Some more thoughts on karma
I'm one of those people that thinks we are here to learn something, that we are meant to get something about of this experience. Someone once explained to me the philosophy of a medieval Shaivaite philosopher named Abhinavagupta as the philosophy of being completely human and completely divine. This is, for sure, a simplification. I have read twenty pages of a translation of one of the prolific Abhinavagupta's texts, so I am by no means an authority. It is doubtful that whomever informed me of this was an authority either. (Although, I believe Yoga Journal may have discussed him in a piece a few years back on Tantra.) Anyway, I've come to understand is that we are finite manifestations of the infinite, or the divine if you prefer. So, we're all in this collective graduate program with the infinite is our mysterious, elusive and somewhat unreliable (at least from our perspective) dissertation supervisor. That might be a metaphor that only works for me, but I think you get the point. Its not like we can make an appointment with the infinite, go the the infinite's office, have a seat and say, "So, I've been looking at my data set and I seem to be finding a lot of interesting things going on with aspect in relation to the context of "going to the pub". Would you have a look and comment on what I've done? It seems I'm going to be taking this in a slightly different direction from the plan." Which, as far as life goes, is pretty common, deviating from the plan.
Anyway, This has surely been the week for karmic discussions, because its been a popular subject. Waiterrant has posted a piece about not stealing tips hopefully garnering customer loyalty and the BarmaidBlog posted something about good deeds being their own reward. These things got me thinking.
We're an instant gratification society. The notion that things should happen immediately (we get to see the baddie get their comeupance at the end of the movie) is something that is very important to us. But, karma, if it is the cosmic law of cause and consequence, would have to apply at the cosmic level and not necessarily the micro level of each individual situation.
One of the things that Meditation Neal said on Tuesday was that we make the world around us. So, if you put in the time and the effort and you work really hard hoping to get a first (if you're British) or getting a 4.0, there is a good chance that this will happen. At least that is what I was told when I was little. But, to say that formula is the tried and true method that always works is wrong and there are thousand counterexamples to it. What we put into something is only one factor in determining what we get out of it. It is probably more accurate to say that there is a high correlation factor between things like hard work and getting what you want. But, if you have ever taken a stats class, you know that correlation does not prove causation.
I don't remember what my original point was. Perhaps it is that doing the right thing is one step towards making a better world. Which would make doing the right thing its own reward if you then got to live in the better world. And, in the service industry anything that brings about customer loyalty is definitely its own reward. So, to borrow a metaphor I have already used, if you want to carve pumpkins, you have to plant pumpkin seeds. I read once, again most likely in Yoga Journal, that from the right perspective we could see our lives unfold and how certain actions and intents manifested ourselves. There are ways to gain some of this sort of perspective, yoga or meditation or what have you. Its just a matter of starting to put in the work, I guess. (well, doubtful that it is just a matter of putting in the effort. Its probably more a matter of putting in the effort, your intentions about the whole process, the frequency of the effort, the temperature of the room in which the effort takes place, etc.)
What I find interesting about karma is the connection I have made to "living in the now" previously. Planning for the future seems to be at odds with living in this moment. But, I'm sure that is a discussion for another time.