I’ve recently come across a string of synchronicities in my life, unusual, meaningful coincidences that caught my attention. The last time this happened, a few years back, I followed that trail of coincidences and ended up meeting awesome people who helped me more than I could ever have imagined, and going back to working on my novels, a path I wouldn’t have taken on my own. Would I have published a novel otherwise? Probably not.
So now I’m curious about these new occurrences. What do they mean? And where will they lead me this time? I decided to dig deeper into it and find out more.
According to Wikipedia, “Synchronicity is a concept, first explained by psychoanalyst Carl Jung, which holds that events are ‘meaningful coincidences’ if they occur with no causal relationship yet seem to be meaningfully related.”
This short article on DailyOM.com by Madisyn Taylor talks about the meaning of synchronicity in our lives: “If you feel touched by multiple coincidences or intrigued by a single one, ask yourself why you may be attracting the people involved or the situations. Is it highlighting some aspect of your life or suggesting a course of action? The soul, believed Jung, whispers to us through synchronicity calling us to attention.”
From the same website and by the same author, this article about noticing synchronicity explains that “learning to pay attention to and link the things that occur on a daily basis can be a way for us to become more attuned to the fact that most everything happens in our lives for a reason – even when that reason is not clear right away.”
The author of this article on TheAtlantic.com has a much more down-to-earth view on why coincidences happen, calling them a “chaotic collection of curiosities.” To him, coincidences are more often noticed by people who believe in ESP: “Even more so than skeptics, believers tend to think that repetitions in a sequence are less likely to be random—that a coin flip sequence that went “heads, heads, heads, heads, tails” would be less likely to come up randomly than one that went “heads, tails, heads, tails, heads,” even though they’re equally probable.”
I understand his view point. I have friends who take it as a sign whenever they see a repeated number. And there is also the fact that you start noticing more of what you focus on. You’re on the market for a Jeep Liberty, and all of a sudden you see them everywhere. They were always there, you just never noticed them as much. To me, those are not “true” synchronicities. But I believe that certain synchronous events are really out of ordinary (including noticing the same repeated numbers repeatedly, within a short period of time) and are a little nudge from the Universe, telling you to pay attention or confirming that you’re going the right way.
UnderstandingUncertainty.org is a site that collects coincidences and analyzes them, to explore the scientific explanations which may account for them. Although I find it interesting, I know by experience that sometimes there is a lot more to it than what can be explained scientifically.
In this article on Beliefnet.com, Deepak Chopra states that coincidences are not accidents but signals from the universe which can guide us toward our true destiny: “When a coincidence arises, don’t ignore it. Ask yourself, What is the message here? What is the significance of this? You don’t need to go digging for the answers. Ask the question, and the answers will emerge. They may arrive as a sudden insight, a spontaneous creative experience, or they may be something very different. Perhaps you will meet a person who is somehow related to the coincidence that occurred. An encounter, a relationship, a chance meeting, a situation, a circumstance will immediately give you a clue to its meaning. ‘Oh, so that’s what it was all about!'”
The best explanation about the meaning of synchronicities I’ve found so far comes from Jerry Hocek, publisher at Natural Awakenings Magazine of Northern New Jersey: “An increased frequency of synchronicities means that you’re on track with your journey. When we resist change or remain stuck in old patterns that we could be moving past, the synchronicities come less frequently. That’s as simple as it gets.”