Life · Philosophy

Coincidence? I think not

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A former teammate of mine had this theory about puns that I think is probably one of the smarter things I’ve ever heard. He meant it as a joke, I think, but I took it very seriously and have carried it with me for the past several years. His thinking was this: when we are talking about, researching, exploring, etc., a certain topic, our brain activates all of the words about that topic and brings them to the forefront of our knowledge base. People with a big knowledge base have to do this because they can’t just have all of the information floating around all the time. Because of this, we are more likely to have puns in our speech when discussing those topics. If we are talking about bikes, for example, we might use the phrase “in my wheelhouse” because we have bike knowledge hanging out front and center and the word “wheel” is right there ready to be plucked. Pretty clever, isn’t it?

This is why we often have to say, “no pun intended” when having serious conversations. We have words about a topic ready to be grabbed for discussion, but we use them in all sorts of ways. Our brains are smart enough to sort out what words we need from what words we don’t but not clever enough to remove the homophones, homonyms, and others. I really love this way of thinking, and it makes so much sense to me. When I quickly change topics I need to sort of regroup my thinking and get my right words “activated” and this could be why. It explains a lot about me and the way I talk and think.

The theory here has made me come to another very strong conclusion, and that is that I do not believe there really are coincidences. I think that there are a lot of amazing things that happen every day, and I believe that all of the seemingly small and unimportant things in our lives are connected. I also believe that everything in our lives is connected because it serves a greater purpose or a greater good. When we are thinking about certain things, though, people, events, anything, we activate one of those cool parts of our brain. Just like the puns, we are more willing to see things that are in a certain vein, and we just think they’re coincidences. There’s something good happening with these coincidences.

The world hasn’t been an easy place for me to be lately, and I have been trying to find my purpose in it. When I was a classroom teacher, it was easy to see this purpose daily. The same is true of when Daughter was little, but now she needs me less and less. The concept of coincidence not being real but being the times we are actually able to see part of the plan, the big picture, the connectedness of everything, up close and personal, came to me about a week ago in a moment of sadness. Then, a good friend sent me a message about coincidence while I was preparing to write this. Coincidence? I don’t believe it is. What I do believe is that my friend somehow knew, in a message from God or the Universe or whatever it is you believe, that I needed a gentle reminder that I am part of this whole big thing. That I have a place in it and that I matter. Coincidences are really the world telling you that you’re loved and to keep going. You’re a member of the big picture, and we need you. So keep seeing the coincidences and remember that they are evidence of love.

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