When I was a student at Howard University, the School of Business was the place to be. It seemed like everybody who had beauty, style and grace was in the School of B! So, I made it my goal to be there, too. But there was one problem; Quantitative Business Analysis, better known as QBA. That was a gatekeeper course. If you could not pass it, there was no way you could get into the School of Business. I don't think I made it two weeks before it become crystal clear that I was in over my head. But I stayed with it for another two weeks, before I knew I had to drop the course or fail miserably.
The School of Business was an incompatible goal for me. That did not mean I could not graduate from college. It did not mean I could not complete graduate school. And, given the fact that I have been doing so for over a decade, the fact that I could not get into the School of Business doesn't mean I cannot run a business of my own. It just means that getting into the School of Business was an incompatible goal for me. Have you ever pursued something - or someone - that was incompatible with your wellbeing?
Ifá warns against pursuing incompatible goals. Incompatible goals beget equally incompatible results. As they say, "play stupid games, win stupid prizes." Òrúnmìlà has offered numerous teachings that introduce us to this inescapable fact. In one verse of the Holy Odu Ìrẹtè Òbàrà, there was a man called Àlàó. He was told to sacrifice a goat. In an effort to deceive the babaláwo, Àlàó tied a rope round his own neck and pretended to be a goat. Imagine Àlàó's surprise when Esu condemned him to forever speak in the voice of a goat!!! Stupid game. Stupid prize.
Àgbá-ìnàmù ṣuku wéle
Òràn ò tán ní'lè yí bòròbòrò
They cast Ifá for Àlàó
Who tied a rope round his neck
And was bleating like a goat
He was advised to offer ẹbọ
He refused to comply
You have indeed deceived yourself
And not Ifá
Àlàó, who tied a rope round his neck
And was bleating like a goat
You have indeed deceived yourself and not Ifá
- Holy Odu Ìrẹtè Òbàrà
In another instance, there is a verse of the Holy Odu Òyèkú Òbàrà that teaches the lesson of Láṣílọ, who had a sore on his left leg, but chose to treat the right leg. His goal was to deceive other people. Unfortunately, this led to the leg being amputated.
A mouse cannot lick fermented locust bean liquid and survive
This was Ifa's declaration to Láṣílọ
The one who had a sore on his left leg
But chose to put medication on his right leg
He who has a sore on his left leg
But choses to put medication on his right leg
Is only deceiving himself
- Holy Odu Òyèkú Òbàrà
Anyone who thinks he is deceiving destiny is only deceiving himself. Many of us are interested in Orisa Lifestyle, not to become wise, but so that we can merely APPEAR to be wise. Since people are social animals and get real validation from others, we can easily lose sight of reality and end up obsessing over appearances. Òrúnmìlà realized that this pattern of behavior is counter-productive if one wishes to acquire true wisdom.
Here are three basic practices you can adopt if you want to make progress as an Orisa Lifestyle practitioner who aspires to personal excellence:
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