A little over a month ago, my friend Karen, author of Postcards from Nowhere, wrote about her experience with a vedic astrologer named Renu Namjoshi. Much like Karen when she heard about Renu from her friend, I too felt an impulse, urging me to seek Renu out and schedule a reading. And I am so happy that I did! In fact, I was so inspired and fascinated by my first reading, that I scheduled a second one to clarify what I'd heard, and to find out more. My second reading with her was last week, and after a cumulative three hours with her, I feel so empowered. So not lost.
Vedic astrology, also known as Hindu astrology or Jyotish, is a science that's been used in India for thousands of years for help in navigating all aspects of life. I'm pretty new to it, and honestly, with all of the planetary relationships to everything, all of the Indian words involved, and all of the complex calculations that need be made, it's kind of intimidating. But with my re-established yoga practice, and as someone whose main intention in this life is to consciously proceed towards enlightenment, I can't afford to look past what a valuable tool it can be in making productive use of my karma. I don't have to understand all the mechanics of the Universe or astrology. I have a basic idea from what I've learned so far, and think that at this point, I know enough to be on the right track. I'm definitely looking forward to learning more about it, though.
The way I understand it, each individual comes in to this life with a certain purpose, with karma accumulated from past lifetimes, destined to unfold in certain ways - both positively and negatively. The whole purpose being to experience the duality provided by the physical world, learning lessons in the process, and eventually to experience the dissolution of the ego, or enlightenment. Vedic astrology offers calculations that can be incredibly precise in the timing and nature of events. But the idea of being able to predict something made me wonder how preordained our lives are, and how free will plays in to things. According to Jyotish, it's not an either/or scenario; there is both predestination and the freedom of choice with how we choose to experience what's already been karmically pre-arranged.
One of my main questions for Renu was, "How can I most wisely use the information that I'm given in a reading to propel me as quickly and efficiently as possible, towards liberation?" And what I gathered from her answers is that my job in this world is to face what karma brings my way in as accepting a way as possible. Not fighting with it, not lamenting it. It's not about the actual events of our lives, per se, but how we embrace them, what we do with them that matters. Our job is to live out our karma without being attached to the results. It is the transcending of our likes and dislikes that lead us to liberation. Merging with our opposites, realizing the holiness of all people and all tendencies - Love, in other words - is the way to freedom. An astrology reading can reveal likelihoods, but we are not meant to know all. What we're given is given to us so that we can be prepared for the opportunities that lie ahead, and to help us understand what we'll be working with, as far as the reasons behind our fears and desires. It seems to me that Renu's gift as a vedic astrologer is not in the making of predictions, although she can, but is in her ability to counsel clients on how best to manage the situations that karma is destined to bring them, arming them with the practical steps they can take in order to best live their individual dharmas. And that is exactly what I feel I got from my time with her.
Anyone who's read my blog for awhile has no doubt picked up on the aimlessness I've felt these past years as I've struggled to come up with a direction for my life, and with my yearning and simultaneous aversion (two different planetary influences at war with each other) to put the spiritual knowledge I've gained to practical use. All of this Renu could clearly see without my telling her anything. My desire to stay in this womb-like environment (my Rahu - known for its tendency to overdo) has been my theme up until a few years ago. Whereupon another planet arrived coaxing me out - but I didn't go. And not following is what has brought me this sense of restlessness. I've intuitively known the time has come, but until now I've resisted it. I'm entering a Saturn period just next week, which is the perfect set up for me to get on with things. (Interestingly, Renu told me that often she gets calls from clients when they're right on the cusp of a new period, as if their soul is nudging them along to greater understanding.) Up until now I've been "influenced" by Jupiter, a more feel-good, follow-your-bliss type of planet - the trouble with that being, sometimes in life you need to do things you don't want to do in order to move ahead. Saturn will arrive, bringing me more of a get-things done sort of influence. She compared Jupiter to the Dalai Lama - a good energy, happy philosophy guy, and Saturn to Mother Teresa - with her more down-in-the-trenches form of service - which is more of what I'm drawn to be doing at this point. More Mother Teresa, less Dalai Lama. More walkie, less talkie.
So, my karma and Renu's counsel is for me to get out of this house. My karma is to work for a living, a 9-5 job. A practical service. I am to study and learn a trade. She gave a few job suggestions, mostly medical related. (A 70% completed medical coding course sounds oddly fortuitous, doesn't it?) Renu told me that some people are destined to spend their days meditating in caves, and that if that were my karmic path, she'd tell me so. But for me, this time around, my spiritual practice is to live and work in the world. I can't remember how she put it, but apparently, in past lifetimes I really got the energetic, mind-stuff down. Which is why in this lifetime, I'm to come down from the ethers and focus more on experiencing the body and normal, everyday doings. I can feel that what's she saying is true. Despite my counterproductive, counterintuitive avoidance of it, I do love having structure. I enjoy the feeling of having a purpose, and when I don't feel like I have one, I feel lost. So, what am I to do with all this information? Just pick something. Pick something and do it. With a loving attitude, finding God in the discomfort or fear that I'll most likely encounter at first, but to go ahead and do it anyway. To live out the karma, making peace with the moments as they pass along the way. All this time I've resisted completing my medical coding course - or anything! - because I wasn't sure if it was the most beneficial, "right" thing for my soul to do. But I got confirmation from Renu that it just doesn't matter what I do. All paths lead to liberation. How I behold what I do is the key. Being reminded of all of this has brought renewed motivation to knock out the rest of this course.
Some other interesting predictions: she said that come 2014, I'll be in a relationship with someone I meet through work. (Another incentive to get that trade!) And happily, she predicted a long life. One in which I'll always have some body issues, but no major illnesses. And that around age 60, I'll write something, perhaps about my experiences, that has the possibility of reaching and helping quite a lot of people.
It's all very interesting to hear and wonder about - but ultimately, Now is where I live. And thanks to Renu, I feel encouraged towards a wiser use of my time here. It's a huge opportunity and privilege, being alive in this world, and I'd really love not to waste it. So I know what to do - and finally feel willing to do it.
My work is at hand! And it's daunting! But a blessed place to be.