The following is an excerpt from The Sync Book: Myths, Media, Magic and Mindscapes, an anthology that came out on 9/11/11 in which 26 bloggers/writers/artists share their perspective on the strange and beautiful universe in which we live. Available here.
Generally speaking, when one seemingly significant thing or event echoes another, in a way that can't be understood causally, some call the phenomena synchronicity. As the connection between these thing-events1 and what makes them significant, is up to the interpretation of the individual, this kind of sync is relative. The decision that the relationship between one thing and another is entirely understood (being then normal cause and effect), or not (being then sync), also rests with personal interpretation. It is then an opinion to say "this" is connected to "that," or not.
The word coincidence is generally associated with thing-events that echo one another through chance.2 The decision that something is chance or more mysterious also lies in the murky phantom world of opinion. Synchronicity and coincidence are the same thing, only the individual bias over whether the relationship is meaningful or arbitrary changes. Two people will witness the same events and one will call it coincidence and the other sync. This is an issue of individual temperament-and does not change whether the thing-event took place or not.
All is sync or nothing is sync
Everything is connected to everything else,3 sync being the cases when our current perspective allows us to see these thing-events as related (or as not divided). Often the seemingly random and meaningless will later be understood as perfectly "in sync," when the perspective shifts appropriately. In this view of sync, we now move away from seeing synchronicity as the connections deemed special and move into a knowing of that property which makes one connection meaningful or not-a property that is always present, because it is ourselves. Syncs offer endless insight into the world, but their most essential quality is in vivifying what and who really allows for them.
If we reflect on one of those amazing animations where we zoom in (or out) infinitely on a fractal Mandelbrot set, we notice that, at points, the entire shape comes into focus and then recedes into strange and dazzling complexity. This happens repeatedly, regardless of where we travel on the infinite complexity of the fractal, as it always resolves into the same familiar shape eventually.
Our macro/microcosm has the same property. We have all seen films where the camera moves rapidly between vast amounts of space containing familiar forms like atoms, molecules and cells-eventuating into a creature or plant that would be part of our normal experience or magnification. Further "up," we have the same dynamic: the clutter of streets and houses resolving into patterned cities; later becoming the planet; moving through the vastness of empty space; resolving into the solar system . . . much more space and we see the galaxy, etc.
Sync compares, in the fractal example, to the points at which we see a whole familiar shape after lots of complexity, and, in the micro/macro images, to the moments when we recognize a familiar form resolving after much empty space. The sync is always part of the whole, made up of the interconnected infinite thing-events, but stands out as where we-owing to our unique perspective-resolve this complexity into something conceivable and as associated to other parts of our experience.
All understanding is sync, which is simply association, relationship or connections between thing-events. We derive meaning from putting things and events together to tell ourselves a story. Without constantly making associations we would be lost in perplexing noise and chaos, all the information coming at us making no sense at all. What we generally call synchronicity is the fringe of this everyday activity. Creating unusual associations (that eventually become accepted as universal) is how we expand the parameters of the consensus association narrative (our reality), adding depth and texture to the experience of experience itself. The idea that the sun is the center of the local spheres was once an obscene sync, now included in the common story about the reality we all share. The connection between the movement of the earth relative to the sun, causing seasons, are commonly accepted associations between thing-events (or syncs), while the connection between 9/11 and 2001: A Space Odyssey is a more occult (out of the ordinary) relationship.
On 9/11/2001, the World Trade Center collapsed right beside "The Millennium Hilton Hotel," a building designed to resemble the black Monolith from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. The building was practically flush with the towers, being damaged by falling debris and was captured in many of the iconic images from 9/11. Both the real life event and the film associate to the year 2001, as well as sharing the presence of the Monolith. The film depicts key evolutionary phases in mankind's history overseen and influenced by the Monolith. 9/11 can also be viewed as a key evolutionary point in our history, and occurred in the presence of the same object as in the film 2001. Through sync association, the context of the film-evolution involving Jupiter-becomes applicable to the real-life it reflects. Realizing 911 is also the emergency call service number in America, the vivid synchronicities involved in 9/11 act as an emergency wake-up call into a higher state of consciousness, where we become aware of our inseparability from thing-events. I call this process the "9/11 Mega Ritual."
The boundaries between things and events are collectively and individually agreed upon conventions. We use them in order to make sense of our environment and navigate our everyday lives. The categories we impose on the world are what allow for definition and the creation of all symbols;4 these are necessary and helpful tools, but not the nature of the actual reality they point towards. The culture5 of a certain time and place decides the general agreed-upon lines of division we draw between things-events and how we interpret them. Even the divide between "myself" and "other" is a convention or phantom of this process: the labeling of thing-events that creates our understanding of reality. It is conducive to health and well-being to notice these conventions as shadows or phantoms. That way, these playful apparitions will not be frightening or confuse our activities.
Thing-events are not only seamlessly interpenetrating, but are also boundless in their depth and have infinite complexity.
Sync is the experience of the relaxation and dissolution of the boundaries between ourselves and the thing-events of the world. The more we allow ourselves to notice sync, the less barriers there are and the more our depth of perception will grow, allowing us to penetrate deeper into the world -- a world which starts to feel inseparable from what we consider ourselves.
Sync is Sign
People of many indigenous cultures are known for seeing "signs" in their surroundings. Spirits6 of ancestors and plants communicate through signs in the natural environment with individuals, mystics and shamans sensitive to such matters. These signs help heal and guide the culture.
Sync is the modern equivalent, now recognized, as the false-distinction between the natural and human-created world exits. All thing-events (whether trees, cars or movies) arise from the great non-local mystery of existence. The entire interrelated process of creation shapes the forest as much as it does the city. Seeing signs in the urban landscape is sync.
I go on regular vision quests or "sync walks" through the concrete jungle with my Ayahuasquero friend,7 seeing syncs and signs in number plates, T-shirts, billboards and trash. Usually a sync walk will end at the movie theatre, the temple of the city where communion with nature reaches its peak amongst the "stars." Just like signs have helped align the healthy smaller cultures of earth with Creator's plan, sync attunes the modern person to the unfathomable will of the Self realizing itSelf.
How do we know we are understanding the messages from these syncs or signs?
Because the ultimate ever-present reality is total perfection,8 the greater the amount of joy one obtains from their interpretations of sync, the more accurate, successful and aligned the reading of its meaning is.
The universe is created in all places and times non-locally, right here and now, the home of consciousness. Thankfully (and mercifully) the intensity of this gnosis varies, allowing for the daily ebb and flow of life. We view this bizarre happening of creation sequentially, doing our best to make sense of it. Sync is the new level of understanding (a collective allowing) about the nature of the universe, now making its way into everyday consensus awareness. When noticing the non-local hand during a prerecorded movie, the mind-blowing elegance hinted at by the new "in-sync" perspective starts to become tangible.
I will often sit down in a theatre or at home and watch something, noticing how the situations, objects and words align with things I have been meditating on, realizing the movie echoes activities and conversations I've been engaged in recently, with uncanny perfection. On occasion, watching media during moments where the context has already allowed for particularly heightened states of awareness, the reactive mirroring between the screen and myself is immediate. As a teenager, glimpsing this reality with a head full of conspiracies and misperceptions about power and influence, I perceived syncs in movies as hints of a nefarious agenda. Now I realize this entrainment, between my personal experiences and films made independently from me, is the emergent awareness of myself as a non-local organism-environment.9 I bleed into everything I perceive, my boundary or what I consider as "myself" and the "world" is a flexible convenience, and my perception detaches from the individual focal point. That a prerecorded film is alive and interactive -- reacting to my specific context at a given moment -- shows that what creates both myself and the film, is ever-present, interrelated and, by implication, non-local. The intensity of holy communion with a film (as with life in general) varies appropriately with our degree of presence. I can enjoy watching TV with my mom, noticing a few light entrainments here and there. Or, I can do Ayahuasca with my friend Jim Sanders, the next day stepping out to the cinema; shaking in my seat with vivid, seemingly impossible boundary loss.
Entrainment hints at a property inherent in sync associations that draw them together. The concepts of sync and entrainment are so interrelated that the words are regularly interchanged.
Often a word will arise in the mind10 of the organism and, at the same moment, consciousness will notice this word somewhere in the environment-perhaps on a passing T-shirt or in a song playing in the background. Old models try to say: "either the T-shirt was seen first, prompting my mind to issue the same word" or "perhaps my mind thought the word, then, out of all the clutter in my surroundings, was primed to notice the chance occurrence of the same word." Indeed they are coincident (in the sense of happening at the same time) and this is entrainment between myself and environment. Both myself (which thinks the word) and the environment (which contains the T-shirt) share the same source that is primary to both.
These examples of entrainment, those happening at the same instance or perhaps very close to each other, will help us make the leap to the more unusual ultimate reality of sync.
As all is sync (or nothing is sync), regardless of the length of time between events; they are always entrainment as the non-local self is present in any instances, never mind the justification put forward by the inherently-limited mind. All the associations we make are portals opening between ourselves, across the barriers of timespace, organism-environment and thing-event.
The most recognized of such portals is love. When we meet a future lover, and our upcoming associations are to be moments of intense shared awareness, we might even recognize it from the first glance.
The sensation that things are specifically being orchestrated for (or even by) yourself, is a normal result of the emerging sync consciousness. Depending on the temperament and makeup of the specific belief system, the interpretation of sync can be nefarious or benign. If concepts of influence over what happens in spacetime are associated to pyramid-type hierarchies, the syncs can form a reality of peculiar control networks, manipulating the texture of the moment.11 To satisfy the ever-increasing depth of the experience, the limited self (ego) needs increasingly powerful and subtle top-down organizations able to manipulate the environment, sometimes extending "them" beyond the physical (into the spiritual, inter-dimensional and godlike spheres). If the external control concepts are replaced by the personal and internal, the individual experiencing sync can start thinking him or herself God. Many undergoing this particular process (awakening as a united organism-environment field via synchronicity) will have a hodge-podge of these symptoms.
The faulty idea that the universe is a hierarchy of power and influence, introduced at a young age, is responsible for these phantom menaces.
This is not to undermine the models of external higher power and internal personal divinity, but to help put them in the most helpful context we can imagine. The nature of reality clearly corresponds in some areas to the two seemingly opposing ideas. This vivifies the continued joke being played on us as we try and impose concepts and symbols over the (thankfully) indefinable transcendent nature of what ultimately Is. If we could fit the nature of our Selves and God into a conceptual map or box, it would imply that It is finite, and not bottomless eternal perfection.
Imagine a ladder extending infinitely up and down, that all possible beings are climbing. The ladder represents our progress and success as entities in the universal enterprise. As this ladder extends eternally higher and lower, regardless how far apart Gods are from humans, or humans are from ants, we are all still in the center. Only relatively speaking are there higher and lower beings. All are in the center from which consciousness emanates.
From a profile view, power represents the top of the pyramid. When we continue up a dimension, and see the pyramid from the overhead perspective, we notice the tip is the center and balanced point. Real power comes from being in harmony with the totality and filled with a joy ultimately free from concept.
If the ultimate controlling and manipulating force were not inside of us right now (and in everything else) it would not be ever-present, and not the true eternal Master.
Investigating sync leads one, not only to relaxing the boundaries between things and events, but also to letting go of the rigid classifications of these thing-events. In order to notice that one thing-event (situation, object or symbol) has an affinity to another, often means being "loose" with our associations. In a sense, to see and understand sync we must become fools-free from the limitations, but not the benefits, of mind.
For example, a few years ago I was struggling with actress Robin Tunney climbing K2 (the mountain) in the film Vertical Limit and also passing signs reading "2K" (in reference to the year 2000 Millennium) in another film, End of Days. K2 is obviously 2K backwards, but my mind was resistant to accept this as a clear association, which it now plainly recognizes. The old model of perception was concerned with the simple relaxation of associating something backwards (letting the box that fits K2, now also accept 2K). This shows how we can be confronted with sync and miss it-owing to how we discriminate between what associates and what we think is not associated.
Sync is realizing all associations are agreed upon conventions, and we are free to re-appropriate the process. The symbol representative of the planet Jupiter12 clearly looks like an amalgamation of 2 and 4. In synchromysticism13 it has come to symbolize "42." 42 is "The Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything" in the popular book series and major motion picture The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. 42 is also the angle at which light refracts, becoming the colors of the rainbow.
Now when I see the number 42, concepts like "Jupiter" and "rainbow" are evoked, perfectly reasonable given the above context. In the same fashion, any symbols or words or concepts are up for re-association, unlocking their infinite potential. We saw Jupiter associating to the sync-starting "9/11 Mega Ritual" and here it is freeing our symbols. Jupiter is the source of words like "jovial" and "joy"-and we know that the ultimate reality is perfect Joy. The evolutionary jump we are undergoing, assisted by sync, is overseen by Jupiter.
Sync is time travel
The one unambiguous ever-present factor in any and all synchronicity is the witness or consciousness.14 Consciousness itself is the ultimate sync, present in all sync. All syncs point towards consciousness and arise from it. Like water is to the fish, consciousness is so central and ubiquitous to sync (and all else) that we tend to miss it.
Consciousness is present whenever you see a 42 or any other sync. The next time you witness a 42, there will be a non-local bridge between the past and present self. This is part of the exciting charge of seeing syncs. The past, present and future selves, all created now, witnessing resonant events and becoming aware of each other beyond time. It is also why significant events (like 9/11) are encoded heavily in the sync architecture of the present. Syncs are signs of our potently aware non-local selves bearing witness to thing-events.
Often syncs are interpreted-including 2012 phenomena-as pointing towards an imminent massive collective spiritual experience. This event -- collective consciousness realization -- does, by its very nature, singularly stand out in the fabric of all we perceive. The great perceiver, perceiving itself through us on the largest planetary scale in known history.
Individuals are becoming aware of themselves across spacetime. At the same moment, many different individuals, who are noticing the same syncs, start perceiving their shared transpersonal essence. Real-time synchronicity sharing (what all communication/association essentially boils down to) across the internet and on networks like Twitter, are the result of this emergent process (of the collective awaking into a unified greater Self), as well as facilitating in its increased realization.
The ultimate sync is consciousness in this moment, and we have it already. This does not remove from the delight of processes and play in the world around us. Knowing you are the Self makes you the best player you can possibly be.
Movie stars are "as below" resonators of the skies above
Even though our current general associations are agreed upon conventions (and we are free to make new ones), they still arise from the ultimate mind that orchestrates all thing-events and are not arbitrary. The map is not the territory, but is part of the territory, and both share the same fountainhead.
A wonderful example is how we use the word "star" for celebrities. Our oldest myths and stories are associated to the heavenly spheres. They have been personified, deified and their movements become elaborate dramas. Kings, Queens and other big players in our cultures have been connected to these bodies and vice versa. The stories about the stars and humankind are inseparably intertwined and are reflections of each other. Our cinema is a recent incarnation of this dynamic, the obvious giveaway being the word "star."
The mystery and beauty of the stars (that would pull man deeper into the void), had to be increasingly turned away from at the onset of "mind." Playing right into Creator's hands, as he/she had put them into the silver screen to keep telling us stories, and continue our process of becoming stars ourselves.
Astrology studies the relationships between us and the heavenly spheres. Synchromysticism realizes the same dynamic exists between our world and celebrity stars. Meditating on the film strip ladder -- passing at 24 frames a second -- we climb the stairway to heaven.
Film and pop culture offer a rich and immediate portal into the collective awakening psyche when treated as creative flux emanating from the heart of all Being. The artist is acknowledged as shaping his/her medium, yet channeling the energy to create, directly from the greater Self. The ever-changing patterns and themes surrounding us (via our omnidirectionally mediated and increasingly mercurial environments) are taken as the externalized collective Body. We can investigate this dynamic entity-disguised as the forms and context of the environment (that we ourselves comprise) -- by treating all that arises in our awareness as sacred and ready to be re-contextualized -- with joy as our guide and the sky as the limit.
The mainstream culture, no longer a toxic river, is the major artery from which all other strange subcultures branch and receive nourishment.
The original collective context of our media and forms are not lost, but celebrated and elaborated upon. The world remains cohesive and integrated (and its individuals sane), yet open-ended for infinite exploration, as depth and meaning penetrate everything continually.
The pool of pop and meaning we collectively swim in anchors our experience and supplies a shared framework from which we can launch our experimental, far out and freaky, sync depth charges. Which of these will explode . . . ? New connections that are caught up and pulled in by the gravity of others' interests, only to eventually go "pop" themselves and enrich the sync whole.
(1) Using "thing-events" helps highlight how things and events are not ultimately separable or essentially different. I could say, "the tree I am looking at right now is . . ." a thing, or an event, if I realize all the infinite processes that are involved in there being a tree. "Tree" as a "thing" is a convenient label for all the processes that comprise the limitless mysterious reality of the object I am seeing. Syncs are values of mundane versus profound we place upon one thing-event associated to another.
(2) Chance is a label for the occurrences between the initiation and outcome of thing-events far too subtle for current perspective to understand. Chance happenings (coincidences) versus meaningful synchronicity, are different models mapping the same phenomena beyond the scope of both. All models are inherently beyond the reach of our labels of the unlimited thing-events. If a map had all the detail of the area it represented it would be identical to it, and useless as a representation.
(3) Reality isn't ultimately connected or not connected (one or many), it is something beyond understandable categories. The ultimate nature of sync goes to the indefinable core of all that exists, and our words about it will always only be relatively true. The words can guide towards transcendental understanding of sync, as they (and the reader) arise from the same source.
(4) To "symbolize" is to give a finite shape and definition to a thing-event (ultimately indefinable) for the purpose of creating associations, which in turn create our perception of the world. The letters and words you are now reading are part of just such a system, symbols creating associations and giving rise to this story of sync.
Symbols are in flux, new interpretations are constantly being associated to them, and new symbols are being added to our collection; the story of reality.
A collection of symbols, like "letters," can make up another symbol, such as a "word." Our entire perception of reality is a big symbol for the indefinable mystery it represents.
(5) CULTure is the reigning collection of sync associations that make up the current reality of entities (ranging in size from the entire planet down to a single individual). Large cultures are the familiar ones, like countries or regions. Smaller groups, like synchromystics, share many associations with symbols only agreed upon by the group itself. Cults of only one person exist and they are often labeled eccentrics or mad men/women. Smaller cults are the breeding grounds for associations that could go viral and become accepted by the bigger groups of association networks (a.k.a. realities). The more joy and harmony emanating from your cult-whether a large or small group-the more it resonates with the ultimate purpose of the totality.
(6) The essences of things are infinite and boundless. When we draw a perimeter around a thing, by the necessity of conceptualization, we place a border we can recognize around part of it. The parts not contained, yet still perceived by those sensitive to such matters, are often called spirit. Other spirits are things so subtle that no model has yet been created to contain it. The spirit world is the realm of thing-events beyond the event horizon of human conceptualization. There is a continual process of evolution where the human nervous system grows to acknowledge new facets of this realm and include it in the consensus. What was once spiritual is now science. What is now sync will soon be regular association.
(7) In the forests of South America, certain Shamans have cultivated a profound relationship of feedback between themselves and the environment. They have a partnership with a conscious plant brew, Ayahuasca. The feedback between the individual and the environment (through the plant) is a singularly powerful portal for what-creates-both to come into this world. The practice has spread to new cultures all over the earth as the living biosphere self-organizes for the next dramatic evolutionary leap. In my home of Winnipeg, I have been fortunate enough (clearly sync entrainment) to stumble upon just such a movement, headed by Shaman and man of sync, Jim Sanders.
(8) The more sensitive and free from imperfection the film stock, the more clarity and depth we can capture in the picture. Considering the infinite nature up and down every point of the macro- and microcosmic spacetime manifold, we realize the most ultimate and perfect substrate allows for it. That we can never grasp It is even clearer proof of Its existence, for to be graspable, It must be containable, thus finite. This perfection and the joy that is every moment is beyond the understanding of the limited mind, from which it itself is born. Often the mind is perplexed at how the events of our lives and societies reflect this ultimate of realities.
The total eternal and ever-present perfection, regardless of context, is self-evident to the ultimate Self.
(9) Using "organism-environment" helps highlight how the perceiving entity and what is being experienced are interrelated and ultimately united (or not divided). Both the organism and its environment are thing-events that arise in primary consciousness. When I notice myself (organism) and what I am seeing (environment), the real I is the witness of both.
In any spacetime dynamic there is an organism-environment-thing-event.
(10) The mind is a localized collection of symbols, forming a map or model through which the ultimate consciousness perceives the world. As a collection of limitations, the mind and all it generates (including the persona) are never to be taken primarily for the realities it perceives. Again, the mind is not the territory, but it is part of the territory, and both share the same fountainhead.
(11) My reality tunnel at this stage resembled The Truman Show, The Matrix, The Illuminatus Trilogy! and 1984, all put in a blender.
(12) The Jupiter symbol as 42, and its association to rainbows, was explained to me by Jim Sanders.
(13) Synchromysticism is a name I started using to describe thoughts about synchronicity in 2006. "The art of realizing meaningful coincidence in the seemingly mundane with mystical or esoteric significance." I used this summary on an old blog site to try and encapsulate synchromysticism. I still see it used on new websites today. Nothing is essentially wrong with it. Perhaps too slippery on the brain and open for misinterpretations. This is likely also its strength as a catchphrase. I hope this current document clarifies, or at least confuses in the right direction, the continuing process of creating a better understanding of the phenomena of synchronicity.
On the Internet, an ever-changing community of people have come and gone associating themselves, willing or otherwise, with the word.
(14) Consciousness is the mysterious property, always out of reach, that knows. Consciousness can refer to this essence in individuals or groups, depending on the context it is being used in. There is an ultimate consciousness underlying everything, directly connected and primary to all other levels of consciousness.
The unknowable I that knows it knows.
The Sync Book is available here
Teaser image by ralphbijker, courtesy of Creative Commons license.