Synchronicity is defined as “the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related, but have no discernible causal connection.” We have all had this type of experience at some point in our lives. I think most people shrug it off as simply an interesting or unusual coincidence. But is that all it really is?
The term synchronicity was coined by psychiatrist Carl Jung. The concept was inspired by a patient’s case. One night, that patient dreamt of a golden scarab (the cetonia aurata beetle). During the next day’s session, a real insect hit against Jung’s cabinet window. Jung caught it and discovered surprisingly that it was a rare golden scarab.
The idea of synchronicity is all about coincidence; in this case, between the scarab dreamed of by the patient and its appearance in reality. This is certainly not an isolated event. No one really understands the phenomenon, but its daily occurrence in people lives throughout the world is undeniable.
So what can we learn from it? How is synchronicity relevant in our daily lives?
Because we like to live in a world where everything can be explained by the physical dimension, it’s difficult to accept things that have a supernatural or unexplained condition. However, regardless of our likes or dislikes, the fact is there are a great many things that occur in our daily lives that can’t always be explained by our knowledge of physics.
How does this affect our daily grind, especially as it pertains to running a business or building a product? Things that can’t be explained should never be ignored simply because we don’t understand them. Consider the era of time when man believed the Earth was flat or that the planets revolved around the Earth and not the sun. In that world they believed a lie. It wasn’t that they wanted to believe a lie, it was just a simple matter of not having enough knowledge and information to correctly assess how the universe was created.
In like manner, we might have dreams, visions or a sense of dejà vu that are really trying to tell us something. Just because we don’t understand it does not eliminate its legitimacy. We must learn to examine everything that comes across our plate — every time and every day. If you can’t explain something, set it aside for another time. The unknown phenomenon you encounter could actually provide key information you need to make a decision or be that missing link to a life-changing experience.
Remember, don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.
Whenever an event of synchronicity occurs, our first instinct is probably going to be to consider it a coincidence. It’s the most logical way to process information that can’t be explained. But is it really a coincidence? I’ve had dozens of dreams through the years that manifested themselves into reality. I’m not necessarily talking about a dream that gave me an idea to pursue (even though these, too, can be considered an event of synchronicity), but rather an inexplicable and random event that meant nothing at the time, but later manifested itself into my life experience.
Given the nature of the vast number of dreams and instances of dejà vu we have, it’s probably safe to assume that not all of them have a significant meaning in our life’s journey. However, because some of them could hold secrets to the unknown, it makes sense to catalog them into the recesses of our mind for a later date.
My point, as mentioned above, is not to throw every random thought into the trash, but learn how to learn from them. Once you decide to expand your knowledge, you always find a way to help that process occur. Because all of us are unique and have different ways to acquire information, it’s important to realize there is no formula for deciphering the language of synchronicity. It’s up to you to figure it out.
There are three things you must do to begin this learning process:
Have an open mind: Nobody ever gains knowledge and wisdom with a closed one. If you have preconceived ideas that filter out new concepts or different ways of looking at the same thing, you’ll never grow in understanding. And you’ll certainly shut the door on getting anything out of the concept of synchronicity.
Learn to recognize when synchronicity is laying the groundwork: This really isn’t as hard as you might think. “Red flags” and “gut feelings” pretty much describe how it starts. You just need to train yourself to pay attention to the signs.
Keep track of synchronicity events as they occur: Whether you keep a logbook or simply make a mental note, looking for common traits is critical to determining if and when the process is happening.
Fitting the puzzle pieces
Chances are, we might never be able to understand how synchronicity works. In fact, Jung might have opened our eyes, but could very well be leading us in the wrong direction on what is really happening. Nonetheless, something we can’t understand is happening and that something could be beneficial to you.
Because the term we’re talking about is a conceptual theory and not a proven law, there are currently no rules to govern its exploration. It could almost be compared to working a jigsaw puzzle with the pieces turned upside down. Without any colors or shapes to help put the pieces together, the task would be so insurmountable you most likely would not even bother with the attempt — regardless of the benefits in assembly. However, there are some clues given that will help decipher the puzzle if you’re willing to learn.
Even a casual study of Jung’s observations will reveal a wealth of information of documented events that prove synchronicity is not an isolated occurrence. In addition, even your own gut feelings — which we all have by the way — give credence to this unexplained phenomenon.
In summary, I’d like to emphasize once again that synchronicity is indeed only a theory. The reason I want to remind you of this is twofold. First, theories are usually based on facts, but not always provable. This leads to many abstract definitions that might or might not be in line with the original premise. Secondly, until proven otherwise, you’re the only one that can make sense of, benefit from and put into practice the fruit that synchronicity seems to offer.
The bottom line is how open are you to growth? Exploring the things we don’t understand in addition to those we do, all lead to a more complete life experience. I would never endorse putting all your energies into a concept that does not yet have a benchmark of practice. Instead, crafting your business on time-proven principles is the safe bet for success. Nevertheless, making a small investment in a phenomenon that we all encounter, yet no one understands, could prove to be beneficial to you in ways you can’t even imagine.
This article originally appeared in the May 2015 issue.