Synchronicity & Other
Synchronicity is a meaningful coincidence which occurs without any seeming cause. From an alternative viewpoint, synchronicity is part of the universal communal process and indicates that change is purposeful.
Attributes of Synchronicity
Non-spacial & non-temporal (no space or time borders--multidimensional).
Some kind of connecting principle.
Often discounted as chance events.
Often not shared with others--fear of ridicule.
Surrealistic quality; questions of faith (or non-faith) may arise and may be tested.
Significant Historical Contributions to the Modern Idea of Synchronicity
Ancient Ideas of The East & West
Plato’s forms--transcendental images--an a priori meaning
Aristotle’s final cause
Tao = Meaning
A latent rationality in all things & all things are in all.
Astrology--the correspondence of various celestial configurations to human life.
Mantic Procedures--For example, the I Ching (Book of Changes) "deals in pure synchronicity.…" (Peat, p. 140)
Alchemy--Derived from the Greek belief in the relations among the basic elements and from the religious belief that one could transform worldly matter into material perfection (ores into gold).
Leibniz (1600-1700)- pre-established harmony between all physical and psychical events--entelechy--monads.
Kepler (1610)-an inherent spiritual nature; a marvelous correspondence between/among all things; a "divine similitude."
A Modern Study of Meaningful Coincidence
Austrian biologist Paul Kammerer studied and classified sequences of repeating events or events that seemed related. In his book Das Gesetz der Serie 1919 (The Law of the Series), which unfortunately has never to my knowledge been translated into English, Kammerer systematically classifies events that he believed to be somehow related. For example, in one of his files he notes, two soldiers, both 19 years old, both born in Silesia, both volunteers in the transport corps, both admitted to the same hospital in 1915, both victims of pneumonia, and both named Franz Richter.
He came to the conclusion that there was some kind of acausal connecting or organizing principle and deemed it to be a case of what he referred to as seriality: "We thus arrive at the image of a world-mosaic or cosmic kaleidoscope, which, in spite of constant shufflings and arrangements, also takes care of bringing like and like together." (Paul Kammerer, 1919)
Writer Arthur Koestler provides an interesting exposition of Kammerer's work in the appendix of his book, The Case of The Midwife Toad, 1971.
The Term Synchronicity
Psychologist Carl Jung coined the term synchronicity to depict meaningful coincidences; things that seem to happen by chance but nevertheless have some meaning for the person who experiences them. Jung was actually trying to explain para-phenomena such as psi, clairvoyance, telepathy, etc. Synchronicity events have no causal explanation; that is, there is no identifiable thing that causes them to occur. They also often seem to transcend space and time. The idea that energy is a phenomenon offers an explanation for synchronicity.
All is essentially one. There is no need to transcend time or space because everything--as energy--is everywhere all at once and eternally.
Jung studied the occurrence of meaningful coincidences and what he believed to be their effect on his patients in psychotherapy practice. He concluded that these events not only occurred on a regular basis, but that they often changed the course of therapy, resulting in positive patient outcomes.
In recent years, a number of individuals have extended Jung’s initial studies of synchronicity (Mansfield, 1995; Peat, 1987; Richo, 1998). Synchronistic events cannot be explained by the classical notion of energy as part of a mechanistic process where something gains or loses energy. There is simply no evidence that energy is being transmitted from one thing to another.
Synchronicity events are nonlinear in nature and are said to bridge the gap between matter and mind (Jung, 1960; Peat, 1987). Yet, when viewed within the context of energy as a phenomenon, there is no dichotomy; matter and mind become different but complementary manifestations of one thing, energy. I have posited that synchronicity events are a meaningful, purposeful manifestation of energy arising from universal communal process.
Working with the bereaved for several years in community practice and running a weekly bereavement group, I found that synchronicity often occurs in conjunction with death and dying. In fact, I was funded twice with PSC CUNY grants, to explore synchronicity related to the death of a loved one as a natural healing modality.
Exploring Synchronicity Related To The Death of A Loved One As a Natural Healing Modality
A multiple case study was undertaken to explore the experience of synchronicity (meaningful coincidence) related to the death of a loved one as a natural healing modality for the bereaved. Synchronicity, clearly indicative of the complexity of consciousness, is said to bridge the gap between mind and matter and has been identified by many practitioners as useful in holistic health care practice.
The objectives of this study were to: 1) describe the experience of synchronicity related to the death of a loved one, 2) identify if synchronicity events related to the death of a loved one, when experienced by those who are grieving, help to create opportunities for personal transformation and enhanced well-being, and 3) identify if group discussion of individual synchronicity experiences assists in the grief-healing process. My unitary perspective of energy, the theory of nonlocality, and Rogers’ science of unitary human beings provided the theoretical rationale for the study.
Both studies were conducted in nondenominational community group setting using group sessions, one to one interviews, and written questionnaires (N = 9 and N = 5). Major themes were identified among the participants’ experiences of synchronicity and a unified description of the phenomenon was constructed using Parse’s analysis-synthesis method. Further thematic analysis was performed using the computer program NVivo.
Analysis-synthesis of the data (interviews, group discussion and questionnaires) revealed four major themes. Having had synchronicity related to dead loved ones participants verbalized: 1) feeling simultaneously happy and sad, 2) alternating between believing versus disbelieving that they were real occurrences, 3) occasionally feeling shocked and yet at the same time strangely reassured, and 4) feeling connected but also disconnected because although they could sense their dead loved one’s presence, they were unable to see or touch them physically. Notably some also had oscillating questions of faith and non-faith.
While the sample size for both studies were small and further exploration is needed, the findings suggest that by becoming aware that others have synchronicity experiences related to the death of a loved one, individual feelings of grief and isolation can be transformed into positive feelings of faith, unity, and wonder. It was also identified that the individual sharing of these experiences during group sessions contributed positively to the grief-healing process for the group as a whole. Accordingly, it would appear that synchronicity experiences related to the death of a loved one are a natural healing modality for the bereaved and can be useful in practice to assist those who are grieving.
Todaro-Franceschi, V. (2006). Synchronicity Related to Dead Loved Ones: A Natural Healing Modality.
Spirituality and Health International, 7, 151-161.
Todaro-Franceschi, V. (2006). Studying Synchronicity Related to Dead Loved Ones AKA
After-Death Communication: Martha, What Do You Think? Nursing Science Quarterly,19, 297-299.
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