Thursday, January 13, 2011

Clever Karma

I try to remain in a constant state of not only self-awareness, but also self-improvement, so I get a lot of daily motivation/ponderings/thoughts for which I have at some time or another signed up to receive via email. Many times when I have been struggling with something specific I will get the same message from multiple sources…or even more often (which I only realize later) I’m in a state of non-admission regarding a growth opportunity and the messages are persistent enough that I finally face it and stretch.

Lately I’ve had several thoughts of the day or messages regarding karma, which has given me reason to ponder its essence more fully and realize a definition identifiable in application to my life and where I am right now (and I don’t mean “where I am” as in sitting at the computer in Indiana, but rather where I am in my spiritual and personal growth.)

I’ve always had this nebulous notion of karma in a very general sense, such as when someone cuts me off on the highway and then I see them pulled over by a state trooper two miles later, I think “Ha! Karma!” And then there is my mind-association to the word karma itself, because as an all-things-Beatles junkie, I rarely can read or hear the word without John Lennon singing in my head.

So I’ve been thinking more about karma and what it means, how it is present in my life and why I should be in more awareness of it. I’m pretty sure this is why it slapped me right in the face yesterday afternoon. After all, that which is like unto itself is drawn.


I’ve spent the last couple of weeks reflecting on being a better me. That coupled with my recent reading of the book 29 Gifts has put me in a state of consciousness in which I try to keep an attitude of gratitude while looking for opportunities to express that gratitude through something giving and selfless (cue the choir of angels).

My act of generosity this day was to clean off the car parked beside me when I left work (it has been snowing bucket loads here this week). I went about this chore cheerfully and happily, and was feeling pretty good about my “secret gift” to this unknown recipient. That is, until I cleared the snow away enough to see the license plate and realize that I had just spent 15 minutes cleaning snow off the vehicle of an asshole. (choir of angels come to SCREEEEECHing halt).

I spent some time on the drive home mentally listing all the reasons in the world this person did NOT deserve a random act of kindness. Obviously, this thought pattern negated the entire exercise of giving.


As I pulled into my hometown, I had come to terms with my unpleasant thought process and knew that I should do something to make amends with (God, the Universe, Karma, Myself, the Asshole) for turning something that should have been so positive into a not-so-nice litany of unkind thoughts directed at the asshole. Enter Karma.

She was dressed warmly (it was still snowing) and carrying a backpack. We were both stopped by a train which had stopped on the tracks, but I was in my toasty warm Jeep and she was on foot in the cold. The train stopped and I could tell she was thinking about jumping it. Aha! My amends-making opportunity! I quickly rolled down the window and asked if she wanted a ride around the train because I was going to drive around it myself. “That would be great if you don’t mind,” she said somehow already seated beside me. “No problem,” said virtuous me. “I didn’t want to wait anymore, either.”

She commences into a breathless oration (can it still be considered an oration when the grammar is deplorable?) “Well, who knows how long you’d have to wait. Those engineers just stop on the tracks to talk anyway and don’t give a rip about anybody else trying to get someplace. You know that’s why that kid died last summer don’t you? Because the ambulance couldn’t get around the train! Why they’re allowed to do that I’ll never know. I’ve called the law on ‘em but it don’t do no good, they just sit there anyway and all I need to do is get to class. Can you believe they didn’t cancel class? That school only cancels if the county is a state of emergency. They don’t care one bit about us trying to figure out how to get there in crappy weather.”

I took a deep breath, not really knowing what to say to that litany of unkind words but thinking we needed a serious energy shift, I asked “What are you studying?”

“Ha. Well, I was studying Criminal Justice, but that was before I come to know there ain’t no justice in this country anyway. There ain’t no justice when a man can hold a gun to a baby’s head to git drugs and money from its mom and then not even get life. No way. I decided to change to Psychology, then I guess I can at least figure out why the guy held the gun to the baby’s head, because there ain’t nothing else you could do about it.”

My head was ready to explode and I was at a total loss of words, which was ok…because Karma wasn’t done yet. “Woa! You can’t turn right on red here! There’s cameras up there in them lights, the cops will come and find you if turn here. You don’t want the law around here coming for you, I can tell you that.”

Gratefully, we arrived at the school and I pulled in to drop her off. Her litany of unkind words continued all the way to the door…where she jumped out of the car without even saying thank you.

Karma, simply put, is the process of cause and effect.

I did some slapping…and got one back. Instant Karma indeed.