Friday, November 07, 2008
The Mystery of Karma
Karma is sort of like destiny, but not exactly. For each of us, accumulated karmic results are effects -- the results of choices we've previously made. And of course, the very nature and the specific array of those earlier choices were themselves partly determined by karmic effects which accumulated in our lives up to that time. Thus the specific circumstances of our lives are at least in part an expression of who we are.
I bring this up because I'm wondering this morning, as I sit tapping on a laptop computer in a cafe called On Common Grounds, in a tiny crossroads community called Chimacum, Washington, and existing right here, right now, in precisely this way because I'm waiting for the brakes on my Volkswagen to be repaired at a garage about a third of a mile away with the uninspiring name of Economy Garage, I'm wondering, I say, by what subtle, unnoticed, and vague but undeniable karmic twists and turns I came to this spot and this time and this precise set of circumstances.
And I'm also wondering whether my feeling that one day, before too long, I'll live in this place, and whether my living here would be the fulfillment of some obscure prophecy written in a dead and forgotten language in some long lost book, or whether it would simply be an accident -- the result of a series of chance occurrences of random events -- I'm wondering whether this is a true premonition or just some kind of weird brain fart, emanating from idle speculation that expresses itself as "Why in hell are there people living here? What brings them to this place?"
Chimacum is not exactly a garden spot, but I'm sure there are worse places. To tell the truth, it's a little strange. The tiny town fans out from a central intersection with a flashing red light, and consists of a small number of humble dwellings, a couple of farms, a school, and a large, old-looking cemetery. There are also numerous businesses, chief among them the long-established Chimacum Cafe, the upstart coffee house in which I find myself this morning, and the main gas station, Chimacum Chevron. The other mercantile establishments mostly have mud parking lots and appear to be barely hanging on.
Its virtues as a place to live would include only the fact that it's probably very quiet, and located close to the small town of Port Hadlock, and not far from the small city of Port Townsend. But the truth is, I don't really know why anybody is here, and have no idea why I would be. It would be as pat and inaccurate to say we chose to be wherever we are as it would be to say we're wherever we happen to be by accident.
This is a very complex and mysterious subject, but the gray skies and drizzling rain of this particular morning lend themselves to such ruminations. I think I'll switch to something simpler, like contemplating the financial and economic bankruptcy of this country, its big business operations, its government, and many of its suffering people. That's a depressing subject, but a simple illustration of a karmic effect. It's what you call, "Bad Karma."