Posted by: balladofyoko | June 4, 2008

A Connecting Principle

A question for you, dear friends: do you believe in synchronicity? Have you ever experienced it? Please share your thoughts. Thanks.



  1. Emphatic YES, another emphatic YES, and that’s a long conversation that I’d love to have in person with anyone, sometime. I highly recommend Jung’s Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle. It is a fairly short and actually quite enjoyable read.

  2. Give me a personal example, Trix!

  3. ~ March 22, 2001
    My marriage had ended, I’d finished my degree, quit my job, got rid of most of my possessions, and started a new life as a couch-surfer. After almost a year of drifting within the states, crashing with friends or relatives (good times!), I flew across the Atlantic, beeline to Glasgow, a city I love well, and even more so now.

    Upon arrival, I felt excited, but also adrift and isolated. Very isolated. I went to an internet cafe and wrote to my online journal, something along the lines of “if only I knew one person here, if I had one friend within a hundred miles!”

    I paid for my internet time and walked outside the cafe – straight into my ex-husband’s sister’s ex-girlfriend, who had once stayed with us in Berkeley for two weeks. Neither of us believed our eyes at first! We hadn’t seen each other for years… we’d gotten along well while she was visiting, but had totally dropped off each other’s radar. She didn’t know I was in Britain, and I remembered her as living hundreds of miles away, in Nottingham. Turned out she was living farther away than that, but was in Glasgow for a few days to present some research as part of her degree program. She was alone in the city as well, and seemed relieved to find a familiar face.

    We met up for dinner, then spent some time exploring Glasgow together. She was great company, and really helped me to feel at ease, like I wasn’t alone on the island. Later I stayed with her and her partner at their lovely home in… Northhampton?… on my way to Dover to catch the ferry to France.

    There have been a lot of other crazy hard-to-believe moments in my life; that one is just one of the most ridiculously unlikely. So – part of me says it’s goofy to believe in synchronicity. But I do believe.

    I see it as something like this – there’s a channel between you and the world, and if you are sending a clear message (which isn’t made up of words or expressions, but of intent and content, so it can’t be faked) then the world hears you, your message goes out and other messages are received, and you don’t even need to know what was said. If there’s static on the line, if you don’t know what you want and don’t know what to do, then you can’t say anything clearly to the world, and the world can’t clearly respond.

  4. Wow, K! That’s a heck of an example.

    I’m not sure if I’ve ever experienced synchronicity. I’ve definitely had experiences where my subconscious knows more about a given situation than my conscious does, and it comes out in my automatic writing. Unfortunately, the time lag between my subconscious and my conscious is very long, so things don’t happen until years after the initial recognition.

    An example: I wrote about the possibility of being a librarian when I was doing work with What Color is Your Parachute? I dismissed it then. A year later, another librarian whom I hadn’t met before then suggested I go to library school. The recognition of my earlier writings jolted me into planning on it, but I didn’t actually realize that goal until three years after that.

    I’m a slow learner- what can I say. Maybe my messages have a lot of static in them.

  5. I believe in taking advantage of coincidence when it’s offers you opportunity. I think you can make coincidence meaningful if you do that, which of course is easier to do if the coincidence is somehow striking and unusual. However, I don’t believe in coincidence that is guided by any kind of sentience, intelligence, or other unknown power. So, no, I guess I don’t believe in synchronicity.

  6. Oh yes! All the time. Particularly on days when I am in synch/harmony with the world. These are happy days. Anything from never hearing a word before to hearing it twice in two days (“thoroughfare” last week) to texting or emailing my bf at the exact moment he’s texting or emailing me.

    I take these many synchronicities as signs I am in the right place. I experience them often and enjoy them.

    In contrast, days when I am agitated are days when nothing goes right and I experience no synchronicities. These are disharmonious days, and thankfully few and far between at this time in my life.

  7. Indeed. Everything Azzia said above about her experience and perspective on the matter is true for me as well, except the part about texting the boyfriend.

    I see synchronicity as part of the language of God: part of how God says, “You’re on the right track,” or “Pay attention to THIS.”

    Synchronicity has been such a major part of my ongoing day-to-day relationship with God for so long that it’s a constant presence in my awareness and I’m highly attuned to its subtleties; responding to it is as natural, reflexive, and constant for me as adjusting my course in response to visual information while I’m walking.

    As I’ve become more attuned to synchronicity (and to the nonlinear timescape which it depends upon and implies), and as I’ve done more work of the sort of work that opens the mind to nonlinear time perception, I’ve increasingly been treated to brief glimpses beyond the veil of unidirectional linear time perception – for instance, dreaming of old friends who I haven’t heard from in a while, just before hearing from them.

    A few years ago, during some particularly mind-expanding paratheatrical work, I began to have memories of my own death. Not my death in a previous lifetime – the death that awaits me at the end of THIS lifetime. Having glimpsed some of the eventual circumstances of my death, I’m able to appreciate how poetically those circumstances are foreshadowed by various synchronicities that occur from time to time at certain key moments in my life.

    The English language really needs a word for the aesthetic enjoyment of synchronicity.

  8. […] to those who have commented about synchronicity. The reason why I asked was because it was an assignment out of the book. Every week, I’m […]

  9. Ten Feet of Steel said “However, I don’t believe in coincidence that is guided by any kind of sentience, intelligence, or other unknown power. So, no, I guess I don’t believe in synchronicity.” As far as I know Jung didn’t attribute synchronicity to higher or other powers, or the supernatural. He connects it to archetypes and the idea of the collective unconscious. He sees a dynamic at work behind it, but the character of that dynamic does not have to be somehow mystical. One person could find a way to interpret this as the message of a deity, but others just as easily connect it to what we’re learning about how the human brain works, dna, and all the rest. I’m an atheist, but I definitely believe in synchronicity. Yoko… as for examples, I find this experience to be so profoundly embedded in my daily life that I don’t ordinarily reflect on each and every incident, but note them and move on. There are more appealing examples though, in terms of their neatness, their ability to fit into some sort of “story” that someone outside of my head would get. These are the ones that I think people see as “message” type synchronicity. I have one I’ll share, but I guess I’ll do it in another comment, since it will be dreadfully long.

  10. ‘trix,

    You’re absolutely right. But I guess since Yoko was positing synchronicity as something to be “believed in” or not, I took it as meaning the pop-culture sense of “meaningful” synchronicity–meaningful in the sense of synchronicity as a communication from some kind of spiritual plane or entity or destiny, not meaningful in the sense of synchronicity being information we can use to come to insights into what’s going on beneath our conscious thoughts.

  11. Indeed, I don’t think the author of The Artist’s Way meant the word “synchronicity” in the Jungian sense.


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