The Outer World and Your Inner World are Closer Than You Think 🌎
Understanding the weird and the wacky of the world with Synchronicity and Carl Jung
Coincidences are weird.
This week, I had an extremely vivid dream where I was unzipping my backpack near my locker at school, and about a dozen red apples started tumbling out. I look up, and see one of my friends, who says “Yo, why do you have so many apples in your bag?”
Why my brain decided to devote so much energy into making this dream, I don’t know. Why I don’t remember anything else from this dream, I also don’t know.
But what I do know, is that the next day, in real life, I’m at school near my locker. I open my bag and see a few apples, and since I’m hungry, I take one out. And I kid you not, the same kid says in the exact same tone of voice, “Yo, why do you have so many apples in your bag?”
There was (seemingly) no reason for these 2 events to line up. That’s why coincidences are the perfect example of what’s weird and wacky in the world. But since our human minds love to come up with reasons for everything, I decided to look deeper, just in case there was one. Why do random events line up like this? 🤔
Carl Jung was Switzerland’s Resident Coincidence Connoisseur
He was a psychiatrist, who was famous for going into the weird and the wacky. The things that don’t make sense, but happen anyway. Like coincidences.
Jung had a fancy word for coincidences, called synchronicity.
Jung’s seen his fair share of freaky synchronicities. One of his patients reported that whenever a death happened in the family, a flock of birds would appear on their windowsill. Even before they got the news, they would just know, because of the birds!
Jung himself would also have dreams, in which he would “predict” the deaths of people around him. He’d have a dream in the hospital which his doctor dies, and then a few days later, his doctor would actually die.
As I read this, my mind was BLOWN!! Synchronicities seem unreal, or even supernatural 🤯
But we still don’t know why many of them happen
The relationships often aren’t causal.
It’s probably because we have so many data points in the world, that something’s bound to coincide at some point. A lot of the time, the coinciding events might not be perfectly linked.
What Jung suggests is that it doesn’t necessarily matter why synchronicities happen, but why they’re important.
In his journal Liber Novis or Red Book, he writes:
“We’ve grown accustomed to this over time, because men get used to everything. But we’re still somewhat lamed. On the other hand, this science also has great advantages, as you’ve seen.What we’ve lost in terms of force, we’ve rediscovered many times through mastering the force of nature.”
Trying to understand why things happen has given us advantages, but we can take it to the next level by mastering that force, and integrating it into our lives.
Synchronicities can help us tap into our inner world🧠
Jung went deep into the idea of the collective unconscious, or the deepest conscious mind that doesn’t actually belong to you. The collective unconscious is inherited, not created by the mind, and has existed in people since the early days.
We’re all unconsciously aware of the meaning/symbolism behind different objects or words. Like how the idea of “wisdom” might whip up an image inside your head of an old dude with grey hair, and a fancy wizard hat or something 🧙♂️
Jung thought these objects, called archetypes, come from our collective unconscious.
Because this innate knowledge of what certain objects mean is there inside all of us, Jung used the idea of the collective unconscious and archetypes to harness synchronicities. Sometimes, seeing an object/symbol/idea often in a coincidence in the outer world can help us with explaining what it means for our inner world.
It might just be a coincidence and nothing else, but it’s how your mind perceives it that can make all the difference.
My coincidence was an interesting one, because there were 2 different types of events that were lining up. One that was internal (the dream coming from my mind), and one that was external. Seeing the things we think about manifest in real life can help us understand what our unconscious is trying to tell us.
The apples tumbling out of my bag could have been an archetype for how I have too much on my plate (or in my backpack 😂).
You could even extrapolate this to how people act. If in your outer world, you’re annoyed with how people around you are lazy, maybe that means it’s time to look within, because you unconsciously see that in yourself too.
The cool thing about Carl Jung is that he didn’t just sit in a dark room thinking of elaborate philosophies. He went out and applied them in his practice as a psychiatrist.
Back in his time, many people relied on looking at weird phenomena like spirits to understand themselves, instead of scientifically looking at the mind like we do now. Jung had a bit of both, which makes it even more fascinating how much of his work we can apply today!
I decided to make some actionable steps to apply synchronicity to my life:
- When a synchronicity occurs, instead of telling a friend how wack it was and then forgetting about it, write it down. Keep a dream journal, or just a weird coincidence journal.
- Go through the journal (probably once every 2 weeks) and research into what the coinciding events actually mean. What do the objects or ideas symbolize in culture (like how a dove = peace)? Look for archetypes.
- Create an action plan based on those archetypes. If the apples tumbling out of my backpack mean I have too much on my plate, what can I do to prioritize or cut out events in my life? Bonus: Talk about it with another person, whether it’s a family member or a psychiatrist.
Can’t wait to see what benefits come from this, like:
- Understanding my unconscious better (a lot of us never get this far, and we ignore a whole chunk of our psyche). This can give us superpowers to understand why we do things, and how we can change them
- Gaining clarity about issues I might have
- More open-mindedness about the weird and the wacky of the world
We get fascinated by synchronicities, like wacky dreams manifesting in the real world.
And they happen EVERYWHERE, especially the more we look for them. I found it super fascinating how Jung can help us explain them using the collective unconscious and archetypes!
- In Jungian psychology, coincidences are called synchronicities, and can help us understand how repeated/related events in the outer world correspond to our inner world
- The collective unconscious has ideas about the world that have been passed down for generations. It has archetypes, or different symbols that have a universal meaning (like how we all think of a similar image for wisdom, a grey haired old man)
- By understanding the archetypes involved with the synchronicities in our outer world, we can see what our inner world is trying to tell us
- Action items: making a dream/synchronicity journal, researching what each archetype/object/idea in my synchronicity could mean, and creating an action plan.
Next time apples start tumbling out of your backpack, birds flock onto your windowsill, or you start seeing double, take a new approach and channel your inner Carl Jung 😉
Thanks for reading, hope you learned something new! If you had fun reading this article/have some questions, feel free to connect with me on Linkedin and shoot me a message, follow my Medium, and stay tuned!! See ya :)