Everything happens for a reason [Really?]

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Everything happens for a reason [Really?]

Postby tcm2164 » Thu May 20, 2010 7:11 pm

You are interviewing for your dream job. The preliminary interviews go great and you are assured that you will be hired after one final interview. On your way to the final interview your car breaks down. You miss the appointment and don’t get the job. Disappointed, you complain to your best friend about this seemingly bad luck and s/he tells you “everything happens for a reason”. Not long after, you find another job and fall madly in love with a coworker, the person of your dreams, and get engaged. At your wedding your best friend makes a toast and tells the story of how the two of you would never have met if your car hadn’t broken down, that it was fate [everything happens for a reason]. A year later your spouse dies suddenly. While consoling you, your best friend says everything happens for a reason…

The expression “everything happens for a reason” has never made sense to me. Typically, it is used as a way to explain some seemingly negative event that is beyond one’s control. But it does not explain anything. Stating that everything happens for a reason does not make it more understandable, at least to me.

I think the phrase is a short-hand way of conveying that – “while the reason an event occurred is not apparent to us at this time, there is an unseen order to the world.” There is also the implication that someday there will be a positive event that occurs that could not have happened unless the seemingly negative event had occurred. However, eventually the positive event will be followed by a negative event and so on, and so on.

It seems that this way of trying to make sense of this sequence of events [that we call our life] is pointless. I am not saying that life is pointless, or that it is futile to attempt to make sense of our lives. Just that this approach does not work.

Maybe what is necessary is a shift in perspective. We all have ideas about what is positive and what is negative. As we can see from the story, whether we view something as positive or negative can be dependent on our perspective. What I am proposing is that, at least sometimes, how we perceive something is just a function of our changeable viewpoint and really unimportant.

One lesson we can learn is not to take our judgments [about whether something is positive or negative, good or bad] so seriously. I also think there is a deeper meaning beyond our subjective, time-constricted observations. But we will not gain deeper truth by invoking meaningless sayings. We must be willing to challenge our old beliefs and be open to new approaches. So what are these new approaches, these new ways of understanding that will give us insight into a deeper truth?

I would love to hear everyone’s thoughts on the subject or any topics related to it. ~ Tim
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Re: Everything happens for a reason [Really?]

Postby Sabina » Fri May 21, 2010 1:16 pm

I think the phrase is a short-hand way of conveying that – “while the reason an event occurred is not apparent to us at this time, there is an unseen order to the world.”

Definitely.

There is also the implication that someday there will be a positive event that occurs that could not have happened unless the seemingly negative event had occurred. However, eventually the positive event will be followed by a negative event and so on, and so on.

In other words, life goes on, right?
Isn't that always a positive? If nothing else, it is an opportunity to make new experiences.

Carl Jung coined the word synchronicity to describe temporally coincident occurrences of acausal events. A synchronicity is a meaningful coincidence, and while the meaning may absolutely escape us at times, it doesn't make it any less real.
Not always, but every once in a while we actually get to see this "meaning" crystal clear and almost immediately evident, and I don't mean simply by a line up of events.

Here is an example...
We were in a car, traveling from France to Austria. My husband was driving pretty fast, but he is a good driver, so it wasn't a problem. We were on a highway: him, my daughter, and me.
We left most cars behind us, an occasional monster-machine-sports-car would leave us in its wake, not to be seen again, but for the most part we were the one's passing by cars. There was this one car we passed by, but then it would be in front of us again, or beside us, or behind us. Every once in a while it would take the lead, then us again, then it again, and so on. It wasn't a race or anything like that. I think we were simply driving at a similar speed, and with nothing but the road in front of you, you notice this after the same car appears a few times. I have traveled quite a bit in my life, and while such things do occasionally happen (two cars driving almost parallel to each other), it never lasted for as long as it had in this case. It was simply not possible not to notice it. You had to be blind not to see it!

After some time we took a turn off the highway. It was the wrong turn.. I have no idea anymore why exactly, and I don't like to improvise the details when telling a story. I took the map and opened it up, to see where we can get back on the highway. We were now driving on a small road, somewhat parallel to the highway. A turn was coming up, I told my husband to take it, he said "Where? When?" or something like that, and drove by it. I got upset... but we continued down the same one-way road looking for the next turn back to the high way. It was quite some time before we could make it back, but we eventually made it.

As we entered the highway, we entered a traffic jam, I mean big time. Before, when we were on the highway, it was a smooth ride, but now we were moving slower than walking speed. We had no idea why, and since we couldn't really change anything, we just continued, crammed between other cars, one centimeter at a time.
After what seemed like a long time we saw there there was an accident site ahead of us... as we approached it and looked to the left, we saw that car... the car that had been driving parallel to us for so long, smashed up.. and two or three other cars, all pushed to the side of the highway.
There was a big accident.
If we would have stayed on the highway, there is no doubt that we would have been in it. Injured, or dead, or something along those lines.
For some unexplained reason we left the highway, only to try to make our way back to it, missed the first opportunity to do so, almost as if to keep us off the highway for a bit longer, and then returned to see this.

I think it wasn't our time yet. This is just one example, one story out of a lifetime of meaningful coincidences.
So yes, I am one of those people. I absolutely believe that everything happens for a reason. :)

Sabina
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Re: Everything happens for a reason [Really?]

Postby Ryan » Sat May 22, 2010 11:17 am

Even if you simply take into consideration that things that happen are direct results of other things that have happened... well then... they happened for a reason... didn't they? You might not have realized what all would be a consequence of an initial decision but does that really offset or shade the fact that if things would have been done differently at a certain point in life things (whatever is in question) would have never happened... or at the very least, happened differently?

Everything that happens to you is based upon some earlier decision. Like, in an exaggerated and somewhat ridiculous example, if I look back upon my life and realize that all those painful things that happened to me when I was a teenager would have never happened if I would have never move to Texas. It is not to say that other "bad" things would not have happened but it definitely would have been totally different things.

The only way things could possibly be viewed as not having happened for a reason is if everything that happens in your life is predetermined... but even then it could be said that it is predetermined for a reason and while we not be able to speculate what that reason is, the universe needed things to happen that way for its own reasons.
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Re: Everything happens for a reason [Really?]

Postby dermot » Tue May 25, 2010 9:58 pm

I responded to this topic last night and my internet connection died as i tried to post.....Everything happens for a Reason????

I was saying that i thought a lot of people use this as a lazy excuse to tread the middle ground when confronted with something that puzzles them.
It prevents them with an excuse for not having to think/do something about what has happened to them or to another.

The Catholic church used this line or a similar line like 'Its a miracle'...this was used when there was no explanation, rational or otherwise to a question asked, or to a situation that had developed.

Things do happen for reasons, some are almost imperceptible at the time ...but mostly there are causes and effects.

I'm not ruling out the mysterious, or the most amazing coincidences, or even the miraculous here, who knows whats going on behind the curtain of consciousness, or the veils of perception that exist around us.

The effect of our own energy on events is something to consider also.

One day i rang up a business for an appointment that i wanted for a Thursday afternoon, the secretary whom i knew very well took mischevious delight in telling me all appointments were booked up that particuar afternoon.
In a flash, and from a strong feeling within, i told her she would be ringing me back very shortly with an appointment due to a cancellation.
Somebody did cancel and i got my slot, she was amazed !

I was amazed myself....but i did feel so strongly at the time.

d.
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Re: Everything happens for a reason [Really?]

Postby Sabina » Wed May 26, 2010 2:01 pm

dermot wrote:I was saying that i thought a lot of people use this as a lazy excuse to tread the middle ground when confronted with something that puzzles them.
It prevents them with an excuse for not having to think/do something about what has happened to them or to another.

See Dermot, that option didn't even cross my mind... but it makes sense, because where these is use, there can undoubtedly always be misuse as well.
Kind of like with the What you resist persists line we talked about a while back.
What Tim said matches that, at least in the case when it is just a meaningless statement.
tcm2164 wrote:But we will not gain deeper truth by invoking meaningless sayings. We must be willing to challenge our old beliefs and be open to new approaches.

Of course it's easier if you belong to either of the two groups of people:
    Those for whom it is always a meaningless statement, and
    those for whom it is always a meaningful statement.
Where it could, at least for some people, get a little tricky is with the middle option: agreeing with this statement in some situations, but not to the point of misuse. Differentiating between use and misuse is a skill that can either come naturally or otherwise needs to be developed and nurtured.

Then there is also the simple sober approach, kind of like Ryan explained, that everything does happen for a reason, and that reason is basically something else that happened in the past, so the present is a consequence of the past. The reason for the present are the actions of the past.
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Re: Everything happens for a reason [Really?]

Postby tcm2164 » Fri May 28, 2010 2:57 am

Thanks to everyone for all of the great input on this. That is an amazing story about the car accident, Sabina. Those types of stories really make you wonder “what’s going on behind the curtain of consciousness, or the veils of perception that exist around us” – as Dermot stated so eloquently.

As I was reading your responses, I remembered the first time l heard the expression. I was 20 at the time, my father had just died and I was absolutely shell-shocked, just numb. An old family friend was consoling me at the wake. He said something to the effect of “….your father was a great man. It is a shame he died so young, but everything happens for a reason.”

I remember thinking – what the hell is that supposed to mean? He died because he was sick. That was the reason. So I guess that I developed, what I would call, a negative association about the phrase. Maybe I am “prejudiced” against that way of thinking to this day.

My tendency is to try not to judge specific events as good or bad. Instead I try view them as neutral. For me the reason is hidden behind “the veils of perception." =0)
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