(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!)
”Making mistake after mistake, I walk the unmistaken path.” Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche
I’ve done some pretty stupid things in my lifetime.
But this one “takes the cake.”
Now I am reaping the karma.
The “cake” is no longer pleasing to me. The icing on top has evaporated, exposing the guts of a cake that is no longer whole. Slices have been taken out of it. I cannot find my self anymore.
I obsess over what I see as my mistakes and ask again and again “how could I have been so stupid?” This past week I talk to a fellow practitioner about this constant daily “review” of my “mistakes.” He quotes the following to me by heart:
The everyday practice is simply to
develop a complete acceptance and
openness to all situations and emotions.
And to all people — experiencing
everything totally without reservations
and blockages, so that one never
withdraws or centralises onto oneself.
<source: The Vidyadhara, Venerable Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche, excerpt from Maha-Ati text>
That phrase “centralises onto oneself” grabs me, shakes me up — that’s what I am doing. Centralizing into myself. I’m glad for the reminder. While I don’t necessarily “feel better,” without that reminder I will mindlessly continue to deepen the rut, the stuckness, that I am experiencing.
The Good News! I find it strangely helpful to realize that there was absolutely nothing I could do to change the karma that is now ripening in the present. In the past — including past lives — I committed volitional action(s) based on afflictive emotions. Now the karma is coming due. I begin to relax with the truth of the dynamic (how karma works) of karma rather than putting my energy into resisting it by obsessing over and over again what I “could” have done to avoid the situation in the first place.
Another way to put this is that I set up the karmic theater by my past volitional actions and afflictive emotions. Now the “play” is playing out! I say my “lines” (i.e. storyline of how my life came to be this way) every day. I make my exits and my entrances. I come in “on cue.” Then the curtain closes after the play every night. I go to sleep. I wake up the next morning. My mind flickers between wakefulfulness and going back to sleep! I arise from my bed, but I have chosen sleep. The cycle starts all over again.
The main point is that the karma was going to ripen whether I had been brilliant or stupid. My stupidity really didn’t have a lot to do with anything.
Actually, there is one thing I can do — well two things.
Notwithstanding the powerlessness I feel, I do have the power to shift my attitude from one of depression and constant self-criticsm, anxiety, panic and fear to appreciation for the fact that, no matter how stupid I feel I have been, there was nothing that was going to prevent the karma from ripening. The result of this attitudinal change is relief!
The other thing I can do is to make it part of my post-meditation practice to be gracious in the face of what I experience as the karmic #&*! hitting the fan.
Out of this rubble, arise with grace and integrity. <source: poem about Cleopatra and lover by the Sakyong Mipham Rinopche – please click here to read poem. Scroll down to end of page>
If you found this post helpful, please share it with a friend. Then consider subscribing to the weblog. Just click on the Subscribe button in the navigation bar and follow one of the three, easy-to-follow instructions. Thank you.