Have you ever experienced a coincidence that seemed too meaningful to be random? Maybe you were thinking about an old friend and then bumped into them on the street, or you received an unexpected opportunity just as you were contemplating a change in your life.
These experiences are known as synchronicities, and they can be powerful signs that we’re on the right path in life. But what causes them, and how can we experience more of them?
One theory is that synchronicities occur when our thoughts, feelings, and actions are aligned with our deepest desires and values. In other words, when we have a clear sense of purpose and are actively working toward our goals, we’re more likely to notice the coincidences that lead us in the right direction.
This is where the reticular activating system (RAS) comes in. The RAS is a part of our brain that acts as a filter, allowing us to focus on the information that’s most relevant to us while filtering out the rest. When we have a clear sense of purpose, our RAS is primed to notice the things that will help us achieve our goals – including synchronicities.
For example, let’s say you’re thinking about starting a new business. You’ve been researching different ideas and taking steps to get started, but you’re not quite sure if you’re on the right track. One day, you overhear a conversation at a coffee shop that just happens to be about the exact type of business you’re thinking of starting. This is a synchronicity – a meaningful coincidence that seems to point you in the right direction.
But why did you notice it? Because your RAS was attuned to opportunities related to your goals. You were already thinking about your business idea, so your brain was primed to notice anything related to it – including the conversation at the coffee shop.
You could think of your reticular activating system like a bouncer at a club. The bouncer’s job is to only let in the people who meet the right criteria (dress code, age, behavior etc). As people approach the door, the bouncer observes them and makes a split-second decision about whether or not they should be allowed in. Similarly, as sensory information enters your brain, your RAS filters out what’s irrelevant and lets in what’s important, based on the criteria you’ve set for yourself.
A bouncer can be trained to recognize certain traits or behaviors in people; and we can train our RAS to focus on the things that matter to us. By setting clear goals and intentions, and by repeatedly exposing ourselves to the information that supports those goals, we can train our RAS to spot opportunities and experiences that align with our vision.
So, just like a skilled bouncer can make the club a success by letting in the ‘right’ people, a well-trained RAS can help you achieve your goals by filtering out distractions and letting in the information that supports your vision.
So how can you experience more synchronicities in your life? Here are a few tips:
- Get clear on your purpose. What do you want to achieve? What are your deepest desires and values? When you have a clear sense of purpose, your RAS is more likely to notice the things that will help you achieve it.
- Take action. Once you have your purpose in mind, take action toward it. This could mean setting goals, networking, or simply putting in the work to make progress. The more you take action, the more opportunities your RAS will help you spot.
- Be open to coincidences. When you experience a synchronicity, take it as a sign that you’re on the right path. Don’t dismiss it as a fluke or a random occurrence – trust that your RAS is working in your favor.
Synchronicities can be powerful signs that we’re on the right path in life. By getting clear on our purpose and taking action toward our goals, we can activate our RAS and become more attuned to the opportunities and coincidences that will help us achieve our dreams. So keep an open mind, stay focused on your purpose, and trust that the universe is working in your favor!
Written by Ellen Letten, Brain Health educator and co-owner of Tribe. In addition to her own practice, Ellen supports other wellness professionals in private practice.