“Karma plays the long game.” – Sara Eckel
A lot of times people in spiritual practice become preoccupied by the idea of karma, and misunderstand it to mean that everyone who behaves selfishly will get their comeuppance in some fashion, while all the wronged parties are watching.
Not so with karma. Because the concept of karma assumes reincarnation and a soul’s lessons over lifetimes, it just means that everything comes out in the wash. In other words, no one gets away with anything, ever.
But this simply means that if we don’t learn a lesson the first time it’s presented, it will continue to be presented to us in various forms until we pass the test.
And, if we can’t understand other people’s perspectives, or viewpoints, we may find opportunities to do so firsthand, in the scheme of things.
But karma’s not really a reward-punishment system, in the strictest sense.
Karma’s just part of the process of earth school. Except that unlike conventional schooling, there’s no scheduled timeframe to complete the lessons.
You’re done when you’re done.
In the meantime, you’re just here to learn.
Sometimes the things we want aren’t good for us.
This message has come to me in various forms, from several different people, in the last couple of years.
I think it has to do with the way we want to see ourselves, and the difference between how we want things to be and how they really are. And maybe even the difference between who we want to be and who we really are.
For example, for a very long time I’ve wished I lived in a warmer climate. I imagine how much better I’d feel if it was warm year-round. And perhaps it’s true. I might feel fantastic.
It’s equally possible that I might not appreciate it the way I imagine I would. Now, I value each day of beautiful weather, because I know it won’t last. But if every day was perfect weather, I doubt it would have the same meaning for me. I probably wouldn’t spend as much time outside as I do now.
Another example would be having the desire for personal space, and the ability to make everything just the way you want it. What if, when you get exactly what you want, you find that you miss the company of others, and you would rather things be a little bit messier, but a little more lively? On the flip side, what if you’ve wished for years for companionship, and when it arrives, you realize how much you miss the quiet?
Over the years, I’ve learned that things in our lives are the way they are for a reason. It’s often an opportunity to learn something. If we can stop resisting what is, we may be more able to see how a current circumstance or situation can be an opportunity to grow.
What if everything is as it should be, right now?
All the world’s a stage,/ And all the men and women merely players:/ They have their exits and their entrances;/ And one man in his time plays many parts. – Shakespeare
There’s a belief common in spiritual practice that all the people who play important roles in our lives, from our parents, to our friends, to those who hurt us the most, signed up for their roles to teach us something that we came here to learn. And that those who love us the most are the ones who hurt us the most, because in being hurt we have the biggest opportunities to learn and grow.
And, when we exit, we will meet all of them again as their authentic selves, not in the role they played on the stage of our lives.
As a dear friend reminded me recently, we are all acting out plays that were written a long time ago. He was referring to our behavior patterns and thought patterns, which can become ingrained at an early age.
Except we forget that it’s a play. We get invested. We think it’s real. This is like believing the funhouse mirror shows us the real picture.
If our lives are pure fiction, what stories are we telling and re-telling? More to the point, what stories are we buying? And what stories are we re-living?
The challenge is to see the play for what it is. To recognize the players in our own mythology. The heroes. And the villains.
And the bigger challenge? To re-write the story and change the ending. To become the heroes of our own lives. To rescue ourselves instead of looking for someone else to do the heavy lifting.
We shall not cease from exploration/and the end of all our exploring/ will be to arrive where we started/and know the place for the first time. – T.S. Eliot