Awhile back I was feeling like I had spent many of the past years of my life clearing and letting go. Like ground that needs to be cleared, weeded, and tilled, I had a sense that I kept working the field of my life to grow something. I also felt like I hadn’t really planted anything… at least for quite a while. I wondered if all I had been doing was weeding away and not tending to the planting. Fortunately, I was wrong. My field wasn’t waiting to be planted. It already was.
Kamma (or Karma in Sanskrit) refers to the law of cause and effect. I’ve heard teachers say that one aspect to Kamma is that we never know when the effect of a cause may manifest. It may be instantaneous or not even in this lifetime. Gee, that simplifies things, ha. I never really thought that Karma was something that had anything to do with any sense of justice, good or bad, or the idealized fluff frequently spouted by non-practitioners. I’m not saying I fully grasp the concept. I just knew intuitively that it was more complex and subtle than what I heard pop culture referring to.
I realized that I was wrong about that vacant field as I was reflecting on the upcoming week and opportunities that are unfolding in my life. Not surprisingly, I had an overly limited perspective. My restricted view was built from the usual suspects of suffering and stress created from lack of self-worth. I’m not exactly sure how months turned into years, and years turned into many more years, of not pursuing a professional career. I do know that some part of me kept thinking that until I “figured it out” and my life manifested different opportunities (i.e., something more familiar in terms of validation) that I must still have more weeding to do.
It’s silly really. I “know” better than to rely on my ego’s judgments and attempts to compare myself to others. Yet, it never ceases to amaze me how much I still buy into those illusions. As I expand my perspective beyond my neuroses, I am flooded with gratitude. I allow loving kindness to shine on my own self. I unpack another bag and accept that my time has not been “wasted” and for naught. I have been planting seeds all along.
The reality of Kamma is that I have no idea how many or what kinds of seeds I have planted. Some may have died, some blossomed, and many have sprouted and grown trees. Others have been picked up and carried forth, or discarded, by others. Regardless, to suggest that we are not planting with every action, thought, and feeling is to deny the law of Kamma.
It can be overwhelming to realize that everything we do – whether internal or external – has a consequence. Certainly for me, it’s easy to focus on all the unhealthy choices I make that push me away from happiness. But, there is also a flip side. I can be gentler and embrace the abundance, grace, and well-being that I have worked so hard to create. I can be kinder with myself by allowing for recognition of what does work. I can stop – or at least diminish – discounting what I have nurtured and supported because many in my life do not understand my life style or choices. Being a fan of accepting responsibility for one’s self also means responding honestly to what is beneficial. For me, that includes letting myself off the hook for not being conventional.
As I take off the blinders and look around, I see an orchard. I have been standing amongst the trees all along. My life is bearing fruit. Instead of focusing on the pests created from doubts and fears, I can see delicious beautiful fruit. I can delight in the harvest.
May you enjoy the harvest and fruits of your life.
© 2012 Sallie Odenthal