Goodshoot

Karma Chameleon

Lately, I’ve been spending a significant amount of time thinking good thoughts. Just trying my damndest to put greatness into the world. Through my actions too, of course, but my brain has been overflowing with warm, fuzzy stuff. This weekend, despite the fact that Saint Pat’s celebrations left quite a mark on the streets, I walked around this gorgeous city, marveling in its beauty, and kept getting these weird sensations, chills that seemed to originate in my mind, that weren’t related to a breeze or anything external as far as I could tell. Each time one approached, good things, memories, ideas, plans popped up in my head. This may not be possible scientifically and maybe doesn’t actually make much sense, but it was just such a strange and special feeling.

As I walked downtown, beats in my ears, I got to thinking: karma, as I understand it from a short workshop I attended at a yoga festival in Crested Butte in February (this was my first experience talking about karma on this level, with others who study it…there is a chance I may have misunderstood some concepts), says that all energy moves out, not in. This is a little surprising to me, but I like it. I like it very much, in fact. To a large extent, it is this new knowledge that has helped to turn around the crap roller coaster I climbed on in January and rode straight through to the end of February. I know without a doubt, up until learning this, I’ve been operating under this misconception that energy moves into us as well as out, though I take full responsibility for the seat I chose right up front overlooking the imminent plunge, i.e. the energy I had been putting out to cause the crazy was completely my doing and not because these things were happening to me because of some unfair hand I was dealt. Oh no, I had been putting out bad…we reap what we sow, as they say.

The way that the leader of the workshop described this concept of energy moving out is like this: for example, if you want to be in/maintain a loving, caring, mutual romantic relationship or partnership, the way to do that is to spend your time with people who don’t have loving, caring, mutual relationships. You might spend some time with children who don’t have parental support or positive role models in their lives, or you might volunteer at a homeless shelter. Even doing something as seemingly simple as respecting friends’ marriage to one another is a way to send out your love for them and others in your life. Or if you’re looking for greater financial wealth, share yours a bit. Loan some cash to a friend, to a family member in need. Hand out a buck or two to the homeless woman you drive by every day at the intersection of Speer and the I25 exit ramp. Of course, we’re not supposed to do any of these things in order to gain something in return, but that’s an entirely different lesson for an entirely different day. Ultimately, for argument’s sake right now, I’ll maintain the result is the same: someone wins, so who cares what your motive is, right.

Even the novice karma student, such as myself, gets that karma is about cause and effect, and in this workshop in Crested Butte, I also learned that Karma is an eye-for-an-eye concept, so to speak. For example, a very simple example, if you want a delicious coffee drink, a white chocolate mocha with peppermint and almond milk, let’s say, go out and treat someone to a delicious coffee drink of their preference sometime and it’ll probably come back to you in a similar fashion. Seems logical, absolutely. Since this introductory conversation at Yoga Rocks the Butte, and in the bit of research I’ve done on my own, the principle that speaks the most clearly and loudest to me is that neither a god nor a guru have any role in a person’s karma—the individual is considered to be the sole doer and enjoyer of his karmas and their payouts, if you will. As Buddha said, “We are the heirs of our own actions.” I couldn’t agree more. But that surely doesn’t mean that everything is due to karma?

On the same yoga retreat weekend, my friend who was kind enough to drive us the five plus hours to CB, across Colorado on route 285 and over Monarch Pass, hit a deer with her car just outside Gunnison, Colorado, USA (imagine a military salute at the utterance of those words…inside joke, had to do it). Not only had she hit a deer with her car on the trip there, but, just a few days before, she had had some things thieved from it when a rash of car break-ins happened in our neighborhood. Little did I know when she said, “Well, hitting that deer and messing up my car that I just put two grand into for maintenance repairs last week is my karma for being rude to so and so earlier this week” that her example would be so incredibly poignant, but also so incredibly not true. I knew when she said it that there was no way her karma for being a beeatch to whoever all week was revealing itself in the form of car accidents. It was interesting that I had this example to share in the workshop the following morning—but not funny in an “it’s fate!” type of way. Nah, I don’t think it’s fate at all. No, she hit a deer because we were driving near dusk on a mountain road where deer are prevalent and our nonstop chatter and collective city-livin’-switch-gears-to-mountain-driving feelers weren’t on code orange quite yet.

People say too often, and it makes me flinch when they do, “Their karma’ll get them.” I don’t think we’re supposed to use karma as a means to wish bad on others. I’d like to think, instead, that because I’m walking around thinking good, doing good, that these tremors of worthiness that I’ve been experiencing are the result of the positive thoughts and energy I’ve been sending out to others in my world. I’m doing it because it feels right. Because I want others to win. Who knows if “gifts” will present themselves to me as a part of the cause and effect. I couldn’t care less about that. At least today. The reward is the fine feeling I carry around on my shoulders, in my heart. That is karma enough for someone who only a few short weeks ago was, instead, carrying around shame and disappointment in herself. Yes, I’ll take this trade any day.

One Response

  1. Susan Marie

    Thanks, Aubrey. Good stuff here!

    I have always found it a bit perplexing to keep the right hand from knowing what the left hand is doing…to do something good simply for the grace of it, not for the gain or glory. This is the heart of the ancient notions of ” seek first the kingdom and all the rest will follow” or “do unto others” or “cast your bread upon the water and it will return to you 7 times 7” (BUT don’t do it For those reasons!!). The sowing and reaping verse you mention has always freaked me out, cuz it sounds so JUDGMENTAL and FINAL…but if we allow ourselves to be empowered to turn that message on its head….we could use it with confidence….by sowing positive thoughts and actions. Then, as you suggest in your post, Karma becomes a boon, not a bitch — but we don’t want to be thinking too much about that!! LOL

    Reply

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