Synchronicity and Psychology

I was at a café in Warburton, speaking to a friend. We were sharing about our experiences of synchronicity, and of times when the world has seemed a very strong mirror of our internal landscapes. Sometimes these experiences seem part of the fabric of what life is like when it is in flow, when everything feels profound and full of meaning. When you are in the right place at the right time, and all that has happened before now makes sense in the context of the moment. A good thing.

But there are also other ways these experiences can appear, as part of a destabilised, unsettled and off-key mirror-maze. I spoke of my own experience of this, and we talked of people that we have known who have seemed lost and floundering in a world of their own creation.

We touched on the subtlety and complexity of where awakening and madness begin and end. My friend shared that she felt her own recent personal experiences were not madness, but a positive and meaningful part of her unfolding. I told her how my experience of meaningful coincidence had been burgeoning in the last months and how good this felt to me also.

She spoke about how these experiences would be defined within the mental health system as symptoms of mental illness, “delusions of reference”. Definitions include: “The feeling that casual incidents and external events have a particular and unusual meaning that is specific to the person”. Or: “the phenomenon of an individual’s experiencing innocuous events or mere coincidences and believing they have strong personal significance. It is the notion that everything one perceives in the world relates to one’s own destiny”. It is easy to see how both ways of experiencing this phenomenon – heaven and hell, mad and genius – can be encapsulated by these definitions.

I spoke about my recurring desire to have an impact on how this phenomenon is perceived within the mental health system. To have the spiritual or positive possibility of these experiences accounted for and included in how they are understood. I shared how this desire comes and goes in its intensity for me, but that I am yet to know how I can really put this into action.

At this moment the phone rang. My friend had to leave anyway, said goodbye, and left. I answered the call. It was a youth worker from a support service in the CBD. He said he currently had a client who had been through troubles within the mental health system, mostly because of his tendency to frame his experiences in spiritual terms. The worker asked me if I might be the right person to support him as a counsellor.

I said “yes”, without a shadow of hesitation or doubt. I mean, really, how could I deny synchronicity like that?

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