• eric aspen marley

The Limiting Illusion of Coincidence

A man sits down on his couch after a long day in front of a television set. He sees the remote control nearby, selects the “ON” button and presses it. The TV turns on.

“Wow!” He exclaims. “What a coincidence!”

If we were to observe this, we would wonder about his sanity. Coincidence? Of course it’s not a coincidence. It’s how things work, right?

I stopped believing in coincidences in 2008. I had began meditating and experienced a reality greater than that which I had observed to that point. I couldn’t believe the power I had to influence my actions. No longer was I driven by mood; my moods had to do with many other things, as well.

Including ego. Including how I was treating my body. Including the energy of the entertainment with which I interacted.

It appeared to me that what was once random (mood), was the result of many things I had not considered before. Extrapolating this to the larger Universe, this occurred to me:

Believing in coincidence implies that I understand all the rules of the Universe.

In other words, if something happens that appears to be random, is it really? Can we really know? Or, is it that a certain set of laws – unknown to us - were followed that allowed the event to occur in our lives?

Letting go of the idea of coincidence can introduce a sense of wonder in our lives that’s helpful, if not critical, to our ability to grow spiritually. This is because, if we apply a mechanistic process to our spirituality rather than being open and in awe of the Universe, we’ve locked ourselves into a dogmatic view of the nature of reality. A mechanistic view of the nature of reality is inherently limiting. In other words, once we “know” truths of this manner, we aren’t open to learning more. We already know. On to the next thing. Which is, of course, what our minds love to do. Always on to the next thing, right?

I have about a half-dozen chipmunks that I feed at my home, daily. One little female in particular is brave enough to eat from my hand. We do this almost every day. The process of getting her trust took a couple weeks at least. I happen to know that these little monsters get into my cabin from time to time. They can come up in the walls through the exterior. They crawl through the insulation and pop out in my loft area. The tops of the walls aren’t sealed.

I know that little critters of this kind can do damage. When I was in my tipi, I had a full-on war with some pack rats that had zero respect for my space, including my sacred objects. So, I’m always watching to make sure my little chipmunks don’t get too comfortable. I don’t want to see poop, and I don’t want to see my feathers torn up all over the place.

So far, so good.

In this process, a level of trust has apparently formed. I feed them something almost every day. I feed the Brave One by hand, and leave some cherries or Killer Dave’s bread out for the rest of them. They are used to me, and they "expect" to be fed if I'm home. They're used to that, now.

What does this have to do with coincidence? Check this out.

A couple weeks ago, I came home and saw two things on my bed stand: a half-eaten cracker of a kind I hadn’t had in the home in about two months, and a small owl feather.

Anyone who knows this side of me well knows that Owl is something I work with on an energetic basis. Anyone who knows chipmunks knows that they can store things for a very long time.

Now, this event could be called, and will be called, a “coincidence” by many people. Particularly people who already “know” how the Universe works, already “know” that animals are dumb, and maybe don’t know that Balance is what Nature does, above all else.

But, because I don’t believe in coincidence, I am open to considering that the chipmunks left me a gift where they "knew" on some level that I’d see it and receive it. I’m not saying that IS what happened, but I’m not saying it didn’t, either. At the very least, no one can prove it didn’t happen this way.

Enter a sense of wonder.

Existing in this way, I become open to all possibilities and a sense of the magnitude of Creator that I could never have imagined. In this space, I am teachable by something greater than myself, or any human being.

I become a student of life itself.

So, the next time you’re tempted to call something a coincidence think of my chipmunks. Let a sense of wonder descend on your (presumably) busy mind, and open to what lesson might want to be heard.

It’s as easy as clicking a remote control.

(photographer unknown)

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