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



What should the view of a person be, if he’s not particularly superstitious, and is in fact usually quite logical, but has a tendency for noticing “coincidences” in virtually all areas of life? Does this mean he’s actually superstitious, but in denial about having this primitive characteristic?

I know many religions and many cultures have traditions that amount to little more than superstition- most developing over centuries, as byproducts the cultures they grew from. For instance, I’ve read that during eclipses, expectant mothers in India avoid going outside at all and certain children are “buried” in sands. Truth be told, there’s no earthly reason for suchery. No scientific knowledge is even needed to discern this…simple common sense suffices. If burying folks in sand actually ever healed anyone, hospitals would be less crowded. No? I mean… I don’t know. Maybe I’m missing something here.

And what of the discernible, and truly incredible numerical/mathematical sequences found everywhere in the natural world? Many see these things as naturally occurring, and something necessary and ironed out through a bajillion years of evolution, while others see these things as “proofs” that there exists a Higher Intelligence. A show I watched recently highlighted numerous incredible patterns within the natural world, some so striking it’s tough to think of them as unintentional. Still, the show insisted that chaos is at least as prevalent as order.

Someone told me today that so-called superstitious activities have immense value, regardless of their efficacy- or lack thereof -if they lead to deeper resolve. And because of that, it doesn’t matter if your actions are truly efficacious or mere superstition. She’s a devout, yet worldly Catholic. (Aren’t they all? I kid!) She tells me people who use religion as a crutch are essentially superstitionists, flavored by their immediate faith. According to this woman, real faith involves a letting go. She determined that it doesn’t matter if what you are doing is superstition, so long as it deepens your faith. Religions have practices that might well be labeled as superstitious, but the difference is that religions (mostly) aren’t abandoned when goals aren’t realized, and apparently superstitions are. She cited her own husband, who once wore the same yellow t-shirt to each Pacers game. At the time they were on a winning streak and he knew it would break were he to wear another shirt. The minute they lost, despite his best fashion attempt, he abandoned his ritual.

To kind of tie back to the show I mentioned earlier, since as far back as I’m able to remember I’ve been interested in nature and in studying any natural/living science. When I was very young, I would spend hours and hours outside climbing trees or running in fields or playing in creeks and rivers. I never ever tired of being in those places where there was literally nowhere I could turn and not find something moving or squirming, flowing or growing. And, from the start, I have always been inclined to see that there is Something behind the scenes. One of my earliest memories of god is a memory of a snowfall. I was in my parents’ home, looking out a window at snow falling on our expansive front yard. I noticed the flakes, some large and some small. I noticed the direction of their fall would shift at times. I noticed the invisible wind causing the flakes to swirl and fly. I saw these flakes accumulate on our driveway and drift from one place to another before gaining enough volume to stick somewhere and accumulate further. And I could feel, as I lingered near that window, the cold outside temperature penetrating through the glass and touching my face like some kind of fingerless ghost hand. And I recall, as I took in that winter experience, that I was knowing god. The snowflakes weren’t god. Neither was the wind. But somehow the whole sh’bang was. I actually talked to It right then. I was addressing the flakes, or the wind, or the drifts, or the grass slowly becoming buried… I addressed All of It.

Is that the same as, or bordering on, being superstitious? I know I wasn’t doing something odd for the benefit of its hope-for effects, like wearing the same shirt to ball games, but certainly some would say I reading more into the weather than is reasonable. I saw a natural process, identified with it in some way, thereby personifying it, and suddenly I knew god. Or not?

Allow me to toss out just one more instance for your consideration.

In the last couple weeks, I interviewed for, and was offered, new employment. In the weeks prior to my interview, and certainly between the interview and receiving the offer, I stepped up my sadhana like you wouldn’t believe. I basically followed a schedule based on the sandhyas. At each sandhya I performed one type of sadhana or another, with the most extensive being at the close of each day. (I’m happy to share the formula of this sadhana with anyone interested) (I don’t have a ton of time in the mornings, and lunches at the job I’m leaving are only 31 minutes long, so, while I performed my sadhana at each sandhya as best as I was able, necessity mandated that the final sandhya allowed for the longest-sustained effort.) Finally, after the longest 9 days of my life, I received the call and accepted the offer I had so badly hoped for.

Naturally, this has led me to questioning all of this. I left the interview knowing it had gone well, and wouldn’t have gotten the interview in the first place had my résumé not been well-constructed. Lots of folks would stop there and say that those things are all that came into play here. There are also lots of others who would insist that even a lame resume and poor interview can result in employment offer, if one has faith. I should admit that I’m a bit less in this crowd. But since sadhana was a part of this process (or at least I believe so, or I wouldn’t have dived into it as I did), how am I to know to what extent I benefitted from those efforts?

My religion is one founded in experience. This experience, superficially, would seem to support my shraddha/dharma. Fine. Dandy, even… Except that I can’t currently quantify/qualify what’s happened here in terms of my faith. Can I?

Hinduism’s Second Star

The second star designated in Thatte’s booklet is that of Advaita, NonDualism. This is huge for me. From my earliest memories I’ve been spiritual. Winter has always been my least favorite season, but as a young child I can recall looking out my parents’ front door windows at snow swirling down. I sensed the wind. I felt a hint of the temperature on the cold glass. I saw flake after flake swoosh to the ground or a tree branch and pile up on the flakes before it. All of this is very superficial and something anyone can see, but I saw Something behind all those aspects of a snowfall. I had no idea what to call that Something because the family I was born into isn’t religious, but I perceived It no less. For me now, the saddest part of that memory is that I assumed that Something was on the other side of the front door’s window. It must be out there.

As I entered my teens, I familiarized with Christianity through the means of a local Baptist church. I’ll spare the many details of this part of my life. For what seemed like a long time this new chapter satisfied me religiously and spiritually. Still, as with my early childhood, That was external. It should be noted that within every branch of every Abrahamic faith, the vast majority have a very orthodox understanding of an external God. This trait, in my estimation, is a defining characterist of those streams of humanity’s perception of the divine, and frankly I feel this is a sad testament to the state of human affair in recent millenia.

If the Abrahamic faiths can be noted for their distant god, surely the Dharmic faiths should be noted for the opposite trait as something which is equally defining. This is where Advaita/NonDuality comes in and is also why it’s particularly important to me.

“Advaita Vedanta maintains that everything is derived from Brahman and Brahman resides in everything. The Upanishads teach us that the world comes from Brahman and returns to Brahman.” (Thatte, 2010)

All throughout most of Hindu theology nowdays one encounters the notion of Atman. Invariably, this is presented as the human soul and is essentially defined as a spark of the Divine which resides in every entity. This Atman comes from Brahman in the same way a spark comes from a fire. It’s because of this, that hindus have the mantra/prayer, “Aham Brahmasmi,” “I am Brahman.”

Thatte goes on to explain that it’s because of all this that one does not need an external medium to seek God. Because your deepest Self is nondifferent to God, knowing your self(aka self-realization) automatically is synonymous to knowing God.

This is phenominal. Truly, I believe the Abrahamic faiths, at their cores, teach this. Today though, it’s much tougher to discern that from their doctrines. Part of why this is amazing is that it allows the flood gates to open for the experience of God. If God naturally resides in me then I don’t must follow some prophet, else I’m damned. Each person is free, even before the grand self-realization process has begun, to find their own path Home. In my opinion, this is foundational for any real and true spiritual or religious effort. Also, on a very personal level, the fact that this is(currently) a huge difference between Hinduism and the Abrahamics is enough for me to sense the truth there. My time with Christianity didn’t end well or quick, really, and while I honestly hold no actual grudges against individuals I can’t help but find comfort in anything that isn’t Christianity.

Back to the booklet…

Thatte’s practical take-away for this star’s chapter is that: Since each of us is essentially Atman, all should be treated with respect and reverence, just as we’d treat the Supreme Being.

Star three is somewhat a continuation of this star. It deals more with the Sould and its universality.

Om Tat Sat Om