Something that wasn’t particularly nice happened to someone I know at the end of last week. They didn’t come to any physical harm – they weren’t hurt in any way – but their life has now been turned upside down because of this event. And you know what? I was secretly really pleased.
I am a bad person.
At one point in my life I really needed their support – I was experiencing an extremely traumatic time and this person had the ability to stop it. They didn’t. To make matters even worse, they added fuel to the fire and took great delight in doing so. Consequently, when I heard about what had happened, my insides did a little happy dance and my first thought was ‘Karma’s a b*tch.’
I am a really bad person.
The concept of Karma originated in ancient India and features in Hindu, Jain, Buddhist and Sikh religious philosophies. The eastern interpretation generally focuses on the idea of cause and effect, although this is widely argued between the different religions. In the western world, the term has been generally adopted to symbolise the term ‘what goes around comes around,’ in which a person’s actions, good or bad, will result in consequences for that particular person.
The issue of religion and spirituality is usually something that I try to avoid. Life is cruel, and all too often bad things happen to good people (one of the many reasons why I am quick to dismiss certain elements of religion), but I believe that everyone is entitled to have faith in whatever they choose and should be allowed to do so without fear or judgement or retribution. However, every so often I see examples of karmic retribution, both positive and negative, that do make me question the idea of a higher power:
An acquaintance once told me a story that had happened to her neighbour. She lived in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and was extremely lucky that her house had managed to survive relatively unscathed. A few weeks after the hurricane hit, she returned from a weekend away to find that her house had been ransacked and her possessions stolen, including sentimental things that her children had given to her. She was devastated, but there was very little that could be done amidst the chaos that had ensued in the aftermath of the hurricane, so she did her best to clean up the house and carried on with her life. In her back garden was a pool that had been filled with debris from the disaster and looked like thick black sludge, so a while after the robbery she paid for contracters to come and clean it up as it was becoming a health hazard. At the bottom of the pool was a dead man and a bag that contained her possessions and those of another household. It turns out that the man had deliberately come to New Orleans to take advantage of the looting that had ensued. The police concluded that he had fallen into the pool and drowned because it was dark and he couldn’t see where he was going.
But was this karma? Did the man get what was coming to him in a ‘what goes around’ fashion? Was his death something that he deserved, or was it simply bad luck? If he hadn’t been in the house to rob it in the first place then he wouldn’t have fallen into the pool. What I do know is that I certainly wouldn’t wish anybody dead.
When researching this post I came across this article on spritiualnow.com, that listed the Dalai Lama’s instructions for life. It was so inspiring in the fact that it was simple and makes perfect common sense and I wanted to share it with you all.
1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three R’s:
– Respect for self,
– Respect for others and
– Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them properly.
6. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
7. When you realise you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
20. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.
Perhaps the lesson, if indeed there is a lesson to be learned, is that life is what we make it. Regardless of religious beliefs, I like the idea that if you work hard and are a good person, good things will happen.
Here’s where you get the chance to contribute:
Have you experienced what you consider to be karma, good or bad? Do you know anyone who has?
What is your opinion of karma? Do you believe in it’s existence?
I’d love to know what you think!
Note: this is not an opportunity to attack different religions – any comments that are offensive, rude, abusive towards myself or others or preach at me will be sent straight to the trash…
Picture 1: keepcalm-o-matic.co.uk
Picture 2: funnyjunk.com
Picture 3: thechive.com
Picture 4: ouchmagazine.com