It’s funny what goes through your mind when you spend several hours walking round in circles chanting! In my experience it can be as mundane as thinking about the person who laid the carpet, or as profound as contemplating the significance of spiritual practice. Here’s what came up for me in our most recent session:
In a few billion years the sun will burn out and it’s gravitational mass will be reduced to the point where it can no longer maintain it’s influence on the other planets in the solar system. The earth will freeze and then spin out of it’s orbit and apparently be sent hurtling towards the centre of the galaxy, where it will probably be swallowed up by the black hole that exists there. This catastrophe, which will obviously be the end of life as we know it, will not even register on the scale of significant cosmic events…these thoughts led me, in a roundabout way, to a new perspective of thinking about my spiritual life and the forces that move me.
As I orbit the Buddha statue that dominates the space of our shrine room, in a state of meditative bliss, I find myself wondering about this relationship between my ”bad” and ”good” karma. My life has been affected by both. But, is there any difference between them? They appear, in hindsight, to be profoundly connected, the dark karma merging with and stimulating good conditions, and vice versa. Two facets of the same system working in unison, informing and influencing each other in a dualistic interplay, as the universe serves me the apparently disparate tangents of my unresolved business!
It can feel to me like being stuck between the orbits of two massive objects, one of which provides me with nourishment of all kinds in the here and now, beckons me on and illuminates the path. The other one is no less than the carnage of my past, loaded with the power of three and a half decades of severe dysfunction(and many aeons of pre-life debauchery). In many ways the two are inseparable, intertwined and interdependent, but there seems to be a distinctive way in which these aspects can manifest in my physical existence, as either relatively good conditions, from which more of the same can emerge and be created, or, unpleasant, nightmarish scenarios, which, due to their powerful effects, have a tendency to self-perpetuate. And my efforts in either direction can enhance the results.
The dark side can still cast a shadow into my life, making it’s presence felt amidst the clearly positive conditions of my religious endeavours, even seeming to impede progress at times. And the pervasive effects of spiritual practice light up the abyss of my ignorance and can transform my karmic blunders into potential for benevolence.
There is a sense in which I now feel somewhat insulated against the full power of my karma. The profits of Buddhist practice engulfing it in a sort of spiritual quarantine, it’s corrosiveness is contained and subverted by forces beyond my comprehension. The irresistible pull of the Dharma counter-balances the dead weight of my natural tendency towards destruction and positions me in a more advantageous way, that allows for the generation of positive action in a more healthy direction.
Namo Amida Bu.
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