A chance meeting can lead to a new direction. This is a story about such a chance meeting I had recently, which lead to a new direction in my life. It occurred in Melbourne, Australia, on Saturday 13th May 2017. I was walking up Lonsdale Street on my way to the Theosophical Bookshop. I had written a book and it was being released in nine days, on 22nd May. I was going to the Theosophical Bookshop to find some New Age and Spirituality magazines as I wanted to place advertisements in them to promote my book.
It was an exciting time for me. My book was finally getting released after a decade of writing and a year of editing with the publisher. I had a great sense of fulfilment because, regardless of whether the book was going to be successful or not, I felt I had achieved an important milestone in my life. I felt I had achieved part of my purpose.
As I walked up Lonsdale Street beside the QV Shopping Centre, a tall Indian man around thirty-years of age approached me and began to talk to me. Chance meetings are sometimes memorable so I decided to listen to him. He said he was psychic and asked if I believed in God. I replied “Yes”. He then said that I had the third eye. This was an interesting statement. From my studies of different religions and philosophies, I had an inkling of what he was referring to. The third eye is akin to the sixth sense or the intuition. Some people believe that it can manifest physically as a raised inverted triangular mark on the forehead.
I asked the Indian man if he was referring to the raised inverted triangle on my forehead. He replied “Yes that is the third eye.” For a moment I felt special, but I rejected this thought as it was a delusion. Such marks can become ego props, like a smart suit or a fancy car, which exaggerate the mind’s sense of its own importance. They are dust in the wind. Our actions make us. In comparison to a virtuous act, for example helping a person in need, such marks are insignificant. They hold no more spiritual meaning than a pimple on the bum.
The Indian man looked like an average corporate type, rather than an ascetic holy man. He wore a business shirt and pants. Although he also wore sandals. He asked me if I would like him to read my future. Awesome, a soothsayer. I agreed and we sat on a stone ledge near the entrance to QV. The stone ledge is just down from a branch of the Commonwealth Bank, one of the “Big Four” banks in Australia, the quadropoly, which makes over a billion dollars of profit a year. At the moment it is busy, along with the other three, trying to fight off a royal commission into its dubious financial practices. It has gone so far as to cancel the two dollar fee it imposes on non-members using its ATMs in order to improve its public image.
The Indian fortune teller asked to look at the palm of my right hand. I showed him it. He said that I had much conflict between my head and my heart, that a woman was jealous of me and that I would experience great success in August. Yes there is some conflict. Not sure about the woman. And if he was referring to great financial success then I am still waiting for this to happen. Perhaps this will occur in 2018 or 2019. He also said I carried much sadness. I have had my fair share as most people have. Sadness and joy are the two sides of the coin of life.
The Indian fortune teller then opened a small leather pouch and took out a pad and a pen. He wrote on a piece of paper in the pad. I couldn’t see what he was writing. He tore the piece of paper out of the pad and scrunched it into a little ball. He asked me to hold the ball of paper in my right hand. He then asked me six questions.
The first question the Indian fortune teller asked was “What is your favourite flower?” Initially I couldn’t understand what he meant. I thought he said “flavour”. I asked him to ask the question again, which he did. I didn’t have a favourite flower. Daisy popped into my head so I replied “daisy”.
The second question the Indian fortune teller asked was “What is your favourite colour?” Once again I couldn’t really think of a favourite colour on the spot. If I had time I would have said Prussian blue or Royal blue, but the colour red popped into my head so I responded “red”.
The third question the Indian fortune teller asked was “What is your favourite number?” This time I did respond with my favourite number. I said my favourite number was “9”.
The fourth question the Indian fortune teller asked was “What is your first name?” I replied “Christian”.
The fifth question the Indian fortune teller asked was “What is your wife’s name?” He didn’t ask if I was married, but he must have seen my wedding ring. I replied “Therese”. I had to repeat the spelling of her name several times before he spelt it correctly.
The final question the Indian fortune teller asked was “What year were you born?” I replied “73”. He wrote my answers on a piece of paper and showed me the paper.
Here are my responses to his six questions:
The Indian fortune teller then asked me to open my right hand. In it lay the ball of paper he had given to me earlier. He asked me to blow on the ball of paper three times, and after each blow, place the ball of paper to my forehead. I felt a bit silly, but I did as he asked. He then asked me to open the ball of paper. Written on this piece of paper were the following words:
The Indian fortune teller said that he would read my future further. He opened his leather pouch again and asked me for some money, a donation. He wished to conduct a financial transaction. I said “No thank you”. He said that he worked at an orphanage and showed me a photo of some Indian children at the orphanage. I was sceptical. Again I refused. I stood up, thanked him and walked away.
At the time, I believed I didn’t need to know about my future. I told myself “what can he tell me that I don’t already know or want to know.” Various thoughts and emotions prevented me from accepting his offer. My ego played a part, as did a streak of scepticism about the veracity of his prophecies. Beneath the ego and the scepticism lay the fear that I might get ripped off. This mix of thoughts and emotions pretty much amounted to a lack of faith.
Thinking back now, I believe I lost an opportunity. I would have liked to learn more about my future. I might have learned something useful. The issue of the money wasn’t a big issue at all. If I am prepared to waste fifty dollars on a dinner and a movie at a cinema, why not spend fifty dollars speaking to a random soothsayer off the street. How often in life does a person pick you out of a crowded city street and want to speak to you? Yes it often happens to foreign tourists in Thailand, but it is a rare occurrence in a western city where you look like everyone else and where most people are so focussed upon attaining their own dreams, on working and earning money, that they miss much of the phenomena, the sights, the sounds and the mystery unfolding around them. I am guilty of this myself. It is easy to get lost in such a city; to drift becalmed upon a sea of humanity.
It was a lost opportunity. But there was a positive outcome. And perhaps, if the universe does have some plan for me, this was meant to happen all along because this random meeting did lead to a new direction in my life.
Upon leaving the Indian fortune teller, I continued walking to the Theosophical Bookshop. In the 1990s and the early 2000s I regularly visited the Theosophical Bookshop and browsed through books on the occult, Theosophy, Daoism, Buddhism, New Age and other spiritual and religious topics. I hadn’t been back there in a decade. This is not because my interest in religion and spirituality had wavered – quite the opposite my interest had grown stronger during this period – but rather that I had begun to express this interest in a different way, particularly through writing. I was a little nervous upon entering the Theosophical Bookshop. It was a similar feeling to meeting an old friend for the first time in a decade and wondering whether he still liked you or not. As planned, I found the magazine shelf and looked at some New Age and Spirituality magazines. I bought a copy of Spirituality and Health Magazine and New Dawn Magazine.
While flicking through the magazines, I kept thinking back to the encounter I had with the Indian fortune teller. I then had the desire, not a compulsion but a strong feeling nonetheless, to look at some books on Yoga. Funnily enough, in all my studies I had never read anything about Yoga. I don’t know why.
I found the section on Yoga and started flicking through the collection of books. The titles were many and varied. There were books on Vinyasa Yoga, Karma Yoga, Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Bikram Yoga and the list went on. I bought a couple of books, one on Pranayama (breath control) and another on the History of Yoga. A week later, I bought Patanjali’s Yoga Sutras and other books on Hatha Yoga. I learned that Yoga is a system of mental and physical discipline. Yogis write about the nature of prana, the energy surrounding all things, and how prana can be focussed to strengthen the mind and the body, and gain spiritual insight. They believe that by practising Yoga, the practitioner gains greater insight into the realm of the spirit and draws closer to God.
Reading about Yoga opened a door in my mind. I felt the intense excitement of a child discovering something new. I also felt a sense of recognition. I had found a philosophy that described spiritual phenomena and experiences, which I had also seen and experienced.
My journey continues. I have learned much. I continue reading about Yoga and I have begun taking Hatha Yoga classes. The meditation is excellent and the asanas, the postures, are stretching and reforming my rigid body. Mountain pose, parvatasana, is challenging, but I will master it one day. Yoga has added a new room to my spiritual home.
I never got your name Indian fortune teller. I doubt you will ever read this. But if you do, I would like to thank you. I owe you a debt of gratitude. You have sent me in a new direction. You have helped me take the next step along the path.