And That My Dear is What We Call Karma!

Karma is a widely misunderstood and misused term.  Karma means effect; as in cause and effect.  We don’t acquire it like luck and we can’t buy it.  It is solely the results of our actions, good, bad or neutral.  When I explain Karma I like to use an analogy that I think a Tibetan saint used in his teachings; I think it was Lama Tsong Kappa.  He said that karma can be likened to a bag of seeds we carry like a backpack.  Good and bad events create seeds to which we throw into the bag.  Just like seeds they cannot grow in any condition, so we must be always mindful that just because today some negative karma ripened doesn’t mean it was an act
I did in the recent past.  I just happened to ripen today. 

The recent turn of events in my life has led me to the conclusion that even negative karma can be used as a catalyst to create more favorable conditions.  In other words; although I went through some negative experiences I am grateful for the fact that I had the wisdom to act accordingly.  I am also grateful that whatever debt I had has now been paid.  I’ve attended plenty of teachings of which the monks welcome adverse events.  They say that since the karma ripened now it is good, since they had the good fortune of a rebirth that allowed them to recognize it as such.  Having this wisdom allows us to not create more conditions for further suffering.  In other words, if someone slaps me, I know it was a result of negative karma and I will not retaliate to not continue the cycle.  Jesus taught this principle when he said to turn the other cheek.  In essence he said; “The buck stops here”. 

I am grateful and thankful for every event that has brought me to where I am now.  Although I suffered through it, in hindsight I know it was necessary. 

Karma is absolute.  You can try and play the victim and you may even recruit people to have pity for you.  In the end, truth is truth, and the proof is in the pudding.  It matters not what is said, but what is done.  Over time truth will prevail because emotional reactions are as temporary as rain clouds in the sky.  People are fickle, and once the dust settles they will realize the truth. 

I am reminded to Edgar Allen Poe’s “The Tell Tale Heart”; that story is a perfect example of karma and the prison it can create in your mind.  For those that haven’t been exposed to it, a man commits a murder and places the body under his homes floorboards.  A detective comes by and is in the home, the man becomes delusional and begins to hear a heartbeat and pretty much goes mad, because of the guilt.  So it matters not what YOU TELL OTHERS, the mind cannot be fooled; unless of course you’re a sociopath. 

So make no mistake, everything that happens to you; good and bad is a direct result of your actions.   And you can delete as many pictures as you want as a way to try and forget what you’ve done.   However, goodness is a ingrained trait and sins against others can never be erased; the mind cannot be fooled and karma doesn’t discriminate. 

Good night and may all beings be free of suffering.

 

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Promise of a New Beginning

Promise of a New Beginning

After an almost 7 hour drive we made it to Georgia. Two cars, four kids and two dogs with nothing but some of our clothing. We didn’t know what to expect, or what would be waiting for us, but we knew that that it couldn’t be any worse than the situation we were in. Miami was suffocating us, it seemed that we were sinking deeper and deeper.

As I drove there was plenty of time to reflect, as I drove the car with the dogs. I was reminded of my trip to Boston/Cambridge in which I went on a retreat with my teacher. On that trip I was alone; a 23 year old girl alone to traverse Boston and find my own way to Cambridge. I stayed with a nun and depended on the kindness of others to help me. During the retreat Lama Migmar made light of my trip. He said that the more perilous the journey the greater the reward, because of the faith that is placed in the expectation of a good outcome. The perils and difficulties serve to purify past negative deeds and karma. He said that in Tibet people went on long pilgrimages to Llhasa with nothing and prostrating the entire time as a form of penance.

The morning of our drive my husband went to buy new tires for his car. He texted me a picture of a part that didn’t look healthy. It was a CV joint. He indicated that there was a strong vibration and noise and that the car might not make it. I was worried, but I knew inside that this was a karmic obstacle and quite possibly even a test of resolve. He packed the car and we left anyways. The car did make it and it lost its vibration and noise about 100 miles into the trip and is still running today; three weeks later.

When we crossed over into Georgia I felt a great pressure come off of me. It felt like an exodus of biblical proportions. We had all the elements of a bible story or a good myth. Oppression, sibling conflict, a sick child, family interference, family support and of course the unknown. Plus I was in the throws of a cold and very ill.

In the days leading up to our departure, we realized who the people that really mattered were. I had the constant counsel of my father; assuring me that it was a good thing to leave and that he was proud of us. My mother’s worrying, which while understandable and appreciated can be smothering at times. Because of the close relationship with the kiddies that she has developed, she was afraid to see them go, but distance is never an issue when there is love. My Aunt, who I affectionately call “Manina” also came and helped us, as she has always done with every great move in my life. She helped me when I moved from my mother’s house to live with my father and has always made an appearance during important moments in my life. Although we don’t really keep regular contact, it isn’t necessary when the care and love is implicit. My Aunt from Texas that from a long distance cheered us on, because she went through the same thing and can relate with moving a family away from the familiar. My paternal Aunt, that for being as feisty as she is, I know was sad to see me go; but understood it had to be done. She has supported and been there for me for as long as I can remember, and I consider her to be a second mother.

My brother and sister in-law that came to see us and wish us well. For whatever the reason, I didn’t get to interact with them much over the years because they keep to themselves. But I always knew they had their priorities in the right place. In their eyes you can see a loving heart, a reflection of the divinity they serve. He is my husbands big brother and although they’ve had a strained relationship at times, he showed his maturity, compassion, and understanding. Being a father and husband himself, he “got it”, and for this I am grateful.

One of my graduates spent evening after evening with us, and although he will claim that we have helped him, it was his caring and loyalty over the years that was a gift to us and he will always have a special place in our hearts. And lastly, for about three days a friend of ours practically stayed with us for 24 hours a day, and they day we drove off it was him, his cousin and his mother that saw us off. My husband and I always offered our friends a place to come and talk and a friendly ear to listen, and in return they showed us love. I think out of everyone, our friends will miss us the most.

Once we crossed that state line I immediately felt a calmness come over me, and I knew that the worst was over and that everything was going to be okay. That feeling or sense that we were escaping a negativity seemed to be felt by all of us.

Many were concerned for the teenagers, that they might not be happy. I don’t think they were happy about the idea of leaving what was familiar, but they are old enough to understand the gravity of the situation. And I think on a deeper level they were craving change and a little adventure.

I am happy to report that everyone is happy and has adjusted well. I am thankful for the blessing to be able to begin again, and happy that we had the courage and tenacity to go for it.

Thank you all for all your love and support…………

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Don’t Cry for Me Argentina

By looking at my blog statistics, since last week one posting in particular has had more hits than any others. I suppose that the post reached its intended audience; which in itself is quite disturbing, being that it wasn’t publicized. Which only illustrates that someone might have sociopathic control issues and “stalkerish” tendencies that validates the point I was trying to make. Furthermore, if what I said offended you then it becomes an, “If the shoe fits” kind of situation. It doesn’t matter anymore because we are moving on, and glad to be rid of that entire dysfunctional organization; and for whatever its worth, thank you for all the hits!

It is a simple concept taught by Darwin; adapt, migrate or die. If what you desire cannot be obtained where you currently are, then you either suck it up and keep going, migrate to a new place that has it, or die because of it. Successful species, such as our own, usually migrate and keep migrating until we find what we need. Its not personal; its simple numbers and common sense. If you don’t pay someone what they are worth and they figure it out, they will begin looking for someone that will. That’s life in the big city, and if you weren’t smart enough to figure it out and prevent it, then you got what you deserved.

No one has to stay anywhere or tolerate anything that they don’t want; ever. You never know when you will push someone’s buttons to the breaking point. Everyone has choices and a right to pursue their own version of happiness. Being family doesn’t mean that it is okay to disrespect, put people down or be dismissive. What happened in this case was that a family member was underestimated and taken for granted. There was an attitude of superiority; “Oh, where is he going to go with no formal education and make what he makes here?” All someone had to do was convince him that not having an education doesn’t make you less capable, just like having a degree doesn’t make you smart. All an individual needs is someone to genuinely support and encourage them, so that they reach whatever goal they desire. Once they feel supported and loved, there is no limit to what they can achieve.

Now, if you have been at the same organization for so many years, and you never took an interest in learning the trade, and you were a social loafer; there will be no one to blame but yourself should you fail in that individuals absence. In general people like to grow, both personally and professionally, challenges and change offer opportunities to do so. When a top performer feels like they are stagnating they will look for growth opportunities. Again, its not a personal thing; its a human nature thing, and if you couldn’t figure it out because of self centeredness and not wanting to listen. Then again, you got what you deserved.

On another note, if someone you care about receives an opportunity that betters his and his families situation in life, you should be happy for him. Be proud that he was able to move on up and get what you couldn’t provide; there is no shame in not being able to provide if you really couldn’t. There is no crime by going after what you want in life. He owes nothing to anyone, other than HIS family, which are the people he supports and lives with. You lost, fair and square, and your anger and bitterness only highlight and prove everything I accused you of in the last essay.

Good luck and Godspeed

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Ideas That Separate

Facebook is both good and bad.  I like it because it offers us a chance to glimpse into the lives and minds of our friends, family and acquaintances. And bad for the same reasons; anger, racism, judgment and bigotry run rampant since it is socially unacceptable to be vocal about it, Facebook has become an outlet for it.

It seems to me that what angers the majority more than anything, is when racism is acknowledged.  Its one of those things they don’t like to be reminded of, although it exists and is in full swing.  By bringing this issue to the forefront we are acknowledging it and are forced to confront it.  I looked on with amusement when the entire Paula Deen issue was all the talk on social media, and its funny how infantile people are.  If you’ve ever had kids you know that they fight and eventually one is going to get smacked harder than the other and run to a parent crying.  The usual response from the one that’s about to get in trouble for hitting the other is going to say; “But she/he hit me first”!  As adults we usually punish both equally because it doesn’t matter what the other person does, we should know better.  Same thing with Paula Deen and Trayvon Martin, people posting memes about black on white crime and rappers using the “n” word.  In essence saying, “They started it!”  If you participated in that immaturity, you are contributing to the problem.  There is nothing wrong with acknowledging an issue and in the end we are all held accountable for our actions, regardless of our opinions.  The moment you feel yourself superior  because of the color of your skin, ethnicity or nationality, in relation to others, you have become a hindrance to the progression of humanity.

One of the things I see that bothers me most are judgment and generalizations.  Its okay to have an opinion and its okay to voice it, however its not okay to think yourself a moral authority simply because of your faith;  and then use it to make others feel dirty, low and unworthy for being themselves.  Now in the age of information religion has become a choice, whereas before it was mandated by your culture.  I was raised in the Catholic faith, well I was baptized; my parents aren’t very religious.  Today I am a Buddhist, it is very difficult for me to grasp or believe in something blindly and without evidence, as a result I abandoned Catholicism.

Sexual orientation is not a choice, disease or caused by demonic possession.  Yes, I have unfortunately seen that some people feel demonic possession is a factor in homosexuality.  Just as there are people with short tempers, or sensitive to frequent bouts of depression, and we understand that it is part of who they are and have little control over it; so should we think of sexual orientation.  Homosexuality has always existed, it is nothing new and is part of our human history.  So punishing people by spreading hateful ideas and pretty much name calling, is just as bad as teasing someone for their freckles.  I would hate to think that an enlightened being, such as Christ or the Christian God would be so hateful and bigoted. Given Christ’s track record, it seems that he embraced all the social outcasts of that time.  Maybe we should “believe” less and try to “live” by the example he set. With all the problems in the world, all the injustice, genocide and violence.  Why are we worried about what people do in their bedrooms?  Grow up and spend that energy you give towards hating gays, on something that contributes to humanity.

The lifestyle that Christ advocated did not include hating and judging, people added that.  The world needs more love, not more judgment and hate.

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Totality

npresa:

Compassion and loving-kindness is the only way to liberation.

Originally posted on Middle Pane:

I found this article interesting.  Particularly:

On that note, we can now understand why Hillel said, “Don’t do unto others what you would not want done to you,” which is the inverse of love thy neighbor. Why not word it in the positive, as Christianity did: “Do unto others as you would want them to do to you”?

Doesn’t this sort of show the evolution or progression of religion?  The underlying truth is the same, the wording is just going from negative to positive.  The alternate wording provides another aspect to help more people understand the same truth.  I liken this to our own internal evolution of thought, but on a much broader scale.  What would a few hundred years of evolution do to a message as it spread among people, playing an early version of the telephone game (Chinese whispers)?  The minds that message must have traveled…

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For the Love of Humanity!

quotes_on_humanity_and_compassion

I have noticed, that as I grow older the suffering of others touches me more and more.  Compassion, kindness and empathy have to be developed.  You can have a natural gift for being a listener or kindheartedness, but those qualities must be intentionally developed for personal growth.  I am fortunate to be in a career that has allowed me to witness true suffering.  I have seen fear, agony and terror.  There is nothing that can be said to someone going through these emotions, sometimes our presence offers more solace than any words would. I am truly touched when I witness these events, and I try to put myself In their shoes to feel what they feel.  When you start doing that it softens you, and human life and the human condition take priority.

It is so easy to lose our humanity.  A life that is self centered and ego-centric, coupled with a busy lifestyle will probably result in a loss of our humanity.  What is humanity?  Humanity is the act of being human along with the quality of humanity, which is benevolence.  Benevolence is an inclination to perform kind or charitable acts.  This is the human condition.  An absence of benevolence and compassion is inhumane.

How does someone lose their humanity?  It is lost when a person begins to only think about themselves,and when they no longer see the interconnectedness of all things.  Once self cherishing begins, they are thrust into the emotional prison where envy, hate and greed are normally kept.  There they begin to believe the delusion that most people are bad and pitiful, and if they are down on their luck it is their own fault.  This is a false and selfish way of thinking, by engaging in this type of thought they are claiming that they received no help from anyone while on the path of success.

I am where I am today because of the kindness and compassion of others; beginning from my mother who carried me, to my family that showed me love and compassion.  As I grew there were many people that came into my life to help me, inspire me and push me to believe in myself.  If I were to sit here and say that I did everything on my own, it would be hurtful and completely untrue.  With the understanding that I relied on the kindness of others gives me an obligation to do the same.  The only way for me to honor the kindness that I have received, is to be kind in return.  I would not want the sacrifices that people made for me to be in vain.  I would want them to look at me and see that it was worth it.

I cannot judge someone.  Not simply because I wouldn’t want to be judged in return, but because I can only see what is in front of me.  There is no way to see the world as another sees it or know the path they walked.  My vision is short sighted, I cant see the big picture so I am not qualified to judge.  The universe works on the law of cause and effect, I let the universe take care of all the judgment.

It is our obligation to care for one another as one would care for themselves.  And if we cant help or love them, we can at least refrain from hurting them by distancing ourselves.  The day we stop having compassion for others is the day others will no longer have compassion with us.  The world is a mirror and we receive exactly what is reflected to it.

What are you reflecting?

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Success Follows Selflessness

At the start of every new term I always looked forward to meeting the new group of students that would come into my life.  With all the success in teaching that I enjoyed, I never lost sight of the fact that it was them that contributed to my success.  As a firm believer in the law of causality I always took it seriously that, whatever forces brought those students to me, gave me an obligation to care for them.  I always saw teaching as an opportunity to serve others, I just didn’t teach, I molded and shaped individuals into what they set out to become by using whatever methods best suited to the individual.  So if you ask my graduates about me, every student had a different experience.

I sleep soundly at night knowing that I did right by them and that is my reward.  Any other recognitions or honors that I had the privilege to receive, I always did so knowing that any popularity I garnered was solely because of my students.  I love seeing them succeed and I enjoyed the process of meeting a person with little medical knowledge and observing them become the professionals they set out to be.

That being said, I believe that when you endeavor to do anything in any arena, and you do so with humility and with an attitude of service, success will surely follow.  Just like blood circulates in the body, so should the profits  a company makes due to the labor and dedication of its workers.  When you try to stop blood from circulating around the entire body, death follows stagnation.  So what I’m saying is that every part of the body is vital to the survival of the entire organism, and all tissues need blood.  If I cut off circulation to the head, death will surely follow.

It is human nature to put the needs of oneself first, and to crave recognition and respect.  However respect is earned and comes without having to be demanded.  People don’t respect titles; do you know how many times I’ve seen a class run a teacher off?  When a person that commands respect, a true leader walks into a room, introductions aren’t needed, their presence exudes leadership.  It is common knowledge that a good leader was once a good follower.  You cannot expect to lead a team in a task that you haven’t done.  Simply put, if you cannot explain it simply to someone; you don’t know it well enough.

Good leaders don’t play favorite and are content to bask in the glow from their subordinates’ accomplishments.  Ethical leaders lead with complete transparency and clear avenues of communication. Wise leaders know that the best information and ideas come from those actually performing the task and are eager to learn from them.  Its okay to say you that don’t know something .  It doesn’t make you look stupid, it means that you are human.

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Thoughts That Wont Let Me Sleep, Angst That Wont Let Me Live

I’ve always tried to be a fair person.  Always conscientious of my actions and how they affect others.  So when I am faced with someone in my family that exhibits such callousness and such apparent resentment towards her siblings; although I try, I cannot understand why.  This has robbed me of my sleep tonight.  On one hand I’m trying to understand the motivation of her actions, and every answer points to that there is something unethical happening.  And on the other, I have a little boy that needs an MRI of his brain and extensive treatment for a congenital syndrome; and I can’t understand why she would behave in this way towards him.

I could sit here and really hurt her, after all, words have the power to wound deeper than any weapon.  But I won’t, that would make me just as vile as her, I will not allow her to stain me with her hate.  It must be very sad in her world, having a  constant need to control everything because she still hasn’t found happiness in her life.  It must make her so envious that her siblings found love and are genuinely happy.  They don’t have multiple homes, extravagant vacations or money, but they are happy.   She hasn’t learned that money, title, and prestige can’t  buy happiness.  Happiness comes from within, when a person is happy they radiate it.

Happy people don’t feel the need to show off what they have.  People that like to showcase their possessions are doing so to feed their egos; they think that people will envy them, and that makes them happy.  The thought of a person envying them makes them feel superior, and they confuse this feeling with happiness.  Be wary of the person that shows off too much, just like they crave that attention from others  they will envy whatever little you have.  And when people have little, the only things left to envy are their talents, happiness and heart.

So in order to feel good about herself she has to keep the family she works with down. In an effort to satisfy this childish desire to look better than the others in Daddy’s eyes.  If there is a family business, it exists to provide for the family.  How is it that the company, run by her, doesn’t provide basic benefits for its “owners”?  She tells them they’re owners, when she needs them to work like slaves, but in reality they are not.  Even the founding members are unable to make decisions, or even have the access to financial documents like normal board members would.  She has managed to achieve a level of control that is admirable and could probably be found in the management handbook for sociopaths.  The company is being run on a foundation of secrecy and mistrust, making sure that everyone else has a problem, to keep the attention off her.

She says the company can’t afford insurance despite many consecutive years of growth.  Has there been any evidence presented to the family to support this claim?  Of course not.  So now there’s a brother whose son needs insurance.  A normal family would come together to care for one of their own.  If there’s not enough money,they would come together to find a way without even having to ask.  After all, if it is a shared company they should have the power to decide where money is being spent since it exists for the benefit of everyone.  That didn’t happen in this case.  She doesn’t care, she pays for her own and her children’s insurance.

What happened is that I had to apply for govt subsidized health insurance for children.  We didn’t qualify and have to pay full price, my not working is making this impossible.  So she was presented with the bill, soon after she gives her brother the money.  Telling him: ” This is for this month, we will see about next month.”

Why would you say that?  Why would you want to hurt your own brother like that?  After all its not for him, although he’s more than entitled to it, its for his children.  What kind of heartless person would do that?  Does she not like the children?  Does she not like me?  I’m trying to figure it out and I can’t.  I cannot accept that someone would have such little humanity inside them, but I guess there is no other option.

It begs me to ask the question; why is she so concerned with saving money for a company that is supposed to belong to all of them?  After all, it’s not HER money; or is it?

I didn’t accept that money.  It was given reluctantly, probably to save face, after all it would make her look bad to Daddy.  Her brother earned that insurance money and more!  What gives her the right to dictate the lives of her siblings?  Who does she think she is?  It doesn’t look good, and situations like these have the power to break families apart for good.

It’s actually very sad.  I hope she can find her happiness and restore her humanity.

 

 

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After a hiatus

I took quite a long break from blogging, as my professional life took quite a toll on me.   However, after some reflection and much disappointment I can say that it was a lesson well learned.  What I learned is that people in positions of power are so afraid of losing their jobs and careers that they resort to fraud and possibly abuse of  power.  Unfortunately for them it will result in future suffering, as all we do eventually comes back to us.  It comes back and not necessarily in the same form that it began; it can manifest as a future psychological ailment or a general angst that can never be remedied.  These people put material gain or worldly recognition before simple human values such as compassion, empathy and honesty.  As a result, they will lead lives that are lacking those same qualities, and the sad thing is that they won’t understand why people are so mean to them.

I understand why they do the things they do, and sadly even if it were brought to their attention they would not change.  Fear is a powerful emotion that is seldom confronted.  There is nothing to fear, nothing at all.  “People are broken”, a friend once told me when I asked about the true nature of humanity and whether it was intrinsically good or bad.  So the way I look at it is that these ‘broken” people are afraid of disappointing or being reproached by other “broken” people.  I have stood up, and not without repercussions, to tell the truth in situations that were obviously wrong and I did so without fear.  What am I to fear?  Am I to fear disapproval from people that have no morality? Am I to fear injustice at the hands of the unjust?  Possibly, but if I am to be judged I would rather it be from a person of stature than an immoral, broken person.

That is my rant for the last few months.

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