Tuesday, June 3, 2008

I didn't do it, God did it!

I was flipping through the yoga teacher blog and I followed Kaisha's link to an article about Sharon Stone's comment on the Earthquake in China, and how it was their karma for suppressing Tibet. The article was pointing out that Sharon had made the common mistake of confusing Karma with Poetic Justice. It was really interesting to me how this article pointed out the common mistake of taking bad things that happen to people and just saying "Oh well, they deserved it." There are two faults to this logic. 1: This implies that there is only one factor influencing one thing at a time. This ignores the obvious truth that life is not a controlled science experiment but a multi-faceted experience, and to say that this action in the sole cause of that outcome takes us back to our childhood days where touching a hot kettle equaled getting burned. I mean I think that was the last time things were ever that simple. 2: This kind of logic still implies there is some over-lording higher power which hands down punishment for bad behaviour. Which is ironic considering the idea of karma is shared by the Buddhist religion which has no God like this in it's practice. And even if karma was decided by a God why would we think that his punishments are so simple as you do a bad thing you'll get slapped. Ya, we're totally twisting the karma thing.
Which of course got me thinking because how many times has bad stuff happened to me and I've gone and said "Oh I deserved that for doing this or that before." See same thought pattern- Bad stuff happening to me is just my punishment for my previous actions. So I thought I should read into the karma things some more. Swami J to the rescue (This guy's got all my answers)...
After reading his article on karma I remembered how in teacher training we were always told Karma simple means action. An idea that is brought up parallel to this is the concept of Samskaras which is a word for the deep impressions in our subconscious. In yoga our actions or karma is caused by our Samskaras, whether they are good or bad. And then when we have karmic actions we create more Samskaras which further affect which actions we take in a vicious loop. These Samskaras can be created in many forms, such as in the form of memories or opinions or ideas or preferences and then they are stored in our subconscious where they can influence the choices we make in our lives. So how do we break this loop? By becoming aware of all the the influences these Samskaras have on our actions (Not an easy task). As we begin to do things in our life with out all these Samskaras making our decisions for us our actions become less and less karmic and we become less influenced in return by our karma (be it good or bad). But seeing as this is no easy task until such a time that we can see all our Samskaras influencing us we can try to make choices that are good and kind because at least that way the Samskaras we create in our psych will be positive ones.
I really liked this whole new look at karma because blaming the bad things that happen to me on some karmic retribution of a higher power is just a cheap excuse for me not to be responsible for my actions. No one is out there trying to punish me, but sometimes I subconsciously punish myself when I don't handle bad situations as well as I could.
So there's a little food for thought. Just remember no one has good things happen to them all the time. Everyone has bad stuff happen to them it's just not the same bad stuff that's happening to you and maybe they deal with their stuff differently. You can't choose where an earthquake hits, just how you deal with the aftermath...