Blessing-type synchronicities

2 Aug

Carl Jung defined synchronicity as meaningful coincidence—the noncausal correspondence between something on your mind and an external event that echoes it in some way. An example he gave (I might get some small details wrong here as I write from memory) was a patient of his who’d hit a brick wall for months in dealing with a particular issue. In her therapy session one day, she told him a dream in which she’d been given a golden brooch in the shape of an Egyptian scarab beetle. Just as she finished telling the dream, they heard a sound at the window. Jung opened it and caught in his hand the insect that made the noise as it beat its wings against the window. It was a scarab beetle, very rare in the Swiss environment of Jung’s home. The synchronicity so awed the patient that she experienced a breakthrough on the difficult issue.

I find that synchronicities often trigger my interest in something—commonly when I hear an unfamiliar word three times in 24 hours in different, unrelated contexts.

Other times, a synchronicity bestows a sense of blessing on a new interest that’s just occurred to me. That’s the type I experienced today. Awake at 4 a.m. against my will, I began reading Thomas Moore’s Soul Mates, a book I hadn’t known existed until I picked it up in a thrift shop in Astoria on Friday (7/29), despite the fact that Moore’s Care of the Soul has sat, unread, on my bookshelf for years. Soul Mates is more directly attuned to the subject of relationship, a topic of great importance to me at the moment as a particular relationship puzzles and challenges me. Finding the book was, itself, a bit of a synchronicity, because the topic was even more explicitly on my mind as a result of having last month proofread Wired for Love: How Understanding Your Partner’s Brain Can Help You Defuse Conflict and Spark Intimacy by Stat Tatkin, forthcoming in December from New Harbinger Publications. The book intrigued and heartened me.

That’s the background to the more distinct and striking synchronicity at 4 this morning. As I finished reading the preface in Care of the Soul, I came to the acknowledgements. Included there was a thank you “for the extraordinary wisom and generous friendship of my editor at HarperCollins, Hugh Van Dusen” (emphasis mine). Since November, I’ve been been exploring New York’s Dutch roots and have written a number of posts here on that topic, one of which I wrote late Sunday night / early Monday. That post (dated 7/25) was inspired by a New York Times article about the 200,000 descendents of Nieuw Amsterdam’s miller—a family named Van Dusen.

The synchronicity gives me a sense of excitement and expectation about reading Care of the Soul.

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