According to Carl Gustav Jung, a synchronicity is an event where the two worlds meet--the seen and the unseen. It's a nexus, a "gateway," a visit to the matrix, totally inexplicable for any rational reason. Many simply call them uncanny coincidence, deja vu, or just plain wierd and dismiss any further interpretation. I used to be that way.
I've had many, but will tell the story of the two I shall never forget--so far. The first was in the 70's. I needed to shop in a market in a section of our neighborhood in the East Village, N.Y. where I rarely went especially at that time of the morning. I was surprised to see Terrence Cooke, the Cardinal of the Archdiocese of New York greeting a steady stream of people entering the Lady of the Nativity Church, which was on the Bowery when it was still the Bowery and not one of the highest rent districts in the city.
I learned it was the funeral of Dorothy Day, whose Catholic Worker Movement had begun in the neighborhood. It was a nationwide orgnization that ran soup kitchens and other institutions for the homeless during the depression. I once attempted to meet her at "Tivoli" their farm in upstate New York, but she wasn't there that weekend. I'd always intended to return, but never got around to it.
I went to the funeral. It was incredibly moving; at the end, I was aware if I'd ever heard of a saint living during my lifetime, regardless of the religion, this was it. No hocus pocus, no stigmata, sprinkling ash, infallable encyclicals, visitations from the Virgin Mary, but selfless service to mankind.
When I went home after, the phone rang. It was my father, who may have called me a half dozen times during his lifetime. I said, "I just came from the funeral of a woman you may have heard of."
"Who was that?"
"Oh, Aunt Dorothy, she's gone?"
"Aunt Dorothy? Are we related?"
"No, not exactly, but that's what we used to call her. She stayed at the house in Detroit when she was in town. The folks (meaning his parents) used to know her well. We called her Aunt Dorothy."
"I never heard that story."
"You never asked."
I grew up in this house as had my father. I asked him another question. "What bedroom did she use?"
"The guest room."
"Which room was that?"
"The one right under your bedroom. She was there lots of times. Sometimes she stayed for weeks, mostly during the 1930's when she was setting up the soup kitchens in Detroit. She was really a wonderful woman--a real saint."
I told him the rest of the story. He thought it was strange, but nothing unusual. I was flabberghasted.
The second synchronicity happened many years later. I'm a practicing Zen Buddhist. My wife and I were married by a Zen monk. She'd go with me to the Zendo on Sunday every once in awhile and always sit in the same place--two cushions in front of me on the left.
Joan was a big fan of Jane Fonda, the actress. We'd go to all her movies, and she'd buy her books and tapes, even going to her book signings, which she NEVER DID WITH ANYBODY ELSE.
About two months after my wife died, I went to my usual Sunday sit at the Village Zendo. A woman was sitting in her spot with her back to me. It was odd since she was almost exactly my wife's height and weight, had the same full mein of thick hair, dressed as she'd dress, and even wore the same kind of jewelry.
When she finally turned in my direction, yes, it was Jane Fonda. I'd never recognized the strong similarity. On the way out, I told her the story. Fonda was visiting NYC for a few days and never been to the Zendo before. She was interested to hear it, but then I asked her a question.
"What brings you here today?"
"I heard meditation is like experiencing death and I'm researching death for my new book."
Maybe, another way to see synchronicity is a story you could never make up no matter how hard you tried. Yeah, that's it, nothing more.
There's an epilogue. Many years later, I went to visit the "old house" in Detroit with my daughter to show her where her family lived for three generations. (The house has since been destroyed as so much of the rest of that sad city.)
We were taking pictures from the car when a woman came running down the steps. "What you doing here?" she asked.
I told her it had been the family home. "Can I ask you a question?" she asked.
"Were there any holy people in this house?"
"Yes, I think there could have been," I answered. "A lot of them."
"I thought so," she answered and disappeared back up the steps that we knew so well. Did I mention that my grandfather used to compile testimony to recommend "saints" from Southern Michigan to the Vatican?