Authentic Living 103: the Secret of Syncronicity

Are You Looking for Answers?

For those who are feeling the urge to begin living an authentic life, chances are that you are feeling a bit frustrated.  After all, you know that you want something more.  You know that you are ready for the next step in your journey; for your soul’s next big adventure.  There’s just one problem; you haven’t got a clue as to what comes next.

You’ve prayed.  You’ve meditated.  You’ve read book after book about spiritual awakenings; kept journals; taken up yoga, maybe even joined a book or discussion group, all to no avail.  Don’t get me wrong, you’ve learned a lot, but nothing has really changed.  In fact, everything around you just keeps on keeping on.  Day after day; PTA meeting after board meeting after little league soccer game until you’re ready to throw your hands up in frustration and scream up at the sky:  “I’m ready!  What are you waiting for?”

You can rant and rave about not knowing what you are supposed to be doing with your life; about god, the universe, our higher selves or the great flying spaghetti monster not dropping the answers, the clues or the GPS coordinates to where we are supposed to be and what we are supposed to do next into our laps, but the thing is, we already have the answers that we’ve been looking for.  In fact, we’ve probably had them for quite some time and haven’t even realized it.

You see, Spirit speaks to us all the time; every day.  Mind you it doesn’t usually come with a big red stamp on the front saying “message from the universe” or “marching instructions from god.”  No, it’s far more subtle than that.  How spirit speaks to us is through the use of synchronicities.

What is Synchronicity?

For those who haven’t heard the term before, a synchronicity is technically the coincidence of events that seem related but which cannot be plausibly explained as being caused by each other.  For example, let’s say that you start off the day in meditation by asking the universe for a sign as to whether or not you should quit your job in order to run away with the circus.  (I know, I know, this isn’t necessarily a reasonable example, but bear with me, it will serve the purpose!).

So you get dressed and go to pour yourself a bowl of cereal only to be caught by the picture of the circus elephant on the back of the box.  “Ha!” you think to yourself as you gather your things together and get into the car, “that was a cool coincidence!”  Except as you are driving to work you notice that there is a billboard by the side of the road advertising that the circus will be in town this very next weekend.  You get to work and your boss rakes you across the coals and asks you who you think you’re working for – the circus?  To add to the coincidence you get home to put your feet up and the first movie that you pull off the shelf is your old copy of Dumbo (you’d forgotten you even still owned that!).  Then you get ready for bed only to find yourself unable to sleep, so you flip on the TV and what should be playing but Charlie Chan at the Circus.  Then you finally fall asleep discouraged because you still don’t have an answer to that morning’s question.

Guess what?  You have your answer.  The universe all but handed it to you on a silver platter and you patently ignored it.

The key of course is to learn how to recognize synchronistic events for what they are; not random coincidences; not interesting chance encounters, but messages direct from your higher self to you; clear guidance on what you feel like you should be doing next, and the first order of business is to become aware of them at all.

Learning to Listen

You see, unfortunately, most of us go through life barely aware of what we are planning to do next, let alone pausing to recognize the synchronistic connection between our thinking of our best friend from college who we haven’t spoken to in 15 years and suddenly finding that they have sent you a friend request on Facebook; or being concerned over being able to make ends meet this month only to have your neighbor call you up and offer to share a table with you at the upcoming community yard sale, followed by a reminder from your mother-in-law to file the insurance claim for the roof damaged caused by last month’s wind storm; both ways that extra money could be brought into your life.

I see you wrinkling your nose up at me.  You don’t believe me, do you?  Well, try it for yourself.  Seriously!  Pick up a small spiral bound notebook at your local pharmacy and stick it in your pocket or purse along with a pen.  Now, every time that something synchronistic happens to you; every time you find the same word cropping up during the day; the same phrase pops out at you; the same references being made.  Write them down.  Don’t worry, you don’t have to do anything with them yet, just write them down.  Take out your notebook.  Write down the time and the date and the coincidence, and then move on.  Now, at the end of the day, take a look through your notebook and see if anything stands out.

I’m betting you’ll find that more often than not seeming coincidences prove to have been gentle warnings, reminders, or guidance that you simply ignored; brushed aside as just a matter of chance.  Or, as in the case of the circus example, direct answers to the questions you asked the GPS coordinates straight from the source to you.  You just have to know how to operate the machine and interpret the results that it is giving you.

Expectations as a Stumbling Block

“The best things in life are unexpected – because there were no expectations.” 

~ Eli Khamarov

You have been planning something out – you’ve made plans and arrangements and have been getting excited about the upcoming event then something happens; something that throws a wrench into the works and the plans are canceled. How do you react?

Civil rights activist Eliot Larson once said that “Anger always comes from frustrated expectations,” and he had a point. I’ve met people who go absolutely berserk when confronted with a disappointment, others who sulk or get depressed, and some few who are able to shrug it off and move onto something else. Which begs the question, what, exactly, ties us to the outcomes of certain situations?

Why is it so important that something happen in the way we’ve been planning out? And why do so many seemingly attach all of their hopes and dreams to these expectations and get so worked up about it when they don’t turn out the way that they expected?

Attachment is the answer and the key to this question.  We are not content simply to let events unfold as they are supposed to, but insist on trying to shape events to meet up to our expectations.  The thing is that everything is happening exactly as it is supposed to; without our help.  We simply have to trust that the universe is arranging events in the way that they are supposed to happen and listen to that inner voice before we take any action and trust that it is leading us in the direction in which we are supposed to go.

When we do this, all the bumps and kinks go out of our lives and things start falling into place with an alacrity that some may find alarming, but also exhilarating, for finally you are living the life that you are supposed to live.

But it is not only events that we attach our expectations to. We also tend to attach expectations to individuals. We build them up in our head as being a certain thing, and then, when they don’t live up to those expectations; when they do or say something that shatters this illusion, we snap, accusing them of being or doing something that has absolutely no basis in reality.

The worst part about attaching personal expectations to an individual, however, is when you accept the unrealistic expectations that others have of you; when out of fear or obligation you attempt to live up to their hopes and dreams of you (or for you) even if those hopes and dreams are not your own.

To do so is probably the worst thing you can do, for when you take on others’ expectations for you, not only do you cease to grow yourself, but you also stunt their growth, for by relying on you to do or be certain things for them, you keep them from discovering the true extent of their own personal power. Perhaps it was Frederick Perls who summed this up most succinctly when he said “I do my thing and you do yours. I am not in this world to live up to your expectations, and you are not in this world to live up to mine.

Sound selfish? If you adhere to society’s definition (which relies heavily on individuals plugging themselves into a particular slot and then fulfilling the expectations of that definition), then yes, it is selfish.  But if instead you adhere to the wisdom of the universe and are listening to its guidance in your individual lives, then you will be able to say with the Dali Lama:

“I am open to the guidance of synchronicity, and do not let expectations hinder my path.”

And in opening yourself up to the true nature of reality; to the true nature of the universe, you will find yourself living a far more authentic and meaningful life than anything you could have dreamed up for yourself.