Carl Jung coined the word synchronicity and defined it as “meaningful coincidence”. He paid close attention to synchronous events in his life and in the lives of the patients with whom he worked. In his writings - including a long essay called Synchronicity  (Jung: Synchronicity- an Acausal Connecting Principle, 1955:144-5)- he explored how meaningful coincidence occurs and why paying attention to these occurrences yields extraordinarily valuable results.

Synchronous events are apparently acausal – in other words, something happens that goes beyond the usual explanation of why things happen, the cause and effect theory. Without venturing into the physics which can explain how synchronicities occur, let me attempt a simple explanation.  Each of us has an energy field around us and within us.  There is also a large energy field outside of us, sometimes called the universal energy field, or unity of existence.  Our thoughts create energy forms (like the balloons over people’s 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 meaningful coincidence 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. Our thoughts are much more powerful that we know.

Recently I had two powerful experiences of synchronicity.  The first occurred in August at the Blacktail Ranch in Montana, where I was leading a Gathering the Soul in the Wilderness Retreat. The week before the retreat I had spent many hours researching wolverines because there is a wolverine in a new novel I’m writing.  Wolverines were very much on my mind, though I’d never seen one and didn’t expect to. They are very rare and generally live in high mountain country.

It was the last day of the retreat and a wrangler, several women, and I were riding back to the ranch lodge from a sacred Native American cave where I had led a shamanic journey for each woman to find her unique gift.  It was early evening, and still light.  One woman suddenly stopped her horse and pointed to the moving bushes on the other side of a stream about twenty feet from us.  Out of the bushes came - A WOLVERINE!  It ran a few feet up a steep hill, then turned around and stared at us.  We stared back, awestruck, taking in the beautiful coat, gold in front and mahogany toward the back, the short legs, the badger-like snout.  A chill ran up my spine, the hair on my arms stood on end, and tears spilled from my eyes.  A few seconds later the wolverine turned around, raced up the hill, and disappeared.

When we returned to the lodge we excitedly told the ranch owners, Tag and Sandra, what we had seen, knowing how unusual a sighting it was.  Tag was born and raised on the ranch, had lived there many years, and had never seen a wolverine!

To me, this was an extraordinary example of synchronicity.

The second experience I had was also related to my new novel.  I had been researching wildfire, and I was sitting in my living room reading Norman MacLean’s Young Men and Fire, about a catastrophic fire in Montana many years ago.  MacLean’s description of the flames and destruction was vivid and disturbing.  I glanced up and out the large living room window that frames expansive wheat fields and a mountain range beyond.  Fire raged in the foothills just across the fields!  Flames shot up twenty or thirty feet, and the fire looked like it was out of control, spreading fast.  Alarmed, I called the sheriff to report it and was thankful to learn that it was actually a controlled burn of felled beetle-killed pine trees.  Again, a powerful experience of synchronicity.

Many people dream of a friend or relative they haven’t connected with in years, only to receive an e-mail or phone call the next day from the person, or see that person unexpectedly in an airport or on the street. One might imagine the perfect job, a seemingly impossible job to find, only to hear by “chance” that such a job exists and is open.  Synchronicities occur frequently, but in order to benefit from them we need to pay attention, to be alert to the meaning of what we usually refer to as coincidence.

There is a connection between our thoughts, and our dreams, and what happens externally. In the higher states of consciousness we are much more in tune with the flow of universal energy, deeply aware of the oneness of creation. The more awakened we are – the more conscious and enlightened – the more the inner and outer of our lives will be in synch.