Happy Saint Patrick's Day! It is believed that Saint Patrick's Day has been celebrated in Ireland since before the 1600s. It was also believed to have originated as a one-day break during Lent, the forty-day period of fasting practiced by Roman Catholics. This mid-Lenten break would involve drinking alcohol, dancing and celebrating. This led to the widely celebrated tradition of Irish luck and merry.
Let's define luck. One of my favorite definitions comes from an old Native American quotation, "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." Maybe these "lucky" people are more open to new experiences and opportunities. To the contrary then, maybe unlucky people are stuck in routines that do not allow this merry break of celebrating the unexpected. When they see something new, maybe they want no part of it. Those "lucky" folk seem to want something new. They're prepared to take chances and they seem to have an ability to see the opportunities in the first place.
Gautama Buddha, the founder of Buddhism, taught his followers not to believe in luck. The view which was taught by Gautama Buddha states that all things which happen must have a cause, either material or spiritual, and do not occur due to luck, chance or fate. The idea of moral causality, karma, is central in Buddhism. Nonetheless, belief in luck is overwhelmingly prevalent in many predominantly Buddhist Asian countries. In Thailand, for example, Buddhists may wear verses (takrut) or lucky amulets which have been blessed by monks for protection against physical and spiritual harm.
I do not see anything wrong with wearing symbols of luck, or engaging in ritualistic practices that embody such attributes; not for the reason that an elephant-headed god will actually save us, but merely as a reminder for what that symbol represents. Some choose to wear designer brand labels or drive specific make vehicles as a symbol of affluence and luck. Others wear medallions, gems and shamrocks as such symbols. In essence, they are based on the same intent. It is a reminder for us to be prepared for opportunity. It is not giving away our personal power in belief that someone or something else will provide for our needs and grant us the ability to win the lottery.
Opportunities abound. Today we are going to focus on preparing ourselves to receive the opportunities around us. Sitting in Padmasana, or Lotus pose, we will practice letting go of belief systems and practices that limit us from being present to these opportunities.
1. Start sitting cross-legged on the floor. If your hips and/or knees are tight, please stay in this modified version of Padmasana, with one ankle in front of the other. Eventually your flexibility will increase, preparing you for full lotus. Another modification of this posture is Half-Lotus, where only one foot is placed on the opposite calf or thigh.
2. If you are ready for full lotus, once you have secured one foot high onto the opposite thigh, the other foot will then fold over the opposite shin and place also on its opposite thigh.
This is an advanced posture. Ideally you should work with a teacher to monitor your progress. You should not be in pain. If your knees hurt in anyway, come out of the posture and practice the modification of Half-lotus or sitting cross-legged.
Once you are in position, sit with a straight back. Relax your arms. Allow the back of your wrists to rest on your knees. Relax your face. Be still. Breathe deeply. Repeat in your mind, "I Am Lucky." Think of all the reasons that you have to be grateful. Allow yourself to synch into the present moment without fear. Momentarily let go of your routines in order to experience what the present moment is offering you. "I Am Lucky."
Have a lucky, green and merry day!
"I'm a great believer in luck and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it." -Thomas Jefferson