Whether coincidences are truly meaningful is a mystery. But for some and especially for me, talent for noticing and “manipulating” them is natural, because I believe in the concept of synchronicity, or as more commonly put, “everything happens for a reason.”
It was a hot, sunny Sunday morning, one of those “perfect for a stroll on the beach” kind of days. ID and I were walking the length of the shore while debating the validity of my belief. I had said “bumps disguised as interruptions, annoyances, something unplanned, hold meaning in their appearance,” and that triggered our exercise in philosophical self-examination.
“There is no reason, no ‘look on the bright side’ argument to this,” said ID. “Things happen. If it’s a good thing, you’re lucky; if it’s bad, you’re unlucky. Stop looking for a ‘goodness’ reason in all things.” He was quite adamant. “Accidents or things happen because they happen.”
“Yes, accidents, as you call them, happen because certain factors in the process of life come together at that particular moment in that particular way resulting in a particular outcome which you wish to call unfortunate. It may not be unfortunate unless you wish to make it unfortunate.” I philosophized.
“Do you mean to tell me I am creating my own misfortune?” asked ID.
“In a way, yes,” I said softly. “If you see yourself as the victim of a situation, then that’s what you are. See yourself as being in that situation because you choose to be, and soon you’ll see that life proceeds from your intentions for it. Life is a process of elements and factors, and the result of your thoughts about it, positive or negative, is a choice you make,” I repeated.
“So, let me get this straight. I’m standing in a crowd watching a parade and a bird flying overhead drops a load and out of all the hundreds in the crowd, the crap lands on my head, and you’re telling me I’m supposed to look on the bright side and be positive because lucky me, there’s got to be a good reason behind this because I just got crapped on!?” ID was mocking me.
“Precisely!” I beamed, ignoring his sarcasm. “Out of all the hundreds in the crowd, what are the chances that the bird would land a load on you? How lucky you must be to be singled out. Imagine if that had been a gold coin that fell from the sky. Would you have considered it fortunate or unfortunate? Whether you believe in the concept of synchronicity or not, approach the mishap as a gift; the accidents as not so much of an accident but something we can always learn and grow from.” I stood my ground. “You know, there is Divinity in coincidence,” I added.
“It’s just a simultaneous collision of two events that has no special significance and obeys the laws of probability,” insisted ID whose mathematical inclination was prone to list statistics. “Believing in the significance of oddities is very self-serving,” he added. “Accidents just happen. They don’t mean anything,” he mumbled.
“Yeah, but nothing happens by accident,” I chuckled.
We walked in silence breathing the cooler air of the sea breeze. The perfect blue of the ocean met the pale azure sky. The surf roared in the distance, rolled to a crash and lapped around our bare feet on the sand. The squeal of children splashing in the water mixed in harmony with the squawk of gulls flying high and low. I could not have asked for a more picture perfect moment when it happened. A bird dropping fell on my head.
“How fortunate to be singled out!” beamed ID, with some tender irony as I started to clean the mess in my hair.
“Maybe it’s to prove my point. Bumps and inconveniences on our journey are the most powerful, transformational encounters,” I said. And at that moment, another bird dropping fell. “What are the odds of that?” I asked ID. I dunked my head in the cold waters of the ocean to wash away the residue, while ID rambled on, “Ian Fleming wrote ‘Once is an accident, twice is coincidence, three times is an enemy attack.’”
“Then let’s get out of here before the enemy attack,” I chuckled. It was still a perfect day.
For those of you wondering what ‘good’ came out of the “accident” or “coincidence”, I enjoyed and savored a delightful unplanned lunch with ID overlooking the ocean, under a covered patio.
LOVED IT, LOVED IT, AND LOVED IT!!!!
These truly are thoughts that we often think about… We are who we are as individuals because of our own outlook on life, whether we see things happening as coincidences or accidents. I would think age and life experience plays a big role in shaping us too. Of course Faith is also a big factor in it as well. I would think a 20 year old would read this very differently from a 60 year old.
For some reason I keep going back to “The Alchemist”. We do have to go though quite a bit of ups and down in order to become who we are in the present.
Thank you Silva for a wonderful piece!
I always love it when you comment. True, we see things differently as we “mature” with age and life experience, and it is our attitude whether based on faith or not, that determines our perception of synchronized or haphazard events.