It is said that during the lifetime of the Buddha, as the first 60 monks set out to share his teachings, he asked each of them to commit to reflect upon 10 things throughout their journey.

The 8th one is about karma: Of Karma I am constituted.  Karma is my inheritance, Karma is my origin; Karma is my kinsman; Karma is my refuge.  Whatever Karma I perform, be it good or bad, to that I shall be heir”

I don’t think Karma is something that I need to believe happens as a result of a past life or showing up in a future life….  It’s not even something I need to believe in at all really.

For me, it’s simply an awareness that for every action, there is a reaction– Awesome Monk Bhante Sujatha calls it boomerang karma, whatever you do it always comes back to you in some way or another.

Cause equals effect.

He goes on to say: “Just forget about all those fancy words.  Focus all your intention on right now, today.  Be as fiercely kind and compassionate and mindful as you can be and you will never have to worry about Karma. Stop thinking your actions will show up in another lifetime, they will show up this afternoon, knocking you onto your butt or lifting you up to higher realms of joy. Just like a boomerang, whatever you do is coming right back to you so watch out ”.

His image of a boomerang is so awesome.

I see it everyday– negative things seem to most often happen to negative people while amazing things seem to happen to amazing people.  I can hear my mom drilling into me the quote from “A Course in Miracles”, “To have, give all to all”.  

Tyler and Bhante Sujatha in Baton Rouge, LA Jan. 2015
Tyler and Bhante Sujatha in Baton Rouge, LA Jan. 2015

I’ve observed, when I serve others, others serve me.  When I help others, others help me.

When I’m kind, I receive as much or more kindness in return.

I think the Buddha’s words are dead on:  I am constituted by the reactions of my actions…  what I do today, what I focus on, what I show up in the world as, it will be clear and evident in how my tomorrow’s look.

Whatever I do in and to this world, I will be the recipient of down the road–making my choices, intentions and actions of vital importance.

I think what I’ve finally concluded about Karma is this: Eventually, we all swim in the same river.   At some point, we’re all downstream from one another.