Tag Archives: coincidence

CCBB Episode204, Janet Payne: Thin Veil to Synchronicity on Prince Edward Island, Canada

The veil between ordinary and extraordinary realities thins at certain times like Halloween and in certain places like Prince Edward Island, Canada. Here’s a synchronicity report from a woman with deep generational roots on the Island.

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In this episode, Janet Payne describes how coincidences guide and impact her life. We also consider what might be the source of coincidences. Janet began to notice coincidences early in her life and seemed predisposed to becoming aware of them, for reasons that still puzzle her. Her dreams sometimes tell her of a difficulty arising for one of her 7 children or 4 grandchildren.

Connecting with Coincidence with Bernard Beitman, MD (CCBB) is now offered as both an audio podcast–anywhere that podcasts are available–and in video format on the Connecting with Coincidence YouTube channel. Please SUBSCRIBE to our channel to be notified when future episodes are posted! Also available, there are 138 archived episodes of the CCBB podcast available, HERE.

Our guest Janet Payne has worked as a site manager and counselor at Prince Edward Island, Canada Career Development Services for over 15 years and has also enjoyed working as a session instructor at University of PEI during most of this time. She is currently completing her PhD in Education and is focusing her dissertation on the importance of intuition and synchronicity within career counseling. She and her husband, Neil, have 7 children and 4 grandchildren and reside between Kinkora, Prince Edward Island, and Jamesville, Cape Breton.

CCBB Episode 203, Julie Mariel : Psychedelic Synchronicities of a Danish Anthropologist

Synchronicities lead Danish anthropologist and past-life therapist Julie Mariel Jespersen to Ayahuasca, which then leads her to further synchronicities and shamanistic experiences with interpersonal human energy fields.   

Connecting with Coincidence with Bernard Beitman, MD (CCBB) is now offered as both an audio podcast–anywhere that podcasts are available–and in video format on the Connecting with Coincidence YouTube channel. Please SUBSCRIBE to our channel to be notified when future episodes are posted! Also, 138 archived episodes of the CCBB podcast are available, HERE

In this episode, Julie Mariel Jespersen describes the coincidence-increasing effects of the mind-expanding South American potion, Ayahuasca (also known as Daime). Her synchronicity-inspired training experiences have now forged her into a modern day shaman who is able to clearly report  journeys into the 4th dimension, or what she calls “betwixt and between.” 

Our guest Julie Mariel Jespersen earned a master’s degree in anthropology at Aarhus University (Denmark). Her thesis, “The Reality of Illusion and the Illusion of Reality: An anthropological study of Ayahuasca ceremonies in a Dutch spiritual group,” was completed in 2016. She is a certified hypnotherapist, SoulKey-Therapist (2014) and -Instructor (2019). She has been trained in modern shamanism and healing by Danish modern shamans (2016-2020). She has worked independently as a therapist performing hypnotherapy, SoulKey therapy and healing and giving talks and courses on Ayahuasca, spirituality and personal development from an anthropological as well as a modern shamanic perspective. She runs the project ‘Portal Journeys’ with her colleague and sister, Rie Jespersen, bringing groups to spiritual places like the Bosnian Pyramids (about which Rie has written the book “De Bosniske Pyramider”). Julie is currently writing a book in Danish about Ayahuasca/Daime based on her fieldwork. She is featured in the spirituality section of Danish documentary “from the inside,” with journalist Anders Agger, set to  screen on Danish National Television, fall 2021. Learn more at https://juliemariel.com/.  

CCBB Episode202, Gordon Keirle Smith: Below the Ice-Antarctica Synchronicities

Reality and fiction overlap. Science fiction can become reality. Gordon Smith, author of Revelation Antarctica, will make you wonder. Today there are alternate facts depending upon who you ask — and alternate ways that human beings think about reality. Our guest on episode 202 is challenging beliefs dearly held by a majority of the world’s population, about the fundamental nature of reality. Science fiction may not be “just” fiction, but can be a way to think about new possibilities and new insights into the world around us.

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Connecting with Coincidence with Bernard Beitman, MD (CCBB) is now offered as both an audio podcast–anywhere that podcasts are available–and in video format on the Connecting with Coincidence YouTube channel. SUBSCRIBE to our channel to be notified when future episodes are posted! Also available, there are 138 archived episodes of the CCBB podcast are available HERE.

In this episode, Gordon Keirle Smith shares more about what makes his new book, Revelation Antarctica, so different from most others works of fiction, or even different from much science fiction. We explore the notion of the book being “as real as you need it to be.” Gordon describes this work as a Quantum vision fired by imagination. Further, the reader is encouraged to read the 99 short sections of the book in any order that they might wish: reflecting the idea that time or chronology is an illusion.

Our guest Gordon Keirle Smith has led many lives in this lifetime. In England he was a Rosicrucian, advertising copywriter, assistant theater electrician and lighting board programmer. In France he worked in tourism, became an English teacher, invented a new artistic technique and then decided to “paint in words”. Upon partial retirement in 2014, Gordon published Genesis Antarctica, and wrote an introduction to reincarnation to Another Egg, Another Life: one edition for parents (2014) and one for children published in 2018. His Revelation Antarctica (2019) questions our concepts of reality by using multiple characters functioning at the interface of science fiction and convention. Published only a few months before COVID-19, it describes a plague that became our collective reality.

Our host Dr. Bernard Beitman is the first psychiatrist since Carl Jung to attempt to systematize the study of coincidences. He is Founding Director of The Coincidence Project. His book, and Psychology Today blog, are both titled Connecting with Coincidence. He has developed the first valid and reliable scale to measure coincidence sensitivity, and has written and edited coincidence articles for Psychiatric Annals. He is a visiting professor at the University of Virginia and former chair of the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Missouri-Columbia. He attended Yale Medical School and completed a psychiatric residency at Stanford. Dr. Beitman has received two national awards for his psychotherapy training program and is internationally known for his research into the relationship between chest pain and panic disorder.

Hard-hitting and Entertaining Interview with Dr Beitman-He Sings

How is the word coincidence defined?

What does : “There are no coincidences” mean?

Are coincidences God’s way of remaining anonymous?

Does a series of synchronicities mean that our love is meant to be?

How do need, life stress and high emotion influence the appearance of coincidences?

What is the major limitation of the advice from the Law of Attraction?

Listen to the answers to these and other questions in this excellent interview of Dr Beitman on The Human Experience Podcast.

Two Strangers Cross Paths in a Forest; a Coincidence Blooms

Two strangers are about to pass each other on a forest trail in the city of Malden, Massachusetts.

I needed a woods walk and stumbled upon this trail, while visiting from Virginia. After the walk I would return to the house of my son and his family.

Feeling good! Singing love songs to the rhythm of my strides.

The man approaching me, appears happy and greets me warmly. We stop. I say: Life could be a musical.

He: Are you saying that because I was singing?

I: No, I was singing.

He: I was singing.

I: No, I was singing.

He: I was singing.

(This pleasant argument goes on for a while. We could not hear the other one singing because each of us was singing.))

He: What song were you singing?

I:

“How important can it be,

that I’ve tasted other lips.

That was long before you came to me

with the wonder of your kiss.”

He: Lovely.

I: What were you singing?

He sings his song. I join him for the last few notes.

He: Why don’t you join our male acapella group as a baritone?

I: I don’t live here. Thanks for inviting me.

He: That was an easy invitation. Singing in the woods was a giveaway.

He: What’s your name?

I: Bernhardt (we had spoken a little German with each other).

He: A long story about my father who had earned a doctorate in Germany in 1933 just as the Nazi’s were limiting Jewish opportunities. He was an anti-fascist and got beaten up a lot. He moved to Israel, made up a name and continued to write against the Nazis. My mother allowed him to give me this name. For that reason my children are David and Sarah.

We say a warm goodbye.

I tell my son the story. He cuts me short and says the man’s name and describes him accurately. The man is a member of my son’s synagogue.

Ah, the joy of accidentally finding a friend of my son!

Was it an accident? Upon hearing the story, the rationalists dismissed the meaning, focusing on probabilities. The intuitives embraced the dance of it. Was there a rhythm each of us singers was following? I think so. Your choice to hear it. If you don’t listen, its not there.

Romance Breeds Coincidences, and Coincidences Fuel Romance.

Roman copy of a Greek sculpture by Lysippus depicting Eros, the Greek personification of romantic love.

Ah, the joy of romantic love. Songs, poetry, novels, and movies celebrate this wonder-filled human experience. Emotions swing from ecstasy to isolation, from merging to abandonment. The intense emotions, needs, and changes breed coincidences, and coincidences quicken romance. Enhanced by the timeless feeling of synchronicity, the relationship feels like it will go on forever. And so comes this warning.

First some stories.

Feeling together at a distance

One of my patients adored her romantic coincidences: “I really loved him, like no one else I have ever loved. We seemed to be able to communicate without being in the same room. I could tell how he was feeling when we were apart. When he was in the same building, I could feel his presence. When we held each other, I melted into him. His mother’s name was the same as my sister’s. His brother’s name was the same as my father’s. These things felt like evidence that our love would last for all time. After about two years our relationship was over.”

Mr. Fox

A string of fox coincidences accelerated an intense relationship. Amelia sensed that the man across the room wanted to meet her. She boldly crossed the crowded room to start a conversation with him. After a brief conversation, she gave him her card, hoping he would call her.

He didn’t.

Then her house burned down, and she accepted an invitation to stay at a friend’s house. That same man happened to be there. He helped her through the traumatic loss of her house and her things. They became romantically intimate, yet she became suspicious of his ability to be monogamous. Because of his wily ways, she heard herself calling him Mr. Fox. In the rural area where she lived, the same day she anointed him Mr. Fox, she had seven fox sightings.

And, then, in her new home, a mysterious fox adopted her. Whenever the fox made his/her presence known, Amelia contacted Mr. Fox. During the calls, he often reported that he was involved with something related to her relationship with him. Once, he told her that he was with a woman who was wearing a fox fur.

Like most people caught up in the wonders of repeated romantic coincidences, Amelia wanted to believe that this relationship was meant to be. It wasn’t.

The turmoil drove her to write Synchronicity: Unlock Your Divine Destiny. In American Indian lore, the fox, a relative of the coyote, is the trickster. She was tricked into believing something magical was going on between them. Through her book, she teaches her readers and herself about the synchronistic machinations of that wily creature who had entered her life.

Brad and Jen*

The two previous stories were told from the point of view of only one of the participants. I interviewed a couple who shared several coincidences and wondered about they meant.

Brad and Jen met through an online dating site. Each was widowed. Her last name was also the last name of three of his cousins. Jen’s mother-in-law and Brad’s cousin had the same name. Although they both lived in Atlanta, each had gone to high school in Norfolk, Virginia. Also, one of Brad’s college fraternity brothers in college was a friend of Jen’s husband when they lived in yet another city.

They were at the beginning of their relationship. What did all these coincidences mean?

The Warning

Lynn C posted a false-promise coincidence series on Facebook: “I know someone with whom I share so many coincidences all the way back to childhood. The way we met as adults was also full of coincidences and long shots. Yet I need this person out of my life now. I wish we never met. So I’m wondering why the heck he was put in my path.”

Swept up in a series of intense synchronicities, psychiatrist Stanislav Grof dramatically married and soon divorced. He concluded: “I learned not to trust unconditionally the seductive power of such experiences… It is essential to refrain from acting out while we are under their spell and not to make any important decisions until we have again both feet on the ground” (See When the Impossible Happens).

If you are caught up in a synchronistic romance, talk with your partner. Do you share similar feelings and interpretations of the coincidences? Consider saying this: “The synchronicities make us feel that fate has brought us together and that our relationship was meant to be. We have the power and responsibility to make it true. Let’s be alert to the inevitable conflicts that two people coming together will face. The coincidences don’t make our differences go away. No matter what happens, we can help each other grow psychologically and spiritually.”

For many people, coincidences are “all good.” Were it so simple! Coincidences offer possibilities, not promises. Your choices make the differences.

Sometimes, optimal coincidence interpretation requires nimble cognitive searching. Look for the unapparent positive in what seems to be miserably miscalculated expectations. “Sadder but wiser” could deprive future romantic entanglements of synchronistic elation. Clear-sighted expectations, encouraged by romantic synchronicities, can create a solid foundation for whatever is the best course for the two of you.

Sahmat was greatly disappointed when his low probability coincidence series failed to yield romance. The disappointment made him reflect on his recent failures to make new interpersonal connections. He realized he should instead revive older connections, specifically with his friend Larry.

It turned out that Larry was working on a project that needed Sahmat’s help. “So on the surface, my experience with the woman turned out to be a ‘false promise synchronicity,’ but, because I sought deeper guidance, it turned out not to be a false promise at all, but rather a necessary step to the next connection I needed to make.”

The Message

Amelia’s failed synchronicity romance helped create a book. Sahmat reconnected with an old friend. And I have been driven to write this post because of false romantic expectations driven by incredible coincidences.

The paradox presented by coincidences is described by cognitive scientists Thomas Griffiths of Brown University and Joshua Tenenbaum of MIT in their 2007 paper, “From Mere Coincidences to Meaningful Discoveries,” published in the journal Cognition:

“Coincidences] seem to be involved in both our most grievous errors of reasoning, and our greatest causal discoveries.”

Griffiths and Tenenbaum were primarily looking at the role of coincidence in scientific discovery. But their discussion may also be applied to romantic love: “Coincidences,” they wrote, “are events that provide support for a hypothesis, but not enough support to convince us to accept that hypothesis.” Let’s say the hypothesis is that a relationship, or even a marriage, will work out very well. A person should not wholeheartedly believe that hypothesis based on the coincidences alone.”

The other extreme would be to ignore all coincidences out of fear that they are misleading. But as these researchers point out, some of the greatest scientific discoveries have been made through coincidence and some of the greatest romantic discoveries, too.

* Names and places changed

Connecting with Coincidence Radio Show

lightning_over_oradea_romania_3
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 »

Serendipity: A Store, a Movie and a Coincidence: A cool word takes on new meanings

Portsmouth, New Hampshire clothing store
Portsmouth, New Hampshire clothing store

The word “serendipity” has many pop-culture references, but many people don’t know its original meaning or realize its usefulness.

When customers walk into Serendipity, a women’s clothing store in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, they usually think of the movie Serendipity (2001) starring John Cusak (Jonathan) and Kate Beckinsale (Sara).

The movie is serendipity rich. The two main characters meet at the Manhattan ice cream place called Serendipity 3. Sara writes her phone number on a piece of paper, but a gust of wind from a passing truck pulls it out of her hand.

She refuses to write it down again and instead asks John to write his name and phone number on a $5 bill, which she spends. She then writes her name and address on the inside cover of a book and sells it to a used book store.

If they are meant to be together, she says, each will find the items and contact the others.

The Origins of the Word

Walpole circa 1741.
Walpole circa 1741.

Horace Walpole, a member of the British House of Commons in the 18th century, recognized in himself a talent for finding what he needed just when he needed it.

For example, a gift in the form of a portrait of a Grand Duchess whom Walpole had long admired arrived from his distant cousin in Florence, Italy. Walpole needed a coat of arms with specific elements in it to decorate the new picture frame and accidentally found what he was looking for in an old book.

On January 28, 1754, Walpole, thrilled with this coincidence, wrote to his cousin, Horace Mann, giving a name to his ability to find things unexpectedly—serendipity.

He got the name from a fairy tale called “The Travels and Adventures of Three Princes of Sarendip.” Sarendip (or Serendib) is an ancient name for the island nation Sri Lanka off India’s southern coast. The king of the fable recognizes that education requires more than learning from books, so he sends his sons out of the country to broaden their experience of the world.

Throughout the story, the clever princes carefully observe their surroundings, and then use their observations in ways that save them from danger and death.

For Walpole, serendipity meant finding something by informed observation (sagacity, as he called it) and by accident.

Current Usage

Serendipity currently has two related meanings: 1) Looking for something and finding something even better. 2) Looking for something and finding just what you needed.

The history of the search for new drugs provides many examples.

Viagra was accidentally found while researchers in England in the 1990s were testing a new anti-hypertensive and anti-angina drug. Their male subjects reported increased and prolonged erections. It became one of the best selling drugs of all time.

Scotsman Alexander Fleming was actively searching for a new antibiotic in 1928. He returned from vacation and found penicillin juice killing bacteria in petri-dishes that should have been washed while he was gone.

In each of these cases, researchers had to be open to new possibilities coming at them in unexpected ways. Serendipity, like luck, requires perseverance, preparation, and opportunity.

The “Law of Attraction” may also apply. This is the belief that “like attracts like,” that positive or negative thoughts may bring positive or negative experiences to one’s life. In the case of serendipity, the thought of a needed something somehow helps to bring that something to a person’s life.

But it is not enough to imagine what you want or need. You have to move. A Spanish Gypsy proverb says it well, “The dog that trots about finds the bone.”

This capacity seems to sometimes rely on the human capacity to find our way to places where there are people, ideas, or things that provide us with what we have been seeking. I call this human our Geospatial Positioning System (GPS).

When I asked a customer in Serendipity what she thought the word meant, she said, “Bliss.” Perhaps she most strongly associated the word with the joy that accompanies unexpected discoveries made through serendipity.

The people who walk into the store Serendipity may have a specific item in mind and find it, or they may have a general need and find it clearly expressed in something they just happen to discover there.

Either way, serendipity can be beneficial and fun, and it invites us to wonder how it happens.

“There Are No Coincidences”

When uttering the phrase, “there are no coincidences” the speaker, feels fully confident in its truth. But, just like coincidences themselves, the meaning depends on the beliefs of the person involved.

Let’s start by looking closely at the word coincidence. Dictionaries usually define it as two or more events coming together in a surprising, unexpected way without an obvious causal explanation. Embedded in the definition is a hint that there might be an explanation.

This possibility of an explanation creates the opportunity for saying “there are no coincidences”. If a cause can be defined, then there is no coincidence.

Many believe that Fate or Mystery, or the Universe or God causes coincidences. Their faith in something Greater provides them with a cause. Since God causes them, the cause is known. Therefore, there are no coincidences.

Statistically oriented people believe that coincidences can be explained by the Law of Truly Large Numbers, which states that in large populations any weird event is likely to happen. This is a long way of saying that coincidences are mostly random. Because statisticians “know” that randomness explains them, coincidences are nothing but strange yet expectable events that we remember because they are surprising to us. They are no coincidences, just random events.

Those believing in Mystery, are more likely to believe that coincidences contain messages for them personally. “It was meant to be.” “Coincidences are God’s way of remaining anonymous.” Some of those in the random camp can find some coincidences personally compelling and useful.

Randomness and God explanations remove personal responsibility

Each of these two explanations take responsibility for coincidences away from you! Each suggests that you are powerless in the face of inexplicable forces. Randomness says you have nothing to do with creating coincidences—stuff just happens because we live in a random universe. You think coincidences may have something to do with you but they don’t. When God is called in to explain coincidences, you are the recipient of divine grace. If you think you had something to do with it, you are deluding yourself.

Randomness and God are extreme positions in a coincidence dance that usually involves you, to varying degrees. Probability plays a necessary role. Some coincidences are more unlikely than others. Mystery plays a role because our minds cannot grasp the multiple stirrings hidden behind the veil of our ignorance. Here lies some of the beauty in the study of coincidences. They make us wonder. How much do we have to do with them, and how much is beyond our current concept of ourselves in the world?

It’s your choice

Coincidences exist. Coincidences are real. Saying that there are no coincidences stops inquiry. Challenging the statement forces us to make sense of its ambiguity and explore our potential involvement. You can choose the random perspective and with a wave a mental hand, dismiss most coincidences as not worth further attention. Or you can seek out their possible personal implications and make life into an adventure of discovery both about yourself and the world around you. As you explore, you may uncover the latent abilities hidden within you.

A Non-Statistician’s Approach to Coincidences: Part 5

Photo by Lesho Ward
Photo by Lesho Ward

We are sensitive to coincidences for good reason. Coincidences help us to see new patterns.

We seek patterns to navigate through space and time. Patterns provide maps for the territory of our lives—where to go, how to get there, what to say to whom. The surprise of coincidences raises a question: am I seeing a new pattern?

At 11 p.m. on Feb. 26, 1973, when I was 31 years old, I suddenly found myself bent over the kitchen sink in an old Victorian house on Hayes Street in the Fillmore District of San Francisco. I was choking on something caught in my throat. I couldn’t cough it up. I hadn’t eaten anything. I didn’t know what was in my throat. I’d never choked for this long before. Finally, after 15 minutes or so, I could swallow and breathe normally.

The next day, my birthday, my brother called to tell me that my father had died in Wilmington, Del., at 2 a.m. EST. He was 3,000 miles and three time zones away; 2 a.m. in Wilmington was 11 p.m. in California. My father had bled into his throat and choked on his own blood at about the same time I was uncontrollably choking. He died on Feb. 27, my birthday. (from Connecting with Coincidence)

The timing was too tight for me to think it was “just random.”

My research at the University of Missouri-Columbia and the work of psychiatrist Ian Stevenson make it clear that many other people have experienced similar correlations in time. I named this pattern “simulpathity”—the experience of the pain of a loved one at a distance.

One dramatic, surprising coincidence became a clue to the existence of a new pattern.

One of the participants in my coincidence study at the University of Missouri-Columbia told this story about her near suicide:

“There was a very dark period in my late teens, a confused time to say the least. I cannot explain the rationalization, or rather, I should state, there was none. I couldn’t seem to withstand all the suffering in the world … and one afternoon, I took my dad’s gun, got in my car, and drove to an isolated place on the lake. The intention was to end my own life. I sat there, with gun in hand, without truly understanding why … It was if I didn’t have any clue how I managed to arrive at this moment in time. But, as tears slowly came down my cheeks, I heard the sound of another car pulling up beside [me] … and my brother stepped out of the car, asking me to hand him the gun.

“I was breathless; I was totally shocked. All I could do is to ask him how on Earth he knew I was feeling this way; how did he know I even had this gun, and, most important, how did he find me? He said he had no answers. He didn’t have any idea why he got into his car; he didn’t know where he was driving, nor why he was going there; or what he was supposed to do when he arrived.”

How did her brother know that she needed him? What made him make these complex decisions without a conscious intention? He seemed drawn to his sister by her distress, without consciously knowing that she was about to kill herself.

Subsequently, I began to think of this as simulpathity coupled with an uncanny knowledge about where she was and how to get there.

Many similar stories led me to hypothesize the idea of human GPS—that we can find our way sometimes to people, ideas and things we need without knowing how we got there. (from Chapter 1, Connecting with Coincidence)

Coincidence detection is no anomaly of the human mind. Through reading and research, I could confirm that my experience with my father was no anomaly. It was an example of something frequently experienced. Coincidence recognition is part of a rational process for finding new patterns.

Magda Osman, a senior lecturer in experimental psychology at Queen Mary University of London, wrote in a Scientific American article: “Searching for patterns is essential to our cognition and survival, and the cost of not having this ability far out weights the false paths we take when we see patterns that aren’t there. If we observe a pattern then we have detected a regularity in the world, and a regularity is likely to have a causal basis. We can use this regularity to make a prediction, and if we can predict, we can control future events more reliably–to our great advantage.” (Osman)

Coincidences drive the search for causal explanations because we need to understand how the world works.


Co-authored by Tara MacIsaac a reporter and editor for the Beyond Science section of Epoch Times. She explores the new frontiers of science, delving into ideas that could help uncover the mysteries of our world.