Synchronicity, Coincidence, or Intuition?

bunnyBy CJ Heck –

We all love strange and mysterious things, and synchronicity is like magic happening. It gives us a sense of hope, a sense that something bigger is going on out there than what we can see or even imagine. The more down-to-earth a person is, the greater the surprise by a synchronistic event–even mild ones that happen to most everyone. Who hasn’t been about to call someone, and you pick up the phone and hear that person’s voice? For a moment in time, synchronicity blows away our assumption of cause-and-effect reality.

Some people shrug and call it intuition or even a coincidence. How are they different? Synchronicity and intuition seem to be separate phenomena. Synchronicity happens ‘out there’ when something in the universe seems to fall into place to answer an inner need we have. Intuition happens ‘in here’ — an inner ‘knowing’, where we know something, but we don’t know how we know it. Some examples:

We think of someone for the first time in years, and then run into them a few hours later. We’re at a bookstore looking for a specific book and one falls right off the shelf in front of us — and it’s the book we’re looking for.

Michael was hitting libraries and bookstores all over town, trying to track down an out-of-print book called The Adventures of Marco Polo. He had already been to two used book stores in town with no success, and he got in a taxi to go to a third. The cab driver was unusually talkative, and during their conversation, Michael glanced at his license, which was posted on the dashboard–his name was Marco Polo.

Is it only selective perception and the law of averages playing itself out? Or is it, as Carl Jung believed, a glimpse into the true natural order of the Universe? Jung coined the term “synchronicity’ to mean “a causal connecting principle” that links mind and matter. He said this happens through meaningful coincidences that can’t be explained by cause and effect. Jung theorized that synchronicities occur when a strong need arises in the psyche of an individual. He described the three different kinds he observed: the coinciding of a thought or feeling with an outside event; a dream, vision or premonition of something that then happens in the future; and a dream or vision that coincides with an event occurring at a distance. As far as I know, no one has come up with a definition that’s better.

Shelley was sitting in a church in Paris taking a break. The shoes she had worn from the States hurt, and she couldn’t afford to buy another pair. Suddenly she had an inner thought got up, walked out of the church, and turned left. She made several other turns and arrived at a square. There on top of a trash can, was a pair of brand new black boots with no signs of wear and in exactly her size. “It was perfect,” she said. “If they had been inside the trash can, I wouldn’t have pulled them out. If they had been worn before, I wouldn’t have put them on — I never could have afforded to buy them.”

Is this an intuition story or a synchronicity story? Intuition got her to the boots. Synchronicity provided her with exactly what she needed: she was virtually handed the boots by the Universe. Our perception of the two is based on how we look at the boundary between our inner and outer environments. The more we feel a part of what’s around us, the more we sense energy from all sides. It doesn’t matter where the information comes from — it just comes. If your belief system is that intuition and synchronicity are real and significant, you will notice them. If your belief system says they’re not, you won’t.

Synchronicity seems to happen when you’re intensely caught up in something that’s deep. Things like meditation, contemplative prayer also seem to stir it up. Often synchronicities are simply a tease, like a wink from the universe. Another example:

Sara was a screenwriter, researching a mysterious woman, a famous writer’s lover who died tragically at a young age. Driving to Boston to view her personal effects, Rebecca stopped off at an old cemetery in the woman’s home town, and surprisingly came upon her gravestone. On top of it was a rabbit. When it saw Rebecca, it jumped down and hopped around in circles. In Boston a few hours later, she was reading through the woman’s diary and in the margin of a page, she found a few lines of handwriting, which she recognized as the young woman’s. The words? “Thank God for rabbits and their funny little habits.”


CJ Heck is a published poet, writer, blogger and the author of four books. For excerpts and information, please visit: For more about her journey to awareness, visit: CJ is also a Vietnam War widow.

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