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The Power of Coincidence

— Akber Ayub



While living in J.P.Nagar, Bangalore, few years back I found the wide, green environs of nearby Jayanagar 5th block quite charming and invariably ended up there during morning walks with my wife. The peaceful, unpolluted neighbourhood with broad tree-lined avenues appeared a dream location in which we wished to settle down. Shortly, we came across an ad for the sale of a property there – unfortunately with only a sketchy address. That evening we scoured the neighbourhood in vain and finally, as it grew dark, called off the search and turned back. That’s when we took a wrong turn and entered an especially charming street lined with rows of neat, elegant bungalows – the 44th cross. Making one last attempt to locate the elusive address, I stopped next to a couple of men chatting by the roadside. They couldn’t help either, but one of them, pointing to the house in front said, “That might be for sale.” We parked our car and walked across the street, fingers crossed. Ten minutes later the deal was clinched.

A year later, after I took up construction of our planned dream house on our new property, I found myself in a quaint situation where nothing seemed to go right. My industry, thriving for a number of years until then, began to slide, and while cash flow dwindled, tension mounted at home. Nothing seemed to click despite my best efforts. For some obscure reason, the tide had surely turned against us. To add to our troubles, the building contractor turned out to be a double-dealer and the work on our new home had to be called off, even before our dwindling finances put a halt to it. There came a time when we began to view man’s endless material pursuit dispassionately and question its worth. Was that all there to life? Or was there any higher purpose or meaning?

This by no means is the age of miracles, but what transpired one sweltering, despairing Monday afternoon comes close. A book was found on our side compound wall. The narrow setback there between the low wall and our house was unfrequented and so, was crummy and covered with foliage. Enquiries with the neighbours about its possible owner drew a blank and it was found too far inside the compound to have been left by any passer-by. We took it inside anyway and began reading. The book talked of fortuitous coincidences that happen in life! Before long things began to fall in place – almost as amazing as the insights found in the book. Work in our factory picked up as orders arrived from unexpected quarters and payments held up for long began to be settled. I also found a new professional builder and resumed construction. There was also a palpable change in the atmosphere at home.

Within a year, our house was complete and we moved in – on the 31st December of the year the book appeared on the wall.

The book of course was James Redfield’s much acclaimed ‘The Celestine Prophecy’. As it happened, it also opened us to a new spiritual awareness. And, coincidences continue to visit my life, taking me on a meandering path from being a mechanical and marine engineer working at sea, then a project engineer with a 5-star chain, later setting up industries and exporting to Europe, to what I now believe is my true calling – writing.

Just a matter of luck? A question of chance? Hardly. Coincidences such as these seem to occur to more and more people, invariably leading to life changing situations – directing someone towards a new career, meeting a future spouse, an encounter with someone, when one is especially feeling low that later blooms into a meaningful friendship or even something as prosaic as a maid who miraculously materialises when a home maker is desperately seeking help.

Obviously, the power of our intention, a positive expectant frame of mind seems to act as a catalyst in speeding up the manifestation of our desire. However, it’s not just a matter of wish fulfilment, though invariably that is the outcome. In reality, coincidences seem to originate from a higher source and seem directed toward a sublime, divine purpose – helping us along on our path to self-fulfilment, towards an evolution of the spirit, towards a higher consciousness. Maharishi Mahesh Yogi says, “Consciousness is the basis of all life and the field of all possibilities. Its nature is to expand and unfold its full potential. The impulse to evolve is thus inherent in the very nature of life.” It is far too uninspiring to think that we were born only to grow up, earn our livelihood, procreate, bring up our children and finally, one day, depart. It’d be so pointless – just living our lives according to society’s programming. Something as glorious and magical as life couldn’t endure only for such ordinary reasons. There has to be an inherent purpose to our existence. Coincidences, whether leading to everyday commonplace outcomes or those triggering profound changes – the turning points in our lives – have the same origin, and a definite purpose behind them. Synchronic coincidences are the people, places, and incidents that our soul attracts into our life to help us evolve to a higher consciousness or bring us closer to our dreams and desires. We need to learn from such epiphany, apply it, and build on it so we can shift to a new level of being.

Is there anything we could do to bring coincidences that are meaningful into our lives? Yes, says Redfield in his book. “Stay alert to any message that coincidence is bringing you. Learn to probe its meaning; when you listen to your intuition and feelings, you are plugged into a universal current that will show you where you are stuck, happy, sad, confused or angry.” And, coincidence is the means through which you are guided. My own experiences have borne out the fact that the more you consciously acknowledge a meaningful coincidence and are aware of where it is leading you and what positive changes it has brought about, the more you attract such events into your life. Sometimes messages arrive on your doorstep when you least expect. Simply put, you attract serendipity when you acknowledge its working in your life.

In what other ways do coincidences work for us? They seem to foretell pitfalls in our lives too, even dangers and misfortunes. The disaster that befell the ship Titanic is a classic example. Almost 14 years before the ship sank on its maiden voyage, author Morgan Robertson published a novel about a ship he named SS Titan, with uncanny similarities to Titanic and which also sank on its maiden voyage after hitting an iceberg! Even in our daily lives, events occur that, if we are awake to them, seem to point to something bad – a mishap or accident. But all too often, we fail to see it or ignore it, recognizing it only when it is too late. We may listen to them or ignore them, but if we can recognize them for what they are, it’ll make it easy for us to make the right choices at the right times.

This powerful phenomenon seems to come to the fore whenever we find ourselves lost in life’s vicissitudes, at cross roads, unable to find a direction or when we seek answers to life’s myriad mysteries. When a question is foremost in our mind or when we pointedly seek divine help, events unfold that appear to miraculously provide the right answers, show the right direction through, you guessed it – coincidences. Your sincerity of purpose and the power of your intention seem to be the key – the more focused you are, the surer the result. Like Redfield says ‘where attention goes, energy flows.’

The phenomenon of course unfolds in myriad ways – a chance encounter, an unexpected visitor who inadvertently provides you a message or a clue, the number of a vehicle in front of you that seems to have a strong significance for you, a chance remark by someone in your office that offers you a rare insight, a dream with close similarities to real life events suggesting a possible direction, a word or a phrase that jumps at you as you read a book, or sometimes just a nagging hunch you finally heed – the source can be as diverse as life itself. It seems that the more attuned you are to your higher self, the more you become aware of the possible higher meaning in any life situation and, the easier it will be for you to find answers. Again, says Redfield in his book, “The problem in life isn’t in receiving answers. The problem is in identifying your current questions. Once you get the questions right, the answers always come.”

How do you get your questions right? You need to begin to probe your feelings and intuitions, your internal drives and passions; your fears and anxieties as well as your moments of happiness and those flashes of divine connection, in short touch your inner centre. Sense what feels right and what doesn’t, what feels loving and reassuring and what seems to bring your energy down, what is working in your life and what is not. You will soon begin to sense your core questions for which you’ll seek answers. That’s when coincidences begin to kick in, nudging you gently toward the right answers, the right decisions, to engage the flow of life – toward your goals and your dreams.

What of the book that appeared on my wall on that fateful Monday afternoon? After I read it, I thought I should share it with someone who would benefit from it the most. Right away I thought of someone on my street who was then going through a particularly difficult time. That evening I walked down the street, taking the book with me, thinking that he will surely find comfort and more within its pages. As I handed the book to him and he turned the pages, his jaw dropped. He was looking at the signature and a short message that ended with a pet name scrawled on the first page. The name belonged to him he said, and the writer was none other than his own brother; an engineer in the US, who, it turned out had told him sometime back that he wanted him to read a particular book! He hurried to an adjoining room and returned with a sheaf of papers, his brother’s letters, to show that the signature and handwriting matched. There was no doubt that his brother had indeed sent the book. How it landed on my compound wall remains a mystery to this day, but the book was nevertheless restored to its rightful owner as soon as I was through with it – by the working of yet another coincidence!


About the Author
AKBER AYUB is a former entrepreneur, ex-marine engineer, book author, and a travel & feature writer for dailies and travel magazines.

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