The Gift of Synchronicity

Dec 30, 2009 by

Carl Jung, Shrink Extraordinaire, was a protege of Sigmund Freud, another shrink extraordinaire. But then they had a fight and broke up. This was probably a good thing for all of us.

Carl Jung studied unbelievable coincidences, and came up with the word “synchronicities.” This famous story is fascinating.

Jung had been working with a woman patient who was very rigid and not making any progress in therapy. One day, however, she came in to see him, having had a powerful dream the night before about a Scarab Beetle.

Now this excited Jung because he happened to know that in Egyptian mythology the scarab beetle is a symbol of rebirth and transformation. So Jung thought that dreaming about the beetle was a really good sign for her, and maybe she was on the verge of a change!

He was about to make that dream interpretation to her when they both heard a tap-tap-tapping on the office window.

Away to the window Jung flew like a flash, tore open the shutters and threw up the sash.

When, what to his wondering eyes should appear but a BIG OL’ BEETLE, which proceeded to fly around the room!Scarab Beetle

Needless to say, everyone was shocked! Jung caught the beetle in his hand, and then he told the woman his dream interpretation. The beetle’s appearance was enough to break through her blocks, and the next time she came back, she was indeed transformed, and the therapy moved along very well from then on. (First however she had to overcome her post-traumatic stress disorder from having a big beetle shoved in her face. Kidding.)

Legend has it that the idea of synchronicity came to Jung (in the 1920s) during a conversation with Albert Einstein over dinner. (OK I’m just taking a moment to imagine having a little din-din with EINSTEIN, after also hanging out with FREUD. The brain-power in that neighborhood was, well, genius.

Jung studied gazillions of these meaningful coincidences and decided that they are the surface effects of a deeper, more holistic reality, a sort of fusion of inner life and outer universe. He said that major life transitions have more synchronistic events, and signal periods of personal growth, but also help it along. That is, synchronicities have an effect.

They can be signposts that you are on the right track, and that you are in the flow of some energy that is very resonant with purpose. It is always a good idea to follow up on them. They tend to lead to adventure, and places you wouldn’t normally go.


Christine Ranck is the author of Ignite the Genius Within

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