“You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here. And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should”. ‘Desiderata’ Max Ehrmann, 1927.
18 July 2019, Week 7.
Although I absolutely love the “Desiderata” and its message of hope, and especially the above passage telling us that we are important and valued, I am unconvinced about karma, that the universe knows what it needs and we have no say in the matter; that “folk story” that what you sow in the world, you will reap. To me personally, it feels a bit like dogma in that it makes excuses for bad behaviour or explains why good happens to bad people sometimes, or vice versa.
Oh dear, mostly I AM a positive thinker, but the old “universe has other plans” jargon is just not my cup of tea as I may be a born-again pragmatist! Although, I am a dreamer, and a creative, and just may have seen examples of ‘karma’ when the narcissistic office bully eventually gets caught out and is fired, or a megalomaniac despot world leader finally gets their just desserts and is toppled from their rule and sentenced for their crimes, don’t you just wish that ‘karma’ was consistent! In my life I have met some interesting people who have also told me that ‘karma’ can follow from one life to the next… so what they are saying is if you were mean and nasty in a past life, you will cop a beating in this life! Well, by this premise, there are some who are destined for some smackdowns in the next life!
Getting by in this life can seem very unfair when you try so hard and cannot seem to make headway, or you get stuck in a situation you just cannot see a way out of. I am beginning to believe that life is completely random, and the only continuity and stable environments are the ones found in nature which have not been influenced by man, and even then, the earth is constantly changing with impacts from moving forces such as weather, subsiding land and tectonic plate movements, animals, water and fire.
My own answer for getting sanely through this life with all its ups and downs is to search for the experiences, feelings and thoughts for which I can be thankful. These are things like my beautiful family and friends, times with my kids and grandchild making fond memories, or my ability to bounce back from adversity and regain optimism, or the quiet moments when I can look out at the ocean and see whales, dolphins and the vast ocean blue, or be in the country and listen to the birds, all the moments of absolute beauty in nature.
I am especially grateful that in my current job role, some of my gorgeous aged clients have shared with me their amazing stories of their childhood, sometimes telling of living through and escaping persecution from fascism, real horror stories of loss and deprivation, and how they learned to thrive again after experiencing war and evil. Or they tell lovely stories of how they met their partner at a local dance and the long-lived love they had, the jobs they did, the art they created, the communities they participated in, the problems they solved, the children they raised. These are moments for which I am thankful.
I wish I could prove that the “universe is unfolding as it should” but sometimes there is no rhyme nor reason for what happens. Sometimes we need to realise that although we may be a very small part of this world and our actions can and do have an impact, or just maybe, our actions have no impact at all on the outcomes of our own lives. Sometimes we are responsible for our downfall or our uprising, not the universe, but also, sometimes, bad stuff really does happen to good people and good stuff does happen to bad people.
My solution is not to be fooled into false beliefs that it is meant to happen or that karma is out to get me, or reward me, or all those other beliefs outside of my own psyche. My answer is gratitude; learning from the past I have lived, and enjoying the hopes for the future, whether I have suffered disappointment, or experienced elation, I reckon I need to be grateful for right here and right now and know I am one of 7 billion survivors.