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From the Heart: What Are the Chances?

by Alan Cohen


Do you believe that the universe operates at random, or is there a higher intelligence that orchestrates encounters, events, and a stream of destiny? After observing many uncanny synchronicities, I have a firm belief that, despite appearances of haphazardness, a brilliant and loving hand guides us to our right place at the right time for the right purpose.

Sonia, a woman from Paris, attended my Life Coach Training retreat at a remote area in Hawaii. During the program she chatted with another student, Andie, who told her that years ago she had participated in a six-month French language immersion program in Paris. “I stayed with a woman named Marie St. Ives,” Andie recounted. Sonia’s eyes bulged. “That is the woman I purchased my apartment from.” After confirming details, it became clear that Andie had once stayed in the very apartment Sonia now owned. What are the chances?

At another time I went out to dinner with my friend Bruce, at a tiny restaurant in a small town in Maui. The restaurant was crowded that night, so patrons had to sit close to each other on picnic benches. Bruce and I got to reminiscing about our high school days. “The most meaningful thing I did in high school was a trip to Africa I took with some other students. We toured around some of the safari parks and got to interface with the natives.” Bruce then described some details of the trip. At that moment a woman sitting next to me on the picnic bench leaned over and said, “Excuse me for interrupting. I couldn’t help but overhear your story about your trip to Africa. I was on that trip with you.” After comparing notes, both agreed that they shared the same adventure with a small group of Oregon high school students. Now, 20 years later, they were seated at the same table in an out-of-the-way restaurant in Maui. Bruce and I just “happened” to bring up that subject. A week later the woman sent me an email with a photo of her and Bruce standing outside the tour bus in an African plain. What are the chances?

A Course in Miracles tells us, “Chance plays no part in God’s plan.” Every person you encounter, from the family you are born into, to the person with whom you share a brief elevator ride, to the customer service agent who takes your phone call, to the clients in your business, to your spouse, to your children, all come to you as friends and teachers on your spiritual path. Some empower you with love, and other challenge you. In all cases there is a gift for you. When you recognize the gift, extract it, appreciate it, and use it, your journey become far lighter and you accelerate your spiritual advancement and deepen your soul reward.

Wayne Dyer offered the analogy of entering a junk yard and finding a fully-intact Boeing 747 airplane. “After examining the plane and recognizing the perfect integration of all of its elements and systems, would you conclude that all of the intricate pieces came together at random, or would you have to believe that some vast intelligence orchestrated the manufacture of this highly complex yet meticulously functional system?”

The engineering of a 747 is a mere pittance in comparison to the engineering of the universe. I love to garden in a papaya orchard I started from seeds. It is utterly amazing to me that I can take a tiny papaya seed about 1/10 inch in diameter, plant it and nurture it, and it grows into a tall tree producing hundreds of delicious papayas over its lifetime. I look around the orchard of 25 trees and see an abundance of gorgeous, sweet, nutritional fruit. Who set up that system? No human being invented a papaya and imbued in it the genetic genius to reproduce itself forever and feed many people and animals. We can cooperate with the system and cultivate papaya, but we did not initiate it. God did.

In my book The Tao Made Easy I underscore and celebrate that the universe is functioning meticulously and there is indeed a plan that works when we tap into it. We do not have to invent the plan. It is already well in place. We just have to cooperate with it. Many new age and new thought teachers state, “you create your own reality.” This is a half-truth. Reality has already been created quite nicely. There is nothing you can do to change it. If you understand it, you would not want to change it because it is always working on our behalf. What you do create is your experience of reality. When you align with reality, you thrive in every way. When you think and act outside universal truth, you grow miserable and wonder what you are doing here. Our role is not to create reality. It is to find it and ride it like a surfer rides a way.

While we aren’t always aware of the brilliance of the universe, occasionally we have an encounter that gives us a peek into the unspeakably massive 747 we are all riding. Those moments are cause for faith. We can have confidence that we are known and loved, and we can relax and can enjoy the ride.


Alan Cohen is the author of many popular inspirational books, including the bestselling The Tao Made Easy. Become a certified professional life coach through Alan’s transformational Life Coach Training beginning February 1, 2019. For more information about this program, Alan’s books and videos, free daily inspirational quotes, online courses, and weekly radio show, visit www.alancohen.com.


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