Grandfather Tree

Now having come to understand that we are all spiritual beings who have chosen to temporarily live a physical existence on this planet, certain musings are inevitable, and shared here.

Sunday, August 14, 2005

Lady Luck, Felix Felicis, or Higher Self

As we move forward in our lives, the potential experiences that await us are limitless. Each moment presents itself with many possible choices. We can go this way or that; we can say something or remain silent; we can walk down this road or that road, or sit on the curb and watch the cars go by. Sometimes I sit and watch my cat. She will sit on the top of the chair pretending to be a vulture looking down on her litter mate; then all of a sudden she pounces, and the two of them tousle a little in play. Another time she yawns instead and jumps down and goes over to the window ledge to look out the window, hoping to catch sight of a squirrel or bird. I wonder what inner voice speaks to her and informs her to do one thing and not another. The scientist says it is pure instinct, but that doesn’t explain why yesterday she yawned and today she pounces. I prefer to think that she pounced because she intended to pounce, and she yawned because she intended to yawn. But alas, where does this Intentionality come from, and does it require consciousness?

I must leave these questions unanswered, but it would seem that answers would be easier obtained when talking about human beings instead of cats. So why do I ride one way to work on Monday and decide to go a different way on Tuesday? How do I decide whether to work late or rush home to be with my family? Do I take that second cup of coffee or scoop of ice cream? Do I continue in my job or quit and do something else? Do I talk to my friend about our conflict or let it fester in my heart? Do I use deceit and trickery to achieve my goals or stand in my truth regardless of the consequences?

In Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince by J. K. Rowling, our hero Harry wins a vial of a wonderful elixir called Felix Felicis. Anyone who drinks such a potion will become lucky for the duration of the spell. He drinks it with a goal in mind, procuring a magical memory from his professor Slughorn. Once he drinks it, however, he immediately feels urges to make certain choices. So he feels like it would be better to go see his friend Hagrid, rather than seek out Professor Slughorn. Instead of walking his usual route, he feels the urge to walk a different way. By following these impulses, he ends up not only seeing his friend Hagrid, but also through a series of events, procuring the magical memory from Slughorn as well. The elixir actually did nothing except provide Harry with impulses, desires, instincts, to turn this way and not that, to let the silence go on one minute, and speak the next, to perform a spell under the table one moment and do nothing the next. It was up to Harry of course to follow those impulses or not. According to the story, the power of Felix Felicis was such that one easily and confidently followed those impulses even if they did not seem rational. In fact Harry’s very close friends Ron and Hermione were aghast at his decision to go visit Hagrid. They were convinced that the elixir was not working and had made him a bit mad.

None of the actions that Harry chose while under the influence of Felix Felicis were particularly odd or unusual in themselves. It was the timing and the coordination of these actions that made the difference. It was as if the elixir had a different perspective than Harry. “Felix” could see the whole picture and could guess better as to the effects of one action rather than another. This broader or higher perspective might be compared to a person watching a mouse go through a maze. By seeing the maze from above, the person could easily see the best route for the mouse to take to reach its goal, while the mouse had to learn it through trial and error.

Often when we think about being lucky we talk about being in the right place at the right time. I go to a party even though I don’t usually go to parties and I meet the person who I end up marrying. So I say I was lucky. How did it happen that I came to that party? Didn’t I choose to go? I do not give myself credit for making that choice because I see my choice as a fluke, a random occurrence. I could have just as easily decided to stay home. But the point, of course, is that I did decide to go to the party. So if I reflect back on that choice, I remember that I “had a feeling” that I should go to that party. Like Harry, I decided to follow that impulse and the results were wonderful.

What would it mean for our lives if it were possible to connect with a kind of Felix Felicis all the time? Some call this an inner voice, others a gut feeling, or the Higher Self. Whatever it may be called or however it may be understood, it may be helpful for us to foster a closer connection with this magical elixir. From Harry’s friends’ perspective, he was “lucky” the night he took the potion. From Harry’s perspective he simply followed the impulses fed to him from Felix. He mobilized the resources that had always been available to him, but which he hadn’t noticed until under Felix’s influence.

Even though we may not be able to see all the possibilities in front of us in this world, we can learn to listen to and follow our own inner voices. We can do the unexpected. I believe that if we move toward those things that make us genuinely joyful and fill our hearts with love, then magical things can and will happen in our lives. The more we do this, I believe, the more Felix will reveal itself to us, and we will be floating downstream with Huck and Tom, waiting for the next adventure.


  • At 11:24 AM, Blogger Space Itself said…

    I'm right there with you, my friend, floating down that river, listening for that Higher Self and gently urging myself to trust it more often!

    Space Itself

    ps - wasn't it Huck and Jim floating down the river? Huck and Tom did plenty of other adventures together though...


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