What is Karma?

“Karma” has almost become a swear word in pop culture. It is assumed to be this linear equation of when you do something bad, something bad happens to you or when something bad is happening to you then it is a result of your past negative actions. I guess this definition works until a person finds themselves suffering a deep struggle for no apparent reason. They feel powerless and this leads to depression, suicidal tendencies or anger and blaming our environment or God depending on our values and philosophy of life (of lack thereof).

Varying religious or philosophical schools of thought tend to explain this onset of suffering in varying ways, some of which I’ve heard/read over the years:

  • Bad things happen to everyone at some point. It just varies, depending on some kind of a law of averages
  • Bad things are a result of one’s sins
  • Lack of belief in God or violating of religious laws leads to God punishing you

All of these views don’t shed light on how to have power over the situation other than wait for things to somehow get better or “this too shall pass”.

From a Buddhist point of view, Karma is not a description of our current reality. Instead, ‘karma’ describes our tendencies. When we have difficult, heavy karma, it indicates the tendencies that we find the hardest to act against or change. When we have karma that has been carried across generations, it is tendencies that have been carried across generations e.g. via genetics, imprinting in our subconscious and by learning from observing those around us.

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Getting past self-pity when struggling with health issues

Turns out, it’s not always an easy exercise to find what inside of me needs releasing today and has crystallised enough to find way into reasonably coherent words here, and I use “reasonably” loosely. (Wonder how to add emoji to posts, do any of of you know how?)

I had a fairly busy day, still catching up on meal prep, laundry and work. It is a great blessing to work from home once a week these days. Hope I find a reasonable rhythm before things change.

The last couple of years of knee and foot injuries and accidents have left me with very weak legs that are also out of balance. My right leg is significantly weaker than the left. Lately I have been trying to do some exercise prescribed by my osteopath but that’s causing pain in the arch of my foot and very tight and sore achiles tendon. Blah blah blah.

As I write this post, I have Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban playing in the background. Those movies are therapeutic for me, I can tune in and tune out, it facilitates my writing. Believe me I tried many other TV shows and movies but there is none I am so deeply familiar that I can tune in and out and relax into my creativity.

Dementors are the embodiment of fundamental darkness or the devil king of sixth heaven. They represent how something can suck all joy and life and purpose out of our lives and only very strong positive light and force from within us can defeat it. Brilliant representation, isn’t it?

Anyhow, I digress. Over the last many years of seeing several medical professionals has provided me with this ability to observe and describe my symptoms. At first, when I used to see my TCM doctor every week for acupuncture, I did not know what to say. I was so disconnected with the experience in my body that I did not know what was happening to me and how to describe it. Slowly I developed this awareness of myself. This by all means is a good thing. Connection is better than disconnection.

The next stage to this is though, trusting that what is out of balance can find balance on its own and helping that process along. For the most part, I haven’t found this within my being and my consciousness yet. Some days I have it but when I am struggling with pain or physical discomfort, it becomes harder to think positive thoughts and send healing messages to my body.

And in this difficulty and pain, I find myself questioning – why me, why is this happening to me, when would it stop. I find it hard to discern and balance the line between self-pity and self-compassion.

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