Synchronicity and Meaning
Have you ever experienced a significant coincidence that seemed too unlikely to be due to chance? These eerie coincidences can come in many forms. I was recently considering taking a flight to Europe, when I reconnected with two different friends who I hadn’t seen in years, both with upcoming flights as well. It seemed like a sign, like an opportunity to connect the dots and take part in a larger picture. I felt there was some greater force at work behind this lining up of events.
The term ‘synchronicity’ was coined by Carl Jung, a German psychologist. The premise of the word is that most related events are ‘causal', whereas synchronistic events have no causal relationship, but are nonetheless connected in meaning. For example, a glass of water on a table will fall to the ground and shatter if I push it. One event leads logically, causally, into the other through known forces.
But what if I have a dream of a glass of water falling to the ground, and that morning in the kitchen my friend actually drops a glass of water? Or in a recent personal case, my friend had a dream of her two computers being stolen, and shortly after both my and my host’s computers were stolen from the apartment we were staying at while we slept. Certainly the dream didn’t ‘cause’ the thefts, yet the two experiences were meaningfully related.
Meaningful patterns devoid of logical explanations exist throughout the universe, especially in mathematics, in prime numbers in particular. Prime numbers cannot be divided by any other number, which makes them unique. All other numbers are composite numbers, and are the products of prime numbers. In this way, prime numbers are like the sun, unique and standing on their own, whereas the other numbers, composite numbers, are like the moon, reflections only.
Mathematicians have dedicated much time to trying to find the pattern behind prime numbers, an equation that describes all prime numbers, that brings logic to explain their occurrence. But this has so far been impossible. The power of mathematics itself, which can be used to describe both galaxies and atoms, cannot explain the pattern of prime numbers.
In our lives, there are similar phenomena that are meaning-full but cannot be explained by logic. Samadhi, for one, a state of complete joy, union with divinity, and presence, cannot be accessed through step by step instruction nor can it's experience be related through word. The universal Om, the concept of nothingness, and the state of Being all are ideas that defy logic and explanation. Like prime numbers, these states are part of the unique building blocks of the human experience.
Our communities follow these patterns as well. Our lives extend between each of us and out towards each other, towards everything in the universe, like a web or an energetic field between unique points. Sometimes our lives, our field, is affected by something that is so far outside of us, we cannot explain it through logic or cause and effect, and yet we are sure that we have been moved in an intelligent direction. A life changing experience, for instance, can arise from as small a fact as a delayed flight. Sometimes synchronicity brings pain and sorrow, and other times openness and joy, like the currents of the sea carrying us closer or farther to the shore.
Early this year I went running with a friend of mine, B. It was an uncommon visit and a rare activity for us both to do. Shortly into the run, B began feeling pain in his shins. We dismissed it as shin splints. However, during a move into his new apartment, B began feeling the pain again. A doctor check up would later reveal a rare form of bone cancer. Oddly, his recent move relocated him 2 hours closer to his hospital and his new roommate was a cancer survivor who offered much needed support and advice. What a difficult and tragic synchronicity, Shiva's bow tearing through plans, breaking hearts and trailing tears.
While the universe has a pattern, a bigger picture that can sometimes be seen through these synchronicities, it doesn't honor fairness or subscribe to good or evil. Like the ocean, the universe buoys and drowns indiscriminately.
The series of numbers continues to infinity as does the series of moments we live, each one stringing one after the other, like beads on a Mala. Synchronistic moments in our lives shine like diamonds on the chain, like prime numbers in the series. Whether we believe in a greater picture or not, whether the picture brings us joy or suffering, the universe has a structure to it, beyond ‘good’ and ‘bad’, beyond explanation and logic, and we exist both within and are made from that framework.
We may not be able to understand it, calculate it, or even be aware of it, but we are a part of that universal web. Like the flower that emerges from the seed, grows bright and beautiful, and then wilts and dies, so does everything contain life, death, and, in if we can view the cycle as a whole, beauty.
I met Kula's Coby and Ananda on a surf trip to Troncones. They held my first cacao ceremony, but not my last. I returned to my job in San Francisco, but later after quitting, I'd meet back up with them in Peru for more ceremony. I help the Kula market their life-changing trainings and retreats - it's a perfect way to promote openness in the world and follow my internal compass towards the nomadic life.
On this journey, I've been learning about community living, natural building, permaculture, and present moment living. In personal relationships, I adopt Don Miguel Ruiz's 4 Agreements. In making any risky decision, I try to remember: “If you assume that there is no hope, you guarantee that there will be no hope. If you assume that there is an instinct for freedom, that there are opportunities to change things, then there is a possibility that you can contribute to making a better world.” - Noam Chomsky