Woman on Beach

Everything Happens for a Reason, or Does it?

Do things happen for a reason, or is it all just random? And so the question of whether or not there is a prescribed path for each of us to follow, a designated sequence of events, is pondered. Is there a grand plan? A friend recently suggested that if indeed there was a grand plan for everyone, then why was I worried or stressed or sad? I should just trust the plan and more importantly, I should try not to analyze “why” things happened. Are there truly lessons to be learned that we contract to experience, lessons that guide us through our own personal mine fields where we bloom or implode, and outcomes are written in our destiny? It is said that our soul’s journey is comprised of prescribed lessons that we agreed to learn before we came into this life, lessons that we will learn no matter what path and relationships we choose. I read that what you are doing does not matter so much as what you are learning from doing it. Maybe then the lesson is not in the “why” it happened, but in the fact that it happened at all.

Life is after all about moments.

And each moment and event is filled with the opportunity to learn something about our selves. Each moment or event opens the door to other opportunities and paths for us to explore. But are we guided to these certain experiences by some inner aspect of our selves? How often have we known that a decision is correct, or that a choice resonates truth? Would that be a confirmation from our higher self or divine guidance from within? We simply have to follow the path. One friend described her path as “following the bouncing ball.” She had experienced something extraordinary and now was attuned to the sound of that bounce – the one that reverberates and says, “come” and adds “do not fear for all will be OK”. When I think of my path, I think of following a thread – or a ribbon that is at my place at the table and winds its way through and intersects with other ribbons, embodying all that it feels, sees, senses, and hears, becoming educated in who it is so that when it reaches the big centerpiece box filled with surprises and joy in the center, it lands in gratitude. I like that metaphor – each day, each experience is new and so a surprise, and the hope is that at our center, our lives are filled with gratitude and joy. It is of course up to us to make the choices, have the perspective, and the perceptions that can lead us through our embedded scripts where we will encounter the conflict and pain that will deliver us to that joy filled center. When I watched Life of Pi, I was struck by something the father said, “How can you find your way if you don’t choose a path?” There is always some choice that we will have to make, that will determine what we will experience, what relationships we have, what paths we follow. It is our free will that we must exercise, that we can exercise, to enjoy the surprises that the bouncing ball or the thread invite us to explore. And it is also our free will that can keep us open and listening for that inner voice, our inner guide that does indeed seem to know what is best for us, that informs us of what is true, what path we should follow, and when we will learn the lessons we came to learn. My astrologer of twenty years always reminds me that free will can change everything. It can affect timing, circumstances, and relationships. But ultimately it guides us to see what is within us. It instructs us to transform the way we view our selves and everything around us. So let us bless this idea that things happen for a reason, that we will learn our lessons, and that there exists within us a higher intuitive self that offers guidance and insight. And as for free will changing everything, let it change us all, and the world, for good.


  1. Allyson on May 25, 2016 at 6:40 PM

    I do not agree. I have had 59 years of unusual terrible events. I refuse to believe these things are meant to be. Your friend sounds like a lucky person all her life with no crime, homelessness or poverty. One should fight with all we have against injustice to ourselves never just have that give up attitude it’s a defeating proposition.

    • Jill Alman-Bernstein on June 3, 2016 at 12:48 PM

      I think everyone has their share of tragedy and burdens. The question is how we look at what is happening. I do not know if everything is “meant to be” or whether it is completely random when events occur. But what I do know is that it is our perspective, our perception of those occurrences that determine the next choices we make and the paths we take.

  2. Sonia on February 10, 2017 at 9:13 PM

    I really hope so.

  3. Laura on December 29, 2018 at 10:14 AM

    Hi Jill! I just discovered your blog and read this wonderful essay from a few years back. I’ve contemplated the same question and feel that things do not happen for a reason nor are they random. Things happen the only way they can, because the conditions support that outcome. And they couldn’t have happened any other way. But I do believe things happen for us, not to us, and it is up to us to use what happens as our path to transformation, joy, gratitude, transcendence. And therefore, later, it can appear as though there was a reason. I also believe that through awareness and compassion we can learn from what happened and create different patterns that will lead to different outcomes. I’m always working on that. Best wishes for the new year! xo

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