"Déjà Vu" is a common intuitive experience that has happened to
many of us. The expression is derived from the French, meaning "already
seen." When it occurs, it seems to spark our memory of a place we have
already been, a person we have already seen, or an act we have already
done. It is a signal to pay special attention to what is taking place,
perhaps to receive a specific lesson in a certain area or complete
what is not yet finished.

In “Second
” I describe many theories to explain
déjà vu: a memory of a dream, a precognition, a coincidental
overlapping of events or even a past life experience in which we
rekindle ancient alliances. What matters is that it draws us closer to
the mystical. It is an offering, an opportunity for additional
knowledge about ourselves and others.

During a trip to Africa,
Carl Jung described a feeling of déjà vu when he viewed a slim, black
man leaning on a spear looking down at his train as it made a turn
around a steep cliff on the way to Nairobi. He writes, "I had the
feeling that I had already experienced this moment and had always known
this world." Although this world and this man were something alien to
him, he saw the whole thing as perfectly natural. He called this a
of what was "immemorially known."

In Western culture,
we are brought up to consider anyone who isn’t an immediate member of
our circle of friends and family to be a stranger. Yet at times, you
meet people whom you feel as if you have known for years. You can talk
to them about anything and they understand. You laugh easily with them.
The tone of their voice, the way they take their coffee, all seem
commonplace. It isn’t that they remind you of someone else or that
their qualities are simply endearing. You relate to them not as
strangers, but as people with whom you have shared , members of
the same tribe.

A patient of mine named Shannon knew that she was
going to marry her husband the day that they met. She had dated a lot
of men following her divorce, but none of them felt right. Then, she
met Bob. There was something about the way he smiled, the glint of his
hair, his voice and the shape of his hands, that made her think that
they had known each other before. After talking it was clear that their
paths had never crossed, but after their first lunch date, they became
inseparable. What Shannon and Bob immediately felt for each other was
more than just physical chemistry. It was a natural compatibility and a
depth of intimacy that usually emerges after couples are together for
many years. They were married two months after they met and have been
together now for ten years.

I’m often asked how to tell the
difference between a feeling of déjà-vu when we first meet someone and
an attraction stemming from an addictive obsession. Some addiction
specialists say that whenever you meet someone and an explosion of
fireworks go off, this is a not of true love, but of one neurosis
meeting another. They suggest that you run as fast as you can in the
opposite direction.

Based upon my work with the recovering
community, I agree that there is a strong tendency among addicts and
some non-addicts to try to "fix" themselves with love and sex, rushing
prematurely into relationships inspired only by intense physical
attraction. They often have nothing to do with déjà-vu, but stem rather
from a basic emptiness that longs to be filled. There is no true bond
between the people involved, they hardly know each other, and these
partnership attempts fail miserably when the pink glow of newness wears

The fact that an encounter compelling or immediate
doesn’t necessarily mean that it is healthy or unhealthy. The
experience of déjà vu must always be approached discerningly. However,
mostly déjà-vu experiences are not obsessive or compulsive. They rather
convey a quality that is quiet and solid..

The possibility of
having a déjà vu is inherent in partnerships of all kinds, particularly
the more intimate ones. It can occur in business, friendships and
family, often leading to pivotal outcomes that can impact the direction
of our life.

There are situations that are glitches in time,
when the rules bend and the mystery takes hold. Enchanted moments that
sparkle. These are deja-vus. They can take place anywhere, at any time
and with anyone. Your real estate agent might show you a house that
feels so familiar and right, you instantly know it is yours. Or perhaps
you are in a restaurant and sense an inexplicable kinship with a woman
sitting in the back corner booth. Don’t let these possibilities pass
you by. Take notice; investigate. There is no way of predicting where
each might lead or what it will teach you. Summoning the courage to
take a chance and act on synchronicities, to have faith in what is not
yet visible, will make the experience your own.

Adapted from Second
An Intuitive Psychiatrist Tells Her
Story and Show You How to Tap Your Own Inner Wisdom (Three Rivers
Press, 2010) by Judith Orloff MD