A Pot of Boiling Karma
It’s often said that those with whom we have the most conflict, annoyance, and challenges are our greatest teachers. Those individuals who really just scratch at us for reasons we just can’t articulate only to realize a bit down the road–if we’re lucky–that what was really crazy-making was the reflection of our own weakness. Reflections are not the only source of learning and teachers as reflectors/deflectors are not the only teachers. We also come across those individuals who are boiling pots of karma and although avoiding those individuals is often the best choice there are also instances in which taking a detour is simply not an option. What to do when you find yourself pitched into another’s boiling pot of karma?
There’s a particular person in my life who fits this bill. For the sake of young innocents painfully and unwillingly embroiled in the wrath, I am desperately searching for ways to create peace in the pot and to protect us all from the violence. Negotiation is consistently rejected: emails are ignored, phone calls refused, and even in the midst of a face-to-face meeting the pot simply refuses to even look in my direction. I’ve tried japa, prayer, and meditation–and I do believe they’ve helped a bit–but the pot is still boiling and spitting at anyone or anything that steps near. I’ve tried, and I’m still trying, to cultivate compassion for the pot because it must MUST be suffering terrifically to produce such vitriol, such negativity, such violence. The pot’s energy is so filled with rage that a necessary phone call (even if I’m only in the room while another is conversing with the pot) causes my heart to pound thunderously as if it’s summoned all force to blow through my ribs and out of my body.
What to do? How to deal? What little practice can possibly tame this shrew?
Searching, I came across a podcast by Swami Tyagananda-ji about Karma Yoga. In it he says:
“We ought not to hate anyone. This world will always continue to be a mixture of good and evil. Our duty is to sympathize with the weak and to love even the wrongdoer. The world is a grand moral gymnasium, wherein we have all to take exercise so as to become stronger and stronger spiritually. So, eliminating hatred from the heart is one of the central practices of Karma Yoga.” (download the podcast here: Karma Yoga)
What happens when we experience muscle failure?
The exercise is to consistently practice to respond kindly, to make a relentless effort to forgive, to continue to cultivate compassion even in the midst of an attack. And, personally, I will fail but I will try and try more as long as it takes. However, the suffering that it most painful is that which is felt by the little ones and it just breaks my heart that karma knows no age. If I were to be struck by God embodied in a tremendous bolt of lighting I would hope to walk away burnt to such a Divine crisp that I could immolate the suffering of others–particularly the kids’.
I am practicing with full force to get struck with that bolt of pure love but I’d settle for the pot to stop its boiling.
Om eim klim Kali-ye svaha.
Hari Om tat sat.