What has this got to do with Luck?
One of the key qualities that Buddhist traditions focus upon is equanimity. Equanimity is said to be the balance, born of wisdom; the ability to have an open perspective in our lives which in turn, leads us to often greater understanding and patience in our life experiences. It also embraces the ability to let go of control and accept that which is with ease. With equanimity comes a spaciousness in our lives. This spaciousness embraces a willingness to open our focus beyond purely what we want in any situation. It embraces also the ability to soften our vision so that our perspective naturally takes in more of what our Universe is offering us. This is often something that does not come naturally to us and in fact we need to train our minds to be spacious, open in outlook, relaxed and flexible in our perspectives and free of our self imposed constraints.
We are all very skilled in our tunnel vision around what we have done wrong and the mistakes that others have made. It seems like we almost get fixated with the details of the objects of our frustrations and find much evidence to support that we are right and the other person is wrong. This habit of the ego to focus on the mistakes of others does nothing to enhance our own self esteem and, in addition, we have this fixation too on our own personal mistakes. Being spacious in our thinking, although alien, can allow us to give others and ourselves also some slack as we move through our lives which, in turn, allows us to be more relaxed and open to the Universe.
Our lack of spaciousness can also appear when we have things that we want to attract to us. We are sure that we want a certain thing and this will make us happier. Yet studies on luck have shown that people who are able to go throughout their day with an open mind and a flexibility of thought and focus are the ones who “appear” to actually be lucky. With a soft focus you really do see the opportunities that are for you to enjoy.
Professor Richard Wiseman is a British psychologist who has studied luck. He created the well known experiment where volunteers were shown a short film of some people playing basketball and told to count the number of passes made with the ball. After just a few seconds, a man dressed as a gorilla slowly walked into frame, beast his chest at the camera, and walked off. Unbelievably, almost none of the people watching the film noticed the gorilla because they were all so focused on the basketball passes and counting them as they had been told to do. One of the four things Wiseman cites is that so called “lucky people” have a relaxed and open approach which enables them to notice chance opportunities when they come up (the other three being making decisions based on intuition, holding positive expectations and adopting a resilient attitude that transforms bad luck). In contrast, the so called “unlucky people” in his experiments we more tense and anxious and just did not notice such opportunities however hard they tried. And the harder he made them try, the more they missed the opportunity they were meant to spot! In addition Wiseman’s “lucky people” went to great lengths to bring change, variety and the new into their lives. They were willing it seems, to break habits and search out the new…all of which creates a spacious approach to life.
With a spaciousness of thought you are able to easily change plans and be open to having no plans around certain areas of your life…and how liberating would that be…to have no plans at all? Yes, I accept that you cannot do that every day of your life, but you can do it for some of the days and it is worth giving it a try so that you too become luckier!
So spend some time thinking the following:
- How you would feel if you were more spacious in your outlook?
- How would your energy feel?
- How would your outlook on life change and most importantly, how might your life change?
- And how could you apply this softer focus to your life?
“May I be spacious.” Make that your new mantra.
And, what is important here is that these scientific experiments carried out over 10 years are supporting the very thinking that I feel makes up the essence of Spiritual Intelligence. This is what is happening more and more now – science is verifying the very thinking and faith that we hold true! To read the article on Wiseman’s research on luck go here.