Ol' Mama Karma

I have to tell you the bad news first. I’ve just realized that I know where Ol’ Mama Karma lives. Not for her the big marble palace in the sky equipped with golden thrones and swift-flying horses and an armory full of thunder bolts. No. Not for her all that Sturm und Drang of traveling at a breakneck pace around the world to smite the sinner with her lightning (along with a hapless shepherd or two up in the high summer pastures with his dogs and sheep). No. These days it would drive her wild to have to keep up with all of our iniquitous behavior. She has it all worked out in the simplest, most economical, most comfortable way — for her.

Think about it!

Ol’ Mama Karma lives in the center of every and each heart, where she putters around quite happily as long as all is well. It isn’t our making an error that brings her into action. No. She forgives mistakes — as long as we learn from them and don’t make them again. But the second time, when we know (or at least suspect that we know) better… ah, then!

An error repeated darkens our heart, making it colder, and so for the sake of comfort, she reaches out with her broom, and gives a firm whack on the tender, vulnerable wall of the heart. This reminder sends a quiver and a shiver, a palpitation and a pulsation undulating through body, mind, and spirit. We know when we’ve done wrong. All the denial, all the self-justification, the rationalization, the self-vindication, and the outright whitewashing we do cannot hide us from ourselves successfully. See how neat it is? She scarcely has to do a thing.

She is not some vengeful, sour old woman making up silly rules about shellfish and sex for us to break so she can scold and torment us. No one but a psychopath would want to spend their days doing that.

And speaking of punishing, not only do we recognize our own wrong-doing, but we instigate our own chastisement as well. We know just exactly how guilty we are, and we put ourselves in the way of our own penance. She might prefer that we simply learn something so we’d actually do better next time, but by her own rules, she sits and watches, knitting and nodding (or shaking her head), often with a tiny smile on her beautiful, ageless face, as she practices the natural magic of letting things happen with just the least little nudge.

It’s a system that has worked nearly effortlessly (for her) for eons — possibly as far back as the first amoeba, perhaps right back to the hearts of the miniscule molecules of the precursors of life. She is in our own hearts, as much a part of us as the beat of them and of the breath that keeps them going. She simply lives in our hearts. Just that.

So the good news is that it’s in our own hands. And perhaps that is the bad news as well. What do you think?