Tag Archives: karma

New myths are required

There’s just so much that you can take
as karmic payment for mistakes
before you start to wonder and
imagine that you understand
the link from cause to each effect:
that every action or neglect
results in a changed universe
that’s neither better, nor is worse,
but different, needing different acts,
new myths to organize the facts,
revised agendas, maps and tools,
new visions, sages, holy fools,
and more important than the rest,
new meanings for both cursed and blessed.

On faith, we take for granted most
of our advantages, and coast
through life without imagining
much beyond what each new day brings,
and fail, too often, to observe
that most get just what they deserve,
or at least, just what their belief
embraces: joy, bliss, sorrow, grief.
Through all the trials, tests and strife
we must accept, to accept life,
one thing remains: those who feel blessed
are obligated to the rest.
To claim dominion of some kind
is to expect that dumb and blind
the world will simply bow and serve,
a sad fate that nothing deserves.

09 JUN 2005

Folly’s Promenade

What folly perpetrated in my youth,
before thoughts of mortality began
to permeate my eager thirst for truth
and close the width of my attention span,

has wrought its retribution over time
and haunts me on occasion? What old song
that lingers from that bygone, careless prime,
seems fractured now, its notes awry, gone wrong?

My karmic debt is, doubtless, still unpaid,
compounding interest daily even now.
And no one, not a saint, nor sacred cow,
will pay the bills that at my feet are laid.

There are no luck, no miracles, no chance;
the universe is more or less mirage.
If you would join the party, you must dance,
and pin the universe with your corsage.

And folly? What is that to never try?
What worse regret than acting the wallflower
for so long that the grand ball passes by
and you need not corsage, but funeral bower?

15 May 2005

Friday the Thirteenth

Are you afraid the universe
might some be conspiring,
that the unseen, neglected soul
of the whole world is tiring

of folks whose hands say gimme
while their mouths say much obliged,
all the while with backs too stiff
to bend an inch in thanks? Such pride.

Are you afraid that karma comes
in ways you don’t expect,
that punity is due for all those years
spent in neglect

of forces beyond your control
that pulse through this world’s veins
despite your bold denial
that such things are, well, insane?

Are you afraid your staunch beliefs
are nothing more than dreams,
put on like a pressed Sunday suit
that’s worn out at the seams

and won’t hide nature’s anger back,
nor give you a free lunch;
be careful now, avoid that crack.
Perhaps it’s just a hunch,

but all your superstition shows
how weak and without pluck
so many seem to be these days.
I say, make your own luck,

or rather, listen in again:
the universe still sings,
and bids you join her in a chorus
with all living things.

Are you afraid the world is closing
in on you, in chase?
Stand still, enjoy the moment,
or it will have been a waste.

13 May 2005

The Butterfly Effect

Among the movies recommended by my daughter for weekend and early week viewing: Napoleon Dynamite and The Butterfly Effect.

About ND, I will say this: my daughter thought it was highly amusing. But then again, the beautiful and popular people in high school always think the lives of nerds, geeks, dorks and other assorted social outcasts are funny. In other words, crappy stuff is only funny if it isn’t happening to you. Other than that, the movie was a piss-poor imitation of other movies in which characters with no redeeming virtues complete absolutely no business, learn nothing about themselves and neither arrive at, nor help the audience to arrive at, any kind of epiphany or insight into anyone’s life.

About the Butterfly Effect: I appreciate the premise. But I could not watch the entire movie. It was too graphically violent. And perhaps events in recent weeks in my own life have overly sensitized me to the issues of institutionalization, psychology, severe depression and other various and sundry mental illnesses, but it was a troubling film in that it drew you in, so much so that you cared about the characters and were affected by the circumstances of what seemed a very horrible childhood. And once I was in that frame of mind, I felt blugeoned by the violence. Kids burning dogs. Parents molesting children. Kids beating the crap out of other kids. My brother, who served in Desert Storm, has indicated that since being in combat he has a difficult time watching war movies. Well, I have a difficult time watching mindless violence. Gratuitous violence. Even legitimized violence, such as the premise for the movie Troy (which was also on our rental list) recently makes me nauseous.

Perhaps its just TV. I can’t watch it anymore. It either takes itself too seriously, or not seriously enough. There is no balance. It is a tool for the delivery of advertisements. And frankly, that tool is becoming of less and less use on my personal mechanism. I’m becoming self-winding, so to speak.

The Food (for Thought) of the Gods

Who decides what lives, what dies,
based on more than the needs of some,
but on what is best for the entire world
so balance can be maintained?

Who thinks they have the right to choose
that some should flourish while others fail,
that their kind is much more essential
and so deserves more space, more food?

The gods of course.

For only the gods act out of concern
for the whole; their own interests are not part
in any way of the actions made.

The point is this:

if you benefit in any way from a decision
to kill or not to kill today;
if you gain more ground, or food, or power
by taking others’ things away,
you’re not a god.

This is not your dominion.
You are not the most auspiciously born.
You are only a small part of the whole.

And if you act as if you’re a god,
without that knowledge,
you will only result in destroying everything.

You will fail.

And you will find excuses for your failure,
like “man is a fallen creature,
bound by sin to make mistakes”
because you don’t really think so —
you think man is a god,
and that the world just doesn’t work right.

Well, it just doesn’t work the way you think it does.

Thoughts on Vegetarianism

Here’s a quote from something I received today:

Vegetarianism is a natural and obvious way to live with a minimum of hurt to other beings. Hindu scripture speaks clearly and forcefully on vegetarianism. The Yajur Veda (36.18. ve, p. 342) calls for kindliness toward all creatures living on the Earth, in the air and in the water. The beautiful Tirukural, a widely-read 2,200-year-old masterpiece of ethics, speaks of conscience: “When a man realizes that meat is the butchered flesh of another creature, he will abstain from eating it” (257). The Manu Samhita advises: “Having well considered the origin of flesh and the cruelty of fettering and slaying corporeal beings, let one entirely abstain from eating flesh,” and “When the diet is pure, the mind and heart are pure.”

And here’s my question for the vegetarians (and spiritual leaders) in the house:

Most eastern religions emphasize that vegetarianism implies non-violence, and that killing animals is violent. However, if the Divine life force is present in every single object (animate and inanimate) that exists, then certainly pulling a carrot from the ground is killing just as cutting a bull’s neck is killing. BOTH are violent acts. In fact, the bull is not being pulled out from the roots, so it seems the killing of the bull is in fact less of a system shock.

So it seems that some killing is more important than others. Some is violent, and some is not.

Not to pull an Uber-Jain sentiment out of the hat, but isn’t it more important to recognize the sacrifice made by ANYTHING that provides you with life, rather than insisting that some sacrifices are more meaningful than others? In other words, in order for you to live, SOMETHING must die. Only in the case of an apple falling to the ground (from a tree that you did not shake) are you not directly involved in killing that something.

What is more important, the sacrifice, or the recognition of it as such?

It seems to me the focus of this kind of vegetarianism is on the repercussions on you as a killer, rather than on the suffering of the victim (be it bull or carrot). In which case, it doesn’t matter what you kill, you are guilty of the offense. Alan Watts said he was a vegetarian because “carrots scream softer than cows.” That is a different motivation than because killing a bull is worse karma than killing a carrot. That is not a moral choice, it is a choice that makes the negative act easier to live with.

And that, my friends, does not seem like a valid basis for a spiritual diet to me.

What seems valid is that no matter WHAT you eat, you are indebted to it for its biomass — without which you would not survive. Perhaps you did not personally end its life. But you are taking advantage of its death. To deny that is to perpetrate a lie. To not accept the consequences of living when other living things must die for it to be so, is to misunderstand karma altogether.

Feast During Famine

When Obiwan Kenobi felt the end of Alderaan
it was as if a hole appeared and swallowed, to a man,
the lifeforce of each precious soul existing ’til that time
and twisted, perhaps frayed, the cord of which we form a line

I wonder, when tsunamis hit, when earthquakes take their toll,
how many sense the devastation wrought, and still console
themselves that these are unknown folk of far and distance lands
and do not feel the spike that drives itself in others’ hands

In retrospect, we call it karma, God’s will, or bad luck;
but are we all so ignorant, fresh off the turnip truck,
that we must have some writing on the wall to comprehend
or find a mystic omen first, and then assist a friend?

The world is what the world is, whether nature’s realm, or God’s;
but sadly, we each feel so distant from it, and at odds
with every notion that connects us to each living thing,
and every song that all life forms but us have learned to sing.

The lost, the dead, the wounded? These poor souls have passed the test.
There but for the grace of some God, we think, we live and have been blessed;
but blessed not with just life, but opportunity to grow
and prove our faith in something is of substance, not just show.

How can we ease the suffering? How can we stop the pain?
How can we more control the world so it won’t hurt again?
A better question, one that might serve better those who grieve:
How long ’til each of us becomes what we say we believe?

30 DEC 2004

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