Two Broken Zippers



Synchronicity is the simultaneous occurrence of coincidental, random, and highly unlikely events that are so meaningful that they seem to defy logic, rationality, and the laws of causation. Most approaches to synchronicity treat them much like dream symbols to be interpreted, generally in the manner that dream symbols are interpreted. Integral Deep Listening takes a similar approach, only the interpretation is done by the elements of the synchronicity themselves. The assumptions are several. First, since we provide the meaning to the coincidence, the explanation of that meaning might best be found within ourselves, not in some external interpretive guide, whether it is an “expert” or a book on symbology. Secondly, the elements of the synchronicity have a direct, participatory investment in the experience. Third, they provide perspectives which are generally relatively objective and therefore provide novel windows on the synchronicity. Fourth, this suspends waking assumptions toward synchronicities in the same phenomenological fashion that IDL does with dreams and waking life issues. The result is that waking identity expands as it learns deep listening. Fifth, there is the assumption that synchronicities, just like dreams, physical symptoms, accidents, nightmares, social/political upheavals, and personal life crises, are best treated as if they were wake up calls.

These assumptions are all working hypotheses. They may be wrong. Like all hypotheses, they are to be tested against life experience to see if they are helpful. For IDL, helpfulness is measured by integral criteria: does the interview of the character, called an emerging potential, provide information that can be used within an integral life practice? Does it support stage development? If so, how? Does it support healthy state expansion? Does it support greater balance in the four quadrants of consciousness, values, interaction, and behavior? Does it support the growth of core developmental lines, including cognition, self, empathy, and ethics?

Here is the Integral Deep Listening interview for of these two zippers. Are they a synchronicity? You decide…

What are three fundamental life issues that you are dealing with now in your life?

Remembering to apply a recommendation from a recent interview: experiencing myself being hugged by the most loving people I’ve known in my life.

Focused, productive writing and publishing.

Amplifying and balancing the six core qualities

What is the synchronicity?

 I put on a winter jacket and the zipper was difficult. Then it didn’t work at all. The problem was at the start. I vaguely remembered having trouble with the zipper last winter. Then, finding another winter coat, one with a sturdy metal zipper (the other one was plastic) that worked fine, within a day, or perhaps two days. The zipper no longer worked, again at the start. Looking at the zipper, I saw that half of it was crushed, not allowing it to move. I couldn’t imagine how it happened and found it odd that I was wrestling with two different zippers on two different winter coats, both disabled at the same place on their tracks.

Why do you think that you had this synchronicity?

Only wild, random speculations come to mind: I am vulnerable to the elements? I am careless and don’t realize it? I am wanting to close up things that want to stay open? I have disdain for such interpretations because they are projections and wild associations; what one does with them is as arbitrary as going shopping and picking out whatever you like. You choose it because it “fits,” but that does not at all imply that it existed for you to pick it out. 

If this dream were playing at a theater, what name would be on the marquee? 

 Two Broken Zippers

These are the characters in the synchronicity, beside yourself…

 The two zippers; the two coats.

If one character had something especially important to tell you, what would it be?

 The zippers

Now remember how as a child you liked to pretend you were a teacher or a doctor?  It’s easy and fun for you to imagine that you are this or that character in your synchronicity and answer some questions I ask, saying the first thing that comes to your mind.  If you wait too long to answer, that’s not the character answering – that’s YOU trying to figure out the right thing to say!

Zippers, are you a character in Joseph’s synchronicity?

Yup. But he’s calling us a synchronicity. We’re just zippers.

Zippers, look out at the world from your perspective and tell us what you see… 

One of us, made out of plastic, is part of a warm, thick, blue, windbreaker with hood made of some synthetic, water repellant fabric. The other, made of metal with metal tracks, is part of an even thicker, even warmer, black heavy black cloth coat with hood. It’s longer.

Zippers, would you please tell me about yourself and what you are doing?

We are presently stuck. We don’t work any longer. We are not serviceable. The result is that neither jacket closes and that therefore Joseph does not stay warm, which he wants to do, particularly in the cool fall mornings when he takes Dayo for bike rides through the woods above the neighboring lake (Krumme Lanke, in Zehlendorf, SW Berlin Germany).

Zippers, what do you like most about yourself? What are your strengths?

We are both well made, reliable, and not prone to breaking. Neither of us are cheap or junk. We’re each appropriate for our jackets.

Zippers, what do you dislike most about yourself? Do you have weaknesses?  What are they?

We wish we worked. We don’t feel useful not fulfilling our purpose for our existence.

Zippers, what aspect of Joseph do you represent or most closely personify?

We represent the many useful, serviceable aspects of his body and mind that are foundational, that he takes for granted and normally relies on for his life to run smoothly. The amazing thing is that so many of us function so well normally, naturally, so much of the time, and that it is meaningful, odd, or strange when we don’t. All of us are so complex, it could very easily be seen the other way: to be meaningful, odd, or strange that any of us work at all. 

Zippers, if you could be anywhere you wanted to be and take any form you desired, would you change?  If so, how?

No; we have no delusions of grandeur. We know who and what we are and we are content with our role and our lot in the scheme of things. We have value whether or not we are taken for granted. However, it is nice to be recognized for a change, even if it takes being broken to accomplish that.

(Continue, answering as the transformed object, if it chose to change.)

Zippers, how would you score yourself 0-10, in each of the following six qualities: confidence, compassion, wisdom, acceptance, inner peace, and witnessing?  Why?

Confidence, 0-10. Why? 10 Although we are not currently working, we are confident in our function and role. We do not take this current state of disability personally, or as a personal failure.

Compassion, 0-10. Why?   ? We just do our job. If the result is warmth, protection, and nurturance, that is good; that is what we are for.

Wisdom, 0-10. Why? ? Our function is simple, but our composition is sophisticated, that took many iterations of development by many smart people over many years. There is a lot of knowledge implied by our simplicity. 

Acceptance, 0-10. Why? 10 We do not seek recognition. We accept our role; we accept that we are broken. We also expect that we will be fixed again, because that is what Joseph intends, but if we are not, it will make no difference to us.

Inner Peace, 0-10. Why? 10 Our well being is independent of our function and survival, because we do not have any existence or sense of self other than those that Joseph projects onto us.      

Witnessing, 0-10. Why?   9 Normally we are subjectively unconscious, non-thinking collections of molecules and atoms. However, in this interview we are embodied with Joseph’s level of consciousness with our own perspective layered on top of that. Consequently, we are more objective than we are. Therefore, since he is about an 8 in witnessing, that means we must be at  least an 8.5 or 9.            

Zippers, if you scored tens in all six of these qualities, would you be different?  If so, how?


Zippers, how would Joseph’s life be different if he naturally scored like you do in all six of these qualities all the time?

He would be more comfortable, at peace, at home in the natural world. He would not be a self that was separated from it. He would flow with it, whether he was working or broken, healthy or sick, happy or sad. None of that would disrupt the reality of the underlying flow.

Zippers, if you could live Joseph’s life for him, how would you live it differently?

I would take pleasure and instruction from the mundane, from the little things. We being broken cause him to slow down and tend to details. This interview amplifies that tendency, which we think is healthy and wise.

Zippers, if you could live Joseph’s waking life for him today, would you handle Joseph’s three life issues differently?  If so, how?

Remembering to apply a recommendation from a recent interview: experiencing myself being hugged by the most loving people I’ve known in my life:  We like this recommendation very much and encourage him to expand it to small, mundane events and objects in life like us. Why not mentally hug them with such warmth and nurturing and see what happens?

Focused, productive writing and publishing. We would also like to see him “hug” the writing process, to make it an act of nurturance as much as it is an act of creativity and organization.

Amplifying and balancing the six core qualities We like them and support them. Growing more into them is very healthy and wise.

Zippers, what life issues would you focus on if you were in charge of Joseph’s life?

Slow down, savor, nurture, and love the mundane and trivial miracles all around you.

Zippers, in what life situations would it be most beneficial for Joseph to imagine that he is you and act as you would? 

Whenever he wants to enrich the moment and himself.

Zippers, do you do drama?  Do you get into playing the Victim, Persecutor, or Rescuer? If not, why not?

No. It cheapens the value of life.  Zippers, What is your secret for staying out of drama?

Wisdom. Witnessing.

Zippers, you are imaginary. Why should Joseph pay attention to anything you say?

We may be imaginary, but the obstacles in everyday life that we represent can be building blocks or stumbling stones. We would prefer to be seen as and used as the former. 

Zippers, why do you think that you are in Joseph’s life? 

To help him wake up to the sacred nature of each moment, each experience, and each object.

Zippers, how is Joseph most likely to ignore what you are saying to him?

Get lost in the mundane, habitual flow of his mind and his experience.

Zippers, what would you recommend that he do about that?

Mentally hug what he sees.

Zippers, why do you think Joseph had this synchronicity?

It didn’t have a purpose. He projected a possible meaning/purpose onto it as a synchronicity and then decided to explore what that might mean. As a result of his interview, he saw himself at greater depth and with greater clarity. 

Zippers, why do you think both of you broke at the same time?

There was no reason; the coincidence was picked up by Joseph and used as an opportunity for growth. The synchronicity was a projection of his mind; it didn’t exist objectively, other than as a real event in his external dream.

Zippers, why should Joseph pay any attention to what you have said? Aren’t these just projections of Joseph’s own wishes and desires?

What isn’t? Why not pay attention to your own wishes and desires, as well as how you block them?

Thank you, Zippers! And now a couple questions for Joseph: 

What have you heard yourself say?

A different way of looking at synchronicity! Essentially, instead of approaching them as the breaking through of a higher dimensional order into everyday life, rather like a two dimensional flat worm glimpsing a three dimensional reality, 

If this experience were a wake-up call from your inner compass, what do you think it would be saying to you?

Embrace the sacred in the secular, moment by moment! 

Look back over the interview and list the specific recommendations that were made:

Mentally hug what I see.

What, if anything, surprised you about this interview?
Did it have any impact on your understanding of synchronicity? If so, how?
What do you think about the Zippers explanation for what they are and why they got called out as synchronicities?

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