Saturday, May 4, 2024

The Serendipity Plus Synchronicity Equation and the Dilemma and Challenges of Finding True Love

Overlooking a peaceful lagoon
Call it coincidence, happenstance, or fate, but often, there seems to certain elements missing from the equation of love. This goes beyond emotions and connections and even further past attraction and infatuation. When it comes to love, there are different shades and colors that come into play as there are so many different kinds and types of love, but here, I will be focusing on romantic love and meeting the person one is meant or destined to be with.

Before we take a closer look at the special someone, let us talk about love itself. I see love as something that cannot be willed or brought into existence. It is more akin to the allegorical representation of Cupid hitting us with an arrow. Often, it is unexpected and can happen in an instant. We may run into someone and suddenly feel a warm feeling around the heart.

It can also appear unexpectedly. We may be suddenly feeling differently about a friend or a co-worker. This may be initiated through a specific word, gesture, action, or moment, merely a shift in feelings and perception, or an epiphany. In other words, how we see and feel about a person can suddenly and unexpectedly shift. It is like having the rug taken from under your feet and you are left floating in the air. Love almost always has a weightless air about it, and as Kundera might attest, the lightness can be unbearable if it lacks a calibrating counterpoint or influence. Love can also suddenly fly out of the window and leave us emotionally stranded.

Some people believe that there is a soul mate out there, the “perfect partner”, the designated person who wholly understands us and fully complements us. Others say that such a concept, entity, or person is merely a figment of the imagination and wishful thinking. That does not however preclude that any relationship must go through difficulties and challenges and only with the right amount and level of care, communication, and commitment, one can turn it into gold and attain lasting joy and happiness.

Yet not just anyone can do the trick for us. The problem, if you want to call it as such, is that each of us is unique, not only in personality but also in our past experiences, and we are often strongly influenced by unconscious negative thoughts, feelings, moments, and narrative patterns in addition to the constant rewiring and readjustment that our mind and heart go through due to living in and traveling through time and space. Put differently, we are not only different to begin with, but our experiences constantly mold and shape us in unique and idiosyncratic ways.

Notwithstanding, there is an underlying and utterly complex network of connections and requirements necessary to meet someone special, let alone the one. First off, there is the matter of timing. To physically meet someone, we need to occupy the same time and space. This could be a café, a bar, a workplace, church, or a party, but we need to be there at the same time.

Secondly, we need to notice each other. How many times have we walked past someone who has looked at us with sparkling romantic or longing eyes, and we just did not register it and walked on. There is a level of awareness and mindfulness necessary that goes beyond merely occupying the same space.

Let us say that our eyes do meet. If it is a stranger in a public place, the next step can be very difficult, again relative to personality characteristics and personal experiences. One or both may be too shy or timid to initiate the interaction. How many thousands and millions of people pass each other with a half-smile but do not utter a single word. How many matches and connections could have been potentially made if one of them had the guts to utter a simple hello to the other. Ironically and sadly, we find it much easier to express our anger and dissatisfaction than our interest and curiosity.

But we are going to assume that all these hurdles are met and overcome. We meet the other person, we perceive and notice the immediate chemistry, we strike up a lively conversation, and a connection is made and established. What is the next step?

It depends. This is where another facet of synchronicity is at play. We have had the fortune to meet the person we are meant to meet and both of us noticed and realized this. It is for a lack of a better word, love at first sight. We are going to assume that there are no other complications, they are not tourists, do not have visa issues, do not live too far away, etc.

Yet what exactly is each person’s relationship status? To claim that two people who are soul mates would meet in the prime of their lives while both happen to be single and do not have any other major concerns and impediments in terms of entering a life-long relationship seems like a bit of a stretch. At the least, one of them may be in a relationship, serious or not.

This is an added complication, especially if one has been in a longer intimate relationship or if one or both is married and even has a family. Serendipity may in fact bring us together at any point of our lives and what if we had an established path and were now asked to make a serious detour. Should we drop and abandon everything to engage in this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity or should we just ignore it and let it fly? Should we fight and repress it?

The cynic and the realist would not engage in such a risky if not reckless undertaking. We may feel the spark and chemistry, but we do not know the other person. To take a leap in such a way and manner can be akin to suicide, the potential ending of everything that went before. Do you put all your money on a single card? Are you fully aware of the chances and probabilities at play and what a loss would and could mean to you and others around you?

And yet, like anything worthwhile and fulfilling in life, one must make a decision and even sacrifice or give up a thing or two in the process. It is never easy and that could be a sign that it is a potentially meaningful choice. So far, we have considered synchronicity, various coincidences and happenstances putting us on the same path of life regardless of our current circumstances, relationship status, and other types of considerations.  

The good news is that if you believe in fate or destiny, it tends to be, thankfully, stubborn and insistent. It does not just let go or drop the endeavor but will give you various signs and signals like Gatsby’s flashing green light on the bay or other more hidden and subtle clues. Dreams may also play a role and guide you in a certain direction. It is, however, each individual’s responsibility to see and recognize this and then to decide what to do about it. Fate cannot, and of course will not, force you to be with the ideal mate; love though a forceful feeling is much too precious for that and can be ignored, downplayed, and repressed at one’s own cost and peril.

Love is also rare. Although some claim to fall in love every other day, that may be doubtful because love is not a common or ordinary thing or feeling. If you are asked to think about a person that you have truly loved, that is with emotion, passion, and abandon, there tends to be only a few or perhaps just one person that comes to mind.

If it is the person, you are currently with, then count yourself lucky, but the relationships we have are not always based on true love. There are other factors that are being considered, which factor in this choice and equation. Some of them may be unconscious like the quest for a father or mother figure or replacement. Others are more practical as certain types of evident benefits, such as finances, status, looks, or connections.

Even if you have married your high school sweetheart, you may have doubts now, whether they are justified or not. Or you may meet someone else who makes your heart skip a beat, and you are certain it is not merely attraction but goes much deeper than that.

Many hearts are broken on the path of life. Some of the people may not have been a good fit for us; we may feel a lack of love, interest, difference in priorities, or even a clash of personalities that can become more pronounced over time. And some people change. It could be us or the partner, or both. If the path we are talking about is significantly different, one or both would suffer in the process.  

As can be seen, love is fickle, precious, and has a mind of its own. It can come out of nowhere and drop and enter into our lives unexcepted, perhaps even wreak a little or a lot of havoc, or it might never cross paths with us. At the same time, we might be too occupied and preoccupied to see and feel it. We may be set on a routine that gives us comfort and safety and are not willing to budge even a bit despite not feeling fully alive throughout.

In that sense, love is a bit like vocation. You may be engaged in work that is pleasant, brings in sufficient amount of money and that you are good at, but it just does not fulfill you in a profound sense. It is not the dream job you had imagined in your childhood and so something will feel amiss, and you may not find lasting joy and fulfilment. Love is not that different in the sense that you know when it is there but unlike vocation it cannot be conjured or realized with work and effort only. There is a magical and even mystical aspect to it that can be often out of reach. While we have a certain say and can influence certain actions, some things will remain out of reach no matter how hard we try.

But when you are fortunate enough to have serendipity knock at your door, listen up. Consider answering, if only out of curiosity at first or because it is the polite thing to do. Unlike coincidence, serendipity tends to be fortunate, and it often includes elements of synchronicity. It is not commonplace and may not occur again. It is the universe communicating with you and trying to get through to you. It has the best intentions in mind. But in the end, you are the one who has to respond and take action, and it is your call after all.

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