Karma — where are we and how did we get here?

house

by Michael Maciel

We can look upon the world as a great mind, a house, if you will, in which there are many rooms. Each room has been decorated by the current and former occupants in ways that reflect their beliefs, their desires, their fears, and their ideals.

As points of individual awareness (souls), we wander through the halls of this House of Mind checking out each room as we pass by. Some rooms look attractive, some don’t. We tend to hang out for a while in the rooms that suit our tastes.

When we see all that we want to see, we move on to different rooms. But we take with us those things to which we have become accustomed in previous rooms. Therefore, each new room we visit shares stronger and stronger characteristics of the rooms we have frequented in the past.

This is what we most need to understand about this House of Mind — it was here before we showed up. It was built long ago by countless billions of occupants. Each room was laid out by committee, so to speak, built up over vast periods of time, each room in accordance with its original theme.

city

We navigate through the House of Mind with our imagination. Our ideals and fears act like room keys. The images we hold in our imagination guide us to the rooms that best match what we hold in our hearts.

There is nothing static about the House of Mind. Each room is a work in progress. It is constantly being remodeled and redecorated, and there is always lots of people in the hallways checking out different rooms.

Some people even take up residence in several rooms at once. These rooms are usually close together, but sometimes far apart, even on different floors. The people whose rooms are separated like this tend to be conflicted. They can’t make up their minds about which room to live in, and so they are constantly being pulled in two directions. Those whose rooms are closer together have an easier time of it.

Because our imagination moves us from room to room, we tend to believe that we are making it up — our life — when in reality, we are merely stepping into a creation that was there all along, or at least for longer that we are capable of imagining. Other people created it, and we are stepping into their creation.

Most of the ideas, thoughts, and feelings that we experience in each room that we visit have already been conceived, thought, and felt by countless previous occupants. Their experiences have long since been turned into the furniture and wall hangings that we see when we enter the room. As we settle in, their experiences become our experiences. Hence, the room and its theme are perpetuated indefinitely.

buddha

 

For some reason we don’t quite yet understand, however, this House of Mind has rules of occupancy that demand a certain amount of tenant turnover. Maybe it’s because the rooms tend to get overcrowded or overdecorated. Or maybe it’s because the furniture gets out-of-date or worn out. Whatever the reason, there are some people whose purpose for living in this particular house is to work on the imaginations of the current occupants of the different rooms, giving them new ideas — visions of better rooms — so that they will be encouraged to step out into the hallway in search of greater possibilities.

Some people see these introducers of new ideas as visionaries, others see them as agitators. Those who see them as agitators are the ones for whom the layout of their room works well exactly as it is. They know the rules and they are good at playing the game, so they have no reason to move. They usually find a way to evict the agitator.

 

jesus and mary

Those who see the introducer of new ideas as a visionary tend to gather around him or her and practice imagining the new vision. When their imaginations have become strong enough, the introducer of new ideas leads them out into the hallway and escorts them to their new room. Such rooms always have more windows and better furniture.

Once they’re set up there, the introducer of new ideas returns to the previous room to try again, this time maybe adjusting the vision to something more compatible with those who like it where they are, and sometimes by introducing a variety of discomforts that will make them like it less, sort of like the way restaurants turn up the lights at the end of business hours so that the customers will leave.

Before the introducer of new ideas escorts those who are enraptured with the new vision to their new room, he leaves a note pinned to the wall that informs those who are determined to stay that he will someday return and that they should maybe try to reconsider his proposal, hinting ever so slightly that it might be in their best interest to do so. This note subsequently becomes a hotly debated topic that will span the entire period of his absence.

This entire house, complete with its many rooms and floors, comprises what we call “Karma.” In fact, we could rename it the House of Karma rather than the House of Mind, but really, the two names are synonymous, because it is our beliefs, which are the distilled products of our imagination, that make up its structure.

The hardest thing to accept is that this house, whatever you want to name it, has been around far longer than we have. We are perhaps one of many groups who have taken up residence here, the previous occupants having vacated long, long ago. We have no way of telling how long. But what we do know is that when they moved on, they left their furniture and wall hangings behind. What we regard as our own ideas, thoughts, and feelings are really theirs, and we have merely stepped into them thinking that we made them up. We add our own touches, to be sure, but by and large the rooms remain pretty much the same.

We don’t really know how many rooms or floors this house has, or whether there are other houses out there beyond the walls of this one. I think it’s a pretty good bet, however, that the neighborhood is much bigger than we think. Maybe, as we ascend to higher and higher floors of this house, we can get a better view and finally see where we are. But for now, all we can do is work our way up, trying to envision the highest form of life we can, always looking upwards, always seeking out the rooms that have the most windows and the best view.

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Michael Maciel is the author of The Five Vows and World Priest, available on Amazon.

 

The Five VowsWorld Priest cover

 

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One Response to Karma — where are we and how did we get here?

  1. iggygus says:

    There is as much silliness and baggage around the definition of karma (perhaps more) as there is in Christian words like ‘sin’. I often think we need to invent some new word.

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