What is Synchronicity?

Question MarklThis subject was not one of the original ones that appeared on the web-site even though I was constantly having experiences of thinking of someone and then they would come into my life almost immediately via a phone call, email, or a Facebook posting.

But one day, when I was once again staying overnight at a good friend’s home in Vancouver, I noticed a book on one of her shelves and she kindly lent it to me. So, the edited text that follows is taken from the second edition of Synchronicity by Allan Combs and Mark Holland, published by Marlowe & Company, a Division of Avalon Publishing Group, USA, 2001).

In that connection,  just two weeks ago, (September 26th, 2014), I was sitting in a Vancouver cafe reading her book,  while waiting for Maria to join me for lunch, when I wondered ~ since i was on the mainland ~ how two long-term friends now living in near-by White Rock were doing. When I looked at me emails that night, there was a picture of the two of them smiling happily beside a Sold Sign on their front lawn! The next night I went to an evening lecture in Victoria given by the internationally renowned author, medical doctor and Jungian analyst, Jean Shinoda Bolen, and she began her presentation by talking about Synchronicity!

So, as far as I was concerned, that was more than ample evidence to support my belief that, at some level, we are all interconnected and that everything in the cosmos is one whole. And that belief found support when the authors wrote: The experience of synchronicity gives us the sense of being on the receiving end of the downstream side of a much greater process, a process that has not only breadth but also a vertical, or value dimension. The breadth is the size of the process in terms of the numbers of people and events it touches, The dimension of value is experienced as a sense of meaning, purpose, or wonder –  in Jung’s terms, numinosity.

The idea that the cosmos has a vertical structure as well as a lateral one is historically very old. Aside from visions of higher realms such as the dwelling places of the gods  … [and Goddesses!!] …or departed souls, in certain instances such vertical structures interact directly with the physical world of the living.

And I am tempted to label that notion as metaphysical in contrast to the many pages at the beginning of the book  that they devoted to the physical roots between synchronicity and science as revealed  through the work of the quantum physicists, Neils Bohr, Werner Heisenberg, John Bell and David Bohm; biologist Rupert Sheldrake with his theory of morphological fields, and systems theorist, Ervin Lazlo, all of which I would call heavy duty stuff, so my challenge here has been to keep things as simple and understandable as possible.

So, in that vein, I begin with a simple definition from the authors: “Synchronicity often involves a coincidence of separate events that seem connected in a way that makes sense only outside the usual limited ideas of causality…. Such dramatic interventions produce an immediate and palpable sense that something more than blind coincidence is working behind the scenes of life’s dramas.”

Hence Robin Robertson’s comment that “Synchronicity marks the points at which the personal and the transcendent come together in each of our lives”.

Arthur Koestler, they also write, described Synchronicity as “a type of phenomenon, even more mysterious than telepathy or precognition which has puzzled man since the dawn of mythology: the seemingly accidental meeting of two unrelated causal chains in a coincidental event which appears both highly improbable and highly significant.”

They continue, and I have not put any of this in italics, so that I can avoid having to find another way of distinguishing the quotes of others:

Synchronicity implies a cosmos in which seemingly unrelated events are woven together to form a continuous world fabric. Such a cosmos does not square with the classical, mechanistic physics that views the universe as a loose assemblage of objects, forces and energy…. Beginning with Einstein the entire cosmos became an undivided whole.

But it is said that the idea of synchronicity, a term first named by him, came to Carl Gustav Jung during a dinner conversation with Einstein. Later, Jung would describe synchronicity as “the outward manifestation of a process that also had an inner psychological component represented by the archetypes of the collective unconscious”. Said differently, this suggests that synchronicity is rooted in the deepest levels of the human psyche, which Jung called the unus mundus. In other words, meaningful coincidences were merely the surface effects of a deeper more holistic reality. i.e. synchronicity provides a clue to a marriage between the essence of human nature and the external world of physical reality.

But it was Ira Progoff, one of his most accomplished students of synchronicity who took that concept even further by suggesting that synchronicity is actually a direct manifestation of a higher reality, and thus provides the organizing principle necessary to support Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s vision of a higher level of being, a global consciousness which the latter called the Omega point. of which the authors write: Perhaps the most ambitious effort in recent times to visualize a world structure with a clearly vertical dimension. And one that has meaning for synchronicity is in his work

Note: De Chardin was writing in the 1930’s and 40’s. Subsequently, the Indian mystic, Rajneesh, or Osho, would talk about the vertical dimension of the cosmos, as would, in our time, the brilliant transpersonal psychologist, Ken Wilber.

The authors continue:

The omega point represents a quantum leap in global evolution. The omega point is to the individual minds which form it as the individual human mind is to the neurons which form the brain. Like the human mind the omega point has its own emergent and qualitatively higher properties. It has a transcendent mystical dimension, and at the same time it unifies and centralizes the activities of its constituent minds….This process occurs, not through loss of individuality, but through a mutual unfolding of the most personal inwardness of each individual with other individuals. In a word the omega point is the fruit of that most essential of inner experiences- love.

And Love is what this web-site is all about.