The Magic of Serendipity
Updated: Jul 31, 2019
“The only moment that matters is now.” Eckhart Tolle
Have you ever known a time in your life when everything just flowed perfectly, where what you envisioned and wished for came true? A time when it felt like the planets had aligned and whatever you planned was revealed to you in the most exquisitely perfect way? Moments like these have a name…..we call them Serendipity. The Oxford dictionary defines serendipity as “the occurrence and development of events by chance in a happy or beneficial way.” Tibetan tradition has another name for it…Ordinary Magic. Isn’t the word enchanting? Close your eyes and say it out loud; visualise the images it creates within your mind.
I first came across the term whilst listening to an interview on Jonathan Fields’ Good Life Project. http://www.goodlifeproject.com/mindfulness-serendipity-and-the-unplanned-life/ He was talking with Susan Piver, founder of The Open Heart Project. Susan is a Shambhala Buddhist meditation teacher, a New York Times best-selling author, motivational speaker and more than that, she is a really lovely lady (I know because I meditate online with Susan and am part of her wonderful online Sangha, which is the Tibetan word for community).
In the interview, Susan refers to Ordinary Magic. She says “In the Tibetan tradition they talk about Ordinary Magic which is auspicious coincidence and a path that unfolds before you. And being here, putting your mind to the present moment is the gateway to that Ordinary Magic that makes your life fantastic.”
The moment those words rolled off her tongue I knew that I had a new name for what I had experienced. I have been blessed to have witnessed Ordinary Magic twice. The first incidence was several years ago. It lasted about 3 weeks and then disappeared as suddenly as it had appeared. At the time I was reading about Buddhist philosophy and meditating. I jokingly said to my meditation group here in Australia that perhaps it was a glimpse of enlightenment, a message from Buddha saying “keep going, you’re on the right track!” The second occurrence was earlier this year. It only lasted several days and was similarly after a period of more regular meditation.
My only problem is how to perfectly describe it to you. It was like having the most remarkable clarity appear in every facet of my life. Everything just flowed effortlessly. My vision and hearing were sharper, my mind was clearer (which is saying something because often my mind feels like an overworked computer with way too many tabs open – the ‘tabs’ concept isn’t mine, I read it somewhere and I loved it!!) and it was almost like I didn’t have to put a voice to what I wanted….the Universe already knew. There was a level of insight into myself that I had never felt before. When Susan said “auspicious coincidence and a path that unfolds before you”, it resonated to my core. So often I was having things happen at the perfect time. Some would call them coincidences. I called them serendipitous moments and the more I acknowledged them, the more frequent they became. The description of a path unfolding before me was exactly what it felt like. There was no thinking ‘what should I do next?’, I just knew with every essence of my being.
The concept of Ordinary Magic is much deeper than I am describing with my limited understanding and knowledge. I have tried researching it further but a lot of what I have read refers to complex Buddhist philosophies that I simply don’t understand at this point in time. I hope that one day I will understand but at the moment, I really don’t think it matters that I don’t. I think I just need to share where I am at in this moment. Because that is the second part of Ordinary Magic; “putting your mind to the present moment is the gateway to that Ordinary Magic that makes your life fantastic” and who doesn’t want a fantastic life!
So many of us spend our lives waiting for the next big thing to happen or reminiscing about the way things used to be. I am guilty of it too. If only I could do this then everything would be perfect, if I just buy this then life will be simpler, if only things were like they were before. What is it about the human predicament that makes it difficult to see what lies right in front of us, IN THIS MOMENT? Stop and think for a minute. How do you feel in this moment? What is your life like in this moment? What are you grateful for in this moment?
Meditation allows your mind and body to connect with the present moment. It grounds you. It makes things seem so much clearer. It can also be a difficult thing to do, disconnecting from the incessant chatter of our lives but I know in my heart that the more I do it, the easier it gets and if it brings me closer to rediscovering Ordinary Magic again, it is absolutely worth it.
This past year I have been trying to do things for ME; not in a selfish ignore everyone else way but in a nurturing, taking care of myself way. Reconnecting with my writing has been a major thing as has trying to increase my meditation and spiritual (not religious) practice. I am trying to be guided more by my intuition and insight and am listening more to my inner voice; not the negative inner voice we all have at times but the inner allie; the voice that has our back and cheers us on. Meditation allows me to hear that voice through the cacophony of everyday life and embrace the now.
My writing is flowing, I am feeling content, life is good. Above the desk where I write I have five timber letters that spell out the word WRITE (see picture at the top of this post). I bought these during a trip to Melbourne with my sister in May this year. I hoped that they would inspire me to sit down and write more regularly. After hearing Susan’s interview with Jonathan and feeling inspired, I took a piece of sparkly white card (a girl has to have a little sparkle in her life) and in silver pen wrote the words Ordinary Magic. I stuck it onto the wall above my desk as a visual reminder to believe in its magic. It was only later, as I walked past my desk, that I realised my placement of that sparkly card had left me a new message. It now said
WRITE Ordinary Magic
…..and believe me, I’m trying.