Monday, February 18, 2013

Temet Nosce

Namaste, readers! I'm doing better than my last post, but still, recent events and my responses to those events have given me a lot to think about. As you can probably figure out from the quote from the movie The Matrix that I've used in the title, this post has to do with knowing myself ("temet nosce" means "know thyself" in Latin) and my relationship with reality.

This concept of my relationship with reality got a mild jolt recently, when a couple of my friends, one in real life and one online, suggested I look into Vedic astrology. Not the traditional Western stuff, but actual Vedic/Hindu/Indian (or whatever you want to call it) study of how the stars effect our lives. My real life friend who talked about it convinced me it might be worthwhile to check it out at least, but my online friend actually figured out my Vedic astrology chart, even though he said he was somewhat new to the practice. I know doing so involves giving him some personal information, but I've known him long enough to realize he probably doesn't even have the means to use said info maliciously. And it's not like I gave him my credit card number. ;-)

What he discerned through study of my Vedic astrological chart, or what he told me of it, anyway, really blew me away - it seemed to describe my life so far and my personality in a nutshell. I know a lot of astrology relies on generalizations, but there were some specifics he told me that lined up surprisingly well. It wasn't all 100% accurate, of course; one or two statements were way off the mark. But enough of it was accurate that I was astonished.

Of course, I'm someone who believes in free will. I like to think we all have some control over our lives. But at the same time, I have to admit that one potential moral weakness of mine is that when it comes to making mistakes, I'm not one to readily accept them as a product of my free will. (I'm pretty sure I'm not the only one who has this weakness, but I digress.) So it's tempting to dismiss astrology by saying it's a way of avoiding responsibility - the stars influence our lives, so why claim responsibility for our bad actions?

This, however, goes into why astrology makes generalizations and avoids going ultra-specific, in my opinion. Sure, the stars may influence our lives, but they do not dictate them. It can influence our general course, but definitely not the specifics. The specifics of how the stars influence our lives are still up to us.

Think of it this way: if you consume too much alcohol and get drunk, you can commit actions you later had no idea you committed because you were drunk. However, even though you might have been out of your mind when you committed your drunken actions, you still consciously chose to drink too much - that much you can be held responsible for, and it's a very serious action which definitely has consequences!

This means we should strike a balance in our lives between choosing our fate and leaving it all up to God(s). Where that balance lies is different for each of us. I still have yet to find mine, I think...but maybe Vedic astrology can help me find it.

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