Some things do not seem to change that much. There are times when we don't really 'change' an outlook or belief...we just view it through a slightly altered perspective. To me, a good example of this is the way some might have slightly altered the religious concept of being 'punished by God.' Some think they have 'upgraded' to a higher level of spiritual thinking by changing the wording of this belief to using the word 'karma.' Unfortunately, only the semantics changed. Instead of using the more harsh religious terminology as in :"God's gonna get you!" ... (which is often uttered with extremely self-righteous tones) the same thrust of emotion is felt when saying: "I'm not worried. That person's karma is gonna bite him right in the arse!" Either way, a mixture of glee and anger is present. No real change has taken place. Basically... this is not what karma is all about. When the word Karma is merely exchanged for 'God's punishment' ... nothing has actually changed. That is NOT the way any of the Eastern religions (from whence the term Karma comes) taught on the subject of Karma. Here are a few thoughts and ideas I have learned and observed that might help to make 'karma' a little easier to understand. I well remember a Metaphysical Expo (quite a number of years ago) lecturer addressing a question from the audience on the subject of karma. The answer hit home with everyone. "You are saying you are taking comfort in your belief that the person who hurt you will suffer from Karma...So do you not think of what this person did to YOU as karma?" The woman was momentarily speechless...Then, she started speaking with a number of defensive excuses -- how this seemed to happen to her 'out of the blue' and, of course, she was not at fault whatsoever' she was, in fact, the victim. Immediately, the audience could feel the discomfort the woman was experiencing...because we have ALL been in that position. More than once!
It is only when one is willing to remove the idea of punishment -- out of the equation will anyone even begin to understand the true meaning of karma. (which means, basically, reflection) I'm not sure which one is worse... the person who loves to threaten with 'karma' ... or the self-righteous religionist who loves to say (quite arrogantly): "It's not up to me...I'll leave the punishment up to 'God'.." I really think the latter is more exasperating... but we don't have to buy into either of these erroneous beliefs or misconceptions. It's not easy to choose to believe we create our own reality. But that leaves but one alternative: Victim- hood. After that comes survivor-ship, martyrdom, or perhaps 'God's mysterious ways that must never be questioned'... Naturally, NO ONE wants to feel they 'chose' something 'bad' to happen to them. And no, it was not chosen consciously (deliberately/knowingly)...but Unconsciously. As Abraham likes to say: by default. The Good News is: the more awareness / mindfulness --we bring into our lives, the less likely we are to reflect / manifest situations or bring circumstances into our lives that we do NOT want to experience. Here is where it can get a bit tricky. One of the hardest, most difficult lines of thinking to overcome is to stop thinking in terms of 'right and wrong.' To those who are madly in love with that concept, there is really nothing I (or anyone else) can say to you... except that someday you'll finally 'get it.' To those of you who know what I am talking about -- you know that our biggest challenge is to continuously remind ourselves to LET GO of that concept and to allow ourselves to 'see' and to 'learn' from painful experiences and stop playing The Blame Game. It's equally important NOT to beat ourselves up by bemoaning "Why did I do this to myself...blah, blah, blah" ... which can be just as harmful to one self as continuously accusing 'others' of causing our problems! On the flip side, we've all heard people say (more like snarl) : "I learned my lesson!...I've learned not to trust him or her again!" Perhaps, to some extent we would be better off to let certain people go... BUT -- that doesn't erase the fact that we attracted them and the experience into our lives!! So NOW who do you say is 'right or wrong' ...'you or them?' So here, one can begin see the personal advantage of discarding the 'right and wrong' concept. What about 'forgiveness.' We've all heard people say "I just had to forgive him / her / them...etc. "... However, when applied in a way that doesn't smack of victim hood/and or/ sainthood --ok... but too often it can strictly for appearance's sake. I agree with the concept that to -- forget --is a little healthier and more genuine. "I'll forgive but I won't forget" is a top of the line oxymoron. Maybe there are things that we 'just don't understand' ... This is quite often reinforced by our insistence that we choose not to understand. Seth, Abe, the P's, Buddha, Jesus (and other great teachers) all said nothing is meant 'to be hidden' from us. We know there IS that part within us that is 'trying to tell us something ...' I don't mean finding what is 'wrong' with us...but it wants to present us answers and solutions. Some people find that 'giving up blame' is far to costly to their Ego's. So the problem will return in yet another form. If we would make up our minds to reach for, aspire to, desire to, truly want to--bring JOY, PEACE, and all kinds of GOODNESS into our lives and focus upon THOSE things ... those aspects would appear with greater and greater frequency. Karma is simply the happenings in our lives that help us to define what we truly DO want...and stop concentrating on 'who is to blame' or 'who is wrong.' A great lady, Louise Hay, once said, "when we finally decide to forgive and accept ourselves just the way we are ...we will find much less difficulty in forgiving and accepting others just as they are." No "yeah, but's"... It might help us to remember: What we resist... persists. No teacher has ever told us that we have to approve of or condone what doesn't feel good to us... but the more we insist upon clinging to the idea of Right and Wrong... the more Karma will lead us to situations whereby we will begin to see the wisdom of simply letting go of the ideas/beliefs that are hurting us. It is wonderful to experience those overwhelmingly brilliant flashes of True Light whereby we SEE... that yes, we do create it all....and Remember! We create SO MUCH of what we truly DO love and enjoy! Take credit! Can't forget that! So much of how Karma responds to us depends upon our willingness to Let GO of the concept of 'right or wrong' when we are using it to judge or condemn others or ourselves. Karma allows us to view life as we are living it. Let's Allow the best of it to come in. That's the key word: Allow.
(photograph by Veronique Thevoz, London)