By Amodini February 2005 It is possible to change your lifescript towards greater positivity and good fortune. Try to attain your highest potential in life. this calls for awareness, making the right decisions, detachment from the fruits of your karma, getting into the flow and aligning yourself with the divine Become a Master of Luck Shoup helps us understand how recognizing luck for what it is-an illusion, nearly a trick of the mind-is liberating and empowering, so that we learn to take responsibility in many areas of life where we might have previously felt hindered or stalled. He delineates how to get the power of luck working for us.o Have faith, since there is always a direct connection between positive expectations and receiving good things in our lives. o Develop a sense of appreciation for life. This attracts more positive things in our lives and brightens our outlook. o Learn to get in flow, a state in which you can accomplish prodigious things and reap wonderful rewards from many activities in your life. o Position yourself where good things are happening, which involves making changes to put ourselves in good luck’s way. o Put more trust in your intuition. The author explains that insights are not born ‘out of thin air.’ They well up from many small, unconscious messages we have received and stored up-until the point of readiness. o Make choices. Like intuition, choices often present themselves as opportunities to claim positive outcomes and good luck. o Be passionate about life, being involved in activities that bring real joy, so that we live luckier and reap greater rewards. o Gather knowledge wherever you can. This means that you absorb, observe and learn before you act, and you also find ways to minimise the risk, gathering knowledge from people who’ve ‘been there.’ This improves the odds of a ‘lucky’ outcome. o Take action. The author says, ‘And if good luck doesn’t answer, kick the door down!’ Good Luck, Bad Luck People associate good fortune and prosperity with luck, but as many have pointed out, luck is mainly a matter of perception. What is important is to understand that every adversity or seeming bad luck contains a hidden opportunity that can be used to advantage. This is best illustrated in this Zen story: A farmer had a horse but one day, the horse ran away and so the farmer and his son had to plough their fields themselves. Their neighbors said, ‘Oh, what bad luck that your horse ran away!’ But the farmer replied, ‘Bad luck, good luck, who knows?’ The next week, the horse returned to the farm, bringing a herd of wild horses with him. ‘What wonderful luck!’ cried the neighbors, but the farmer responded, ‘Good luck, bad luck, who knows?’ Then, the farmer’s son was thrown as he tried to ride one of the wild horses, and he broke his leg. ‘Ah, such bad luck,’ sympathized the neighbors. Once again, the farmer responded, ‘Bad luck, good luck, who knows?’ A short time later, the ruler of the country recruited all young men to join his army for battle. The son, with his broken leg, was left at home. ‘What good luck that your son was not forced into battle!’ celebrated the neighbors. And the farmer remarked, ‘Good luck, bad luck, who knows?’ The Power of Affirmations These are the Nine Positives (affirmations) that are taught by Justice M. L. Dudhat in his course on Brahma Vidya as a part of the exercises, meditation and affirmations regimen: o I am Whole o I am Perfect o I am Strong o I am Powerful o I am Loving o I am Harmonious o I am Rich o I am Young o I am Happy There is a statement in the Upanishads which says that through karma one can change one’s destiny, meaning that through proper performance of action in life, through the harmonious expression of action in life, it is possible to change the quality of nature. Once the quality of nature changes, the expression of that nature is different…. When through action, through karma, we are trying to channel the forces of our life, then destiny is definitely transformed. There can be no question about it. And this transformation of destiny leads to attainment of perfection in life. -Paramahansa Swami Niranjanananda Saraswati, Bihar School of Yoga Fate and Free Will Amrita Sirur (name changed) of Mumbai, is a good looking woman scientist in her forties, single, now settled abroad. It was some 20 years ago, that her guru who was also an astrologer told her in all seriousness that sometime in the following two months she would meet with a fatal accident. The chances of her survival were very little, and it was only with a supreme effort of will on her part would she perhaps manage to scrape through alive. He was an old and ailing man, who passed away within a few days after that. Amrita’s doting family, since she was the only daughter, was in an uproar over the grim prediction by a trusted mentor. They had planned a vacation in Chennai a few weeks later, and her brother canceled her train ticket to save her from a mishap on the journey. She continued to attend office while the rest of her family left on the scheduled trip. Her office colleagues threw a minor celebration after work hours in the midst of Diwali and after it was over, Amrita walked on her way home alone, having fobbed off their offer to escort her. She does not have any recollection of what happened, but a bus driver apparently lost control of his vehicle on the other side of the road. It jumped the divider to hurtle across the wrong side, ramming into her back and dragging her along for sometime until it finally came to a stop. When she regained consciousness, she was being wheeled into a hospital casualty ward, and she remembers giving the accompanying policeman her name, address and the details of how to contact her family in Chennai! She did not feel any pain until much later, when she realised that she was in a totally mangled state from behind, waist down, one foot dangling with just a little bit of skin and tendon. Then followed a bitter struggle for survival, with repeated reconstructive surgeries so that her back and limbs could assume a semblance of functioning. Amrita was engaged to be married, and her fiancé spent long hours with her, holding her hand, reading to her, giving her hope and courage. She later sent him away to chart his own course independent of her. Amrita started the physiotherapy sessions. The ward staff were uplifted by her light-hearted banter and her determination to stand on her own feet, be able to sit down unsupported, take the first tentative steps, and to walk at any cost. It was a rare miracle that they were privileged to witness on a daily basis, for more than two-odd years! Amrita’s salary had continued in the meanwhile, mercifully, since the whole process of repeated surgeries and physiotherapy was terribly expensive. She resumed work on an on-and-off basis, since her work in the lab was too hard on her frame without adequate cushioning. More surgeries followed. The institute had a new director, who in his zeal for streamlining and downsizing, suggested to Amrita that she continue working in the grade of lab assistant! She flared up with a magnificent display of spirit to warn him that she took it as a personal challenge, and she would do her PhD from the same institute, to work on a higher grade than was presently hers! She did it! All through that period, nerves had begun to fray at home, especially with her brother’s wife unable to take a charitable view of the immense toll Amrita’s recovery had taken of her family and its resources. Amrita quietly applied for a post-doctoral fellowship abroad, to eventually settle in the US. None other than her boss were ever privy to her disability, and that too only because she faced the prospect of future surgeries to prevent advancing decrepitude! She even managed to send money home on a regular basis. Those at work knew her as a responsible scientist and a jolly woman who loved music, cooked great Indian dishes, and kept to herself away from work. She called me in Berkeley from Stanford one day, asking if she could come and visit me. My first impression of her was that of a dignified, calm person with an aura of pink surrounding her. She came across as a beautiful, self-possessed young woman who was wise beyond her years.When I later went and stayed with her, I saw her sleep to the sound of soulful Italian love songs, played over and over again. Always, with a copy of Madame Marie Curie’s biography under her pillow, because she was her greatest source of inspiration. That, and her spirituality, her regular meditation and the Gayatri mantra. I am sure that the ether resonates with greater vibrancy every day when the universal prayer emanates from her heart. Lessons of Amrita’s Story Whether we believe in astrology or not, it is obvious that Amrita’s guru seemed to have given her the necessary spark that lingered somewhere in the subconscious, so that she could fight the grim battle for survival with strong determination. Amrita’s story is not only an inspiring example of mind over matter; we learn from her tragic experience how it is possible to rise above the harsh forces of karma and retribution and erase the prospect of failure and hopelessness from our lives. In the words of Swami Vivekananda, ‘Stand up, be bold, be strong. Take the whole responsibility on your own shoulders, and know that you are the creator of your own destiny. All the strength and succor you want is within yourselves. Therefore, make your own future.’ The Dwellings We Build In spite of the widespread use of words like karma, destiny and fate, people often tend to treat the three words interchangeably, without understanding that each is a very distinc
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