“You do it to yourself, you do. That’s what really hurts” - Radiohead
Now karma is a strange thing isn’t it? There are plenty of different interpretations as well, which usually lead to misconceptions, confusion or to just ignoring it as superstition. The idea of the universe possessing an unseen power that acts as an omnipotent Supreme Court dealing rewards and punishments based on right and wrong thoughts and actions can be tough to swallow. I mean, shouldn’t a universal power deal in universal justice? We see rich evil powerbrokers prosper off the suffering of good everyday people. Is that fair? Religions can be interpreted to explain the discrepancies of our lives in the short term by offering us eternity in heaven or hell, or reincarnation to a higher or lower power. I assume there are many who have felt like me: I hope karma exists just to inflict suffering on the moron who swore at me as he pushed me out of his way on the train yesterday, while I impatiently wait to reap the benefits of giving up my seat to an elderly woman. We don’t relate to the long term promises of religion if we can’t see any short term proofs.
However, I’ve been trying to break everything down to just straight experience. I mean if it happened to me then I know it to be true. So I viewed karma in the short term as a simple process of cause and effect. Every cause leads to an effect and every effect becomes another cause. For example, this morning you woke and sparked a chain of cause and effect that must have been laced with negative karma because you got stuck reading this blog.
But now we’re here I will take the time to see how the karma really worked for me yesterday. I was very pissed off thinking about the moron on the train, getting myself worked up time and again with ideas of revenge, or what I would do if I could relive the experience, even though I will never see him again. Too pissed off to even remember that the nice lady gave me a warm smile of appreciation when I gave her my seat. So as I keep stewing over that idiot on the train I bump into someone by accident, he apologises but I tell him to ‘Fuck Off!’ I cool down 10 seconds later and feel like an idiot myself. Then I relive that experience and get even angrier, first at myself and then at the dickhead from the train again. I then apply my angry self to my job and perform poorly and so on and so on.
How can I justify so much suffering? I could just as easily have gotten over it and stopped this self implosion from happening. But now that it’s too late. Instead of just causing myself suffering, the negativity spreads beyond me. My boss sees the shit job I did and becomes angry himself. He then takes his anger out on a co-worker who passes it to another co-worker until the whole office is shitty just because of the fuckface on the train!
No, wait. Not because of him, because of me. It’s time I took responsibility. I need to objectively see what I’ve done and I start to realise that I have caused myself pain, and then passed that pain to other people who hurt themselves and then in turn passed it on to others. It is my fault that I am suffering. How can I trust a universal system to deal with this troublesome world if I can’t even take care of myself?
But that nice woman from the train gave me such a warm smile. It makes me smile to think about it. Tomorrow when I come into work, I’m going to think of that lady’s smile every time I get worked up. Better yet, I’m going to smile myself. I’m going to laugh. Laugh with people and laugh at myself. I’m going to spread cycles of positivity. I’m going to receive negative cycles and destroy that negativity and create something positive out of it. Every person that I can impact positively is more likely to share that with others, and if I’m lucky the cycle might come back my way. And if the karmic reward of my own generosity goes to someone else then that in itself is a good enough reward.
(while listening to SMiLE – Brian Wilson) Eden
N.B. Stay tuned next week for Roy Story II