You wake up one morning and recall a dream in which an old high school friend, whom you haven’t spoken to in years, plays a central role. (Let’s call her Mayra.) The same morning, on the way to work, you turn on the radio and catch an old, unpopular song that you and Mayra once sang at a karaoke party. Later that day, you get a Facebook alert that it is Mayra’s birthday. Is it mere coincidence? Maybe. Moving mindfully through life though, I seem to be encountering more and more incidences of coincidences, or phenomena perhaps better termed, synchronicity.
According to Dictionary.com, a coincidence is, “A striking occurrence of two or more events at one time apparently by mere chance.” The same site defines synchronicity as, “The simultaneous occurrence of causally unrelated events and the belief that the simultaneity has meaning beyond mere coincidence.” This last part regarding the meaning of such events has been my latest big topic of interest. Swiss psychologist Carl Jung, refers to synchronicity as “meaningful coincidence” and “acausal parallelism.” Could the dream, the song, and the alert have been just an interesting fluke? Mere chance? Or perhaps something more?
In his book, The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire, Deepak Chopra states, “Coincidences are not accidents but signals from the universe which can guide us toward our true destiny.” He writes of something called “Synchrodestiny,” which can be reached by “accessing a place deep within yourself, and [by paying] attention to the coincidences outside.” As mindful meditation and mindful living practices both involve digging deep within, nonjudgmentally, and living fully in the present moment, it would only make sense that the more I practice, the more I find what seem like hidden messages coming to the forefront of my consciousness and spurring me to action.
We have all heard the phrase millions of times: follow your gut. This is infinitely easier to do when you are unburdened by unnecessary stress and anxiety. Intuition, in the form of a hunch, coupled by signs and connections from the outside world, shouldn’t be ignored. A relative of mine who lives far away had been on my mind for a few days. Flipping through a magazine, I came across an article about his hometown. I followed my gut and picked up the phone. He happened to be in crisis and so grateful for my call. Apparently, “coincidentally,” I had the answer to a problem he had been struggling with for some time.
Things like this force one to question the nature of life altogether. Are our lives parts of some big master plan? Is there another force at work here? Quantum Theory does suggest that everything in the universe is connected. As you move mindfully through YOUR life, try paying attention to coincidences and seek out the deeper significance of every encounter. Every person who crosses your path, whether it be brief or long-term, can leave you with valuable insight if you pay attention. Whether you believe in guardian angels, spirit guides, God, “The Force,” or none of the above, through mindful attention, you may find that the universe is trying to tell you something. Listen.