The Universe is a continuous web. Touch it at any point and the whole web quivers.
I woke up on Monday morning and my first thought was: I need to get the garbage out to the curb for the weekly early morning pickup. I did what I could to get ready for the beginning of the work week, but neglected to remember to carry out the trash. As I sat down to eat my breakfast I picked up a novel that I had left on the table the night before and as the book opened the following passage leapt out at me: “….and he saw the trash truck approaching as it rumbled through the neighborhood.” I was shocked to be so aptly reminded of what I had forgotten, and at that very moment, I felt the low level vibration of the garbage trucks as they made their way towards my home.
I was experiencing the phenomenon that Jung called synchronicity. Jung developed the concept of synchronicity and defined it as an “acausal connecting principle,” an experience of a meaningful connection between our psyche and the outside world. Arthur Koestler explains synchronicity as, “the seemingly accidental meeting of two unrelated causal chains in a coincidental event which appears both highly improbable and highly significant.”
That particular encounter with the mysterious coincidences that occur in our daily lives not only made me jump and run to get my chore done, but it also made me smile to be reminded of such an ordinary event In such a profound way. I marvel at these moments that nudge me towards a continuing realization of how each of us, in our very human lives, are a part of all that makes up the universe, including those events and circumstances of which we might not be consciously aware.
Jung says that, “The realization of the Self also means a re-establishment of man as the microcosm, i.e., man’s cosmic relatedness. Such realizations are frequently accompanied by synchronistic events.” These meaningful coincidences cause me to wonder how my life might be affected if I could become more attuned and responsive to the spontaneous connections that are manifesting in my life each day. I’m encouraged to attend to these intimations that suggest we are participating in a larger reality.
Many of the meaningful relationships between the outside world and our psyches may arise and yet remain undiscovered in us. I do believe that we can become more sensitive to those events when they do occur. It seems to me synchronicity is more likely to happen when we are in the flow of life following our own inner direction, following our dreams, and confronting our fears. Jung suggests that the way the unconscious relates to us is a reflection of our attitude towards the unconscious. If that is so, then it behooves us to examine how we do relate to our unconscious and the collective unconscious. As people who are interested in Jungian psychology, we tend to seek out and cultivate the processes that awaken and support the inner explorer and help us to discover and connect with our own teleology.
Sometimes I get the feeling that my life is moving too fast, or that I’m moving too fast through my life to notice when something causes a ripple on the surface of the water. I cherish those moments when I am quiet inside myself and am able to be curious about what that ripple is connected to–what that ripple means.
Cynthia A. Candelaria, Ed.D., LPC, Jungian Analyst