A rare admission: If you asked me whether I believe in the power of, like, crystals or the phases of the moon, I would most likely offer a rebuke along the lines of “I am NOT A HIPPIE.” I like science. I like dialectical materialism. I like tracing things back to their measurable origins. But if you dig into my coat pockets, you are absolutely going to find a piece of rose quartz (for love!) or onyx (for protection!), depending on the day. Because it’s like that: I don’t know that there’s any good reason to believe in, essentially, lucky rocks. But I keep them anyway.
It’s not because I necessarily believe that the rose quartz or the onyx, in and of themselves, hold any kind of special power. Not necessarily. I really don’t know. What I know is that by holding these objects-deemed-lucky in my hands, I find the aspects of myself that know how to conjure the things I’m seeking: love. Protection. Whatever it is. What I’m trying to express is that either we can make ourselves lucky, or that luck doesn’t exist. We live in a difficult world. Who doesn’t need a little luck on their side?
In the early months of establishing a yoga practice, I remember running across the notion of samskaras, the grooves worn into our consciousness by way of our habits (both habits of action and habits of thought.) I loved how common-sense this notion seemed: that we could forge the path of our lives by way of a consistent focus. A focus on love would yield a life of love. A focus on selfishness or competition would yield loneliness. The grooves could act as cradles, to be held by–or as ruts, the kind you get stuck in. You could choose. This is bound up in the notion of karma: that our actions have consequences, whether immediate or far down the road. Tracing things back to their measurable origins, and their repetition. We are what we do.
That explains only some of what life is like.
Later on, studying Tantric philosophy, a teacher mentioned the notion of lila: things happening without any discernable reason. The inverse of karma. Luck, good or bad. Unearned, unasked for, just suddenly present.
I don’t know exactly how it works, but I know my life is held somewhere within the coordinates of both karma and lila. The things we can measure and predict, and the things that we’ll never be able to explain. But we have a choice as to what kind of grooves we wear ourselves into. That’s the kind of luck a practice brings. The doing of a thing, over and over, brings outcomes both measurable and immeasurable. What weird and incredible luck that we’re here to do this-this life, this practice–at all. What luck that we’re doing it together.
Much love and thanks for reading,