Coincidences + action + intention: A magic formula for life?

In Awe, Growth by KenLeave a Comment

My teenage daughter was involved in two car accidents in the past month. First, someone hit her from behind. Two weeks later, she hit someone else from behind. Luckily, no one was hurt, and all the cars just had cosmetic damage.

My daughter’s car is actually my old 2010 Mazda with nearly 200,000 miles on it, so I wasn’t much concerned with its appearance. My goal was just keeping it on the road until she graduates high school next year.

Still, both ends of the car were messed up, and I had to deal with two insurance companies. I hate these situations — especially when there are potentially deceptive body shops involved — so I was dreading the process.

However, on the morning I had to make all the arrangements, I stopped myself and said these words out loud:

“I’m gonna have a positive attitude about this. Things will work out better than I expect.”

I actively chose to have a good attitude and set the intention of a positive outcome. I’ll explain how this worked out in a bit, but first, some background…

Back in April, through a series of coincidences, I met Dr. Bernard Beitman, an accomplished psychiatrist, author, and the founding director of The Coincidence Project. (I tell that story on the “Connecting with Coincidence” podcast episode I recorded with him.)

Dr. Beitman — sometimes called “Dr. Coincidence” — is the first psychiatrist since Carl Jung to attempt to systematize the study of coincidences. A graduate of Yale Medical School and Stanford, he developed the first reliable scale to measure coincidence sensitivity (“The Weird Coincidence Survey”) and has written multiple books and articles on coincidences and synchronicities.

It’s been fascinating to dig into the work of Dr. Beitman and the folks at The Coincidence Project. It points to three conclusions:

  1. Coincidences are meaningful. They can lead to new relationships and careers. They can be surprising, enlightening, even funny. They also can be more than just acausal or “weird” connections between events. They can point us to deeper connections in our reality.
  2. Coincidences promote change. Recognizing the meaningful connections in coincidences can make people feel more connected to each other and the world. They can help us care about things beyond ourselves, waking us up to a wider reality that is more connected and caring.
  3. You must act on coincidences. Recognizing coincidences isn’t enough. When presented with a unique coincidence or synchronicity, you have to act in order to create an outcome. That action can make all the difference.

My skeptical brain reminds me that coincidences can be just random events. But the deeper side of me wants to examine the hidden connections in our universe and what they mean. And I’ve had too many “weird” coincidences and synchronicities in my life to just dismiss them all as meaningless.

Back to the car saga…

On the day I had to deal with the insurance and car repair, I had said out loud to myself (and whatever part of the universe might be listening):

“I’m gonna have a positive attitude about this. Things will work out better than I expect.”

Later, when the insurance adjustor arrived to look at the car, he told me his wife had grown up on my street and he knew our neighborhood well. I acted on this minor coincidence by asking, “Know any good body shops nearby? I need someone who will use salvage parts and keep this affordable.”

“Go see this particular shop,” he said. “They’ll take care of you.”

I took his advice, and they couldn’t have been nicer. Ed, the body shop guy, told me he couldn’t find all the salvage parts he needed, so he’d have to use some new dealer parts at a higher cost. “No problem,” I told him, “just go ahead with the work.”

Meanwhile, because both insurance companies took care of the claims without a problem. The payments ended up being higher than I predicted, more than enough to cover the repairs and keep the car running till my daughter gets through high school.

The next morning, the body shop called. “Good news!” Ed said. “These parts weren’t in the computer yesterday, but they just showed up this morning. I found the parts we need for the front and rear, already in the right color, so we won’t even have to repaint. We’ll have it ready for you tomorrow.”

In short, the work cost half of what I’d originally thought, and they did the work in half the time.

I think Dr. Beitman is onto something. Coincidences can be meaningful, and the way we respond to them matters.

In my case, I proactively set a good intention for my attitude and the outcome. Then I acted on the coincidence of the adjustor knowing my neighborhood. Then another coincidence fell into place: the body shop found exactly the right parts at exactly the right time.

Coincidences + action + attention: It’s like a magic formula!

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