Let's start with a prayer: I am an emissary of peace and harmony in the world. Whether it is a relationship with family, friends, or things I know that it is all God. From my core of spiritual strength, I am a steady presence of peace and harmony. Vigilant with my thoughts I transform any inner discourse into peace. Words of inspiration, encouragement, and support flow from my peace filled mind to bless others. I love the world into peace and harmony. AMEN.
In the 1930s, as soon as a bright young girl named Lena O'Malley finished school, she shook the dust of Ireland off her shoes and made her way to New York City where, before long, she became a successful acrobat in show business.
Eventually, she returned to her hometown for a visit and, on a Saturday night, went to confession in the church, which she had attended as a child.
In the confessional, Father Sullivan recognized her and began asking her about her work in New York. She explained that she was an acrobat, and he wanted to know what that meant. She said she would be happy to show him the kind of thing she did on stage.
So, she stepped out of the confessional and within sight of Father Sullivan and went into a series of cartwheels, leaping splits, handsprings and backflips.
Kneeling near the confessional, waiting their turn, were two middle-aged ladies.
They witnessed Lena's acrobatics with wide eyes, and one said to the other, "Will you just look at the penance Father Sullivan is givin' out this night, and me not wearin' me bloomers!"
Now that's some bad luck, I'd say, wouldn't you?!
We are exploring the idea of luck this month since it is the month of St. Patrick's Day.
But before we move to our exploration, and because Wednesday was St. Patrick's Day, I have a little St. Patrick's Day trivia. St. Patrick's Day is always on March 17, which is the acknowledged date of the death of Ireland's foremost patron saint-- Saint Patrick. The day was established to commemorate him and the arrival of Christianity in Ireland.
Traditionally, it has been celebrated by public parades and festival, wearing green attire and drinking a lot, particularly beer. Here's a question for you, does anyone know why the day has become associated with consuming alcohol?
Well, it seems that a long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, the church lifted the Lenten restrictions on drinking alcohol for that one day, and people took full advantage of it! And today, in 2021, that seems to be a major part of the tradition that has stuck!
I'm not sure when green beer came into the picture but wearing green clothing has always been there.
LUCKY PEOPLE TURN BAD LUCK INTO GOOD
Our work this month is inspired by luck research done by Dr. Richard Wiseman, which is laid out in a book entitled The Luck Factor: Four Principles that Will Change Your Luck - and Your Life.
We are taking one of the four principles per week, and today we look at the principle that says . . .Lucky People Turn Bad Luck Into Gooda
And you remember that air quotes are always around the words luck or lucky or unlucky. Right?
There may be times when we feel like Calvin (of Bill Watterson's brilliant Calvin and Hobbes) when he was talking to his stuffed tiger Hobbes: "You know, Hobbes, some days even my lucky rocket ship underpants don't help."b
Lucky people don't rely on lucky rocket ship underpants or any other lucky charm, for that matter! They take what seems to be bad luck and they turn it around.
In Japan, there is a common good luck charm called a Daruma Doll. It is named after a Buddhist monk who, according to legend, sat so long in meditation that his arms and legs disappeared.
The Daruma Doll is egg shaped with a heavy, rounded bottom so that when you knock it over, it always stands back up.
Lucky people are similar to the Daruma Doll. It is not that they never encounter challenges, but rather, when bad luck happens to them, they are able to stand back up pretty quickly.
We often say that these amazing spiritual teachings we offer don't change the fact that in this life, "stuff" happens. But when it does happen and when we then apply what we have learned here, we are brought right back to center just like the Daruma Doll.
The research of Wiseman uncovered why this is so. The secret of lucky people's ability to turn bad luck into good lies in several areas.
We will look at three of them today - three ways in which Lucky People Turn Bad Luck Into Good -- and then, in line with today's talk title -- we will experience our own Lucky Charm.
SEE THE POSITIVE SIDE OF THEIR BAD LUCK
The first way lucky people Turn Bad Luck Into Good is they SEE THE POSITIVE SIDE OF THEIR BAD LUCK.
In 1995, a wounded 35-year-old woman named Anat Ben-Tov gave an interview from her hospital room in Tel Aviv. She had just survived her second bus bombing in less than a year.
"I have no luck, or I have all the luck," she told reporters. "I'm not sure which it is."
That news story caught the eye of Norwegian psychologist Karl Halvor Teigen from the University of Oslo. He had been combing through newspapers to glean insights into what people consider lucky and unlucky when he saw that interview.
Over the following years, he and other psychologists, along with economists and statisticians, came to discover a phenomenon they called subjective interpretation. According to Teigen's research, the key to our deciding whether an event is lucky or unlucky (good or bad; positive or negative) is the comparison we make between the actual event and the "counterfactual" alternative we are imagining.c
The people who don't feel lucky (and therefore have an ongoing series of unlucky experiences) frequently ask "Why me?" In this, they are making a comparison to other people who didn't have that experience and how much better off they are. The people who feel lucky realize that they could have suffered a worse fate.
Teigen writes: "Both are valid interpretations, but the second one helps you to hold on to optimism, to feel the emotion of gratitude, and to weave a larger narrative in which you are the lucky protagonist of your life story."d
That's what scientific research has to say about it. What do our Unity principles say about that?
What we choose to focus on expands! It's not what we see but how we see it that makes all the difference in the world.
And even deeper and more important than that, if we see God, the Source of Life Itself, right in the middle of any misfortune, we and it will be transmuted and transformed! We will turn bad luck into good!
A great affirmation to use would be: "Perfect God within me; perfect Life within me which is God. Come forth into expression through me as that which I am; lead me ever into paths of perfection and cause me to see only the good."
So just for a moment, think about an "unlucky experience" you've had recently. Something big, small, or somewhere in between, and see God in it! See the good, see the positive side of it! You will absolutely change your luck/life when you can do that!
That takes us to the second quality of people who turn bad luck into good. And I want to introduce it by telling you about the two monks who have taken vows of celibacy.
They are standing at a muddy river ready to cross. Just then a beautiful young woman, in fine clothes comes upon them, also needing to cross. One of the monks, not wanting her to ruin her beautiful clothing, offers to carry her across the river.
And so he does. He puts her down on the other side and the two monks continue their journey.
Hours, hours later the second monk says to the first, "I can't be quiet any longer. You know you shouldn't have carried that woman across the river. You know it is a violation of your vow to touch a woman."
To which the first monk says: "I let her go hours ago. Why can't you?"
THEY DO NOT DWELL ON THEIR MISFORTUNE
The second way lucky people Turn Bad Luck Into Good is that THEY DO NOT DWELL ON THEIR MISFORTUNE - they let it go!
I love this true story about the famous Italian composer, Rossini, who wrote a little opera you may have heard of entitled "The Barber of Seville." On its first showing, it was a complete and total disaster!
Hisses and boos followed the fall of the curtain. The prima donna was in hysterics. The leading man talked of suicide.
When they looked for the composer, and couldn't find him, they were all worried that he would destroy himself. They rushed off to look for him and found him soundly sleeping at home.
They woke him up and cried, "Maestro, are you all right?"
Rossini replied. "I was having a nice sleep before you woke me."
They said, "But the opera! The fiasco!"
Rossini replied, "Evidently, The Barber is not good enough, so I must compose something better, that is all. We will discuss that in the morning, please let me sleep."
As everyone knows, The Barber turned out to be an immense success, and has played steadily for over a hundred years.
Winifred Wilkinson Hausmann in her book, Dealing With Stress - How To Break The Time Barrier, writes: "It is well to remember that, whatever the pressure of hurry around us, we can choose to come apart to the place of the Christ within ourselves, where we remember who we are, children of God, and why we are here, to express His nature. In this consciousness, we will put all things in their proper perspective and begin to do the things that need to be done by us at the pace that is right for us. But first, we will accept the invitation of the Christ within our own being to release our burdens and accept the rest that comes with our willingness to answer the demands of the world under the direction of the Christ. There is always a right and perfect way to accomplish all things, and God will reveal it to us when we learn to listen to the Voice within."e
So, my friends, are you still dwelling on an unlucky break you got at work; or that freak accident you had; or some other experience you have labeled as a misfortune?
Would today be the day to leave it at the riverbed? If so, your luck and your life will change!
ARE CONVINCED THAT ANY MISFORTUNE IN THEIR LIVES WILL, IN THE LONG RUN, WORK OUT FOR THE BEST
And the final way lucky people Turn Bad Luck into Good is that they ARE CONVINCED THAT ANY MISFORTUNE IN THEIR LIVES WILL, IN THE LONG RUN, WORK OUT FOR THE BEST.
And there is no better thought on this subject than that found in Romans 8:28: "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose."f
The key word here is "together." All things work together for our good. Often, our limited view of things renders us uncapable of judging current happenings as to whether they are good or not good. Well actually, our limited view of them often causes us to determine they are bad, very, very bad!
At the time they happen it is hard to see any Cosmic pattern forming, yet pieced together and evolving, these things may have a tremendous result which we could hardly foresee at the beginning or even imagine.
Look back in your life and recall the times when you were frantic over some crisis, when you were bogged down in some grievous misfortune that seemed to be the end of everything. Do you see how it ultimately served you? Because, my friends, it did!!
Joseph Campbell wrote, "Opportunities to find deeper powers within ourselves come when life seems most challenging."g
Remember this important piece of wisdom: In the end, it's all good; so if it isn't good, it isn't the end.
So, to recap, lucky people turn bad luck into good:
By seeing the positive side of their bad luck;
By not dwelling on their misfortune; and
By being convinced that any misfortune in their lives will, in the long run, work out for the best.
So, I promised you your own Lucky Charm and I'd like to think of it today as embodying the good luck charm of the Daruma Doll so that we don't need a physical Daruma Doll or a 4-leaf clover or a rabbit's foot or horseshoes or ladybugs or lucky fuzzy dice or any other kind of lucky charm to turn our bad luck into good!
Do you remember the analogy of the door jamb I shared the first Sunday of this month? How the door jamb stands solid, stationary and strong, even though the door swings open and closed. The door may swing a little, it may swing a lot, it may slam violently shut, it may be flung open - but the door jamb just stays still.
I am going to give you a spiritual practice right now so that you can become that door jamb or become your own Daruma Doll that may get knocked right or left, but that quickly returns to center.
We have three energetic centers and when they are all aligned, we become our own Daruma Doll. They are:
- Dantian - In qigong, Chinese martial arts, and other martial arts; described to be "like the root of the tree of life". Located in our lower belly. Women 3 inches below your naval and back; men a little higher. This energetic center has the frequency of creativity, intuition, and power.
- Heart - Frequency of care, compassion, and kindness
- Head - Frequency of intelligence, knowledge, and wisdom
We are going to do a meditation as our closing prayer today. Take a few deep breaths and then slow down your breathing. Now center on your dantian, this is the root of the tree of life. Feel your creativity, your intuition, and your power come to life as you focus on this energy center
Now bring this energy up to your heart and feel the care, compassion, and kindness within you as you link these two centers together
Now move your focus up to your head. Feel the intelligence, the knowledge, and the wisdom as you link all three centers together
Feel the pillar of strength in you, through you, and as you. This is your personal Lucky Charm. Take a deep dive into it and get ready for what happens next. And so it is. Amen
aDr. Richard Wiseman The Luck Factor: Four Principles that Will Change Your Luck - and Your Life.
bBill Watterson Calvin and Hobbes
cNorwegian psychologist Karl Halvor Teigen University of Oslo
d(article re Teigen's research can be found at: http://nautil.us/issue/44/luck/how-to-be-lucky)
eWinifred Wilkinson Hausmann Dealing With Stress - How To Break The Time Barrier