I attended my very first OpenSpace conference or Unconference a couple of years ago. The emphasis on spontaneous discussion, instead of listening to eyes-forward presentations was a revelation.  The OpenSpace format is guided by a small set of principles that allows people to interact in a simple, productive way ensuring that participants are always having the most interesting conversation possible and addressing their most pertinent issues.

open space

These rules are:

  • Whoever shows up is the right group reminds us that we don’t need an executive or a horde to get something done, you need people who care.
  • Whatever happens is the only thing that could have reminds us that “spirit and creativity do not run on the clock.”
  • Whenever it starts is the right time reminds us that once something has happened, it’s done—and no amount of fretting, complaining can change that. Move on.
  • When it’s over, it’s over reminds us to “do the work, not the time” and to refrain from rehashing stuff just because there’s time left in the session.


Beautifully simple, right?  Fast forward to earlier today.  I was reading a post from a friend that struck a chord with me, and came as a reminder of what I had seen before, albeit in a different context.  The post titled Four Principles of Spirituality described the following timeworn words of wisdom that we can all lean on and strive to live by.

four principles of spirituality


First Principle: 

“Whomsoever you encounter is the right one”

No one comes into our life by chance. Everyone who is around us, anyone with whom we interact, represents something, whether to teach us or to help us improve a current situation.

Second Principle: 

“Whatever happened is the only thing that could have happened”

Nothing, absolutely nothing of that which we experienced could have been any other way. Not even in the least important detail. There is no “If only I had done that differently, then it would have been different”. No. What happened is the only thing that could have taken place and must have taken place for us to learn our lesson in order to move forward. Every single situation in life which we encounter is absolutely perfect, even when it defies our understanding and our ego.

Third Principle:  

“Each moment in which something begins is the right moment” 

Everything begins at exactly the right moment, neither earlier nor later. When we are ready for it, for that something new in our life, it is there, ready to begin.

Fourth Principle: 

“What is over, is over”

It is that simple. When something in our life ends, it helps our evolution. That is why, enriched by the recent experience, it is better to let go and move on.


See the connection? Coincidence? Perhaps, but I think not.  It is wonderful to see these ancient insights being repurposed, adapted and brought to light in new and interesting ways.  And, for me, a thrill to stumble upon these delightful coincidences.

-Raj Indugula

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