This bumper sticker caught my attention when I first saw it many years ago, and I’ve remembered it ever since, because at its root it’s true. We all know the origins of karma from Hinduism and Buddhism as the totality of a person’s actions and conduct during successive incarnations, causally influencing his or her destiny. It’s commonly understood to mean you reap what you sow.
Without requiring any deeper explanation, most of us accept that as we do unto others, so it is likely that they will do unto us. In the end we must accept that our lives are largely the result of what we have put into them, that the joys and sorrows of our relationships are reflected in our investments in these relationships, and that our fate is mostly determined by some combination of our own efforts, luck, chance and opportunity. For many, what comes next is determined by faith.
I have learned that being open to the world, reducing the rigidity of my thinking, resisting less, judging less and seeking first to understand has made a positive difference in my life. The less dogma, the less friction.
The Greek origin of the word dogma is dokeîn, “to seem.” Dogma is defined as something held as an established opinion, a definite authoritative tenet. Don’t get me wrong: beliefs, codes of conduct, laws, faith and doctrine are important. If you don’t stand for something, you’ll fall for anything.
However, what I have come to accept is that for karma to flow, circulate and bring the best opportunities, people and conditions into our lives, our dogma must be kept in check. We must be willing to hear, see and feel the other side.
Like most of us, I have strongly held beliefs and points of view, and much of my life experiences have been calcified into some form of dogma—political, religious, moral, philosophical, etc. I imagine you, too, have some strongly held views—your own dogma. It’s said that every issue has three sides: your side, my side and the truth.
I’ve found that if I’m open, I am better able to understand and see the intersection of my side, your side and the truth. The truth really will set us free.