Tuesday, June 5, 2012

And This I Believe

On Sunday, I taught a workshop at Garden State Yoga called "Karma 101."  It was an hour of philosophy and an hour of physical yoga practice using the principles of karma to make the yoga postures more than just gymnastics.  Karma is a huge topic -- but in a nutshell, here's the gyst.  My teacher would say that there are only three ways to view the world, and that you have to pick one.  You can't toggle back and forth between them whenever it's convenient. 

1.  The first worldview is that everything is random.  Things happen just "because."  No real rhyme or reason, just good and bad luck.  This is the view we usually turn to when bad things happen.

2.  The second worldview is that everything is controlled, ordained, governed, by an omniscient being "out there."  This is the world view we turn to when we're facing a disaster or difficult situation and we ask that outer being for help, or when really good things happen. But how could it be that the divine being makes only the good things happen, but the bad things are random -- that makes no sense, but we go back and forth between these all the time.

3.  The third worldview is karma -- every action has a reaction.  Every cause has an effect.  It might take lifetimes to see the effect, but every seed will eventually flower.  And just as sunflower seeds bloom into sunflowers, and acorns into oaks, effects are never contrary to their causes.  And just as the flower or tree is bigger than it's seed, the karmic results are always bigger than the thoughts, words or deeds that cause them.

The problem is that the results don't immediately follow the causes.  If, immediately after speaking unkindly behind someone's back, we tripped and fell down, we would eventually see the cause and effect.  But there's a time lag, just as there's a time lag between planting a seed and seeing it grow.  Instead, we mistake apparent causes for actual causes all the time.  We think that if we work hard, we will make money and live comfortably.  But all over the world, there are good, honest people working their fingers to the bone and barely getting by.  If working hard were the cause of making money, it should work every time, but it doesn't.  We think that if we get the right partner, job, car, house, etc., we will live happily ever after.  But that doesn't work every time either.  So if the great religious traditions are right (and you find formulations of karma in Judaism, Christianity (Galatians 6:7-8), Islam (Quran, 30:41), and of course Buddhism and Hinduism) -- if what goes around comes around -- if we reap what we sow -- the way to be happy is to make sure others are happy.  And this I do believe.

This design was inspired by Janel's great prompt today to journal about what you believe in.  I used Bridgen, the tangle from The Diva's 73rd challenge

Here's a video teaching about karma -- if you're interested!  Thanks for visiting.
PS - Here are photos of Saturday night's tribute.  And to see a video of my friends and family honoring me on Saturday night, click here.


  1. Wow--beautiful! I love it!

  2. Nice work. Lovely lady and wise words.

  3. Is your writing more interesting, or your art, Jessica? I love both.

    1. Thanks Dillip - I always love reading your posts as well.

  4. Beautiful and inspiring art!


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