Q: The other night, I had a dream about a woman who I haven’t seen for probably seven years. I woke-up wondering why she was in my dream after all this time, but then that afternoon I was walking downtown and saw her across the street!! I couldn’t believe it. How is that possible?? Can you explain how I can dream of someone I haven’t seen in years and then see them later that day?!
A: Whoa. I can only imagine that this experience left you stunned. These kinds of experiences are bizarre and incredible, and we’ve all had versions of them: You have a dream about someone you haven’t spoken to in a while, and they call you the next day; or you find yourself thinking about a largely unknown musician and walk into a cafe to hear one of his songs playing. Usually, people notice these things, chalk them up to crazy coincidences, and forget about them. But this experience of yours is a big one! The coincidence itself is just too big, separated by years, and it does make you wonder: how the heck do these things happen?
Situations just like the one you describe were a phenomenon that Carl Jung termed synchronicity, a word we’re all now quite familiar with. The term and concept denote a seeming coincidence that is just too bizarre, and too meaningful, to be totally accidental. They are events that are statistical outliers, like a sudden mutation in evolutionary biology, that science cannot entirely explain but do nonetheless occur. These situations are seeming acausal; there is no way to explain how one event caused the other, or how something else caused both. As a result, they totally test our understanding of the way the world works and leave us a bit dumbfounded.
The connection point between these two events is you. The dream was yours alone, and the matter of that woman being out-and-about in town is, in itself, totally unremarkable. What is remarkable, however, is that the two events occurred in your awareness within a very short period of time. You are the connection point. So what does that mean?
Just like a magnet attracts iron to itself when charged, there is some suggestion in quantum physics that our own psychic lives, and the energetically charged complexes we carry around, can also make things move and occur without any known physical interaction. The dream originated from you, and you noticed the woman. It is possible that these two “events” occurred in your awareness because a complex of energy you have was triggered in some way. We certainly do not understand just yet how these synchronistic events occur, but I would put money on the fact that science will show us more in the coming decades about how they are, in fact, related and are not simply crazy happenstance.
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Satya is a therapist in private practice in Portland, Oregon specializing in applicable dream work, the quarter-life crisis, and the stage of life between young adulthood and mid-life. www.quarterlifecounselor.com