If I had any real understanding about complex mathematics, I’d study what quantum physicists call “non-locality.” This describes a connection between two particles and their effect on each other regardless of the physical distance between them. The relationship occurs even though there is no exchange of energy at the physical level that can be measured. Albert Einstein called it “spooky action at a distance,” an apt description.
This approaches my limit of comprehension about the concept, but I don’t feel too badly about my lack of expertise. Apparently, the physicists and mathematicians don’t really understand it either.
There is ongoing debate among scientists about “non-locality” as to what’s true and what isn’t. This has led to carefully constructed scientific experiments that seem to prove the existence of a non-local, unexplained relationship between two seemingly unconnected things.
I’m calling this “synchronicity.” We all have experienced it at one time or another — those “co-incidences” that happen but we can’t explain. If the physicists are correct who believe that “non-locality” is the nature of our universe, then everything that occurs is synchronistic in some way. From our limited human perspective, however, we just don’t have a view expansive enough — or deep enough into the quantum world — to track what’s happening.
But we all have experiential examples of it.
Perhaps it has shown up as an unusual encounter with another person. Or it may have appeared so that the solution to a challenging set of circumstances finally just “fell into place.” We often take these experiences for granted, giving no thought to what it would be like to live in a universe that didn’t have synchronicity and connectedness as part of its underlying structure.
I’ve been working consciously with synchronicity for some time. I became aware of it as something special while backpacking in California almost 30 years ago. On that trip, all kinds of extraordinary events occurred to validate its existence. Some aspects were challenging, some absurd and humorous, some deeply moving. It served as a wake-up call and invitation to experience life in a deeper, richer, more expansive way.
Because we might not always be able to make sense of synchronous events, we often skip right over them. But unless we somehow acknowledge the valuable opportunities that synchronicity offers, we’re missing a lot of great chances for conscious participation with each other and with deeper aspects of ourselves.
As part of that early conscious encounter with synchronicity, I found that by paying attention, it is actually not too difficult to recognize important synchronous events. I discovered that there were clues embedded in those incidents that we might use to understand more about life experiences and each other. As a humorous response to those early clues, I began to call the significant events “Cosmic Home Movie” experiences.
Working with these experiences includes envisioning a giant movie screen across the sky where we all, participants with starring roles in the Cosmic Home Movies, view our lives from a much greater perspective. We become observers as well as experiencers, making use of the clues in synchronistic occurrences to shift into more clarity and understanding. This clarity often brings us relief, and contributes to peacemaking both internally and externally.
With that perspective, we might recognize our similarities more readily, and acknowledge that we’re all in this universal story together regardless of our beliefs or background. We could perceive that we affect one another whether we always know it or not, and are constantly choosing how to participate with each other.
Perhaps synchronicity manifests in order to remind us of the connectedness among all things. If we could remember that, we might choose to strengthen the quality of empathy much more consistently — something that underlies the commitment to maintaining the inner peace needed to create a more compassionate, peaceful world.
That is my hope.
Jan Bayshor is giving a free lecture on synchronicity at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 10, at the Ashland Library and a workshop on Oct. 5 in Ashland. A therapist and facilitator, she relocated from Ohio to Oregon in 2010 and currently focuses on writing and photography.