Those wonderful moments that blur the line between coincidence and fate are known as moments of synchronicity.
The moment you think of a kind message you want to tell a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while—and then they call; the moment you find yourself searching for an answer, and there it is—a message on a billboard that means something to you.
Carl Jung, the legendary Swiss psychiatrist, coined the term “synchronicity” to describe the occurrence of two events that have no causal relationship yet appear related. Jung discovered that these events happened far too frequently to be coincidences.
These are seven steps I have built my life around, to experience more flow and synchronicity.
1. Get closer to nature
Jumping in the ocean or running in a forest reminds us it is awesome to be alive and refreshes the soul. The vastness of nature offers perspective and is also the perfect antidote to the overstimulation we receive in the modern world.
Synchronicity has a lot to do with understanding how everything in the universe is connected on some level. This kind of deep understanding is far more likely to take place in the wild than in an office or bedroom.
So spend more time in nature—watching, listening, feeling, and understanding.
2. Train your brain
People spend countless hours in gyms training their muscles, but it is the quality of mind-attention that affects our life more than almost anything. If we can’t focus, we can’t do anything well.
B. Alan Wallace writes in The Attention Revolution: “As long as our minds oscillate compulsively between agitation and dullness, wavering from one attentional imbalance to another, we may never discover the depths of human consciousness.”
He goes onto say that “as with any skill, such as playing the piano or learning a sport, we can, through drills, repetition, habituation over time, develop capacities presently beyond our reach.”
By reading books, challenging our minds through sudoku, crosswords or stimulating conversation, we are training our minds to be in a state where we are more prone to discovering the depths of our consciousness.
It is in those depths, below the surface of conscious thought, where synchronicity, intuition and flow are found.
3. Listen to your subconscious voice
A feature of our modern culture is the preference for analytical thinking over our subconscious or gut feeling.
Elite free climber, Dean Potter, calls this “The Voice” and he trains himself through meditation, solitude in the wilderness and constant climbing so that The Voice is loud and clear for him. Listening to The Voice has saved his life many times and allowed him to free solo (climb vertical walls with no ropes or assistance) many of the worlds most challenging climbing routes in record times.
Our subconscious intuition is a quality that has to be used or it wastes away; just as one has to exercise muscles, intuition, too, must be exercised. The key to tuning in to our inner voices lies in meditation, mindful living, solitude and creativity. Writing a journal and expressing our subconscious in written or visual form is a powerful way to create a solid foundation for synchronicity to grow out of.
4. Learn the art of surrender
Surrender is not about sitting on our backsides or waving a white flag. We have a responsibility to change what we can’t accept, and it is a courageous and noble path to accept what we can’t change.
A state of surrender is a very powerful state to be in.
Rather than fighting against the universe, we can become a channel through which the universe flows. Of course, when things don’t go our way, it is our ego that feels insulted. So surrender means recognizing and then ditching the ego and bravely accepting what we can’t change.
By doing this we open ourselves up to the flow of life, and to synchronicity.
5. Live in the now—Let go of expectations
Go into life without any expectations. Try it! It makes everything an awesome surprise. If we fill our awareness with the now, we will feel all the worries and stresses associated with trying to constantly shape the future through expectations vanish. This is a powerful part of creating a life of flow and synchronicity.
Nothing happens in the past or in the future. Life only happens in the present moment, so make sure you are there to meet it with a smile.
5. Practice flow state inducing activities
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, a psychologist who pioneered research into human happiness in the 1970s, discovered what he called the “flow state”. This state of total immersion in an activity results in peak performance, creativity and enjoyment.
Numerous research projects have confirmed that the more people experience flow states, the happier they are.
Accessing the flow state in small doses can be incredibly simple. All that’s needed are three core ingredients: focus on the task, understanding of how to do the task, and the skills required to do the task.
These basic ingredients can be applied to any activity: washing the dishes, making a smoothie or snowboarding down a steep slope. Flow states vary in depth. There are micro-flow activities and macro-flow. In macro-flow one could be absorbed for long periods of time. Playing chess, learning the tango, or painting a picture are examples of activities that can bring a deep sense of flow. In this state your sense of self (ego) diminishes, the electromagnetic activity in your brain changes, and you feel total calm in the eye of the storm.
This is the transition from acting from the thinking mind to acting from the subconscious.
This is the state of mind which will help cultivate synchronistic events.
7. Expand your mind: read philosophy, physics and more…
A powerful way to open our minds is by educating ourselves.
There are many amazing books from the spiritual, scientific and philosophical realms that will help expand the mind to the amazing reality of universal oneness.
I remember a mini “awakening” I experienced a couple of years ago when I moved from “understanding” that everything in the universe was connected to knowing that everything in the universe is connected. I had been doing a lot of reading on the subject and had been practicing yoga and meditating daily. It was more of a gradual awakening than a Eureka! moment.
This knowing shifted my perspective from one of separation, conflict and competition with the world around me, to one of in-separation, harmony and unity. The universe was now a different place and I was now a different person.
Albert Einstein said that the most important question a person can ask themselves is whether or not the universe is a friendly place. If your answer is yes, then you are setting the right foundation for synchronicity, flow and wonderfully serendipitous happenings in your life.
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Editor: Emma Ruffin
Photo: Tiago J. G. Fernandes/Flickr