The Power and Beauty of Coincidence
Are coincidences real?
The word is used as a way to give transferable meaning to something extraordinary. Some things can't be described in words, but the person that experienced the extraordinary knows the truth. I believe that everyone has experiences like these tucked away deep in their memories. Whether from dreams, experiences, or imagination, coincidences become personal reference points to relate to the happenings of life and the great unknown that lies beyond. Sometimes it feels like a divine force is acting as my guide through these coincidences, as a way to send me a metaphorical high-five. Keep going along your path.
A few years back, a canceled flight left me stranded in Santiago, Chile for a day. I spent it wandering around the city with a dude I met from my recent retreat in the Peruvian Amazon. We found a cafe, perused the main vista points, bought a couple t-shirts, and ate at this awesome restaurant for dinner on a quiet street. It was a day of bonding, conversation, and exploration....
3 years later, and I was back in Chile again, this time with two other amigos. The first day we arrived in Santiago, they'd said they found this awesome vegetarian restaurant that we should check out. I looked it up and their colorful dishes were shining in the pictures. I was in.
After a bit of struggle to find the place, we walked inside and told the hostess that we were three. She led us through the crowded restaurant, down to the lower level of the place. As soon as I stepped down, I knew I'd been here before. The memory hit me like a wave. So strong, I couldn't believe it at first. I had to verify it. Since we'd dined outside last time, the only time I entered this lower area was when I went to the bathroom. As I got up from my chair and started moving towards the bathroom, I recognized the hanging straw decoration outside the bathroom door and remembered the exact layout; a tiny window on the left above the sink, longer than average room for a bathroom, shadows cast on the wall under a dim lighting. I pushed through the door and there it was. The memory came alive before my eyes.
I walked back into the crowded restaurant and saw it empty, as I did that day 3 years ago. Of all the restaurants in this city, what are the chances that my friends would pick the only one I'd ever been to before? Sitting at the table I was filled with details of the past memory and felt something truly special. It felt like I was right where I was supposed to be.
I'm not saying that there's some hidden revelation embedded in this to sit and ponder for hours under a tree, but it does hold something beautiful. And that beauty shouldn't be dismissed from the memory bank of 'meaningful life experiences'.
Coincidences feel like they happen outside the realm of normal reality. In these moments our five senses fail us - they can't comprehend what's happened, yet they do come together to conclude that it's extraordinary. We just can't figure out why. I want to highlight this word for a moment: extraordinary. Extra ordinary. As in, beyond what we understand to be ordinary. All the time, we're preparing ourselves for life in an ordinary world; one which we understand and learn how it moves; becoming skilled at learning from the past and predicting the future. Meanwhile the extraordinary is all around us.
I think everyone has the ability to be aware of the extraordinary, but there's a resistance to exploring it because it tends to distort what they already know concretely as the ordinary. Coincidence and its hidden meanings are deemed a useless pursuit. You'll never know what they really are, so just choose ordinary.
I disagree. This extraordinary could be the door to another echelon of consciousness. Or of the connection between the self and the greater world. The fact is, we don't know. But sometimes you just can't deny the feeling. So why not explore it?