Archives for December 2015

22Dec

Karma in the Western World

I have lots of friends who are good “Christians” and they LOVE karma.  They love the idea that the universe has laws that bring justice to humans who do bad things.  The idea is that “what you do, will come back around to you”.  I can’t disagree with the idea that karma exists and yet, I believe that our construct of karma is very wrong.  Justice is a human construct and it is humans who wish to gain revenge over others.  I don’t believe that the universe has an idea of justice.  If the universe had an idea of justice, so much about this world would be different than it is.  For example, money would not have so much power as it does.

I cringe when I hear people saying with glee, “karma is going to get you!”  They are taking the idea of a religious principal and applying that idea to their personal concept of the world.  Dare I say?  Yes, the point is almost always revenge.  I am not claiming that justice is not very real and very necessary, I am simply calling attention to the perversion (=the alteration of something from its original course, meaning, or state to a distortion or corruption of what was first intended[Google]) of a religious concept: Karma.

The second important point of this discourse is that Christians who follow the new testament (in other words ALL Christians) are supposed to adhere to the concept of forgiveness.   In fact the basic tenet of Christianity is one of forgiveness:   Christians believe in justification by faith – that through their belief in Jesus as the Son of God, and in his death and resurrection, they can have a right relationship with God whose forgiveness was made once and for all through the death of Jesus Christ. [Google].

So how is it that Karma is so popular with Christians?  Because we are humans who want to know that our hurt that was caused by another can be revisited on that other in equal measure.  We do not want our pain to be suffered alone, we want someone to blame and someone to be hurt as we are hurt.   We are a vengeful culture, indeed, according to society, revenge is a priority for any of us.  While we are hurting, we cannot grasp forgiveness, while we are hurting it is almost impossible to think of the perpetrator in any way except with anger.  So, while I believe that vengefulness is quite natural as a feeling, I would draw the line here.  Society attempts to bring structure to human feelings and thoughts.  Forgiveness is a higher good that is conceptualized in all of the world religions.  We humans want to act on our hurt and vengeful thoughts and when we cannot act on them, we will depend on Karma to get revenge for us.

This way of thinking is not towards a higher good; Karma is not an instrument of human justice.  Further, Karma is conceptualized in Hinduism and Buddhism, not in Christianity.  The Christian tenets are of forgiveness and love.

This is what makes me cringe: we don’t like politicians who do not have firm and unshakable beliefs; we don’t like capitalists who mindlessly work on their own behalf while treading on others.  We get angry with people who try to “bend” truth and or reality to their own preference.   This is hypocritical of us, if we say we are Christians, but we are incapable of forgiveness and would rather preach Karma.

I am not a religious person, so I am not sure what the rules are, but I do know this:  Karma is not a misconception for revenge.  Instead it is a holy practice for living, if you are a Buddhist or an adherent of Hinduism.  It is a reflection of the golden rule; it is a macroscopic view for “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”  Living your life as if what you do, is what you get in return, is a way of living that ensures goodness.

19Dec

Have You Ever?

Have you ever had someone in your life that you try hard for: you spend money and you work hard and then… Because they have a picture in their mind of perfection, they can never appreciate you.  You will never compare favorably to the person that lives in their head.  You can tell that your sincere efforts are being dismissed and invalidated and maybe you wonder what you have done wrong?  Don’t concern yourself, seriously, there is no hope that you will have an authentic relationship with this person.  Let them go.

15Dec

I Talk With Folks Who Want World Peace

And then when we continue the conversation, it turns out they hate their next door neighbor, and yeah, they haven’t forgiven their sister for something she did in 1993.

14Dec

Parenting Adults

Is different for everyone.

Is different for everyone.

Don’t try to orchestrate other people’s lives: even if you have given birth or otherwise parented these people. Life often gives us unintended consequences. If you orchestrate another person’s life, you own any consequences, including unintended consequences. If you don’t believe that you do ~ don’t fret, because everyone else believes that you do. The point is that we make life decisions for ourselves, our young children and no one else. The exceptions include, any loved one who has a disease that interferes with thinking; or anyone that you own responsibility for because of mental incapacity.
As I have gotten older I have become acquainted with some obvious American characteristics that I was not aware of earlier in my life. One is that, young people often believe that they know more than older and more experienced people. Another is that older people, particularly parents, believe that they are wiser and know better than younger people.
This disparity in perspectives often causes disagreements and hurt feelings. This can be avoided when we understand a few things. One is that our culture encourages young people to believe that they are superior to everyone (and thus never need direction or advice). Another way to avoid disagreement and hurt feelings is to realize that even though young people may make very bad decisions that take them down dark roads, they own that road.
So while we may believe that we know what is good and right for another, the best approach is to bring the information to the attention of the young person and let them decide. It’s important to bring the young person’s attention to the choosing, because it may bring a dimension to the choice that was not previously realized by your young person.
Like so many human conditions, communication appears to be the answer.

13Dec

Christmas Gifting

We all have our own sentimental thoughts, feelings and beliefs about Christmas gifting and I want to set the record straight about my own philosophy. You can bet that any philosophy I have is related to my own life philosophy about everything.
I remember meeting people that only gave gift cards for Christmas. They would hand out cards to all the members of their own family, uncaring as to whether the gift card was right for that person. I thought that this practice was abhorrent. One should at least care what KIND of gift card was appropriate and even more caring would be a thoughtful gift that actually reflected the care that you have for that person.
We all get nervous about getting the “right” gift for a loved one, but, rather than reacting cowardly and purchasing a gift card, dig deeper and think deeply about the person that you are buying for. Even a silly gift is excellent if it reflects the recipient’s taste instead of your own.
There is the crux of the matter, if you are giving, it must be about the other person that you are giving to, the giving cannot be about you. Otherwise it is not giving.