Once upon a time I stood awakening to profound synchronicities coming at me from every direction. These little “coincidences” often happened in startling succession, bumping into each other until I had to admit something mystical was happening. I had a sense of something larger watching over me, an angel or a benevolent God. Upon sharing this information, a friend said, “I don’t trust synchronicity.”
At that early stage my coincidences thus far had led me in a satisfying, joyful direction. My friend’s comment puzzled me for years until a long series of synchronous events led me to a disappointing dead end. I look back at that first disappointment and consider alternate healthier choices I might have made — to let go of pushing so hard for the result I wanted and allow things to unfold organically, to stay on the path of inner work and continue to grow, and to let go of expectations. It was not until recently, after enduring another discouraging end of tremendous serendipitous occurrences, that I understood what synchronicity is and why my friend hesitated to trust it.
It now makes sense that both my friend and me expected synchronicity to always lead to a happy ending and when it did not, we imagined that the universe or some wayward God must be playing tricks on us. This idea assumes that something higher is in complete charge and I have no say in my destiny. As I look deeper I see how each string of connected serendipitous events pointed toward the apex, a crossroads of sorts where I had a clear choice of which way to go. The higher power I sensed stood at that crossroads, not to point to the “right” way but rather to hold a light so I could see the choices laid out before me and make my own decision.
At the point where synchronicity offers you choice, the secret to choosing the satisfying, joyful direction is consciousness. You must stop at the crossroads long enough to envision where either choice has the potential to take you. Do both roads lead to the greater good? Does one road lead you to leave a trail of pain as you step over those you hurt by choosing that direction? Does either choice lead you to repeat past mistakes? What is your motive in choosing one road over another? Does either road take you out of your personal power or enhance it?
By “personal power” I do not mean power to destroy, manipulate, or control others. In Psychology Today, Robert W Firestone Ph.D. writes that positive, healthy personal power is “based on strength, confidence, and competence that individuals gradually acquire in the course of their development. It is self-assertion, and a natural, healthy striving for love, satisfaction and meaning in one’s interpersonal world. This type of power represents a movement toward self-realization and transcendent goals in life; its primary aim is mastery of self, not others. Personal power is more an attitude or state of mind than an attempt to maneuver or control others. It is based on competence, vision, positive personal qualities, and service. When externalized it is likely to be more generous, creative and humane than other forms of power.”
The way to deepen your consciousness involves spiritual practice. Yoga, meditation, breathwork, and shamanic exercises awaken your intuition, feed your creativity, and strengthen your connection to all that is. When you know yourself as one cell in a greater whole it is easy to choose a path that is paved with love; love that chooses self-respect and self-responsibility over victimhood, projection, and blaming; love that chooses equanimity, respect, and care for the well-being of every living being in equal measure with care for the self.
When you have fortified yourself with personal power you begin to recognize synchronicity as choice point and a place to hold a mirror up to yourself. When faced with difficult choices, be honest with yourself about your motives. Be on the lookout for choices you think will put you on “easy street.” For instance, if money and power are your first priority and the way you attain those desires causes others pain and undue suffering, you will need to rethink your priorities. Life presents a multitude of challenges and there is no way to avoid discomfort. Some of the most financially stable people I’ve known are miserable, unfulfilled human beings because they have not learned to balance receiving with giving. In fact, some of your greatest challenges can serve as your greatest strides forward in personal growth. It may take a few synchronicities where you choose from egoic motives, and those choices lead to dead ends or adverse circumstances, before you begin to recognize the choices that lead to true confidence, competence, joy, wisdom, and self-realization may be the ones that involve more effort and working through obstacles.
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