Monday, November 17, 2008


No less than 3 friends called or e-mailed this week to tell me about various difficulties besieging them. Other friends had similar issues, that I’d heard about through the grapevine. What is unusual is not the fact that they have difficulties—everyone does at one time or another. The interesting part is how similar things happen in “clumps”. In short, there appears to be a pattern.

I’m an observer by nature, and I can’t help but wonder what these patterns mean, if anything. There are more general patterns that are harder to pin down—the sense that things are being shaken up, or the sense that things are stuck and slowing down, in a more “global” sense. Other patterns are more specific—they may be events and other “symbols” tied together. For instance—I was out with a friend over the weekend, and while chatting over lunch, we noticed that a drinking glass she received was perfectly cracked in the middle, but did not break or leak. In the course of 24 hours, I learned from several friends about cracked relationships, cracked-up cars, and emotional crack-ups at work. No one was completely broken from any of these things, but everyone was “cracked” in some fashion.

Perhaps this is the way my mind organizes experiences in an attempt to find meaning in them. I have the belief that people and experiences are connected in some unconscious way that we will never fully understand, but that we may be able to find meaningful patterns if we look for them.

On the other hand—sometimes the point of the pattern is to show us that there is no pattern, or may as well not be one. My guru’s visits to New York from India are a good example of this. It’s almost guaranteed that no matter what is planned for the day, it will be completely screwed up by the time I leave. And yet, everything still happens at these times that needs to happen. Amma did say once, “If you want to make God laugh, tell Him your plans.” As humans, we would like to find order in uncertainty, so we are great believers in causality. While you can generally find logical causes for things, sometimes you just can’t analyze and evaluate experiences in that way, so you just accept it. It lies somewhere between faith and reason—or maybe outside of both. In the end, I’ve learned it’s better to observe the pattern, and not to discount it, but not to place too much meaning on it, either.

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