When people reach out to me for help, I am obligated to act to the best of my ability as an ambassadress of Ifa. I am responsible for my vision, words, guidance and actions, and I take that very seriously. I strive daily to lift up others, give counsel, guidance and I work for their alignment within the tradition of Ifa and the irunmole. After decades of dealing with the psychology and spiritual makeup of people from many parts of the world, I have come to learn some of the major stumbling blocks people have to reaching their true potential.
What is required of a person passing through difficulties is their openness and willingness to listen to the counsel of Ifa, act on it and put forth effort to understand, change or modify their own behavior, or, at the very minimum, to open their minds. At times I will have clients who truly do need and want help, but who are unwilling to look at their own hand inside their downfall, or, they are simply stubborn to change and “everyone else” is at fault for their predicament, or, they are what I call “troublemakers”.
Troublemakers enjoy their own perceived victim-hood or superiority over those around them who they deem below them in intelligence and/or attainment in life etc. Or they are troubled (hence become troublemakers) by evil spirits who influence them to make a mess of their life. The troublemakers put up a dramatic fuss, lie to themselves and also try to lie to me, which is a losing tack. This is not a winning mindset; not inside the Ifa tradition, nor in everyday life. We must be willing to quiet down, be receptive and open our minds to trying on new attitudes and perceptions, to step out of our routine habits and thinking and have faith.
To follow the path of Ifa and the irunmole, one must begin at the beginning: God first, Esu and Orunmila below, the irunmole, the elders and parents, then our self. I have commented in other blog posts about some of the challenges people face living in and being from a Western culture and society and recognizing this “spiritual order” energy. I am not saying that Western culture is “bad”, but there are some trends which are apparent that hold people back who are seeking help. One of the top issues is a lack of gratitude.
GRATITUDE: thankfulness, gratefulness, or appreciation is a feeling or attitude in acknowledgment of a benefit that one has received or will receive.
There is a reason I seem to harp on this, and it is because I see a deep need for gratitude and humbleness in many people who are seeking the aid of Ifa. Too many times the tradition is approached as if it’s a type of candy shop, full of goodies and wonderful ego fulfilling things, that if one just hands over money and cries loud enough, that all one’s ills will be magically solved overnight. This will not happen without our own involvement, from the top of our head to the soles of our feet, both spiritually and physically. There are plenty of “miracle peddlers” willing to take people’s money and promise the world, but in the end, the person is left standing in the same place, with less money and with more problems. One must take stock of their situation with brutal honesty, and fan the inner flame of striving, seeking and development as a spiritual being–not just one of flesh and blood–cognizant that there is an afterlife and spiritual body, and that there are repercussions to words and actions taken here on earth.
So when I speak of gratitude in the context of life and following the path of Ifa, I am speaking of a key ingredient in ensuring that our offerings are accepted, that we will continue to reap the benefits of those offerings, and that the blessings we are yearning for shall come. I want to make a point very clear here: we can make our prescribed offerings, but if we slight, dismiss and ignore what we are handed, no matter how small, we run the risk of not only acting contrary to Ifa, Esu and the irunmole, but contrary to our very ori/destiny and life force–and worse–contrary to God.
A lack of gratitude walks hand in hand with a spiritually unaware, selfish, self centered, egotistical existence and mindset: a person who is short on wisdom and long on suffering. A person who lacks iwa pele – good character – and our character is worth more than gold. Gratitude is an attitude that frees our heart, that opens us up to the realm of the spiritual, that gives wings to not only our own life, but also ensures that the energy put into motion by sacrifice/offerings continues forward. The quickest way to cut our blessings short is to overlook and diminish our blessings. And number one of these blessings is the gift of life.
The greatest gift of all that we enjoy is the gift of life. Think about that for a few seconds. Now think a few more.
THE GREATEST GIFT OF LIFE IS THE GIFT OF LIFE ITSELF.
How many people wake up every day with no thought whatsoever for being given the opportunity to see another sunrise? But wait, you say, what if your circumstances are a living hell? What if you hate your job, spouse, dog, co-workers, your knees are giving out, you have cancer, your teenage son is heading for jail? Where there is life, there is hope, where there is hope, there is faith, where there is faith, there is a means for blessings to come to us. It is very simple really, but in the midst of the luxury of the Western world, some people wake to curse the day. They do not appreciate their bed or the fact they even have a place to lay their head, nor the fact they have nutritious food they can purchase or waiting in a chilled refrigerator for their breakfast. They curse and fuss because of a “bad hair day”, they don’t like the way a co-worker looked at them, they get angry driving in traffic, railing against small inconsequential details that are not to their liking. They overlook the blessings they have that so many other people in the world would almost kill to attain. That is ingratitude.
There is a very easy and simple formula and system to how the universe works inside of the Ifa tradition: the attitude of gratitude begets the arrival of happiness and blessings. When we have no gratitude for people who assist us, even in some small way, when we do not give thanks for our very life and the material comforts we have, how in heaven or on earth can we expect to be in sync with Ifa and the irunmole in order to live out and attain our destiny, achieve and manifest our highest abilities and be happy ? Ifa is not a one-way street with us on the receiving end just because we plunked down money for some offerings. Some people even downplay the signs of victory they are given because they want more, expect more, and are never satisfied or happy with anything. We must reciprocate every blessing we receive, no matter how small, with gratitude, thanks and appreciation. By not having an attitude of gratitude we contrary our own life and become our own worst enemy. Ifa will not continue to reward those who do not have humbleness and heartfelt thanks, or those who do not have the fortitude and patience, the determination to rise above their challenges. Ifa and the irunmole do not carry us, they give us a helping hand to pull us up to where we can see clearly, but we must walk our road. They can set us in the right direction and walk side by side with us, but we must give thanks and make our own effort, be cognizant that this life is not a given to be taken for granted. If we turn our back and turn up our noses at any small signs that Ifa is with us, has heard and answered our pleas, we run the risk of walking alone, stuck with our own negativity in a never-ending loop and abandoned by the irunmole. If we say we are followers of Ifa, than we had best think deeply on this.
An attitude of gratitude is like a fragrant rose blooming in our heart; it perfumes our life with sweetness and attracts our blessings. Starting today, right now, please, give thanks and focus on the things you want for your life, and not what you don’t want. Give thanks for every wonder and luxury you have been given, starting with your life.
© 2016 by Farin da Silva, All Rights Reserved. Pursuant to the Copyright Act of 1976 and subsequent amendments, codified as 17 U.S.C. §§ 101-810, the works contained within are protected by United States laws and by international treaties. This includes the literary and pictorial works created by Farin da Silva contained herein, as well as any other original works of authorship fixed in any tangible medium of expression. The unauthorized copying, distributing, displaying, or production of derivative works is strictly prohibited by Farin da Silva. Copyright infringement may subject you to civil liability of a minimum of $750 per infringement for statutory damages, as well as the costs incurred to enforce these rights. 17 U.S.C. § 504. A court may award up to $150,000 per infringement. This copyright holder takes copyright infringement seriously and does enforce their rights.