Friday, 10 August 2007

Ponderings on Osprey's Post on Karma

I believe the world exists but is empty of attributes, that my mind causes it and all things in it to appear good or bad, of benefit or a danger to me, useful or not, worthy or not of my attention, beautiful or ugly, of me or not of me.
Nature gives the infant a mind that desires self-preservation, that perceives some as an aid and succor, others as a danger and threat. This manner of thinking creates desire and fear, category and division, suffering and joy. But these are not intrinsic qualities of the things perceived.
When I react as a child to the sound of an angry voice (one I perceive is angry) I protect myself. When I react as an adult, I reflect that the speaker may not be angry, or may be angry because he has misunderstood me, or may sound angry only because I have not eaten yet today. To reflect I must exercise a certain patience, must think before feeling, must understand the speaker not as a threat but as another creature worthy of my compassion.
But if I have been filling my head all day with angry thoughts, and think the speaker of angry words only as an annoyance, I will hear an angry voice whatever the reality is, as if I were a child. Perhaps I am angry with myself. Perhaps my desires have been thwarted and I am deep in self-pity or rage. Then I cannot hear others correctly. Even a helpful utterance will sound like an attack. This is karma at work in a small way. Such thoughts accumulate and create our entire world view. Indeed the things that happen to me, neutral on their own and without value, appear to me as good, bad, ugly or pleasurable, as they by degree accord with my desires.
I think it is a mistake to see karma as an divine arbiter of justice, impartially sending back to you as good as you give. Karma is the principle by which thought (and word and action) creates the reality around us. So take a care for your thoughts for you shall live with their effects!
Second Life is the perfect place to see karma in action, for we know it is at its core a reality made of bits and pixels, whose meaning and value is created solely by mutual agreement and willing suspension of disbelief. As Osprey and Salazar and Enjah and I all found one day backstage after a show, even our visual perceptions of reality do not agree. How much less so for our emotional perceptions?
I cannot say if one is reborn as another creature after death, or if karmic cause and effect carry between lifetimes, for I cannot remember any previous lifetimes. But I can see its operation in my present Life.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I love your post. Reading it was an enlightening experience.

Thank you.