The meaning “serendipity” first came up in 1754 when English writer Horace Walper used it as a reference to a Persian fairy tale called “The Three Princes of Serendip.” In this fairytale, the princes’ clever ways helped them uncover hidden clues that led them to the most bizarre discoveries —sort of like ancient-times-Sherlock Holmes.
On that note, according to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, the meaning of serendipity relies on finding valuable things not sought for. Serendipity is about being aware of hidden messages in every aspect of your life. It’s about seeking meaning in the unexpected. It’s paying close attention to the surroundings, and therefore bumping into unexpected discoveries.
If you’re mindful enough, you’ll notice that serendipity can be found in all areas of your life. You just have to be able to connect the dots from the unforeseen.
Let’s now take into consideration serendipity’s meaning behind research, death, and love.
Serendipity meaning behind research
Some of the most important scientific discoveries come up while researching other things entirely. For instance, antibiotics came into existence by chance. While studying bacteria, Alexander Fleming came across penicillin. One of his Petri dishes became accidentally contaminated with mold, which prevented bacteria from regrouping. This was a favorable incident that led to the creation of antibiotics to fight off bacteria.
Another well-known scientific discovery by a serendipitous accident was the development of The Big Bang Theory. While working with the Holmdel Antenna in New Jersey, astronomers Wilson and Penzias discovered a background noise that could possibly explain the creation of the Universe.
Even the inventions of coca-cola and the microwave came up by serendipitous accidents. But how about finding unexpected meaning behind emotional pain?
Serendipity meaning behind death
Finding meaning behind death can make grief much more cope-able. If you lose someone you love, you’ll long to understand that it meant something. That this agony is not just pointless or useless. You’ll want to understand that the lives of your loved ones meant something. Not that “They’re gone, and that’s it.”
This means that losing someone you held dearly in your heart is an experience that marks you. This is why going through moments of grief may be the most defining experience in your life —and perhaps the most difficult, as well. The death of a loved one can tender you in such a way that it forces you to understand the underlying meaning of life.
For instance, one of the most meaningful realizations I made after losing my sister was understanding that I was still connected to her even after death. This gave me the openness to comprehend that I’m inherently connected to everything around me. It made me believe in life after death, as this belief in the unseen keeps me connected to my sister. But not only an emotional connection, but connection where there’s constant communication. A mind-body-and soul connection, if you may.
Even the most skeptic longs to understand that there is something a lot more meaningful than just their mere existence, or for that matter, the existence of their loved ones.
But how can you explain a profound connection with everything?
According to psychologist Carl Jung, all of our human psyches are built the same way. As such, we all have instinctual and similar ways of organizing certain ideas. In other words, our unconscious is collective, meaning that it’s identical to everyone else’s. All of our psyches are strongly connected.
Additionally, we are also closely intertwined with Mother Nature and every sentient being on Earth. We used to coexist freely and directly with nature, therefore we are deeply connected with it in unimaginable ways. Sadly, the modern lifestyle has alienated us from our natural home. The benefits of nature are numerous, as it can reset us and “bring us back” to our true selves.
On a similar note, theoretical physicist and cosmologist Lawrence Krauss talks about how anatomically speaking you are connected to everything alive on Earth. Every time you breathe, you breathe in atoms from everything that’s around you: from the breath of living beings to the atoms of deceased people or animals.
Krauss also mentions a literal physical connection with the Universe. According to him, every atom within our bodies has been on Earth for over four billion years. The atoms that compose our bodies —carbon, nitrogen, oxygen, and iron— all come straight from the stars. All living things currently exist because of the explosion of stars that subsequently gave way to life.
Our bodies provide living histories of the history of the Universe.Lawrence M. krauss
A connection with Mars
It is interesting to realize that in that sense, every atom within our bodies has been inside a star. But our connection with the Universe is not only bound to the stars. There’s also a possibility that life originated on Mars as materials are constantly kicked out from Mars to Earth by meteors and comets. So there is also a connection with the planets.
If there really are profound connections in everything that’s around us, does this mean that perhaps there’s also a connection between each one of us, and also the entire Universe? Could this explain mystic experiences, such as synchronicities found in our everyday life?
Have you ever had a strong significant dream, and later encounter signs throughout the day that pinpoints the message behind this dream? Or perhaps, you have had someone in the back of your mind for days, to later receive an unexpected phone call from said person?
These are all examples of synchronicities, a term first introduced by Jung in 1930. He defined synchronicities as meaningful unrelated events or coincidences with no apparent explanation or cause between them. We can view synchronicities as a playful dance between the human mind and the environment. It’s an interconnectedness between the physical world and the psyche.
In his book, Synchronicity, An Acausal Connecting Principle, Jung used one of his personal experiences to explain synchronicity. One of his patients was at the moment describing one of her dreams concerning a scarab when a scarabaeid beetle suddenly knocked against the closed window. What meaningful message could be behind this bizarre event?
When researching the global meaning of beetles, Jung found that they represent rebirth. This realization connected with the current emotional turmoil of the patient. She was having a strong emotional resistance to heal and thrive. This newfound connection really pushed her to come out of this impasse. But how can she dream of a scarab when she didn’t have any conscious idea of what it symbolized?
This can only be explained with Jung’s theory on the Collective Unconscious.
As aforementioned, all of our unconscious have a similar way of organizing ideas. Therefore, representations (or archetypes) are all the same in each and every one of our unconscious. The meaning behind a scarab is unconsciously identical for every one of us. It is a worldwide symbolic representation. Her unconscious was trying to tell her something, and the environment (or the Universe) became in sync with her psyche in order to get the meaning across.
Being able to find meaning behind synchronicities can be therapeutic, and it can even guide you into inner growth and spiritual development. Some attribute these meanings to God, fate, and/or spirituality, while others attribute it to the chance of probability.
So let’s explore the Probability Theory
The probability theory focuses on a statistical paradox: low probability events have high chances of occurring. There is a significant amount of coincidences available between an active human mind in ordinary environments. It’s just that people underestimate the probability of “unlikely events.”
This theory makes plenty of sense, however, synchronicities “break all odds” in terms of probability calculus. Jung explored this theory in detail. In his research, he found that there is a probability of 1:4,114,545 for telepathic predictions of death. This tells us that the warning of death by “chance” is more than four million times more improbable than explaining it as “telepathic,” or perhaps, as a simple meaningful coincidence.
So how often do these “chance” events take place?
There is plenty of research that explores how frequent moments of synchronicity are present in everyday life. This research found that “weird coincidences” are relatively normative and can occur frequently throughout one’s life course. It goes from receiving communication from a deceased loved one, to going through obstacles in your career that end up leading to a much more convenient path.
It makes you think: synchronicity may just be an indicator that we are much more connected to our surroundings than we realize. Let’s now explore in which ways we could possibly use this in our favor:
Serendipity meaning behind love
Wouldn’t you say that the best kind of love is the one that arrives unexpectedly? Or in the most random places? To better portray chance events leading to love, let’s take the movie Serendipity as an example.
Jonathan meets Sara by chance, and although they take separate paths, Jon feels such an odd and strong connection with her that he takes it upon himself to find her once again. If you’re a fool for chick-flicks like myself, you’ll truly enjoy this movie. It’s pretty fun to watch how throughout the movie, the Universe had Jon’s back on his search for love.
In this sense, nothing happens by accident when your entire being (or soul) gets involved in a quest. This how things start to manifest. Alignment with the Universe becomes a thing.
So, if you’re truly connected to your surroundings, what would it mean if you kept yourself in constant communication with the Universe? What if your energies, your thoughts, and your positivity can really attract your deepest wants and desires? Perhaps you’ll receive an answer (if you listen attentively). Or perhaps you’ll create such a strong alliance with the Universe that it will start to positively respond to your strongest desires —in perfect synchronicity.
The Universe has your back
It’s important to point out though, that it’s very hard to understand how the Universe can really have your back when things don’t go your way. That being said:
“Obstacles are detours in the right direction.”Gabrielle bernstein
Sometimes youneed to step back and let the Universe take the lead. It is in the absence of resistance that you can realign with the Universe. And sometimes the Universe is trying to teach you something you need to learn in order to grow, and as such, it will keep throwing obstacles at you until you finally learn the lesson.
Anyhow, considering your connection with the stars, the planets, nature, and even all human psyches, what do you think about serendipity’s meaning? Do you think that there is an interdependence between mind and matter and that as so, there’s an entire world of symbols awaiting our recognition? Or do you think, perhaps, that we live in a world that is cold, unresponsive, and completely disconnected from us?
So, is there an underlying meaning behind serendipity? Let us know what you think in the comments below!
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How to reference this article
Pelaez.S (2021). Serendipity Meaning PsycheSpot https://www.psychespot.com/mental-awareness/serendipity-meaning
APA style references
Beitman, B. D., Celebi, E., & Coleman, S. L. (2010). Synchronicity and healing. Integrative psychiatry, 445-484.
Coleman, S. L., Beitman, B. D., & Celebi, E. (2009). Weird coincidences commonly occur. Psychiatric Annals, 39(5).
Jung, C. G. (2012). Synchronicity. Princeton University Press.
[Science and Cocktails]. (2017, July 10). Cosmic connections: the Universe and You with Lawrence Krauss [Video]. YouTube. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XIzJMTPvCEk&t=443s
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