Exploring the Link Between Meditation, Synchronicity, and Extended Human Abilities

July 5, 2024
IONS Science Team

Have you ever had one of those weirdly perfect coincidences where everything just seems to click? Maybe you were thinking about an old friend, and then they called you out of the blue. 

The idea of synchronicity, which comes from Carl Jung, has fascinated people for ages. It’s about those moments when meaningful coincidences seem to link our thoughts and feelings with the world around us. Although it’s a pretty well-known concept, there hasn’t been much research to back it up – until now. 

Recent studies are starting to explore how synchronicity might be connected to our personality traits, experiences in therapy, and even meditation. Some early findings suggest that meditation, especially during retreats, might actually increase synchronicity. This lines up with spiritual traditions that say reaching higher levels of awareness through meditation can lead to more of these meaningful coincidences.

There’s also an exciting idea that meditation could unlock special abilities, like telepathy, clairvoyance, or psychokinesis. Ancient texts, like Patanjali’s yoga sutras, even suggest that deep meditative states can give you extended human capacities. Studies support this, showing that very experienced meditators, who’ve been practicing for years, show significant changes in brain activity and perform better on psi tasks compared to beginners.

While synchronicity and extended human capacities are different, they do share some similarities. Both involve mental events that seem to lead to related physical events. Synchronicities, however, are more about the meaning behind these events, and are not as easily repeated. Some experts believe that meditation could amplify these experiences by tapping into a deeper part of reality, which brings more synchronicity into our lives. Meditation might also boost our intuition, affecting how we act and invoking synchronicity, especially during transformative experiences like spiritual retreats.

Curious about how meditation, extended human capacities, and synchronistic experiences are related to each other, we conducted a study. 

Studying synchronicity, meditation, and extended human capacities

We asked participants to complete surveys and tasks before and after engaging in personal development workshops on topics like mental health, motivation, physical health, self-awareness, and skill-set enhancement. We collected 725 pre-workshop and 282 paired pre- and post-workshop records. We looked at how frequently participants meditated, how they performed on online extended human capacities tasks (e.g. precognition), and how much they agreed with experiencing synchronicity. 

The questions we wanted to answer were: 

  1. Do people who meditate report more pre-workshop synchronistic experiences and noetic experiences and beliefs? Do they have better performance on extended human capacities? 
  2. Is there a link between how often people meditate and their pre-workshop synchronistic experiences, noetic experiences and beliefs, and better performance on extended human capacities? 
  3. Do people experience more coincidences during meditation-based workshops compared to non-meditation-based workshops? 
  4. Does having extended human capacities explain the relationship between how often people meditate and their experiences of coincidences before workshops? 

What did we find?

Our study reveals a strong link between meditation, beliefs in extended human capacities, and experiences of meaningful coincidences, known as synchronicities. Here’s the breakdown of the findings for each research question:

Research Question #1: Do meditators report more synchronicities before workshops, and noetic experiences and beliefs? Do they have better performance on extended human capacities? Meditators scored higher in noetic experiences, noetic beliefs, and experiences of synchronicity before workshops compared to non-meditators. However, there was no difference in performance on extended human abilities tasks.

Research Question #2: How does the frequency of meditation relate to experiences of synchronicity before workshops, noetic beliefs and experiences, and extended human capacities? People who meditated more frequently reported more experiences of synchronicity, stronger noetic beliefs, and more actual noetic experiences. However, there was no link between meditation frequency and performance on extended human capacities tasks.

Research Question #3: Are experiences of synchronicity different in workshops that include meditation compared to those that don’t? Yes, participants in meditation-based workshops were more likely to report synchronicity compared to those in non-meditation-based workshops.

Research Question #4: Does how often someone meditates affect their experiences of synchronicity before workshops through their noetic abilities and beliefs? Performance on extended human capacities didn’t explain the link between how often someone meditates and their experiences of synchronicity before workshops. However, self-reported noetic experiences did partially explain this connection.

What do our findings mean?

The study uncovers a strong link between meditation, beliefs in extended human capacities, and experiences of synchronicities. Meditators consistently reported higher levels of these experiences compared to non-meditators, and those who meditated more frequently tended to have even stronger experiences. Participants in meditation-based workshops also reported more synchronicities during their sessions. Notably, noetic beliefs acted as a mediator between how often someone meditated and their experiences of synchronicity before workshops.

However, we didn’t find significant connections between actual performance on extended human capacities tasks and meditation or pre-workshop synchronicity. This suggests that while meditation seemed to enhance subjective experiences, it doesn’t necessarily translate into better performance on tasks.

These findings support the idea that meditation can increase experiences of synchronicity and noetic beliefs. Yet, because these experiences are so personal, it’s hard to prove they’re objectively real. We need more research to find better ways to measure synchronicity and test people’s special extended capacities. Long-term studies that track how people perform on extended human capacities tasks and keep a journal of their synchronicities could show if there’s a real connection. We could also try experiments that create synchronicity experiences to see how they affect performance. Future research should look for more objective ways to measure synchronicity, like having others verify the reports or using numbers to assess them.

Understanding these connections could open new doors to exploring how our inner experiences relate to the outer world. Who knows? Maybe the next time you meditate, you’ll notice more of those magical, meaningful coincidences in your life!

Read the publication this blog is based on.

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