The Magic of Synchronicities
Adapted from Second Sight: An Intuitive Psychiatrist Tells Her Story and Show You How to Tap Your Own Inner Wisdom (Three Rivers Press, 2010) by Judith Orloff MD
Have you ever experienced perfect timing, a moment when everything just seems to fall into place? For a moment, we step out of the random chaos and find that all forces are aligned with nothing pre-planned and yet, all is in order. Events come together with such exactitude, it feels as if we have been launched onto a pre-ordained course. We can’t stop thinking about someone and we run into them on the street; a person we have just met offers us the perfect job; we miss our plane and on the next flight we sit next to someone with whom we fall in love. This is synchronicity, a state of grace.
While once attending a general meeting of the Cedars Sinai Medical Staff, I met a plastic surgeon named Richard. Immaculately dressed in a three-piece suit, tanned and handsome, he asked me out to lunch. In the Hamburger Hamlet at the edge of the Sunset Strip, we engaged in small talk for a while. He appeared quite straight-laced, speaking about his prestigious country club, playing golf on the week-ends, and his Wednesday night poker game. He was a nice enough guy, but not my type. Except for being physicians, we didn’t seem to have much in common.
Usually, when a date isn’t going well, I try to ease out of it as quickly as possible. But here I found myself talking about my spiritual beliefs and then suddenly, the conversation turned to death. Richard had never spoken in detail about death to anyone before, but now, he couldn’t hear enough about my description of an afterlife, how the spirit is eternal, how death is not an end but simply a transition into other dimensions as real as our own lives.
I kept thinking to myself, “This is one of the weirdest dates I’ve ever had.” It wasn’t that I was uncomfortable with the subject matter. There was just something unsettling about the way it was happening. The immediacy in Richard’s eyes, his hunger to absorb it all even though he claimed no spiritual leanings of his own, were cues to me that something was up.
Why did such a profound topic arise with someone I hardly know? One month later, a friend called to tell me that Richard had been killed in a freak motorcycle accident.. I was stunned. It seemed impossible. He was talented, attractive and successful. People like Richard get married, have families, live charmed lives. They don’t die young. At least, that was my fantasy.
Suddenly the context of our date made perfect sense, the seemingly off-beat direction of our dialogue. There was obviously some unconscious part of Richard that had intuited his impending death and he had yearned to know everything he could about it. I had been the messenger.
Intuition often intercedes in the most subtle ways. The secret is to go with the mystery. Sometimes the significance of synchronicities is instantly obvious and other times, as in the case of Richard, it takes time. We must trust the divine ordering of our lives.
Some synchronous meetings are serendipitous and can signal a fortuitous future. When we take advantage of these golden moments, our lives can positively change. Such opportunities do not only crop up during important business meetings, extravagant parties or special events. If we stay on the lookout wherever we go, you’ll see how they happen in the everyday–often when we least expect them.
The Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung, defines synchronicity as “a meaningful coincidence of outer and inner events that are not causally related.” Jung speaks of a collective unconscious, a universal pool of knowledge, independent of culture and belonging to us all. It is the basis of what the ancients call the “sympathy for all things.” I believe that synchronicity stems from this commonality. We are all swimming in the same waters and can feel the reverberation of each other’s movements, riding the same waves.
Recently, a close friend was on vacation in Boulder, Colorado, browsing in a used book store. An avid science fiction fan, he reached for a book that appealed to him. When he opened it to the title page, there was my name written in my own hand writing and dated November, 1961. As a child, I used to sign my name in all of my books in case they got lost. When I left my parents’ house, I donated stacks of my old books to Goodwill. Somehow, one of them had ended up in Boulder and my friend had come upon it twenty years later.
Although some synchronicities may impact us more than others, they all have value. Whether or not I fully grasp its meaning at the time, I see each synchronous moment as one of rare and perfect harmony like the accuracy of a bull’s eye, the precision of a hole in one, or the impeccable sequence of a royal flush. Synchronicity is a sign that we are intuitively attuned, not only to our immediate friends and family, but also to the greater collective.