If you grew up texting, IMing, or using a pager, you're most likely familiar with the meaning of the number 143, which we have come to know as an abbreviation for "I Love You," based on the number of letters in each word.
But when did the number 143 first take on that meaning? In our age of technology, the answer might surprise you.
The first recorded association of "143" with "I Love You" is from the year 1894, when a new flashing lantern was installed in Minots Ledge Light, a lighthouse located southeast of Boston Harbor.
The light was installed after Lt. Fredeick Mahan of the Lighthouse Board recommended all lighthouses have a numerical flash sequence, and 1-4-3 was chosen (with no apparent reason) for this particular lighthouse: one flash, then four flashes, then three. (Due to high costs, Minots Ledge Light was only one of two lighthouses that actually had numerical-pattern lights installed).
Shortly after the new flashing light was installed, people started to recognize the connection between "1-4-3" and "I love you" and the lighthouse gained the nickname "Lovers' Light". The 1-4-3 light has since become automatic, and still flashes in the same pattern today.
Mister Rogers and 143
Another fact you might not know about 143 is that Fred Rogers of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood was particularly fond of this number. As Tom Junod recounts from an interview with him:
Once upon a time, around thirty-one years ago, Mister Rogers stepped on a scale, and the scale told him that Mister Rogers weighs 143 pounds... And so, every day, Mister Rogers refuses to do anything that would make his weight change...and every morning, the scale tells him that he weighs 143 pounds. This has happened so many times that Mister Rogers has come to see that number as a gift, as a destiny fulfilled, because, as he says, "the number 143 means 'I love you.' It takes one letter to say 'I' and four letters to say 'love' and three letters to say 'you.' One hundred and forty-three. 'I love you.' Isn't that wonderful?"
To some, 143 is just a number. To Mister Rogers, and the lovers on Minot's Ledge, it has been a gift, a sign of love.
Are numbers really that meaningful?
Are you the kind of person that sees meanings in numbers? Do you notice when the clock says 4:44 or 5:55 and wonder if someone's trying to tell you something? Some people call these special numbers angel numbers, because we can see them as messages from God.
Even numbers that don't seem special can be special. There's a story where Srinivasa Ramanujan, a famous mathematician known for his mystical experiences, was sick in the hospital and was visited by a friend, G. H. Hardy. Hardy, a fellow mathematician, remarked that he had ridden there in taxicab number 1729, which seemed to him to be a dull number, and he hoped it wasn't a bad omen.
"No," Ramanujan replied, "it is a very interesting number; it is the smallest number expressible as the sum of two cubes in two different ways." From then onward, 1729 has become famous among mathematicians, and a whole category of numbers called "taxicab numbers" was created as a result of Ramanujan's insight.
Of course, you don't have to be a mathematician to find significance in numbers. Any number - or any ordinary thing, for that matter - can be meaningful if you'd like it to be. It's a beautiful experience when you can choose to see beauty in things that other people would deem ordinary or mundane.
How can I find meaning in numbers?
If you are attracted to certain numbers, maybe there is a message in them for you. If you'd like to start seeing more significance in the numbers of your life, or want to understand why you notice certain numbers over and over, the first step is simply to ask! You can set an intention in the morning before you go out that you'd like to see a number, or a special sign, that will give you a special message. There will be many opportunities for you to find connections, so prepare to be surprised!
And of course, when you see a number or sign that stands out to you, don't forget to write it down!
Another way to explore number meanings is through studying numerology, both traditional and non-traditional methods. The Numerology Starter Pack, which I'll be sending along shortly as a gift to you, is a great place to begin.
In the meantime...
Here's a challenge for you. Identify one number that has come up in your life repeatedly, but that you're not quite sure what it means. It could be a number that you see on license plates, or when you look at the clock. If you can't think of a number, ask for one to be revealed to you, and you will receive one.
Write that number down, along with an intention in your own words to find clarity around its meaning for you. Set some time aside to reflect on your number and your intention for three days. Most likely, you will receive some unexpected insight, and maybe even a healing message!
I'd love to hear about your experiences with numbers, or other "ordinary" things in life that you've found interesting or meaningful. As we share these experiences of (extra)ordinary life with each other, we will find our whole world becoming filled with excitement and wonder, and that's a great world to share.
Kian is now available for readings in person in Providence and Blackstone Valley, or via phone/Skype. For more info or to book, please call (401) 545-2557 or visit www.generationxie.net