Sorting Through the Roots of Karma

I’ve been writing this blog for a little over two years now. It’s been an interesting journey, and I have changed and grown significantly in that time. Yet, I still find it fascinating how certain issues still come to play. As much as I heal, there are times when I wonder if I’ve really gotten anywhere. Not because I don’t see the ever expanding peace, equanimity, and continued grace in my life. I do… in a big way. It’s more that I still struggle with deep pain and suffering that relates to being accepted and loved. Oy, will that one ever let up?

A while back, I mentioned that my husband and I started attending a Buddhist Center. In part, my hope was that it would help foster more focus in my practice, and in turn with my life path. It has helped me to deepen my practice; sometimes through joy and delight, and other times through uprooting pain that fosters suffering. The teachings and integrity of the leaders and monks have encouraged me to value myself and my life more. I’d like to say that this has led to diminishing my core issues of rejection, but to be honest, I am just not there yet. I am able to observe and create space for alternative and different reactions – which is also how I know there is still pain to be faced.

tree roots
Image by SFB579

As I continue to dig deeper for the root of my suffering, a variety of influences are discovered. It seems that certain patterns of Karma are so multilayered and multidimensional that I am left wondering if I will ever fully heal what my soul is asking for. Will I accomplish what I incarnated to do? Do I even know what that is? Does that even matter?

Heal, release, rebirth. I feel that my life is an ongoing series of rebirthing. I appreciate that. Yet, I find myself wondering if I am rebirthing with the same Karma over and over again, or am I simply asking for too much when I hope for some birth that is different? Is the idea that we can fully clear and rebirth free of a particular Karmic pattern illusionary?

For me, I guess the question then becomes: Do I even know what the actual Karma is? Is the issue one that relates more to layers that I am clearing away to get to the true center? Does a single root even exist? I have invested a tremendous amount of time, energy, and resources on breaking free of perceived Karma. Maybe all the experiences that seem interconnected and supportive of a single theme aren’t necessarily so. In spite of my efforts to understand and take responsibility, my interpretation is still just that: My interpretation of events.

In Emotional Chaos to Clarity*, Phillip Moffitt writes that it is crucial to be able to distinguish between our experience and our interpretation of our experience. He says that “experience is simply whatever is happening in the moment… Your interpretation is your mind’s reaction to that experience.”

As I attempt to dig down… again, I try to sort through my interpretations verses my actual experience. What I experience is a grasping for capability. Underneath the aversion over not being liked and remaining on my own as the odd person out, I still harbor the dream that I will be perceived as a skillful and wholesome being. More than that, my ego self is still clinging to the notion that if I am seen as capable that not only will I be loved, liked, and accepted, but that I can finally relax. I can stop worrying that I have wasted my life and that I’ve blown a “get out of jail free” card (which is the grace of my life) by not having done more or being more than I am. I can finally let go of my existential angst.

Where will this lead? I have no idea. All I can do is keep moving forward in the best way I know how. For now, that is to continue on the path that I am new to – or is it new at all? Breathe, observe, and let go. Even if letting go is jumping off a cliff. I keep faith in my ability to find a soft landing in abiding loving kindness. I remember that I am no more or less than any other individual and that I am OK regardless of whether I figure out my Karma or not.

* (Hudson Street Press: 2012, Chapter 8: Knowing What’s Really Happening)

© 2012 Sallie Odenthal

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It is a gift to read your honest and raw words describing your experiences.

You are OK as you are in my heart.