Dayton Vaishnavs

A couple Sundays ago a friend and I went to Dayton, Ohio. Our original plan was to venture to Tennessee. There’s a temple of Ganesha there which I adore and the drive is only about four hours – not bad for a day trip. Dayton, however, has a temple that I only recently learned of while in one of the city’s suburbs at the Sahaj Marg ashram. Truly, the Dayton temple isn’t far from the ashram, which is in Beaver Creek.

We took a single interstate almost the whole way there – a journey lasting only a little over two hours. The difference in distance between Indy / Dayton and Indy / Nashville (Tennessee) was definitely a deciding factor for us. We left out pretty early for a Sunday morning and actually arrived at the temple with just enough time to stroll around the temple grounds for a bit and take some pictures before going inside for the start of the Venkateshwar abhishekam.

The first thing that struck me is how small the whole area is. I think the temple itself as well as the grounds around it (including parking lot) could probably fit in the same space as the Indy temple’s area – and have at least 30% left over. The building itself is nice enough to look at and the shape seems relatively modern and conducive to worship as well as community functions. The gopurams on top of the worship part of the building are … diminutive.  Even for the smaller size of the building, they felt too small. Additionally, there’s a free-standing gopuram out front of the main temple that looks unfinished and also is in a degree of disrepair. It was surrounded by yellow, plastic caution tape. No work seems to be in progress though, so I’m a little confused as to what exactly is going on.

Soon enough we both made our way inside the temple… through the basement, which is where most congregants have to enter. We removed our shoes and were greeted right away by another devotee who recognized us as first-timers. We were permitted to snoop around the basement a bit and take some pictures. After about five minutes we found our way upstairs into the main worship area. This area was obviously far more ornate than the basement, but like most other aspects of the whole temple even the worship hall was quite compact. There are only four or five garbas total, and a number of the deities which are usually in respective garbas in other temples I’ve been to are simply raised images on the exterior walls of these handful of garbas.

We made it upstairs just in time for the abhishekam of Shri Venkateshwar to begin. Gladly, we seated ourselves and watched everything unfold. I think this is actually the first such abhishekam for Shri Venkateshwar in which He is the temple’s main deity. I’m used to seeing Him all gussied up and wearing golden hands and tons of malas. The form itself is quite a bit smaller when all the fancy is wiped away.

There were times throughout the abhishekam when a quick aarti is performed. In my home temple, most of these involve the light being “offered” to the congregants after being offered to the deity. The priest will finish offering it to the god and then turn and face the crowd to do the same, at which time we all raise a hand or two to received the light and wash it over ourselves. Congregational Light Abhishekam / Aarti for the god within each of us. This didn’t happen at the Dayton temple – not even once. It’s hard for me not to feel slighted in some way, but I imagine this is attributed to a difference in puja style or something? Surely Vishnu would be cool sharing His Light with each of us, so I don’t understand why the priests didn’t facilitate that.

After the abhishekam, everyone lined up in front of the garba for Shri Venkateshwar… half of us on one side of the carpet leading to him and half on the other side, forming a kind of human hallway. The priests made their way down both sides of the aisle to distribute prasadam and other blessings. When this was finished, we meandered a bit to have another look at things and then left to get lunch. After eating, we were on our way out of Dayton when we spotted a Half Price Books store – one I’d noticed when I was at the Sahaj ashram a few weeks prior. Naturally, we stopped in. I was lucky enough to come across, and buy, a New Testament in Pennsylvania Dutch, which isn’t Dutch at all. I’m happy to add this to my home library since it’s the only text I’ve ever happened upon in the language and it’s also the only “Bible” I have which is strictly the New Testament.

Thus concluded the day trip to Dayton, Ohio. I’ve since shared this story with my manager at work, a lovely Hindu woman with whom I often discuss things like this. She told me of a number of other Hindu temples in Ohio and I plan to visit them each as I am able.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha | Aum Shanti

 

 

From a distance...

From a distance…

Getting closer!

Getting closer!

Getting closer

Getting closer

Finally arriving

Finally arriving

Temple outside

Temple outside

From the outside

From the outside

From the outside

From the outside

From the outside

From the outside

From the outside

From the outside

From the outside

From the outside

From the outside

From the outside

From the outside

From the outside

From the outside - the free-standing "gopuram" which is in disrepair.

From the outside – the free-standing “gopuram” which is in disrepair.

Kalpa-Vrksh listing major donors

Kalpa-Vrksh listing major donors

From inside - Venkatesh abhishekam

From inside – Venkatesh abhishekam

From inside - Venkatesh abhishekam

From inside – Venkatesh abhishekam

From inside - Venkatesh abhishekam

From inside – Venkatesh abhishekam

From inside - Venkatesh abhishekam

From inside – Venkatesh abhishekam

From inside - Venkatesh abhishekam

From inside – Venkatesh abhishekam

From inside - Venkatesh abhishekam

From inside – Venkatesh abhishekam

Doors are closed - God's getting dressed!

Doors are closed – God’s getting dressed!

Doors are closed - God's getting dressed!

Doors are closed – God’s getting dressed!

Garuda

Garuda

Garuda

Garuda

:) Just us

🙂 Just us

Doors are closed - God's getting dressed!

Doors are closed – God’s getting dressed!

View of temple interior to the right of Shri Venkateshwar - Ram Parivar

View of temple interior to the right of Shri Venkateshwar – Ram Parivar

Doors are closed - God's getting dressed!

Doors are closed – God’s getting dressed!

View of temple interior to the right of Shri Venkateshwar - Shri Tripurasundari

View of temple interior to the right of Shri Venkateshwar – Shri Tripurasundari

20160306_120144

Navagraha

Navagraha

:) Just us

🙂 Just us

Siva lingam - Siva lingam

Siva lingam – Siva lingam

Lord Ganesha

Lord Ganesha

Lord Ganesha

Lord Ganesha

20160306_120439

View of temple interior to the right of Shri Venkateshwar - Ram Parivar, and some kid ringin' a bell

View of temple interior to the right of Shri Venkateshwar – Ram Parivar, and some kid ringin’ a bell

Lord Ganesha's Name plate --- not at the front of his garbgrha, but on a nearby window sill

Lord Ganesha’s Name plate — not at the front of his garbgrha, but on a nearby window sill

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Guru Paduka Stotram

I have recently spent time on Youtube browsing a number of videos. I’m often fond of watching covers of liked music, various recordings of the muslim call to prayer and the atharvashirsha, and random other videos like old Ms. Swan sketches or Wine About It with Matt Bellassai (sp?).

Recently I came across a video, which I posted to Facebook, of the guru paduka stotram. There’s a good chance that you, dear reader, don’t know at least three words of the last sentence: Guru, Paduka, and Stotram. Lemme explain.

Guru, in western terms, could be interpreted (different than a translation) as a life teacher. One who has mastered being a human and is available to lead others in the same way.

Paduka, in very modern western terms, could be interpreted as the original flip-flop sandals. If you Google this word then you will see that it’s basically a sole, a “post” that comes up from the sole to between the great toe and the second toe, and lastly a knob of sorts that sits at the top of the post (surely to aid in grip).

For Stotram there really is no modern or western equivalent. I suppose it could be just a “hymn.” In fact, when you Wiki this word you will learn that it can be “a prayer, a description, or a conversation, but always with a poetic structure” and “hymn of praise” is our nearest same thing. For Hindus, this is a sacred text which is meant to be sung and not chanted or plainly recited. Most of the other texts that we have can and are chanted or otherwise just recited, but a stotram differs in that it must be melodiously sung.

To when you string those together you should understand that the Guru Paduka Stotram is a hymn of praise for the guru’s sandals. In Hindu culture the feet of a saint or deity are significant and symbolic. The feet touch the dirt and are usually the “lowest” place of a person’s body – lower than the ankles, which are lower than the knees, which are lower than the pelvis, which is lower than the abdomen, and so forth. To revere a holy person’s feet is an expression of deep, sincere, humility.

I’m embedding a version of the Guru Paduka Stotram that I’ve been listening to. I hope you like it.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha

The Differently Same Reality

So … by request, the plan for this post is meant to kind of illustrate the parallels between being Hindu and being Sufi. I’ve not really done this before, and going into it I feel a bit intimidated because, unlike Hinduism, I haven’t spent the last 10+ years studying and living Sufism.

In a recent post I brought the idea that I’ve usually thought of Sufism as a type of Islamic Hinduism. Chewing on that a bit more since that post, I think I’ve changed my perspective on that. I believe Sikhism to be a better fit for the idea of Islamic Hinduism. There are other religions, too, like the Baha’i faith that could also perhaps fall into a broader category of “Islamic Hinduism” – with each path, of course, having it’s own so-called specialty.

However, as I’ve been looking around online trying to learn more about these parallels I’m finding that Sufism is indeed much like Hinduism – but it’s really only like the parts of Hinduism that are truly beyond the mundane. Like those in Hinduism who reach the upper elevations of transcendence, Sufis – despite their own “rituals” – don’t really hold much place for the things that tend to preoccupy the bulk of humanity’s religious concentration. In mainstream Islam and definitely what could be called the bulk of Hinduism ritual prevails, but from what I’ve gathered Sufis seem entirely aware that their unique practices are definitely meant to be transcended as soon as one’s development permits.

From the Hindu side of this we’re familiar with having murtis, bathing them, dressing them, feeding them, waking them in the morning and putting them to bed at night. We perform japa ritually. We begin or don’t begin certain endeavors based on the movement of the heavens. And the more orthodox parts of Hinduism even dictate on things like clothing, food, profession, and marriage. Still, for all of this there are the rare exceptions within Hinduism wherein the believer isn’t held to these things and the emphasis is often on a more direct and experiential connection to the Source, one’s true Self.

This is where the parallels between “Hinduism” and Sufism begin to show. To narrow things down a bit here, the roots of Sahaj Marg that can be traced back to Sufism indicate a Naqshabandi Sufi lineage – which is actually unique among the Sufi paths as it is the only denomination that goes back to the Prophet of Islam through the first caliph instead of the prophet’s cousin, as all the others do (I think). Additionally, depending on which source you choose to reference, there are possible Shaivite Hindu roots (well, influence) to Sufism. I don’t know much about these and can’t really attest to the verity of those claims, but it definitely seems to fit on a few levels.

In the case of Sahaj Marg practices we see a definite blending of the two that highlights the parallels. The Master or guru is important. There is the heart-to-heart transmission, or pranahuti. As with Sufism, the Sahaj Marg tends to avoid murti worship, prefering instead to worship the Divine on a more subtle level. As with some sects of Hinduism, the Yamas and Niyamas are taken to be guidelines of exemplary living that develops spirituality and improves the earth life. Mind you, the Sahaj Marg also has what are called the Ten Maxims which are totally separate.

Certainly, Sufism has it’s own set of unique practices, which could be as limiting as the bulk of Hinduism’s rituals. But once you drop all the baggage of man-made religious expression what you’re left with is where these two paths collide – indeed, I think every path combines at that level. On that note, I’m finding that it’s actually more efficient to detail the differences between these two paths than it is to highlight the parallels – a task I really have no interest in going into very deeply. I can say, though, that you can’t compare Hinduism to Sufism because Sufism is pretty much entirely mystical while Hinduism isn’t necessarily. You can compare Hinduism to Islam, but to make a fair comparison between Hinduism and Sufism you would need to isolate some path of Hinduism that is, life Sufism, pretty much entirely mystical.

I’ve attached a video I found online that might offer better insight than I am able to, although it’s quite lengthy.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti

στην καρδιά σας ( stin kardia sas )

meditation-thoughts

I recently received the current issue of Hinduism Today, and it wasn’t until this gem arrived in the mail that I realized that I hadn’t yet made my way through the last issue. Tragedy! In all fairness, though, the last 3 months have literally been too much. So there.

As I began progressing through the last issue, anxious to dig into the newest one, I came upon some things that instantly caught my attention. The first is in the quotes section and comes from a Sri Lankan mystic of the founding lineage of those responsible for Hinduism Today magazine, Satguru Siva Yogaswami. He apparently once said, “Karma is movement in the mind. When the mind remains motionless there is no karma.” Sat! This instantly brought to mind bits of Patanjali’s Yoga Stura that I have studied – one in particular that details the stilling of the mind’s waves bringing peace and leading to moksha. My experience with the religion of Yoga so far has confirmed this and I love it. Much of Sahaj Marg is built on the foundation of the Yoga Sutras and it was nice to see another, well-established, parampara / sampradaya iterate the same.

The second thing that jumped out at me occurs later in the magazine (around page 40) in a section containing 14 “Daily Enlightenment Lessons.” The fifth of these lessons was the first to really stand out to me. It’s titled, “Superconscious Mind of Light” and like each of the other lessons in this part of the magazine it wraps up with a challenge for the reader to engage in so as to incorporate that lesson into daily life. The challenge for lesson five is to sit quietly in meditation, with a relaxed body and regulated breathing. We’re instructed to “…seek the light within your head. This light which lights your thoughts is the light of superconssciousness. Aum.”

I’m certain 99.9% of the readers glossed over that and kept plowing through the lessons and the rest of the publication. This caught me, though, because it’s strikingly similar to the meditative practice employed by the Sahaj Marg, only we focus on the heart instead of the head. Although there’s that one big difference between the two paths, I still think either of these methods (head or heart) is super beneficial.

Most of us have trouble thinking of stuff that isn’t obvious. It requires more work than we have interest investing into our labors. I’ve written before about how much of a disservice it is to be lazy in this way. It invariably spills over into other areas of life, bringing undesirable results.

The two practices mentioned above – the one from Sahaj Marg which is to see-but-not-see the sublte light in your heart and the one advised by the saiva Satguru which is to see the Light that lights your thoughts – are great, but they require “effortless effort” on the part of the seeker, which is the trickiest kind of effort. Think about it: We are familiar with our thoughts. We generally know what they feel like and with a little more attention we can even discern patterns in them. But what enables us to observe something so closely interwoven to how we function? There’s a Light, as if from some kind of often-overlooked backdrop, and It allows us to see our own thoughts and emotions – it lights them for us.

When we engage ourselves with that “backdrop” and become increasingly familiar with it, we begin the realization that This is our true self. This, in the Hindu religion, is known as Self Realization. And whether you approach your Self from the heart or the head, you can’t help but reach truth, your Self, and become that subtlest Light.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti

Your Blue Throat

Image taken from Google Image search

Image taken from Google Image search

A major Hindu holiday was recent. Shivratri, or actually Mahashivratri. A lot of people might not be aware that each year brings many Shivratris – one about 13 days after each new moon. The one we just had, though, is known as Mahashivratri because it’s apparently Lord Shiva’s favorite of them all (in a year’s cycle). During this holiday there’s lots of fasting and flocking to temples and pujas and especially lingam abhisheks. While I partook in some of those usual festivities, I did so from home in a rather quiet manner. I bathed my home mandir’s lingam, chanted the Panchakshar and Mrtunjaya mantras, and then after spending some with my very affectionate cat, Darel, I disappeared into myself in meditation.

It was nice. It was peaceful. And it allowed me to follow my saiva leanings while also practicing my Sahaj Marg path. While giving my attention to my cat I began to contemplate Shiva and his form as All-Pervasive Consciousness. Without going too much into it, this Hindu belief is one that draws me to Hinduism and more specifically to all things Shiva-centric. I think a self-existent, all-pervasive Consciousness is That which all things come from and to where everything returns. Indeed, science is more and more in support of the notion that consciousness is what everything rests on and some experiments, which are too tricky for me to explain, have even started to prove that things behave differently than expected when consciousness is directed or diverted. Spending time with Darel always leaves me grateful for the myriad forms consciousness takes.

While engaged in this contemplation, and as I entered into meditation, a well-known story about Shiva came to mind. The digest version of the story is that a poison arose during the churning of the primordial sea and everything was in jeopardy – everything. Shiva came to the rescue by swallowing all of it. To keep from suffering from the poison, he employed his yogic might (Shiva is, after all, the God of yoga) and stopped the poison while it was yet in his throat. The poison’s effect as it came to rest there was to turn his throat blue. Because of this, Shiva is also known as Neela Kanta (Blue-Throated One).

Many people know this story and certainly there are many interpretations and implications of it. One that came to me recently, though, felt new to me. The idea that the actual power of yoga – what enables true union – is the ability to stop.

Think about it. What goes up, must come down. Right? Left is balanced by right. Light is countered by dark just like hot is by cold. Surely for every in there is an out and every forward has its backward. No two lines are truly parallel, even if it looks as though they’ll never touch. The phenomenal world is maintained by these opposites. If you disagree, dissect any pair of opposites and see what you get. I promise the only thing you’ll get is a huge imbalance.

This is where it all gets kind of funky. In order to have a phenomenal existence, you have to engage in this back-and-forth-ery. There’s really no way around it. Sadly, once engaged in all of this, we confuse everything and kind of get trapped. We drink the poison to save what needs saved, forgetting about what that will cost. Or in modern terms, we go after what we think / feel / desire and in the process engross ourselves (and our karmas) ever deeper in Maya – that is, until true yoga becomes our path, our forte.

In the story of the churning of the sea, Shiva was able to fully perform and engage in phenomenal acts and remain unaffected because of true yoga. He was literally able to halt the motion caused by the actions he had made. It’s like in the Gita when we’re advised not to be attached to the fruits of our actions – only this feels a bit more active. Shiva was, through his yogic ability, able to act and not be touched by the fruit of those actions. He was able to perfectly fulfill his swadharma and avoid (escape?) the karma that would have affected anyone else. He was able to simply stop it. Shiva Shankar ki jay!

Neela Kanta Shiva

Neela Kanta Shiva

Everything about the evening and the story about Neela Kanta, who is the Lord of Consciousness and the Lord of Yoga, popping into my mind before closing the night seemed to help me become super aware of That which pervades all and of how my religion of yoga gently and surely brings me closer to It. The heightened awareness of That which marries my head to my heart set the stage for the night’s meditation, Sahaj Marg style. And I entered meditation with gratitude for a path that brings me closer to union by peeling away my layers and for a God with a blue throat.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti

My Own Release

Shiva Nataraj - Taken from Google Image search

Shiva Nataraj – Taken from Google Image search

I wrote a while ago about patterns in life. This year is still young, but already I think I’m seeing a pattern forming for 2014. Renunciation is a value built into all of Hinduism, although the emphasis of what should be renounced often varies.

I mentioned in another post a little about the stress I’ve been under. If I can be honest this has been a very telling test regarding where I am with renunciation, or at least the “letting go” part of it. Self-assessment is a huge part of progressing as a human and a soul. Most people don’t like that aspect of their journey. At times I don’t either, but looking back I’ve never been sorry to have first reflected on some trait I possess(ed) and then adjusted accordingly. I think this “letting go” might be another instance of this.

A few weeks ago I spent most of my Sunday at an abhyasi’s (abhyasi = godbrother / godsister) house in an all-day / extended satsangh. Usually when this occurs (about once a month, next Sunday being March’s long satsangh), we start with an hour-long meditation, followed by an hour of discussion/study, followed by an hour or so of eating and “relaxing,” followed by another hour of discussion/study, and then wrap up with another hour of meditation. During the extended day the topic of stress came up in relation to our discussion on attachment and renunciation. One person, a local prefect, shared something he’d heard from a friend who had visited a shrink of some sort. He shared that the definition of stress is “when reality and expectation don’t match.” (I think that could also be a definition of what a surprise is.) He then also shared three things that can help a person be less affected by stress when their expectation doesn’t meet reality. I don’t plan to include those here.

This simple definition couldn’t be truer for me, much of the time. I often have an idea of how things should or might go, and not always – not often really – when reality doesn’t mirror what I thought I’m like, “WTF?” With work this is particularly true. I expect to be trained on the responsibilities placed on my shoulders. When that training is really – very – muchly deficient, my expectation is no longer matching (or able to match) reality and my mind automatically begins whirling a bit, considering so many things. The natural result of that kind of nonsense is stress.

I say this is natural because it really is a natural part of life – not the crummy training, but stress in general. Life probably wouldn’t be possible without it. Still, the human mind can be a real bitch and one of it’s favorite egoic tricks is misery. Stress comes to us, in a bajillion different forms, so that we respond in a way that keeps things moving. This is where stress is good for life in general. But the human mind will grab onto something related to our challenges and recycle it. It won’t let go unless you’re entirely apathetic or have trained your mind well. I might be making excuses (I’m not), but I have to wonder if this has anything to do with me being drawn to Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga – both deal much with the mind and learning to master it and consequently everything it touches, which is nearly everything.

As this year ages, and I do also, I’m sure I’ll find ample opportunity to test and develop the renunciation and detachment (mental, emotional, …personal) needed to meet my own challenges and keep moving. Certainly, my wish is the same for you.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti

The Heart of Man

Image taken from Google Image search

Image taken from Google Image search

I’ve been writing a lot more lately about things to do with Sahaj Marg and my experiences therein. This post will be no different.

One thing that never ceases to amaze me is how “heart-centered” this marg is and what a balanced role bhakti plays within this marg’s practice / sadhana. A big part of our meditative practice focuses on region of the heart chakra, also known as the Anahata Chakra. This is interesting because the Sahaj Marg springs from the Raja Yoga / Patanjali way of spirituality and brings with it an emphasis on the mind, its workings, and control over it. For the Sahaj Marg, however, the heart is where all the action happens. We work on knowing our Self, controlling the waves within the mind, living simple lives, etc… but progress really happens in the human heart.

I have a day book of sorts – not exactly a calendar but each page of the book corresponds to a day in the calendar year. It reminds me of Christian devotionals that I used to read through during the course of a year, only mine now is Hindu. I had gotten behind sometime around the middle of January and as I was catching up last night I came to an entry that touched me in light of everything this year has brought as well as from the context of my walk with the Sahaj Marg.

The wisdom of one of the days in January is a quote from the Brihadaranyaka Upanishad and is as follows,”What is the soul? The soul is consciousness. It shines as the light within the heart.”

Adhering to a practice that sees God and our Self as the most subtle light within the heart – so subtle in fact that we don’t picture this Light so much as “suppose” it – this short quote obviously speaks to me. Indeed, it makes me smile.

Whatever your path, I hope it helps you to develop sufficiently so as to experience the inner Light which so subtle it can’t be seen, but only known.

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti

Anahata Chakra, from Google Image search

Anahata Chakra, from Google Image search

Heart To Heart

Taken from Google Image search

Taken from Google Image search

Most know me as a Ganapatya (Ganesha as the preferred face of the Supreme), but before that I was a blur of Smarta / Shaiva, with heavier leanings toward the Shaiva side of things. In the months of 2013, I’ve dropped the Smarta designation for all practical purposes and have instead adopted a religious theme decidedly more Shaiva / Ganapatya. Not that it really matters.

Certainly, that’s a change. Certainly, life involves evolution and change – neither of which are stoppable and neither of which should anyone want to stop or halt – or even slow down. If transcience and change and evolution weren’t somehow closely associated, it might be that the universe couldn’t exist. This, in general, is hard for humans to gladly accept. And depending on the inner landscape one has cultivated within, it could actually be an even bigger pill to swallow. None of that really matters, either – except it does matter, a little.

Facing (facilitating?) some change myself, I’m finding great comfort in the imagery employed in the Nataraj. For anyone unfamiliar, this is a depiction of the great lord Shiva mid-pose and dancing. Every – single – thing about this murti (as with other murtis) is highly symbolic. I find value in this because one isn’t required to dig deeply to learn dark-n-wondrous Truth. It’s right there in the very form of the Nataraj – both hidden and obvious. The same goes for the dancing form of my ishtadevata, Ganesha, which is called Nrtya Ganapati.

Change is blessed, indeed. More should learn to embrace this. Among the myriad benefits of this view, it’s additionally one of the best ways to conquer the ego, which one of my all-time favorite authors, Eckhart Tolle, has taught on extensively. Below I’m sharing a quote that is related to some of my own change recently. I think it paints an easy-to-understand picture of this supreme Truth and even hints and wonderful Truth that doesn’t pertain to the idea of change.

I hope you agree.

“Change is like watching a bud open into a flower, level by level, you know, layer after layer of petals. The important thing to understand is that it is one integrated idea – and the idea that a bit of change is followed by another bit of change, followed by another bit of change, until finally we come to see a changeless state. It is necessary to understand this, because we must know change as a process.” – Revered P. Rajagopalchari (Chariji Maharaj)

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti

Intentional Jinx

Taken from Google Image search

Taken from Google Image search

I think I believe in jinxes. They’re not rational, but still. Any time I’ve shared that I’ve applied for a job or interviewed for one, I don’t get it. I keep my mouth shut, however, and I’m signing an offer letter before I know it. People announce that they’re quitting smoking – and fail. I’ve known a few who tackled this task quietly, and obtained healthy success. I mention to anyone that I’m rededicating myself to time at the gym and it’s invariably at least a month before I step through the doors. I sneak in without so much as a peep, and the next thing I know I’ve gone nearly every day for three months solid and seeing results.

There’s something different… special… powerful… about just getting to work and making it (whatever that might be) happen.

Periodically, I take a bigger view of my life than I already often do and make an assessment. I can remember the first couple times I attempted this, I pretty much failed. But getting back on the old horse is part of learning how to ride, so I kept with the effort and now when times of assessment hit me, they’re productive and more balanced / reasonable.

For me, the last seven days (today, Saturday, being the seventh) has been another period of assessment. I find this interesting and frustrating because my best had been hospitalized for numerous days, I’m wrapping up a class right now and have tons due, shopping season is evaporating as I write this (and I’ve yet to buy a thing!), I am moving into yet another position at work which means intense focus / learning, and I’ve gone on less sleep per night each night this week than I have in I-don’t-know-how-long. Of all the times to be adding something else to my plate – especially something like one of my “assessments” – this would surely be about the worst. No?

There have been a few times in the past when, post assessment, I’ve arrived at some conclusions and have mentioned those to some or all. Then, other times, I’ve arrived at a decision or two not related to any kind of so-called assessment and have still opened my mouth about it all. Mostly, at least within the narrow contexts of my self-assessments, I’ve not been jinxed. I’ll admit some decisions / conclusions here and there were short-lived in contrast to others. But I don’t really see those as failures so much as just proof that it wasn’t really a conclusion that I’d come to, after all. Further, in some cases I think those instances are evidence that I’ve evolved a bit from that point.

After these last seven days, I blissfully (and much-needed-ly) slept in this morning and when I awoke I had new knowledge, well almost a feeling really. Nothing dark-n-wondrous or ground-splitting, but definitely game-changing. Almost a new perspective. Certain things will be different moving forward, although I think I’ll choose not to reveal those right now.

I’d hate to jinx anything. (Or have I already?)

Aum Shri Mahaganeshaya Namaha
Aum Shanti