Sunday, July 26, 2009

That Lattice o' Coincidence

Whenever I am at a loss for words, I always find it helpful to quote from the old classic, Repo Man:
A lot o' people don't realize what's really going on. They view life as a bunch o' unconnected incidents 'n things. They don't realize that there's this, like, lattice o' coincidence that lays on top o' everything. Give you an example; show you what I mean: suppose you're thinkin' about a plate o' shrimp. Suddenly someone'll say, like, plate, or shrimp, or plate o' shrimp out of the blue, no explanation. No point in lookin' for one, either. It's all part of a cosmic unconsciousness.

Which is all to say that today, class, we'll be discussing something a little out of my field, but something that is pretty important to the next few posts making any sense. Today we're (and by 'we' I mean, um, I) talking about Carl Jung and his theory of synchronicity.

I promise I totally listened really super hard in my freshman year of Psych 101, but don't recall having come across this idea. In the interests of maintaining my huge fan-base (yes, all 10 of you, fabulous as you are), I'll keep it short: essentially, it is the idea that simultaneous occurrences can be meaningfully related. Or, as my incredibly bright pastor says "[events] of significance that I need to pay attention to, for [synchronicity] can give direction to what matters in my life."

So. Who's still with me?



Here's a story for you, to illustrate what I mean. Waaaaaaay back in the day, it's 1983 and Police release Synchronicity. (Really. I'm not trying to make this obvious.) I am TEN. An innocent, non-rock-n-roll-listening TEN. The closing song on that album? "Tea in the Sahara." Fast forward 7 years, I'm 17, and a boyfriend puts it on a mix tape to use up that awkward space at the end of a tape where you can still fit a song, as long as it's short. I listen to it, it's completely haunting. I decide it is the most romantic thing I've heard. (Turns out the song is about 3 women deceived by a prince and left in the desert to die. This explains much about my 17-year old ideas of romance.)

Fast forward another four years, and I'm contemplating a relationship with someone widely known to be loud, overly-opinionated and a bit arrogant. Someone who (I thought) wouldn't have much time for haunting, romantic, or.... quirky. Let's just say I was on the fence about this prospective love interest. I walk into his dorm room, he's on his own (having scared away all roommates), and I hear "Tea in the Sahara." Literally stopped in my tracks by the coincidence, the sheer synchronicity of it all, the only thing I can say is 'I love this song.' He turns around, and in his funny Norwegian accent says 'Of course you do. It's the best song on this album.' (see? you get haunting, romantic, quirky AND arrogant, all in one package!!)

Fast forward another 15 years, and here we are on the couch talking about synchronicity, and well, Synchronicity. He has no memory of that particular moment of cosmic grace. But let me just say, he's grateful for it.

So this week we're going to talk about connectivity. Say it with me: See how it rolls off your tongue? Soooo much fun to say, so much fun to find! (Could this be like Where's Waldo for the grownups?)

Isn't it exciting to think that the random things that happen to you in the course of a day, a week, a month, a year, or even decades may possibly be related, and even better, have actual significance to your life?

For me, this means ideas of Stillness, of Glass-Half-Fullness, of Abundance, and of Slowing the Pace, and yes, of Connectivity have all presented themselves in a myriad of ways that leave me wondering if knocking me over the head with one of those carnival sledgehammers may have been only slightly more subtle.

I'll be filling you in in the next week or so.

Keep your eyes & ears open: wouldn't mind hearing your stories of synchronicity. (It needn't even involve the actual album.)


hezro said...

I likey...and am anxiously awaiting the next installment!

Anonymous said...

Have you come across Lawrence Weschler? I recommend this book on the convergences in life:

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