To continue a point made yesterday…how do we react to and cope with the random occurrences of life? On one end of the spectrum you have those who choose to walk away in search of a path that leads to salvation from it all…but then not every one achieves his nirvana like Buddha. At the other end are some, who unable to cope with trials and tragedies take to substance abuse or in extreme cases just decide to put an end to the struggle by taking their life. Surprisingly most of us fall in between these two extremes…we manage to pick up the pieces and keep going. Whatever the depths of despair you fall into you can look around and find a support-system to pull you out of the morass.
There is the social-support-system, friends and family who rally around you and just help you tide over the difficult times. There is your personal-support-system, your inner strength and will-power that talks you through and tells you life must carry on.
Then there is the cultural-support-system…ancient esoteric practices found in all societies of the world. They have no rational explanation but people turn to this mystic refuge looking for means to cause changes in their external situation and circumstances. The Hindu Tantra, the Chinese Tao, the Jewish Kabbalah, the Tarot cards, seance-sessions to communicate with the spirits of your loved ones are just a few that i can think of. Those with a more Western bent of mind (i use the term here in the sense of being scientific and rational) would probably never go down that path as compared to ones with a more Eastern slant (as in with a leaning towards mysticism). By some strange cross-cultural-juxtaposition, in our country many people happily straddle both outlooks. So even when celebrity figures like a megastar or a cricketing legend seek help to correct planetary mis-alignments by consulting astrologers or propitiating deities in some particular temple, most people find it a plausible enough act and even acceptable to a large extent.
In developed countries a person seeking to overcome a trauma would seek psychotherapy and look for solutions in a shrinks chair. Perhaps it has something to do with the fact that in most Christian societies occultism was considered heretical. That is a road the vast majority of our countrymen hesitate to take. Someone suggests the name of an astrologer or a ‘guru’ and they are convinced when told that the bout of ill luck will pass once a particular star moves out of a specific planetary house or that some special prayer or ritual will ensure that all will be well. It’s easy enough for the sceptics and the rationalists to scoff at such practices but sometimes i feel who are we to judge if it helps the seeker find some peace of mind, some closure. The cause for worry happens when in a moment of weakness they fall prey to charlatans who are only out to exploit people’s irrational fears. Ultimately it’s all about… “whatever helps you sleep well at night.”