Student’s Question: What is the significance of synchronicity?

A student writes:

“I have been meditating every day now and find I have become so much calmer and clearer in my thinking. Things in my experience appear to be changing, and I have been experiencing a lot of synchronicity.

What is the significance of these events – is it good to follow the direction it seems to point? Or should I be careful? I am particularly needing to know what work direction to go in.”

Lama Shenpen:

When we really commit ourselves to the path of Awakening that sense of synchronicity tends to increase because somehow the inner and outer spheres of experience become increasingly integrated.

It is very strange and happens intuitively – we start to intuit what is meaningful and is going to open out into a significant direction. The reason for this is very deep and so not easy to explain.

Nonetheless I think we all are familiar with this truth to some extent. So often one hears people saying ‘it is obviously meant to be’ and yet such an observation does not fit with their general world-view about the nature of the Universe!

The most important thing from our side is to learn to make skillful pranidhanas (aspirational/wishing prayers). We need to link into our deepest heart wish and then to formulate our wishes that are in accord with this and make prayers such as ‘May whatever path I choose to follow bring benefit to myself and others’ or ‘May I turn whatever work I choose to do into the path to Awakening’.

It is good to relax and not be too attached to hopes and fears and worries about whether the choice I am making is the right choice or not. Instead make sure it’s a good choice made for good reasons and with good motivation and then relax and trust the path to open up before you.

It does this best if we are not obsessively attached to hopes and fears about the outcome of our actions. If the motive is good then the action is good and the result will be good.

Gendun Rinpoche used to say this all the time and tell us not to get caught up in too much thinking, ‘Make up your mind and do it. Don’t think so much!’

I didn’t find it easy advice to follow in the sense that when the choices are not clear it is not easy to just make up one’s mind.

Nonetheless his advice did help me not to take the whole thing so seriously – emotionally it helped to know that there was no virtue in obsessively worrying about whether I was making the right choice or not – it was just a habit of mind and not a necessary part of the decision making process.

The actual decision making process consists of gathering the options, evaluating them and then choosing one option and going with it. This can be done in gentle and relaxed stages since somehow the sifting through the options and coming to a sense of what is the one we are going to go with seems to happen without our really having to do much really.

It just seems to happen. It’s the way our awareness operates naturally. So we can relax and just have confidence in the naturalness of the whole process.”

Lama Shenpen’s students are studying her Living the Awakened Heart Training, a distance learning programme in Buddhist meditation, reflection and insight, devised especially for westerners. Find out more about the training here.