This posting is part of a series on my book Sifting. If you have not read the previous postings, please visit the menu above (click on Sifting) for a chronological listing of any previous chapters. Thanks!
Chapter 21: Launching Synchronicity
Bob: What do you mean by “synchronicity”?
Sift: Synchronicity has to do with the occurrence of events that seem to be meaningfully related, but not causally related. Most people think of synchronistic events as remarkable coincidences. For example, you think about a friend you haven’t talked to in years, and within a short time, they call you. Or someone tells you that you will encounter several pennies on the street or sidewalk and that they represent good luck. Then, over the next few days, you seem to run across pennies everywhere you go.
Bob: Is synchronicity related to some sort of magical force of the universe?
Sift: Not necessarily. In most cases, synchronicity has to do with the way your brain filters incoming stimuli. Your sensory organs are constantly bombarded with incoming information. This would quickly overwhelm you if you didn’t have some sort of system to filter out the unimportant and only allow the important to pass through and compete for your attention. Humans have relatively sophisticated brain circuitry that takes care of the filtering process. You can, however, program this circuitry to notice specific things or incoming information related to specific things. One technique for programming this system to notice specific things is simply to focus on them mentally. For example, if you buy a new car, even if it is a relatively unique car, you will likely encounter many identical cars over the next few weeks. It is not magic; you programmed your brain to notice that particular kind of car by mentally focusing on it.
Bob: That’s why people run across all the pennies, isn’t it?
Sift: Yes. Next time you are at a sporting event or any event with a large crowd, look at the crowd in general. Then, close your eyes and think about mainly seeing people wearing red clothes. Then, open your eyes. Now, close your eyes and think about mainly seeing people wearing green. Then, open your eyes. You mainly notice what you think about.
Bob: Ok, I get it. If I think about how I want my life to unfold, I will more likely notice things related to making that happen in my life. I’ll, in effect, launch synchronicity in my life.
Sift: Very good, Bob. That is exactly how it works. In terms of the hero’s journey, doors will open for you, and helping hands will appear to assist you on your journey. Bob, there is a way to enhance this process.
Bob: Tell me about it.
Sift: You write things down. One of the best ways to program your brain to notice things is to express them in writing.
Bob: I’ll bet that’s why so many of the self-help books advise you to put your goals in writing. I can use my journal for this, can’t I?
Bob: Can we talk about the kind of things I need to write about?
Sift: Sure. Spend some quality time thinking about what you would do if you had all the time and money you needed. And think about the things you are currently doing. Would you still do them if you had all the time and money you needed? What would you do if you had no concern for financial rewards or social acceptance? Remember, this kind of thinking is meant to launch synchronicity in your life. Life will always present you with plenty of situations where you have to consider the financial and social implications of your choices. I want to help you move in the direction of at least minimizing these situations. After you think about all of this, I suggest that you block out two pages of your journal and make two lists.
Bob: What kind of lists?
Sift: First, make a list of things you are grateful for, a gratitude list. Just get the list started, and you can add to it as you think more about it. Then, make up what I call “a genie list.”
Bob: What’s a genie list?
Sift: Remember the mythology about the genie that appears and says, “Your wish is my command?” Make a list of the things you want to be, do, and have. Of course, make sure the things you put on the list will most likely take you in the direction of joyfully participating in life.
Bob: I get it. If I write these things down, it will program my brain to notice things related to items on the lists. It will launch synchronicity related to both the things I am currently grateful for and the things I want to be, do, or have.
Sift: Exactly. And Bob, look for things I call “progress handholds,” similar to handholds rock climbers use to climb a steep surface. Each handhold located helps make a little progress and keeps the climber moving in the right direction. Look all around you. Look for things in your current circumstances that can serve as handholds to help you pursue the things you want – the things on your lists.
Bob: So, when people tell you to focus on the journey and not the destination, they are really telling you to learn to enjoy making progress as much as the final achievement of a goal?
Sift: You bring up an excellent point, Bob. I think this would be a good time for you to spend some time with your journal getting your lists started. Why don’t you do that for the rest of the day. Tomorrow morning, we can talk about something called “the progress principle.”
Bob: Okay, Sift. I’ll talk to you tomorrow.
End Chapter 21
Main takeaway: You can program your brain to notice things you need to make progress.
- Can you think of an example of synchronicity in your life? If you see any pennies on the ground this week, think of this chapter about synchronicity and how synchronicity works.
- Make a list of things you are grateful for, a gratitude list.
- Create a genie list.
- Look for “progress handholds” related to the things on your genie list.
The entire book will eventually be posted on this blog. However, if you want a copy for yourself, or as a gift for a friend, you can find it at this link: Sifting