My heart is broken. I wonder if this is how Jesus felt when, on his last night alive, all his friends went to sleep on him, rather than spend that precious time with him. Or when he said to God from the cross, “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.” That sounds like some sorrow and disappointment there. I’m not likening myself to Jesus, but I am just saying that certain people out there, who put themselves out to be spiritual compassionate people, are not acting like it. People who I thought knew better…some people who have a stake in this “game” and some who have less of a stake, have more advantage than the others…maybe I can’t expect them to have feelings for the disadvantaged and disenfranchised, but some of these folks BELONG to those groups. What will happen when THEY get taken away? What will happen when the others, waiting on a banking miracle to make them rich, find out they have no electricity, no gas, no water, and no money? I guess the people of Puerto Rico, Houston, and Flint (and other Third World or war-torn places) will be ahead of the game then, having lived without crucial necessities for months and, and in some cases, years.
Okay, now I sound mad, but really, I am just sad, very sad.
I have spent my whole life among people who did not agree with me. I have spent my entire life pondering questions perhaps deeper than a child (or adult) should. Sometimes, I face the fact that Jesus’ words really got to me after all, even though I believe in other religions and spiritual premises as well. I know that, in these times of 45, many people have tired of arguing, have tired of hearing the cruelty, bigotry, misogyny now so acceptable. I know, I know. Those things have never been acceptable, and the country has been on the wrong side of history many times: witness the genocide of the native peoples for the purpose of Caucasian Euro expansionism and the theft, murder, and terrorism of the African peoples—for money. Money is always involved, something that will be useless after we are dead. I could probably state many other horrific sins of a nation, including other internments, abuses, and torture, and true enough, they are too numerous to mention. (and perhaps not taught in most schools) To say that man as a whole is flawed would seem too small a statement to measure against the cruelty of his sins. Humans have been very good at finding new ways to inflict horror and pain on one another, this for centuries, and it continues today, all around the world, not just in our cities and on the border.
The U.S. constitution promises a hope that, if held to, could almost right the wrongs of the evil. That is why people have flocked to this imperfect young nation and overlooked its imperialism and at times co-dependency on kings, dictators and money-changers. I say almost, but no, it can’t right those wrongs. Here is what does: karma.
That’s what I want to talk about. Karma and so-called spiritual people. The word “karma” is being bantied around like a savior by those of us who feel defeated and tired by the inhumanity that seems to have swelled to unmanageable proportions since 45 took office. I remember on the day after he was elected, I realized that all those old stories told of the end days by esoteric scholars and more traditional prophets and pastors perhaps had just come true. The anti-christ was here, and the evangelicals who elected it believed not only that this scumbag was the savior of the world but missed the point entirely of the end times—that they would be swayed by an emperor who had no clothes, the worst of the worst, and they would defend him while he gleefully destroyed all to feed his own (and his “friends’”) golden calves, blinded by the promise of money and the ability to spew their hatred unchecked, for what little person doesn’t value power almost as much as money, the power to make other people smaller than himself.
Karma is not punishment, people. Those who use it as an argument against the immigrants who cross the border illegally and those who use it against people shooting each other in the streets—those who say, I look forward to their karma: they are uninformed. That is not what karma is, a punishment. Those who use karma as a tonic for the pain they feel when they see heartless people smile while quoting the Bible and 45 describe Nazis as “good people,” (I confess to have used it to soothe myself, in my sorrow and weakness)—they have it wrong, too.
Karma is a balancing. We are here on earth to learn compassion—for each other and for ourselves. WE are in each person we speak against. We are in each person to whom we are cruel. If we are unkind to others, we are being unkind to ourselves, and so we go onto the hamster wheel of karma to experience what we have done (or said) to others. No one escapes, for all must learn the lesson, no matter how many lifetimes it takes. This does not mean a person is punished, per se. Each person will have to experience something similar to what they visited on others, until they learn compassion—why that person tried to cross the border, why that person stole from another, why that person beat his wife, why that individual shot someone in rage or in a robbery. Why. Each person will experience what it’s like to be that woman who crossed the border to get a job that would feed her kids or to flee her abusive husband or neighborhood—or to be the individual who stole because he never had anything and never had the hope of having anything because of the color of his skin—or to be the man who beat his wife because his father taught him violence & hate by beating him mercilessly until he was unconscious when he was a child—or to be so angry at a world that seemed stacked against him or her because of race, religion, gender. The circumstances don’t have to be exactly the same, but the lesson is taught by experience. There may be a twist to the tale, but the story will be the same: what ye reap, ye shall sow. Not as a punishment but as a reckoning, to teach complete compassion, so you will know the reasons why people suffer and do bad things. We are here for many different reasons and can learn these same lessons in many different ways. Sometimes the reckoning comes in this lifetime, and sometimes in the next, but it comes, and you repeat as many times as necessary until you forgive the other, who, really, after all, is just yourself.
And can you escape the reckoning? No, and yes. No, you will learn compassion and balance the scale, no matter what, but yes, you can make adjustments. By making an effort, you can speed up your adjustment and lesson of compassion. You can ask for the karma to be balanced, but if you do, look out! Usually, that’s not the best experience, unless you like buildings falling on top of you! Better to make the adjustment this way: be kind, give, be of service, don’t worry about money, do the kind and compassionate thing, serve. That will hurry up your process, because after all, that’s what gets you to heaven and beyond: love and kindness. We are here to learn compassion, so practice it.
I confess that my greatest sorrow is to hear good people say, “they deserved it” or “it’s their karma” or whatever. Callousness is not the answer, people. Detachment is not completely the answer, either. Being cold or callous or detached may reap a situation in which you yourself find oneself in need of the compassion you failed to show. The detachment that made you unable to connect with other human beings in pain may create a situation where you require the connection with others that you have avoided. And when it happens that you, cold unfeeling person, suddenly find you need someone and find that others have turned a cold shoulder to you in your hour of need for whatever reason, hopefully, there will be ONE person out there who has the grace and compassion to offer you the help that others (and you yourself) denied. You see, kindness and compassion are the answers. They are ALWAYS the answers. You can never go wrong with GIVING to the less fortunate. This is NOT “enabling.” YOUR ATTITUDE is everything. It’s not your business what the other does in response to your kindness. It’s only your business to BE KIND AND COMPASSIONATE. Service and creation are the ways you get back to God, not cold-heartedness and destruction. That’s psycho-time. Who are you? I ask you to ask yourself, Who am I?
If it turns out you are cold-hearted and detached, then the rest of us have to learn some compassion for you, so sad that you cannot exemplify the GOOD side of humanity. As Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” That is the saddest statement I ever heard, Jesus’ disappointment in the sons of man.
So I try to remind myself that my disappointment in my cold, cruel, heartless “friends,” really reflects my disappointment in myself for not being compassionate enough of THEM, and therefore myself. Humans are like little children. Some very special people are more evolved than others. You can see them on earth right now: Jimmy Carter, the Pope, Barack & Michelle Obama, Bill Gates & his wife, the Stoneman Douglas children. There are many more examples all around you. I know who you are, o holy ones. I have hope. When I hear all the people standing up against oppression, suppression, repression, in the multitudes, when I see the world cry at the fall of the United States, I have hope, because I know the world truly IS a kinder place, despite the cruelty and the people who want to bring back the dark ages. Their breed is dying. They know it, and the children know it, and so they battle to keep atop the mountain, but the young ones are smarter than they are—and more compassionate. America probably does not deserve these incredible children that will rule this nation one day, but I am so grateful they are here, and if I don’t see them change the world in my lifetime, I can see it in another time and from another mountaintop. I can’t wait. No more tears.