Dear Connie,

Two weeks ago I dreamed about my cousin Emily, who I hadn’t seen in three years. It was a very vivid dream. Then last weekend I was in the Denver airport and who should I see walking toward me but my cousin Emily, who told me she had dreamed of me the same night I’d dreamed of her! I couldn’t believe it!

This kind of thing has been happening a lot to me over the past two or three years. For example, I’m thinking about buying a book I read positive reviews of, and a friend - out of the blue - has sent me a copy of it. I have an image of a good friend in a hospital bed, and the next week I learn she has required surgery and is hospitalized. Lots of coincidences, but they seem like more than coincidence. Can you explain what might be happening?

Thanks, Madeleine

Dear Madeleine,

I’ll do my best!

The experiences you describe fall into the category of events that Carl Jung called “meaningful coincidence”, or synchronicity. They are apparently acausal - in other words, something happens that goes beyond the usual explanation of why things happen, the cause and effect theory. There is a “coincidence in time of two or more psychic and physical events which are connected, not causally, but by their identical meaning” (Marie-Louise von Franz, Number and Time, p.6n).

Jung included three forms of synchronicity in his definition (Jung: Synchronicity - An Acausal Connecting Principle, 1955:144-5)

1. Simultaneous meaningful coincidence between a psychic event and an objective process.

2. A dream or vision that reflects an objective event that takes place simultaneously but at a distance.

3. Meaningful coincidence between a vision or dream and an event that takes place in the future.

This last is commonly known as precognition.

There is a connection between your dreams and thoughts and what happened externally, but it’s not obvious how that connection came about. Without venturing into the physics which can explain how synchronicities occur, let me attempt a simple explanation.

Each of us is made up of energy. We have an energy field around us which permeates our bodies. There is also what the Pathwork (www.Pathwork.org) calls the Universal Energy Field, what Jung referred to as the unity of existence, or unus mundus (von Franz, p.8). There are patterns, or archetypes, that underlie all existence. Our thoughts create energy forms (like the balloons over characters’ heads in cartoons), and the more focused we are on a particular thought, the more energy is concentrated in that thought form. When you experience synchronicity it is because your thought has found resonance in the universal energy field and created (or drawn to you) a physical manifestation of that thought in the outer world. The inner and the outer are connected through meaning.

Dreams are somewhat different in that in dreaming inner and outer are intrinsically connected. When we dream, part of us may leave our bodies and connect with people and events in other times and places. In other words, in dreaming we often transcend ordinary time and space - we enter non-ordinary reality.

In theory, the more awakened we are - the more conscious and enlightened - the more regularly we will experience synchronicities. Why is this so? Because in the higher states of consciousness we are much more in tune with the flow of universal energy; we experience the oneness of creation.

I think the synchronous experiences you are having are an indication that you are open to life. The more conscious you are, the more the inner and outer in your life will be “in synch”. From my perspective, this is a very good thing!

Blessings, Connie