coincidence. Synchronicity is the string and patterns that connects thought in mind. -One thought to another. Weaving an ongoing pastiche and if you are open to it, connecting your heart.
Joe Carvalko View Statement
Synchronicity, simultaneity, sensation, instantiation of perception, connecting this mass we identify as our material being to that which we are eternally integral, the Universe, observer of itself through the lens of consciousness, projecting, not some disembodied, uncaring, vacuum warehousing energy, amoral without a stake in what’s good, but the timeless virtues of balance, order, truth, beauty — our humanity.
Amy Coveny View Statement
Synchronicity remains the most intriguing and magical moments in life. It is the pinnacle of love, the love of the unique design of our life. It's the moment it all makes sense, when we are closest to our maker, to our belief system and to a greater power. It is indeed where serendipity and grace meet. Being present is truly a gift because that is the only place where we can experience synchronicity.