A friend of mine says, “There’s no such thing as coincidence”. He enjoys challenging me with miraculous possibilities. Whenever he hears about a miracle he asks with a curious tone, “Coincidence”? Thus challenging my sensibilities.
It begs the question, “Is there such a thing as coincidence”? What about the idea of synchronicity? Webster’s dictionary defines synchronicity as “the coincidental occurrence of events and especially psychic events”.
In his essay “On Synchronicity”, Dr. Carl Jung, the author of this concept, works around the definition by explaining incidents of synchronicity. “The term has something to do with time or simultaneity — meaningful coincidence of two or more events”. Jung addresses his own encounters in the essay and addresses experiences of improbable instances coming to fruition.
Jung’s first awareness of “meaningful coincidence” came from an experience with one of his patients. He writes about “a young woman patient who proved to be psychologically inaccessible. She was literal, overly rational and had a geometrical idea of reality”. Jung noted, “After several fruitless attempts to sweeten her rationalism with a somewhat more human understanding, I had to confine myself to the hope that something unexpected and irrational would turn up”. He was hoping to teach her a lesson about the world and her relation to it.
She was telling him about a dream that someone had given her a golden scarab. While she was speaking, he heard something tapping on the window and it was an insect trying to get into the room. It seemed strange to him. He opened the window and the insect flew in. Dr. Jung caught the insect and it was a rose chafer beetle whose gold green color resembles that of a gold scarab. He handed the beetle to her saying “Here is your scarab”.
I had a similar thing happen to me. I used to teach at a school in Los Angeles. One parent night I was addressing the parents of a class whose daughters were taking World Religions. I was talking about how religions can help us see things in new ways and how things happen in life to inform who we are and spiritual exercises help us gain understanding. A Zen moment then happened to me.
A moth started to dive bomb and distract the parents from what I was saying. Addressing the elephant in the room, I said, “Is that moth bothering you?” I joked that this was a class pet. I called to the moth, “Come here, buddy”, and held out my index finger. The moth landed right on my finger. One of the parents gasped in shock. I paused and said. “This is Zen. Do you mind if we take a moment to observe this? I then began to talk about the concept of Zen Buddhism while the bug was on my finger. One of the fathers tried to open the window so I could release it, but couldn’t open it. I therefore addressed the moth and told it to “stop being a pest”. I waved it off and it shot down to my leg. It was pacified and didn’t bother us again. A father came up to me after and said laughing, “I thought you planned that. That was one of the best spiritual exercises I’ve ever seen”. Synchronicity.
One of the most shocking experiences of a psychic experience of synchronicity was an encounter of a woman who had thoughts about her son. She was bothered by his mental stresses and her maternal instinct kicked in one night. The mother felt a shooting pain going through her head. She intuited that her son was in trouble in the middle of the night and tried to call him. Living in another state, it was impossible for her to check in on him personally. She called the police and the police entered his apartment only to find that the woman’s son had killed himself by a gunshot wound to the center of the head.
Dr. Stephan Hoeller, an authority on Carl Jung, states that for the most part we live in a cause and effect world”. For every action there is a reaction. He states, “There are things that happen in life that are beyond the realm of cause and effect…
Woven into the world of causality and time there are all these other dimensional elements. There is something else”. He notes, metaphorically speaking, “there is a “web” of the holy other that runs through the external world unrecognized. Under certain strange circumstances portions of the web come out in your consciousness and awareness”.
Miraculous experiences beyond our comprehension manifest every now and then. Such circumstances awaken us to this realm of mystery and teach us in ways we cannot comprehend. As advanced as we are in our scientific world and technological understanding, a world beyond us inspires us to go further in exploring other dimensions of reality.
Although we have connected the dots in physics and the order of things, there are meanings within the psyche that need to be unlocked. These expressions of grace are signs that we can attune to the mystery of the universe and perceive that which is seemingly imperceptible.
These miracles beg the question of free will vs. God’s will. Why does God intercede for some cases and not for others? Can we attune to the harmony of the universe or does the universe open itself to us in order for us to want to attune to it?
Some mystics suggest we are blind to miracles happening all around us. These questions will always antagonize us to go deeper. Jung wrote, “Synchronicity is an ever present reality to those who have eyes to see”.
In the larger scheme of things, though, it is as if these extraordinary circumstances are created to help us see the world in multi-dimensional ways. We do not need to know all the answers, we just need to see that there is more and this offers creative possibilities to see the world, experience the world, and dream the world in magnificent, mind-boggling ways.