I've always loved the movies where someone says, "Synchronize watches!" A team of heroes would have to split up to do their individual jobs, but to complete their common mission successfully, they had to work in synchronicity. I think I must have enjoyed that so much, because somewhere inside me I knew, even as a kid, that that's how it is for all of us.
First documented in the academic world by the psychoanalyst Carl Jung in 1928, synchronicity is the occurrence of coincidences (events happening at the same time) that may not appear to be related in any way, except that they are meaningful to us.
There are two aspects of events that place them in synchronicity – the events that coincide (meaning they happen side-by-side in time) and their meaning for us. A car drives by my window at the exact moment that I write these words. The writing and the driving happen at the same time, but I probably won't feel the gratitude and awe I feel when touched by synchronicity. However, if Deepak Chopra, who writes and speaks about synchronicity, drives by at the same time I'm writing about the subject, it would be very meaningful for me. I might feel I received a sign that I was on the right track. I might even be able to run out and ask a question that would be good for the article.
An important thing to note about synchronistic events is that while two events are related by meaning, they are not related causally – at least, not as we usually understand that. Neither event causes the other, yet they are clearly related. Sometimes a series of synchronicities brings about a beautiful manifestation of love in action. For example:
The manager of a church bookstore was journaling prayerfully, when she got an idea to donate books to a women's shelter, whose location was a secret. When she called the shelter to set up delivery of the books, the manager learned that a fellow congregant volunteered there and could easily deliver the books. The manager had not known this congregant before, so neither her idea nor the congregant's volunteering caused each other, but they were two small events in a larger event of service.
The manager got approval from her church and invited the congregation to buy books to donate to the shelter. The response was enormous. Not only did people donate money and buy books for the shelter library, they also brought nice used books – inspiration, self-help, parenting, and children's books. The manager collected enough books for a small library, and the volunteer delivered them.
A week or so later, the manager received a thank-you letter from the director of the shelter that made the hair on the back of her neck stand up. The director was very grateful for the bookstore's "response" to recent events. A water pipe had burst, causing extensive damage to the old women's shelter. Now, the program was in a new shelter location, and the women were especially grateful for their new library, because their old one had been wiped out in the flood! The bookstore manager had not known about this event, so the flood did not cause her idea. And of course, her idea did not cause the flood that happened several weeks earlier. It was as if God or the cosmos had "synchronized watches" between the bookstore and the shelter! Such is the beauty and mystery of synchronicity.