April 3, 2008
This I Believe…
I used to believe in Karma, the Buddhist belief that what you put out into the world will come back to you. The idea that if you are a good person, good things will happen to you and if you are a bad person, bad things will happen to you. I think I’ve always known that this concept was too good to be true, that you couldn’t break down life into these terms and that all I would have to do is be a good person and everything in my life would fall perfectly into place. When I was younger, however, I naively believed wholeheartedly in this belief, yet as the years have gone by I have found that it can’t possibly be true. Time and time again I have seen good, hard working people get screwed over by the world while I have also witnessed terrible people get everything they’ve ever dreamed of. Recently, my Karma beliefs were really tested. A few days ago, a friend of my family’s son died in a car accident. He wasn’t drinking or driving dangerously but just simply lost control of his car. He was twenty-four years old. I thought to myself, in only twenty-four years, what cosmic wrong could he have possibly committed to deserve his awful fate? How is it that I know of people who drive drunk and high all the time and yet they’re living and he’s dead? We all secretly hope that what we do to others will determine what is done to us. However, all we’re really searching for is just some justification or recognition that our good deeds really matter. That the good people really do prevail and the bad guys don’t. For all the times that you make the right choice, even though it was the harder one, you want to believe that it’s going to help you succeed in life. If this isn’t true, if there really is no cosmic balance out there in the world, why do the right thing? What’s the point? As much as I hope that doing good things in the world will better my life, I’m starting to find that although this is the more the hopeful idea, it’s also the ignorant one. This is why I’ve come to the realization that you need to make decisions for yourself, what is going to be good for you and your life. The decisions you make have to be ones you can and will stand by. In the real world, there won’t be someone there telling you that you made the right choice or calling you out on making the wrong one. Therefore, the decisions/choices you make (whether good or bad) must be ones that you can live with and ones that are truly your own, because even if there is no Karma, in the end you still have to be able to live with yourself.
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