“Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” – Arthur C. Clarke
You think of someone who has not crossed your mind in decades and within a day, or perhaps even a moment later, they call, e-mail, Instant Message you, or another person speaks their name.
Humming a song that is a favorite, a delighted smile spreads across your face, when, turning on the radio, what is the next one the DJ plays?
Questioning the trajectory of your life and a response that seems picture perfect reveals itself to you instantly through a physical manifestation such as a license plate on the car in front of you.
In many psychological circles, this could be referred to as “ideas of reference,” or “magical thinking,” when taken to the extreme. In mathematical terms, the concept that:
“‘Correlation does not imply causation’, underscores that a correlation between two variables does not imply that one causes the other.”
Are there times when these events can not only be acceptable, but desirable and empowering?
Matthew Hutson believes so and in The 7 Laws of Magical Thinking: How Irrational Beliefs Keep Us Happy, Healthy and Sane, he elaborates. Defining magical thinking in this way, he sets the groundwork for what follows, “Attribution of mental properties to non-mental phenomena or vice versa” — treating the natural world as if it had elements of mind or consciousness, or treating your own thoughts as if they could have a physical influence on the world.”
What if this was true and our thoughts do have a powerful impact on the outcome?
Because humans are meaning making beings, we view any event through our personal lenses. A therapist uses this simple analogy with her clients. She wears glasses and asks them this question. “If I put my glasses on in the morning and the lenses are smudged, how will the world appear to me?” Of course, the answer is “distorted.” She continues, “If I clean them before I wear them, how will everything look?” Naturally, the response is, “clear.” If we view the world through shiny specs, our eyes will not to strain to see. So it is with our belief systems.
This same clinician recognizes patterns in her own life that show up daily and when asked the inevitable question, “What are the chances that this could happen?”, she responds, “Only 100%, since it did occur.”
Deepak Chopra, MD refers to this concept as “Synchrodestiny,” as highlighted in his book, entitled: Synchrodestiny: Harnessing the Infinite Power of Coincidence to Create Miracles. He designates it as is “coincidence but it contains a purpose and meaning, and has a direction and intention.”
A woman describes a humorous interaction with this notion. On her way home from work she was listening to Kids Corner on WXPN, which is a radio station that is broadcast out of The University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Weird Al Yankovichwas doing a parody of one of the more recent films in the Star Wars collection. The song was called The Saga Begins and it sets the stage for young Anakin Skywalker pre-Darth Vader. She was enthusiastically singing along and shortly afterward pulled into the parking lot of a local supermarket to pick up a few things. As she was entering the store, from the other door cavorts a boy of around 8 or 9, his mother by his side; not dancing, but laughing at his antics. He was wearing a Yoda t-shirt, with the words Jedi Master written across it, and a headpiece of what at first looked like ram’s horns. When she asked, his mom let her that know that they were Princess Leia’s hair rolls (remember them?). Shorts and flip flops and a plastic rain poncho completed the outfit. Astounded, she told them about the song that she had heard moments earlier and they sang some of it together. Of course, the child knew all of the lyrics. The woman complimented him on his fashion taste and he grinned broadly. She didn’t notice anyone else’s reaction and it was as if time stood still and the three of them were the only ones in the store.
What tickled her about this encounter, besides the speed at which she had manifested a Star Wars connection; the Force is indeed a powerful energy, was how accepting his mother was of her son’s get up. She thanked the woman for being willing to engage with him in their shared interest.
In completing the supermarket saga, the woman adds, “I wish more parents were as supportive of their child’s out of the box thinking, rather than attempting to have them fit a particular mold. Perhaps as a result, this young man will become a Padawan (Jedi knight initiate in the first stages of training/apprenticeship) and be right up there with my favorite little green sage whose image and likeness decorated his t-shirt.”
A social worker employed in an inpatient psychiatric hospital, tells a story about a series of conversations that reinforce this idea. At work one day, a colleague muses, “What if what we diagnose as psychosis, is sometimes a spiritual breakthrough?” This co-worker was not overly metaphysical in her thinking, so the question was a profound portent of what was to follow. The social worker, who would identify herself as someone who did indeed engage in what she refers to as ‘functional magical thinking,’ agreed that in many cases, that could indeed be so, brain chemistry and neurological wiring non-withstanding.
Stanislav Grof, M. D. refers to this as ‘spiritual emergence’ and defines it as “the movement of an individual to a more expanded way of being that involves enhanced emotional and psychosomatic health, greater freedom of personal choices, and a sense of deeper connection with other people, nature, and the cosmos. An important part of this development is an increasing awareness of the spiritual dimension in one’s life and in the universal scheme of things.”
When the social worker returned home, and was checking emails, she saw that she had received one from a friend who was seeking an editor for a book she had just written. It was a story about her own experience of having had such an encounter that had her admitted to a psychiatric hospital, since what her well -meaning parents saw as a pathological break with reality, she came to view as a psycho-spiritual breakthrough. The social worker experienced goosebumps, which she calls her ‘truth barometer.’ She reached out to this friend and became the editor of the book. The factors lined remarkably.
Another chilling story was heard by this author the day before this article was written. A visiting Canadian friend was walking down a street with her and a Philadelphia area mutual friend and they were describing something that occurred in the first woman’s home in Stratford, Ontario. A woman was injured in a motor vehicle accident while crossing a street without looking carefully. The American woman had witnessed the accident and assisted the victim, by placing her purse under her head while waiting for an ambulance to arrive. The incident made the news in Canada and it wasn’t until we were all crossing the street together, that the Canadian woman knew that it was her friend who had been the good Samaritan. She knew instinctively what to say to keep the injured woman calm and still and she eventually recovered. All three of us shook our heads in bewildered awe at the ways in which our lives intersect in synchro-destined fashion.