Astounding coincidences are all around us but are they just a random series of events or can we find hidden meaning behind them?
The answer may depend on your belief in synchronicity. Synchronicity can be defined as a meaningful coincidence. When you notice something improbable but yet undeniably significant which leaves you wondering if there is a grand design compared to just chance.
Some examples of synchronicity in your life may be:
- Overhearing strangers talk about something that is important to you.
- Bumping into the right person at exactly the right time.
- Noticing the same repeated symbols where ever you go.
- Getting the message you needed at exactly the right time.
- Looking at the clock at the same time multiple days in a row.
- Signs in life that seem to lead you to something important, this could be a new job, a new relationship or many other significant life events.
Taking a look at some of the most popular world views from sceptic to spiritualist.
- Sceptic’s see synchronicity as a phenomenon called ‘Apophenia’ which is the tendency to see connections in unrelated experiences.
- Behaviouralists would define synchronicity as a form of confirmation bias. More on this later.
- Quantum physicists can attribute this to the universal consciousness an underlying essence of all being in the universe.
- Jungian Psychologists believe, that much like the quantum physics model, synchronicity comes from a collective consciousness.
- Hindus see it as the manifestation of ‘Brahman’, this is the connection of everything in the universe.
- Some Spiritualists believe synchronicity comes from the higher consciousness or soul.
Coincidence- “A remarkable concurrence of events or circumstances without apparent causal connection.”
To put it bluntly, mainstream science denies the significance of a coincidence. That synchronicity is considered a pseudoscience because it can not be tested or falsified, much like many of the bigger questions in life. Science uses two main concepts to describe how synchronicities are just mere coincidences and nothing more.
Confirmation bias– A person is more likely to use the information they have gained to confirm their beliefs while also disregarding information that contradicts their preconceptions.
A 2015 study published in new ideas in psychology reported that meaningful coincidences are “an inevitable consequence of the mind searching for causal structure in reality.” Meaning that we are built to see the patterns and put meaning to them. A great example of this is how well a human can recognise a face, looking at the basics of an emoji we see a face and yet the simplest emoji’s are just two dots, a line and a circle. This is the visual form of Apophenia known as Pareidolia.
The law of truly large numbers– This uses statistics to state that given enough time and enough numbers any strange event is likely to happen by mere chance.
Take a million eggs, 1 of them is boiled. Eventually and with enough time you will pick up the boiled egg which you will notice and see as significant because the thousands of other ones are just the same normal eggs where this one is special. Carl Jung himself argued against using statistics to evaluate synchronicity, stating that it ignores the uniqueness of the individual case whereas synchronicity is the opposite, it tries to investigate that uniqueness.
The intuitive mind communicates with us through signs and omens known as synchronicity. This is the way of our intuitive mind or even our higher consciousness guiding us. This can relate to the connection between the consciousness, intuitive mind and the superconsciousness.
The harmony of energy, the universe is made up of vibrating atoms and the atoms themselves are made of energy, this oneness and total connectivity can sync together to show signs of synchronicity. Everything is a lot more connected than it looks.
Law of attraction theory, this states that good or bad events are caused by thoughts and feelings that the universe is a reflection of our inner universe. If we are feeling and thinking on a higher level we can see the benevolent signs of synchronicity shining through.
Extrasensory perception or ESP could manifest synchronicity. If we foresee an event happening and then it happens as an example we think about a particular friend calling, and then the phone starts to ring to find that friend on the line.
Robert Todd Carroll, in his book The Skeptics Dictionary, explains how that even if “certain coincidences had a transcendental truth, there would still be the problem of figuring out those truths.” That there is no scientific way to determine how much validity synchronicity has and that it is all personal opinion, experience and flexible definitions.
The patterns of reality
As humans, it is natural for us to pick up on patterns to see something one day and then to notice it the next day thinking that this is too much of a significant coincidence to just be chance. Yet the thousands of other things you see for the first time you would not take anything other than a casual interest in.
Imagine a friend mentions an event happening in the next few weeks, you say to your self ‘if it is right I will go’. The next day another friend comes to you and tell you about the same event which feels like a meaningful coincidence because the two friends do not know each other. This gives you the belief that it is meant to be, and so you buy a ticket. Although they have a friend in common, a person that is publicising this event and has told both of them that they should go.
Looking from an outsider point of view the chain of events makes sense but from a personal point of view, it feels significant, like a meaningful coincidence, a synchronicity. There is no wrong way of explaining this, on one hand, it is a simple coincidence easy to explain from behind the scenes and on the other hand, you can give it meaning. By definition, a synchronicity is what it means to you at the time. You go to this event and have a great time maybe you meet a new friend or find a new lover, this gives a significant meaning to the coincidence. Maybe you go to the event and do not have a great time but it still has meaning because you know now you do not like these kinds of events. Whether it is life-changing or not you can find meaning anywhere and it is the meaning that has importance. With this meaning, you can believe that you are on a path and this belief allows you to commit to parts of your life that you would otherwise not have, within this commitment is new experiences, new ways of learning and new ways of creation.
I personally believe that some things are not meant to be proven by science that it is the uncertainty and curiosity that allows us to grow, I do not mean to have blind faith in synchronicity but to instead be experimental in mind. To take what you know to be true and build upon it based on the experiences you have. I have found meaning in the signs, meaning that has filled my existence and pushed me forward in times of hardship and sorrow. I look back on it now and see how if I had not believed in something of a pattern to this world I would not have found nor taken the opportunities I needed to continue on my path in life.
“When you remain connected to the Divine, She will speak to you — in patterns and connections, signs and synchronicities, and all sorts of gifts. When magic rises to the surface of your awareness, and your life, you know you’re blessed. It makes life a wild adventure. It’s also a source of incredible strength, coming to you when you most need it” … – Phyllis Curott
Whether your a sceptic or not, driven by science or spirituality I encourage you to take action and see where it leads.
Mathematician David Hand tells us that certain people are more prone to meaningful coincidences but all of of us can learn to cultivate them. “the more you notice the events the more they happen” so if you want to feel as if the world is more of a magical place then try these strategies:
Keep your mind open- Coincidences are all around so keep your senses open to the possibility of coincidences and you will be more likely to notice them.
Talking to strangers- Coincidences often arise by talking to someone who you do not know because how else are you going to find out that this stranger has the same birthday as you or was born in the same hospital hundreds of miles away from where you are now.
Seek meaning- Whether it is through repeated numbers or bumping into the right person at exactly the right time take meaning away from this.
Keep a journal- The more coincidences you notice, the more likely they are to happen to you.