Okay kids, today’s blog focus is on Karma.
A little background if I may: I come from a mixed marriage. My mother is a Methodist: a covered dish supper, Vacation Bible School teaching, Onward Christian Soldiers singing, draped cross on a pin wearing Methodist. But she married my father, who was a Catholic. It was a tasty, pearl clutching feast for the gossip mongers at the time.
Why? Well, because all of this went down in the very early 50’s, almost a full decade ahead of the…. uh…..dare I say, more “liberal” laws the Church handed down during Vatican II. They had to marry twice, the first time in the ante room of the Catholic church, then in a much more formal affair in the Methodist church. Mother even had to sign a promissory note of sorts, vowing to raise any and all progeny produced by this marruage in all aspects of Catholicism.
Sounds so surreal now. But boy was it it was fodder for the yentas back then.
My mother is still very Methodist and will ONLY and deal with Methodist professionals. Her lawyer, CPA, broker, banker and car dealer are all Methodists. She wasn’t so lucky in her Medical care, but doctors Ben Leibovitz and Sanjay D. Patel are aces in their particular fields..
Oh and uh, just do you know, my parents completely hosed the Catholic Church. They divorced and no one in my immediate family practices Catholicism in any form or fashion. We are spiritual, which has become millennial speak for alleviating guilt from being non-church goers.
But I digress.
I had insomnia last night. My mind couldn’t be quieted, not even with a sleeping pill. As luck woukd have it, one of my sister’s woke up extra early and we decided to talk on the phone. Family issues dominated the conversation at first, but it all got very existential, very quickly: we started discussing karma.
I’m a firm believer in it. I’ve been a victim of it. I feel certain I’ve done some karmic time. I have the visible and invisible scars to prove it.
Or do I?
I’m not completely sure how karma works or the timeline it must work within, if it has one. I’ve been told it can be instantaneous, that it can take years, maybe decades or sometimes karmic retribution happens in another lifetime,. That is, if you believe in life after death and that we keep coming back, learning from our miststakes, until we get it right or achieve full enlightenment.
I have known very sinister people who mistreated kind, loving people and treated them in horrendous ways. Decades later, many of these dark souls with feet are in terrible shape. They’ve experienced life-altering accidents, multiple marriages which produced more misery than children (fortunately). Some are also enduring serious health and financial problems….even legal issues of various kinds
So, are they going through all this stuff BECAUSE of the horrendous way they treated people? Or are they just going through the natural law we all know and loathe—he who screws gets screwed? Is that Karma?
Or is Karma pure doodoo?
Let’s look at this logically: if you continue to drink and drive enough times, you increase your odds of eventually getting popped for a DUI or worse, causing an accident that results in vehicular manslaughter, yours or someone else’s.
If you do enough drugs over a period of time, will the overdose in your future simply be cause and effect or is that karma at work? Is it both?
Let’s say you have copious bills you can’t pay and the reason why is your own irresponsibility,. So, is filing for bunkruptcy your punishment for not being more fiscally astute or is it karma or are they one in the same?
We continued to talk, then my sister brought up the question that I knew she would. What did she do (or not do) to cause her to lose her beautiful 19 year old daughter in a car accident 19 years ago? What mistake had she made? What was the transgression that cost her the life of her beloved eldest child?
I was, I am and I always will be completely ill-equipped to answer that question. All I could came up with and keep in mind, my relationship with God while prominent is also most unorthodox. God and I have very candid conversations. I speak, I pray in my own way….a way which is comparable to that of a longshoreman. But trust me, there’s a certain reverence in my vernacular. God gets me.
I told her that the God I believe I know doesn’t work that way. Maybe the God from the Old Trstsment, He apparently liked to smite, but not the I believe she and I knew knew. I had no doubt that’s that’s her smearing mud all over the outside wall of our house in 1965, for which she was spanked or staying out an hour beyond curfew at age 16 or having sex at 21 with a man she was merely dating, weren’t reasons why her daughter died. It had nothing to do with what she had done or or hasn’t done.
But what aoutnthat ehichnwe bring on ourselves??
I believe that it’s a combination of free will and the shelf life of every human. Some of us are given the gift of many years, others aren’t. Free will, on the other hand, gives us the choice of taking that drinnor drug and driving or swimming or taking some kind of risk made even riskier by being impaired. In that regard, it’s a game of chance, really. For others, it’s a definitive lifespan of a certain number of years, no more, no less.
Was my thinking right or wrong? I don’t know, but I do believe that most of us reap what we sow in some capacity. Something beyond mere “luck of the draw”. I’m not saying someone ”deserved” the loss of a limb, or cancer or to be murdered, God forbid. But what could we have done to mitigate the chances of those things happening? Could we have been nicer? Battled our own narcissism or other sociopathy or weird personality quirks in a better, more efficient way…..as in nullifying them?
I had a horrible traffic accident almost almost 25 years ago and it altered my life in every way. It rendered me incapable of carrying a child,, it ended my ability to run, ski, skate, dance I would never ever take another step without pain. It was a painful lesson, if it was a lesson, I was starting my career and was making great strides very quickly and I was believing my own positive press. I always had the sense that the wreck was the Universe’s way of telling me to take it down a notch, to get over myself. Be it God’s will or that of The Universe, which odd as might seem, are two different things to me.
Or was it a simple matter of being in the wrong place at thr wrong time?
I knew a lot of assholes (and in my line of work, there were many) who died as relatively young assholes. They were inarguably nasty people who were mean and vile and unanimously believed to be as as I’ve described them. Evil, in some cases. Did being an ass kill them or had they reached their contractual expiration date with the Cosmos or was it simply cause and effect? For example, drinking too much equals cirrhosis. Or doing too much blow can fatally damage the heart. Or being angry at the world and making no attempt to quell that can cause killer stress.
Strokes, annuerisms, serious infections, other maladies.
Do we get hurt if we hurt somebody? Good things happen to bad people all the time.
Are we rewarded for extolling virtue and kindness on a regular basis? Bad things happen to good people all the time.
While I don’t want to turn this into a hardcore eccliastical debate on Christianity and Judaism (et al) vs. Vedic beliefs, I would be very interested in knowing your thoughts on karma, not necessarily how I might be wrong about the issue, just your thoughts on the karma and “pay back”, if it can be called that. Please feel free to comment below.