If something fortunate and yet unplanned happened accidentally, we call it serendipity. Being more creative and useful, it is a sort of gift that a series of unexpected accidents give us in one way or another. To receive such gifts, we even welcome accidents and troubles. Often, we can recall our problems and failures ended up as genuine creative outcomes in the broader, higher, or deeper perspectives in retrospect.
What is serendipity?
A type of serendipity we often experience is perhaps on writing. We usually have to come up with an initial idea. We can never start writing unless and until a specific image is ready. We carefully prepare an outline; however, the actual writing doesn’t flow and end as we initially planned. It deviates from anything initial throughout the process of writing.
As we write, possibly in the state of flow, we should encounter new ideas, novel storylines, and witty anecdotes, etc. at the very moment of writing. Some writers welcome and embrace such accidents. Others don’t and stick to the initial idea and outline. In this case, the former is serendipitous. The latter often remains stiff and boring. It may be one of the reasons why some textbooks or official documents are so.
Serendipity is not only for writing but on life itself.
When we wake up every morning, can we foresee everything that will take place and that you experience completely? We can imagine our main activities, but not everything and every detail. The day we are supposed to spend is a series of unknown mystery. Our planned activities would never be the same as what we mentally rehearsed. There must be numerous changes and additions throughout the day. At the end of our day, we realize that our precious, special new day was unknown and mysterious only a day before.
Therefore, as we end the day, it is no longer unknown but known, no longer a mystery but a memory, and no longer anxious pressure but precious treasure. The day should never be the same as what we planned because of serendipity. Otherwise, the day ends up as a monotonous duplication, like a mere document that we never changed from the initial plan.
Thich Nhat Hanh said as follows in his essay, Peace is Every Step.
Waking up this morning, I smile. Twenty-four brand new hours are before me. I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion.
We tend to think that serendipity is the only lucky accident we rarely encounter. If something unexpected happens and only if it entails a fortunate invention, we could call such accident serendipity.
Is that so?
What does it mean when we say something fortunate happens accidentally? It should be only for our specific activities such as writing, inventing, and so on? As Thich Nhat Hanh said, every moment can be brand new, and serendipity. Because if we are mindful enough of every moment that takes place as we live, this very moment must be fortunate, lucky, and creative, that we can be grateful. Thich Nhat Hanh says as follows:
There is no way to happiness – happiness is the way.
In other words, every moment of the way is happiness. We don’t spend every moment as a dull, unhappy moment. No, we should never do so. Being mindful, we can be aware that every moment is a creative process in receiving a gift of serendipity, and we are happy on our way.
So, life is serendipity.
Everything is taking place in the universe. But then, nobody has ever imagined every deal of it beforehand, perhaps except for God. So is everyone.
Even my very existence is serendipity. My parents did not imagine me as who I am other than their idea of having a child. Even I’m sure that I have grown up in such a way that they didn’t imagine. Who I am now is the result of numerous serendipities in my life, my parents, and the creation of the universe itself.
If you meet someone you love, he or she is serendipity. If you meet someone you dislike, even he or she can be so as well. If you are doing what you love, that is serendipity. If you are doing what you dislike, even that can be so as well. Who knows? God knows. Everything and everyone in our lives seem accidental and yet can be “fortunate” as a gift of serendipity, because we didn’t plan. He planned.
And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.Romans 8:28
Ultimately, we are all here and will be somewhere because of the Big Bang and the rest of everything and everyone.
All are unexceptionally serendipitous in the creation of the universe, including these fundamental questions:
Why is there something rather than nothing? Why is anything at all?
One answer is that it just took place, fortunately. It is serendipity. It is a gift that happened in the very process of creation. And every day and every moment, we are embracing gifts of serendipity. We can be aware of it. So, we live every moment of life serendipitously.
Image by Annie Spratt