80: What are Synchronicities?


Welcome to Episode#80 of the Own Your Best Life Podcast. Do you chalk up seemingly random occurrences to coincidence? Or do you call them synchronicities? What is synchronicity? When we start living in the world of intangibles more than the world of tangibles, we often start seeing synchronicity appear. You may call them signs or maybe you call them coincidences. Either way, we’ll discuss what synchronicities are and what they can mean to your life.

Many of us achievers live our whole lives in our heads. Rational, pragmatic and driven to see results in our outer world where things seem to have some kind of order and make sense. The internal world looks a lot more messy and confusing so we tend to not go there as often. We don’t want to make sense of what we don’t fully understand, especially when we get more and more entrenched in our outer worlds. The world of achievement and tangibles make sense and we feel like we’re experts there. The world of the inner psyche and emotions don’t make as much sense and we feel inadequate.

Synchronicity is defined by the Oxford dictionary as the “simultaneous occurrence of events which appear significantly related but have no discernible causal relationship”.

Modern psychology tells us that synchronicity is the product of confirmation bias, where you end up focusing more on the information that confirms what you already believe. In essence, whatever you’re looking for, you will find. Confirmation bias and synchronicity can still live harmoniously together because when we are truly present in life, aware of the needs of the moment, the facts and all the possible ways to interpret the facts in front of you – you are living in greater flow with life. When you are in flow, life appears to be one confirmation bias after another. Everything is a sign – not because you are connecting two things that have no connection – but because you are accepting two things that have no connection. You then become the common denominator.

We think that synchronicities happen to us when in fact we also create them. One of the ways that we often find synchronicities is when we give up the idea that we control everything in our lives. It’s often when we are in a state of high emotional stress or transition that we see synchronicities appear. We ask for help from the Universe and it is given. 

For me, it comes most into play when I am in the energy of service. When I got my coaching certification at Columbia, I had to complete a research paper, a written exam, and an oral exam. The oral exam was to coach someone that I wouldn’t meet until right before we had our session. In this session, a faculty member and an International Coach Federation faculty were in attendance and it was recorded. I remember being prepared but so nervous as well. The night before the exam I decided to meditate and visualize my client. I had just finished reading a Yoga Journal article about a teacher that was on a retreat. This teacher had taken a nap and during the nap, saw all these things in her sleep that her friends were doing and it turned out when she woke up that they had actually all occurred. 

Bolstered by this affirming story, I sat on my hotel bed, propped a pillow under me and prepared to drop into my meditation. I started seeing my client – she had dark hair, there was the color purple popping up, and there was the name Rose. I meditated again the next morning and I saw that she was Indian and that her presenting issue would be anxiety. I had started posting on Instagram then and I remember quickly writing that and posting it before I left for the morning. 

As soon as I did this, I realized I would look like a fool when I walked in and found a tall blond man with blue eyes as my client. When I went into the main room with all the faculty and ICF faculty, they introduced themselves and said there must have been some memo because they were all wearing purple. I noticed it and just took it in. Ok. 

My oral exam was scheduled later so I took a walk before my oral exam. I move my body when I am nervous or have lots of energy. Several months before, I had developed an eagle as a sign that I am supported. I remember looking up at the sky thinking, “if I could just see my sign right now”, but I couldn’t tell if the birds in the sky were eagles or hawks. 

I wanted one to come close as a sign of reassurance. Rationally, I realized it wasn’t going to happen because I was on a path with trees shrouding above me so it was highly unlikely to see a bird fly underneath those trees. As that thought kicked in, I gave up on the need to see the eagle and turned to walk back towards the building where I would have my oral exam. 

Right then and there, I saw a giant statue of an eagle in front of me. I had never noticed it before, but it was right there in front of the building. 

When I went inside, I met my client. She was Indian, with dark hair, and during the coaching session it came through that her core issue was her anxiety. We finished up, and we started chatting as we walked back to the main room. As we were finishing up, I went out on a limb and told her that “you might think I am crazy, but I visualized you in my meditation last night and that your issue was going to be anxiety.” Without skipping a beat, she looked at me and calmly said, “We got your coach bio’s last night and I intuitively knew it was either going to be you or Rose”. You can check my instagram and see that post from that day.

Give up the need to see a sign or a synchronicity and they start to appear everywhere. Trust your intuition and decide to test it out and see what starts to happen.

Pattern recognition itself is correlated to high intelligence, but when we have obsessive or constant pattern recognition, psychologists state that this can have parallels with schizophrenia states. I’d like to offer that there is a middle way. When you think about pattern recognition, why do we want to recognize patterns? Why do we want to see behaviors or events as being related to what we have done somewhere else or via somewhere else? In many ways, it’s because we want to have an ability to tap into the order of events that happen in the world. How do we perceive two seemingly disparate events like signs, numbers, or occurrences with what life is presenting to us? We make them into patterns. 

One of the best ways for us to identify when patterns hold true or when they don’t is to tie it to this idea of is this helpful or not? In my coaching certification process, it was helpful for me to see that I was supported even when I operated outside of what I felt was safe or comfortable. For me, heading into the world of human development was a scary thing when I was used to dealing with numbers, business and math. Yet, the same way we use math as a language, we can also use the phenomena of spirit and the world of energy as language. We can find strategy by connecting the dots in ways that others before haven’t, yet make complete sense in hindsight.

When you dive into the world of quantum physics, it supports the energetic world of interconnectedness. Things that are apart can actually have an effect on each other. If that is the case, why wouldn’t we want to explore how synchronistic events impact our daily lives and to what degree we want to utilize them for our good?

In this black and white world we live in, we often ask ourselves if things are right or wrong. Are sychnocities right? Or are they wrong? Science doesn’t support synchronicities but it does support quantum physics. What stands out to me is that synchronicities are individual. These are your own experiences and only you can really identify what you make things mean. Many events are improbable by statistical standards but they occur. You can make it mean that this is therefore possible for you too, or you can make it mean it’s never going to work.

Either way, our belief precedes these events. I’d like to share that it’s not about being wrong or right because synchronicities occur in hindsight. They confirm what you already know to be true. You don’t need signs and synchronicities when you are taking an action in this present moment because you can identify what choices to make and how to proceed with the information from this present moment alone. With the facts. Yet, what drives our decisions are often our values and purpose. These are intangibles. When we start to live our lives from this place of intangibles, we see that we might have to move before there is clear support that this is the path we’d like to travel down. We say yes to the person, job, investment before we know if this is going to work.

Similarly with synchronicities, we believe in them before we know that there is proof that this is true. This is why I like to triangulate to come to decisions. I like to stay out of the emotional drama and indecisiveness by purposely testing confirmation bias, intuition and negativity bias.

To test confirmation bias, I’ll ask myself what is the opposite of what I think or even ponder the worst case scenario. I’ll write out all the possibilities of things going wrong or not being as connected as I believe and address them. It was the thought that my visualized coaching client could be a blond male, not an Indian woman with dark hair and having some humor with the situation. Of letting go of the need to be right.

To test intuition, I’ll ask myself if there are facts that support what I want to do and why. Facts aren’t necessarily numbers although they can be. They can be logical order of events such as if I want to be a writer, I have to write. If I want to be a visionary, I have to go beyond where things may be safe. If I am coaching, anxiety very likely comes up as a common issue.

To test staying too safe, mired into the world of facts alone and negativity bias, I’ll ask myself what do I want to learn from making this decision and if this decision will help me learn that thing. In the coaching situation, I wanted to learn how to dive into intuition and see if what I visualized in my meditation was accurate. I wanted to learn what it felt like to trust and let the world respond accordingly. 

I’ve had other synchronistic events occur, where I started doing research one night on retreat locations and a client of mine emailed the next day asking when I was going to host a retreat. Or meeting people with common stories of my own. So much so that I’ve started accepting synchronicities as a way of life, not unlike the way I accept that when I live with an open heart and unconditional love, people and events respond beautifully and life is easier to live.

I’d like to offer that our beliefs are our own to evaluate, test, prove and disprove. You can decide that Santa Claus is real and life is magical or you can decide that life is magical. It’s not as much about whether something is real. It’s about what you make it mean and what you do with this information.

Sometimes, things are chance occurrences. Sometimes, they are synchronicities. Sometimes, we don’t know exactly what happened and how to explain all the circumstances in our life. All of these things can be true in any given situation. No matter if you believe in or understand their cause, the question to focus on is what is needed from us in this given situation? In order to simplify our ways of taking in all the information coming our way, synchronicities provide a valuable framework to show that you are supported in life through things beyond your control. 

Note what synchronicities start to appear in your life when you ask for help from a place of true service and connection. Let yourself be open to what appears and then decide if you want to test the interconnectedness by using your rational thought, knowledge of pattern recognition and biases before coming to a conclusion. Either way, if you notice a shift in your behavior where you once felt challenged or a sense of relief comes through that serves you – allow it to be present. Allow yourself to notice if it serves you and the situation to understand synchronicities in a new way and keep using your life as your training ground to see what unfolds when you lean into these beliefs.

I can’t wait to hear what unfolds.

If this topic resonates with you and you want to see transformational results in your life, you’ll love coaching. Getting coached consistently is the spark that will light the fire of inspiration to make the change you’re looking to make. It is the first step in creating clarity, making a massive shift and moving obstacles out of your way so you can move forward. You can go to www.mayempson.com/contact to learn more.

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