In 1975, I was a social worker in Vero Beach, Florida, and totally hated my job. The people who really needed assistance – food stamps and health care, the most basic needs – couldn’t get it. I can’t imagine what sort of system exists now for these things under the trump admin. But hey, full disclosure, I cheated on the forms so that an elderly couple who ended up in my office could get both.
Chris, one of the women I worked with, had lost her husband and needed a respite. “Let’s go to Europe, Trish.”
So we saved our $ and during that summer of 1975, we went to Europe for six weeks. My one and only trip. In Switzerland, our first stop was Zurich, a city I didn’t particularly like. The only thing I waned to see was Carlo Jung’s castle on the shores of Lake Zurich. I’d been pretty much obsessed with Jung’s theories since discovering the I Ching when I was 18, where he’d written the introduction to the Richard Wilhelm edition of the Ching in 1949 and introduced the concept of synchronicity.
Chris didn’t know anything about Jung or the I Ching, but was ready to explore. So one morning we set out on a train for Bollingen. The train was late getting in and leaving, which turned out to be a synchro for what happened later. When we got to Bollingen, I didn’t have a clue where Jung’s place might be. So I asked someone, a woman, who pointed the way.
Lake Zurich was impressive back then. I don’t know what it looks like now, except through Google. But that afternoon, Chris and I approached the castle from the back, where a young man and a dog were inside a fenced yard. I went up to the fence and introduced myself. The man was Jung’s grandson.
He looked like the pictures I’d seen of a younger Jung and spoke a broken English, a good thing since I didn’t speak a word of German. I asked him about the castle – did it have electricity now? Yes, it did. His parents, he said, had electricity installed after Jung died in 1961. Then we started talking about the I Ching, synchronicity, astrology, Jung’s mysticism, what it was like for him as Jung’s grandson. Some 20 or 30 minutes later, I walked back to Chris, my mind totally blown.
I don’t remember the train ride back to Zurich. I don’t remember much of our journey through Switzerland after that except the country has fantastic cheese. I realized, though, that if the train we’d taken from Zurich had been on time, I wouldn’t have met Jung’s grandson. This encounter, brief as it was, seems to have dominated my fascination with synchronicity – what it is and isn’t, how it works, why it works, and why it may be the answer to a quantum riddle about the nature of reality.
Quantum physicist David Bohm talked about the deeper order in the universe, an implicate or enfolded order out of which everything else is born, even time and space. In Bohm’s view, the explicate or unfolded is our external reality.
Synchronicity lies along the border between the two, our most accessible, conscious path into the mystery of it all.