The Twelve Laws of Karma
I’m writing this on my 83rd birthday. My life has changed since my 2019 cancer diagnosis. In a nutshell, cancer appears in my body, the doctors zap it, I’m good to go, another spot pops up and we do it again.
Each time it reappears, it’s a reminder I’m one step closer to judgment day. Without cancer, the same would be true. Just because something is inevitable, does not mean it is imminent; yet, for some it is more imminent than others. No point in complaining, time waits for no one, so I’ve learned to enjoy the ride as best I can.
A side effect of my treatment is fatigue; naps are my friend. While there are many clever sayings about not to fret about the past, I daydream a lot, reflecting back on my life. Would I like to have some do-overs? Sure, but there is no guarantee correcting a past mistake would have made things different; learn from them and move on.
In the middle of a daydream, my wife Jo sent along a cool video, “The Twelve Laws of Karma”.
The first time I heard the word karma, I thought someone mispronounced the syrup I like to pour over a big bowl of ice cream.
What is Karma?
“Karma is a concept with a few definitions, specifically in Hinduism and Buddhism….
Hinduism identifies karma as the relationship between a person’s mental or physical action and the consequences following that action. It also signifies the consequences of all the actions of a person in their current and previous lives and the chain of cause and effect in morality.
In Buddhism, karma refers to the principle of cause and effect. The result of an action — which can be verbal, mental, or physical — is determined by not only the act but also the intention.”
Karma meant to me that events don’t always randomly happen, many times we see things that are bound to happen, and eventually do. Karma is the result of past actions and thoughts. Cause and effect over time.
How many times did our grandparents preach, “What goes around, comes around” or something simple like, “You give what you get.” “This” will begat “That” over time.
When you reflect back on your life, you realize how those simple lessons ring true, in all religions and generations.
As a great-grandfather, I enjoy sharing our learning experiences with younger people, hoping they will learn as we did. One of the perks of being an aging grandparent is there are wonderful, precious moments when your grandchildren listen and learn.
I’ll outline the 12 laws and add some comments of my own (italics).
1. The Great Law
As you sow, so shall you reap. This is also known as “The Law of Cause and Effect.”
To have a friend, you must be a friend. If you wish to be rich, learn how to enrich others….
2. The Law of Creation
Life doesn’t just happen; it requires our participation.
A great lesson from my 50th high school reunion. There were many who complained about life and the bad things that happened to them. There were others who overcame many obstacles and were happy and prosperous. If you are unhappy, never forget GOYA (get off your ass) and do something to change it. You can’t change your past, but you still have control over your future.
3. The Law of Humility
You can’t change something if you refuse to accept it.
Sometimes you must realize you can’t change others, whether it is family, your workplace, or the environment surrounding you. Once you accept it, then go back to Law #2. You can choose to move on, or stop getting frustrated trying to change what cannot be changed. It’s a win either way!
4. The Law of Growth
When we change who and what we are within our hearts, our lives follow suit and change too.
Our moods, attitudes, and feelings are under OUR control. No one can MAKE you happy, angry or sad – it is how we react to events. Those who go through life choosing to be angry and unhappy are missing a lot.
We must take responsibility for what is in our life.
This is one of my favorites. If a teenager comes home intoxicated, don’t blame it on others. Unless someone held you down, and poured alcohol down your throat, you made a choice. You are responsible for your own behavior. Own up to your mistakes, behavior has consequences; learn from it!
6. The Law of Connection
Neither the first step nor the last are of greater significance. They are both needed to accomplish the task.
Whether you are buying the land or putting the finishing touches on a new home, each step is significant. The important thing is to set your goals, plan, and execute the task.
7. The Law of Focus
You cannot think of two things at the same time.
Learning how to use your time wisely is one of life’s greatest lessons. At work, focus on the task at hand. When you are with family, focus on enjoying the moment. It’s not the work that one does that expires one’s resources and energy; but rather the frustration with the work that remains to be done. Don’t let the frustration of not getting to the bottom of your wish list keep you from enjoying what’s important.
8. The Law of Giving & Hospitality
Give without the expectation of receiving anything in return.
Some refer to this as agape love, not to be confused with marriage or brotherly love. One of the greatest joys in life is doing for others, making their lives easier and happier. Truth is this comes back to Law #1, you reap what you sow; just don’t expect it today, and it may come back through others.
9. The Law of Here & Now
Looking backward to examine what was, or forward to worry about the future prevents us from being totally in the here and now.
While I find myself reflecting on my life, there are times I smile or frown. You can’t change the past, and the vast majority of things we worry about never come to pass. Don’t let either keep you from enjoying each and every moment in the here and now.
10. The Law of Change
History repeats itself until we learn the lessons that we need to learn.
This is true for empires, societies, families, whatever. Learn from history to understand what is happening now; then learn from the mistake of the past and how to prosper as life’s events recycle. What the political class never seems to learn, should not prevent us learning; avoiding the mistakes of our forefathers.
True joy comes from doing what one is supposed to be doing, and knowing that the reward will come in its own time.
Despite the current political environment, you know what is right and wrong. The foundation of most all civilized societies is the Ten Commandments, plain and simple. Being true to yourself will bring much happiness. As to patience, laws #1 & #8 will show up in due course.
12. The Law of Significance & Inspiration
The true value of something is a direct result of the energy and intent that is put into it.
Many wealthy people hear, “lucky you”, implying their lot in life is pure happenstance. The wealthy people I know all say, “The harder I worked, the luckier I got.”
As I wrote this draft, something from my past kept jumping out at me. Although he was part of my life for a few short years, my step-grandfather was a great mentor. He was a farmer, WWII army sergeant and told me he graduated from the School of Hard Knocks.
In my early years, I spent summers on his dairy farm, no kids to play with and miles from town. After dinner we would sit by a real pot-bellied stove. I was required to read aloud from “My Weekly Reader”, and he and my grandmother would discuss the events with me. I wish they were alive today; I would love to thank them for those precious moments and lessons. Perhaps they set the tone for how seriously I take the job of being a grandpa.
How ironic it was, I was sitting at my computer, daydreaming of my past, when up popped the email from my wife Jo I wrote about today. Perhaps it was karma….
A little help means a lot!
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On The Lighter Side
It seems Jo has been reading my mind a lot lately. She sent me a terrific video titled, “Green Side Of The Grass”.
It included the following caption:
“The Green Side of the Grass is a funny song about growing old and the aging process. I’m thankful each day I wake up and get another day on top of the green side of the grass. Some days it feels like the grass is green because of the organic fertilizer some people feel compelled to put on my little patch of grass. No worries, tomorrow is always another day and any day I’m not six feet under is a good day.”
Quote of the Week…
“Learn to enjoy every minute of your life. Be happy now. Don’t wait for something outside of yourself to make you happy in the future.
Think how really precious is the time you have to spend, whether it’s at work or with your family. Every minute should be enjoyed and savored.”
— Earl Nightingale
Friend Alex N. sends along some clever Karma laws for our enjoyment:
- Law of Mechanical Repair – After your hands become coated with grease, your nose will begin to itch, and you’ll have to pee.
- Law of Gravity – Any tool, nut, bolt, screw, when dropped, will roll to the least accessible corner.
- Law of Probability – The probability of being watched is directly proportional to the stupidity of your act.
- Variation Law – If you change lines (or traffic lanes), the one you were in will usually move faster than the one you are in now.
- Law of Physical Appearance – If the clothes fit, they’re ugly.
- Law of Public Speaking – A closed mouth gathers no feet.
- Law of Commercial Marketing Strategy – As soon as you find a product that you really like, the company will stop making it.
- Doctors’ Law – If you don’t feel well, make an appointment to go to the doctor, by the time you get there you’ll feel better. But don’t make an appointment, and you’ll stay sick.
And my favorite:
- Supermarket Law – As soon as you get in the shortest line, the cashier will have to call for help.
Until next time…
“Economic independence is the foundation of the only sort of freedom worth a damn.” – H. L. Mencken
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