This author guest post comes from Chris Mackey, a clinical psychologist with more than 35 years of experience in public psychiatry and private practices. Chris’ interest in synchronicity – meaningful coincidence that connects our inner and outer worlds – is explored in his latest book The Positive Psychology of Synchronicity (Watkins Publishing, 2019), which reveals how synchronicity can guide us along our life path, helping us through challenging times and nudging us toward self-fulfilment.
Writing a book about synchronicity is like going on a magic carpet ride. The magic of meaningful coincidences happens more often and confirms the very phenomenon you’re writing about. The magic continued when I travelled to London to launch my book, The Positive Psychology of Synchronicity: Enhance Your Mental Health With the Power of Coincidence, at Watkins Books.
As a psychologist I believe synchronicity is relevant to our lives, and particularly to our mental health and well-being. Modern health professionals have become much better at recognising the link between mind and body, but have a long way to go in appreciating the links between mind, body and soul.
When people acknowledge a spiritual dimension in life, they tend to have a greater sense of satisfaction, purpose and resilience in pursuing their goals. We can tap into a soul dimension through experiencing frequent or profoundly meaningful coincidences. Such synchronicity can affirm our sense that the universe might provide whatever we need at the time. This can guide and embolden our efforts.
This happened on my UK book launch tour. Whereas events at the Watkins bookshop are almost always scheduled for a Thursday, a timetable clash led to my talk being scheduled on a Friday in September, at 6pm on the 6th. Unknown to the organisers, this is such an auspicious date for me that I wrote an entire chapter around it in The Positive Power of Synchronicity. The scheduling itself gave me confidence about how things would unfold.
More intriguingly, whilst visiting a pub in Oxford to watch a soccer match with my son, I investigated which of the commonly marvellous local ales were available. The bar was crowded and I could only see one tap. It was labeled, ‘The Hoptimistic Monk’. This immediately resonated: I was in England to talk about the link between positive psychology – a study of optimism – and spirituality, which might be represented by a monk. Indeed, my book referred to a central figure, “a psychic monk”. The ale was made by The Flying Monk brewery. I also commonly use the metaphor of flying, or of having wings, to represent a psychic dimension. For example, I refer to therapy that incorporates a psychic or transpersonal dimension as “therapy with wings”.
The reference to hops, or beer, seemed like a playful message from the universe. I felt that the universe had crafted a specific message for me at Oxford, a seat of advanced learning, where I presumably belonged. The reference to hops seemed to be a playful confirmation from the universe that I was on the right track. It gave the additional guidance that I could have fun with my ideas and not get caught up in taking things too seriously. This helped me adopt a more confident and relaxed approach when delivering my book launch talk.
The most striking synchronicity came just after the talk. In the talk, I hadn’t had the time to describe how four key areas of knowledge I unconventionally relate to each other (namely mainstream psychology, psychic phenomena, quantum physics and shamanism) are all uncannily linked to the Greek letter psi.
As I went to sign books after the talk, I privately lamented not being able to mention this synchronistic link to psi, a trident-shaped symbol. My disappointment was short-lived. The first person who asked me to sign a book was named Shiva. When I asked whether she was named after the Indian god she explained that she was not, but added that she nonetheless identified with the god Shiva owing to that god’s association with a trident. She then showed me the prominent veins on the back of her right hand – they stood out as forming an unmistakable trident shape. Shiva had no idea of the importance of that symbol to me. “Ah, there’s the trident,” I thought, “it did come up after all”.
It’s difficult to put into words how powerfully motivating and fortifying such coincidences can be. Two weeks later, I was gratified to win the 2019 Australian Allied Health Impact Achievement Award for my work on the book, in mainstream media, and in clinical research. That was motivating too, but not nearly so much as the trident. That endorsement came from somewhere beyond my peers.
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Chris Mackey is a Fellow of The Australian Psychological Society. For further articles and information about synchronicity, see his website: www.synchronicityunwrapped.com.au
The Positive Psychology of Synchronicity was released in summer 2019 with Watkins Publishing. For all those interested in mental wellness as well as mental health practitioners, the book makes the strongest case yet that synchronicity and other forms of intuitive insight promote wellbeing and help us transform mental health issues into personal growth. The Positive Psychology of Synchronicity: Enhance Your Mental Health With the Power of Coincidence is available from Amazon, Waterstones, Barnes and Noble, Hive and all other good bookshops.