Wednesday, May 6, 2009

It's All Grist for the Mill



I've been thinking about karma ever since a fascinating conversation over dinner with friends earlier this week. I "believe" in karma, whatever that means. I believe that on the most simplistic level, what we send out will return to us, whether that's generosity or compassion, or on the other side of the karmic spectrum, ill will towards others or self loathing, you know.

In my heart of hearts I think karma is far more complicated than the Law of Return. I'm not sure it's as mathematical or balanced as we imagine. We humans love to have all our t's crossed and i's dotted, though the multiverse, as I experience it, is not so neat and tidy.

According to the cosmology (or semantics) of Reya, destiny is something that transcends, in a very extensive way, this particular lifetime. Destiny seems to me to be quite ephemeral, etheric. Karma on the other hand, feels visceral, grounded - or maybe focused is a better word - to the circumstances of our individual lifetimes. I think that's why we work through so much karma while alive, why we're so mindful of our actions and have so many rules and ideas about how to behave. Destiny is participatory, but you can't hold it in your hand. But we can - and do - sculpt karma every day, all the time.

I've been thinking about everyday crises in terms of karma, that when we get a cold, or cut a finger while cooking, or have a little argument with someone we love, that in healing each of these everyday crises we are working through some little karmic tangent. I really like this idea, that even by sweeping the floor or tending the garden we are contributing to the evolution of personal karma.

Perhaps I'm desperate to believe that every event, no matter how insignificant, means something because I'm getting older and am more aware every day of the preciousness of this existence. Or maybe I'm on to something. The karma of everyday crises is not glamorous or dramatic, but I think these little scraps and scrapes help us evolve, bit by bit.

It's time now to walk the old dog, clearing a small thread of animal karma, then do laundry, which perhaps helps purge some small karmic stain on my soul. And on and on, through this life of extraordinary, ordinary days. L'chaim!

36 comments:

willow said...

Excellent thoughts, Reya. I totally agree with you. Every little event does has significance. Life is extraordinary indeed.

Celestite said...

"I think karma is far more complicated than the Law of Return"

I agree.

A Cuban In London said...

A most interesting write-up and one that throws up all kinds of interpretation: Is karma inevitable? If so, who judges what is right or wrong? As you rightly averred at the beginning life has so many grey areas that to tar a whole section of it with a brush is to leave so much material out. Destiny on the other hand, can definitely be sculpted, but there's a degree of inevitability that karma lacks, in my humble opinion. I don't like naming phenomena that escape the realms of my comprehension. I find that that limits my desire to dig into them deeply. In the case of destiny and karma, I would have to say that both respond to human existences. The former is unpredictable, the latter... less so, let's say that for the time being.

Very interesting topic and one that I believe will attract a great deal of correspondence :-).

Many thanks.

Greetings from London.

ellen abbott said...

I've been thinking about karma myself lately though it's always been a guiding principle for me. I think it is time for me to be a little proactive in certain areas where my karma is concerned. My goal for the year to bring some balance to the scales.

As Willow said...excellent thoughts. You phrased it all nicely.

Reya Mellicker said...

Celesite - Any theories?

Cuban - I love the thought that both destiny and karma "respond" to human existence. Very cool.

As for I don't like naming phenomena that escape the realms of my comprehension. Well, you're so smart. Me? I never let my ignorance stop me from forming an opinion!

Thank you for this! Very cool thoughts.

R.L. Bourges said...

Whether spiritual, philosophical or psychological, models strike me as metaphors (or stories, if you prefer) - attempts at putting the ocean in as big a bottle as our mind can, or wishes to, accommodate at any given time.

The metaphor - whatever it may be - is useful, so long as it keeps us on the growing edge of inquiry. At least, that's how I see things these days.

All grist for the mill? You have one hundred percent agreement at this end.

Enjoy the day and its discoveries, Reya. Best to Jake.

Fidgeting Gidget said...

I believe in karma, too...and I've seen evidence of it coming back and biting those who pay no attention to it. This is why I try to be nice to everyone and do my best not to make karma come back and get me!

John Hayes said...

There seems to be payback for a life that either well lived or poorly lived, & I believe it's eternal, not in the "time everlasting" sense but in the moment by moment sense of that. A specific future payback? Not so sure.

Steve said...

Every event DOES mean something, to some being or organism. Sweeping the floor may be nothing to you, but to the bugs and mites and bacteria on the floor, it means a lot!

I think of karma in two ways -- that functioning within our lifetimes, and that extending beyond our lifetimes. All our actions feed both types. I definitely think everything we do has an effect, and the trick is to do what creates the least pain for others. (Admittedly that's not always easy to see!)

deborah said...

our mama used to say, "I want to do everything I do with as much craft and care as possible."

I love the notion that craft and care count on every single level.

love you so

Joanne said...

So true, especially the smaller acts of karma, the sweeping the floor, tending the garden. It is those small, seemingly unseen daily acts which add up. Sweeping, tending, and the like, all small gestures, which to me are acts of caring.

René Wing said...

That each small act of healing is part of an evolutionary healing sounds true to me. I suppose in a sense our wounds and errors are stains, but I think with so many of us our greatest healing is in holding that view that there is something wrong with us. When we can gently acknowledge what needs healing, without beating ourselves up, we can come back to the truth that we are each a beautiful expression of life-- like the flowers blooming, and those dear old dogs of ours.

Blessings~

Rain said...

That's very insightful Reya. I agree that karma plays a role in everything we do, I like your idea of personal karma evolving with every action we take. I think about it as positive energy really. Rather than brooding when I have to do laundry, I enjoy every moment of it, I try to find the joy in it and in doing that I feel more positive and appreciate my life more, so yes, I do evolve further...

Meri Arnett-Kremian said...

I don't mind cleansing the karmic stains on my soul or even folding my karmic laundry and stacking it in neat little piles, but I wish there were someone whose karmic duty in this life was to put that stuff away.

Madame Ladybug (Ady) said...

I am not certain how I feel about "karma". But I enjoyed reading your thoughts on it! :)

Lover of Life said...

I believe in karma and grace. I think when good things come to me, that somewhere along the way I earned a state of grace. Between not wanting to incur bad karma and grace - I stay fairly well centered - most of the time. Sort of the carrot and the stick approach.

Great post.

Amy said...

"Humankind has not woven the web of life. We are but one thread within it. Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves. All things are bound together. All things connect."

This quote from Chief Seattle is one of my very favorites because it's not only how I view karma, but how I view the world.

I love this post, Reya, because to me, it goes back to that conversation about being present and aware. If we are truly present and aware of our place on this planet how can we do anything other than be kind, compassionate, thoughtful, environmentally conscious, etc? Because if we truly understand the concept of us all being connected, (not just to each other, but to this earth which provides us with all of our life sustaining necessities)how can we choose to act in any other way than that which will affect the web positively?

I'll shut up now. Great post!

Butternut Squash said...

Every thought, every action, it all has meaning. When you are paying attention, it is frightening to see how quickly karma comes back to bite you in the butt. I always tell my children, Heaven and Hell is right here with you so make your choices for the here and now. Peace.

Siobhán said...

Great subject Reya.
I like to think it's all about energy flows being blocked and/or balanced.

Reya Mellicker said...

Provocative thoughts, thank you all. I like STeve's thought that karma while alive is somewhat different than between lives or outside of human existence. That makes sense - that karma exists on many levels.

Siobhán said...

Back again - meant to ask where does that expression come from "It's all grist for the mill?"

Reya Mellicker said...

from http://phrases.uk.org -

It's all grist to the mill

Meaning

Everything can be used to move toward a profit or conclusion.

Origin

Grist is the corn that is brought to a mill to be ground into flour. The phrase is quite old and is first cited in Arthur Golding's translation of The sermons of J. Calvin upon Deuteronomie, 1583:

"There is no lykelihoode that those thinges will bring gryst to the mill."

Reya Mellicker said...

Meant http://phrases.org.uk

mouse (aka kimy) said...

wonderful meditation!

lots of quite enchanting ways of articulating the nuances of karma... especially enjoy how you put it: "But we can - and do - sculpt karma every day, all the time."

Verily I go. said...

Too Cool. I love my Karma. I have magic and wonder all the time. Not so much sure about Law of Return?? Karma is responsibility. I do know if you give Poop, you get Poop. If you do not give Poop, pure sweet energy just flows to you, all over you, all around you and MAKES YOU SMILE. Now gather everybody up and do Kismet. Can't wait. You make my braincells tired.

globaltoll said...

More beautiful thoughts and photos. Thanks.

tut-tut said...

I have to come back and read this again, Reya. there is much here to ponder, and I think you may also want to flesh this out.

Reya Mellicker said...

Flesh it out? What a perfect phrase, Tut.

Natalie said...

Whoo Hoo! I must live in a constant state of grace - what with Karmic laundry for seven each day.! Thanks Reya. :D

lakeviewer said...

These ar both stunning pictures. Karma is our sense of justice on a cosmic scale. Only people invent such thoughts so they can control their thoughts and feelings a bit more.

I'm a pragmatist. We are social beings; we need each other; and we never know when and how we are going to be in need; so, it's best to always be kind and considerate, because it begets the same response.

Barry said...

If personal karma evolves with every action we take, judging by the healing grace of the beautiful photos you take, your karma is highly evolved indeed.

Ronda Laveen said...

I have spent much time studying Karma. And I am sure I will spend much more. I also believe it is worked on many levels. Seva, or selfless service, which could include many acts such as sweeping, laundry, walking the dog,singing, and helping can burn Karma. Little cuts and knicks and scrapes do burn little Karma tidbits.

It is easy to look around the world and see who is working through their Karma quickly. Those people having a really hard time in relationships. People with severe trauma and injuries. People with terminal illness are all burning major Karma. There is no quicker way to burn Karma than with a terminal illness. It is so humbling. I have too much on this for a comment and believe it probably is more complex than the Law of Return but will have to study that law and get back to you. Namaste.

P.S. Animals are major Karma buffers. They take on a lot of ours.

Janelle said...

quite agree reya darling. your posts are ALWAYS thought provoking and comforting at the same time and always reaffirm so many of my thoughts..THANK-YOU..oh. and your pics are as always a complete inspiration..remembering what a beautiful world we live in. THANK-YOU THANK-YOU THANK-YOU! XXX janelle

Reya Mellicker said...

Thanks to all who contributed here. There is so much to think about.

Natalie you are very pure - I mean that sincerely!

and Ronda, yes, and thank you. Yes animals take on so much. They do. Wow.

Merle Sneed said...

A lot of people see karma as a tit for tat situation. I think it is the natural consequences of the choices we make.

Jillian & Marley said...

love, love, love, love it!!!!




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