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Friday, January 23, 2009

Truth in Traditions and Superstitions

Is there any truth in Traditions and Superstitions? How are these affect our faith?

Many superstitions result from lack of knowledge of causality, others from unenlightened fears. Many superstitions could be based on accidental luck or misfortune. Most are found in our society as old traditions which transferred from one generation to another.

Other people do not rely on this belief as a great deal but they do sometimes as a sort of imitation. We know that there is no understandable scientific justification of this belief, but some people still believe in it and they try hard to arrange their life according to it. It can even affect the worship we offer the true God, e.g., when one attributes an importance in some way magical to certain practices otherwise lawful or necessary. Some believes if wearing a particular dress or ornament brought good luck on a certain occasion, then there is a tendency to repeat that dress or ornament. Subsequently if the dress or the ornament continues to bring "luck" it is our faith or belief that works in making it "lucky." Hence we have a series of superstitions, such as, if a cat crosses our path, it is bad omen. It is good luck to find a four-leaf clover; and breaking of a mirror brings seven years of bad luck.

Likewise, belief in the power of the "evil eye" is not a superstition. Evil eye is the destructive power of thought. Our thoughts coalesce with elementals and become an entity.

"Greatly mistaken, or as grossly unjust is he who affirms that...strange beliefs are limited to paganism, or that they are the direct result of the heathen religions alone. Adopted by the archaic priestly, hierarchies, the policy of subjecting the ignorant masses, by working on their untutored imaginations and credulous fears. Unstemmed it ran in a straight course, through Paganism, Judaism, and Christianism alike, catching up in its current all the garbage of human dead letter interpretations...."(The Theosophist, December 1881)

Traditions lay down the code of conduct for individuals, societies, families, etc. It is these traditions which prepare a person for the higher spiritual life. However, we need to distinguish between true and false traditions. Many traditions are universal, no mythological story, no traditional event in the folk-lore of a people has ever been, at any time, pure fiction, but that every one of such narratives has an actual, historical lining to it.

Some superstitions originated as religious practices that continued to be observed by people who no longer adhere to the religion that gave birth to the practice. Often the practices lost their original meaning in this process. In other cases, the practices are adapted to the current religion of the practicer. As an example, during the Christianizing of Europe, pagan symbols to ward off evil were replaced with the Christian Cross.

Some Churches considers superstition to be sinful in the sense that it denotes a lack of trust in the divine providence of God and, as such, is a violation of the first of the Ten Commandments.Though lots of people find it hard to go against the traditions that have been long established in their community, they often do things because they have been well established in society, despite the fact that they are convinced that logical reasoning proves them wrong or even harmful.It is enough that we create some doubt in the recipient's mind, because this doubt will lead him to further questioning and eventual conviction of the truth. When such a person arrives at the truth in a particular aspect, realizing that contrary tradition in that particular aspect is baseless, he will acknowledge that other traditional beliefs and practices have no basis.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Mom's Wisdom

My Mom is in her seventies, and has seen a lot in her lifetime. She faced challenges that we all face one way or the other. She has seen successes and many happy times throughout her life. Recently, we were talking and I asked her if she could give me just three pieces of advice to live my life what would they be. After some thought, she said she would have to think about it. It surprised me that she wanted time to think about it. She always was free with her advice sometimes even when I didn't want to hear it.
I arrived at her house the next day where she handed me a piece of paper with her three pieces of wisdom written out. She explained to me that if she was only able to give me three, that these three were the most important.

As I read them, I realized the importance of what she was telling me. She wasn't telling me to save my money, nor was she telling me to work hard. Her 3 most important things to live a happy life were truly pieces of wisdom.

What were they? Here is the wisdom my Mom shared with me:

1. Make each new day count by helping someone or just making someone smile.
2. Don't dwell on life's troubles, think of the good times.
3. Don't worry about things you can't do anything about.

This was an interesting thing to do. Perhaps, like me, you have someone in your life that has been there for you, no matter what. My Mom has always been one of my biggest supporters and the wisdom she has given me over the years has helped shaped the person I am today. Ask that person in your life to give you three pieces of advice to live a good life. You may be pleasantly surprised by the answers you get.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Lesson in Life

Everything happens for a reason. Nothing happens by chance or by means of good or bad luck. Illness, injury, love, lost moments of true greatness and sheer stupidity all occur to test the limits of your soul. Without these small tests, if they be events, illnesses or relationships, life would be like a smoothly paved, straight, flat road to nowhere.

If someone hurts you, betrays you , or breaks your heart, forgive them. For they have helped you learn about trust and the importance of being cautious to who you open your heart to.

If someone loves you, love them back unconditionally, not only because they love you, but because they are teaching you to love and opening your heart and eyes to things you would have never seen or felt without them.

Make every day count. Appreciate every moment and take from it everything that you possibly can, for you may never be able to experience it again.

Talk to people you have never talked to before, and actually listen. Hold your head up because you have every right to. Tell yourself you are a great individual and believe in yourself, for if you don't believe in yourself, no one else will believe in you either.

You can make of your life anything you wish. Create your own life and then go out and live it.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Reflections---Looking back

Although the Christmas season is over, the memories of it will linger in our hearts throughout our life. As our family rings in the New Year, we take time to rekindle cherished moments on our lives. Life is a growing and a learning process. Through open and honest evaluation of the past year and admitting the mistakes we made - we learn and grow.

May we ask ourselves what we might have done differently and what might have been the benefits with approaching issues with different attitudes? In doing so, God can reveal the truth through the Holy Spirit.

Personally, I have learned that first and foremost, I must go to the one who not only has all wisdom, He is Wisdom, whom can we ask best counsel from, if it not through our Heavenly Father? God has promised if we ask for wisdom he will give it to us.

Please take a moment to read the story of the Wisdom of Solomon. 1 Kings 3: 4-15.
Solomon approached God to request for wisdom. Scriptures say that the request pleased God. That alone, encourages me to seek God for wisdom, because I desire to please God. Scriptures also tell us that because he did, God made promises for things Solomon did not even ask for.

1 Kings 3:12 -14 "I will do what you have asked. I will give you a wise and discerning heart, so that there will never have been anyone like you, nor will there ever be. Moreover, I will give you what you have not asked for--both riches and honor—so that in your life in your lifetime you will have no equal among kings. And if you walk in my ways, and obey my statues, and commands as David, your father did, I will give you a long life."

God resists the proud, but if we humble ourselves before Him, He gives grace, and He will exalt us in due time. 1 Peter 5:6. Pride puts a barrier between us and God. Pride will hinder our prayers. When prayers seem empty or unanswered, we should search our heart and ask a few questions:
  • Have I repented all my sins? Sin separates us from God.
  • Am I asking according to God’s will? Thy will be done.
  • Do I have a forgiving heart? Forgive to be forgiven.
If the previous questions can be honestly answered with,” no,” then we must simply wait on the Lord for his timing. His timing is always perfect, never too early, never too late.

Finally, ask the question, what does God require of me?Micah 6:6 answered the question beautifully: Do justly, love mercy; walk humbly with your God. Humility brings results.

New Year's celebrations bring forth all kinds of resolutions. Make resolutions to yourselves this year. Resolve to seek God first in all your decisions, whether great, or small - with a pure and humble heart. Give thanks with a grateful heart for all He has done, and will do in the year to come.