(Prologue: I’ve got first-hand experience that a real understanding of the laws of karma can substantially change our lives for the better. I created this weblog to share information and personal experience with others. May it be of benefit!)
I’m on my way to meet a friend at a restaurant. It’s raining. So I take my umbrella along with me in the car. We meet. Eat. And leave. I then discover that I do not have my umbrella. Return to restaurant. Return to the table at which I was sitting. No umbrella there. Ask the hostess whether anyone turned in a black umbrella. She checks. No.
I demand to speak to the manager. In harsh language, I tell the manager that the restaurant is bad news. In fact, maybe one of the staff stole my umbrella.
When I get home, I’m still fuming.
(source: modified version of original by teacher Jay Lippman)
What just happened?
- umbrella was stolen as a consequence of past negative actions that have now ripened;
- harsh speech and indulging in “the blame game” create future negative karmic consequences; and
- hanging onto anger by indulging in it, even when the situation has ended, strengthens my habitual tendency to be angry. This ensures that when I am in a similar situation in the future I will most likely behave in a similar negative manner.
In the next scenario, the situation is the same — someone has stolen my umbrealla — but I respond differently:
- recognize that the karma of previous negative actions is being burnt up;
- Although anger is arising in me about the loss of the umbrella, I refrain from harsh languzge when speaking to the manager;
- when the situation ends, I try to let go of anger every time it arises. This weakens the negative habitual pattern. The next time I am in a similar situation, I will have a better chance to recognize that this is yet another opportunity to weaken my negative tendency to anger.
What’s the difference between these two sets of responses?
In the first one, I have not taken the opportunity to cut the loop. Instead I have used the opportunity presented by the stolen umbrella to maintain and strengthen the negative karma by indulgin in my habitual tendency. In the second one, I use the opportunity of having my umbrella stolen to step out of self absorption and cut the connection between the emotion of anger, angry behaviour, and the creation of negative karmic consequences.
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