Turning 'It Was Meant to Be' on Its Head

Writing a book about extraordinary experiences is more of a hot button issue than I thought. Not only is it awkward to describe (try saying, "I'm examining the science and stories of meaningful coincidence" at a holiday party and you'll know what I mean), but it's a puzzling conversation to maintain: does synchronicity and the like happen to everyone? Does it have to do with belief? Isn't it just a little bit delusional to trust the power of the mind to affect reality? Over the last two and a half years, I have heard it all. There's a divide between my friends, and I guess it's not an atypical divide. One side staunchly agrees we are what we think; that words and ideas create our reality. These friends are artists, doctors, and business people. They are parents and widows and caretakers. They are atheists as well as spiritual practitioners participating in the world. They are nice people.

On the other side of the divide, are the skeptics. Also teachers, musicians, business owners, children of elderly parents if not parents themselves. Also nice. These friends believe our words and ideas contribute to our reality, but they are also at sea with competing forces. That there's no telling how or when or even whether your vision of reality will manifest, regardless of your efforts.

The first group believes certain things are meant to be; that there are no coincidences. The second group, not so much.

Friends in both groups try equally and, I've noticed, succeed at about the same rate. But each group thinks to some degree, their own worldview and practice are a bit more advanced than the other.

Not than anyone is judging each other.

Personally, I toggle between both groups, and predictably, I rub up against a problem. In my quest to understand the extraordinary, to accept and unveil whether it's possible to evoke extraordinary moments at will, I've seen evidence supporting both sides. Yes, sometimes you can find the person/job/dream scenario you're seeking -- no matter how unlikely -- with directed focus and meditation and hope and luck--and some very strange, out of the ordinary events that you couldn't have controlled. Last month, I had story produced for the fantastic podcast Strangers that told of this exact circumstance. The gist: I had a wish come true, one of those life-long wishes that, when it somehow happens, you think the universe has conspired on your behalf; that all of the risk and difficulty and perhaps questionable decision making you've made in the past is now validated, because this wish has COME TRUE. But, maybe not surprisingly, there's another side to that wish coming true. The story is here, and I won't give it away completely, but I will say this: it serves both groups of friends -- those who believe in manifesting reality (I'm more in the camp of locating or finding, not manifesting), and those who believe you can't wish a perfect circumstance out of thin air. That there's no such thing as "meant to be."

If I've discovered one thing after the last two and a half years, it's this: It's hard to be both a skeptic and a believer. In fact, it doesn't work. But it's oddly common, especially because extraordinary events and meaningful coincidences -- which depend on precognition or telepathy or even psychokinetic activity (like prayer or distant healing) -- are complicated. They happen, but in a flash. They have to do with some type of mental time travel (really) and directing mental energy and being receptive, which are really cool and super exciting things. But also, these moments occur alongside the rest of your ordinary life, which still needs basic attention and daily operations. One shouldn't eclipse the other, but that's often what happens because we just can't see these moments for, well, more than a moment. We can't integrate them fast or easily, so we don't.

I have always wished for integration time and information, and that's really the whole point to this project. I'm devoted to posting the stories I've gathered over the last two years, as well as the science that's been done as I come to understand it. I know the work is worth doing; that a world beyond skepticism awaits.

I also accept there's no real stability with this topic. Like electricity, it's definitely there, but it's not really something you can hold. At least, not yet.