When Spirit and Matter Converge – Synchronicity

IMG_2149Most of us have experienced two or more events that seemed to converge in our lives in a peculiar and perhaps disturbing, yet wondrous way. For example, you might be thinking of someone you’ve lost touch with years ago, and suddenly she contacts you. Jung, along with the physicist Pauli, defined such instances as synchronistic events, a series of meaningful coincidences of events that go beyond the probability of them actually happening.

Jung and Assagioli had a long-term professional and friendly relationship that began in 1907 and lasted until Jung’s death in 1961. Assagioli acknowledges Jung’s term ‘synchronicity’ in his unpublished notes found in his archive. He mentions synchronicity as a way to understand the “correspondence between the date of the positions of the stars [astrology] and the psychological characteristics” of a person.[1]

Jung, along with the physicist Pauli,   developed the idea of synchronicity.

Jung, along with the physicist Pauli,developed the idea of synchronicity.

While counseling clients, I have often experienced synchronistic events and have come to understand them as spirit seeking matter. Many people believe that spirit and matter are dualistic in nature – that spirit is ‘higher’ than matter, which throughout various cultures and time has inevitably led humankind to identify matter with evil. From my own experience, I believe that spirit actually needs matter to express itself, and the two are best when joined together in a higher revelation of universal life meaning. Synchronicity is one form of that higher expression, as are symbols and symbolic thought.

Jung also states that, in themselves, spirit and matter are neutral. Nevertheless, they are real opposites that are part of the energetic structure of the physical and psychic worlds. Without spirit and matter no existence of any kind could be established. He goes onto say that because of their extreme opposition, neither can exist without the other (like the Chinese yin and yang). He states, “Matter, therefore, would contain the seed of spirit and the spirit, the seed of matter.” Jung then continues by pointing out that synchronistic phenomena, or the “psychization of matter,” demonstrate this idea.[2]

yin yangI am always amazed by and grateful for the numerous appearances of synchronistic events during counseling sessions. Despite my conscious and willful attempt to consistently hold a spiritual and physical space for my client’s authentic self to emerge, I continue to be dazzled by these small but powerful events that seemed to acknowledge the work we are doing. Whenever a synchronistic event occurs, I always feel that we are on the right track, as if the Self were providing us with a ‘Thumbs up. You go girl!’ In this way, the synchronistic event, as revealed through the merging of psychic energies through matter, is an affirmation by the Higher Self of the psychosynthetic work we are journeying toward.

Here are just a few examples from my client work. While discussing a client’s need to establish boundaries, two strangers immediately tried to enter the counseling room, forcing me to immediately act and set our own therapeutic boundary. During one session, another client was discussing her relationship with her supervisor when he called twice and left a message on her cell phone, something he rarely did. Another student, during our second session, talked about longing to reconcile her relationship with her father, which had ruptured fifteen years earlier. Five days after this session, unprompted by her, this client received a letter from her father requesting that they arrange to talk about their past.

With another client, we explored his inability to express anger in an appropriate way with a colleague who had broken a scientific instrument in the laboratory. Immediately after our session and upon returning to the lab, the exact same colleague broke the exact same instrument again, providing the man with a new chance to express his anger in right relations with this colleague.

From my point-of-view, such incidents are non-trivial examples of the personal consciousness and will momentarily aligned with the consciousness and will of the Self as it urges the individual towards healing, growth, and synthesis.

Next time synchronicity happens to you, pay attention and take note. Truly it is a sign that you are moving towards Joy! Acknowledge. Revere. Learn. Celebrate.

[1] I have taken this information from a very interesting article that explores the relationship between these two great visionaries. Rosselli, M. & Vanni, D. (2014) “Roberto Assagioli and Carl Gustav Jung” (2014). The Journal of Transpersonal Psychology, 46:1, pp. 7-34.

[2] Jung, C. G. (1959). The Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious. Bollingen Series XX, Princeton University Press, p. 109.

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