There is a universal law that governs the results of all our actions. It is called by different names; the law of karma, dharma, justice, love, cause and effect, action/reaction etc. This law has been stated in many ways: “As you sow, you reap. As you give, you receive.” “Treat others (everything) as you would treat yourself.” “You don’t get figs from thistles.” “When you choose an action know with certainty that you also choose the consequences of that action.” Or “Insanity is thinking that if you repeat the same action somehow you will get a different result.”
When we are burning with desire for chocolate, sex or money or we are afraid of pain, losing money or sexual pleasure we often become blind to the consequences of our behaviors. Our passions overwhelm our intelligence. We want what we want. We’ll pay the consequences later.
Repeated indulgence of unwise choices grows them into habits that grow into demons and return again and again and bully us into repeating the behaviors that we know destroy our health and happiness. Facing these hungry ghosts makes cowards of us all. Our bad habits cause the best among us to repeatedly compromise our integrity. We do what we hope our children will not do and we lie to ourselves and others about it. We lie about whether we have control over them or not; whether we are really harming ourselves; and often we hide our actions from others. Bad habits rule like tyrants, demanding that we sell them our beauty, youth, health and our relationships in return for short term pleasure. Day after day inexorably and inescapably they produce greater sorrow and regret. As Buddha said “They bring us lower than our worst enemy would want.”
Bad habits, evils of all kinds, thrive in darkness. The light of truth annihilates them. They shun and repress all forms of honest inquiry. Our habit dominated self rationalizes our actions with thoughts such as “Oh, its not that big a deal.” “I know I could quit if I really wanted to.” “Lots of people do it.” Our addicted self assures us there is a “someday” as in “Someday I’ll change.” But never, never today. “Now” is utter horror to our dark side. We avoid information and education about the harmfulness of our ways or the benefits of behaving differently. We devote enormous energy in repressing the voice of our own conscience with justifications, rationalizations and excuses. A stiff dose of Truth is THE remedy for self inflicted suffering of all kinds.
Karma, the moral law of Life, governs our relationship with everything: food, body, men, women, earth, money, business. It is 100% reliable and can be perfectly trusted. Contemplating deeply the inescapable certainty of Universal Law has been perhaps my greatest source of moral strength to free myself from my own self-inflicted suffering. The more clearly I have understood the working of universal law, the more quickly and easily I have chosen wisely. When I found myself lacking the power to choose wisely it was because I had forgotten both how much I wanted the rewards inherent in beneficial action and I’d forgotten the inescapable certainty of the suffering inherent in wrong action. My most cherished bad habits: alcoholism, smoking, smoking marijuana, overeating sweets, fear of public speaking, self loathing, not listening to my wife, have each lost their charm or their terror through daily reflection on the working of karma.
This is what Karma is teaching me.
It has hugely exposed and mildly eroded my indifference and outright hostility toward anything that obstructs my selfish desires. It has grown a certainty that unintelligent, unkind desires and actions feed an unending cycle of misery: short-lived pleasures followed by long-term regret. I am increasingly convinced of the absolute impossibility of avoiding being burned when I put my hand into the flame of wrong desires. i.e. whether I procrastinate five days, five months or five years I will face the identical challenges that I am avoiding today only I will be weaker and my vices will be stronger. Truth and love are supremely seductive and patient and by the action of Karma cultivate an indomitable passion for wise, caring action. A wise mind and a loving heart constitute my spiritual immune system against suffering. Intelligent, loving action IS happiness itself.
Clarity is Power
A Self Healing Exercise
If you would like to shorten the time required for you to make the changes you want to make but have not been able to, do this simple exercise every night for a week. Select one wholesome change that you would like to make; Stopping a bad habit or beginning a good one. Do that right now. It takes 10 seconds. Reread the above article. And write for 10 minutes about the law of Karma so you dispel any delusion that what is bad for you will not cause you suffering or that you will not thoroughly enjoy the rewards of what you know to be good for you.
While doing this mental exercise, deliberately avoid any thought that you must take any action other than to think deeply. All you are committing to do is to think about your behavior, not to actually make any of the changes. As you gain clarity about the inescapable misery or rewards of your actions, your actions will naturally come into alignment with your clarity. Thinking deeply is a natural healing response to every problem. Clarity is power.
MAY 9, 2013