When I came home last night I found an unfamiliar jug being soaked in the kitchen sink. It was white, decorated with swirls of blue and orange, and had Made in Italy written on the bottom. After being cleaned up it proved to be in perfect condition. My husband had picked it up from the pile of rubbish awaiting the annual ‘inorganic collection’ from the pavement of our street.
Besides feeling delighted to have such a beautiful jug, I was amazed. A few days ago (unknown to my husband) I resumed editing the short novel which I hope to publish next year, and had been wondering where to find a cover image featuring the Italian jug which is a key part of the story and is painted in just the same colours and patterns as our own new acquisition.
This is an example of synchronicity – often defined as ‘meaningful coincidence’. As described in the writings of Carl Gustav Jung, this phenomenon suggests the presence of a deeper order of things, a spiritual framework organising and connecting all aspects of life.
When researching my ebook Life’s Labyrinth I was surprised by how many of the contributors described synchronous events which had turned out to be important in shaping their personal destiny. Such incidents might include apparently chance meetings or opportunities which changed the course of a life, or financial windfalls which equated precisely to the sum of money needed at the time. In recent years I have experienced several instances of synchronicity myself. One somewhat disturbing variant, which has happened on several occasions, is seeing a photo of an old friend come up on my computer screensaver on the day that they died.
Not all these incidents appear to have any future consequences, for example it may not be technically feasible to use a photo of our new jug on the cover of my forthcoming book. Perhaps the purpose of ‘synchronicities’ is just to remind us that there is more to life than we can understand from our limited human perspective. Or perhaps, as skeptics affirm, they represent nothing more than random chance and we exaggerate their significance because we are biased to notice things which confirm our preconceptions, and to seek for patterns and meanings where none exist.