Growing up in Pakistan, when I heard the word Kismet (destiny) I was told that these are old ideas. My father always said that there was no such thing as Kismet. We make our own Kismet. So I always took actions to make my own Kismet. Then many unexplained events happened that I couldn’t understand because I had neither planned nor dreamed about them.
Since Kismet was a no, no for me I started searching for word(s) that I could hang onto in order to logically explain and accept my life events that were not my doings. Finally I came upon the word synchronicity, which was talked about at the turn of last century and in the past decade. Several books about synchronicity appeared in the market and they continue to. I read some out of curiosity. I thought that I had found the word that I was looking for.
Before moving further let’s have a look at both Kismet/destiny and synchronicity:
Kismet, according to Advance Learner Oxford Dictionary is, “The idea that everything that happens to you in your life is already decided and that you cannot do anything to change or control it.” Destiny: on the other hand is defined as: “The hidden power believed to control what will happen in the future; fate.” Notice how the last part, “that you cannot do anything to change or control it,” is missing from the definition of destiny. Though destiny is the exact translation of the word Kismet.
The same dictionary defines Synchronicity as: “the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear significantly related but have discernible causal connection.”
Notice the words: the simultaneous occurrence of events that appear. What makes occurrence appear? Something behind an occurrence must propel it to appear. That something is left out in the definition. For instance, the sun doesn’t appear out of nowhere. It comes after the dark and the same force that propels night makes the sun appear; the rotation of the earth around the sun.
However, the meaning of synchronicity is portrayed in a way that it appeals to logical mind which always wants to control things so that it thinks that it is in control. Kismet indicates that that some other power controls us, meaning we are out of control and how could we accept that in this century. Wouldn’t you agree?
Anyhow the word synchronicity filled that void in me and satisfied the desire to know why things were happening the way they were, irrespective of my doing or not doing anything.
While I was searching for the word my Pakistani friends made my Kismet responsible for simultaneous or unexplained occurrences in my life. Do you think I believed in what they said? Of course, not!
Just recently I realized how we dismiss the things taught by the wisdom of century old cultures because we have embraced this new research-based culture where everything, even life events, have to have scientific reasoning. “Until scientifically proven” concept has affected cultures around the world. Any other idea, not proved by science, is a misfit hence we have to dismiss it right away. The concept of Kismet was dismissed the same way and the new word synchronicity was embraced because the use of the words to describe the latter seemed more scientific.
Paulo Coelho, in his book The Alchemist, explained how Kismet brought Santiago back to his own town when he went looking for treasure at the foot of the Egyptian pyramids. As usual, I shrugged my shoulders and dismissed the concept of Kismet.
What made me think about Kismet and Synchronicity being the same was the woman I met a few months ago. Originally from Essex, England, Liz came to America about three decades ago. While she was in her twenties and still living in Essex she got a job in Spain to teach English as the Second Language. She thought the job was a perfect fit because she had studied Spanish and English for her Bachelor’s.
She had a month between the offer and the joining date. In that month she got a toothache so she went to a dentist who told her that she stall had a baby tooth and if she didn’t take that out it will affect her front teeth. Liz told the dentist that she was going to Spain and will have it fixed in a year’s time; when she returned on holidays. But the dentist told her that by that time it would be too late. So Liz decided to not go to Spain.
Soon afterwards she started working as a translator. At work she started dating a Trinidadian colleague whose parents wanted him to go to California so they could stay with him in the warm climate, if and when need be. He started applying for jobs in California and eventually got a job offer in California. He said to Liz “Either we split up or we get married.”
Liz decided to get married and move to California.
Her boyfriend’s father happened to be a dentist, which Liz didn’t know at the time she met her boyfriend. While she was in England her father-in-law put her in touch with an orthodontist in California and said, “They have better orthodontists in America than in England.”
So Liz and her husband moved to California and because of her husband Liz got her permanent residence card aka Green Card.
After her move to San Jose, California, Liz, besides getting in touch with the orthodontist, decided to change her career and enrolled in engineering, something she never even dreamed of because her father always told her to become a teacher like her mother so that she could spend vacation with her children.
After a while Liz and her husband separated. She thought of returning to England but said, “I didn’t want to go back as a failure because I hadn’t even completed my studies yet.”
She decided to say in America and remarried. They moved to Colorado Springs because California was every expensive. Her second husband told Liz to look at the houses in Colorado Springs before their move because she didn’t like the apartment they had in California. She left the children with her husband and came to Colorado Springs for two days. She saw five houses and chose one because it had enough number of rooms to accommodate the family of five, the parents and the three boys.
At the time of selecting the house Liz never thought she would be living in the same house 21 years later. Living in a landlocked city for so long after having come from a country that is surrounded by sea was not her idea.
She and her second husband separated and she finally met the love of her life, who passed away a couple of years ago.
Are all the events in Liz’ life Kismet or synchronicity? Now I have come a full circle and believe that it was her Kismet, which is synchronicity.
What do you think?
What I have reckoned is that Kismet doesn’t mean you sit with your hands in your lap and expect things falling in your lap. It means you do your part and the Divine will open ways. If we want a job then we have to apply and put our resume out. Though, a few times in my life I got calls with job offers from companies I hadn’t even applied for. They told me that they got my resume from an employment website. NOW THAT IS KISMET!!! I love that. Now I don’t have any qualms about accepting the word Kismet, irrespective of what my father or anybody else thinks. So I had done my part by posting my resume and my Kismet got me random job offers.
This story is written with permission from Liz.
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