Some time ago… in fact just two weeks shy of 10 months ago I spoke with a friend and also with a client about superstition. To speak of, I’m not superstitious. But sometimes I do wonder if I’m not fibbing to myself. You see, I live almost entirely un-superstitiously for 99% of the time. But when I really want something, and even more so when I really need something, I pull out the ritual like a madman. And then, of course, regardless of what happens afterward, I wonder for some time as to whether my ritual had anything at all to do with what did/didn’t happen. (Of course, ritual is simply planned action, and all of everything experienced is the result of SOME kind of prior action. Whether or not we can discern the connection is a different story.) When I consulted a client about this, her opinion was that it wouldn’t matter if it was actually effective or merely superstition, because it provided a structure for your faith, hopefully for your betterment as a person. I’ll tell you a story to help illustrate this.
A year or so ago, I briefly stepped away from most social engagements and distractions and immersed myself in sadhana in a way like I’m not sure I had ever before. Propitiation with a big “P” is an understatement. It was intense. Pujas. Long long jaapa sessions, fasting, dhyan… I may or may not have ejaculated into a fire while intoning 4,500 year old Babylonian chants, it’s hard to say. But I really pulled out all stops. And it worked. The desired result was achieved AND it turned out to be even better than I thought it would be or hoped for. It’s gotta be the Babylonian spells.
At any rate, I did this again a few weeks ago. An opportunity presented. A shift on various levels. Shiva’s Tandava that I REALLY wanted for my life, and indirectly for the life of my best.
My beloved and I work for almost the same company, but really the same company. My company (before I came to it) bought his a while back. He recently moved into a different position, which is something he’d very much hoped for. In the position he’s leaving he was making a very nice income, plus decent bonus, and among other “perks” could work from home (this is a mixed blessing because on one hand you can work nekkid, but on the other hand there’s no such thing as a snow day, which the company is generally fond of). When he applied for and was given the position he’s about to move into, I applied for his current position. Of course, getting his position would mean an increase in pay for me, as well as an increase in my current bonus percentage.
But almost immediately after applying for the transfer, things seemed absolutely stacked against me. They didn’t seem very inclined toward an internal candidate. They wanted someone with far more technical experience than I bring – in fact, they were actually looking for an over-qualified candidate. And about 90,000 people seemed to be interviewing. These and other factors made the whole thing feel rather insurmountable. More than once I would lament to my beloved via the office IM about how hopeless I felt.
Naturally, as mentioned before, I buckled down and did my pujas, my japaa, my dhyan, and my sex spells (just kidding). This time, I even employed the Christian prayers of one dear friend and requested a Hindu on wheels to keep his eyes religiously crossed for me for no less than two weeks.
And once again, the obstacles were obliterated – and then some! I not only beat out all the other internal candidates, but also all external candidates except one (only because they were technically hiring two people). My first interview was dry, to say the least, but the second interview – which was where I would have been skewered – was a blast. As if simply getting the offer wouldn’t be enough to make me smile, the raise I received was far more than anticipated and even more than my beloved got when he was awarded this position and his new position.
As an interesting aside, a number of months ago I applied for a somewhat similar position elsewhere in the company, and the interview was about as close to an actual train wreck as I’ve ever known. For the purpose of this post, I should mention that I refused all “extra” ritual in the weeks leading up to that interview.
Also a number of months ago, my best confessed to me, “you have better karma than most people I know.” Knowing that karma is action, and that ritual is also action, and taking into consideration that nothing “just happens” and that everything is the result of some prior action (as per modern physics), does that mean superstition doesn’t actually exist? Or does our ascribing results to certain, possibly-unrelated actions, constitute superstition simply because we can’t technically trace the cause of something? Is it ok to marvel at stuff like this and possibly risk being sucked into a mental construct of what we must or mustn’t do to get or avoid certain life events? (Not unlike avoiding certain gods because we’re fearful of what Their presence in our life might mean) Or should we take a more atheistic view and only assign effects to discernible causes, negating most – if not all – wonder? I think I know the answers for myself. What are the answers for yourself?
If this is basically all just superstition, I should admit that by this point I’m increasingly inclined toward so-called superstition, at least the one(s) I’ve chosen. If the proof is in the pudding, I’m almost convinced I’m surrounded by bowls of it. And who in my shoes wouldn’t be? If Babylonian chants and fiery sex magic do the trick, then trick the damned thing out! No?
Om Mahaganeshaya Namaha
I don’t think it is appropriate to refer to anything that actually has a background in spiritual text – as I assume your sadhanas do – as superstitions, for one thing. Japa, pujas, etc., for example are not in the same realm as carrying around a horse shoe, or crossing one’s fingers (crossing one’s eyes is different as it directs all of one’s spiritual energy toward the 1,000 petaled lotus per various examples in our scriptures.
Excluding any conversations outside of this blog, I absolutely agree to your sentiment/points being made here. I hope that, all questioning aside, my words here make it clear that I indeed do NOT place my religious practices in the same boat as carrying a horse shoe. If my words seem ambiguous in this regard, that is certainly my fault.
A note about eye crossing and its textual/historical foundation: Are you able to place your gaze on that chakra without physically crossing your eyes?