The Uk was stunned recently by the American diplomat’s wife who allegedly killed a young man who was riding a motorcycle and then chose to claim diplomatic immunity and leave the country without having to face up or atone for her crime. This raised a lot of issues in the press and general conversation about the nature of justice. The issues of prison, punishment and retribution have been ongoing debates for hundreds of years and have led to extreme behaviours. At one end is the world of retribution and the extremes of sharia law at the other end are the liberal world of rehabilitation and learning.
I realised as we were talking about it that my own belief structures deal with this for me. It goes something like this. I see life as reincarnation and ongoing. That means for me that no one ever gets away with anything, that there are no free lunches and that all debts must be paid in full. I accept that for many people such ideas might seem ridiculous, for me it is very real.
The idea that life goes on and that our actions are all consequential is the basis of karma or what goes around come around or the idea that everyone gets theirs in the end. Quite simply the concepts of Karma are those of the consequences of action. Karma acknowledges that the things that we do have an effect, this is the consequence. Attached to that is our responsibility for what we do and the effect that it has on both ourselves and on others.
Often karma is mistaken as a law of negative retribution. But like most laws in the universe karma is neutral it is not concerned whether or not the effects of what we do lead to good things or bad things. Just like gravity, which has a universal effect on all things, karma is always in operation. It is true that if we treat other people well then the likelihood is that they will treat us well in turn, this is good karma. If we are treated badly because we have treated others badly then this is bad karma.
But we have a choice to allow the negativity of others to flow by so that we do not become attached to it. This is letting go of emotional negative attachments it is the forgiveness as described in step one of the Live In The Present book. We have a choice as to whether or not we become involved in karma. In this way we are responsible for how we feel about all that happens to us, even the most horrible and dreadful things. It is also the basis of how we see other people and how we judge the actions of other people. We are all judgemental and see the world from our own point of view. ‘One man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter.’
We can become attached to the consequences of our actions or the actions of others. But, we do have a choice, we do not need to hold onto negative feelings. When difficult things do happen to us rather than seeing them as hurtful or bad things, we could perhaps just view such things in a neutral way. Or we might even see them as useful things from which we might learn and grow.
We don’t have problems we have learning opportunities
Often, when I work with people who are in difficult circumstances, the therapy is about them realising their own responsibility for their situation. Many of us want to blame others for how we are. It will always be true that the things that we experience will have an effect on us, but we have responsibility as to what we allow that effect to be.
We are never effected by events, it is our response to those events that is the effect
Because we choose our responses we can become intimately tied up in our experiences and create own karma. In the end we can never really blame other people for how we feel or for what has happened. Understanding this leads to personal growth.
If, after a difficult experience we can then choose to get our own back, we then get involved in retribution and vendetta. By doing this we feed and build our negative attachments or karmas and we do not grow or develop.
Both individually and collectively we have to decide how we will treat the wrong doers in our society. For some the thief should have their hand cut off or their forehead branded. For the liberalist the thief should be cared for, understood and re-educated. Neither way is right and neither way is wrong. It is simply that each has a consequence. Once we choose a consequence we choose what it is that will happen next. All the time we are either feeding or resolving karmas.
What you feed grows and what you starve dies
Take care, be happy and let go of hate or negative attachments