Have you ever felt like you wanted something very much in your life, but were afraid that if you asked for it, it would come with a curse?
Many churches from different religions emphasize spiritual gains while minimizing material gains. Some go so far as to suggest that material things and bodily pleasure will prevent a person from spiritual development, from reaching Nirvana, or entering Heaven.
Humans are spiritual beings, who are presently having a spiritual experience, while inhabiting a material body. This material body has needs that are material as well, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with seeking to meet those material needs.
The rejection of the body that some religions or factions of some religions teach, is in opposition to the natural inclination and desire to thrive.
A Horror Story
This guilt that many people feel when they find themselves desiring material possessions beyond what they now have, or experiences in the material world that have until now evaded them, is what I refer to as the “Rabbit’s Paw Syndrome.”
This name was inspired on a horror short story that impacted me very much as a young woman.
In the story a couple of elderly farmers allow a stranger to stay the night at their house during a storm. The stranger carries with him a rabbit’s paw which he claims has the power to concede three wishes. The farmers ask him if it worked for him, and with great sadness he admits it did, but he wishes he had never found it. The stranger leaves the rabbit’s paw with the couple. Even after his warnings that it would only bring them sorrows, the woman holds the rabbit’s paw in her hand and asks for $140,000.00. A week later, the couple receives the news that their only son has died, and left a life insurance policy that entitles them to $140,000.00.
From then on, things only gets worse.
The story suggests that the woman was punished for her greed in wanting $140,000.00, which felt like an enormous amount of money to her, as if it was somehow inherently wrong to ask for money.
Was the moral of the story that people should stay where they are and not aspire to ever better their condition? Or perhaps that the desire to get money for which they had not worked was evil? The couple had always been poor and had always struggled to make ends meet. Why would it be so wrong for them to get a windfall?
The answer is: there is no moral to the story. This was a horror short story. The purpose of a horror story is to scare, to produce fear, in other words, to spook. As long as people get spooked, a horror story becomes a successful story. The purpose of a scary story is to make people feel fear, not to make a moral statement.
Is this story an accurate account of reality? Of course it is not (unless you believe in zombies), but what is true is that effective horror stories draw from pre-existing fears, that are shared by many people, to produce their desired effect.
Who Are You Praying to?
The main character in the movie “Bedazzled” about a young man making a deal with the devil in the body of a super model, asks for three things:
- to be rich,
- to be married to the girl of his dreams, and
- to live in a mansion.
He shortly finds himself living in a gorgeous mansion by a beach, married to the girl he is in love with, who is cheating on him with the tennis instructor. It turns out the millions he has come from his activities as a drug dealer, and a law enforcement agent is coming to arrest him.
This makes sense in a story where someone has made a deal with the devil, but why do so many of us fear such consequences when praying to God? (If you feel uncomfortable with the word “God” substitute it with a word that gives you comfort, like “Life” or “Love,” or the “Universal Providence.”)
Why are people afraid that if they pray to God for something that would give them pleasure they will be punished and lose something that is a lot dearer to them? They are afraid because they have been taught to be afraid. The good news is that just as they learned to be afraid, they can learn to not be afraid and they can learn to trust life.
Who are you praying to? Are you praying to a devil, like in the movie “Bedazzled?” Are you praying to a god that is a trickster or a prankster?
You have heard the saying, “People make plans, and God laughs.” If the feedback you get about life and reality comes mainly from TV shows and movies, you probably think this statement is correct.
Having people make plans and then have them ruined or changed makes for great drama and fantastic plots, but life is not a screen play.
What is real, is that people who make plans tend to fare better than people who do not. In real life, it seems the Universe rewards people who make plans, set goals, and take action towards the attainment of those goals.
No Matter What?
A friend of mine got an invitation to take a course that was relevant to her profession, in another country. This was a country she had always wanted to visit, and even though the trip and seminar would cost a few thousand dollars, it was a very good deal. She asked for my advice on what Feng Shui cure she might apply that would help her connect to the opportunities that would facilitate this trip.
I suggested that she get a postcard of the country she wanted to visit and place it in the Helpful People corner of her home.
When we talked next I asked her if she had placed the cure. She said she had, and added that she pasted the image on a corkboard in that corner and thought to herself, “I am going to the seminar because I am going, no matter what.” When I heard this, I thought to myself, “Oh boy! I hope everything goes well.”
Just days later she was introduced to a very attractive, financially successful man. They fell in love at first sight. When he found out that she wanted to go on this trip, he secretly purchased the ticket for the airplane fare and paid for the seminary. He told her it was a gift and to not worry about ever repaying him, because he knew how important her profession was and he was doing this as an act of love.
When my friend returned from her trip, she found out that her boyfriend was cheating on her and, logically, dumped him. She was soon presented with a lawsuit for not repaying the money that he now said he had lent her.
An Antidote for the Rabbit’s Paw Syndrome
There are two cultural neurosis that are prevalent in Western culture, but non-existent in Traditional Chinese Philosophy, which is the basis for Traditional Chinese Medicine, including the part of this art we know as Feng Shui.
- The belief that sex is bad.
- The belief that money and wealth are bad.
This is how Traditional Chinese thought sees these two:
- Sexual desire is as natural as appetite. In fact, a strong sexual desire is seen as evidence of health, and the lack of it is viewed as a sign of illness, or loss of vitality. Having sex with a consenting adult is considered part of the activities of a healthy life.
- Feng Shui sees the ability to make money as an indicator of how the person is fitting in his or her community and contributing to the common good. Wealth is expected to grow from one year to the next, this is what is considered natural. If it doesn’t, the consultant looks for a weakness in the wood (or tree) element, the essential energetic movement that rules wealth, health, the liver, the gallbladder, eyesight, muscular strength, decisions and self control.
As you read these things, you may feel a liberation from cultural conditioning that has programmed you to believe that things that are natural and necessary for your survival are bad in essence, or bad for you. However, it may take a while for false beliefs to be replaced by healthier concepts in your deeper mind (what many call the unconscious mind, and which is the one that plays the main role in manifesting.)
Here is an antidote for the fear you may feel when you ask for blessings for which you may feel guilty:
Whenever you place a Feng Shui cure to affirm or reaffirm a request to Universal Providence, say out loud or in your mind this phrase: “From Highest Source for Highest Good.” If possible write it down at the bottom of the cure or at the back of the cure, if it is a print.
When you pray for blessings, especially if you are praying for blessings that due to you religious upbringing tend to stir up guilt in you, don’t shoot yourself in the foot by bringing in “rabbit’s paw” thinking, in other words, by charging your prayer with fears that you:
- Will be punished for asking.
- Will lose something dear because of it.
- Will have your prayers answered, but only temporarily.
In other words, do not joke about how “the best laid plans of mice and men often go astray” or invoke Murphy’s law (the erroneous belief that anything that can go wrong, will.)
Instead, use the antidote phrase “From Highest Source for Highest Good” and do the decluttering exercise on this page, above this block, so that you become less prone to fall for the false beliefs that you deserve punishment for desiring to improve your life.
Above all, remember that the Universe is a loving creation by God, not a cursed Rabbit’s Paw!
Let’s Play a Decluttering Game to Eliminate the Rabbit’s Paw Syndrome.
- Search your inbox and delete at least one email that was sent to you that is fear based, especially one that has religious connotations.
- Unfollow one person in Facebook or Twitter, or any other social media you use, that often shares fearful or guilt inducing messages.
- Let go of one item of food that has gone bad or has expired.
Before you let go of these items, set the intent to safely release any and all aspects of the “Rabbit’s Paw Syndrome”
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I like your thoughts on ‘rabbits paw’ we to often get caught up in good and bad and its always easier to go negative because the positive usually takes time and no one wants to wait
We have been conditioned to think that the spiritual cost for a good life is too high, or that we will be punished for even desiring to improve our lives. I think this is even stronger when it comes to wealth or financial gain.