Posted by: Mike Ferruggia | August 29, 2011

Watching Karma Unfold

In taoist/zen practice, we are encouraged to stay to the center and let the world arrange itself arouns us. We are discouraged from acting out of the ego, out of fear, anger, anxiety, or inordinate desire. We are encouraged to act in wu wei, in correct action, naturally, without trying to force change or results.

This can be hard for us as we sit and watch the karma unfold for others, the natural course of things. We don’t like looking at natural disasters take their toll on our fellow human beings, we don’t like sitting idly by as loved ones get older and die. We want to act, we want to change the world, we want to do something.

Of course, it does not mean we do not act. If someone is having a heart attack, you call 911. This is not antithetical to zen/taoism. Perhaps, and I am not saying this definitively, but just as a possible example, perhaps trying to keep someone alive on machines forever is antithetical to it. Something like that.

It is hard to accept the natural course of events. I remember as my father was nearing his end, it coincided with thngs in our yard. The grapevine stopped bearing fruit, the fig tree in the back died, the white picket fence separating the concrete area from the yard itself became delapidated and run down, slats falling from their place. We don’t want our parents to grow old and die, we don’t want certain aspects of our lives to change. And the people in our circle each have their own karma to live out and deal with and we have to be brave enough to allow them to go through it. We can be there to help, to support, to offer guidance and love, but another person’s karma is their karma and it is not for us to change it or help the other to avoid it.

So, as you sit in the center, balanced, aware, loving, know that you can act within proper principles, but trying to get the earth to rotate in the opposite direction is futile.


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