February 11

Today's quotation:

Karma isn't luck or destiny--luck suggests randomness; destiny, a lack of choice.  Nor is it the voice of the gods trying to keep us in line.  Karma is a description of how moral law operates, not a prescription for good behavior.

Joan Duncan Oliver

Today's Meditation:

I like the idea of karma.  I like that it isn't an immediate result of our actions, too--that the good things that we do today don't need to have immediate payback to be worthwhile.  In fact, they don't need to have any payback at all in order to be worthwhile.  Karma ensures that the good will come back to us someway, somewhen, more than likely in a completely different situation and setting than in the many cases in which we've done our best to do good.

Many people tend to see karma like a cosmic bank account, though.  They think to much of the rewards of their positive actions, which diminishes the sincerity and the true kindness of any act.  If we do good just because we think we should be rewarded for it later, then we aren't really doing good, are we?  We're simply trying to make things better for ourselves.

We often hear of karma in the negative sense, in the "Karma's a bitch" way of looking at it.  But it's not at all--karma simply is.  It's the way things are, and it's not something that can be manipulated to our own ends.  As Joan says, karma simply describes how moral law operates, much like grammar describes how language works.  It doesn't tell you what you should or should not do; it simply explains how things function when you do good or when you do bad.

Farmers know that if they plant corn seeds, they'll be "rewarded" with corn.  But they also know that sometimes there will be drought, hail, wind, and freezes, and that planting corn doesn't always guarantee a huge return.  Karma is much the same way--let's plant our seeds of goodness and kindness, and know that eventually, those seeds will come back to us many-fold, though we must let go of our expectations of that happening when we want it to, or how we want it to.  Life will take care of the details.

Questions to consider:

What kinds of contributions have you made to karma today?  Have they been negative or positive?

Based on your actions, what would you predict that karma has in store for you in the future?

What kinds of things might you do right now that will contribute in positive ways to the world?

For further thought:

Karma is simply the law of cause and effect. If you plant an apple seed, you donít a get a mango tree. If we practice hatred or greed, it becomes our way and the world responds accordingly. If we practice awareness or loving-kindness, it becomes our way and the world responds accordingly. We are heirs to the results of our actions, to the intentions we bring to every moment we initiate. We make ripples upon the ocean of the universe through our very presence.

Christina Feldman and Jack Kornfield

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