Saturday, April 03, 2010

On Kudlit And Free Will

.:The Strangest Good Friday Ever...:.

As a mentalist, I tend to be very much in the know about various paranormal activities, as well as methods carried out in the new age or even occult circles, as that’s sort of part of my job description, both as a skeptic and someone who actually wants to believe.

Then again, I didn’t expect to be part of an outright faith healing ritual, quite literally, first-hand. But that’s what happened to me on a Good Friday, as I ended up going to a faith healer’s place, and she believed that there were a lot of things in my life that continually get in the way and hold me back from truly reaching my true potential. I believe the ritual is called kudlit.

I was listening very attentively, looking for signs of the typical cold reader, and well, they were all there. It’s not even subtle: the skeptic in me was completely on red alert all the time, but I played along since I didn’t want to be rude and ruin the mood of the occasion, although I had half a mind to just walk out on the whole thing. Then again, I guess I needed to experience this first hand so I’d be in a better position to talk about it.

She looked at me and talked about how she was going to try to close off the lines in my palm that held me back from getting anywhere. She got a total of thirteen grains and rubbed them across the marks she made on my palms, then even if I was already anticipating what was going to happen next, what with the blade she had by her side, I still found myself shell-shocked when her assistant brought out a chicken and held it for the faith healer to slit its throat so that the chicken’s blood would stream down my hands, and she’d tell me what the blood patterns she sees would actually mean.

It was very surreal to me, watching the poor chicken struggle as it was dying right there in front of me. Supposedly, all of this was going to cleanse me and remove all the bad juju in my system, and make me feel re-energized and filled with all sorts of optimism, but all I could think of was the chicken. Somebody, please think of the chicken!

As it gasped with each breath, I couldn’t help but wince, seeing a poor, defenceless animal expire right before my very eyes, and not in a calm, serene way. It was struggling for its life to no avail, and I couldn’t help but feel very numb as I looked away while I heard it breath its last.

I can see how some people would like to believe in the otherworldly as a way to guide us and our lives as we go through it, but even as a believer in God, I am firmly entrenched in the camp of a God who allows free will to dictate the way things are done. As free will becomes a paramount assumption in most of the things that I consider philosophically, I find it very objectionable that the lines on a person’s palm dictate the kind of person that they are and will turn out to be. I understand the placebo effect, and how powerful it can be for a person, but as a skeptic who refuses to just accept paranormal phenomena without first exhausting every possible logical explanation, I simply cannot delude myself into letting the placebo effect occur in me.

I believe in God, but I believe that He gave me the capacity to make something of myself. I can’t just keep on sitting still and praying to him in hopes that he’d change my situation for the better. I have to get up on my feet and make it happen myself. The blood of a chicken isn’t going to make me a better man. What a faith healer, fortune teller, soothsayer, or medium would have to say to me in no way dictates how my life ought to be. I am the captain of my soul, the master of my fate, and it’s up to me to make do with what I am given.

As Rico Blanco said in his song, “Ang tadhana’y may tip na makapangyarihan: kung ayaw may dahilan, kung gusto palaging merong paraan.” Whether it be love, career, or anything else about life, we can’t just let our feelings and our whims and caprices dictate the way our world ought to be. If we want the best for ourselves, we strive to earn the best for ourselves. We don’t sit around, expecting life to hand us a break on a silver platter. Things just really don’t work that way.

Don’t use circumstances, emotions, dispositions as merely an excuse to take your eye from the prize. Yes, they are obstacles, but if you truly want something bad enough, then you will do whatever you can to reach it. It may sound too simple to be true, but see, what is simple isn’t necessarily easy.

The best and worst thing about life is that what you make of it is greatly up to you. So while you are indeed free to do as you wish with it, this also denies you the excuse of blaming God or anyone else if things don’t quite turn out your way.

In the end, it ought to be your life in your hands. Not some poor, defenseless chicken’s blood.

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