Last week I was rear-ended during the morning commute. Well, not me but my car. It was an accident, but it’s not the accident that was significant. It’s what happened in my thought process immediately after.
With my daughter in the car, you would think that my first thought was to make sure that she was ok. And you are right ;P
You would think that my next thought would be to make sure that everyone else involved was ok. And you are wrong.
The second immediate thought was not of others’ well-being, mine included. It was a question, Why? As in Why Me? As in What is this terrible wrong that I have done to deserve this? Poor me.
Have you ever heard that question in your head when unexpected negative events happen? Accidents and illnesses, heartaches and heartbreaks? Interesting how we don’t tend to dwell on this thought as deeply when something great happens. Oh no, why did I deserve to win a lottery? So unfair!
But why did this happen?
On the first look, this seemingly random accident involved only me and one other driver.
But looking at a bigger picture, there were at least 3 other drivers involved that led to the crashing: the driver pressing breaks in front of me, and the drivers on either side of me who prevented the car behind me to change lanes in the last moment.
And if we extend the picture still, I can easily count tens more – the one that 1 minute earlier squeezed in front of me, which ruffled my feathers and made me change lanes. And the one that was going slower than others to make sure I would arrive at the final scene at the right moment. Then the car who first slammed on the breaks who knows how far ahead, forcing the one behind to do the same, and then the one and then the one, until it was my turn, then the turn of the driver behind me.
Like an intricate game of checkers.
Coincidence? Chance? Or even a Conspiracy of the morning commuters, like a mob dance?
Or was it a divine intervention? Was I supposed to arrive at my final destination later than planned? Hmm …
It gets better. Maybe it was a punishment. Perhaps I was judging and attacking someone in my thoughts, and, according to the Law of Attraction, the negative vibes attracted the crash. Except that I wasn’t attacking anyone. I was practicing times-table with my kid. We love math, the car was filled with love!
There is also the option that bad things happen for the same reason as good things. To reward us. Not with joy and a suitcase full of money, but with inspiration and lessons which we perceive as punishment, just as my kids think that eating vegetables is a punishment. Hence Poor Me, instead of Thank You.
All these questions and answers have been bugging humans for thousands of years, probably longer.
The sage of Taoism, Lieh-tzu, explains,
“How we explain coincidences depends on how we see the world. Is everything connected, so that events create resonances like ripples across a net? Or do things merely co-occur and we give meaning to these co-occurrences based on our belief system? Lieh-tzu’s answer: It’s all in how you think.” ― Lieh-tzu: A Taoist Guide to Practical Living
Victor Frankl, the survivor of WWII Holocaust says, and I am paraphrasing here, that if you find meaning in your suffering, the suffering becomes your strength. If not, it will tear you down, weigh you down, and hold you down.
Summa summarum: The meaning YOU give to your grievances in order to move forward is dependent on how you think and what you believe in. And that in itself IS THE RIGHT ANSWER, no matter what anyone else says or thinks. Your answer is enough as long as it brings you peace.
Why was my car rear-ended then? Well, the last sentence I told to the other driver as I was shaking his hand was,
It looks like we were meant to meet today.