The Universe Is Listening

Woah we might be more connected than we think

A man walks into a drugstore in Manhattan.

He pays for some snacks. 11 dollars 11 cents. The exact money spills out of his pocket onto the counter. Outside, light patterns flash against the brick of a tenement building. He looks down at his receipt. 11:11:11. He steps out, at that moment a bus stops, on instinct he boards. At a stop a guide-dog barks twice. He gets off. In the middle of nowhere, he sees the eyes of a stranger, on a billboard. Eyes he’s been looking for, for months.

This is a depiction of Jungian synchronicity.


 The other morning just before Christmas, I woke and went to the bathroom.

I’d had strange dreams, and felt unusually dopey. Looking in the mirror, something seemed off. Thinking nothing of it, I decided to shave my head. Gazing down at the hairs on my bathroom floor I began to get scared. I hadn’t taken drugs for weeks and yet I felt totally high. Not rushing, just confused trippy high.

But I didn’t feel in control of my brain, like my perception had jumped somewhere, was refusing to come back. My face in the mirror, the light, my ability to focus. I couldn’t sit with my mood, it scared me, I called my old man in Argentina, began to mumble, he thought I was talking about feeling down, whatever it is that’s on your brain, he said, try to not dwell on it, distract yourself. It was one of those mornings of December after snowfall. I’ll be damned if I was going to stay in my flat and sketch out about losing my mind, I decided to head out.

All around me the colours were startling.

Everything seemed in intense hyper-focus. I wasn’t looking at the sky, a lamppost, the wall of a building. I was seeing colour, shape, form. It was hypnotising and alarming. I looked down at my watch and it said 11:11. In Marks & Spencer by a till I saw the exact same bottle I’d spent ten minutes researching the day before, black with a silver bottle top. Walking down Mare St in the centre of Hackney I just wanted to hide, felt all eyes on me, wondered if I looked different. Glancing to my left on the glass of the Vodafone shop I saw the words.

What the hell was happening.

I crossed London on the tube. It was a horror show. I’d never experienced anything like it. Not panic but an intense overwhelming paranoia. It got too much, I ascended from the depths, walked through Leicester Square, picked up a free copy of the Quran, two Muslim men wanted to talk to me about faith. I want to, I said, I just can’t, not right now. They smiled, no problem. By the afternoon the intensity had worn off somewhat but the feeling lasted for three days.


The guy on the bus in New York, what I experienced in December, one of the weirdest weeks of my life, are examples of a phenomenon that Jung called synchronicity. Synchronous events, one of Jung’s favourite and yet most far-out theories, ran in direct opposition to what we call chance. What he observed and went as far as he could to prove, is that serendipitous events, not all but many, have their roots in something far more mysterious.

Something akin to the Universe connecting with us, that patterns and coincidence are happening all around us all the time. That could have a greater inter-connectedness than any we would like to explain away. Jung was labelled as a mystic, derided by many as a fantasist, and yet flying in the face of post-enlightenment rationality, the realm of spirit and the realm of the mystical, the one being shoved in my face on that strangest of weeks in December, was the one demanding I stare down the idea that the world is a far more mysterious place than we might want to concede.

The classic story of synchronicity involves the scarab beetle. Jung is talking with a client, telling him about a dream she’d had involving a piece of jewellery in the shape of a scarab beetle. Jung hears a tapping on the window, opens it, spies a scarab beetle on the window sill. He plucks it out of thin air, ‘here is your scarab’. Overwhelmed by this uncanny link between the material world and her psyche, a hitherto untapped channel of her psychoanalysis opens.

The story is more complicated than that, but that’s the gist.

It is very hard to explain synchronicity. I don’t really understand it. I’m not sure it can be understood. It means literally ‘syn-chronos’, in time. Coincidences that break statistical probability, a conspiracy of improbabilities. Meaningful to you, moving you into an expanded state of awareness. Something like an accessing of core-consciousness.

But what this then means about the state of the world is beyond mysterious. It is something to do with dreams, thinking about someone and them calling, telepathic intuition, prophecy, a deterministic universe, that kind of thing. A bit like the idea of manifesting… my mate Milly asked me in the pub the other night as I spent an hour boring her about it all. I looked quizzical. Kinda, I think. It’s in that realm.


The other day in the supermarket I look down at my phone queueing for the checkout.

Numerology. I see repeating numbers all the time. This is a collage of what I saw the week before last. This is not me waiting for this to happen. It is every time I’ve looked down at the time, seen this pattern, and taken a photo. There were four or five I didn’t even snap.

It’s just arithmetic, says Fede my couz, over from Argentina. How many times do you look at your watch an hour, work it out. I’m shit at maths, I say. Part of me doesn’t want to. Doesn’t want to prove that this is just a fantasy. But look there wouldn’t be books written about this bananas theory if there wasn’t something going on. It’s just extremely bizarre.

There are two ways of digesting this stuff.

The Colin Farrell way

Or the Mr Miyagi way

When I told a mate I was writing about the universe communicating with me, she went all Colin Farrell on me, errr sounds pretty woo-woo, she frowned. I would’ve said the same two years ago. I spend my waking life with someone who wholeheartedly can’t handle it, who can’t wait to hammer home these thoughts are a nonsense.

The left-side of my brain.

Those at the coal face of understanding existence, said Ian McGilchrist the neuroscientist, are the Physicists and the Poets. The left hemisphere is problem-solving, logical, survivalist, the right hemisphere is the realm of the artist, the one letting in information from all angles. And both work in tandem with each other. But they are equally important. What was happening to me I think was an overload of right brain, and the left brain, the one doubting myself and worried I was losing my shit, was throwing its toys out of the pram.

Sometimes it gets too much to think about and I have to meditate, sit in an armchair and clear my head of all thought. But it’s very benevolent, it’s not like I’m tapping into some primeval well of the human psyche and making plans for world domination, all I seem to care about is good vibes and the colour of the sky.

The Universe is listening
Be careful what you say in it

Jay Electronica

Stories of synchronous events are everywhere. Anyone who tells me the experiences brought about by psychedelics are merely the brain on drugs, as Dawkins seems to want to insist, are speaking out of their bums. Skepticism is easy. There is nothing easier than to discount something that cannot be proved. Psychedelics, not mushrooms in a field, but I mean in very high-doses, reveal to us a totally new way of seeing.

This is where faith comes in, faith in things outside of the realm of our understanding.

Can it go too far, the deterministic universe thing. The other day I found myself watching Hugo Lloris make a save, and my thought was, well he was meant to do that. Maktub, Thierry once taught me, is Arabic for ‘it is written’. They say it all the time. It is written. But how do you reconcile what just happened in Syria and Turkey. Was that written. And still, their worldview is different. There seems to be no fear in them.

I’m trying fairly unconvincingly to tie all this stuff together.

Perhaps I’m simply choosing to follow signs. Maybe the fact you’re looking for a sign, is the sign you’ve been looking for, said the stencil on the electrical box the other day off Redchurch st.

It’s not what you look at, but what you see.

But is it visionary, or delusional. Or both.

John Frusciante, the Red Hot Chilli Peppers guitarist, said this. The force that created us is expressing itself through our existence. Rick Rubin subscribes completely to this version of events. Dylan described his early albums in an interview. I can’t do that anymore, he says. I could once. Not anymore. Those early songs were almost magically written.

Alan Watts, the philosopher, was in.

I suppose there is a danger, that leaving too much in the hands of the universe, of fate, things can get weird. There is a rational order for a reason. People have tested fate by jumping in front of cars knowing it’s not their time. And it hasn’t worked out very well. We can invent patterns because we want to see them. This is wish-fulfilment. There of course is such a thing as coincidence, said Jung.

But it is more complicated.

The invisible realm is highly populated, thought the Mazatecs of Mexico. They have a much deeper relationship with dreams. With the unconscious. The occult, tarot, the I Ching. The famous Chinese book of divination that obsessed Jung and Terrence McKenna.

The problem is you can over-egg the omelette. Sitting on the terrace one day over Christmas, a beautiful multicoloured fly landed on my arm. And I was like, did that happen for a reason. A bit much I think. But this type of thinking lends itself to the idea that the universe is not just happening to you, but for you. Tug on anything for long enough, said Muir, and you take the entire universe with you.

I’ve had experiences in the last two years, too personal to go into, that have upturned the apple cart. That have punctured the 4th wall of the world, stuck a finger through the air of some invisible border and made everything ripple. And from there, doors have opened. Overwhelming to the point where now I can’t rule anything out. Never felt more aware of how little we understand everything.

That same strange week in December, the week of the peculiar goings-on, I’d seen a snowman out of my window being built and thought about it a lot. The next day I hear the postbox go. A package from Amazon, I open it.

I was in disbelief. In my very bendy state, the universe had sent me this. An hour later my mother texts from Argentina telling me to bring the copy of the Snowman, a present for little Mary. Oh. Maybe the universe doesn’t have an Amazon account.

But this is the mystery of synchronicity. The synchronicity was my decision to spend ten minutes the day before seeing a snowman and dwelling on it and being moved by the idea of snowmen. As that package was already winding its way to me in the post.

Who the hell knows.

This is above my brain-power and pay-grade. But to completely disregard what is not provable, to be shackled to the scientific mind, seems to me a poverty of thought. My mother bought two copies by mistake, so I got to keep one. I still have the copy of The Snowman, to remind me of that strange week, and a notion of some mystical world, a dream that lives in me still.

Where does it lead. Who knows. But at times, especially out in the street, it feels eerily like an observer, the universe is there watching me, has a gentle benevolent kind eye trained on Domingo. Trained on all of us, if we cultivate the space to feel its gaze. It enriches my every day.

Will I look back on the last few months in five years as a time of temporary lunacy. Where I thought I’d found the key to the universe’s secrets, and actually my brain was playing tricks on me. Or was it a sort of awakening. I dunno. Part of me thinks I have opened a door that will never close.

Another step on some path to spirituality. My once girlfriend Skye, on the phone recently, listened as I told her I felt I was getting more spiritual by the day, you’ve always been very spiritual silly, she said. So maybe I didn’t know I knew. But was finding out what some part of me already did. All learning is remembering, said an old Greek guy.

All we can get are rare glimpses. Of something grandiose, unexplainable.

I’ll take what Roald said.

Might be one of my favourite things ever.