Manners and Morals

Manners and Morals

The art of being lucky

Thursday, December 15, 2011

By Pendar

This blog is part of the series Not So Ancient Wisdom, based on Baltasar Gracián’s The Pocket Oracle and Art of Prudence

Aphorism # 21:

The art of being lucky. Fortune has its rules, for not everything is a matter of chance for the wise. It can be helped along by diligence. Some are happy just to stand confidently at Fortune’s door waiting for her to open it. Others do better. Intelligently audacious, they press on and, on the wings of their virtue and courage, they catch up with good fortune and flatter her to good effect. But according to the best philosophy, there’s no other way than virtue and vigilance, for the only good or bad luck is prudence or imprudence.

So true. Luck is chance afterall and most of life is chance. So every chance occurrence – from the accident of birth to who passes by the window as you write behind your computer – is a kind of luck.

A few years ago I meditated on the Koan “two arrows meeting in mid air.” I realized that every little thing that happens in life either is or has been brought on by things as extremely unlikely as two arrows meeting in mid air. In other words, who passes by your window is as much a miracle as arrows intersecting in mid air or the silly YouTube clip going viral. Chance is the manifestation of miracles in everyday life. So luck is happening all the time. If we’re alert – or diligent, prudent, intelligently audacious, whatever – we snatch some of that luck parading outside our window.



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