Do Things Happen For A Reason?

Was your birth planned and desired, or the result of carelessness or misfortune? Were you born to good parents, nurtured and raised in a comfortable home? Or were you born to a dysfunctional family, with indifference or scarcity?

Where and to whom you were born was chance. Or was it?

I was unplanned, but was it chance or destiny that brought those gametes together forming me? Was there a reason for two young lovers to suddenly be faced with a decision that would change their lives forever? Was there a reason I was born in Australia, a land of beauty and opportunity?

Is there a reason for most things that happen to us?

The answer to this question is of course, subjective. How we answer it depends on our belief system and our biases.

Do you tend to think more rationally and scientifically: cause and effect, X plus Y equals Z?  Or, do you tend to think more emotionally, creatively, and spiritually?

I would venture to say, if you answer the question completely in the negative, then you are unusually objective and factual, purely physical and unspiritual.

I say that because thinking things happen for a reason, is an emotional response. It also implies a belief, or an inkling, that something greater than us has power over our destinies.

Since most of us are affected to some degree by emotion, even the most logical and sceptical of us can be susceptible to thinking something happened for a reason. Think about meeting your partner, or buying your dream home, or finding yourself in a career that you love but never planned for. Good fortune will often make people think they are lucky. And what is luck? Pure chance, fate or inner guidance? What is inner guidance? Intuition, self-awareness, or channelling from something beyond our understanding?

If we notice a song, a phrase, or words in an interview that resonate with us, do we notice it only because we are in a certain state of mind, or also because we were meant to notice it, that is, the message was being delivered specifically to us? There have been many times when I have listened to an author talk, heard a song, seen a shooting star, or seen a Facebook Post, and I have felt that it spoke directly to me. I have thought, there is a message there, I needed to hear that today or, that was a sign.

People are essentially self-centred. It is natural for people to think things are directed at themselves, especially if it is something they are needing, focused on, or involved with.

It is also natural for people to look for a reason or explanation to a situation or occurrence. Humans like stories. It helps them make sense of life.

But if the event is particularly bad, say a fatal car crash or massive bushfire, only solid, physical reasons will be searched for. It would be inappropriate, unhealthy, and damaging to think there was a metaphysical reason for such a thing.

The Covid-19 pandemic has been dreadful and had horrific consequences. It is a tragedy. Yet, good outcomes have emerged as well. The air is clearer, the water is cleaner, the streets are less polluted. People in lockdown learned to be less busy and discovered new interests. But people will not think that the reason for the pandemic was to achieve these recommendatory outcomes. That would be too awful a possibility. Too many people suffered. Tragedies are more likely judged as random events, chance, or terrible bad luck.

If a situation is unpleasant or difficult, if there is a disappointment or a failure of some sort, most people hope that things will improve. They also hope that there is a reason for the difficult situation, because if there is a reason, there is a point. Believing there is a point to an unpleasant situation allows us to turn it to a positive. Our minds search for reasons to make life’s challenges more bearable.

Conversely, a depressed or pessimistic person will find negative reasons for their difficulties. They may feel unworthy or deserving punishment.

Life is full of challenges and how we deal with them is different for each of us. Sometimes, the only control we have is to choose our response. If thinking things happen for a reason makes our response more positive, and our feeling more optimistic, then it is a preferable choice.

To the scientists and pragmatists amongst us, this may appear irrational. But humans are not purely rational beings. They are not even fully understood. The earth and our universe still contain mysteries. Who is to say things do not happen for a reason?

I believe that what happened to my parents was chance. What they then did with that chance gave their situation meaning. The reason was given birth to. I believe I was born to parents who cared, in a country that is safe and abundant, by chance. What I do with that gives my life reason. On the smallest scale, each thing I do affects something else. Something I do might give a reason to somebody else. Reasons are like pieces of a jigsaw puzzle.

So, if you believe that things happen for a reason, then make the most of those reasons. Use them to your advantage. Be the best you can be and do the best you can do. Be positive and optimistic. Be the reason for your own happiness and the happiness of others.

Perhaps there a reason for your reading this blog today. I hope so.