Recently during a workshop on intuitive guidance, I noticed one of the participants seemed unaffected by some of the stories and examples that both I and other members of the group were sharing; stories that demonstrated amazing examples of how guidance was transmitted through both synchronicity and serendipity. Somewhat curious I asked her about her experience and whether she found any of the stories convincing or meaningful. “I would love to believe them” she told me, “but to me they are just stories.”
As I teach through story a great deal, I was puzzled by her response. In most of my groups the stories were greeted with appreciation and wonder at how the Divine or Spirit can orchestrate events to ensure certain outcomes. It was Carl Jung who first defined the concept of synchronicity to describe meaningful coincidences as “events whose coincident occurrence suggest meaningful connection”; for example I am attending a conference titled Body and Soul and due to a scheduling mistake I am registered in workshop with the title “How To Be More Psychic.” This displeased me as I had no desire to become more psychic plus I was feeling very disconnected from the whole event. My meditation practice that morning had been fragmented and unfocussed and my mind was telling me it was all a waste of time. However I decided to attend the session and felt the hairs on my neck stand up when the speaker, the amazing Judith Orloff, stood up and said that she was going to focus her session on why we should meditate and promptly described a series of benefits of meditation to which I went check, check, check as she completed the list. So being registered in error for a session proved to be an amazing meaningful (and possibly life altering) coincidence.
It was a close friend of mine who provided a key to this puzzle. She told me that in her experience we needed an experiential link to a story for it to become meaningful. Without that bridge there is no personal meaning in the story. This became much clearer to me the next morning when I received a daily newsletter on synchronicity that contained this story about UFOs. It had no significance for me at all as I have no experiential bridge to UFOs. I have no problem with the idea of UFOs but have no direct experience so the stories have no impact. They are all just stories.
It seems to me that a paradox is set up. We need an experience to relate to a story but how do we bring on the experience when we really don’t believe the story? Some wise spiritual teachers have addressed this issue. Ken Wilbur, renowned American philosopher, espouses a belief in the existence of a psychic paradigm that can only be experienced if we take the step to engage in spiritual practice to stimulate our own experiences. He encourages people to commit to regular meditation as a test. Psychologist Francis Vaughan also suggests that regular meditation facilitates our intuitive faculties. My own experience has validated this perspective. I started to meditate eighteen years ago as a stress management tool but coincidentally opened myself to intuitive senses that I never imagined existed. So perhaps the starting point is “Take the Test” then trusting our story to emerge.