by Deepak Chopra, M.D.: The word “synchronicity” has become popular for describing coincidences that seem to come out of nowhere…
You think someone’s name, and a few minutes later the person calls. You want to read a certain book, and without telling anyone, a friend suddenly brings you the book. Synchronicity is defined as a meaningful coincidence, setting it apart from random coincidences that have no meaning, like seeing the same make of car show up at a stoplight.
Coincidence Isn’t the Whole Picture
By making synchronicity special and unusual, however, you might be seeing the picture upside down. Life is a meaningful experience, but the flood of experiences you might have are too many. Billions of bits of sensory data flood your eyes and ears; endless thoughts fill your head. To bring order out of chaos, you edit reality to suit what you want to see, hear, and think. This edited version is only a small fraction of the whole—and it contains a built-in problem.
By pushing away all kinds of experiences that could benefit your personal growth and bring you expanded awareness, you have conditioned your mind to fall into the same old patterns of thought, words, and actions. “I know what I know” is the certainty of a limited mind. Fortunately, reality has a way of sending you messages now and then that contradict your fixed views. Synchronicity is one kind of message. It says, “There’s more in this world than you dream of.”
Synchronicity implies that a higher intelligence can organize events so that meaning pops up unexpectedly. Moreover, a synchronous experience defies cause and effect. If you think of a word and the next minute someone on TV says the word, you didn’t create the coincidence. But something did. In your spiritual journey, you attempt to investigate what this something might be.
Tapping Into Pure Consciousness
I’d call it the organizing ability of pure consciousness. In other words, if you go deeply enough into your own awareness to come near to its source, everything is perfectly ordered and put together with everything else. Synchronicity is merely a glimpse of this. Glimpses are valuable, because they wake you up to the possibility that you do not live on a speck of a planet in a random universe. In my book, You Are the Universe, I unfold the whole picture of a meaningful universe, along with my co-author Menas Kafatos.
Our essential point is that human beings arbitrarily see meaning one place and randomness in another place. Imagine that you put a close-up lens on a painter’s palette. You’d see random jabs of his or her brush dipping into various colors. The jabs seem to have no orderly pattern, but if you pull back, the painter is creating a beautifully composed, totally orderly painting. Your mind in the state of old conditioning chooses to see inexplicable, random chance having full sway. Many events don’t seem to make sense. Good people are hurt or die or fall sick senselessly.
The order behind this apparent impersonal randomness is only discovered within. You must investigate on your own until you are satisfied that there is order and meaning beneath the superficial appearance of random, unfair, arbitrary, and perhaps ruthless occurrences. I won’t give everything away. There is a lot to discover and absorb. “Everything happens for a reason” won’t do, because a pat phrase isn’t enough to reassure you that you aren’t a victim of chance.
Nor do you discover a reason for why a beloved family member has cancer or a dishonest politician rises to power. Such things are part of the drama of all lives. And that’s the biggest clue. Being so attached to drama, the endless play of light and dark, good and bad, pleasure and pain, you may refuse to look beyond. On the spiritual journey, “beyond” is your destination. It gives an experience that transcends all drama, exposing everyday life as a kind of spell, dream, or illusion.
Once you have expanded your awareness through meditation, yoga, and other proven practices for freeing your awareness, the drama starts to matter less and less. It is replaced by a deep assurance that wholeness can be comprehended and lived. By living in wholeness, you find that it doesn’t matter what you label as random or meaningful. One reality is unfolding within itself, and when you merge with this one reality, the play of consciousness becomes your whole life.