The idea of “luck” is maligned for a bazillion reasons, foremost among them that unchecked capitalism, inequity, and the legacy of white supremacy in our social structure must be taken into account. Success, that is, isn’t solely the result of our own doing. Yet even taking these into consideration, it does often feel that some people are just “born lucky.” What is luck? Can we make it?
According to Yoga Unify Founding Circle Member and master teacher Myra Lewin, “the truth is that we contribute to everything we experience in life,” she writes in a blog post. “Each of us has an innate ability to create the lives we want to live.”
Karma is a simple principle of cause and effect that reminds us of our powerful creative abilities. It takes the mystery out of luck. Understanding it will allow you to shape your experiences in life.
Karma is not a punishment or a reward. There are no scoreboards or judges that keep track of our lives. Simply stated, what we put out comes back to us. What we experience in life is a reflection of our past actions, including our thoughts. You can think of the effect of karma like throwing a rock into a still pond. It creates ripples. The ripples of our thoughts and actions stem from this life and previous ones.
It’s a powerful lens through which to view luck. According to Myra, what we perceive as “luck” is a manifestation of being in flow with the world, of creating positivity by positively contributing. I’ve certainly found this to be true in my own life—and I suspect I’m not alone as such. When we feel particularly in the flow, good things tend to flow forward. We attract what we project: If we’re mired in negativity, we often find ourselves surrounded by negative people. The opposite, of course is also true.
Yet, like most things, it’s not so simple. Part of living a truly mindful life is to acknowledge our interconnectivity, and that what one person experiences impacts us all. Acknowledging that our actions breed reactions—that, as Myra eloquently points out—we get what we give, is another aspect of it. The challenging dichotomy here is that our luck is certainly influenced by the conditions into which we were born. And sometimes the most challenging things in our lives, particularly issues of equity and accessibility, may have nothing to do with what we’ve done or how we’ve done it.
Perhaps accepting this dichotomy—holding two truths simultaneously—is the key to accepting the wisdom in Myra’s writing, while also acknowledging the legacy of inequity and social injustice. I interviewed renowned author and speaker (and former presidential hopeful) Marianne Williamson in 2016, and she nodded to this dichotomy as foundational to the very fabric of the American experience. I wrote:
Williamson acknowledged that our country—and the American dream—were founded on the ideals of mindfulness. And yet our country was also founded within the constructs of genocide, slavery, institutionalized racism, and the oppression of women and many others.
Recognizing this irony—admitting this complexity—is the first step in overcoming it, in creating positive change. “A mindful life is one that is aligned with the consciousness with what is most true,” Williamson says. “Life is complicated. Truth is not.”
Luck, then, is perhaps an amalgamation of karma—its effects on how we show up for ourselves and each other—as well as an acknowledgment of this hard truth. Mindful living asks us for both. When we do so, we create a new kind of luck for us all.
Facing the tough truths and building toward solutions for them is one of the foundational missions of Yoga Unify. Share your ideas by joining the Founding Circle! Founding Membership is closing soon. Learn more here.