Category Archives: The Coincidence Connector

Synchronicity and Symbols: We live in a symbolic matrix


Norse Tree of Life

I am developing a taxonomy for coincidences. Early botanists noticed similarities and differences among plants and categorized them; I’ve noticed similarities and differences among and between the coincidental flora in the forest of daily life.

To develop a scale for coincidence sensitivity, I asked participants to rate the frequency of common coincidences. The list of common coincidences was gleaned from a much longer group of possibilities. The result was the Weird Coincidence Survey. The 12 items of the WCS can be found on this website under “your coincidences”. You can take the survey to see how sensitive to coincidences you are.

From 1551 respondents to the WCS, the most common coincidences were:

I think of a question only to have it answered by an external source (i.e. radio, TV, or other people) before I can ask it.
I think of an idea and hear or see it on the radio, TV, or Internet.
I think of calling someone, only to have that person unexpectedly call me.
I advance in my work/career/education by being in the right place at the right time.

Most intriguing to me are the connections to our media. Are we becoming nodes in the vast internet connectivity? I explore this idea in this PT post.

Ray Grasse has a grander view. He starts with synchronicity and then expands to the symbols all around us. He notices what happens at the beginning of a process. One of his examples involves two people meeting for the first time and a car exploding outside as they talk. Foreboding for the relationship! And it was. The relationship did not go well.

Grasse quotes Emerson: “The whole world is an omen and a sign. Why look so wistfully in a corner? The voice of divination resounds everywhere and runs to waste unheard, unregarded, as the mountains echo with the bleatings of cattle.” (The Waking Dream, p.251)

You see a car on fire, a knife injures your foot, you have an argument with your spouse and Mars is in transit. Each of these has in common a force of some kind. To hear Ray talk about the expansion of symbol awareness in daily life please click here

Reference

Grasse, Ray. The Waking Dream (1996): Unlocking the symbolic language of our lives. Quest Books. Wheaton, Ilinois, USA

Beyond the Veil: Synchronicity and Near Death Experiences

Eben Alexander, MD
Near Death Experiences (NDEs) awaken minds to new realities. They tear through the web of ordinary life.

NDEs are profound subjective events at the threshold of death. They often include spiritual and paranormal elements, such as a sense of leaving the physical body, perceiving events at a distance, and encountering mystical entities and environments.

Bruce Greyson, MD, a pre-eminent NDE researcher, has shown that after these life-altering experiences, people report that they see more coincidences.

NDEs give the experiencer a place to stand outside of our conventional concepts of how the world works. Some people return from their excursions into greater consciousness to teach us how to better understand ourselves and help our age-old quest for peace and the expansion of human consciousness. Dr. Eben Alexander is one such teacher.

Here is Eben’s NDE story:

After decades as a physician and teacher at Harvard Medical School and elsewhere, academic neurosurgeon, Alexander thought he knew how the brain, mind, and consciousness worked. A transcendental NDE during a week-long coma from an inexplicable brain infection changed all of that—completely. Memories of his life had been completely deleted, yet he awoke with memories of a fantastic odyssey deep into another realm—more real than this earthly one!

Since his 2008 NDE he has been reconciling his rich spiritual experience with contemporary physics and cosmology. By probing deeply into our own consciousness, we transcend the limits of the human brain, and of the physical-material realm. His story offers a crucial key to the understanding of reality and human consciousness.

To hear him describe more about what he learned, please click here.

I Ching and Intentional Meaningful Coincidences: Toss the coins and see the future?

I Ching, The Song Dynasty

The I Ching, also known as the Book of Changes, is humanity’s oldest oracle. It is regularly consulted on matters relating to business, relationships, politics and other aspects of life. It is the pre-eminent book among the six Confucian Classics. The I Ching influenced the development of various Chinese philosophical systems, including Taoism, Confucianism, and the Yin-Yang School.

Throwing the coins of the I Ching intentionally creates coincidences between the mind of the asker and the pages in the book. Like all mantic methods, it is intended to clarify the present and predict the future. The I Ching originated within the worldview of ancient China in which the spiritual aspect of reality was accorded equal importance to the physical and psychic aspects. (Main, p. 142). It is based on the idea that events “fall together in time”. Its readings then reflect the current state of now. The readings symbolically mirror what is going on in the present.

Using the I Ching is a form of bibliomancy, the random selection of passages from a sacred book. The I Ching is a collection of sixty-four, six-line figures “hexagrams” with each figure having a name which is elaborated upon in its accompanying text.

The website DecisionPointIChing.com, and its blogs show how the wisdom of the I Ching can be elicited to comment on political and cultural activities as well as personal decision making. To learn more about the I Ching please visit this website, and listen to its creator Mary Kay Landon discussing it with me here.

Landon recommends these 4 books:

The I Ching, or Book of Changes. (1950/1967). (R. Wilhelm & C.F. Baynes, trans.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. Arguably the first authoritative translation of the I Ching into English, this version includes famed Swiss psychiatrist Carl G. Jung’s Foreword in which he discusses—and demonstrates—how the I Ching provides an example of his theory of synchronicity. This translation is also notable in that it includes a complete translation of “The Ten Wings,” Confucius-era philosophical commentaries on the images and meanings associated with the much older basic text.

Wing, R. L. The Illustrated I Ching. (1982). Garden City, NY: Dolphin Books (Doubleday & Co., Inc.). The companion volume to the author’s The I Ching Workbook, it offers an accessible, plain-language description of the meaning of the hexagrams and provides a simplified coin method for consulting the oracle. As such, it serves as a suitable and faithful introduction to the I Ching. The explanation for each hexagram is also accompanied by a Chinese illustration that depicts its meaning. Line text descriptions do not include translations of the original text.

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Karcher, Stephen. The I Ching: The Classic Chinese Oracle of Change. The First Complete Translation with Concordance. (2002). London: Vega. This translation offers multiple direct translations for each character appearing in the ancient Chinese text (i.e., “concordance”) along with author commentaries on the hexagrams and most of the line texts. As such, it offers the experienced practitioner a choice of interpretations on both the hexagrams and line texts, which can provide additional insights into unclear readings. Not recommended for beginners.

Huang, Alfred. The Complete I Ching. (1998). Rochester, VT: Inner Traditions. This is Mary Kay’s favorite translation at this point because it offers a Chinese perspective on the judgments of the hexagrams and line texts, as well as in its descriptions of the meanings of the Chinese ideograph for each hexagram. These ideographs offer another layer of meaning and insight into this ancient oracle. The author’s clear language and presentation of the material makes this also an appropriate translation for thoughtful beginners.

Beyond the Veil: Synchronicity and Near Death Experiences


Eben Alexander, MD

Near Death Experiences (NDEs) awaken minds to new realities. They tear through the web of ordinary life.

NDEs are profound subjective events at the threshold of death. They often include spiritual and paranormal elements, such as a sense of leaving the physical body, perceiving events at a distance, and encountering mystical entities and environments.

Bruce Greyson, MD, a pre-eminent NDE researcher, has shown that after these life-altering experiences, people report that they see more coincidences.

NDEs give the experiencer a place to stand outside of our conventional concepts of how the world works. Some people return from their excursions into greater consciousness to teach us how to better understand ourselves and help our age-old quest for peace and the expansion of human consciousness. Dr. Eben Alexander is one such teacher.

Here is Eben’s NDE story:

After decades as a physician and teacher at Harvard Medical School and elsewhere, academic neurosurgeon, Alexander thought he knew how the brain, mind, and consciousness worked. A transcendental NDE during a week-long coma from an inexplicable brain infection changed all of that—completely. Memories of his life had been completely deleted, yet he awoke with memories of a fantastic odyssey deep into another realm—more real than this earthly one!

Since his 2008 NDE he has been reconciling his rich spiritual experience with contemporary physics and cosmology. By probing deeply into our own consciousness, we transcend the limits of the human brain, and of the physical-material realm. His story offers a crucial key to the understanding of reality and human consciousness.

To hear him describe more about what he learned, please click here.

Synchronicity Statistics: Finding the Place of Probability in Coincidence Studies

The study of coincidences requires a basic education in probability. Why? Because the lower the probability (or the higher the improbability), the more likely that there is a hidden cause or explanation. How do we determine the probability of a coincidence? When is it possible to explain a coincidence by probability alone?

Gary Schwartz, PhD

In most coincidences, multiple influences produce the outcome. I call these influences vexing vectors. They are vexing to human minds because it is difficult to keep several of them in mind at the same time. One cause for one effect is easier.

Vectors are lines of varying force that influence an outcome. The various forces creating coincidences include probability, personal responsibility, and the parapsychological including telepathy and clairvoyance as well as the mysterious. The mysterious includes God, spirits, quantum holograms, entanglement, complexity theory and many others.

In discussing coincidences conventional statisticians use probability in the following way: it happened so it has a probability, therefore it could happen, so probability explains it because there is a probability of it happening. This is circular reasoning.

Gary Schwartz is working on a Probability for Coincidences or, as he calls, it Synchronicity Statistics. He estimates how many lifetimes it would take for an ultra-low probability coincidence to come into existence. Some probabilities are so low that Gary calls them “astronomically improbable” in his new book Super Synchronicity. To listen to our probability discussion on my radio show Connecting with Coincidence, click here.

Categorizing Coincidences: Different Strokes for Different Coincidences.

Currently coincidences are lumped under one umbrella but not all coincidences are created equal! The new discipline of Coincidence Studies begins with defining and establishing the primary categories of coincidences. In this way we can investigate differences and similarities among coincidence types. By creating the primary categories, we will find, among other things, that different types of coincidences have different processes, explanations and uses.

The primary methods used to categorize coincidences:

* Morphology involves classifying objects in a group by shape. In biology, for example, morphology deals with the form and structure of animals and plants. Like zoology and botany coincidences can be categorized by their common shapes. Shape differences help sharpen our understanding of function and cause. Does the coincidence involve a mental event or not? Are there more than 2 events involved? We will further explore the form and structure, or morphology, of coincidences later in this article.

* Process refers to the various sequences of events that help create the coincidence like “sitting down next to a stranger”.

* Explanations include possible causes the two most prominent of which are God and randomness.

* Uses covers the potential impact of coincidences including advice, support and supplying just what is needed.

Mind and Thing: The Basis for Morphology

A coincidence is usually defined as the surprising intersection of two or more similar events with no apparent cause.

The events making up a coincidence involve either an intrapsychic event (Mind) and/or an observable event in the environment (Thing). These two possibilities create three categories: Mind-Thing, Mind-Mind and Thing-Thing.

I. Mind-Thing: the intersection of a mental event with an environmental event. Mind-thing coincidences include but are not limited to:

* Synchronicity: a mental pattern matches an environmental event possibly offering significant psychological change as illustrated by Jung’s scarab.

* Serendipity: unexpectedly finding needed people, things or ideas as illustrated by the amazing series of events involving the discovery and manufacture of penicillin.

* Precognition: imagining something to happen and then finding that it happens

II. Mind-Mind: the intersection of two mental events. Two (or more) people experience a similar thought and/or feeling at a distance usually around the same time:

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* Telepathy: two people simultaneously have similar dreams or thoughts

* Simulpathity: experiencing the pain of a loved one at a distance

III. Thing-Thing: the appearance of two or more unexpected, similar, environmental events. Also called seriality. The difference between mind-thing and thing-thing is that a 3rd person can observe the matches.

Specific examples: Simultaneous discoveries, Doppelgangers, a long string of similar symbols (e.g. monkeys).

Morphology subsets includes those created by the conscious intention of the coincider. Consciously intended coincidences include:

1) Creative visualization: imagining a desired something and then it happens.

psychokinesis: moving an object with mental intention

2) Non-Coincidence: person expects a certain match and it does not come.

3) The mantic arts like tarot cards and I Ching. The seeker is consciously creating a potentially meaningful coincidence between one’s personal situation and the cards or coins.

4) Reincarnation research. Researchers record details of people described by young children and then actively search for the past existence of such a person. A strong similarity becomes a coincidence in need of explanation. Reincarnation pairing resembles a doppelganger in the current life.

5) Near Death Experiences: Researchers intentionally test the hypothesis that there is a similarity among the reports of people on the brink of death and returning to life. These reports form a serial coincidence.

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6) Cosmic Coincidences: Carbon-based life on Earth, depends on a narrow range of many different cosmic constants. This is not a similarity-based coincidence. This coincidence is that all these variables are “not too hot or not too cold but just right” for human existence.

Continuous Variables: Probability, Similarity, and Temporality

* Mind-Thing, Mind-Mind and Thing-Thing are discrete variables, meaning they are distinct from from each other. Think of 2 or more marbles. Most coincidences can be placed in one of these groups. Other descriptive features involve continuous variables. Continuous variables are connected to each other. Think of a road. These features include:

* Probability–the likelihood of a coincidence is calculated by multiplying the base rates of each event components. Some coincidences are highly likely while others are ultra-low probability.

* Similarity of coincidence components—exactly the same or is there only some degree of similarity? Maybe you were thinking of a song, “Hey Jude” and it started playing on the radio, an exact match. Or maybe you were thinking of “Hey Jude” but another Beatles song started playing instead: a degree of similarity but not an exact match.

* Temporality–the time span between the appearance of the components

Future posts will address the other three categories: process, explanation and use.

A Coincidence Involving the Recent U.S. Power Grid Failure


On April 21, power outages took place around United States.

San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles were the three areas that were hit the hardest. Each of the areas experienced problems or shut downs in business commerce. Also, basic infrastructure such as communication networks, mass transportation, and supply chains experienced problems.

The first outage occurred at around 7:20 a.m. in New York, when the power went down at the 7th Avenue and 53rd Street subway station. By 11:30 a.m. the city’s transportation authority confirmed that generators were running again in the station, although the New York subways were set to run delayed into the afternoon.

Later in the morning, power outages were reported at Los Angeles International Airport, as well as in several other areas around the city.

The San Francisco’s fire department responded to more than 100 calls for service in the Financial District and beyond, including 20 elevators with people stuck inside. Traffic lights were out at scores of intersections.

Because this triple simultaneous coincidence has a low probability, it is open to speculation about cause. Was it a cyberattack? Was it a geomagnetic storm? Is there one point at which the entire grid is vulnerable? Or was it somehow related to the liberal politics of San Francisco and New York City?

We may never know.

If a person with an alcohol problem is confronted, in a short period of time, with different events that suggest drinking is a major problem, this series of coincidences can act as a wake up call to do something about it. As a nation we can derive the same conclusion from this coincidence. Our electronic grid is woefully weakened and needs to be redone.

What is the source of this coincidence? A higher intelligence trying to communicate with us? Or a random event onto which we can put our own meaning.

Either way, the message is clear.

Seriality vs Synchronicity: Kammerer vs Jung: Can synchronicities be explained naturally rather than metaphysically?


While Jung insisted that meaningful coincidences could be explained through the “constellation” (activation) of archetypes, his contemporary Paul Kammerer thought they could be explained by current scientific principles. John Townley is keeping Kammerer’s perspective alive and evolving. To listen to our radio interview please click here.

John Townley writes:

“Paul Kammerer (1880-1926) was an Austrian biologist who studied and advocated the Lamarckian theory of inheritance–namely that environmentally induced genetic changes in the parent could influence the genetics of the offspring. His work was condemned by followers of the incoming Darwinian theory. However, he has recently been recognized as having uncovered the principles of epigenetics, far ahead of his time.

“Equally important may have been Kammerer’s other passion–collecting coincidence stories. He published a book with the title Das Gesetz der Serie (The Law of the Series, 1919) in which he recounted some 100 example anecdotes of coincidences organized into types, sub-types, and families, not unlike Linnaeus’s biological categories.

“He proposed that coincidences are actually just visible peaks of larger moving entities of organized information, which he called “constellations of bodies and forces” that displayed affinity and attraction under natural law. He developed some basic principles of how it might work, drawing on the physics of his time, including an “imitation hypothesis”, an “attraction hypothesis” and the principle of “persistence”, an extension of inertia that applied to systems and information as well as physical bodies. Again ahead of his time, much of what he describes as “seriality” is similar to what has more recently developed in chaos, complexity, and catastrophe theories.

“Albert Einstein himself called Kammerer’s theories “interesting, and by no means absurd”, while Carl Jung later drew upon Kammerer’s work in his essay Synchronicity. But Kammer’s approach to coincidence is almost the opposite of Jung’s, who attributed most of “synchronicity” to the inner world of the subconscious and psychological “archetypes”. Kammerer believed coincidences happen externally, as a part of less-obvious ongoing real-world systems, and we just notice them, more or less selectively, as they rise to the level of our attention.

“By removing coincidence from the murky world of individual psychological projection, he opens up possibilities of research that views the specific incidents as part of a larger, shared structure. His refreshingly-physical approach may be a helpful key in studying all sorts of anomalistic events and uncovering hidden patterns in fields as far apart as parapsychology, homeopathy, astrology, ritual, epidemiology, criminology, historical anthropology, creativity and the arts, and statistics.”

To hear Townley discuss Kammerer, please listen to our interview here.

For Townley’s synopsis of Kammerer’s ideas please click here.

If you would like to read an introduction to the translation of The Law of Seriality or request a copy of the full translation, please click here.

Factors that Increase Coincidence Frequency


What factors increase coincidence frequency? The answers involve the coincider (the person experiencing the coincidence) and the person’s situation.

Personal characteristics

People who see lots of coincidences describe themselves as spiritual and/or religious. Research also shows that coincidence-sensitive people tend to be self-referential, intuitive, and are seeking meaning in life. These personal characteristics have in common the increased tendency to make connections between inner states and external events.

Self-referential means that the person easily makes causal connections between environmental events and the self. For example, “Very few people came to our dance tonight. Maybe they knew I would be here.”

Intuitive means that the person’s thinking tends to bypass rationality and logic. Ideas come from out of the blue. For example, “I use gut feelings to guide me.”

People seeking meaning in life are scanning their environments and their minds for connections that lead to better understanding of their place in current reality.

For more details about this research, please click here

Situational Characteristics.

The circumstances that increase coincidence creation usually involve transition, high emotion, and need. These situationally altered states of consciousness include death of a loved one, sickness, job change, romance, and creativity. The outcomes in these situations are uncertain or indeterminate—meaning that the outcome is unknown. Without the momentum of predictable event sequences, new things can happen. The web of regular reality has been torn.

During transition people are usually more alert to their environments. They are looking for clues to their futures during this current reduction in predictability.

In the Flow

As positive psychology suggests, we are sometimes able to sync up with our surroundings. We can be dancing to the rhythms of our minds in concert with the events around us. Our thoughts seem to match, to parallel, to approximate the events of our surroundings. Getting into the flow can involve “meditation-in-motion” through which you let the rhythms move you.

Take Home Message

To increase the frequency of coincidence, activate your ability to scan both your mind and your environment, especially during uncertain times. This subconscious scanning will automatically look for matches between thoughts and events. Like the winning buzzer in an old TV game show, an alert to a parallel will be activated. You will then be challenged to do something about it—ignore, embrace, study, tell a friend or follow the implied suggestion. You may discover clues to some of the unsolved mysteries of reality.

The Connecting with Coincidence Radio Show Library


The weekly radio show CC with BB: Connecting with Coincidence with Dr. Bernie Beitman, MD, now has its own on-line library. You can go to the library here.

Welcome to the only radio show in the world dedicated to coincidences, synchronicity and serendipity!

Episodes 1 and 2: The series begins with my 2 lectures on Coincidence Studies. The aims of this new discipline include developing categories for coincidences: form, process, use and explanation.

3) Psychologist Gibbs Williams discusses the psychodynamics of coincidences–how we sometimes create coincidences to solve psychological conflicts.

4) Authors Trish and Rob MacGregor’s provide us with a wide ranging discussion of psi and coincidences with a focus on precognition.

5) Occupational therapist Kathy Meyers discusses the overwhelming barrage of coincidences occurring after a high school reunion and how coincidence counseling helped her make sense of it all.

6) Jungian teacher Gary Bobroff discusses Jungian archetypes and coincidences emphasizing how archetypes are so much a part of the human psyche.

7) Psychologist Gary Schwartz introduces Super Synchronicity, the subject of his recent book and evidence for greater intelligence being involved in our lives.

9) Psychologist Frank Pasciuti describes some remarkable coincidences that took place during psychotherapy.

10) Director David Strabala takes us on a tour of how he made his movie What is Synchronicity?

11) Jennifer Palmer, central character of the movie Synchronicity and the Collective Dream, describes how her real life experiences and the events of the movies overlap.

12) Philosopher Michael Grosso tell us how coincidences and religion interweave and helps us recognize the value of being in control of our own thoughts.

Look for future shows at this same address!