There have been times where I debated the existence of karma. At one time I thought it was the work of one’s own belief (if you believe in it, you experience it.) These days I have returned once again to the thought that karma is a law of existence. Karma being neither good, nor bad, is a response to an action – like paint it colors an empty canvas. Emptiness, from the Buddhist perspective, is the idea that all things lack “self-existence” and therefore are colored by personal karma (past action.) In other words, what one did in their past, creates their present moment. if you change your actions (karma) you change your future present moments. I can’t prove this to you, but I can tell you about something that recently happened to me and the lessons I learned.
It’s one thing to talk about Karma, but it’s another to give a direct example. Several years ago, in early 2019, I wrote a book called Henosis: Union with God. The word henosis is Greek and translates to “union.” My work was an attempt to codify an idea of the overlapping faith in all teachings that lead to a same Source. The contents of the book are not important, in fact my views on the matter have changed over time to reflect a different current, the current found here on this site. What is important, for the sake of this article, is the 1 star review I discovered yesterday.
When I saw the review (shown in the image above), I was at first angry. I thought, “the arrogance, the audacity…” Although my views have since changed since writing the book, I don’t think the work is a rehash of other material, in fact I think my depiction of Self is the only illustration ever done to such detail. But… that’s my ego talking, isn’t it?
After anger, came the hurt. Writing, like all art forms, is an expression. I wrote that book from my heart. It had my feelings, thoughts and spiritual expression. This wasn’t a talk on business, or some mundane aspect of life, it was a talk on something very subtle and pure – spirituality itself. No one can claim I was in it for the money, the e-book was sold at the lowest value Amazon allowed, $0.99. It was as good as free. I was offering my heart, and someone spat on it. Yes it hurt.
A part of me wanted to respond to this comment. Instead I snapped out of it. I remembered my spiritual goals.
As I’m actively working on humility, I accepted his comment. In accepting it, I found humility. My ego was trampled upon, and this was good. I was released from thinking that my mundane self is great. Often the delusion creeps in, where I think the way to solve problems, or find happiness is through the mundane way of thinking.
Happiness can only be achieved through a loss of ego. Amplifying ego, only amplifies problems. While this person’s comment appears rude, it also was a great teaching, a good lesson. I have no anger towards them, only respect because they gave me an opportunity to subdue my own ego.
The comment did more than humble me… It provided a second gift, the gift of wisdom. I saw myself in this fellow’s comment. In the past, I’ve written reviews exactly like this. Reviews tearing apart movies, best selling novels, etc. I thought nothing of it because I felt they were large scale entities that could afford some negativity. I was wrong. Regardless of how much money someone makes, comments like this are designed to hurt. The real person they hurt though, is the writer/speaker. In time that karma will return to the author, and they’ll find themselves equally chastised, or humiliated or mocked.
That same day, I left a 1 Star review on a major theatrical movie. My angst was almost as bad as the reviewer of my book. When I read his comment, the first thing I thought of was my comment on that movie.
My ego immediately defended itself, “it’s different! I’m just a regular person who struggles to get by, I don’t deserve this level of attack. That movie is a million dollar film that wasn’t any good!”
Was my ego right? Does money or power make a difference? A rock hitting a rich man, hurts him as much as it would a poor man. While there are more opportunities to care for the rich, the pain that is sent out is still the same, with the same intention.
My review on that movie was as bad as that 1-Star book review and its karma is a seed in my mind waiting to ripen.
Result of Acceptance
As I accepted this comment and recognized my own similar failures (negative remarks to others), my world shifted a tiny bit. This is no metaphor. It felt lighter, brighter and filled with more energy. These are personal experiences, and I can’t expect the reader to understand.
I felt the change in my acceptance of two truths:
- Accepting the negative comment, allowing it to humble me
- Accepting the negative comment as an aspect of karma, reflecting my own past nature
By changing our actions, we can change our future. My goal isn’t to live a life with beautiful comments and major book sales. My goal is to find spiritual growth – true Oneness with Self (or Soul) and from that state, relating and interacting directly with the Source of All. To get to that goal I need to clean out my garbage and this is how it’s done… one bit at a time.
I’ve since removed negative reviews that were angst filled… I’ve cast compassion to my perceived enemies and realigned my goals.