COINCIDENCE? SERENDIPITY?

A most powerful example story:


I came across a true story written in an old People Magazine by Anne Driscoll. A 10 year old boy, (I'll call him Mark) spent the summers with his family in a town where a teenage girl was murdered. Mark "knew" at age 5 that he wanted to be a doctor but he was so haunted by this murder he had a powerful dream he would never forget that he would help find the murdered and solve the case.

The case was never solved although the murdered girl's mother continued raising money throughout the years, sending letters, writing petitions to keep the case alive.


Meanwhile Mark grew up, went to graduate school where he took part in the pioneering use of DNA. He finished his residency and enrolled in a fellowship in neuropathology but became less enchanted with this work and considered giving it up. Instead he postponed the fellowship.


Not long after he noticed an article in a newspaper about unsuccessful efforts to exhume the body of this same murdered girl from the case years ago. The rejection to exhume was an argument the remains would be too decomposed to yield useful samples of DNA. (Remember this article was written years ago).


Mark emailed the mother of the murdered girl urging her to continue to press for the exhumation. Not long after he heard that organizers raised the money to hire a forensic expert for a private autopsy. The body was exhumed and was surprisingly in tact. Mark decided to contact the forensic expert who, after hearing Mark's story with this case, asked him to join the team. Mark now says "I wish I could gone back to my 10 year old self and said "Guess what you're doing right now. You're sitting at this table and you're really a part of this."


So what was this? Coincidence? Serendipity? Or did he have a much deeper knowledge that simply led him to this case and what he was meant to do?


In his book "The Second Mountain," David Brooks writes of the Greek concept of the daemonic. "A daemon is a calling, an obsession, a source of lasting and sometimes manic energy. Daemons are mysterious clusters of energy deep in the unconscious that were charged by some mysterious event in childhood that we imperfectly comprehend....that we spend the rest of our lives trying to recapture." Brooks goes on to say that when searching for a vocation "you are looking for a daemon." He continues "that means you are looking into the unconscious regions of the heart and soul that reason cannot penetrate."


James Hillman has written extensively and brilliantly about each person's "soul". He claims that we are born with a "daimon," "spirit," or "guardien angel" which is shaped by our choices as we grow and develop in life. In his book "The Soul's Code, In Search of Character and Calling," he says:

"Each life is formed by its unique image, an image that is the essence of that life and calls it to a destiny. As the force of fate, this image acts as a personal daimon, an accompanying guide who remembers your calling...it protects, it invents and persists with stubborn fidelity..."


This inner drive not only informs you of the path you should be on, but it can also inform you of the direction you should not take.