Breathe in, Coincidence
Breathe out, Serendipity
Some people seem to come together by accident. Others seem to come together on or for a purpose. Either way and any way, we come together.
So much of life is learning how to connect the dots.
Coincidence: (1) co -- prefix for with, together, jointly, in relation to, (2) incidence -- the arrival, occurrence or influence, (3) coincide -- to occupy the same space at the same time, (4) correspondence or occurrence by accident
We do not (yet) believe or perceive the inter-connectedness of life.
When we first enter the dojo, we have no idea what we are doing. Even if we know why we are there, we are not aware that others are on a similar journey. We are separate individuals occupying a common mat, attempting to follow what we think the instructor is saying, and totally unaware of why others are there. If something happens, we cannot figure out the sequence and unfolding of their happening, we can only perceive the accidental coincidence of them happening. We have no idea why the other person fell down, but we are certain it has nothing to do with what we did. I simply moved and coincidentally the other person fell down. Many people who just train without understanding the strategies and principles of Aikido may get it right sometimes, but have difficulty repeating it. They are passive victims and spectators to coincidence.
In life, it is not different. It may appear we randomly come together, with random people, for random reasons that have nothing to do with each other, for a random amount of time, only to randomly separate and come together with another random individual. Life is a series of accidental random coincidences of random chaos. There is no direct sequential cause-and-effect pattern and life is uncontrollable. Coincidence creates passive victims waiting for a predator to stalk, groom, and pounce. We ask why things happen and we do not know.
Coincidence is not living in the moment or going with the flow. It is being disconnected from our past and future and being absent from the very process of living, learning, and life.
Serendipity: (1) the ability, facility, or phenomenon of finding valuable and agreeable things not sought after
We accidently find the something we were not looking for in the moment. What can we find when we stop looking for something specific and are open to all possibilities?
In the dojo, we lose ourselves and with some mindfulness we may also accidently find ourselves. Whatever we are looking for in the training, we may accidently find something completely different but of equal or more value. We come to learn how to move our bodies and we find how to move our minds and hearts. We come to learn how to protect ourselves and we learn how to nurture ourselves. We come to learn how to be aggressive and destructive and we learn how to be empathetic, compassionate, constructive, and productive. We come to learn how to create protective distance and we learn how to become close friends. We come out of fear and we train out of love.
In life, it is no different. While there certainly are many things beyond our control, there is always something to learn from coming together. Everyone is our teacher even if we do not know what the lesson will be ahead of time. Sometimes our best teachers start out as our most feared adversaries and enemies. Perhaps each of us has our own life story individually unfolding towards the moment we meet and decide what makes a teachable/learnable moment. Perhaps our biggest lessons are not in where we are alike, but where we are different. Perhaps another lesson is not our difference, but to be able to see through those differences and accept and appreciate our sameness. We often find what we are looking for when we stop looking for it and just see what is there and available to us in the moment.
Synchronicity: (1) happening, existing, operating, or arising at precisely the same time, (2) the coincidental occurrence of events that seem related by are not explained by normal mechanisms of causality
I recently watched an interesting video. They started several metronomes at random times making only chaotic noise. As time went on, several of the metronomes began to find the same tempo with each other. With more time, they all became synchronized and started ticking as a unified field. Go into a clock store for your own experience of this.
We experience the inter-connectedness in the past, present, and future. We synchronize the self with the other.
In the dojo, we begin with the startle response of fight, flight, or freeze. In our initial habituated reaction we seldom find the flow response. Initially, we begin to react when physical contact is made and find we can respond sooner by extending our awareness. We can synchronize our movement within theirs and flow rather than resist. Later, with some mindful sensitivity, we can actually begin to harmonize and synchronize our inter-connectedness visually at a distance. With more practice, we can learn to extend and use our mental focus and intent to establish connection, harmony, and synchronization. Perhaps the dojo is one of the few safe places and opportunities we have to observe, learn, and practice synchronicity on a physical level.
In life, it is no different. When we watch a couple that has been together for a very long time, we notice that they walk and talk at the same pace and are able to finish each other's thoughts and sentences. If we look closely, they actually breathe at the same rate and their hearts perhaps actually beat in time with each other. The individual "I" of self may always be in the background, but in the foreground is the harmonizing and synchronization of the "we" relationship. Despite the emphasis on the western world to be strong self-reliant individuals, our greatest fear is to be alone. If we have not transformed our fear of getting lost in the "we", we may actually have turned that fear into a self-fulfilling prophecy and remain alone (even if in a relationship) our whole lives. I often see this synchronization of what we internally focus on and how we externally live.
Physics might suggest that everything is energy, universally inter-connected and inter-dependent. Thought and matter are simply different manifestations of the same energy flow and capable of conscious control. Most of us only find the synchronization between what we think about and what we are aware and attuned to. If we look for the negative, we will find it and if we look for the positives we will find them too. They all co-exist in the space and time we share and co-create.
Some will call it coincidence seeing only the accidental coming. Others will call it serendipity seeing only the possibilities of the moment. A few will call it synchronicity seeing the connection of past, present, and future. Whatever we perceive or call this temporary opportunity we have, let us enjoy sharing the space and time because it will be how we perceive it and what we make of it.
Breathe in, Coincidence
Breathe out. Serendipity
Thanks for listening, for the opportunity to be of service, and fro sharing the journey. Now get back to training. KWATZ!
Lynn Seiser (b. 1950 Pontiac, Michigan), Ph.D. has been a perpetual student of martial arts, CQC/H2H, FMA/JKD, and other fighting systems for over 40 years. He currently holds the rank of Yondan (4th degree black belt) from Sensei Dang Thong Phong of the International Tenshinkai Aikido Federation and Sensei Andrew Sato of the Aikido World Alliance. He is the co-author of three books on Aikido (with Phong Sensei) and his martial art articles have appeared in Black Belt Magazine, Aikido Today Magazine, and Martial Arts and Combat Sports Magazine. He is the founder of Aiki-Solutions and IdentityTherapy and is an internationally respected psychotherapist in the clinical treatment of offenders, victims, and families of violence, trauma, abuse, and addiction. He is a professor of clinical and forensic psychology with an expertise in family violence and treatment. He currently lives in Marietta, GA and trains and teaches at Kyushinkan Dojo, Roswell Budokan.