This morning, about an hour ago, I stumbled across something on Facebook that made me pause and think. Yes, I have to pause to think. It's early, for crying out loud, you're lucky I am thinking at all before five in the morning.
Regardless, it was a simple enough thing. A picture that said: Karma - I Believe What Goes Around Comes Around.
This, in and of itself, is fine. There is nothing new about this saying. It didn't bowl me over or knock me on my arse. I wasn't struck dumb by how unique or refreshing this quote was. No, I was distracted by what the person who posted it posted along with it. In all her passionate glory, she said how she couldn't wait until the bad things started happening to all the assholes who have done her wrong.
Well, let's just take a moment to think about that. (Yes, another pause. It deserves it.)
Karma - and the saying of 'what goes around comes around' - always meant, to me, that good things will happen to good people and bad things to bad people. Now, with that in mind, you might understand why I stopped to ponder over what this woman wrote.
Here's where I stand. If you take joy from another person's suffering, whether that be someone who hurt you or not, it sort of implies you aren't exactly going to be fairing well on the old Karmatic scale yourself. The whole purpose of Karma, and this saying, is to reassure you that people will either be blessed or punished depending on their actions - that you don't have to concern yourself with 'getting someone back' for the harm they have caused you, that the order of the world will pay them in return for what they have done. Not to mention, Karma kind of promotes the idea of actually forgiving, forgetting, doing nice and pleasant and lovely things for people, because you want the good Karma to come back to you.
Or maybe I am way off base?
It seems to me there are a lot of people out there (there being the treacherous terrains of the world) who are comforted by the pain of others. This is, if nothing else, counter-productive and goes completely against the whole 'Karma is a bitch' attitude, because getting pleasure from another person's pain, even if that person keyed your car or slept with your ex-boyfriend, is breeding negative thoughts, feelings and contributing to your own personal bad karma.
There's another saying that I think goes hand-in-hand with this one. Rise above it. Now, this doesn't mean you ride about on a horse saying pompous things to other people, looking down your nose at them. It doesn't mean you post celebratory statuses on Facebook and Twitter when someone who hurt you 'gets theirs'. And it certainly doesn't mean you sit back and wait patiently for the day when all your enemies are put in their place. No. In fact, that's actually the opposite of rising above it. That's stooping below it, and, if I may be so blunt, acting like a complete fool.
"Oh, but Tyson, I've seen you go toe-to-toe with a vast array of people who have annoyed, irked, irritated, and pissed you off. Haven't you ever wished ill-will on someone who has hurt you?"
Of course I have! I'm no saint. My halo is not only tarnished and crooked, but has been misplaced from time-to-time. We all have found a smug bit of satisfaction in knowing someone who tore us down, damaged our self-esteem and rallied their troops against us has slipped, fallen, skinned their knee or gotten egg on their face. But those days are my past.
Not only do I spend my time trying to understand the actions of people, but I work to let go of the anger and frustration I myself have. Why cling to it? In the end, these feelings of wanting someone to suffer as we ourselves have suffered are completely toxic. And backwards. And derailing. Could you imagine what this world would look like if we all forgave our petty past grudges and let go of our pain?
On top of all of this, I've done some bad things. I suppose that comes as a terrible shock to you, but I have. Things I am ashamed of. Things I wish I could take back. Things that used to keep me up at night. So, I figure I have a bit of bad karma coming my way. And when that bad karma strikes, I don't want people dancing around and eating cake in celebration. No need for someone to send me a 'you got yours' card in the mail. Because I am perfectly aware of what I have done wrong and recognize that amends must be made. Gloating, laughing people need not rub it in.
You see, our paths are long. It goes without saying that we are going to mess up along the way. I am not your judge and jury. I am my own. Which is why I am focused on the bad things I've done. Not the bad things that others have done.
All I have to say is, leave it to karma to sort out. It isn't until we start wishing the best for others that others will start wishing the best for us.