Let me first get this out of the way – I am not Buddhist. I was born and raised Baptist, southern at that. In my early 20s I joined a Methodist church, primarily because I loved the pastor at that time. He spoke to my soul. He’s long since retired and the church isn’t the same for me. I haven’t found that spiritual voice that speaks to my soul and I keep looking.
Through social media, I’ve discovered two voices that speak to the state of my soul today…and they’re in an unexpected place…in Buddhism. Now, before my Southern Baptist friends start to pass out, no fears. I am not a practitioner of the faith and still remain a Christian. What I have embraced is the outlook of the Buddhist.
Following the teachings of the Dalai Lama, I discovered this advice.
Karma means action and action motivated by compassion is good. To complain that what happens to you is just the result of your karma is lazy. Instead, confidently recalling the advice that, “You are your own master,” you can change what happens by taking action.
We spend a lot of time focused on the karma bus, praying for it to run over those who have betrayed us. It’s a waste of time to do so, frankly. Sitting and waiting and focusing on the fates to take care of those who have wronged you is futile and it will never happen unless you take action yourself to bring about positive change, to make you grow and flourish.
I’m guilty of envisioning a karma bus, loaded and gassed up and ready to drive more than a few, I’ll kindly say, ‘jackholes,’ over the proverbial bridge. If I took a survey, most of us have our own busses loaded up and we know exactly who belongs there and in which seat.
Through recent research in finding light and positivity, I also discovered Dr. Mark Epstein, who authored the self-help book “The Trauma of Everyday Life.” He writes beautifully and emphatically about trauma, reflected through the tenets of Buddhism.
Reading the below has made me realize that my life has been colored and shadowed by trauma; trauma I have been trying to hide and run from. But, it’s unhealthy to run from it. I’ve started embracing it because there’s nothing wrong with me. What’s wrong is thinking people who belong on a karma bus would ever understand it or have the courage to maybe embrace their own.
The Buddha taught that a realistic view makes all the difference. If one can treat trauma as a fact and not as a failing, one has the the chance to learn from the inevitable slings and arrows that comes one’s way.~ Mark Epstein, M.D. Quote from: The Trauma of Everyday Life
When I look at HC, she often reminds me of a wise Buddha. She even has a Zen pose she takes to at the end of the day, purring contently on top of the couch. I think cats accepted The Trauma of Everyday Life long ago. That’s why they’re serene and, in HC’s case, able to go right foot up in the midst of chaos.
HC may in fact be the ultimate Buddhist. She knows the power of embracing the now, stretching her paws to the sky, breathing in the good. She has no need for a karma bus in her life and neither do I. Namaste.