Carl Jung on Synchronicity

Synchronicity is a word coined by Swiss Psychologist Carl Jung to describe seemingly coincidental, yet meaningful events in the external world that do not have an obvious cause.

Jung defined synchronicity as an “acausal connecting (togetherness) principle,” “meaningful coincidence”, “acausal parallelism” or “meaningful coincidence of two or more events where something other than the probability of chance is involved.”

Carl G. Jung (1960), Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, Princeton University Press, 2012, p. 44.

Jung believed that many occurrences labeled as “coincidences,” are not actually due to chance. Instead, he believed that these occurrences are directly related to the observer’s mind, and serve to provide powerful insight, direction and guidance.

Carl Jung’s own example of Synchronicity

carl jung synchronicity beetle

An example of a synchronistic event in Carl Jung’s life took place during a therapy session with one of his clients.

His client was a highly educated and rational woman with a serious demeanor. Jung knew he would not be able to get through to her on a deeper level unless an irrational event occurred in the form of a coincidence. Jung sought out anything he could use to get through to her.

Shortly after, the woman began describing a significant dream of a golden scarab (a costly piece of jewelry). As she was describing this beetle in more depth, Jung heard a tapping at the window behind him. He opened the window and revealed a live goldish-green scarab beetle, not native to the area.

Astonished, Jung quickly grabbed the beetle, and walked it over to the woman and said, “here is your scarab.” This event was enough to help break the woman from her overly rationalistic world-view and connect her dream world to her waking life– a fundamental revelation in Jungian Psychology.

Signs of Synchronicity

Have you ever been thinking of someone, and they called you the next minute? Or dreamt of finding something precious, and found it a few days later? According to Jung, these are examples of synchronicity.

Examples of Synchronicity can be observed in everyday life, it just takes a keen eye to observe it. For example, if you desire to have a relationship with the love of your life, you may be introduced to people that lead you in the direction of her/him. Each instance in meeting someone, is an event of synchronicity that is pointing you towards your goal.

Synchronicity can be recognized in the following signs:

  • Dreams
  • Symbols
  • Numbers
  • “Random” events
  • Conversations
  • Spontaneous encounters

Synchronicity can also aid in awakening you to your full potential and serve as a guide for getting in touch with your inner self, or in Jung’s words, assist you on your path of individuation.

An Image from Carl Jung’s Red Book.

Developing your awareness of synchronicity

Jung suggests that one’s ability to recognize synchronicity can be trained and improved upon. This comes from heightened awareness, and an ability to catch and analyze different circumstances that you find yourself in.

If you are able to develop an increased ability to recognize synchronicity in everyday events, you will uncover all kinds of motivation to propel you on your path towards success.

Through synchronicity, it is possible to uncover new ideas, meet significant people and open doors to a happier, healthier and more fulfilled life. With an awareness of Carl Jung’s concept of synchronicity, possibilities for you to come into contact with this magic are limitless.

“Synchronicity is an ever-present reality for those who have eyes to see.”

– Carl Jung

Uses and Purposes

Clinical Application: Carl Jung’s ideas on synchronicity can be used effectively in therapy. If a practitioner is able to help a client derive value from coincidental events, it will help assist the client in overcoming negative thought patterns and self-limiting beliefs. This is done with the fundamental understanding that the mind seeks to heal itself, and will derive direction and meaning from seemingly coincidental events.

Personal Application: If you are interested in witnessing synchronicity for yourself, you can increase the frequency of synchronistic events by setting and pursuing goals. Whatever your goal may be, it needs to be heartfelt, and fully worthy of your pursuit. If you are able to cultivate a burning desire to achieve that goal, you will find that signs will begin pointing you down a path of achieving that goal. This may come in the form of people you meet, unusual but related occurrences, and flashes of insight.

Have you had any profound events of synchronicity happen in your life? If so, it would be interesting to learn about your experience, please share your story below!

Carl G. Jung (1960), Synchronicity: An Acausal Connecting Principle, Princeton University Press, 2012, p. 44.
Carl Gustav Jung, Wolfgang Ernst Pauli, English translation: 1955, The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche first published in 1952 as Naturerklärung und Psyche

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