Thinking about Karma while driving to the grocery store for a gallon of milk

I’ve been rethinking my whole position on Karma lately.
I used to think Karma was some mystical claptrap about fate and reincarnation,
but, from what I’ve read, it seems like a sensible idea.

My actions come back to me.
Cause and effect.
I place myself in the
proximity of my own destiny.
I create my own future.

As a child I used to think my sins were
recorded on some heavenly rap sheet
which would be read at a future
pearly-gates arraignment.

But just maybe my sins are more like cartoon bullets
impossibly ricocheting off a thousand surfaces
eventually to land in the seat of my own pants
while a greek chorus of gods laughs it up at my expense.

Maybe my actions launch off like golf balls over the horizon
and maybe somewhere a 6’4″ hulking masher of a guy
is coming to look for the asshole who broke his windshield —
and if I’m not careful he will find me.

You can only slink away and hide so many times.
And if slinking away and hiding becomes a habit,
what kind of life is that?

Best to aim those golf balls more carefully,
or, better yet, tread lightly and
only send off those fake wiffle golf balls,
or maybe just marshmallows.

Anyway, I heretofore regard sin as it’s own punishment —
Karma as a judgement of natural consequences,
a product of system dynamics writ universal.

When I shoot, I hit something,
which may eventually come back to hit me.
And whats’ more, the recoil from the gun
of my own misdeeds knocks me ever-so-slightly
off aim with each pull of the trigger.
Constantly shooting and not re-aiming
leaves me lost and disoriented.
How often do I find myself aimlessly wandering
through my own life in need of some retargeting?

So is the answer as simple as that?
Avoid doing bad stuff?
Aim my actions carefully?

No, it’s not enough. Can’t be.
What if my future is manufactured
using the spaces between my thoughts,
my short-sightedness, my inaction,
my inattention to the obvious signs along the road?
And what of the subtle and non-intuitive evidence
of the shifting ground beneath my feet,
the world everywhere changing
into next week’s unpleasant surprise?
Will I walk someday into a wall
that I swear wasn’t there the day before?
When a new hole appears in the road,
will I look up from my worker-bee daily commute
in time to avoid it?

What I don’t know might definitely hurt me.

Not to mention that if *I’m* aimlessly
shooting cosmic bullets with everything I do,
then everyone else is too.
I’m caught in a Karmic crossfire,
a crazy rain of unintended consequences.
The slings and arrows of outrageous Karma
some of which will have consequences for me.
I need to know when to duck.

So lessee, I gotta pay attention to what I do.
And pay attention to what I’m not doing.
And pay attention to what other people are doing.
Who can pay that much attention?
I don’t even remember names all that well.

That’s a pretty damn narrow gate to enter through.

Who, then, can be saved?

I think in the Bible it says something like
“With God all things are possible”
(I can’t give the exact quote, I am Catholic after all.)

But for those of you that don’t speak Deity
Think God as Love (the meaty kind not the mushy kind)
Think God as Connectedness
Think God as Other-Centeredness.

Maybe the answer is to watch each others’ backs?
Maybe I create my future by looking out for the future of others
And surrounding myself with people who help me look out for mine?

What if all those cliches like
“no man is an island” and
“united we stand” are really true?

The fact that God would hide
the meaning of life in plain sight,
wrapped in a hackneyed truism
just confirms what I’ve always suspected —
God has quite a sense of humor
And can be pretty annoying sometimes.

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