“Even chance meetings are the result of karma… Things in life are fated by our previous lives. That even in the smallest events there’s no such thing as coincidence.”
― Haruki Murakami
Is it merely a matter of chance, of coincidence, that on the day that I decide to tackle the last question – What is my karma? – in the series which I have been doing (more on that here), The Daily Post asks:
Honestly evaluate the way you respond to crisis situations. Are you happy with the way you react?
Yes, it is just a coincidence, a chance encounter… but… how I respond to it can make it into something else. Something fated. Something which has meaning. Karma… of a sort.
It’s ultimately up to me to push the flow of it one way or another. To give it meaning or not. Or is it? Perhaps it is up to something else?
“Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at the moment.”
― Eckhart Tolle
Karma – what does that mean?
What does karma mean to you?
Do you have a concept of it?
And how do you fit that concept into your life?
How do you fit it around you?
“Oppressive bastards, think they own the place. I told them that karma’s going to kick their asses….”
― Laurie Halse Anderson
From what I’ve seen and heard of how others mostly view karma, in a certain way, it’s a conflicting and contradictory matter.
Some people splice, dice, and divide karma up into good and bad, into for me or against me, good for me, bad for you (person who done me wrong), into what they want karma to do to others versus what they want karma to do for them, into what karma has done to them and what it has done for others, into unfair and fair, and other personal matters which favour them and not others.
Many people seem to think that karma is – payback!
Payback which wreaks havoc and vengeance on others, not on them. It pays back others for what others have done to them… but somehow what others have done to them isn’t part of the payback of karma.
If someone hurts you – maybe you deserved it! Just as you hope they get the hurt – they deserved it for hurting you!
Oh… no, no, no, no… you didn’t deserve what other did to you, that’s not karma… but they deserve karma’s payback.
You’re rubber and they’re glue!
See what I’m getting at?
“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”
― Wayne W. Dyer
If you see karma as something that will dole out payback on others, but somehow that system doesn’t apply to you… then maybe you need to rethink things. Just saying, is all…
Now you want karma to eff me up for messing with your world view of karma which favours you, where you’re the good guy who only deserves good karma, and any bad karma which happens to you isn’t your just desserts at all! And any bad karma which comes your way is not your fault, it’s the fault of someone else and you hope karma makes them pay for being bad to such a good person as you.
“A boomerang returns back to the person who throws it.”
― Vera Nazarian
I grew up with people who thought this way. Who thought only good shit should come their way. They treated others badly, thought badly about them and wished them ill, pain, harm, karma payback, but that was okay, they were still saints and good for wishing bad to happen to others, because those others deserved it. They didn’t consider how much bad karma they were accumulating through such an attitude.
Because we don’t… we’re always biased towards ourselves and prejudiced towards others. And we hate it when others do to us what we do to them – they’re wrong we’re right!
They think that too, btw.
“If you’re really a mean person you’re going to come back as a fly and eat poop.”
― Kurt Cobain
My first introduction to the concept of karma came early in my life. As I became aware of actions, reactions and consequences, and sought to try to understand the powers behind and within such things.
I grew up in a permanent state of one crisis or another. These crises were not of my own doing, but I was sucked into them, caught up in them, expected to participate in them… and often blamed for them.Made responsible for them, whether I was or not.
Parents blaming a child for what the parents were doing…
They weren’t my fault, but I was told they were.
Sometimes just because I existed and was born… if I hadn’t been born, if I didn’t exist – the world would be rosy for others!
Everything was better until you came along – but you were conceived because everything was getting worse and you were supposed to save the day. But you failed and now the karma caused by your failure will last you a lifetime! When you didn’t succeed as others expected you to, you caused more problems, and because of you being a bad solution (invented and invested in by others) to a crisis… you suck!
But those others summoned me and caused me to happen, exist, be born – but that wasn’t their fault, that was mine for hearing and heeding the summons. I forced my birth and existence on them. Saints spawning a demon.
This was branded into me. It’s all your fault for existing! This is still a brand I wear. With pride sometimes, because sometimes… you wear what you’ve got.
And because of this I approached karma from an angle which held me responsible for all karma of others in some way, not just mine, if it was mine and not just that which others said was mine. Magical thinking gone mad and bad. I tried to keep it logical, but that logic was illogical.
I came to believe that in a past life I must have been someone truly horrible, like Hitler, but I wasn’t egotistical enough to think I had been him.
But I had been someone terrible, an ordinary awful person in a past life who was paying for it in this lifetime, and maybe could learn from it, improve, rather than just repeat the cycle which caused this kind of thing. Stop passing on the pain, own it and find a way to heal it, and pass the healing on instead of the pain.
“Manipulation, fueled with good intent, can be a blessing. But when used wickedly, it is the beginning of a magician’s karmic calamity.”
― T.F. Hodge
An awful person isn’t born awful, they’re born a baby, innocent, become a child, a little less innocent (thanks to adults), but maybe they’re the child of people they’ve abused in past lives… who then abuse them as karmic payback. Innocence gets killed by abuse. What we do with that karmic payback influence… is it up to us or are we just caught in the wheel?
Maybe they become awful (and everyone, especially their abusive parents, claim they were born bad), and pass it on… when you take past lives into account as a possibility, then… maybe you can’t stop the cycle. But maybe you can. With exhaustive effort. Own your shit, even if that shit belonged to a you from a past life.
Shit, this shit is complicated!
“Violence does, in truth, recoil upon the violent, and the schemer falls into the pit which he digs for another.”
― Arthur Conan Doyle
But it appealed to me for whatever reason. It may be nonsense but this nonsense made sense of the nonsense I had to deal with in real life. Oh how I wanted that real life to be not real! But… surreal as it was… it claimed to be real and felt so.
So I resorted to the surreal to deal with it.
Because of some past life self, and their bad karma – I was paying for it, trying to good karma the bad, make the bad good, alchemy that lead weight into gold, in this lifetime. It made more sense than the randomness of things.
I was good right here and now, as best as any human can be… so why was it so awful, with an emphasis on my being awful, when I hadn’t done anything… yet. But oh… did I want to do stuff!!! But I tried to resist that want for… a release from such a trap.
And if I wanted to deal with it, deal with my accumulated bad karma, and perhaps get some good karma points… then I had to put up with the shit thrown my way and accept it.
“Like gravity, karma is so basic we often don’t even notice it.”
― Sakyong Mipham
Needless to say this approach and concept of karma is flawed. Deeply so. You set yourself up to be the fall guy for everyone else’s irresponsible approach.
Did your email get hacked, must be my fault… not yours for sharing my email with others whose email may be unsecure. Not the fault of hackers and other crims, and their blaming others for their behaviour shit. Did you hit your head while in my house, must be my fault for living here and inviting you in, not yours for not looking where you were going or having a larger than normal head due to ego. Did you get hurt by something I said, definitely my bad, you’re delicate, a highly sensitive person, and need to only hear what you want to hear, not what I want to say. Your feelings are more important than what is real. My feelings, of course, are pond scum to you, elevated as you are…
And so on… you name it, I’ve claimed it as my fault. Because when you think all bad karma is somehow your doing, everyone goes along with it, so they can claim all good karma and foist all bad karma onto you.
I’m an idiot… yes, you are, and because you are everyone else has to suffer!
My Sun sign is the bitch bastard of the zodiac… and whether you believe in astrology or not… shit is helpful, especially if you’re a Capricorn.
Everyone hates you, blames you… at some point you snap, crack… crackle and pop.
And in that moment, may the lord or lordess of karma save others from you finally getting your shit together!.“If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito.”
― Dalai Lama XIV
Another excellent piece. Thanks for mentioning that karma is the kind of concept user-types love to exploit as a tool to abuse decent folks…
Thank you very much 🙂
Any concept can be used and abused for any purpose. Once the human mind gets a hold of an idea it can twist it to suit whatever it is trying to prove and do with it, the intention and motivation is often tied into an impulse of ego.
People who are highly narcissistic love concepts like karma for the abstract power rush it gives their easily wounded ego. They like the idea that some force greater than them is somehow on their side, doing their bidding. They often extort people with – If you don’t do this thing for me then you will pay for it.
They need to believe that their misery will be visited upon others, make others feel what they’re feeling. They feel entitled to all the ‘good’ things in life and can’t stand it when they think someone else is getting what they want, or when someone else won’t give them what they want.
When they think someone else is getting away with something, particularly if that something is what they desire but can’t get, like being happy, lucky, enjoying life, they want the smile to be wiped off the face of that person, they want to steal that smile – and they think they will smile when the other person’s smile is destroyed by ‘karmic retribution’.
It’s a case of – Just you wait Henry Higgins, just you wait… you’ll be sorry, but your tears will be too late. (that was my mother’s fav song from My Fair Lady)
What rarely occurs to them is that all abstract laws apply in reverse, and that the ill wish they have for another is harming them right here and now, as the harm they wish to be visited on someone else is visited upon them making them miserable.
Having fun was considered a crime by my mother’s standards. People who had fun would pay for it later in some way that would make them miserable, as she was miserable because she never let herself have fun. Thing is, she couldn’t allow herself to have fun because as a child she was punished for it, so she was afraid of fun. This early conditioning influenced her perception of ‘karma’. Basically she wanted others to suffer what she was suffering. When they did… it did not ease her misery.
On the flip side – Some people use a concept like karma to improve themselves, to inspire their actions, and to hold themselves responsible for their own experiences. So if someone hurts them, they pause to reflect on the experience and on the choices available to them in the way of a reaction. They ask themselves – How can I make this negative experience positive? And they try to wish others well, because if others get a dose of good karma, maybe the world will be a happier place. Bad karma makes us all very irritable, prone to wanting bad karma for others, so it’s kind of nice to spread some good karma on the slice of life 😉
Of course it’s your fault…it’s the karmic cycle of life. If you screw up in a past life you get whatever’s coming to you when you come back in your future life. Hopefully you get it right this time so the next life doesn’t suck so much, but you will continue to suffer in this one. Just the way the world works, assuming you actually believe in Buddism/Hinduism karma stuff.
There was a question I heard the other night wherein someone asked – Do you make the choice or does the choice make you.
With a concept like karma, it becomes whatever we make of it, and perhaps that’s our karma.
So if I think karma means that ‘it’s all my fault’ then that’s what karma becomes, and perhaps my karma is to think that’s what karma is. But karma is also about moving beyond such things. Letting go of our attachment to concepts and what we’ve made of them and thus made of ourselves. There is a point of release along the spinning of the wheel. A point where you can choose to move on, perhaps onto the next cycle, or repeat that particular cycle again.
In terms of applying concepts like karma to daily life, it’s quite intriguing to observe how much of what happens to us is less about what actually happens and more about what we make of it. More about where we’re stuck, what we’re attached to, what story we’re creating and confirming for ourselves.
The whole ‘it’s all my fault’ can be as narcissistic as the more common view of narcissism where nothing is ever your fault. It’s basically ‘Inverted Narcissism’. And those who think that everything is their fault tend to attract and be attracted to narcissists who think nothing is their fault. They are complementary entities. But if the one who is playing out the ‘it’s all my fault’ routine decides to break that cycle they’re on, then it changes the dynamic.
There is much to be learned from experiencing the ‘it’s all my fault’ cycle. For one, you learn not to be afraid of accepting ‘fault’. Such a thing can help to resolve matters with others if used responsibly, since many disputes end up getting stuck with everyone passing the buck, so if the buck stops with you, you can then move on from the pass the parcel game and perhaps actually find out what the problem really is about. But if your reason for accepting the ‘fault’ is because that’s your merry-go-round, then things don’t actually get resolved, and it all repeats. The problem never progresses to another level of understanding.
It’s difficult to know what something like ‘karma’ truly is because what we know of it, what is written about it is written by humans, who interpret everything to suit their own needs. Even when we think we’re being detached, objective, unbiased… our biases, attachments and subjectivity are influencing us. The intellect can appear cold, but there is fire inside of the ice, and we feel it, and the drip, drip, drip inside.
If karma is all about profiting or paying for what we do in this life in the next life… that creates a problem, because humans are human. 😉
I don’t believe in the idea that there is a “force” that metes out punishment or goodies, but I do believe that natural interaction, the day-to-day flow of life can produce a sort of karma, sometimes. When I think of those who suffer for no particular reason other than that they were born in a certain time and place or to certain parents (or the reverse), I’m reminded of how indifferent nature is. It just is what it is. We get this life and we follow a path that’s often greatly prescribed for us by our societies, and we do all sorts of things like raising families and educating ourselves, and during this process we get older, and then nature selects us for termination. And that’s if we get to be born in a country that’s not war-torn or warlord-torn or driven by a despot or poverty. So the way I see it is that we have the here-and-now, and we have to do the best we can, because we’re ultimately making the best for ourselves. And maybe that’s karma. 🙂
Good post. Good series. 🙂
Thank you very much 🙂
I love what you’ve shared. I agree. I have just finished watching an amazing TV series from Netflix – Sense 8 – which is filmed around the world, with main characters from different cultures and countries, and it shows how the separate worlds on Earth connect. It’s slightly sci-fi, in as much as there’s this whole plot about evolutionary changes in a small group of humans. The overall ‘message’ is that we are part of a whole, yet separate, and each of us has our own path to follow which intersects with those of others and whether it is fated or not, it is what it is and becomes what it becomes. Humans are pretty much the only species who try to mess with nature, control it, play god, transcend it, and are in some ways disconnected from nature, from our natural selves. But that too is a part of nature, our nature.
This thing called life and all the theories and concepts about it, are fascinating. What is real and what isn’t? Well even the unreal is real in some ways!
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