Because everyone has the right to be truly free and happy
“Whatever one sows, that will he also reap” Galations 6:7-8
I received a lovely email from a friend the other day, wanting to know how I was going. I had been feeling quite miserable for a few days, and so in a moment of self-pity told her I was not so great, and that I felt like I was having a mid-life crisis. Yep – a bit dramatic I know. But you know, there are times that truly feel like this.
I eagerly waited her response, which I was sure would be filled with sympathy and mental hugs. When I received her email reply, I was truly shocked. Instead of the moral support I was expecting, there right in front of me was a two paragraph discourse on the law of cause and effect, known in buddhism as karma. The law of karma tells us that one cannot experience an effect without first having created the cause.
” The kind of seed sown will produce that kind of fruit. Those who do good will reap good results. Those who do evil will reap evil results. If you carefully plant a good seed you will joyfully gather good fruit” Dhammapada
All I could think was “what kind of friend does that”? I promptly closed the email and stewed over it intermittently the rest of the day.
And then, as I came to write this post, I finally realised what kind of friend does do that, and it is a very good one. By reminding me of karma, my friend did not let me off the hook and let me wallow in self-pity. She did not let me abdicate my responsibility for my current situation.
As I began to think about it further, if I went into my garden and saw a thorn bush growing, I would not think that it just arrived there by divine intervention or through a magical force of someone’s ill-will. I would know through logic that there must have been a seed of a thorn bush in the soil, or at least some leftover roots in order for the thorn bush to grow. And of course I would not sit by the garden lamenting the existence of the thorn bush and how it is ruining my beautiful rose garden. I would not rest there in self pity. If I did not want the thorn bush there, well I would take action and pull it out!
My friends very kind email reminded me that we all are the keepers of our own gardens. The thorns I was experiencing were the result of actions I had taken in the past. I had chosen to sow seeds of negativity, and now I was reaping the harvest of misery. By choosing which seeds to plant, nourish, and which to neglect, we create the landscape of our lives.
I remember hearing once that if you want to know what your past life was like, look at your life now. If you want to know what your future life will be like, look at your life now. For the way we have lived our lives in the past, our actions, attitudes and habits have created our current situations. What we are doing now, is also shaping our futures.
“Sow an act, and you reap a habit. Sow a habit and you reap a character. Sow a character and you reap a destiny.” James Allen
So yep, today may be filled with difficulty. It is bound to be – that is the nature of human life. I don’t know about you, but I certainly have not lived a stainless life to date!!! So sooner or later, the harmful and unskilful things we have done are bound to come back to bite us.
But I guess the real key is not to react to the troubles with negativity. If we have created these situations, then it is up to us to respond to what we have created with acceptance and dignity. And then, instead of planting more thorn bushes, go about planting some seeds of love, compassion, understanding and peace. Our future gardens will thank us for it!
“Don’t judge each day by the harvest you reap but by the seeds that you plant.” Robert Louis Stevenson
I apologise, I am sure the whole botanical metaphor is well and truly worn thin, but what the heck, what a better way to end than with the Tears for Fears classic “Sowing the Seeds of Love”. Enjoy!