How and Why Synchronicity and Serendipity Happen
Each of us has more to do with creating coincidences than we think. In this broad exploration of the potential of coincidences to expand our understanding of reality, psychiatrist Bernard Beitman, M.D., explores why and how coincidences, synchronicity, and serendipity happen and how to use these common occurrences to inspire psychological, interpersonal, and spiritual growth. Through a complete catalog of coincidence patterns with numerous illustrative examples, Dr. Beitman clarifies the relationship between synchronicity and serendipity and dissects the “anatomy of a coincidence.” He defines coincidence types through their two fundamental constituents—mental events and physical events. He analyzes the many uses of meaningful coincidences as well as their potential problems. He explains how you will see patterns guiding your life decisions and learn to expect that coincidences are more likely to occur during life stressors, as well as times of high emotion and strong need, which helps you be ready to use them when they occur. Exploring the crucial role of personal agency—individual thought and action—in synchronicities and serendipities, Dr. Beitman shows that there’s much more behind these occurrences than “fate” or “randomness.”
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“Bernie Beitman has given us something fundamentally new and helpful here: a careful and rigorous modeling of coincidences...Many writers have commented on the subject. None have been this careful, this thorough, and, frankly, this eloquent.”
Jeffrey J. Kripal, Associate Dean of the Humanities, Rice University.
Bernard Beitman, M.D. is a graduate of Yale Medical School and did his psychiatric residency at Stanford University. Excelling in football and baseball in high school and college shaped his understanding of coincidences. He served as chair of psychiatry of the University of Missouri-Columbia medical school for 17 years, is the co-author of the award-winning book Learning Psychotherapy, blogs for Psychology Today on coincidence, hosts the Connecting With Coincidence Podcast, and has authored two books about meaningful coincidences. The founder and president of The Coincidence Project, he lives in Charlottesville, Virginia.
QUESTIONS FOR REFLECTION
If you’re part of a book club, be sure to discuss similarities and differences among group members.
Which specific passages struck you as significant—interesting, profound, amusing, illuminating, surprising, disturbing, sad . . . ?