I went down a rabbit hole last week researching the idea of randomness. It all started with a book on quantum physics I’ve been reading. The author mentioned, as an aside, that mathematicians have always struggled to prove that anything in our world is truly random.
This statement stirred something in me.
Maybe because the idea that ‘life is random’ directly threatens my need to believe the opposite: that life is deeply intentional and meaningful. The concept of: ‘everything is random’ has always felt scary and disorienting. To hear that it may not even exist as a scientific reality was extremely soothing to me.
David Kessler, who worked with Elizabeth Kubler Ross to identify and publish the 5 stages of grief has added a 6th stage, more recently, to the list:
Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance and also: Making Meaning.
Because acceptance, while fundamental to a life of peace and stability, is not enough. Maybe acceptance is a place we come to, along the journey of healing our losses, the way a clearing in the woods is a physical place we come to along a hike. But there is still a longing in us to do something once we arrive. Set up camp. Take a picture. Collect wildflowers or make a snow angel.
I was here. It meant something that I was here.
Our need for meaning is real. It’s tied up, in the long history of our species, with storytelling. The way we explain, rationalize, digest and hold the stuff that happens to us in our lives becomes our framework.
This is also where the trouble starts for many of us as children.
If our caretakers mistreat us, we are extremely prone to making it our fault as a means of making sense of something senseless. We must have done something to warrant that reaction, that hurt. We must be inherently “bad” or “wrong”.
If we don’t have our stories right, we don’t have our framework sturdy.
It’s like trying to navigate with a broken compass or ride a bike with crooked handlebars. We know where we’re trying to go but we end up in circles or on the side of the road. This is because what we’ve trained ourselves to believe about ourselves is off.
That faulty thinking was a coping mechanism that served us once and walked us through some very dark days. But if those days are in the past and we haven’t taken the time to release ourselves from the prison of these distorted , inner thought patterns, we will find ourselves stuck and hurting; out of alignment with the destiny we’re meant to be living.
If nothing is random, if every single one of us is meant to be here, having the experiences we’re having in this incarnation, then we can stop fighting the current of our lives. We can take great solace in believing that there is divine order and meaning to our universe. More than we may be able to grasp or understand. Maybe it’s not our job to fully, intellectually “get it”. We can still surrender to the flow and let it carry us, powerfully forward, all the same.
Till next time, beautiful Souls!