It’s often curious to me how people can manage to find a coincidence whenever they need one. Instead of just following their heart and doing what they want to do on its own merit—for no other reason that it makes them feel good and it’s what they want to do—they search for some outside sign that what they’re about to do has some cosmic or Universal approval.
Many years ago I had a friend who had been told at some point in her childhood that if she heard a “knock,” then it meant she was doing or contemplating doing the right thing. And the knock could have been anything. Almost any sound even remotely resembling a knock—a creak in the frame of the house, any sound from the neighboring apartment, a distant car door slamming, someone hitting their head on the concrete—if she heard it, it was a knock. She’d be talking about something or thinking about something and, somewhere, there’d be a knock or thump. She’d say, “Knock! I’m doing the right thing!”
I had a coworker once who’d met the woman of his dreams. Once day another employee discovered that he’d made a list of all the things he felt that he and she had in common. Of course, we thought he was really stretching some of them to create a greater sense of commonality, but he was dumbstruck in love. What can you do? Still, we (and by we, I mean me) took time to write a long list of other things they had in common: They both drove cars! The cars had tires! And steering wheels! Both people were affected by gravity! Neither could see with their eyes closed!
I was a jerk even then.
I mean, if you want to do something, just do it. You don’t have to look for a sign!
Comedian Amy Schumer, on her Comedy Central TV program, did a hilarious bit about 20-something women looking for signs from the Universe. Its premise was that the Universe exists only as a force to send guidance to white women in their 20’s. In one part, a young woman (Amy) was telling another that she’d been getting upset because she’d been sleeping with her married boss for six months and felt that he was never going to leave his wife. Then she said that a girl in front of her in yoga class had a shirt that said “chill” on it so she knew it was the Universe’s way of telling her to just keep sleeping with her boss. Plus the segment featured Bill Nye the Science Guy and that made it even funnier to me.
I’ll grant you that some coincidences in this world are, indeed, otherworldly. Amazing incidents like two people meeting after decades apart, only to discover that they’d lived their whole lives but a few blocks away from each other.
Or they’re strange; like someone gets a heavy electric shock and is suddenly fluent in another language.
There’s one that’s been going around on the internet about a Scottish farmer saving a boy from a bog. Allegedly, the boy’s father, a nobleman, repays the lifesaving incident by sending the farmer’s son to college and he becomes the inventor of penicillin and that penicillin eventually saves the life of the nobleman’s son, who turns out to be Winston Churchill. Of course, there is nothing in Churchill’s biography that comes remotely close to resembling that.
But people love these strange coincidences. There are the ones about all the similarities between Presidents Lincoln and Kennedy. There’s tons about 9/11. There are so many strange cases being reported on the internet that they become even harder to believe.
But, in an effort to show you how these strange coincidences can happen to anyone, here’s one that happened to me that is beyond the fantastic.
First I have to tell you that I have a cousin who taught himself to play the piano. He just sat down one day and began to play, while I have never been able to play the piano. I couldn’t even hold the concept in my head. I mean, the notion of using ten fingers to play ten different keys, your hands moving in opposite directions and at what seemed to me to be conflicting rhythms, was beyond what I could even fathom.
I had no concept of meter or time signatures or the various keys or the difference between the treble and bass clefs. Sheet music looked like a bunch of disarrayed dots. It meant nothing to me. It may as well have been in Braille. I knew nothing of playing the piano except that the keys were black and white. That’s it.
Then—and I know you’re not going to believe this—one day I was walking beneath some scaffolding; someplace I probably shouldn’t have been. Of all things, I was thinking about pianos. Suddenly, an unopened gallon of paint fell from the platform and hit me square on the head. Apparently I was unconscious for a few minutes. But then, without any previous ability to play the piano, it miraculously turns out that for the next four to six weeks, I inexplicably acquired the ability to sit in a chair with a stupefied look on my face and drool like an idiot.
Oh. And a few years later I saw my cousin at a family gathering.
There are some coincidences you just can’t explain.
Anyway. Do listen to your heart. Follow its guidance. That’s your real message from the Universe.