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I grew up with parents who had faith in Vedic astrology.
Originating in India, Vedic astrology uses a person’s exact time of birth to make life predictions.
In my spiritual journey, I have gone from being an agnostic, to a believer, to a believer who does not need it anymore. Thanks to discovering and exploring mindfulness, I have been able to remove my dependency on astrology.
I have realized that astrology and how the planets may affect us does not matter if we can focus on mindfulness, and three key aspects of it:
1. Controlling the mind and the body.
When sh*t hits the fan, those of us who are astrologically inclined tend to wonder about the alignment of our stars. When it appears that we have no control over what’s going on, when we believe that there is an energy working against us, we simply wish this was not the case.
For example, an astrologer may tell us that we are afflicted by a certain planetary arrangement during a certain time frame, which is causing misfortune. This may or may not accurate—but it can give us a false sense of hope and optimism that our period of misfortune will come to an end by a certain month or year. It can also deter us from living in the present moment, as we anticipate a more pleasant future.
We do not need an external entity to give us hope. Hope is a feeling that we have the power to cultivate within ourselves through positive thinking.
The one thing we know for certain is that we have control over our thoughts, actions, and words.
2. Being aware, present, and mindful in every moment.
Typically, when a certain time period is not “positive” from an astrological standpoint, like a Mercury retrograde, astrologers might ask us to pay more attention to our health, to drive carefully, and to have more awareness in other certain situations.
But don’t we want to do this all the time? Irrespective of what the energy of the planets are?
We don’t need astrology to tell us that we need to be more mindful. We can be fully present and alert in every moment of our lives, resulting in an expanded realm of consciousness.
3. Embracing uncertainty and impermanence.
Change is the only constant in life. And astrology can predict only some of these changes.
If we can embrace uncertainty and change as a normal phenomenon, we don’t need to know how the energy of the planets might affect us, or what changes might occur in our lives.
Life has its ups and downs and pain is a part of human existence—how much we suffer is up to us. The suffering is dependent on how we react to the pain.
If we can learn to sit with the discomfort, breathe into it, and not wish it away or struggle to overcome it, we will not suffer as much. If we channel our minds and hearts effectively, we can turn our pain into power. If we can do our very best in each moment, by being fully present and aware, and respond to uncertainty and change with ease, we do not need astrology!
Practicing mindfulness meditation on a regular basis can help us develop all these qualities.
Here is an example of a simple mindfulness meditation that I practice regularly.
>> Come to a comfortable seat. Either cross-legged or on your heels. If the only accessible seat is a chair, that works too.
>> Slowly settle into your chosen seat. Sit up nice and tall with a straight spine. Rest the palms of your hands on your thighs, close to your knees.
>> Get centered and commit to staying in this position for a certain period of time. Five minutes is a great place to start. You can say to yourself, “I vow now to open to awareness for the benefit of all beings.”
>> We are now ready to start our practice. Tune into your breath and begin by following the rhythm of your breath—the inhales and the exhales. Not trying to change your breathing, but just being aware of it, observing it, and staying with it. It’s a pointed or focused attention on the breath.
>> Examine the movement of breath as it flows through your nostrils without judgment. Distractions and thoughts may arise. We don’t need to struggle against these distractions. We can let them go with ease by observing them and returning our awareness back to the breath.
>> If too many distractions arise, you can employ the counting method. As you inhale, count one and listen to your exhale. Inhale again count two, and exhale. When you have reached 10, stop counting and just breathe. If you get distracted before 10 breaths, return to one.
With a consistent daily practice, it is possible for us to be present in the moment to the best of our abilities—no matter what the moment holds.
By remembering to relax prejudices, biases, and conditioning that have been collected over time, we learn to accept what we do not have control over, with an attitude of gentleness, kindness, and compassion. As mindfulness becomes an innate part of ourselves, we begin to have an expanded realm of awareness and consciousness within ourselves.
Mindfulness can transform us inside out, and the desire for astrological guidance will slowly begin to fade.