Let's consider that our life is a vibrant dance, a weaving of vibratory motion. In this way, we not only generate and are part of the weave and pattern of our thoughts and behaviours, but we bring to us - we create and recreate - those patterns that may teach us from previous lives and generational lives along our ancestral line. We will meet in different and yet similar vibrational tones that which we've met before, and we will set into motion new threads and patterns as we journey through this life. For everything is energy after all, never dying, never ending, merely altering from state to state.
Coincidence or Synchronicity
What is more, our essential being will emit the vibrational tone that draws to us happenings that appear coincidental, but which are actually synchronistic. What is the difference? A coincidence is a happening that occurs without causal link - in another words when two or more seemingly unrelated or chance events occur at the same time. Synchronicity, first defined by Swiss psychiatrist, Carl Gustav Jung, adds the element of the psyche to the coincidence, assigning potentially significant meaning for the development of the individual. This is why it is important to notice and heed synchronicities; they are not random - they are purposeful.
When we pay attention to the energy and message layered within the the synchronicity, then we have the opportunity of altering something within us, some part of the vibrational pattern that is our particular spirit's frequency. We might call it personal-development, healing, expansion of consciousness. Whatever it is, a synchronistic event offers us the opportunity for positive change. By this very definition, this is how we differentiate between coincidence and synchronicity. One is random and holds perhaps curiosity and interest; the other is seemingly random yet has the power to effect personal change.
Pain & Spirit
Over the past few weeks, a series of events led to a wonderful example of synchronicity. Painful, yet profoundly powerful.
I had been feeling very tired and rundown, and couldn't shake the sense of depletion. This lasted about a week before I began to experience the most excruciating tooth, jaw, neck and face pain. Words will not adequately describe that pain. Only you who have suffered it will know what I mean. On the second day of this pain, I was gathered with folk at the Edinburgh College of Parapsychology in the Friday night demonstration of mediumship. I can't even tell you now who the medium was that evening, my recollection is only of certain happenings. As I sat with the pain in the right side of my face, I sent out a silent plea to Spirit, 'Please help me'. I realise it all sounds a bit dramatic, but truly, I wondered how it was I was still conscious. Without a word of a lie, I felt a hand on my left shoulder, and the comforting presence of my grandmother came to my thoughts. I turned around to see that those sitting behind me were quite a bit back and not anywhere near me. Spirit had answered my call.
At the end of the demonstration, I took a quick leave, but not before several people came up to me and kindly enquired about my demeanour. Each of them told me about the Dental Hospital here in Edinburgh. I walked to my car, where I sat and thought 'I have to do something about this pain'. By this time, it was close to 10pm. I rang the dental clinic near me and the out-of-hours recording gave a number for the dental hospital. There, in my car, I phoned the number, and for the next 15 minutes, spoke with the most caring 24 hour nurse. After getting all my information, she told me the booking person for the hospital would call me back. I was concerned because I was all set to cat-sit for some friends the 5 days and planned to be in Galashiels, an hour away, the next day, Saturday for 1230pm. I wondered when on earth I could get some pain relief, but before I could think more, the phone rang again. Within minutes, I was booked into the only place left on Saturday - 1015am!
Well, here's the thing that I haven't mentioned yet. The tooth that was giving me all the trouble had a temporary filling in it. I say temporary, but actually, it had been there well over a year. Why? Because I had been too afraid to return to the dental clinic that put it there. My experience of this clinic had not been pleasant. The twice I was there, both receptionist and dentist were rude, condescending and the dentist was roughly mannered. So reluctant was I to go back there that I meant to seek dental care in Australia when I visited in January, but ran out of time, preferring to be with family and friends. Still, there was no way I was returning to that dentist to be treated that way.
So, I had left the tooth all that time. I'd ignored the 2 reminder letters, and considered a closer clinic now that I had also moved house. Funnily enough, a flyer came through the door a month earlier, which I put in the drawer, saying to myself, 'I must register with them', and doing no more.
Saturday came along. The car was all packed, and I drove off to the Dental Hospital. Just the thought of getting some strong pain medication was propelling me forward. I hadn't slept more than 3 hours each night for the past 4 days now and was getting more run down.
Sitting in the reception area of the hospital, my name called by a woman, smiling at me, my thoughts immediately cheered as the person I thought was my dentist showed me into the clinic room. She directed me to the dental chair, placed the bib around my neck, made sure I was comfortable, and then acknowledged another woman entering the room - the actual dentist.
And who should it be?
And who should it be? You guessed it. Of all the dentists in Edinburgh, on all the days, of all times, at this exact time, it happened to be THE dentist from the clinic I was afraid to return to. I couldn't believe it. She recognised me. Apparently, she'd left that practice a while ago. And here she was. If I hadn't been so shocked, so confused and in such pain, I would have burst out laughing. Instead, I could only look at her.
Perhaps she didn't like to hear that my pain was coming from the tooth she'd done the temporary filling for... Or maybe it was that I included my title of 'Dr' on the patient form, which she reacted to when I saw her at the other clinic. Whatever the reason, sitting there with mouth open, this dentist proceeded to hammer against the right side of my teeth, where I'd identified the pain. Words can't describe the sheer knife searing agony that tore through my jaw and face. The tears leaked from my eyes, and though I kept bolting upright, still she persisted, ending with 'Well that was a waste of time wasn't it'. I lay back in shock. She set up the x-ray and determined the great degree of infection in the base of the tooth. Something seemed to soften a little in her then. She was quick to anaesthetise the site and as the pain ebbed away, I seemed to slip into foggy relief. Emotionally, I went from outrage to feeling compassion for her. It was strange. I wondered what pain or hurt she must have experienced to be so awful. And then I began sending love, and asking Spirit to come close to her. Admittedly, it was from self interest - I thought she might tap into her own compassion.
The rest of the procedure went uneventfully. She began the root canal procedure, removing all the infection - it bled and bled - cleaning the cavity and filling it again with a temporary. At the end, I stood and looked at her. She told me I should go private as NHS dental clinics didn't have the right facilities. I asked if she worked there full time. She said that she worked in the Westend, which we both knew was near me. I watched myself converse with her 'So, I could come to you there and you could finish what you've started'. She agreed and told me to ask the receptionist for her name to locate her.
I left, relieved of pain for a while, and slightly bewildered.
Over the next few days, as the pain eased into general tooth ache, I became more and more confused. Why had Spirit brought me to her? Of all the dentists - why her? What was the message? What was the Universe, God, trying to tell me?
Alternately, I waxed and waned between thinking I needed to book in with that dentist to complete whatever this energetic pattern was... and being outraged at the thought of visiting her again. But why? What did it all mean?
I caught myself thinking conversations I'd have with her. Rather oddly they didn't go along the lines of 'Oi, you, what you playing at!!' but rather, perhaps if I get to chat with her more, she'll see me for the fabulous person I am. How could she not want to like me then?
I watched my thoughts as I struggled to minimise myself so as not to appear too clever, too powerful, too confident. And I saw the layers of the dance that had weaved around me. The deeper layer was one that moved to the tune 'I want to be liked'. Even after the dentist had heightened my pain by her needless hammering on my teeth, after she'd contradicted my own awareness of my tooth and pain levels, and denied placing the original filling, which I knew she did as she's the only dentist I've seen in Edinburgh, I found myself in fantasy visiting her clinic. In this way, I WOULD PROVE TO HER THAT I AM A WORTHY PERSON, someone she should take notice of, could like and befriend.
And then, BAM!
And then it hit me. Blessed synchronicity. I was caught in a pattern of psyche and soul vibration - attracting to me the very fear I worked to avoid. More than that, I was taking responsibility for someone else's tyrannical behaviour. How often does that happen? And I was caught in the motion of it. What's more, I found myself making excuses for her, protecting her. I realised then that I was mirroring learnt behaviour.
This incredible coincidence suddenly became an extraordinary opportunity - to free myself of a long danced pattern of fear and longing that had imprisoned me. And so it has - freed me, that is...
What do we do to alter the dance?
When i called out to Spirit to help me, I actually meant alleviate the physical pain i was in. I didn't expect that the help would be a greater revealing of an underlying pattern that ultimately led to me suffering so. The Buddha says 'All suffering is a creation of the self', and the wise Teacher, Thich Nhat Hahn says 'The art of happiness is also the art of suffering'.
I am not alone in suffering. We all suffer, internally and externally. I know many, if not most of you reading this will have suffered in similar and different ways at times. To alter the dance of our suffering, we must first notice it. There will be multiple narratives playing out in the dance - many tunes. The one you hear the loudest will likely not be the underlying melody - it will be the one your culture, media, family, even friends, tell you it is. All the reasons you are told you are experiencing this suffering, will likely come from a place of another's own suffering. This is why it is important to sit with yourself, to know yourself. Yes, it is helpful and wise, and extremely valuable to ask for help and get support in your suffering. As has been the case for me many, many times. The input, guidance, reading, words and ways of others can help to shine a light on something or unlock a piece of inner knowing and self-realisation.
The rhythm of the suffering is usually deeper, and requires greater digging to unearth its origins, associated beliefs and patterning in order to help unravel and ultimately free it from your vibration. There are therapies and therapists who can assist in this process, and there is so much you can do for yourself. Just 10 minutes a day anywhere, while doing anything that doesn't require your full attention, to turn your awareness inward and to allow what bubbles to the surface to arise. In this way, the full measure of the suffering reveals itself. In this way, you may lightly hold the threads of your suffering, and begin to unravel it.
In order to be kind to myself, to reduce suffering, I only have to accept myself.
This experience opened up incredible events for me. I've since found the most adorable, gentle and professional dentist locally to me. My tooth is fixed, well and my being lighter. I was able to open myself to the gaze and potential judgement of peers in a visible and confronting manner, and meeting with a loving and heart-present Teacher, come out proud in my efforts and joyful in my sense of having proven myself - to myself.
Every synchronicity, every episode of meaningful coincidence, is the Universe offering you a gift of self-awareness. Though it may seem trivial at the time, though it may seem unconnected to anything else going on for you, there will be an psycho-physical reason for this happening, and an opportunity for you to move freely within the Symphony of your Life.