Breaking out of our standard daily routines seems to increase the likelihood of coincidences. In May, 2015, I did something out of the ordinary. I went with a friend to the downtown mall of Charlottesville and waited while she got her hair trimmed. While walking around, I ran into another friend Mike Grosso. We had not seen each other for several weeks.
I had been clearing out unneeded stuff from my house. Some of that stuff was in my car ready to be given away.
Among the many things to be donated was a copy of two different chapters from a book by Martin Buber on the Chasids, a mystical branch of Judaism. The leader of the movement, the Baal Shem Tov, Master of the Good Name, (1698-1760) was said to be able to teleport himself and his carriage to distant places in the service of good. I wanted to give the extra copy of these chapters to someone who would appreciate them. Perhaps the local synagogue?
Mike has written a book about St Joseph of Copertino (1603-1663), The Man Who Could Fly. Joseph often elevated when praying. The book is a great read. Mike marshals rich historical detail to support the claim of levitation and provides a compelling explanation for how Joseph may have done it.
Over coffee I asked him whether he knew about the Baal Shem Tov another man of extraordinary talent. He did not.
I went to the car and got the chapters for him. He was delighted to receive them and once having read them called them “a treasure”.
The chapters had found a good home!
It was as if we had arranged to meet.
This apparently chance encounter offers a clue to underlying, subconscious activities of our minds. Freud discovered and therapists now know that slips of the tongue and out-of-context behaviors can reveal underlying subconscious dynamics that influence our daily thoughts, emotions and behaviors. By following the trail of these unexpected occurrences I help patients find hidden forces that when brought to the light of awareness can be integrated into living life more fully. And so it is with certain groups of coincidences that reveal hidden aspects of our minds— the ability to find our way to needed people and situations without knowing how. In this case Mike and I found a good person to receive the chapters about the Baal Shem Tov.