Since the dawn of human history, our ancestors looked for guidance to help them understand life's challenges and mysteries. They found answers in natural phenomenon, the stars, the weather, the entrails of animals, in prayer, or through rituals which they treated as meaningful signs from a higher force or power (Campbell J. 1972). In modern times the experience of attracting events or people which provide answers to life’s questions was called synchronicity by psychotherapist Carl Jung (Jung 1951), who had many synchronistic events happen to both him and his patients.
Synchronicity is said to have occurred when the inner world of the individual observer meets the outer world of matter in a non-causalway that is meaningful to the observer. Some examples are:
- You think of someone for the first time in years and meet them in person a few hours later, and it turns out they have the exact expertise you currently need in your team.
- An unusual phrase you'd never heard before jumps out at you three times in the same day and gives you a new way to solve a problem
- You suddenly notice a book on the library shelf, or you meet someone who is carrying the same book and and it's about a topic you need to explore to plan your next project.
- You think of something or someone and then that something or someone turn up in your life in a non-causal way that relates to your original thought and is of meaning to you.
Defining synchronicity psychotherapist Hunter says:
You can call it luck, or karma, or coincidence, or the Guiding Hand, the Universe or God, a Guardian Angel, the spirit of your ancestors, your patron saint or simply call it a miracle. (Hunter 2011, p. 17).
The Free Dictionary says that synchronicity is a “coincidence of events that appear meaningfully related but do not seem to be causally connected” (www.thefreedictionary.com). The key words here are “do not seem to be causally connected”. Causally connected means that one event causes the other, and if you accept that things are not “causally connected” you question the whole edifice of traditional scientific traditions, which for the most part does not recognise issues that are not causally connected. Causal connection is based on the Enlightenment assumption that human beings are separate entities, and that they are rational, logical, and driven by reason. Over time this Enlightenment view of reality penetrated our education system, our culture, our language, our organisations and our management practices so completely that it became taken for granted. In such a world synchronicity is not seen as a viable leadership topic.
That world is changing.
Social Constructionist thinker, Ken Gergen shares that 400 years ago with the dawn of enlightenment age we gained logic and lost our soul:
(Our) conception of human nature took root only four hundred years ago …… and it was during this period that the soul or spirit, as the central ingredient of being human, was largely replaced by individual reason. (Gergen K. 2009b)
The world of the SynchronicityLeader is a world that offers a glimpse into cutting-edge physics, mystery, and spirit, which are not often examined in leadership literature. This is why I am so excited about synchronicity. For synchronicity is about re-asserting the place of the soul or spirit, not to replace logic but to work in harmony with it. It is a world where strange “a-causal” stories happen. I have been a leadership and team consultant for 38 years, and in that time strange "a-causal" stories have happened to me and to other leaders, which have helped with big and smaller decisions.
However, for some reason leaders do not talk openly about synchronistic events that happen to them. It’s as if at work logic holds sway and blocks the ability we have to access intuitive knowing and synchronicity. Your whole self cannot be left at the office door.
We are at the dawn of an age that will more openly share synchronicity and spiritual issues.
We are at the dawn of an age which celebrates all that you are and all that you can be.
We are at the dawn of an age of no limits and of infinite possibility.
We are at the dawn of an age where heart and synchronicity will link us to the quantum world.
We are at the dawn of the age of the SynchronicityLeader.
Philip Merry has 38 years experience in 59 countries as a Global Team Leadership Consultant, and is the only person in the world to have completed a grounded theory PhD on Synchronicity and Leadership. For details see www.SynchronicityLeader.com.