Anything that is an unlikely, but yet you experience it, you call a miracle. Anything you experience but can’t explain, you say it was a miracle.
Anyone familiar with looking at the world as a collection of systems will tell you that everything you experience is a result of the interactions between those who are a part of the system.
What you experience in the system you call as a market is decided by the interactions between buyers and sellers. What you experience in the system you call as a bank that results from the interactions of borrowers and lenders. What you experience in the system that you call as a class that is the consequence of interactions of a teacher and a student. What you experience in a system that you call representation results from the interactions of those who are represented and the representative. What you experience in different kinds of friendships results from the interactions of those who come together to share common purposes, common values, common goals, common acts, or common experiences.
Everyday experiences are the result of the choices we make about our interactions with the others in our system. For the most part, these choices about the interactions with those in the system leave scope only between being ordinary and extra-ordinary. Ordinary experiences have interactions that have grown to become dead, dreary habits. Extra-ordinary experiences have interactions that are driven by imagination, empathy, care, and respect. They express value for the others in the system.
While systems are capable of and sometimes do cause us to have extra-ordinary experiences, it is unlikely that we would call them as miracles.
Miracles do not result from the interactions within the system.
Miracles are the result of forming of systems or falling apart of systems. Miracles happen when you discover common purposes with others to encourage you to form wholes or systems with them. Miracles are when you cease to be held to participate in a system by purposes of those within the systems. Miracles are the result of the formation or deformation of systems.
Miracles, then, are an expression of our choices to cease to interact in systems we were once a part of. They are an expression of our choice of giving up the familiar, ceasing to be part of a system.
Miracles can also be expression of our choices to interact with others we did not interact before that result in the formation of systems we never knew before.
Either way, they create new experiences beyond the ordinary and expected to the extra-ordinary and unexpected.
Here are three tales of miracles, or their absence. Perhaps they will help you to see miracles from a different perspective.
The Coconut Seller
He stood in the sun wearing a hat, dark glasses, and a smile on his face. On the belt of his shorts was a large machete. On a table in front of him was a pile of green coconuts and a cooler.
“Namaste”, he shouted as we neared. Then he rattled off greetings in 25 languages in possibly a long minute. Looking at our confused faces he explained “I never studied kinder garden, never studied school. But I learnt the greetings in 25 languages”. He smiled.
“You want cold coconuts or regular?” he questioned.
We asked for 4 coconuts. He pulled up 5 and said “I give you 5, you pay for 4”. He continued “Johnny be good, Johnny be nice.”.
We smiled back. Not because of the free coconut, but because of what he said.
For us he made the interaction of care by genuinely being nice. He made himself a good person by reminding himself every time that he must be a good person.
The Guardian Angel
James is Irish. 8 years ago he turned up here, far from his land.
James used to be an acclaimed chef with signature dishes that were known far and wide. Then suddenly, something went wrong. James felt as if his world fell apart. He found himself disconnected from everyone and everything. With hardly any interactions with anyone, he decided that he had had enough. He wanted to end his life.
It was late. It was the time when the silence swallows all existence. Just at that moment, as if to distract him from his thoughts, his phone rang. Who on earth could be wanting to interact with me especially at this hour, he thought?
The lady at the other end announced she was Shirley. Shirly told him that she had eaten his signature dishes in the past. She reminded him of the magic those dishes created, their flavour, and taste they unleashed. She said that they had given her the finest cuisine experience for a lifetime. She said she had not just enjoyed them but relished them. Then she said something that would change James life for ever.
As if by miracle, she told him he was not the same person who had cooked that meal and she wanted to see him the next day. Surprised, James asked how so? Shirley promised to tell him when they would meet the next day.
Taken aback by the unexpected request at this unexpected time, James pulled himself to see her tomorrow. The tragedy of ending his life was aborted for now.
The next day, James’s guardian angel in the form of this lady met him at their rendezvous.
Her telling James to leave his land and be here is what found James in front of me as he narrated his strange story.
Shirly disappeared as magically as she had appeared. James has not heard from her again in the last 8 years.
Besides the hosts, the meeting had invitees from different parts of the world. This meeting, like most meetings, served some purpose for the hosts. After they had accomplished whatever it was that they wanted to, the hosts left the invitees to themselves.
The invitees took positions at the table for lunch. Over lunch he found himself sitting next to her. He was silent. He had felt the hosts disinterest in anything beyond their own limited agenda. Perhaps his face displayed the disappointment.
Suddenly, she turned to him and asked him if after lunch he could explain more about the ideas, he had spoken about. That was so empathic, he thought. How did she read his mind?
Her request was most unusual. Most invitees like to appear busy, drop a few expressions of regret and leave for the next nothing they may have on their agenda. Nobody takes interest in the other.
He was surprised. Taken aback. He looked at her. For a moment, their eyes met. Her eyes were those of a kind person. They were deep and had the gaze of a person who had seen much life and learnt wisdom. They betrayed curiosity and interest. His eyes reflected her curiosity and interest back.
Before he knew it, he found himself accepting her invitation to talk over a walk around the town they were both visiting. The next few hours passed without either of them realizing the passage of time. If it were not for a pre-scheduled phone call she had to take, their conversation may not have come to an almost abrupt pause.
A year and a half years later they released a report of the work they did together. Neither of them realized that the work they accomplished together was a miracle.
Take your time to discover which are miracles and why. And find your own miracles, to make your experiences extraordinary and unexpected.
#All views expressed in this column are those of the author and/or individuals and institutions that may be quoted and Pune365 does not necessarily subscribe to the same.
He can be reached @AnupamSaraph