Our 2-on-1 topic this week -
At first glance, if you are a believer in fate or destiny, these are words to live by. If you are a reactor rather than an actor, you would certainly have no quarrel, as to live by these words is to embrace a life predetermined - a life of destiny, fate sealed. I suppose to some it would be liberating to embrace such a lifestyle.
Like others,I sometimes spend an inordinate amount of time pondering just such notions - is life predetermined? Are we really free? Does free will really exist?
Frankly, I have a difficult time believing we are living predefined, scripted lives. I find it very hard to believe that some so-called god took the time to write out my life - and say my wife will suffer for 10 years and ultimately succumb to a genetic condition that he (or she to be fair) predetermined would strike her down. Why would my friend Jim's wife be destined to suffer through cancer - or anyone for that matter. Oh - the Bible does say the planet is under the control of Satan - interesting that god covered his/her tracks that way - check 1 John 5:19 - “The whole world is lying in the power of the wicked one.” That's all you need to know, shut up and keep keep doing what you are told. You simply cannot be trusted to make decisions on your own.
Naturally folks like Pat Robertson and others of his evangelical ilk will suggest we are being punished for the "wickedness" in our lives in this country and the decline in the importance of god in our culture. We are bombarded by cries of god belongs in our schools, workplaces and needs to dominate our lives because he/she loves us and we cannot be trusted to manage our own lives. God created us as imperfect beings, burdening us with free will while at the same time requiring us to strictly adhere to his will. It's the old his way or the highway scenario. But - which of his paths is the true path? Catholic? Mormon? Methodist? Baptist? Jehovah's Witness? Christian Science (boy does that one sound like an oxymoron) or any one of the dozens of so-called Christian churches - all of which claim to be the one true way down that Christian highway. How about Judaism - after all, those Christian churches are really spin-offs of Judaism and that Jesus fellow was actually a Jew. Perhaps god had a script writing contest and chose the best batch of the entrants to put into place as the scribe of our destiny.
What about miracles? Are miracles really miracles - an extraordinary event divine intervention in human affairs - as defined by Merriam/Webster or are they simply random acts that coincide with mathematical prophecy (probability)? How many years until a chimpanzee with a keyboard creates the next War and Peace? (I'd prefer that chimp create something shorter, thank you very much).
I trust that by now you have ascertained that I do not subscribe to the "God's will" school of thought regarding my lifestyle. That does not, however, mean that I have completely ruled out some form of universal (call it divine if you must) karmic intervention, aka the payback is a bitch equation. Karma is terrific - there is something inherently fair about a theory of life or a lifestyle that is based on the notion that whatever happens to you happens because of your actions, and isn't fairness what almost everyone seeks? Throw in the occasional random happenstance - be it triumph or tragedy - and you have a recipe for life that is workable and satisfying.
Go to worship every sabbath (whatever day your particular faith calls for. Follow the tenets of your faith. In my experience/observation, doing that quite frequently leads to a satisfying life. To those participating in such a lifestyle it is God's will, whereas to a believer in karma, since Christianity tends to follow the 10 commandments, following them means you are leading a fair, honest life which bodes well for your destiny.Karma is a big-tent faith/lifestyle/philosophy. Clearly the fact that we are all human, and thereby subject to the occasional lapse in judgement or mistake, the tent is sufficiently large as long as you accept your responsibility. It is a pity the religions of the world do not have a tent as all encompassing. I suspect the world would be a much better place if we were all living that way. Neither seek nor avoid, take what comes is simply too passive for me as an active lifestyle, although I must admit that retirement has been closer to that than I imagined i it would be. Plus, the jury is still out when it comes to me and god - anyone that knows me understands why neither I nor U2 have found what we are looking for.
That's it for my take on this week's subject. Ramana and I will be back next week for another 2-on-1 blog on a new subject. Until then, remember how to treat people - good Karma matters.