chownah wrote: ↑Thu Jan 11, 2018 4:16 am
I brought only the first paragraph of your post because while the rest is intersting it doesn't seem to apply directly to the question I asked.
The idea that "meaningful" implies "causal" or "purposive" is mostly what science is about....so....finding meaning in coincidence with this definition of "meaningful" can be called science......is that right? So, I guess in a way we could say that if understand a coincidence, its origins and general effect then I can predict the future in some cases and also to have a pre-formed view as to what happens in similar coincidences.....so maybe predicting the future and seeing patterns in experience is what gives "meaning" to coincidence. Seems that the "meaning" does not come from the items which are coincident but from the mental fabrications made by the observer....is that right?
You say, "Things don't seem to have a meaning on their own, but in relation to something else. " which is a good set up for the question I am asking. To restate: I realise that coincidence (now you use "things"....perhaps this broadens the discussion) don't seem to have a meaning on their own.....this is exactly why I asked about what gives a coincidence meaning. Can you say what it is?.....directly?.....or at least in a couple of sentences? I don't want to overburden you with expectations of a long reply.
edit: I don't claim to understand your position but so far it seems that you are saying that it is scientific sorts of activity which give meaning to coincidence.
I started my post by saying "for an average person like me" to avoid giving the false impression that i am a sage who see and experience signs! I also know of synchronicity (as a theory) but i preferred not to quote an external source but to convey how my mind try to make sense of it especially i am generally a skeptic.
The idea of meaningful coincidences is paradoxical, because the former implies causal, and the later implies acausal, but generally, the belief in one unifying truth behind appearances seem to give meaning to some
To speak from my own experience, since i started to practice the dhamma, i started to notice that the more we are detached, the more things go our way, which is in fact counter intuitive in the sense that usually people teach you that the more you want things, the more you get them. No wonder, the book "the secret" was a best seller, because its telling people to fantasize all the time about what they want (they call it the law of attraction).
For instance, finding a job is very difficult in my country. When i decided to leave my old job and to start volunteering i had faith, and faith is the opposite of fear. I ended up getting a good job, working with mostly good people without ever applying for it. I was a volunteer and they offered me the job, i never asked.
Where i live, Buddhism has no existence, but one of my previous colleagues had a small Buddha statue decorating her office. I saw it as a good sign/omen (considering how unlikely to find/encounter such a thing in my country) and she bought it from Burma when she was invited by some Buddhists who visited my country to participate in an event related to faith based campaign organized by the organization we work for, and when she was going to resign, she told me that i can take it when she leaves. This gave rise to feelings of greed in me because i wanted the statue to confirm an idea in my mind that i am, somehow, on the right direction. To my disappointment, she left the statue along with other things in her office but forgot to give it to me and it ended up in the office of another colleague. I wanted to tell him that the statue was promised to me but reminded myself that Buddhism is about letting go and i thought that i should be happy for him for getting the statue (even though the statue does not represent to him the same meaning it represents to me). Everyone in the office knows that i am a Buddhist, and the guy implied that he can give the statue if i want it, but i decided to never ask for it. On my last birthday, i found the statue on my office as a gift when i forgot about the whole thing!
Usually, i love traveling and i made a habit of traveling every year and i usually do it during Ramdan because i don't like the whole atmosphere. Because i spend too much money, last year i could not travel and i accepted the situation reflecting on how lucky i am to travel many times in my life and fulfilling my desires while the vast majority could not leave the country even once. Last December, there was a conference in Barcelona, and all staff members from the three countries where our organization operates wanted to go, but i never asked wishing happiness to whoever goes. It was meant to be our director who will attend, but due to certain circumstances, he could not get the visa. I was sitting at home and all of the sudden i received a phone call from my supervisor asking me if i can go to Barcelona. I was the only one who did not ask for it, and it came to me, and i suspect it caused a bit of jealousy from some colleagues especially those who were too desperate to go.
If you tell me two years ago that i would have my own place to have the time and space for myself, i would not believed it. I spent all my money traveling, engaging in hedonistic and risky behavior. And now, i am owning a small apartment where i can have time for myself. My mother helped me to purchase a small apartment, i never asked for it and in fact, i did not want my mother to spend her money, but it happened.
The above might mean nothing to most people, but i am increasingly believing that the more i am detached, the more i am safe both internally and externally. It also worth noting that detachment cannot be faked, you cannot tell yourself that you are detached when your real intention is to attach. Life seem to be most generous to those who don't ask. And this in turn gave rise to feelings of gratitude inside me, and a wish to give something back.
And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"
This was the last word of the Tathagata.