Sunday, February 7, 2010

A Prayer for The Saints

“Dreams are like the paint of a great artist. Your dreams are your paints, the world is your canvas. Believing is the brush that converts your dreams into a masterpiece of reality.” ~ Author unknown

Last night, the New Orleans Saints brought home the smashing victory they deserved, and they taught my kids a valuable lesson.

Let me express first that I am not usually a big football fan, but since I consider New Orleans my true home from the heart, I would support anything that comes out of it, even if that means watching a long game I hardly understand the rules of.

Aside from me and my husband – he’s not really a fan of the Saints, but doesn’t dislike them either – my boys were pulling for the Colts. When in the first quarter the Saints were losing by ten points, my oldest son came up to me in the kitchen and said: “I told you that your boys were going to lose, mom” to which I firmly and proudly replied: “ The Saints will win, even if it’s not going to happen until after half time.” My son, not wanting to back down, and giving in to the arrogance of youth, made a huge mistake. “You really think so? I will bet my next week’s allowance that the Colts are going to win.” His brother, not wanting to be left far behind joined in, “I bet my allowance too. The Saints will lose.”

So, I agreed to accept their bets, and I decided to add a little energy to the whole thing; hey, after all, I have spent my whole life praying to the real New Orleans saints, right? Asking for a little favor could not possibly be crossing the line too much. I picked up a red candle, anointed it with success oil, clear the path oil, honey and bay leaves, and then lit it up visualizing the Saints holding the trophy. Then, satisfied that my wish had made it up to the ether and certain of the outcome, I left the game and went upstairs to watch a movie with my daughter, not giving the game another thought.

About ten minutes before the end of the game, my youngest son came upstairs and asked if we could call off the bets because he and his brother were feeling a little guilty siding with a team from up north. Ha! Good try! I refused to dissolve the bets and he walked back downstairs, a little disappointed.

As history had it, the Saints won, and they didn’t just win, they stomped on the Colts! I went downstairs carrying my laptop while Louis Armstrong sang “When the Saints Go Marching in” on Youtube. The moment I got to the bottom of the stairs, six eyes were staring me down – “You cheated, mom!” said the first one, “I never really wanted the Colts to win,” said the other, “I just did it for the money.”

Now, that was really something to talk about. Although in the beginning they were all talking about wanting the Saints to win, they allowed themselves to be swayed by the opinions of others over the odds of each team. Since the Colts were favored by many, they assumed it was not possible for the Saints to win. “You know nothing about football, mom” said my oldest son, “I didn’t think you could predict right when so many others said the Saints would lose.”

And indeed, that taught them a valuable lesson. Rather than sticking by what they believed, they followed what others were saying, and they lost track of what they wanted. In my heart, I had no doubt the Saints would win, especially after I set my wish and let it get out into the Universe. As Voltaire once said: “Faith consists in believing when it is beyond the power of reason to believe.” I hope that from now on, my kids will learn to think with their own minds and put a little more faith in the power of prayer.

Behind the Scenes of Karma and Acceptance

Among the things that are hardest for some people to do, accepting help or blessings probably ranks toward the top of the list.

In many cases, the awkward feeling we experience when presented with a gift goes back to how we feel about ourselves. We are conditioned, since early childhood, to associate rewards with “good behavior”. In our minds, in order to reap fruits, we must know we deserve them, and many times we fall short of our own expectations.

We’ve all seen people who seem to have all the luck, while some others appear to walk from one disaster to the next. Many describe this as Karma. We experience good Karma when we feel in our hearts that we have done the right thing and have lived according to our system of beliefs. When we feel we are “good”, good things come to us. We project good thoughts out because we feel at peace and happy, and those feelings allow us to accept whatever blessings are on our path. Similarly, bad Karma works on the same principles. If we have done something we feel bad about, or have indulged behaviors that are condemned by our system of beliefs, then we feel we must be punished, rather than rewarded. We put a lock on the door of blessings, and open that of misery instead.

Traditionally, karma is believed to be something we carry along through lifetimes until we have experienced what we have caused in the past. One wise man whose name now I can’t recall, once said that if you wish to discover who you were in your past life, or who you will be in the next one, you should look at the life you are currently living. Looking at the big picture, it’s not hard to see how that process would work – our body dies, but our soul remains and continues to record experiences through different incarnations until we “get” all the lessons we are supposed to assimilate. Interestingly, in the field of child psychology, children are observed during play sessions, while they “act out’ their blocks. The human mind needs to rehearse events it doesn’t have a clear picture of, and repeats their pattern until the cycle is broken by an outside catalyst. When our inner blocks trigger an emotional charge to external events, we subconsciously set out to “replay” the original block.

Our subconscious mind – connected to the mind of all creation – has two roles; the first is to store information catalogued according to the emotional charge attached to it; the second is to pick up “thoughts” and requests filtered through the rational mind, and manifest them into our daily reality. Learning how to accept involves learning how to get rid of buried guilt and feelings of low self-worth. Each of us deserves to be happy, regardless of what we might feel bad about – consciously or subconsciously.

So, rather than “you shouldn’t have”, our response to someone offering a gift should simply be “Thank you”. After all, if that person, or Universe itself, decides to bless you with something, you are, obviously, worthy of it.

In the Christian belief, Jesus told sick people they were forgiven for their sins, before he told them they could get up and walk, or go back home and find their child healed. Once they felt their sins, and the guilt associated with them, were lifted, they were ready to accept the blessings.

A psychologist in Hawaii, convinced that perception affects our personal reality, decided to try a test. He became acquainted with a group of violent inmates, and every day he took ten to fifteen minutes to sit still and repeat a simple mantra: “I love and I forgive”. When he repeated those simple words, over and over, he did not choose to direct those words to a specific person, but only to attract a positive emotional charge within himself. In less than a month, as his perception of them had shifted, the behavior of the inmates had greatly improved.

Ultimately, we can change our reality. All we need to do is believe it, forgive ourselves for what we can’t change, and know that we are good enough to receive the blessings already on their way.