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The Spirituality and Practice e-newsletter is a regular update from Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat with teaching stories and links to new posts on the site.

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Synchronicities and Coincidences

 

All of us have experienced magic moments of synchronicity: the anticipation of a call seconds before the phone rings, a chance meeting with an old friend who has just the advice we need, or a feeling of connection with a loved one miles away just as s/he is dying. Such happenings signal the hidden meanings in the universe which call us all to be as attentive as poets and as curious as detectives looking for clues.

 

The Alchemist

One of our favorite books is Paulo Coelho's The Alchemist. It's a mesmerizing fable about the spiritual journey we all must take to fulfill our dreams and play out our destiny. Along the way, we must learn how to trust others, listen to our hearts, read the world for signs of God, and to accept love as the hub of the human adventure. The story revolves around a shepherd who becomes a pilgrim; time after time he meets the right people at the right time. At one point, an Englishman tells him: "If I could, I'd write a huge encyclopedia just about the words luck and coincidence. It's with those words that the universal language is written."

All of us have experienced the grace of synchronicities and coincidences. Here are some resources to help you train your awareness to notice them.


 

STORY

This story is told by Ram Dass in Paths to God which illustrates how one spiritual person handles the mysteries of synchronicity and destiny:

"There's a story about [the Indian mystic] Meher Baba. He was crossing the United States by train, and when the train stopped in Santa Fe, he suddenly got up from his seat, climbed down off the train, and walked toward the center of town. At a certain corner, there was an old Indian man standing, leaning up against the side of a building. Meher Baba walked up to him, and they looked into each other's eyes for a few seconds. Then Meher Baba turned around, walked back to the station, got onto the train, and left. He said, 'Well, that takes care of my work for this trip.' "


 

QUOTATIONS

• "Synchronicity is an inexplicable and profoundly meaningful coincidence that stirs the soul and offers a glimpse of one's destiny."
— Phil Cousineau in Coincidence or Destiny?

• "Tune in to the presence of miracles, and in an instant, life can be transformed into a dazzling experience, more wondrous and exciting than we could even imagine. Ignore it and an opportunity is gone."
— Deepak Chopra in The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire

• "Every experience of synchronicity is a daring invitation to let go of ego long enough to design a destiny in accord with the purposes of love."
— David Richo in Unexpected Miracles

• "Tragedies, joys, triumphs, failures, frustrations, crises — I assume that behind every development, small and large, is something else, something meaningful, a hidden gift, that if received with grace and used with reverence, invites me a step higher on my journey."
— Carol Lynn Pearson in Consider the Butterfly

songbird

• "In every moment the universe is whispering to you. There are messages for you carried on the winds. There is wisdom for you in the morning songs of the birds outside your window and in the soft murmurs of an ebbing sea. Even ordinary, everyday events in your life carry communications from the realm of spirit."
— Denise Linn in The Secret Language of Signs

• "In the outer world we are continually distracted, caught and confused by our desires, by the responsibilities, difficulties, and attractions of everyday life. But when we sleep the outer world disappears. We are free to forget its illusions. We are free to hear the voice of our own longing as it speaks to us in our dreams, telling us the stories of our innermost self, a self we have often forgotten and disowned."
— Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee in In the Company of Friends

• "It is wrong, then, to chide the novel for being fascinated by mysterious coincidences . . . but it is right to chide man for being blind to such coincidences in his daily life. For he thereby deprives his life of a dimension of beauty."
— Milan Kundera in There Are No Accidents

"Every time I have become aware of a synchronicity experience, I have had an accompanying feeling that some grace came along with it. " Jean Shinoda Bolen in Coincidence or Destiny by Phil Cousineau
 

BOOKS

Coincidence or Destiny? Stories of Synchronicity that Illuminate Our Lives
Phil Cousineau presents 80 accounts of "the uncanny and inexplicable ways the outer world sometimes parallels the inner world." Here are stories by Larry Dossey, Huston Smith, Jamake Highwater, Tess Gallagher, and others.

Consider the Butterfly: Transforming Your Life Through Meaningful Coincidence
As an excellent tutor in the process of paying attention to what is going on in our lives, Carol Lynn Pearson challenges us to seek synchronicity and pay attention to the wonders in our everyday lives. She writes that behind every development "is something else, something meaningful, a hidden gift."

The Psychic Bible: The Definitive Guide to Developing Your Psychic Skills
Jane Struthers presents a handy compendium of material on psychic skills and abilities. She also delves into synchronicity, coincidence, altered states of consciousness, and dreams.

Crescent Moon
 

The Secret Language of Signs: How to Interpret the Coincidences and Symbols in Your Life
Denise Linn shows us how to practice the ancient craft of interpreting the coincidences and symbols in our lives. She believes that signs can reflect our inner state of being, our spiritual development, and our understanding of our relationships.

The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence
Deepak Chopra encourages us to explore what happens when we come alive to the powers of attention, intention, and synchronicity. He states that "miracles streak across our consciousness every day."

There Are No Accidents: Synchronicity and the Stories of Our Lives
Psychologist Robert Hopcke explores the acausal, emotional, and symbolic aspects of synchronicities. He also challenges us to read "accidental" events for their deeper meaning.

Unexpected Miracles: The Gift of Synchronicity and How to Open It
David Richo, a psychotherapist, teacher, and workshop leader, delves into meaningful coincidences as moments when destiny summons us to move on and to let go of our egos. He states the importance of "being open and hospitable to the unknown."

Hands holding candle
 

READINGS

Deepak Chopra on paying attention to coincidences
Bestselling author Chopra discusses the miracles that can happen when we come alive to attention, intention, and coincidences. He suggests that on close examination, these incidents can also prove to be glimpses of the miraculous.

Gary Rhine on finding a sign from God
Gary Rhine writes about his experience when he was a bitter nineteen years old full of anger at the world. He was surprised to find a special sign of God's existence.

Denise Linn on using meditation to explore our fears
Contending that we need to re-learn the secret language of signs, Linn encourages us to listen to the messages that are always coming to us. She states that "whether you are conscious of it or not, you are always encircled by signs."


 

FILMS

The Adjustment Bureau

The Adjustment Bureau is a satisfying spiritual love story about a charismatic New York politician, the preciousness of free will, and the lengths he will go to be with his soul mate, whom he met by coincidence.

Finding Graceland is a quirky road drama about a man who is locked in deep grief over the accidental death of his wife and receives the healing balm of grace, delivered seemingly by fate.

Henry Poole Is Here is a deeply spiritual movie about miracles, coincidences, hope, love, and learning to live in the present.

Holes is a dramatically inventive and emotionally satisfying children's film filled with coincidences and hints of grace in three different stories from eighteenth-century Latvia, the Old West, and contemporary Camp Green Lake.

I Heart Huckabees is a playful metaphysical comedy about an intense and angry environmental activist who experiences a series of coincidences.

In July is a high-flying and very entertaining German road movie about a lonely student teacher of physics and a woman who tutors him in the joys of going with the flow and paying attention to coincidenses.

Jeff, Who Lives at Home is a delightful film about how synchronicities can open people up to fresh adventures which have the potential to transform and revitalize them.

Noel is an emotionally-affecting drama about four lonely individuals in New York City who are opened by coincidences to the miracle of love on Christmas day.

Rendezvous in Paris offers three enchanting vignettes about a young woman who loses her wallet, a woman who wants to leave her fiancé, and a painter who ditches a beautiful woman that reveal the tricky role of coincidence in romantic relationships.

Run Lola Run is an innovative German film that spells out the meaning of life through small incidents of coincidence that occur for a tattered Berliner who has only 20 minutes to come up with money to save her boyfriend's life.

Saving Grace is a boisterously funny English comedy set in a small town on the Cornish coast about a middle-aged housewife and amateur horticulturalist who starts a hush-hush project to avoid bankruptcy and is rewarded with a synchronicity.

Signs

Signs is a spiritual shiver story about the meaning of coincidences, family solidarity in the face of the inexplicable, and how destiny unfolds in every moment.

Snow Cake is a psychologically rich drama that reveals how a sad and lonely Englishman is transformed by his ability to ride the coincidences which manifest in his life.

Stranger Than Fiction is an endearing and imaginative comedy about the spiritual transformation of a rigid, shy, and lonely I.R.S. agent whose life is upended by coincidences and surprises.

Turning Gate graphically depicts the impact desire, coincidence, and fate have upon romantic relationships.