An encouraging conversation with the universe


I’ve started to notice again how when I’m feeling really down, when I’m worried about whether I’ve made a difference or been foolish, whether I’m doing something right, some kind of encouragement comes my way usually in the form of an acknowledgement, “You really made me think” but sometimes it comes as simply as a vanity license plate, “U R OK”. I’ve always marveled at the timing and spot-on qualities of these synchronistic boosts, but have also not fully acknowledged their magical quality.

What do I mean by synchronicity? It’s what Carl Jung called “meaningful coincidences” or an “acausal connecting principle”. When causal connections seems to be impossible one might infer an acausal connection.

When my life seems a little too random in nature or when I start to feel as though it’s all meaningless chance these little encouragements seem to pop up. When I look back across my life I see that they’ve always been there though not recognized as such when experienced at the time. I don’t know where they come from though some have posited that they are expressions of the collective unconscious, a deeper psychic order or proof of a connection with everything, some have also thought them as sent by God.

Those who believe in only the rational and the concrete label these occurrences as delusional and merely as intellectual intuition with no meaningful connections and have applied several negative labels to explain away the phenomenon of synchronicity e.g. apophenia, patternicity, angenticity (many intellectuals love to use esoteric words to express what they don’t understand. It then makes it look like they have a handle on it). Some researchers such as Klaus Conrad suggested that the pattern emphasis of synchronicity was actually part of the early stages of schizophrenia (though this observation may have some merit not every synchronistic pattern emphasis leads to psychopathy. Psychopathy is often a matter of degree, intensity, and frequency so don’t worry.)

Crazy or not, for me they feel like the intervention of grace that nearly always comes when I most need them. I treat them as messages from the universe (God?) that are telling me something important about reality that I may be missing or am not currently in touch with. Over time I’ve learned to not discount them as merely meaningless and incidental coincidence and to treat them as a gift to my life.

The universe seems to talk to us in many ways if we could just slow down and listen. It’s subtle and so hard to hear through all the noise of our plans, arrogance, anxiety, judgments, fears, outrage, pain, self-criticisms, and worries. But learning to quiet ourselves so as to have a conversation with this phenomenal mystery might be the best thing we can do for ourselves and for each other.


For more on synchronicity you might enjoy this link:



“Coincidences indeed!”


I’ve been reading a book by Deepak Chopra this week on the Essence of Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence. In it he suggested keeping a journal of coincidences, warning that they don’t often come to us in rapid linear fashion or even in a way that would be so obvious to us that we’d immediately see them. But he insisted that it was these very coincidences that presented us with much opportunity for meaning and wisdom in our lives. An interesting idea I thought and promised myself that I’d be on the lookout for any future coincidences if they showed up.

I had to stop reading because wouldn’t you know it while absent-mindedly chewing on the end of my glasses I cracked a tooth. After a moment or three of washing my mouth out and beating myself up for being so stupid I called the dentist and made an appointment. I thought about going back to the book but was in no mood. But a walk to my favorite coffee shop seemed like a good idea and besides it would distract me from my troubles.

I got my hat and sunglasses and headed out the door. On the way I noticed that the chin lanyard that I’d hurriedly stuffed into the hat was bunched up and pressing against the top of my head. Mildly annoyed and still walking I took off the hat to adjust it and it caught on my glasses. While juggling this mess I walked across a tree root jutting up from the path and wouldn’t you know I caught my toe on it and stumbled winding up sprawled on my back and looking around shamefacedly to see if anyone had noticed my rather foolish faux pas.

As I got up brushed myself off and tried not to look as though I’d just fallen I limped toward the coffee shop looking very much forward to the quiet relaxation the ritual of coffee and newspaper would bring, God only knew I needed it this morning I thought.

Upon arriving I greeted the people I knew and the barista at the machine already had my usual brew waiting having seen me limping up the walk. After a few more pleasantries I found a chair and sat down with coffee and paper and looked forward to a little peace and distraction.

In the paper was one of those blow-in card advertisements that I hate to fool with but normally just toss but for some reason I angrily grabbed it with the intention of crushing it into a ball but in so doing cut the end of a finger on its edge. “Blast!” which of course wasn’t what I said. “I hate paper cuts!” I added under my breath and started to feel very abused given everything that had happened since I got up this morning.

About half way through the first section of the paper and only a half-dozen sips of coffee my injured foot from the fall, cracked tooth, and the incessant sting from the paper cut all started to throb and all conspiring to make this mornings routine a painful one.

Seeing that I wasn’t going to get any peace I got up and left the shop, walked back along the path I’d come and feeling very sorry for myself. Back home Chopra’s book was sitting face down where I’d left it, but I was in no mood. “Coincidences indeed! As though they could mean anything” I muttered at the book and slumped into a nearby chair.

Now some might say that I’d had an awful very bad day and they’d be right. Others might say that in every unfortunate incident I was not paying attention to what I was doing and suffered the consequences and they’d be right as well. Clearly these occurrences were more than coincidence. Clearly they were a message that I tend to injure myself when I’m not being mindful in my actions. Sometimes the injuries are unseen like I miss the wave of greeting from a friend from across the room or a smile from a pretty woman, or the joy that I feel in my heart when I hear the laughter of a child all because I’m being self-absorbed and distracted from the world around me.

Though my recent string of seemingly coincidental hardships weren’t the normal they did make a very poignant point about the power that these little synchronisms have in teaching us about our consciousness and its relationship with the world we are passing through. Coincidences indeed!