Synchronicity is a concept originally introduced by the brilliant mind of psychiatrist Carl Jung, the author of Psychological Types.
Jung believed that although some events aren’t connected by causality, they could still be connected by meaning.
For example, if you suddenly think about a black cat, then open the window and see one (assuming you didn’t hear the cat in advance, and assuming there were no other clues that could lead you to think about it)…
Then somehow your psyche, or inner world, may have been connected to the outer world — synchronously.
Some people are skeptical, and believe that synchronicity is nothing more than our mind playing tricks on us.
Yet the more you experience synchronicity, the harder it is to believe it doesn’t exist; if you have experienced it yourself, you may even be certain that Jung’s concept was more than just a theory.
In today’s article we’ll have a look at five different types of synchronicity, as well as five examples to better understand them. Keep in mind, the process of “meaningful coincidences” changes from person to person, and this article doesn’t include all of them.
If you have experienced synchronicity yourself, I’d like to hear your story; you can leave a comment at the end of this post and let me know what happened. With that being said, let’s begin.
5 examples of synchronicity
1. Animals and symbols
Regardless of the culture we grew up in, there are certain symbols that resonate with our psyche. These could be geometric figures, animals, materials, or colors. Though we all have a different personality, some of these symbols will trigger the same thoughts or emotions in all of us.
As he was studying ancient cultures, Jung realized that some depictions (for instance, images in paintings or ornaments) were reoccurring. He then discovered that those same images were used by the subconscious mind as symbols that would come up in some of our dreams.
The theory, then, is that whenever we encounter one of these symbols — or archetypes, as Jung defined them — it is likely that the encounter has a meaning, which is essentially the difference between a synchronicity and a mere coincidence.
Some animals, such as birds and butterflies, symbolize transition, transformation, and rebirth. The same is true for water, and some flowers such as the lotus. These elements, when perceived by the unconscious, convey a powerful meaning.
An example of how this could translate into a synchronicity is an anecdote told by Jung himself. For quite some time, the psychiatrist had been working with a patient whose rational mind was predominant, and rejected the possibility of any kind of change through therapy.
This patient had seen three doctors already, Jung being the third one, but none of them had been able to treat her. She was skeptical; she did not believe in psychotherapy. It seemed that the only way this person’s attitude could change, then, would be to experience some kind of extraordinary, meaningful event — one her rational mind wouldn’t be able to control or understand.
Well, this is precisely what happened. One night, the patient dreamt about a golden scarab (one of the archetypes that symbolize transformation and rebirth). Then, the following day, when she met Jung, she told him about her dream, and how vivid and intense it was.
As the patient was describing her dream, Jung heard a noise behind him, as someone was tapping a window. To his surprise, he saw that a green rose chafer, the closest equivalent to a golden scarab, had hit the glass and flown into his studio. This had never happened before, and the insect itself was a rare sight in that climate.
This could be an excellent example of synchronicity because, at least theoretically, it showed that the patient’s psyche, and the transformation of her inner world, manifested in the outer world as well, without any apparent causal connection.
Of course, it could have been “just a coincidence”. But what were the chances? And isn’t it amazing how the patient’s spiritual rebirth, her unusual dream, her meeting with Jung, and the encounter with the golden scarab happened with such unexplainable timing and precision?
As we’ve seen, synchronicities are meaningful coincidences. They are two or more rare events connected to each other, not by causality, but by meaning — what they mean to you, how they change your thoughts and emotions, how they resonate with you.
With that in mind, you may have noticed that, right after (or before) an important event in your life, you may see certain numbers more frequently. Some series of numbers, such as 111 or 444, seem to be universal; they are archetypes which convey the same meaning for almost all of us.
Other numbers, on the other hand, will have a special meaning to you only. These could be the date of your birthday, your age, your favorite number, or any number that you keep seeing for apparently no reason.
Alice has had the same job, and has been working at the same company, for several years. She is comfortable, and everyone around her tells her not to take any risks because her current situation is ideal. Yet, her inner voice says the opposite: she should quit, so she can start a business and follow her real dream.
She spends weeks thinking about it, then she finally decides to quit. Though her partner and her colleagues are surprised, not necessarily in a positive way, Alice’s intuition tells her she has taken the right decision, and shouldn’t worry too much about the opinion of those around her.
As further proof, she starts to notice the number 4 a lot: when she checks the time on her phone, it shows 4:44; when she grabs the book she has been reading, she notices she had stopped at page 44; and so on.
Because this number didn’t just appear out of nowhere randomly, but precisely after her important decision, Alice interprets it as a synchronicity. Although there is no direct correlation between, say, the time of the day and Alice’s thoughts — her phone displaying 4:44, which can symbolize reassurance and being on the right path, can clearly be linked to her current situation.
3. Thinking of someone then meeting them
One would think that, as human beings, we are able to perceive the outer world, and get information from it, through our five senses only. Yet precognition does exist, and I’m sure you or someone you know has experienced it many times already.
How does this happen? It’s impossible to know, but the most logical explanation would be that a part of our mind (particularly the mind of gifted individuals) is able to sense information that isn’t directly linked to time and space.
In other words, in some cases we may be able to see and perceive things even though they belong to the future (a different time) or to another dimension (or different space). This can happen both when we are fully awake and when we are dreaming.
It has been said that precognition usually happens with people; for example, thinking of someone you haven’t seen in a long time then meeting them an hour later. It has also been said that the more you’re emotionally connected to this person, the more you will be able to experience this kind of synchronicity.
Mark doesn’t go out much, but one day a friend invites him to a party, and he decides to go for it. He is aware that he’s going to meet a bunch of people he knows — friends of friends — but everyone can join the party, and he has no idea who or how many will actually attend the event.
The night before the party, Mark has a dream: he is in a huge garden and he is surrounded by people in colorful outfits (this clearly represents the party he is going to attend; the party will be indoors, but his subconscious mind uses the garden as a symbol).
In the dream, Mark also encounters a woman he hasn’t seen in ages. He used to be attracted to her, and when he sees her in the dream, he feels intense emotions, and doesn’t know whether he should talk to her or not. Sure enough, the following day Mark sees her at the real party in real life, and experiences the same exact emotions.
He knows it could be a coincidence, but considering that this is a special person for him, and considering that the woman in question now lives in a different town and has different friends, and there is no way he could have predicted the encounter with his logical mind, he believes this is a meaningful synchronicity.
4. Being extremely lucky
Have you ever noticed that whenever you feel you’re on the right path in life, things just work? It’s almost as if God, or the Universe, or whatever you believe in, gave you proof that you’re doing the right thing at the right time.
This could mean meeting a like-minded person when you need them the most, or being given the opportunity to advance in your career right after unexpected expenses come up. Or, getting an important phone call from a client right before you were about to give up on your business.
Though there is no scientific explanation for this, it does seem that when you are meant to do something, or meet someone, that’s what’s going to happen, even if it’s extremely unlikely. You could say it’s luck or, in some cases, confirmation bias. But you could also say it’s a meaningful synchronicity.
Katie desperately wants to visit Japan; she will have two weeks off work soon, and she’d really like to go to Osaka during those two weeks. Only, it turns out that the whole trip would be way more expensive than she had thought. She does some research online, and becomes convinced that she simply can’t afford the trip.
A week later, one of her friends (who isn’t aware of her plans) calls her and tells her about a website she used to book a temporary accommodation abroad, and how much she liked the whole experience. She also tells her about an airline that offers massive discounts for some last-minute flights.
Keep in mind, Katie’s friend knows nothing about the trip to Osaka. Yet her spontaneous conversation on the phone allows Katie to book everything she needed to book for her trip — for a third of the price, and only a few days before her two weeks off.
Katie is aware that her friend’s phone call could be nothing but luck, yet she finds it amazing that the timing was just perfect, and that her friend knew nothing about her plans — if anything, her friend knew that she doesn’t really like to travel, and that she will be surprised to find out she’s going to Japan.
5. Things not going your way
Essentially, this is the opposite of the fourth example — a negative synchronicity. Sometimes, no matter what you do or how you do it, you can’t achieve your goal. And from a spiritual point of view, this could be happening simply because you are not meant to do that thing.
I’m sure you can remember a time in your life where you were trying to do something, but no matter how hard you tried, it wouldn’t work out; and eventually you discovered that it wasn’t the right thing for you, and all the obstacles you had to face were actually a blessing in disguise.
In some cases and when interpreted correctly, “bad luck” could be nothing but synchronicity — a meaningful coincidence where your inner world and the outer world become connected, not because of a cause-effect relationship, but because the Universe, or your higher self, prevents you from making a mistake.
One night, Claire goes out with her friends and meets a person she’s really attracted to. They exchange numbers and agree to go on a date on Monday. Claire thinks the other person would be a wonderful partner, and she’s very excited.
Then, an unfortunate series of events happens: on Monday, Claire has to work overtime, and decides to postpone the date. Then, the other person says he’s sick and doesn’t want to go out until he’s feeling better. Then, when the two could finally meet up, extreme weather ruins their plan, and they have to postpone the date once again.
In the meantime, Claire’s opinion about the other person changes. His text messages seem very cold and impersonal, and there’s something about him she does not like, though she can’t tell what it is. Eventually, she decides to take time and wait.
After a while, Claire gets a phone call from an old friend who happens to know the person she was going to date. It turns out, he is a pathological narcissist who doesn’t really care about other people’s feelings. Claire realizes that perhaps the unfortunate series of events has saved her from months of frustration and anxiety, and interprets her “bad luck” as a meaningful synchronicity.
Have you ever experienced synchronicity yourself, whether it was a symbol, a number, or anything else? I’d love to hear your experience — please let me know by leaving a comment! 👇