Category Archives: The Coincidence Connector

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!

What Is Synchronicity? An interview with feature documentary director David Strabala.

While counseling a troubled teen, David Strabala wondered how this boy kept finding himself at the wrong place at the wrong time. Could he arrange his life to be in the right place at the right time? Wasn’t this a synchronicity question?

Inspired by the teen’s struggle and always the story teller, Strabala set about producing and directing the movie What Is Synchronicity? During his interview on my Connecting with Coincidence radio show, Strabala tells us several of the many coincidences that helped make the movie happen. His stories once again illustrate how being involved with coincidences increases their appearance.

One of his instructive personal coincidences involved a romantic relationship that he had just ended. A week after they both agreed to break up, he was stopped behind a car that was the exact make and model of his ex-girlfriend’s car. The driver looked very much like his ex. Then he noticed her license plate: “Wait 4 Me” it said. He took this as a sign that he should probably get back together with her. It seemed to mean that their relationship was meant to be.

He met with her and she agreed. They remained together for several years but the relationship never could progress to the marriage he thought he wanted. They separated once again.

Strabala thought back about that license plate. Wait a minute! The sign was not “get back together,” it was “wait.” He had done so much waiting in his life! The sign then reflected how his pattern of waiting had run its course, given their mutual doubts about marriage. He needed to accept how their energy had shifted and choose gratitude for the time they were together.

Listen to the entire interview here.

As I suggest in this Psychology Today post, meaningful coincidences like this do not necessarily mean the relationship is meant to be…. forever. So many people pass in and out of our lives This one was meant to be for a limited time, until Strabala learned what he needed to know.

As Above, So Below—a Sky/Brain Coincidence

Tomisiti Public DomainHermesTrismegistus
Source: Tomisiti Public Domain

Hermes Trismegistus, thought to be an an ancient Egyptian philosopher, wrote “That which is Below corresponds to that which is Above, and that which is Above corresponds to that which is Below…” The phrase has been summarized as “As above, so below.”

Here is an example.

The Spectrum of Brain Waves

Brain waves are electromagnetic currents generated by our brains that can be measured by electroencephalography (EEG). These currents range across a spectrum from about 4 Hz to 60 Hz. Hz (Hertz) refers to the number of cycles per second. A cycle in 1 second would be 1 Hertz; 100 cycles in a second is 100 Hertz.

The image below from the first human EEG recording by Hans Berger has 2 lines. The upper line is the EEG.The lower line is a 10 Hz timing signal. In the upper line, the more frequent the waves, the higher the Hertz.

Source: Public Domain–Wikipedia

The Spectrum of the Schumann Resonance

The ionosphere begins about 40 miles above the Earth’s surface. It contain ions, which are negatively and positively charged particles created by solar winds. Between the Earth’s surface and the ionosphere is an electromagnetic cavity which can hold electromagnetic currents. The lightning that frequently occurs in this cavity, generates electromagnetic currents. These currents bounce between the edge of the ionosphere and the Earth’s surface. The currents range across a spectrum from about 4 Hz to 60 Hz. These waves are called the Schumann resonances.

Schumann resonance created by lightning between the ionosphere and Earth’s surface
Source: Wikipedia

The human EEG and Schumann resonances occupy a very similar electromagnetic spectrum!

As with many coincidences, the similarity between these two spectra suggests that there is a link between them. We just don’t know what it is…yet.

Meditation and the Fundamental Frequency

Within this similarity between the two wave spectra lies another intriguing coincidence.

Meditation, relaxed states, and creative states—as well as the transition between sleep and wakefulness—are characterized by EEG frequencies around 4-8 Hz. During these states our minds tend to have a tenuous connection to ordinary reality. We are “up in the air.”

The fundamental frequency of the Schumann resonances is 7.83Hz. The fundamental frequency is the lowest frequency of a periodic waveform. The wavelength of this fundamental frequency is equal to the circumference of the Earth.

So, the fundamental frequency of the Schumann resonance falls within the range of the meditative, creative, and relaxed states of the human brain.

This presents another coincidence that suggests a connection between the the Schumann resonance and our brains.

What does this brain-sky coincidence mean?

We humans have long used coincidences as signals for possible causal connections. A baby cries because she is hungry or tired or thirsty. The mother comes. This is at first a coincidence. Then the baby realizes that if she cries, the mother comes. A causal link has been found and then used.

Science has often proceeded through coincidences. Please see my book Connecting with Coincidence to find examples, especially the discovery and production of penicillin.

What do you think is the connection between overlapping of the EEG and Schumann Resonance spectra? What do you think is the relationship between meditative states and the Schumann fundamental frequency? After collecting some of your speculations, I will add my own.

Some Coincidences are too Good to be True

microsoft_building_17_front_door Microsoft

You are having computer problems. You have Microsoft software. You receive a call from someone telling you that your computer has problems needing to be fixed: it has a virus; it’s slow, or it’s sending out error messages. How wonderful! Someone at Microsoft knew of your troubles. What a great coincidence! Help just when you needed it.

But Microsoft does not call people. These callers hope to find those people who are actually having trouble. If you talk with them, they will ask you to turn over to them control of your computer. They will hook you up to their computers through remote desktop software so they can “fix it”. Many tech helpers do just that, ask for your permission to take over the controls. If you allow them to remotely control your computer, these scammers may be able to find your passwords and accounts and raid them. (See this online discussion group.)

The con artists are using probability and probability alone. They guess that one of their many calls will find someone with computer problems (always happening to someone), who does not know that Microsoft never calls. Nothing personal. Just numbers. If you bite on this coincidence, it will become very personal.

Related Stories

How Madoff made off with other people’s money and financial newsletter writers can trick you into subscribing. See Connecting with Coincidence p. 164-6.

Is a Barrage of Coincidences Challenging Your Sanity? Try coincidence counseling.


Ohio Stadium–2007.

A barrage of coincidences can challenge world views by their existential significance and the fear of the immensity they imply.

They may also induce the brain to try to expect a meaning in everything, which may lead to heightened “associative thinking,” compared to the normal state of mind. The person sees coincidences everywhere and misses elements of real life.

Kathy Meyers

Having not attended a high school reunion in 20 years, Kathy Meyers felt compelled to attend her 45th reunion in July 2015. After renewing old connections, why did she start experiencing a long series of coincidences? They occurred as many as five times a week. Some made her laugh. Others were right time, right place. Many others were in what she called the “give me chills” category. She began to question her sanity or at the very least her long-held belief system.

So, was it a coincidence that one of those series of coincidences led her to re-discover Carl Jung and synchronicity? Then, led her to discover my website? She thought about contacting me for a consult. She did not need a standard psychiatric evaluation since she was happier than she had been in a long time. Many people told that her joy was contagious.

Then in April 2016, what compelled Kathy to attend an Ohio State University spring football game even after she was warned there would be 100,000 people and parking would be a nightmare? She randomly selected gate 18 out of 30 to enter. She started talking to a family of five who were waiting in line in front of her. They had driven to Columbus the night before from Virginia (to watch a practice game?!?) Neither parent had graduated from Ohio State, both were originally from Cleveland, Ohio, and were now living in a rural area of Virginia. They wanted their three kids to experience a big college stadium. Kathy thought OK, with 3 kids to pay $5 each to drive this far to watch the Buckeyes, maybe there is something else. She asked if they were from Charlottesville (because that is where I live). No, they lived about 90 minutes to the northwest. She explained that she had been having a bunch of weird coincidences and was considering scheduling an appointment with someone doing Coincidence Studies. That was when the man said, “Oh, you mean Dr. Bernard Beitman, the Yale-educated psychiatrist studying coincidences?” The man had heard me interviewed on the radio. Then his wife said to Kathy, “Is that another one of your weird coincidences?” Gate 18 out of 30!? Out of 100,000 people!? Kathy finds a man from Virginia who knows about me! How does one estimate the low probability of that happening? She took this as a sign to drive from Ohio to Charlottesville to consult with me.

We met for 90 minutes each of 3 consecutive days. We discussed her many coincidences, large and small.

She returned to Ohio more confident in her intuition, more willing to engage others in conversation and connection, and more willing to follow the “compels” that helped to produce coincidences. She decided to put an end to her miserable marriage. The many coincidences had become teachers for her, urging her to individuate, to become herself.

As was Kathy’s experience, a barrage of coincidence makes it difficult for coinciders to step back and analyze. A third person can be helpful—a relative, a friend or a professional person. Kathy’s series was so overwhelming that she needed someone who could help her categorize her coincidences, see the themes, and help her come to some conclusions.

She is one of the first clients in a new discipline—coincidence counseling.

Connecting with Coincidence Radio Show

I have launched a weekly radio show called Connecting with Coincidence with Dr. Bernie Beitman, MD.

The show is divided into 4 segments lasting about an hour with commercials. The first segment provides an introduction to the show and to me and discusses how coincidences suggest hidden causal links. I use the correlation between lightning and thunder to illustrate a hidden causal link. The second and third segments focus on how coincidences appear in all aspects of our lives including movies and novels. The 4th begins a new series called “Coincidence of the Week”, this one involving the name of a friend appearing at a dramatic instance.

Please go to my Facebook page Connecting with Coincidence for comments on this show. It’s my first so your feedback can be very helpful in this early stage.

Here is the link to the show.

Coincidence Psychodynamics: Some coincidences can be explained without God or probability

Sigmund_Freud Sigmund Freud
God-Universe and probability rank as the two most popular explanations for coincidences. These explanations do not include the possible contributions of the people experiencing the coincidences: the coinciders. Either God-Universe did it for you as in “Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous”. Or probability explains the coincidence because “In large populations any strange thing can happen”.

Subconsciously, we can create our own coincidences

We subconsciously create some coincidence situations to help us resolve psychological conflicts. We then attribute the coincidence to an outside agency, neglecting to notice the primary role we play in creating them (see psychoanalyst Gibbs Williams).

A man had committed to attend an evening meeting. When he arrived at his home, he realized that he did not want to go. He wanted to eat dinner and relax. Nevertheless, he dutifully got into his car. He looked at the gas gauge. Empty! He took it as a sign that he did not need to go.

He was the one who did not put gas in the car! He resolved his ambivalence by neglecting to put gas in the car.

One of our study participants reported:

“After I was widowed, I was concerned with what my late husband would think about my dating another man. One day while visiting his grave, I accidentally cut my ring finger with some grass clippers. I had to go to the Emergency Department, where they removed my wedding ring. My boyfriend and I took it as a sort of sign that it was okay to proceed in our relationship.”

She had cut her ring finger! As Freud has helped us see, what seems accidental sometimes has hidden intent. She wanted to be freed of her marital commitment so that she could be involved with the new man in her life. The cut ring finger triggered a cascade of events that helped resolve her conflict.

Sometimes it is not so easy to see the role a person plays in creating a coincidence.

A 55 year old man could not convince his wife that they should be divorced. She knew he had a new woman friend, but she did not believe that this new relationship was serious enough to mean the marriage was over.

One Sunday, the man and his wife were scheduled to have brunch with his mother who was very much against the idea of divorce. He was living in a rented house and was to meet them at the family home. He did not show up. He did not answer his phone. Fearing a heart attack, his wife anxiously drove to his rented house. She was greeted by the new woman friend’s dog. Startled, hurt, and angry she concluded that her husband was living with this new woman and that the marriage was over.

However, he was only dog-sitting for the weekend. He and his woman friend were not living together.

I analyzed the story with him.

Because he was anxious about the brunch, he had taken some alprazolam (Xanax) to calm himself down. He took too much and was upstairs sleeping when his anxious wife arrived. By taking the excess alprazolam he had subconsciously created the confrontation-coincidence between his woman friend’s dog and wife.

He was delighted with the outcome. His wife now accepted the inevitability of divorce.

In this final illustration Ali, a colleague of mine, encountered a scene rich in metaphors about his personal romantic struggle. Like a friend, colleague, or psychotherapist who reflects back to you what you are thinking, Ali encountered a scene that helped him decide what to do.

On a solo trip he rented a bike in Amsterdam remembering the relationship he had ended because he thought she was not “elegant” enough. He noticed a shawarma [grilled Arabian meat] stand in the middle of a market and his hunger started to build up. The image of a perfect next meal started to form. He saw himself sitting at a fancy restaurant table, right on a canal, watching the boats slowly go by. Nothing spoke more loudly than the shawarma in terms of unique, but the setting was all wrong. Not fancy enough. He got on his bike and saw countless restaurants along the way. But this one wasn’t on a canal, and that one was just trite Italian cuisine. Another was a Burger King. An amazingly fancy place with tables right on the canal served only drinks.

His hunger grew stronger, and a practical dilemma presented itself. He couldn’t continue looking for his perfect scene forever. At some point he would have to eat. Maybe perfection was not the only goal.

He came upon a bridge over a canal—not a glamorous part of the city by any means. Near the bridge, three jazz musicians improvised. A crowd of people sat on the base of a sculpture nearby enjoying a mild summer breeze and music. An “aha” moment hit him, and a new picture started to form. He flew to the nearby shawarma stand and rushed the man to provide him a sandwich.

He sat down among the crowd and enjoyed a pleasant lunch with the sound of music and a view of the canal, surrounded by friendly people.

His heart jumped at the perfection of the moment. He chatted excitedly with people around. And as the happiness sank in, he remembered the last time he was this happy, and a sad insight hit him. His sadness bridged the two experiences.

He had just left his perfect happiness. He remembered her, the witty exchanges, and the deep conversations. He remembered how affectionate she was, and how affectionate he was and how both of them were addicted to travel and didn’t own a TV.

He saw how all the bits and pieces of what he had always wanted. She was intellectual and reserved. She understood him, and he understood her. But he had let her go because his darkness prevailed. For him things had to be fancy and perfect. He failed to see beyond her modest beauty because he needed to be seen with a stunning woman as he entered a room. As he basked in the sun of his coincidental heaven, he looked around at the happiness he found by the shabby bridge and the asphalt road, only to realize that none of it mattered. His quarrels with the relationship seemed utterly ridiculous. He saw how the world reflected his thought patterns. As he looked into the mirror of his mind, he could see his error. The insight hit him, and he couldn’t hold back the tears. He cried at the loss of the happiness with her. Even though he wasn’t looking for her when he found her, he was determined to find her again.

Ali could have attributed this coincidence between what he was thinking and his surroundings to God-Universe or to probability. The simplest explanation was his need to find a solution to his conflict about elegance versus intimacy. The scene he chose/found became a mirror of his mind that allowed him to realize what he needed/wanted to do.

The range of explanations for coincidences

Randomness and God are opposing positions for explaining coincidences. Each explanation tends to ignore the coincider. Probability plays a necessary role because some coincidences are more unlikely than others. Mystery can play a major role because our minds cannot grasp the multiple stirrings hidden behind the veil of our ignorance. Doesn’t God help those who help themselves? These stories illustrate how conventional psychology can be the best explanation for some coincidences. Let’s look for the conventional explanations first.

Coincidence Quality: Amazing or Trivial?

Some coincidences are extraordinarily amazing like the series of serendipities that led to the discovery and manufacturing of penicillin (Beitman, p. 140-2). Some are trivial (like thinking of a strange word and a little later seeing or hearing that word).

Why judge the quality of coincidences?

The higher its quality, the more likely the coincidence offers useful information, so the more reason to examine it.

The primary variables that contribute to the quality of coincidences include probability, impact and explanation. Secondary variables include the person’s coincidence sensitivity, degree of similarity of the coincidence elements, the breadth of the time window for the appearance of the second element, and pattern weirdness.

(Please note: There will be exceptions to most if not all the generalizations made in the following 2 sections. because coincidence studies is in its early phase.)

The primary variables that influence quality

Probability: the lower the probability, the higher the quality.

Impact: the higher the impact, the higher the quality. Impact takes two forms: subjective and objective. Subjective impact is the degree of emotional intensity (surprise, amazement, so what) and the coincider’s intuitive reading of the value of the coincidence. Objective impact refers to the practical effect on the coincider’s life which may involve decision making, personal psychology, relationships, work, health, money, ideas, and spirituality.

Explanation: Explanations include: probability, psychodynamics (the subject of a future post) ­and God-Universe. When a coincidence confirms a strongly held belief, the subjective experience will be positive. This confirmation makes the coincidence more valuable to the coincider.

Some coincidences suggest explanations beyond these usual ones. When the coincidence provides evidence for new scientific principles like telepathy, then coincidence quality increases.

The secondary variables that influence quality

Coincidence Sensitivity: The more sensitive people are to coincidences, the higher the probability of their experiencing a coincidence because coincidence sensitive people see more coincidences.

Similarity: The elements of a coincidence may be exactly the same—like the same number showing up twice in significant ways.

More often the elements are similar, not exactly the same. The degree of similarity is influenced by both subjective and objective factors. Subjectively, some coinciders will stretch the similarities and diminish the differences to create a desired match between the elements. To an external observer, the coincider’s similarity rating may be hard to accept because the coincider wants to make the patterns similar. For example, Fred has not heard from Amy for several months. He is longing to be reunited with her. He starts singing her favorite song, “In my life” by the Beatles. A little later he turns on his car radio and hears “Sympathy for the devil” by the Rolling Stones. He says to himself, “The Stones came around the same time as the Beatles. Both bands are from England. I take that as a sign that she is still interested in me.” He tells his friend Tom who says, “That’s a stretch! You are just looking for hope. You are ignoring the differences: the feelings of the songs were opposites (loving vs sinister), and the two bands were highly competitive.”

The greater the similarity, the higher the quality.

Computer programs for estimating similarity will provide some objective measures.

Time Windows: The wider the time window, the higher the probability for a match and the lower the quality. This is because the more time passes, the more opportunities there are for a match.

Pattern Weirdness: Quality increases with the rarity, oddness, or weirdness of the first element. The more unique the first pattern, the more difficult it is to find a match. Quality increases in parallel with the degree of pattern weirdness. For example, Stephen Jenkins was studying the biblical Zechariah’s vision of the four horsemen with their four horses of red, black, dapple and white. On August 23, 1973, out on a hotel’s balcony, he saw four horses quietly grazing: red, black, dapple and white. On July 23, 1974, out in the country with a group of school children, he saw a group of four ponies: red, black, dapple and white. (Roderick Main, p. 11-12.) That is a weird pattern being repeated!

How to rate quality

The first rating should come from the coincider’s intuition—the felt sense of importance.

Intuitions need to be honed. Objective measures can help in the honing process. First estimate the probability of the coincidence itself. Then assess it with the other quality criteria—degree of similarity, the breadth of the time window, et cetera. If the quality is high enough, look for usefulness and explanations.

Quality is ideally rated by both the coincider and an outside observer.

These quality categories are somewhat interdependent. Because this is the first attempt at systematically addressing the quality of coincidences, the principles and mathematics of this interdependence must wait for future developments.

Note: This analysis involves mind-thing coincidences in which a mental event matches an external event. It does not include thing-thing coincidences which involve a series of two or more elements that can be directly observed.

Managing Interpersonal Energy

Two people exchanging energy (Sarah Ashmun)

Interpersonal energy is probably related to energy radiating from each of our hearts.

The magnetic component of the heart’s field can be measured several feet away from the body with Superconducting Quantum Interference Device (SQUID)-based magnetometers. (Heartmath). We can feel variations in the other person’s interpersonal energy in our own heart, if we believe we can.

A friend of mine and I were discussing who was going to make dinner for whom. When I described how I would do it, I could feel my heart drop into a mildly negative feeling. I told her that feeling. And she said yes, she did not like the idea of my doing it. She wanted to make dinner because I had already done so much for her.

By accepting that interpersonal energy is real, we can begin to understand its potential usefulness and pitfalls. As is usual and necessary, we need more measurements from conventional science to support this belief. As that evidence accumulates you can test the idea out yourself by hypothesizing the existence of interpersonal energy and then being open to experiencing it. As you talk with someone emotionally, ask yourself if what you are feeling in your heart could have something to do with what the person is saying or intending. That feeling may be coming to you primarily through that person’s standard non-verbal communication channels of voice tone, facial expression and body movement. Or you may be picking up a communication directly from that person’s heart.

The positives

When used constructively, interpersonal energy, like other forms of interpersonal interaction, can become a reverberating, reciprocal exchange that results in mutual, positive, energetic, psycho-spiritual evolution. Each participant receives the energy for their own development and transduces some of it back to the giver. When done well, both participants are elevated.

The negatives

Interpersonal energy can be used to manipulate people and cause harm to both participants. The following story illustrates its negative power potential.

A 22 year old woman discovered that she could attract any man she wanted out of groups of people. “That one,” she thought to herself, and he would soon approach her. She then discovered that she could get people in the organization in which she worked to do tasks she knew they did not like to do. She enjoyed this power she had over people. Sometime later she participated in group feedback and was told she was misusing her power of attraction and her ability to manifest. Now in her early 50s, this woman prays daily that she never uses her power of attraction and influence in a destructive way again. She is also trying to find forgiveness for her younger self who was inexperienced with how these energies work.

She used her power playfully, not realizing the possible negative impacts. It was like giving a teenager the keys to a car without teaching her about the rules of the road.

Facebook colleague JY reported this variation on the misuse of interpersonal energy:

“An internet psychologist claimed openly that he was ‘a talent scout for spiritual energy’. He only wanted to attract those with a bright, clean, high energy. Guess what happened when he attracted all these bright, divine beings?? Very rapidly it all backfired. Most of them turned dark and demonic via this process of his attracting them. So then he said ‘no, no, no’. I only want the really, really good ones, the balanced ones , the healthy ones (ie the rich ones who could endure and sustain his games) …

Really, life is so complex. I don’t like to grade people by their energy. ‘High quality’ can become low quality in days, I’ve seen it, over and over. And I’ve seen the people attracted to ‘high quality’ energy turn into creepy predators–vampires, almost, to that very energy they are seeking. Interacting with others is as complex and confusing as it has ever been.”

Sustained focus on interpersonal energy can be problematic as JY tells us. There is much more to our relationships than Chi. My intent is to make us more intentional about this neglected aspect of relating that is hiding in plain sight.

The takeaway

Interpersonal energy exists and can be used both positively and negatively. As part of the study of coincidences, interpersonal energy appears to be connected to the simulpathity experience—our ability to feel at a distance the pain and distress and hopefully the positive feelings of people we care about. Those who readily experience both simulpathity and interpersonal energy offer clues to the relationship between the two.

Chi Whiz: Interpersonal Energy and Simulpathity

mind-to-mind connections
Can people really experience the pain of a loved one at a distance? Yes they can!

I call this category of coincidences, simulpathity, which is derived from the word Latin word simul (the same) and the Greek word pathos (suffering, feeling). The existence of simulpathity is supported by data from the Weird Coincidence Survey, published cases from psychiatrist Ian Stevenson and the collection of stories in my book Connecting with Coincidence as well as several other sources.

I think that simulpathity can be better understood by examining interpersonal energy between people in the same space?

Does interpersonal energy exist?

I don’t need a scientific measuring device to tell me when the sun is warm. Or to know the coolness of an icy wind. I register the warmth and the coolness by differences in sensation. Similarly, I don’t need a scientific measuring device to tell me that interpersonal energy exists. I feel the energy itself, especially with my patients during psychotherapy. I feel it on the skin of my face and body and the up and down sensation waves in my heart and the general glow and darkening of the energy surrounding me.

Scientists are studying the one way movement of energy from healers to patients. No one has developed a device that can measure the ebb and flow between people.

Interpersonal energy is distinct from nonverbal communications like facial expressions, body language and modulations in voice tone. Most people do not consciously register it, but are nevertheless affected by it. The four basic responses to the energy of another person are: feeling energized, rattled, neutral or drained.

Pay attention to interpersonal energy

Have you ever felt unusually energized around a certain person? Do some people drain you? Try paying attention to the ebb and flow of these unseen vibrations in your social life. At a gathering is there someone in the room who draws people to her like a warm fire on a cold day? Not primarily because of looks or conversation, but because of some vibrating positivity?

I ask myself about energy with each psychotherapy patient I see. My office is an experimental lab, a controlled setting, where I have the opportunity to experience and observe the varying effects different people have on me. I sit in the same chair. The patients sit on the same small couch. We look at each other from very similar angles–almost but not quite straight on. They talk. I listen. I get to feel their energy impact on me. And they feel my energy impact on them. We both feel the waxing and waning of connection.

When we are connected, I can almost see a tube of energetic intensity between our heads, between our minds. The tube is surrounded by lesser gradients of energy. The energies fluctuate.

High interpersonal energy

In a recent session, I helped a woman in her early 20s embrace her romantic feelings for women. In the following week several different young men asked her out for dinner. This many dinner date requests had never happened before. An anomalous week! Previously she had been asked, not for dinner, but to “come to my apartment” in early morning texts from drunk, sexually driven guys. She accepted some of these offers.

She has begun to realize that she has an extraordinary magnetism. In bars highly accomplished male athletes and some aggressive women hit on her. She does not consider herself to be particularly beautiful or sexy looking. They are not attracted by her looks. Something else. She seems to have learned to “pump up” the bio-battery of her body and mind to generate energy that attracts people.

During our next session, she felt to me as if she were glowing. A warm, positive, life enhancing energy. Much stronger than in any previous sessions. She had allowed herself to experience sexual drives that had long been repressed.

At a party the following week, she saw a young man whose energy attracted many people, without much conversation. People seemed to like to be around him. She started talking with him, and they became partners for the evening.

They stood together talking in a corner of the porch of the house where the party was taking place. As people left most glanced over at them—something special was going on. Apparently the combination of their two energies attracted the curiosity of others.

Low interpersonal energy

A 30 year old man working as an accountant comes into my office weekly. Very nice young man. Intelligent. And very low energy. He had been depressed but is not now. He is functioning pretty well with his job and marriage. Yet I have difficulty being with him because he emanates so little interpersonal energy. I have begun to recognize that I convert the energy my patients give me into energetic help for them. We are a team; I need more than their reports. I need some charge. When I don’t get enough positive charge, I must find the more energy from within me.

Other therapists may not be like me. They may have more energy to give and also know how to manage low energy situations better than I can. Or perhaps they operate primarily on cognition.

Science and Philosophy

If scientific orthodoxy does not permit us to believe something, we have trouble believing it. While seeing is believing, believing is also seeing! If you do not believe it exists, then you are very unlikely to see it. I asked a group of 25 therapists if they feel energy from and with patients. About ½ said yes.

Do you register interpersonal energy?

The existence of fields of energy in us and around us have been recognized by philosophical systems around the world: prana (Sanskrit), ruach (Hebrew), pneuma and psyche (Greek), spiritus (Latin). Chi or Qi in Taoism refers to universal energy or life force both outside and inside the body. Hindus refer to Shakti as the surrounding feminine energy and Kundalini as its manifestation in the body.

None of these systems emphasize the existence of energy between people.

Interpersonal energy deserves more direct discussion and research. These same-space interpersonal energy exchanges seem to be related related to simultaneous feeling exchanges at a distance of simulpathity.

Two people I know consciously experience both interpersonal energy and simulpathity. Do these traits commonly co-exist?