It's barely an exaggeration to say that I used to be one of the most reactive people in the world. I recall with partial amusement and partial horror an incident that occurred one Sunday morning while I was driving through a busy city road. A taxi had stopped in the middle of one of the lanes in order to wait for some passengers outside a hotel. I couldn't change lanes because of the traffic, so I had no option but to wait - delaying my oh-so-important Sunday by - oh god knows, potentially a full thirty seconds. A minute even! Naturally this was unacceptable to my ego-mind, which decided it might be a constructive course of action to lean on the car horn and toot at the taxi in the hopes that it would forget about its passengers and move out of the way. Amazingly, it didn't - so in order to save face, my ego continued leaning on the horn until it ran out of air, emitting a high-pitched squeal and then falling silent.
My entire life was one reaction after another - whether it was to late trains, irritating people, machinery not working, or even something as simple as brushing my hair against a low hanging tree branch and disrupting my hairstyle. Of course, my frustration and occasional tantrums served no purpose, and only created extra suffering for me. What I ought to have done was learn to practise complete surrender to everything that came my way.
When I began to incorporate this kind of surrender into my life, late trains became opportunities to focus on work for a few extra minutes, since being confined in a train station was a good opportunity to work without distraction or temptation to move around. Irritating people became potentially serendipitous encounters, which might lead to the forming of some important business or personal relationship, whether with the irritator himself or an acquaintance of his. Faulty machinery became an opportunity to reconsider my approach to a task, and determine if there was a better way to move forward - or perhaps whether I should abandon the task altogether. And even good ol' brushes against tree branches? Well, lacking any obvious advantages, they simply became another good way to hone my surrender skills.
I'm not going to tell you that every single irritation that comes my way now has profound meaning. Sometimes an irritating person at the bus stop is simply that - they don't always introduce me to multimillionaire uncles who want to go into partnership with me. Sometimes when my train is cancelled, I don't meet my future wife on the next one. Sometimes when friends cancel plans at the last minute, I actually end up spending the night bored and alone instead of discovering the alchemical formula for turning ash into gold.
But there's no doubt that synchronicities increase in proportion to the extent that we surrender and accept the things that come our way. And if there's nothing to be gained from the inconvenience, sometimes the cancelled train will magically reinstate itself. The machinery will spontaneously unbreak itself. The irritating stranger will get called away by someone even more irritating than themselves. Approach life with the assumption that all inconveniences are either "meant to be" or they will mysteriously dissolve, and watch how often your assumption comes true - it won't always happen, but very often it will.
And on the purely natural level, it's nice to not make a complete fool of yourself every time a taxi blocks your way.
N.B. The title of this post is a reference to Dan Millman's classic spiritual novel, The Way of the Peaceful Warrior.