Coincidence or Synchronicity

While researching a book and corresponding with a number of people about their experiences of coincidence, a high proportion of the people objected to the word coincidence. For instance Roseanne James wrote, ‘Is there such a thing as coincidence, do you think? Or is there order and pattern in the universe? I seem to have encountered strange coincidences all my life, and I no longer believe they are random events, but are evidence of some larger design. Or perhaps even evidence of events, things, or people we are manifesting into our lives by our very desires.’

Nancy Staack expresses the same view, but in a slightly different way. She says, ‘I believe there really are no coincidences in life. God is talking to us constantly – to show us the way, to ease our self-imposed troubles, to light our path – we just don’t listen very well most of the time. He’s fairly screaming at us, but we’re surrounded by so much noise we can’t hear. All we need do is just BE and listen.’

In a similar theme, Toni Turnbaugh writes, ‘I don’t believe in coincidence, I believe a higher power is the key.’

Of course many people hold a totally opposing viewpoint. For them there is no mysterious link between individuals. No hidden process in nature links us one with another. There is only blind fate and unfortunate chance. Their argument is that we are all swept along by uncaring impersonal forces. We may be the victims or we may be the benefactors. Strangely enough such arguments are often mixed with ideas such as the strongest or most ruthless will succeed. Or perhaps that only by personal effort or playing the game right can we succeed, thereby suggesting the world responds to what we do. It is not therefore a game of chance.

In practical ways the concept of separation does not make sense. The clothes we wear, the food we eat, the house we live in and the materials it is made of, all arise out of collective skill, co-operative effort and knowledge. We exist in this collective creativity all the time. We depend upon it but perhaps seldom acknowledge it.

Even our mind is not wholly our own. The building block of self-awareness and thinking – language – is not personally created. We inherited it ready made by countless other people. Even our ideas and viewpoints are seldom unique to ourselves. Many of the things we do or strive for are meaningless if there were not other people to share them with and respond to us. Our opinion of ourselves, our self-esteem, and our feeling of well-being are largely dependent upon relationships with other people.

Our connection with the environment is even more total. Without air we would die in a few minutes. Without fluid our death would take a little longer, perhaps a few days. Absence of food is the longest death, even so we are completely dependent on the plants and animals that are the basis of our food. And they, and therefore we, are dependent on the intricate web of living processes involving weather, water, soil nutrients, bacteria in the soil, insect pollination of plants – in fact the great web of life. We are all – humans, animals, insects, and plants – totally connected with the energy of the sun and the substance of the earth. The sun is dying, and in its death pours out 90% of the energy all living creatures on this earth need. In a similar way the earth also dies as it gives up its energy and resources to living creatures.

As individuals the life that arises out of this constant streaming energy, not only from the sun and the earth, but also from other creatures that have lived, feeds our own pulsing life form.

Even so, the question confronting many people is whether all this connectivity is simply a chemical and biological accident. They might say such connectivity happened because it works. Meaningful coincidences question this viewpoint. Quantum physics, in demonstrating that two widely distant particles can immediately communicate, also punches a hole in the structure of the argument. If a simple particle can communicate beyond the speed of light, why not the consciousness of a human being?

While working with my friends John and Ann Clemence, who own the Capstone Hotel in Ilfracombe, Devon, I was helping to repair a flat roof on their house. The house is about a mile away from the hotel. As I was working on the roof, John told me that he was returning to the hotel. It had been a bitterly cold winter and John was gradually readying the hotel for the coming season. Time passed as I worked and suddenly I heard John shout my name twice. This seemed strange as I had not heard him return. The tone of his voice was very urgent, so I climbed from the roof and looked for him. I could not find him in the garden so looked through the house. He was nowhere to be seen. I stood puzzling over this for a few moments when the telephone rang in the house. Answering it I heard John excitedly shout my name twice, he had turned on the water mains in the hotel and discovered massive leaks due to frost damage. On discovering the leaks he had run from an upper floor to the telephone to get my help.

It seemed to me that John had mentally shouted my name as soon as he had seen the leaks. I heard that call over a mile away.

You and I be of one blood…

Whether we are a mother, a factory worker, a scientist, a business person, or a new born baby, no matter how much we know, life is still a mystery. At the beginning of a university textbook on biology, it states a summary of what is understood in regard to living creatures. It ends by saying that despite all present knowledge we still confront the fact that life is a mystery. Despite thousands of years of human inquiry, despite hundreds of years of scientific investigation, life is still a mystery. It therefore ennobles us if we stand before this mystery with some humility. This humility might include the attitude that as we do not fully know what this mystery is, we cannot be definite about what it is not. If the coincidences that occur in your life, or that I have described in this book, reveal a little more of that mystery, stand before it with a glad heart.

The gladness might arise because the implications emerging from the few coincidences given are immense. They do not simply implying that we have psychic abilities, or that our consciousness can experience things at a distance from our body. Those are piddling little things compared with the major implications. If John’s call reached me at the amplification it did, what is reaching and influencing me beneath my awareness? What is pouring out from my life and thought, and how is it influencing others around the world?

When I look at almost any row of houses, the attitudes of the people living in them are obvious from the condition of the house. One house will look flourishing and alive with plant’s, while the house next door appears devastated, it’s garden full of cans and rubbish. And that is only the surface, only the most physical and obvious of the creative and destructive influence we all have on our environment.

We all take part in creating the world. This creativity or devastation arises out of our attitudes, our emotions, our love or anger. Lynton K. Caldwell, in the book Environmental Science, writes, ‘The environmental crisis is an outward manifestation of a crisis of mind and spirit. There could be no greater misconception of its meaning than to believe it is concerned only with endangered wildlife, human-made ugliness, and pollution. These are part of it, but more importantly, the crisis is concerned with the kind of creatures we are and what we must become in order to survive.’[i]

The implications of coincidences point out that:

  • You are an integral part of this planet.
  • You are an integral part of the universe.
  • Your mind is linked with the mind of others.
  • You are a co-creator of the world around you.
  • Your existence can never be separated from the existence of the universe. It is as ageless and as timeless as Creation.

This is not about politics. This is not about religion or weird beliefs. It is not about expecting other people to do for you what you can do for yourself. It is about recognising your dignity and place in the scheme of things and living your life from that joy.

Knowing your connection with things, you can dare to take creative chances, you can dare to stretch your wings and perhaps even fly. You can dare to walk on the wild side. For most of us, great coincidences do not happen frequently, but we can certainly increase them by living our life with zest.

If you doubt this is possible I want to remind you that the resources of the universe are standing off-stage waiting to be called. You may not understand fully what these resources are, but living with daring will call upon them more fully than hiding in a shell of separateness or anxiety. If you don’t believe this, read what happens to these ordinary people when their resources are tapped.

While at work one day in a large restaurant kitchen, I was cleaning a work surface during the lull before customers crowded in for their lunchtime break. About 12 ft away the boss, a man in his 60’s, was talking to the head waitress Flo, a woman also in her 60’s. They were conversing idly about the weather and how many customers were about for the season. Occasionally I glanced up at them from my work, but I was in no way trying to analyse them. Without any warning or apparent reason I could suddenly see both of them in a completely new way. It seemed to me as if a new sensory organ had opened, one I had never experienced before. With this new sense each tiny movement Flo and Boss made exploded with information. Subtle changes in facial expression I had never perceived before were now visible and meaningful. It even seemed as if I could sense an enormous energy connection between the two. And what I understood through this new sense was that Flo and Boss at some time had engaged in sexual intercourse with each other. I was in my 30’s at the time, and silly as it may seem, the idea that these two 60 year olds could have sex with each other had never entered my mind. Along with this realisation came the vision of a great trunk of energy passing between them. Although on the surface their actions and speech were inconsequential, at the deeper level of energy exchange, very powerful communication was occurring. I saw that when two people have sex with each other they forge this link. Through it they send messages to each other perhaps without realising it. The link may last a lifetime.

I was so surprised and intrigued by what had happened I asked Flo if she’d had a sexual relationship with Boss. With only slight embarrassment she said it was true, they did have a sexual relationship. She added that she would never look into my eyes again, suggesting I had some sort of psychic power. This was not true, I had never experienced such insight before, nor have I since.

We may be tempted, like Flo, to explain such accurate intuitions, coinciding as they do with reality, as arising from a psychic ability, or the intervention of spirits. This need not be the case. If, as Bohm suggests, we are at all times at-one with the universe, such insights are a natural part of our connection, unless we have barriers in the way. Such coincidences are therefore a normal part of our experience. This will be considered more fully in a later chapter.

The next example of walking on the wild side, was described in Victor Mansfield’s book, Synchronicity, Science, and Soul Making. All the cases he includes are written anonymously at his request:

Helen – I will give her that name – is a university lecturer. She was walking to the University and needed to cross a four-lane highway at an intersection. When the road was clear she started to walk across but without warning a car sped from a side turning. The vehicle hit Helen and she was thrown high into the air by the impact. As if in slow motion, Helen watched the woman in the car clutch her head in horror, as she watched the person she had hit bounce off the bonnet into the air. Helen, now in a timeless and transcendent awareness, was separated even from her own body. She watched the car below her pull to a halt. She could see her body hanging in space. She felt herself beyond danger, beyond time, existing in an eternal awareness.

As the car stopped and the driver stepped out, Helen’s body fell to the ground. As it did so she once more experienced life through her senses. Knocked completely out of her shoes by the impact, they were lying in another lane of traffic. The driver retrieved them for her, and with concern asked how she was. Strangely, apart from a small bruise on her little finger and left hip, Helen was shaken but unhurt. After exchanging information with the driver for the sake of insurance, Helen walked back to her house to report the accident. She later went to the University to teach a group critique in graduate art. Although unharmed, something had changed. She felt intense love for everybody around her. The exchanges between herself and the student’s felt inspired, and as if bathed in a flowing energy carried over from her moments in the transcendent timelessness. She felt it to be the most profound class she had ever taken.

However, on returning home, a different reality caught up with her. Her critical mind began to tear the experience apart. Her out-of-body experience and her awareness of timelessness, could easily have been the result of shock, and an attempt to avoid pain. As the beauty and love she had been experiencing was torn from her, she wept. She cried out, ‘Oh please, please don’t let me lose this!’ At the moment of her cry there was a knock at the door. A women Helen did not know explained that she wondered how Helen was, because she had witnessed the car accident. The woman went on to say that she had told all her friends at work because she had never seen anything like it before. When Helen asked what the woman meant, the woman said, ‘Why, you went up in the air and didn’t come down!’

This objective witness of her own experience was all Helen needed to renew the connection with the light and the love she had felt. She writes, ‘My ordinary life was lifted above the physical laws that seem to govern it, and the door opened a crack to another reality. Now in my higher moments, there are occasions when my inner vision surfaces to pierce the mask of reality. … My moment of transformation and breakthrough into an alternative self-awareness has indelibly changed my perception of myself in relation to the universe.’

[i] Quoted from Environmental Science. Edited by G. Tyler Miller, JR. Wadsworth Publishing Company, 1999, USA. ISBN: 0-534-53546-1.


-Micah 2017-06-17 11:20:16

Dear Tony,

For the past year I’ve been studying synchronicities in my own life. They happened at all the times Jung usually said they should:

-when the level of consciousness is lowered and thoughts begin to drift
-during psychically tense moments
-when there is clearly no cause-effect connection (acausal)

But then I asked myself: what if such synchronicities are caused by an unconscious factor that only seems apriori to our experience but actually isn’t, in other words, our unconscious minds or our “perfect, idealized selves” (in Horney’s language) interfere when our “real selves” start to emerge, because I have also noticed synchronicities that end psychic tensions for me by relaying thoughts.

For example, if I begin to have a thought that I feel forced upon me (by unknown unconscious forces) but that “I should not” think about further, if I retain the tension a loud noise or other jarring sensation will quickly come to me and blot out not only the thought itself but also the feelings of happiness/joy or sadness/guilt associated with the feeling, and this seems to serve unconscious purposes of my own (whether for better or for worse) in regards to not thinking the thought or feeling the feeling, or even being aware that I have such feelings/thoughts.

    -Tony Crisp 2017-06-21 11:03:26

    Micah – I often feel that synchronicities are even often explained in formulaic ways – as if life can be explained by a formula; exactly what you said.

    I believe the activities which enliven us and lead to consciousness, would need us to know all the mysteries of the universe. Maybe this might interest you –

    Having led groups for over twenty years, in which people explored their boundaries and went beyond them, I know that in certain states of mind coincidences occur much more often. Part of this is undoubtedly that when we are very open and flowing with feelings, we experience the world differently. We notice more. Whatever it is, at such times people say things, a song pours out of the radio, an event occurs, that dovetails completely with what is happening to us. But some remarkable people appear to be in this heightened state much of the time.

    No matter what understanding you have of life and its processes, remember that it remains a mystery. Whatever symbol we use, we need something to depict the reality of the mystery that coincidences portray to us. An analogy that may illustrate this is to think of your body. If you have hands, or any two parts of your body that can touch each other, think of your two hands – or parts – as individuals, separated by space, and by time. But pervading every part of your body, with its billions of cells, and countless different parts, is your sense of self. That you are aware as a person amidst these countless tiny lives is a strange miracle. Remember that the atoms of any part of your body are as far apart, considering their size, as are the planets and stars of our galaxy and solar system. So, throughout that immense space and distance, your mysterious consciousness of self links all. Now, if you slowly bring two fingers of opposite hands together, you have created a coincidental meeting of widely separated individuals – of hugely separated individuals. If we can conceive of a consciousness that pervades and links all our separate personalities, then apparently unconnected coincidences are not so mysterious. It is this pervading consciousness that is suggested by the term ‘ocean of sentience’.

    Many modern physicists, working with the information arising in experiments with quantum theory, tell us that our view of the world is based upon our blindness, and is very limited, and through its limitation, unreal. The implications of the theorem are enormous. Something can be in two places at once, in fact everywhere at the same moment. Apparently distant objects, or people, are intricately linked in an immediate way. There is no separate existence as we previously thought. Our view of the world is not one supported by the facts of physics. Time and space are transcended. People’s experiences of this dimension.

    That is my present best 🙂


-Patsy Seo 2015-04-14 11:06:23

I did read your dream of God and the Big Bang being the same. It is the same as my theory with a minor difference that troubles me. I do not see God the same as Dark energy as being dead but as living in the void as well as in all manifested things

-Patsy Seo 2015-03-05 1:18:20

This article from Environmental Science is so true.
We are all connected. The simple observations and requirements of the Scientific Method have proved it beyond a doubt. I believe it is conscious design . and it did proceed by evolution limited knowledge makes the two exclusive of each other. The whole truth does not. It does not matter to the results if we are connected by accident or by design.

-Patsy Seo 2015-03-05 1:09:49

our only hope of a world of peace and prosperity is that we realize we are all one spirit and one life and act responsibly

-Patsy Seo 2014-12-08 15:44:14

The earth and we with it are approaching the infinite knowledge of enlightenment . Consciousness is not in individual brains, but an illusion projected by God, Dark Energy or Mind. whatever you wish to call it Abba Father is knowable only thru the Holy Spirit.
We are One

-Patsy Seo 2014-11-03 14:01:55

I believe the Dark Energy science has recently discovered is God the Creator and the “Holy Spirit” the I Am in all of us. We were created in his Image. .Giving us the power to create our will. We erred either by eating of the forbidden fruit or as Dr. Keith Scott-Mumby in his book To Fly without Wings said by seriously injuring each other In our games of life. I think he is correct in saying because we are all part of the same spirit we injure ourselves when we go beyond the bonds of what our conscience=Holy Spirit within allows. PTSD is injury of the spirit within

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