Karma is not a B*tch; She is Mother Nature…

I made the coffee too strong, and got too excited, so I spilled it accidentally, and now everything’s fine–Life 492…

That is a simple enough little ditty, now, isn’t it? On one level it’s just a description of another manic Monday living in the USA, down in jungle land, for what it’s worth. And on another level it’s a brief glimpse into the horrors of the caffeine addiction to which I’ve relapsed after successfully divorcing myself from that horrible fate—or so I thought. And on an even different level it’s a description of life itself, as the joking attribution suggests.

But on a higher level it also says something about Karma, not the Karma of retribution that speaks to the need of some religions for punishment, if not by some God, then by some force, or doctrine. For isn’t monotheism really the replacement of deities by doctrine, so more than the reduction in godheads, really more of an increase in letterheads? And it’s not a Karma of simple cause and effect, which is really more like a business transaction than a connection with a higher force.

And this does not really speak to a Karma of original intent, which satisfies the needs of many who would like to accept the doctrine but find its typical willfulness a bit hard to fathom, or stomach, or agree in principle with the general outlines of a physical science for which karmic retribution is an anthropomorphic projection of human or animal will, and not something to be found in the first principles of Nature. No, in this case the cause is indirect, and the effect is ongoing, and the suggestion is that Nature has a way of correcting itself.

Nor does it matter the manipulations and perturbations by humans, who always seem like they would just love to coopt Nature at the earliest possible moment, if not defeat it entirely, just for the fun of it, if they could ever get the chance. So I get too wired on caffeine, just to squeeze out one more poem, or one more passable patch of semi-purple prose, and Nature gets even by rendering me again ridiculous—to my benefit! And that’s the key—that this is all to my benefit.

The engine on my old clunker van over-heated and caught fire on Highway 99 in central California thirty some-odd (some very odd!) years ago, and there we were, my partner and I, sitting there on the side of the road, wondering what to do next (no cell phones back in those days). Right about that time the fire burned through the water hose, releasing a sizeable amount of water, just enough to—you guessed it—put the fire out. So the Universe once again got even. Now I won’t say that the day was joyful, but it wasn’t a disaster, either. We all lived to tell the story, and it may have even saved my life. You just never really know.

And that’s the kicker. You just never really know. But I don’t necessarily want to worship Nature, much less anthropomorphize it. After all, there have been times when our planet was nothing but an ice ball. But maybe that’s just a necessary part of the process? No matter, but the idea is that there is some sort of cosmic balance that pervades the universe, no corners excluded. Does that mean that there are more of us out there? No. Do you want there to be? Whether there are or not, it’s just right the way it is.

Then the conspiracy theories came. Then the Global Warming began. Then Donald Trump came. Then the pandemic came. Now suddenly nothing seems quite normal anymore. And maybe that’s good. Because normal might lead only to disaster, whether climatological or social. We may have pushed our culture to the extremes of what is allowable by Nature. If we needed a good kick in the head to wake up before it’s too late, then maybe this is it.

It’s forbidden to talk about over-population these days, because of the conspiracy theorists and their ‘depopulation’ obsession, as if that’s what Bill Gates really wants, and that’s why he unleashed the virus upon us. Of course, that’s what many thinking people want, but no one wants to cause it by other means of suffering. That would be counterproductive. Thinking people want sustainable lifestyles and population balance is part of that. Over-crowded cities are a major cause of Global Warming and pandemics. Do the math.

Bottom line: Karma doesn’t have to be a bitch. Karma can be our friend, restoring the balance to Nature that human willpower is incapable of. I am a Buddhist, but I am not a superstitious Buddhist, and karma doesn’t have to be superstitious; I’m convinced of it. I own no vehicle currently. It’s not necessary. My negotiations with the goddess caffeine continue. The pandemic had some valuable lessons to teach, and we would be wise to learn them. All is not right with the world, and if that is karma, then so be it. But look at the bright side…