A friend asked me the other day to explain why he keeps seeing the number 11 everywhere. This is not a rare occurrence for me; people frequently call on me to help explain the phenomenon of seeing certain numbers appear over and over again. It often starts with noticing digital clocks reflecting the time 11:11. But soon, it spreads to other places: addresses, dry cleaning receipts, telephone numbers. Are you one of those people who can’t stop seeing a certain number appear everywhere you turn? Chances are that if you are reading this, then you identify with this experience.
A synchronicity is when two seemingly random events occur at the same time, creating the sensation that there is a direct connection between the two events. It was Carl Jung who coined the phrase. Sitting in his consultation room, Dr. Jung was analyzing a dream presented by a patient. The dream was about an Egyptian scarab beetle. The two were distracted by a wrapping at the window. When they went to investigate, the two found something strange. On the sill was an Egyptian scarab beetle. In Switzerland! It was absolutely uncanny. Jung intuitively understood that there was something very powerful about the lining up of these two events, the telling of the dream about a scarab and the bizarre appearance of a scarab thousands of miles where it ought to have been found.
The synchronizing of two seemingly random events; having all meaning, yet no meaning at all. And this is the power of living in synchronicity. Give them ALL meaning, and you are living in magical thinking. Give them NO meaning and you are missing out on one of the most delicious elements of life. I have often thought that the only mind that can TRULY comprehend ALL meaning and NO meaning is the mind of God. So to truly appreciate synchronicity in your life is to lean into the mystery that is life: completely understandable and absolutely incomprehensible. In this dichotomy is serenity to be found.
Synchronistic events are to be found everywhere. When you begin to orient yourself to perceive them, not a day will go by where they appear constantly. One of the most charming ways I experience them and use as an example to describe to others who are just tuning in is what happens on my weekly hikes in Fryman Canyon here in Los Angeles. Every Saturday morning, I gather with my oldest friends in the world and we play catch-up as we climb the mountain. This particular trail is circular so it is common to pass people who are on there way up as we are on our way down and vise verse. Every week and without fail, the conversation we are having will be echoed in the words I catch from the conversations of others. But truly, my experience of synchronicities are so constant and numerous that there is never a day where several of them will not occur, some quite alarming in their precision.
The first way in which most people begin to see synchronicity in their lives is through numbers. Like the sense that every time you look at the clock is just when it happens to be 11:11. You are probably seeing lots of other times when you glance casually at your digital timepiece, but the unmistakable sensation that accompanies the moments when it’s 49 minutes before noon or midnight each day connect us to something bigger and more mysterious than pure chance and science would have you believe. Others begin to see certain numbers over and over again – at the gas pump, the numbers on a receipt from a purchase. Whatever the form these synchronicities take, they will increase the more you take notice of them.
This then, begs the question, why? Why bother? What is the value? I am often fond of saying that I am half scientist and half mystic. The scientist in me says there is no rational reason to look for these experiences in your life. The mystic in me is certain that there is tremendous value in using them to connect to the sense of spiritual comfort they can bring. They are a powerful reminder that the unfolding of life has its own pace and format and just maybe, despite the fearful thoughts that sometime tell you that you are doing it wrong, you are exactly where you are supposed to be. Perhaps if enough of the mystics of the world continue to deepen these experiences, the scientists of the world will find ways to explain what is today still a mystery.
Keep watch for my next blog post on the power of numbers and numerology; in dreams and in life!