The Magic of Synchronicity
Amy L. Lansky, PhD, Contributor
You know the feeling. You’re sitting in a café or standing in line at the supermarket, and suddenly you meet a complete stranger who, for some inexplicable reason, seems like an old friend. You are on the same “wavelength.” Your energies mesh, and afterward, you walk away feeling invigorated and optimistic – perhaps even younger! That’s the power of similar vibrations.
Or consider another common experience: the uplifting effect of being part of a group focused on an exciting endeavor – a community project, a thrilling sporting event or concert, or perhaps praying or meditating together. Entering into a collective experience with others often seems to magnify its effects, because everybody is literally “vibrating” in the same way. Just as two violins playing the same note create a resonance that reinforces and amplifies the sound, the effect of two or more people getting onto the “same wavelength” can create an enhanced experience that exceeds the sum of its parts.
The power of similar vibrations can manifest in some surprising ways. Consider, for example, its application in the realm of psychological and physical healing. Both medical studies and practical experience have shown that when patients attend support-group meetings with others who have similar health problems, their collective energy provides a stimulus that enables change and healing to occur.
This phenomenon has even been measured scientifically. For example, researchers have found that not only can humans use intention to influence the behavior of otherwise randomly-behaving machines, but that connected couples working together – that is, people “on the same wavelength” – have the ability to exert even greater influence . Taking a lead from these results, researchers Dean Radin and Roger Nelson of Princeton placed random-output devices at a variety of intense community venues: music concerts, sporting events, and even Burning Man gatherings in Nevada. The results were significant and nothing short of mind-boggling. As the researchers predicted, the machines did indeed deviate from their otherwise normal random behavior in the presence of these collective “high vibe” events [2, 3].
If our collective energies can affect machines, it’s not surprising that they affect us too. In fact, this has also been measured scientifically. One series of studies on the effects of transcendental meditation, for example, found that if enough meditators work together and focus their intentions on a specific goal, they can achieve some pretty amazing things – for instance, lower the amount of violent crime in a city for extended periods of time .
Another phenomenon that might be related to the power of similar vibrations is synchronicity – the coincidence of seemingly unrelated events that share a common meaning. A typical example of synchronicity is when the beloved clock or watch of an individual breaks or stops at the precise moment of their death.
The phenomenon was first described by famed Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, who also coined the term “synchronicity” . His first striking encounter with a “meaningful coincidence” of this kind occurred when one of his patients was describing her dream about a golden scarab beetle. Suddenly, Jung heard a rapping on the window. When he opened it, a rose chafer beetle – the insect most similar to a scarab in Jung’s region – flew into the room. Jung quickly put two and two together. He realized that the mythological meaning of the scarab – an ancient Egyptian symbol for rebirth – was highly pertinent to his patient’s problems, and that the recounting of her dream was the reason why the insect had appeared in waking life.
When you think about it, the phenomenon of synchronicity has some profound implications. In particular, the universe may not be operating like a cold, meaningless machine after all. Instead, the reality we experience each day may be flooded with, what I like to call fields of meaning. Each field of meaning has a particular vibration to it, and objects, individuals, emotions, symbols, dreams, and events that share this vibration may resonate with one another and then, as a result, co-occur in time and space. If so, this may be what causes a synchronicity. In other words, in addition to simple cause and effect (“A causes B causes C”), synchronicity may be another fundamental mechanism that determines how our reality unfolds.
If you look back on your life, I’m sure you can come up with a few personal experiences of synchronicity. Often, these amazing coincidences occur at key junctures – when you meet your true love, when you get the job of your dreams, when fate seems to open a door. Somehow, the intensity of our desire may create a field of meaning that brings fortuitous synchronicities our way. Here are two pretty amazing examples from my own life.
Back in 2008, when I was writing a book about this subject , I spent a few days focusing on the work of British biologist Rupert Sheldrake and his theory of morphic fields – a theory that also directly relates to the power of similar vibrations. Sheldrake proposed the concept of morphic resonance as a way for similar or related things, such as members of the same species or emotionally connected individuals, to communicate with one another. He then used his theory to explain a variety of otherwise unexplained phenomena – for example, how animals have been able to evolve similarly on very distant parts of the planet, even when no physical contact between populations was possible . After a day of reading and writing about Sheldrake’s ideas, I was greeted by my husband returning home from his job at a computer research laboratory in Silicon Valley. “Amy, you’re not going to believe this,” he said. “Tomorrow, Rupert Sheldrake is giving a talk at my lab and you and I are going to take him out to lunch.” What?!
Now please understand; talks about esoteric subjects like Sheldrake’s morphic field theory are not commonplace in computer research labs. In fact, Sheldrake’s talk was poorly attended. It just so happened that one of the lab’s researchers had met Sheldrake in Scotland and had invited him to speak the next time he was in our area. Before I could even finish writing about Rupert Sheldrake, I was sitting and having lunch with him. Coincidence? Or synchronicity?
Here’s another charming synchronicity that occurred the summer of 2013. Every year, my husband and I take a vacation in an idyllic lake-filled region of Ontario, Canada called Muskoka. In 2013, we decided to drive cross-country from California to Canada for the first time, and we brought along our iPod filled with many thousands of songs to serve as our musical accompaniment. Over the course of our trek, we drove 5,000 miles meandering through the northern states of the USA on our way to Canada. At the end of the summer, we headed south to my hometown of Buffalo, New York, to visit with family and friends before flying home to California.
Now, most years, when we make our voyage south to Buffalo, it means the end of a relaxing summer vacation. As a result, I’m usually a bit sad as we cross the Peace Bridge over the Niagara River into Buffalo. But that summer, having just explored the vast expanse of the United States, I felt differently. I was happy to come back home. And just as we were beginning to see road signs indicating that the Peace Bridge was near, our iPod started playing a song that we had not heard all summer. First we heard the introductory bars of music, and then Ray Charles began singing: “Oh beautiful, for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain…”
“I can’t believe it! Another synchronicity!” I said to my husband. As the song continued, I marveled at this amazing “coincidence.” I felt blessed, transfixed, delighted, charmed. And sure enough, just at the very moment when we hit the center of the bridge where three flags fly – first the Canadian maple leaf, followed by an international flag, and then the American stars and stripes – Ray’s voice reached the climax of America the Beautiful: “From sea to shining sea!” Wow.
Think about it. The world may not be so random after all. We humans may be much more than passive observers of a meaningless universe, buffeted about by chaotic chance. Instead, we are all active co-creators, and not just in obvious ways. Our individual states of being, and especially our collective states of being, affect everything and everyone around us – indeed, how reality itself unfolds.
Of course, the wisdom teachings of many indigenous cultures already underscore this truth. In fact, some spiritual teachers stress that an increase in synchronicities can be a sign that one is on the right path. Knowing this, I was even more thrilled when Ray Charles’s voice heralded my return to America.
So keep your eye out for synchronicities when they occur. Don’t shrug them off – watch what comes next! And share your “good vibrations” with the world. They really do have an effect, perhaps even greater than you realize.