Karma


This is Blog 11 in my A-Z Blogseries:
Karma

Trust in karma may be seen as contradictory when expressed by an areligious person like myself (which isn’t the same as an atheist, all though I suppose I am that as well). 

This blog took me a couple of days to write because I couldn’t even really explain it to myself in the beginning. As a matter of fact, I am just winging it here, because I still don’t really know what I am going to say. Sometimes it helps to just open up a draft document and start to put thoughts into words and words into sentences.

What I can tell you is that I do not believe that there is some divine power that actively rewards or punishes me for my actions (now or in the afterlife). Nor do I believe in a cosmic law of justice that keeps tabs on me, making any bad situation I face some sort of retribution for a bad thing I caused earlier.

An additional fact is that there is no way to define “bad” behavior, in my opinion.

Obviously there is a clear line when it comes to what is legal and what is illegal. Also there are some guidelines you can follow if you are religious. Your upbringing will have shaped your concepts of right and wrong further.

However, your “bad” may not necessarily be equal to someone else’s. That means that someone else may not feel guilty at all about a certain action that you may consider reprehensible, wrong or sinful.

Take murder, for example. Even though murder is illegal all around the world, it can be justified in certain circumstances, can’t it? At the same time, I think such an action will ALWAYS damage you, even if you had good reasons for it. It is an unnatural thing to do.

Karma motto of the Inca’s:
Don’t steal, don’t lie don’t be lazy

And that is what I think that karma is about. It is about coming to terms with your actions. Not for the law. Not for your family. Not for the victim or its family. For you. Nothing more, nothing less.

I guess I believe in karma in the sense that I believe that you make your own reality. I don’t think it has to do with right and wrong or fair and unfair. The truth is that life is not always fair (and neither is karma).

I’m thinking the distinction is one between healthy and unhealthy actions, more than anything else.

Stealing is an example of an unhealthy choice. A less extreme example would be lying. Unhealthy behavior will eat at your soul (Yes yes, I know I said I was areligious and atheist it’s just that language is a difficult thing and “soul” is a shortcut way of saying a lot of things at once. Let’s just agree that when I use the world “soul” I mean a combination of your being, your identity, you conscience your most personal self).

Unhealthy actions damage you on the inside, even if you don’t get caught. And as I said earlier, the line that defines what is healthy and what isn’t, differs from person to person.

For example, ignoring someone that wants to ask me something on the street, is unhealthy for me. However, in no way do I feel that a person who chooses to avoid eye contact with a street vendor, beggar or evangelist is “bad”. I get it, I really do. The fact that I can not do it doesn’t put me higher up on the morality scale. Also, it’s just highly unpractical sometimes…

I have learned that I can deal with it by cutting the conversation short with a quick “Sorry dude, not today”. Saying nothing or even worse, lying (“I don’t have anything on me” -when I really do-; or “I’m in a hurry” – when I’m really not) will keep me awake at night. It’s bad karma, for me.

So I don’t think it is true that I “believe in karma”. I think it is more accurate to say I “like the idea of karma”.

It keeps me on my toes. It makes me want to the best version of myself I can be. It keeps me optimistic, playing with the idea of earning karma-points as I go and being grateful for the little gifts life gives me in return.

There it is; my blog on what karma means to me. I apologize to any true believers that may feel offended by my haphazard definition of it. Feel free to let me know what I may have missed in the comments.

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The seven sins; minus four, plus one

All though I have a certain fascination for religion and spirituality, in truth I am a devout atheist. My interest stems from an anthropological curiosity for mankind, its history and psychological necessities.

A thing that I have spent many hours philosophizing about is the role of religion in defining the boundary between good and evil. As I am most familiar with Christianity and I run into its symbolism almost on a daily basis, I have often pondered about the value and appeal of the seven sins.

Dismantling the seven sins

I have come to the conclusion that of the seven, there are four that I don’t consider to be all that bad;

  • c812d7bc02a55367723694dbc3232d118b976ac02cbda8f8f302c12d332a347aLust – Why would you demonize sex?
  • Gluttony – what’s wrong with enjoying good food?
  • Pride – I suppose they mean arrogance, which is an annoying trait for sure. But a cardinal sin? Mwoah….
  • Sloth – Aaaugh, don’t judge my laziness; I need it! Even neuro-scientists agree.

The one in the list I haven’t made up my mind about yet, is wrath.

  • Wrath – Merriam-Webster dictionary say wrath is “strong vengeful anger or indignation”. I think everyone has the right to feel anger and definitely indignation. However, I know people that douse their words with the poison of bitterness and hate and that is really sucky, to say the least. At the same time, I am convinced such words always come from people that are hurting themselves and in a very distorted way are actually crying for help. 

And then there’s the two that would also qualify as evil, dark and nasty in my book;

  • Envy – No doubt about it; envy is ugly and anyone that feels this needs to work on eradicating it from their system. No good comes from it.
  • Greed – The core of almost all of mankind’s suffering, if you ask me. 

The eighth sin.

Envy and greed are both dark paths, that every person has walked down, albeit briefly.

A state of mind that may come across as innocent to some but deserves strong condemnation is the passive aggressive feeling of:

Indifference

All though I know many people that let matters of the world get to them in a degree that I feel is unhealthy, indifference is probably the feeling I fear most in the world.

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Buitenplaats de Plantage

As I mentioned in my first Blogtober post, my boyfriend took me out on a mystery dinner last week to a village carrying the poetic name “Vogelenzang”, which means “Bird’s song”.  A very fitting name for such a beautiful place!

The restaurant we went to was actually a former plant nursery, with a green house and outside gardens. Check out the pictures below, to see what they turned it into!

The weather was a bit on the chilly side, with rain constantly in the air but thanks to the good company and the beautiful location it ended up being a wonderful wonderful day!

So, if you are in the Netherlands and are looking for something different: visit Buitenplaats de Plantage in Vogelenzang (about half an hour’s drive from Amsterdam airport)!