I have been traveling for two months now. First Australia & then Taiwan. Both amazing places, full of stories and on the road stuff. All of a sudden I find so many people saying that I am really lucky – and initially I just ignored it but it really got to me.
Okay let’s look at the meaning.
Luck: success or failure apparently brought by chance rather than through one’s own actions.
So which part of my trip is by chance and not by my own action?
1) I worked hard to be able to afford it
2) I am spending money that almost everyone around me has and spends too, just not the way I have. In fact so many people around have way more money than me, they don’t spend it on traveling the way I do.
3) I planned my trip etc… Not like I was sitting in Mumbai and by chance I find myself in Australia.
4) I have created a life situation that allows me to do this very consciously and with effort. From not being married to coaxing my parents to agree
So what do you mean by Lucky!?
The Random Factor
I understand that there are lot of random factors in life – from being born to rich parents, to the country you are born, to the weather you get when traveling etc… Calling it all “luck/unlucky” is very shallow. It leads to unnecessary emotions and thoughts that don’t help your inner wellbeing.
Karma is really what needs to be looked at. In fact Indian people should not be thinking luck at all. The Karmic understanding is drilled into us and it is awesome.
People go to an awesome spot and then trying to click a selfie there, they slip and die! Probably they were losing the plot of the situation. It is not about clicking a picture in the place, it is about how you feel within, isn’t it? Or a man who goes to a beautiful spot with his wife. Takes a romantic picture and then hits her because he is a wife-beater. He puts his picture up on Facebook and you say he and his wife are lucky.
Usually a good and bad in the same situation are highlighted because it well gives the idea of karma. But it is not necessary. For eg: someone went to an awesome travel spot and tweeted a good picture. They landed an awesome paid gig to travel more. Accepting this good fortune as karma and remaining humble because there is so much more to life would ensure best output as the mind will still be balanced. A balanced mind will ensure you make the best of this opportunity. Instead of that if you thought you were so lucky and then went on to gloat or make others feel bad (which is inevitable unless you have the right amount of humility) then negativities will creep around your life and has consequences.
Some people may think that landing this paid gig is the ONLY thing in life. Well, it is not. And most of us know this because we have been hit by situations in life and we have other things in life.
It is karma. And I don’t mean good or bad, I mean it is a bondage. because when I go to an awesome place I am still there. My worries and limitations are still there. Maybe they are a little bit lesser but I have not dissolved, and that is the problem. I am the problem.
And until I am there, there is nothing ‘lucky’. There is only sadhana and some spiritual focus in life.
The Bigger Picture
When we talk of karma we take into consideration the entire big picture of the person..but with luck it is so trivial. Like ‘oh, you got a free movie ticket. Lucky!’ Really? I mean the movie turned out to be crap! Oh then, Unlucky! It is very flippant and means nothing.
Karma is different.Got a free movie ticket – it is karma…. Watched the movie and turned out boring…it is karma …. Both ways it is fine… Because everything is karma.
Here is why Karma is more holistic
1) Lucky is often in comparison – oh I got this and you didn’t? Lucky.
Karma is unique and pertaining to me alone. Because it is a result of my unique life situations. What is good for you may not be good for me. Karma takes this into account.
2) The Karmic understanding teaches you to take both the seemingly positive and negative things in your life with grace and acceptance. And the idea is to rise above it all.
Luck on the other hand doesn’t do this. It remains a very shallow concept and comparative which can lead to jealousy and envy.
3) Karmic understanding is in tune with your spiritual development. It keeps you aligned with how the world actually works.
The concept of luck isn’t – because as highlighted above it can turn negative or is often just rubbish.
4) Luck suggests that the factors are all external to you, but Karma will make you look inward. Cause often how we are inside can shape the external situations significantly.
5) Even when you have the best of everything, Karma tells you to move beyond it.
Luck doesn’t suggest any further progress.
The Karmic Understanding
One of the misunderstandings about karma is that people think it means ‘fate’. And that one is helpless when it comes to karma. But it doesn’t – at least it doesn’t mean that in a simple way. It is a cause and effect taking place and it definitely shouldn’t make you feel helpless. In fact the karmic understanding can really empower you to live a very balanced life where you can accept things with grace and equanimity. Which in turn is a cause for better effects.
The Elephant Sized Question here is what is the Karmic Understanding? What is Karma?
Indians and Buddhists would already have an understanding of karma. But they also need to look at it because often traditional meanings have lost their potency. These understandings like Karma are such massive truths of life but in common usage they become just one of many things.
If what I have said is intriguing then you need to get into this deeper on your own. Maybe I may write a couple of blog posts of interesting stuff, but this is not really a philosophy. It requires internal awareness and quiet time.
I keep telling people, take time out for yourself – reflecting on karma or looking at it deeper in a quiet state of mind can be really good.
Here is Sadhguru on karma. I have been following his stuff and he goes into it very deeply but over different QnA sessions. Buddhism also has a very detailed view of karma so it is something you could explore. To gain a relevant understanding takes some time so keep delving. Just reading a few paras very rarely works. Also I read a bit but then leave it to understand internally. Taking the self time to ponder/meditate is crucial. Or it can happen over time as one observes life…
Karma literally means action. We are referring to past action. From the moment you were born till this moment, the kind of family, the kind of home, the kind of friends, the things that you did and did not do, all these things are influencing you. Every thought, emotion and action comes only from past impressions that you have had within you. They decide who you are right now. The very way you think, feel and understand life is just the way you have assimilated inputs. We call this karma.