Coincidence or Synchronicity?

Preface:

I feel the need to clarify something. After much discussion about what exactly I’m trying to convey, I finally think I’ve gotten to the point I’m trying to drive home in this post. I think there is some tendency (and not just by me) to consider the term “coincidence” equivalent and interchangeable with the terms “chance” or mere “luck” or “accidental” or “without a reason for happening”. It has caused a little discussion about the distinction of what coincidence actually means, and I am learning that coincidences may not entirely be the opposite of synchronicity. Until I figure out a better way to convey “the opposite of synchronicity”, for the purpose of this discussion (until otherwise revised), when I say “coincidence”, I mean events that just so happen to occur simultaneously by mere “chance” or “accident”.

Now that I’ve clarified what I mean when I say coincidence, read on, dear friends.

*****

I have always reflected about the events (the sublime events, the devastating ones, even the seemingly mundane events) that have taken place in my life and the people who have crossed my path, intermingling their experiences and their thoughts with mine for even the briefest of moments.

I truly believe there are no coincidences in life, the idea that things that happen to us in life is a series of random, disjointed events that add up to nothing, only occasionally joining two or more events together purely by happenstance. When you learn to pay attention to those seemingly random events, you do realize they are connected for reasons you may not realize at the time.

I tend to feel as this very old post from Masquerader feels:

Is there a purpose for every person we meet in this life? good or bad?

Does every meeting point achieve a little or big something? exchange ideas? something exciting and fulfilling? to learn something new? to influence? to motivate? to make a difference? to hurt? to provoke?

I’m so hooked on the idea that there is a reason to every interaction, conversation or even silence between two. There’s no such thing as coincidences…there IS a reason people! where someone meets you, hurts and teaches you a lesson or someone who draws a smile on your face stretched from ear to ear to bring comfort to your aching soul.

I learn something new every day. My sensations have become more intense, my perceptions are deeper, the puzzle is completed, music breaking the silence of the world, the palm trees reaching for the skies, mountains peek through the clouds, a pen dances on a paper leaving a trace of art, leaves on the streets leave a great symphony of chaos and children on the streets dancing like popcorn kernels.

I believe in Synchronicity which is

…the experience of two or more events which are causally unrelated occurring together in a meaningful manner. In order to count as synchronicity, the events should be unlikely to occur together by chance.

The concept does not question, or compete with, the notion of causality. Instead, it maintains that just as events may be grouped by cause, they may also be grouped by their meaning. Since meaning is a complex mental construction, subject to conscious and subconscious influence, not every correlation in the grouping of events by meaning needs to have an explanation in terms of cause and effect.

As I reflect upon my life and the path it has taken up to this moment in time, I feel as if certain experiences, certain exchanges of thoughts and ideas with others, have been preparing me for future events or encounters with people that at first blush appear coincidental. In my heart, I know these things are not random events that converge by accident.

I know devastating things had to happen to me as a child and young adult in order for me to be prepared to gain insight and to meet future challenges. I know the compassion and generosity of others who’ve crossed my path and taken me in (quite literally at times) when I had no place to go taught me I am not worthless. They weren’t obligated to, but they did anyway. They gave my existence meaning where my own family sought to destroy the importance of it.

I know I could not be where I am right now if not for having gone through hell and surviving it – a little bit stronger, and a little bit wiser. I know I could not be in a position to help anyone else in life if I had not experienced being marginalized as a child and young adult, relegated to a lower caste by my family members – those individuals who were supposed to be protecting me from harm, who were supposed to be a safe shelter from life’s storms. Instead, the most significant storms in my life were within the walls of the home I grew up in.

I lost faith in my family, and in particular my mother, to be my protectors, my guardians, my source of safe harbor in the world when I was growing up. I could have lost faith in myself and everyone else in the world, had it not been for the synchronicity of events in my life and for the compassionate individuals placed squarely in my path to lend me a hand up out of my personal hell.

Someone…or something…has been looking out for me. I can not say that I am religious, but I can say that I’m deeply spiritual.

Because of what I experienced, the lessons I have learned, the insights I have gained, I have endeavored to (hopefully) be that hand up for others, unconditionally offering support to those I sense are hurting and who are receptive to my efforts. I have come to the realization long ago, that a person must have reached a point in his or her own life to be receptive to my efforts, just as I had to have reached a certain point in my life to be receptive to their efforts. This is the synchronicity I am talking about.

Striving to help another who isn’t prepared to do the difficult and sometimes painful self-reflective work needed to create permanent, positive change or growth is a massive exercise in futility. It’s not that I haven’t tried though, thinking my insights, my ability to communicate would be enough to create a breakthrough for another person. I soon realized they were not in a place in their lives where they were ready for change and my words went unheard and my energy resources were being wasted on them, leaving me spiritually empty because I could not help them no matter how much I tried, how much I cared.

Somewhere along the way I realized it wasn’t my fault…that I did everything I could to help another and they just weren’t ready to be helped. Perhaps they will never be. And that’s okay. My conscience is clear because I did my very best. And so I moved on in search of others in need. I know I can always try again at a later point to revisit the person who was important to me, to see if they are ready. Most times I have found that they were more receptive at later stages in their lives, and only occasionally they were not.

When I do find those moments that where growth can occur, I see the synchronicity…of events, of lives (in real life or even through the internet)…converging to a point where real growth occurs for one or more of us individuals involved, and it’s quite remarkable. A sort of synergy then occurs, where the whole is greater than the sum of the parts. Where the minds and hearts and souls intermingle and words and thoughts and ideas and feelings are shared and new insights are gained and ultimately healing brought to one or more individuals.

This, my friend, is why I believe in synchronicity. Our lives are not so disconnected from one another, not really. They are just part of the invisible living and ever-changing tapestry that weaves our lives together, bringing us close in contact (not necessarily physical contact, but more importantly, spiritual contact) with those we need when we are ready to receive them into our hearts and minds.

This is the biggest legacy I hope to bequeath to my girls:

  • That they may be the agents of positive change and healing for others
  • That they know how to seek profound connection with others
  • That they realize their significance in the universe

What, dear readers, could be better than that.

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This entry was posted in introspection, loss of parental love, my stories, On friendship, paying it forward, personal growth, perspective, reaching out to others in need, serendipity. Bookmark the permalink.

17 Responses to Coincidence or Synchronicity?

  1. Papa T says:

    Nice. Thanks for the share.

    A couple of things “jumped out” at me. I am not sure exactly why…no really good reason to even wonder why, I suppose…but, in keeping with your it-all-happens-for-a-reason reasoning, even when we struggle with those who are “not ready,” aren’t we still doing something that “needs” to be done for the benefit of our process?

    I also sometimes wonder whether our “early experiences” (a.) prepare or (b.) predestine us. But, here too, I doubt that it really matters.

    …Back to other writings. [I need to stop “wondering” long enough to get these papers done…hmm…not likely.]

  2. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Yes, Papa T, absolutely we are doing something that needs to be doing for our purposes and our own growth. But there comes a time when we must decide we have done what we could for the time being. We always can revisit those people and try again when and if they have reached a point where they might be more ready to receive what you have to tell them.

    I’ve modified my writings to include this. Thank you for pointing out that I didn’t mean to completely abandon people if they were not ready, never to return to try again.

  3. Papa T says:

    I think I’m just trying to express what I perceive as some serious difficulty that emerges in “making decisions” to leave and/or revisit. I believe in–and hope for–growing objectivity. [Not that there is anything inherently evil in subjectivity.] The “common flow” and “common breathing” upon which Hippocrates reportedly expounded comes to mind here.

    We tend to assign meaning to events (or not). If we languish in subjective assignment, we trend toward “magical thinking.” If we learn to enjoy, embrace, accept our process, then we can move into a greater union with the whole. […I think.]

    I’ll go now…mental calisthenics…not much fun.

    There are too many things I NEED to do to do the things I WANT to do. [Hmm…so, why did I get into such a state? To learn the things I need to learn so that I can do the things I want to do? Or, to learn that the things I want to do are not the things I need to do? See what I’m sayin’?]

  4. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Okay. I’m not sure I get it. Give me time…I might revisit your comment again when/if I do.

    But just know I am happier and more free for leaving behind the toxic wasteland that was my family and figuring out how to create meaning in my own life.

    I don’t linger in abusive situations trying to help them figure things out when they don’t want to learn from me.

    So I left it because I can not change it. I left it because it was not healthy or sane for me to stay.

    It was a choice between being enslaved by them and eventually committing suicide because I could bear it no longer, and choosing walking away and living my own life and trying to create my own meaning…

    Well, you know the choice I made otherwise I would not have been here to make the above post.

    I do not know enough about some of the things you mention to know what to say to them, so I won’t address things here.

  5. Papa T says:

    You have a beautiful mind…and a wondrous desire to share its goings-on. Keep it up!

    I’m gonna slither back under my rock (or keyboard).

    Thanks for YOU.

  6. raisingsmartgirls says:

    You don’t have to slither anywhere.

    I just don’t know if my “beautiful mind” is always accurate. It touches a worry in me that I’m lying to myself and living an ingorant kind of “Pollyanna” life right now. (You know, that “writer’s insecurity” thing).

    I spent years trying to overcome pessimistic, “there’s-no-hope-for-me-is-there” kind of thinking most of my life.

    I spent countless hours of headspace trying to replace that kind of thinking with hope and with the idea that I wasn’t just some sort of useless piece of human tissue placed upon this earth to suffer mental anguish at the hands of my family for no reason. I didn’t do anything to deserve that and I certainly never asked to be born (insert image of a cross-armed, pouty-lipped defiant child here).

    I could not do that without the help of others placed squarely in my path. Without them, I had no hope.

    When there is no hope, there is nowhere to go but to where there is no more feeling/no more thinking/no more hurting and no return.

    I’m sorry for the outpouring made here (not meaning to be a real downer), but these are my true feelings that I have had all my life.

    Continuing the effort to find meaning, to reach out to others who might be rescued from some of the same hopelessness I felt is what keeps me going.

    But even more so than the specific events that hurt me in the past:

    I feel too much.
    I think too much.
    I love too much.
    I care too much.

    I can not be in this world without it affecting me too much.

    Sometimes it hurts just to be inside my own head.

    I should stop now…I feel just a wee bit naked here.

  7. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thanks very much for the thoughts. For understanding. For letting me express my own feelings on the matter.

  8. Papa T says:

    The “writer’s dilemma”: Dare I stand naked before these people?

    The reason (?) that we presume that we feel, think, love, and care too much: When we dare to expose (get naked) True Self to others, we are told that we are “too much.” [Ye old “incorrect information” monster is always at the door. There are “others” to/with whom we are not too much, and will provide us with correct information/reflection.]

    For me–today…right now–it is about self-rescue. Perhaps by the sharing of my “process” with others someone will be “helped”…perhaps not.

    If your mind were “always accurate” it would not be beautiful. Well, I suppose it would be, but its beauty would be totally incomprehensible to anyone else possessing a less than totally accurate mind. Ya know?

    Stammering expression seldom appreciates fluency. The fluent ones are too busy flowing to validate other fluent ones. “Naked writers” (speakers, doers, musicians, painters, etc.) tend to experience sequestration on one or many levels. C’est la vie.

    I know the struggle. I do not have the “solution.” But I have decided to come out…and stay out. [It was that…or slavery…or suicide.] I get it.

    Thanks again…

  9. raisingsmartgirls says:

    That’s just it. Nobody has the solution. I know that and accept it.

    I just try to muddle along with my own philosophies (a blend of others I’ve come across) and my own version of spirituality and bring happiness/comfort/respite for their worries or (sometimes) gentle suggestions to practical problems to those who will let me, if only for a little while.

    If they don’t want it, or criticize me for who I am (like family or friends who just don’t get it), that’s not going to change my approach to life (whatever is left of it).

    I am at a point in my life that I really, honest to goodness, like who I am (intensity/complexity/sensitivity and all) and how I got here (now that the past is firmly in the past). I am at a very strong place in my life and I’m so grateful to be here. I want that for others who are hurting.

  10. raisingsmartgirls says:

    hmmm. check out the related posts. guess I’m not the only one to analyze this concept as coincidence, vs sychronicity (and adding in karma too):

    http://raisondetre19.wordpress.com/2009/05/01/coincidence-synchronicity-and-karma/

  11. J-viere says:

    Hey I just wanted to let you know I read this and loved it. I started a reply on my blog but, as usual, got distracted and left it for later.
    I’ll try to finish it up soon and will let you know when I post it.
    Great topic!!!

  12. raisingsmartgirls says:

    J-viere. I just might end up revising this a bit…so perhaps you might wait a moment on it.

  13. joanna says:

    I have a person in my life to whom I owe very much – she was always inspiring me, encouraging me to write and be creative and authentic (I even met my husband through her). For over 10 years I have been trying to make my life the one I’ve yearned for and the one she and I would discuss. But she was living vicariously through me. She has always fought depression and try as I might I could not help her. She sapped me of energy and we drifted apart.

    We recently reconnected after 5 years and still she is stuck. I can only hope that the life I have and the words I speak are inspiring on some level – I owe her that.

    I truly believe things happen for a reason and I know she was bought into my life for a reason – for her to help me or vice versa, I do not yet know.

    (I personally love the word Serendipity; making fortunate discoveries by accident.)

  14. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts, Joanna. I think you may be right. Serendipity certainly sounds like it could be a winner!

    I hope your friend does find some inspiration and growth because of your efforts. I know you’ve inspired that in me!

    Casey

  15. raisingsmartgirls says:

    However…if you were to believe those at the Akasha Foundation, Serendipity is also not the opposite of synchronicity.

    It is, according to that blog, this:

    “While synchronicity analyses the occurrence, serendipity is the building; [the] magic counterpart.”

    Ack! There is no way to win here.

    🙂

    Maybe I should skip this altogether and start waxing philosophical about the The Tao of Pooh. (yes, Winnie the Pooh).

    Have a lovely day everyone!

  16. joanna says:

    While I can usually wrap my head around these things, I’m having a hard time with philosophy tonight. I just visited the Akasha Foundation and the “vibrations” were just too much. I will need to come back to all this well stocked with coffee and silence. Pooh is more my speed.

  17. raisingsmartgirls says:

    Yeah, I know, the vibrations gave me a chuckle a bit too. But hey, I’ve got an open mind about such things!

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