I used to believe in coincidence.
I used to be a stubborn atheist, confident that all notions of spirituality and divinity were bed time stories created to lull the insecure and help them cope with the inevitable darkness of our world.
A drug, to help the weak temporarily escape the cruelty of nature.
Today I’m different.
I certainly wasn’t “born again” and I definitely haven’t been “saved” because I still find religion hopelessly too rigid a system to encompass the true infinite nature of spirituality.
Even more so with every passing phase.
But I have found that everything around us is spiritual.
It’s an accepted scientific fact that the atoms that make up all the physical objects in the universe is 99% empty space. Everyone knows that. That and the fact that the subatomic particles that make up the remaining 1% (that’s supposed to be physical) is also actually 99% empty space.
Physical reality is therefore not very physical at all. And if it’s not physical, then what else could it be?
But it’s more personal than that.
I found spirituality through understanding the underlying meaning of events in my life.
Simply put, I believe that everything that happens, happens for a reason. And understanding those underlying reasons is my way of walking a spiritual path.
Most of the time it’s easy to look past it. But every now and again something so significant happens that we can’t help but stop and take notice. An event of such magnitude and uncanny precision, that unfolds in a way that is so bizarre, or otherwise so perfectly suited to the situation, that it’s impossible, even for the staunchest materialist, not to stop and wonder:
“Could this somehow have been orchestrated for a higher purpose?”
I’ve experienced such events, as have many other people I know. Experiences that aligned themselves so perfectly, so sublimely, with so much obvious meaning, that their meaning becomes undeniable. In these moments we understand that the likelihood of these events aligning by coincidence is so extremely low that other possibilities have to be considered.
Some of the best experiences of my life, as well as the most difficult and painful to bear, have come to me in this way. But all were deeply meaningful.
That’s the spirituality I have found. It’s a connection.
A connection to the underlying intelligence of the universe, an intelligence that responds to our choices and intentions, and in doing so co-creates (with us) the experiences we need, at the right time, so that we may grow into more loving, accepting and forgiving human beings and full-fill the purpose we chose (guided by that intelligence) at the outset of our lives.
Now. As an interesting illustration I would like to briefly share a recent example from my own life.
A certain individual recently visited us for a weekend, two weeks after the birth of our first child.
For reasons that I cannot share (and which are besides the point anyway) this person was nervous about a certain situation and we ended up talking about this situation. It’s an ongoing situation that involves several other people.
The first thing that was unusual about this is that this conversation happened right off the bat. They walked into the door and we hardly did anything else before we started talking about it. Normally this person and I would spend a lot of time talking about other things before we breach such serious matters (if at all) but on this occasion we hardly had time to close the front door before we got into this topic.
The second thing that was even more unusual was that they started the conversation. It’s always been a topic that they’ve been very reluctant to discuss, even after some instigation, but this time they seemed tentatively very eager to enter the discussion.
The third thing that was most unusual here was the calm tone of the conversation. It’s always been a very heavy topic loaded with a lot of emotional baggage and thus any attempt to talk about this has always led to highly charged outbursts. But on this occasion both of us remained calm.
Up until this point, although highly unusual, everything that had happened was still within the possible bounds of coincidence.
It’s what happened next that revealed to me (again) the underlying spiritual reality guiding our lives.
Because, although the tone of our conversation was initially calm, it remained a very heavy topic to discuss. And despite the fact that I always try to remain observant when we talk about this, I eventually always react emotionally to the defensiveness and denial that I see in their reaction, as a projected denial of my own shortcomings. And, off course, when I react with emotion it only serves to intensify their defensiveness and denial, which only further strengthens my reaction, and so forth and so forth.
Until eventually the purpose of the conversation (which we’ve had many times before) always becomes lost in a explosion of misguided emotion.
This time however was different.
Because we were interrupted at the perfect moment.
My wife and newborn son were sleeping in the bedroom and it was my baby boy who woke up my wife to feed. (He could not have been woken by our conversation as our voices were calm with several rooms and closed doors separating us from the bedroom.)
My wife knew we were expecting this person at that time so she decided to come and check before breastfeeding.
She walked into the kitchen and interrupted our conversation at the perfect moment.
Because I was about to say something.
And, with the benefit of hindsight, I now know for a fact that what I had wanted to say at that moment would have sent the conversation spiralling down, out of control, the same way it’s always gone before. And all the good that we had achieved, by having said the things we said, calmly, would have been undone.
But my two-week old baby boy woke up, sending his mother into the kitchen to interrupt a very healthy conversation just before it turned to poison.
Because there’s no doubt that it’s a conversation we needed to have. Some things needed to be said, because the situation we spoke about has placed heavy strain on several other people besides the two of us.
And in that conversation, for the first time ever, because both of us remained calm for just long enough, I was able to say some things that really needed to be said while the other person managed to listen and acknowledge it, more than ever before.
It was absolutely perfect. But not because either one of us planned it that way.
The intelligence guiding our lives understood how important this conversation was for the well-being of our relationship and several other relationships.
And that guiding intelligence also understood (better than any analyst or therapist ever could) at which point the conversation needed to stop.
Because at some point we would have crossed the line from honest sharing to emotional projection and, despite being a very definite line, it’s fine, it’s constantly shifting, and it’s very very difficult to recognise within oneself.
The guiding intelligence, however, knew precisely where it lay. And I am still baffled at the precision of the interruption.
I had sharp words formulated in my head and I was about to roll it off my tongue. But at the exact moment I opened my mouth my wife walked into the kitchen.
Not one second earlier nor one second later. The timing was immaculate.
And it wasn’t my wife who had awoken to interrupt us, but our new born child, who (unfettered by the baggage of emotional issues adults carry) was likely the most enlightened person present at that time.
Now. Off course it’s possible for a sceptic to call all of this a coincidence. And yes, it’s possible that it is.
However, it’s also possible that it’s not just coincidence.
Because it also happens to be an accepted scientific fact that, as much as there’s no direct evidence to prove, absolutely, the existence of a spiritual reality (in such a way that it can be measured and analysed) neither is there any evidence to disprove the existence of a spiritual reality.
And it might have been easily called coincidence if it only happened once and never again. But it happens again and again. And again.
In fact, once we understand what we’re looking for, we’ll inevitably notice these experiences happening with surprisingly reliable consistency.
Because it’s not only the obvious ones, like the one I described above, but also the more mundane events that eventually align into a grand design.
If only we cared to look.