Sunday, December 17, 2006

Hard Luck and the Other Kind.

When was the last time you had a streak of bad luck? If you can't recall, then you are truly blessed. In fact, it's not often that we reflect upon our lives and notice bad luck's absence. No... it is noticable mostly through its belligerent presence. I was thinking, as recently as a month or two ago, about how content I was with life. Truly I have much to be thankful for, even without making a long list of all the misfortunes that have not befallen me. But maybe the superstitious shouldn't count their blessings. I know that sounds ungrateful, but with a certain cast of mind... that can bring trouble. Life on earth has its counterbalances, and it may be tempting fate to become too content.

Outlining the many small hassles that I have encountered lately seems petty. There is always someone that has it worse than me. I could turn on the network news to get a quick and sensational account of this truism. But when I start thinking about the big things that could go wrong, I always flash back to a peom by Charles Bukowski called "The Shoelace". He reminds us that it's often the little things (a broken shoelace, a flat tire, an expired driver's license, an inoperative lightswitch, an overflowing toilet), in their sum total, that wear us down. And these things always seem to gather into mini-plagues, causing a subtle but building tension. Once you find yourself in the midst of a wave of bad breaks, it's hard to regain your feet.

It's time for me to call upon the Goddess of Fortune for some good luck. Sri Lakshmi is the Hindi deity that I would appropriately appeal to for this gift. She's the "mother of the universe", divine consort of Vishnu, and if anyone can turn it around... she seems to me to be a good bet. It is believed that Lakshmi will only visit houses that are clean, and only bestow her gifts on those that are not lazy. This seems auspicious to me because before I sat down to write this, I cleaned out the desk that houses my computer. And surely there were times that I could have been called lazy, but I've really picked up the pace lately.

Or perhaps I could observe Fortuna, the Roman Goddess of Luck and Destiny (derived from Tyche, of Greek origin). She however wears a blindfold, signifying her random and impartial nature. I think I have to take a pass... her methods completely defeat the purpose of praying to her in the first place. Perhaps Bes, the Egyptian God... he's a dwarf. He is said to protect against black magic and the evil eye. Well, I haven't pissed anybody off to that extent. I fail to see any reason why I should have been cursed.

It's the Japanese that seem to be the most comprehensive... they have seven separate Gods of Good Luck. And they are compartmentalized so that you can importune the proper spirit guide. This option too seems insuffiucient for my needs since I can't isolate any particular area of life to address. There are many quick fixes for specific problems, but I need a general turn of chance. No doubt the small rituals promoted by Westen medieval peasants would also fall short of blanket coverage. Salt over the shoulder... four-leaf clovers... lighting a votive... or trying to find the appropriate Catholic saint- all these options seem inadequate.

I guess I'll have to go with Sri Lakshmi.

2 Comments:

Blogger Rob Park said...

When it comes to gambling there is no such thing as luck only chance and statistics.

You can play the odds well or poorly. The more times you play them well the more likely you are to win. If you play the odds poorly you probably lose.

There is a zen proverb on luck. You might have heard it. I'll give the abridged version. A farmer's son breaks his leg and the villagers say, "oh what bad luck." The army comes to draft the men of the village and the boy stays. Other say,"oh what good luck."

So you see, things just happen and they are neither good or bad luck.

Just my little input.
Hope your luck changes.

4:50 PM  
Blogger Merge Divide said...

Words like "luck" and "fortune" are just qualifiers to describe how we perceive external influences. Certainly there is much we can't control... so I have always rejected the idea that "we make our own luck". I never gamble. That's just a sucker's bet, as far as I'm concerned. The only way I'd do it was if I got to be the "house".

Thanks for the well-wishes.

7:47 PM  

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