I am grateful to be able to spend much of this summer traveling. (This has involved booking any plane tickets, which has become a borderline obsession, which I am working through #lulz, although Charise has been kind enough to call it “a need for freedom.” We’ll go with that.) One day, when I was buying a flight that fell on July 4, I expressed to my roommate Emily that I was too nervous to fly on the 4th of July because of the threat of terrorism. When she became visibly puzzled, I realized that the fear of flying on certain days might not be a “thing” for many people.
Beyond the idea of flying and an American holiday, the root of my anxiety was death. I asked myself, If I book a flight on July 4, can I reasonably expect to die? Of course, the answer is no, but I was struck by my perception of and insistence on situation being unlucky. I’ve never really thought people are inexplicably lucky or unlucky, but I’ve never believed that we “make our own luck,” either.
Later, as I booked another flight and was selecting my seats, I noticed the peculiarity of the graphic below:
Now you already know that a girl like me isn’t gonna be paying extra to choose a seat (although those of you who know my spiritual number might be thinking, “Ah! That seat is $34!, to which I say: Gurrllll, 34 is my spiritual number, not my bank account’s.) But in an entire sea of seats with extra prices, the entire 13th row is not only available, but also priced regularly with no additional costs. My first response was to agree with everyone else and take seat 50F over unlucky 13, but then I thought, fuck it, if row 13 dies, chances are that everyone else dies, too, so I bought my seat in row 13.
Luck isn’t just about death, of course, but it does highlight a natural human fear of superstition. Consciously we know that we have made it through many full moons and Friday the 13ths, seen a million black cats, stepped on countless sidewalk cracks, walked underneath ladders, and shattered mirrors, only for nothing to happen afterwards. So if bad luck isn’t guaranteed due to our behavior (or lack thereof), how do we explain people who we believe have good luck?
You know, we’re talking about the lottery winners, the people who get bumped up to first class, families who win free cruises and cars, or even just someone who gets their coffee paid for by a stranger. It would be so easy for me to say that people who do good things for others or put positive energy into the universe will experience good luck and fortune, but we know that is not true in so many cases. Even as a spiritualist I know that there are many hardworking, kind, generous people who continue to be dealt shitty hands in life, regardless of how much good they do.
So what is this invisible force that makes some people have “good luck” or “bad luck?”
I don’t know. But here are my ideas.
Good luck can be related to a contribution of effort (you can’t win the free cruse if you never apply for one), a domino effect (someone pays for your coffee because someone paid for theirs), or being in the right place at the right time (spiritual divine timing). This could mean that it is entirely possible for “bad people” to earn good luck. This could also mean that we do have a degree of control in predicting good luck for ourselves.
Bad luck can be related to a mindset (I do believe negative energy manifests negative consequences more than positivity manifests positive consequences). If you are sure that bad things will happen to you, in my experience, the likelihood is that it will. We can also consider the role of cosmic forces such as past life reconciliation in which a person thriving in this lifetime must still be held accountable to pain and suffering caused in past lifetimes, or even just a necessary experience of heartache and pain the soul needs to develop. For example, why does a kind, generous, happy family experience a serious car accident or cancer diagnosis? Surely they didn’t “ask for this,” but perhaps there are larger cosmic lessons that are needed. In this case, “bad luck” isn’t luck at all; it’s spirit-ordered development.
I’m not going to say that superstition isn’t a legitimate construct, as many spiritual traditions believe in superstition, though this is mostly a cultural construct. I consider superstition to be a piece of the larger metaphysical puzzle that I can easily discard or leave in the box. I believe that regardless of the number of mirrors shattered or black cats I see, if something is supposed to happen to me, it will. LOST, my be-all-end-all television show that no other show will ever surpass, calls this “course correcting.” Whatever is in the plan is in the plan, henny. That plan was written in the star many moons ago. The part we play in our human body is to listen to our intuition and see what happens.