Essays2008 Essays2009 Essays2010





..:: Synchronicity ::..


Alan Schneider

            How does God speak to human beings here on the physical, material plane of expression? I personally believe, as do so many others, that He speaks to us through what C. G. Jung referred to as synchronicities – meaningful coincidences.  In fact, Jung was the first to define and use this term as a descriptor of one of several ways that the contents of the unconscious mind emerged into conscious recognition. The key to understanding this process lies in examining the nature of meaning in our human perception of the external world, dependent as it is on the action of the physical senses.

          Human experience of the “world” is dependent on the action of the senses. All that we perceive, in the external “sense” of that term, comes to us through this source – what we see, hear, taste, smell, and feel. Many authorities in the field of psychology maintain that this is the complete extent of our ability to perceive – that we are solely dependent on this mode of perception to assess the condition in which we find ourselves. Other authorities will allow for the existence of a largely unconscious sphere of instinctual “activity” that influences behavior, and is also largely perceptible through the experience of that activity – both many of the physical drives and the primary emotional states are presented as belonging to this realm of manifestation.

          A select group of other authorities has suggested that the unconscious mind of human beings contains more than instinct, emotion, and certain repressed personal memories. They have suggested that what the senses experience as the finite and limited condition of our existence (the physical body) is in fact the distil end of the extensive manifestation of a virtually unlimited field of Consciousness, and that we float on the surface of that infinite field like the little experience of an island of the senses, surrounded by a coral reef of personal unconscious expression, and unknowing of the vast expanse of expression that lies beyond the physical realm.

          For Jung, the action of the unconscious was not relegated solely to instinct, emotion, and personal repression. He strongly suspected that information was also filtering through the “coral reef” of the personal unconscious from the vast ocean surrounding the island of personal recognition – the ego – and that this information was of far more than idiosyncratic significance for the Psyche – the total Self of all conscious expression. Jung had begun to suspect that the ego, which frequently tends to occupy center stage on the “island”, was in fact a relatively minor player in the pageant of life, and that the extended Psyche contained intelligent expression organized on a level far beyond the linear data processing of cause-and-effect associative principles seen in the ego.

          And he identified and defined the synchronicity as the medium of transmission for the information being transmitted through the personal unconscious from the extended field of the psyche beyond the physical boundaries of the senses. What is implied by “meaning” under this condition is frequently more than the simple, trite definitions of mechanical operations seen in the ego. In the terms of the total psyche, we are dealing with an extended panorama of meaning that connects the limited ego perception with the psyche as the source of all implication, and redefines the limits of perception in terms of the most expansive expression of meaning attainable – essentially, God. For Jung, God was the Self, was the core of consciousness, the ultimate driver of all perception occurring on any level of expression. In this context, all meaning derives from the Self as the source of all purpose everywhere.

          In the case of the synchronicity, an initial “trigger concept” is “sent” to the conscious mind (where it is eventually noticed by the ego) from the Self. The mechanism of this process is the occurrence of the perception of this trigger concept in a chain of seemingly unrelated environmental conditions with the passage of time. These triggers are frequently manifest in the form that Jung referred to as “archetypal symbols” – perceptible expressions generated by more generalized states of expression that he labeled as “archetypes”, and were presumed to be emerging from beyond the range of any perception of any kind, at any level. Jung postulated the archetypal symbols as having the property of “numinosity” – the tendency to stand out in the personal consciousness, apart from the more mundane impressions of the senses. It is noteworthy here that presumably anything could assume the significance of an archetypal symbol in conscious awareness – even common dirt – but the Self decides what is of numinous character for a given individual ego.

          The emergence of a synchronicity is frequently perplexing, even disturbing, for the ego. The ego may attempt to dismiss the synchronous information as simple coincidence, and carry on “business as usual”. But, the genuine synchronicity will persistently recur until it is acknowledged as being well out of the ordinary range of experience. It simply will not be ignored or rationalized out of existence. It is at this point that the individual begins to seriously address the meaning of whatever symbol is being transmitted by the Self. Many people will seek therapy at this point, if they are sufficiently disturbed by the symbolic content presented. Other will begin a less “illness-oriented” investigation, inquiring among their friends, or will begin to search for literature giving information about the symbol(s) in question. The mechanism of response is of less significance than the fact that the response has occurred, and a search for a new level of meaning has begun. If such an inquiry is carried far enough by a sufficiently determined individual, the Self – God – can even be attained and experienced directly, not just as an intellectualized thought construct, but as the existential and experiential root of all creation at the core of the Psyche.

          There are many, many archetypal symbols. As has been said herein, anything could conceivably assume archetypal significance. One could conceive of the archetypal symbols as the (frequently preconscious) building blocks of the forms that we eventually perceive in the physical universe. Whether they remain preconscious depends on whether God chooses to speak to us through synchronicity, thus calling our conscious mind and ego away from the ongoing din of sensory distraction that otherwise occupies our waking attention.

          When the synchronicity is finally noticed and accepted by the ego as a legitimate expression of consciousness, it can be followed along an often very protracted course of ongoing manifestation, much like ripples spreading out from the point of impact of a stone tossed into a pond in which there are many intervening objects at fixed points in the water – logs, boulders, branches – that interfere with an orderly dispersion pattern. This is why life seems to be so filled with obstacles – they act as harmonic balancers for God’s Words. Without the obstacles to be overcome, the achievement of listening successfully is meaningless, and meaning is what God is all about. So, every investigation of any synchronicity will invariably yield a deeply meaningful discovery about life and living that would probably never be suspected otherwise, and ongoing investigation will reveal extensive and interrelated families of meaning, as all the ripples in the pond are followed through the intricate path of all the obstructions. As the ego passes through this process of discovery, it becomes, and we become, more and more like the Self that initiated the process – filled with grace and reverence for the Creation all around us, and aware of the supraintelligence that achieved all that we experience.

          Synchronicities are occurring around, and to, us continuously as we progress through life. God is always speaking to us. The significant issue here is whether or not we are listening! (3) The action of the senses creates an ongoing level of pronounced distraction in the conscious mind. And the ego, as an integral part of our physical survival mechanism, has an inherent tendency to delegate sensory input as the highest priority of waking consciousness (1). So it is little wonder that we frequently either fail to notice, or chose to ignore, the “still, small voice” from beyond the boundary of all that we know as familiar and, most importantly, comfortable. More often than not, confronting synchronicity forces us out of our comfort zone into what can be very confusing and disturbing terrain as we deal with the moral implications of these messages from the Self.

          One of the most difficult conditions to accept for the otherwise uninitiated in this life is the morally valenced character of all action. When the consequences of our actions (or lack of action) are viewed from the perspective of God, everything that we do, feel, and think has either helpful – positive – or harmful – negative – effects on the other inhabitants of our physical, material plane of expression. We do not exist in a vacuum of any kind – we are all linked together in the great web of life, and what we do as individuals has far reaching impact on the human collective of our fellow creatures, great and small. Thus, it becomes particularly important to act with compassion as the central feature of consciousness. If I can maintain this focus in my daily activities, I have succeeded at life’s most important challenge under God...

                                              - With Love, Alan -

                                      (CR2007, Alan Schneider)


                                                  Return to Top