Synchronicity, even when it doesn’t entail spirit communication, is a kind of kind of alchemy that transforms us or a decision we’re making in an essential way. The alchemy occurs because of what the synchronicity says to you, its impact on you. This was certainly the case for Carl Jung during a visit in the 1950s with Henry Fierz, a chemistry professor with whom he had become friends over the years.
Friez had dropped by at five o’clock one afternoon to talk with Jung about a manuscript by a scientist who had recently died. Friez felt the manuscript should be published, but Jung, who had read it, thought otherwise. Their debate about the manuscript apparently became somewhat heated and at one point, Jung glanced at his watch, as if he were about to dismiss Friez. Then he seemed puzzled by the time and explained that his watch had just been returned from the repair shop, but it read five o’clock, the time that Friez had arrived.
Jung asked Friez the time; it was 5:35. As Richard Tarnas recounted the incident in Psyche and Cosmos, Jung apparently said, “So you have the right time, and I have the wrong time. Let us discuss the thing again.”
In the ensuing discussion, Friez convinced Jung the manuscript should be published. “Here, the synchronistic event is of interest not because of its intrinsic coincidental force,” Tarnas wrote, “but because of the meaning Jung drew from it, essentially using it as a basis for challenging and redirecting his own conscious attitude.”
Many of us might not draw a correlation between a stopped watch and a discussion. But synchronicity, by definition, is the coming together of similar inner and outer events in a way that is meaningful to the individual and can’t be explained by cause and effect. This means that the outer world – and all of nature and our surroundings – can carry meaning just as the inner world does. Jung, who was accustomed to perceiving and thinking symbolically, recognized the synchronicity and changed his thinking accordingly.
Tarnas noted that Jung recognized all events as “sources of potential and spiritual significance.” It didn’t matter to him whether they originated from human consciousness or from the “larger matrix of the world” because he saw nature and a person’s surrounding environment as a living template of “potential synchronistic meaning that could illuminate the human sphere. He attended to sudden or unusual movements or appearances of animals, flocks of birds, the wind, storms, the sudden louder lapping of the lake outside his the window of his consulting room…as possible symbolic relevance for the parallel unfolding of interior psychological realities.”
In other words, Jung used everything in his environment as potential signs and symbols. It seems that once you recognize coincidence as meaningful, once you’re in the flow of it, the inner self and the larger outer matrix chatter constantly to each other. We only have to listen.