Sunday, December 27, 2009

Embracing Serendipity

Often, life’s richness lies in its serendipitous moments. Failure to be open to such moments, or to note them when they occur, becomes a loss.

Serendipity may, in part, be a function of the connections we make in our daily lives, a function of all the silk our experiences spin and cast across the web comprising our intersections with others. One reason social networking has become so popular on the Internet is, I believe, due to the acceleration of serendipitous experiences possible when so many people interact.

How does one measure serendipity? Is it in terms of how large, or how great, or how impressive the experience is? I think not.

My experience of serendipity has been that when it occurs, the response to it is one of delight. In other words, serendipity is delightful - full of delight.

Just now, I had such an experience.

I had found my way to the web page of Dr. Marsha Lucas, a neuro-psychologist who has incorporated mindfulness into her work. I enjoyed what she had to say, and then clicked on a link to the UCLA Mindful Awareness Research Center. The center has a download page for guided mindfulness meditations. Also on the download page, I saw a link for something called a “mindful clock.” I was curious, and clicked on the link.

I was taken to a page, which explained the mindful clock was a bell that could sound hourly, or every 15 minutes, or at random. Also, that I could choose between a traditional Tibetan sound or a Westminster chime. (The page also has a newcomers link for the Washington Mindfulness Center.)

Now mindfulness is an interest of mine, and a practice that I undertake intermittently, much to my detriment. While not sure whether the mindful clock would help, I downloaded and installed it on my computer, and set it for the Tibetan bell to sound every 15 minutes.

Serendipity came at the 45 minute mark when I realized this simple sound, echoing through my speakers as only a Tibetan bowl can when it’s struck, gave me the chance to pause, and to take two or three mindful breaths every time it sounded.

The serendipity also lay in how pleasant it was to take this very brief break, and then to return, mindfully, to my work. I was surprised that the breaks were not interpreted by my mind as interruptions, but rather as a revitalization, a recreation in the sense of re-creating my self in a mindful manner.

Another feature of the mindful clock I look forward to trying is the countdown clock which can be set for any timed period of meditation or other activity. Given that one of my goals for the new year is to meditate daily for longer periods, this feature added to my sense of overall delight.

Embrace the sensitivities that arise in your day, and note them. Another reason for keeping a pocket notebook.

No comments:

Post a Comment