How you treat me is your karma, how I react, is mine…
Oh, yes I own my thoughts, my choices, you yours, but do we only speak and act but once? No. It echoes down the highways and paths of time, embracing those who would listen, nipping at the conscience of those who would not. That pre-supposes there is conscience, that we are not just sentient, but feeling, compassionate. When I treat you, I treat with myself as well — it does catch up, bite the ass that commits. Your choice and mine, whether it leaves behind a playful love-bite, or something scarred and ugly and permanent. If I am to extend an act of kindness, should it not reflect in the light that brightens your eyes? And the crows feet that line my eyes will cackle and crackle when I receive your kindnesses, yet we are separated by the very karma that defines each of us, leaving us breathless but still anxious to own. Choose another path and commit harm, in words or actions; go ahead… whisper those nasty innuendos, or shove someone aside, or use your pen like the proverbial sword. The slices are deep, they attract infection and never really heal. We own those too.
If you investigate Wicca beliefs, you will find one of the statements goes something like this: ‘Once done, thrice returned’. This, along with being a marvelous credo for living one’s live, is also a form of karma, don’t you think…. more like instant karma? And isn’t that a phrase I seem to remember from the way-back days of flower power and love-ins. But it rings, doesn’t it?
The statement above is a concept sadly lacking in today’s world of victims and perps. None of us seem willing to accept responsibility, much less consequence. We like to blame, it’s fashionable, the first knee-jerk response to all those unexpected, sometimes terrible events that happen. Whose fault is it? Not me. Not mine. Oh, boy, I’ve been harmed, now I can be a victim. Not to sound trite, but this common reaction diminishes the tragedy of those who truly are victims. It makes us forget about them, look the other way, and there are oh so many other ways to look in this world of information saturation. It robs us of our compassion, blinds us, deafens us to the point where we become those wooden automatons trying to sell us all matter of products to make our lives better, healthier, wealthier, more satisfying. But the truth is in the karma.
As writers, the caution is perhaps twice, or thrice, as above. Putting something nasty about another person into words can and often is — aside from being willfully harmful — permanent. And, it is no longer a case of the intimacy of a private letter, but that which can and does broadcast itself worldwide. Think of the smear campaigns waged during elections. They rob you of compassion. They assume you cannot think for yourself. They take from you that ancient reminder ….’there, but for the grace of God, go I‘. The truth of these campaigns of mud-soaked words may have roots in accuracy, but the reality is the fuzziness left behind, like the aftertaste of a bitter drink which is definitely not medicinal. It’s cowardly, too, since the authors are hidden by anonymity, leaving no distinct individual to respond to. The subject is left to address the public in self-defense without the ability to confront those who would directly harm them.
Inflicting harm, whether it be in attack, or in response to such, is pernicious to both. Inflicting kindness or love, receiving, sending or in response, is compassion at its finest. And karma incurred, tabulated for later return is like calories. Your body counts them whether you do or not. Eventually it will show.