“Is Fate getting what you deserve, or deserving what you get?” – Jodi Picoult
Existential angst can be avoided if you take a pragmatic worldview.
We all hate when things go wrong, don’t go as planned, or suddenly turn to shit.
Tell me about it – I drank for 30 years thinking that if I just take this poison then you’ll all suffer. You may think all is going well right now, but you just wait. Shit happens…it really is just a matter of time.
Well, you can avoid most of the pain of disappointment if you get around expecting things to fuck up any moment. Surely, if you don’t expect nice things to happen then everything will go to plan. Right?
The trouble with this plan though, is that the suffering that you intend to avoid pervades every moment instead of just surprising you occasionally. That’s akin to blindfolding yourself forever so you don’t see the bogeyman.
Buddhism’s philosophy of Karma helps us understand the cause and effect nature of the universe where we dwell.
Here’s a couple of examples of how to live life on life’s terms.
Reap what you sow
“If you’re a really mean person you’re going to come back as a fly and eat poop.” – Kurt Cobain
I realise taking life lessons from the late Mr Cobain may not be all that high on your priorities, however, if nothing else he was the voice of a generation for 15 minutes. Sow what, I hear you say.
“If a gardener sows a seed of a medicinal plant a medicinal plant will grow not a poisonous one; and if he or she does not sow any seeds, then nothing will grow”, says Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.
Sowing seeds in poop would be even better, that way, what went around will go around again…and again.
To put that into some perspective though, Zig Zigler gives us this pearl. “You can have everything you want in life if you just help enough other people get what they want.”
Now I just need to work out what it is you want – without being a people-pleaser, doormat, or codependent.
And garbage in – garbage out the tech kids tell us!
Is there a way that we can use this Karma Philosophy without needing thousands of dollars of therapy afterwards?
It’s a matter of perspective (isn’t everything?).
Not all the time can you be a saint and not all the time do you want to be a devil. There’s no show without Punch.
It’s all going to be all right in the end, and if it’s not alright, then it’s not the end. Does the end justify the means – EVER?
There are more question marks in this rant than exclamations so maybe the recently departed great philanthropist and Nice Guy, Wayne Dyer can finish this for us.
He said, “How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours.”
Karma can be a bitch, but she’s all we have I’m afraid.
Not to make too much of the aforementioned Cobain quote, but Gyatso also says that “those who have attained nirvana, the supreme permanent inner peace, never experience any physical or mental pain, because they have abandoned engaging in harmful action and purified all negative potentialities that are the main causes of pain”
We can experience some of that in this life and time if we react with a peaceful mind to the barbs and insults, the slaps and harmful words that others throw at us. It’s nice to think that we can go out the door with a good intention to help others get what they want and be protected against harm with a strong mind.
By being resilient and having a positive self-esteem, not concerned with what others think of me can help us all come home tonight with the same good nature that we left home with.
Furthermore, we’ll be diminishing the need to partake in distractions and other escapes like drinking and drugging to release the daily pain.
Here’s to a better world…within and without.
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