I am once again in a mental and spiritual state that leaves me wondering, “What’s next?” and, “To what end?”
To the first query, who can say? As humans here on this seemingly unpredictable, yet proven transitory and cyclical Earth, we are prone to follow news, exchange gossip, choose sides, and battle ourselves into the ground.
When the United States Supreme Court ruled three days ago to overturn the long- and hard-fought-for Roe v. Wade law, a familiar set of feelings seeped in and crept through:
To invalidate a woman’s right to choose the circumstances amidst which she—and potentially, a new being—will live immediately raised my ire. The anger and frustration quickly became bafflement, accompanied by cynicism, and eventually, sprinklings of logic atop a large mound of fervent Faith.
The rapid rate at which this torrent of emotion and thought occurred points to the many times I have felt similarly. Racial injustice, sexual discrimination, tyrannical and nonsensical leaders, mass genocides… Each time one of these abominable situations arise, I feel the same set of emotions as the ones sparked by the Court’s recent decision.
This time, however, a new thought has made its way into the lineup. Intellectually, I have always known that there are legions of people who support a ban on abortion: Never, however, have I been able to occupy—not for even one second—that mindset. Never, though, have I tried, at least not with any degree of genuine openness to what I may find.
But suddenly, after the initial deluge of anger-based emotion, I somehow tip-toed my way in to the hearts and minds of those who applaud the ruling.
It was and is a strange sensation, but one that drastically has reduced my bewilderment. This tentative step over to the “other side” has reminded me of the inevitability of polarity, duality, and the discord that typically follows when “opposing sides” butt heads.
My way through such times is not a socially active one… at least, not overtly. But because my beliefs and practices focus on the spiritual through-lines of all that occurs in this material world, I am able to summon thoughts and techniques that uplift that perspective.
And then, one breath, one prayer, one mantra or mudra at a time, I seek to “vibrate” in a way that allows respectful acknowledgement of that which initially I find abhorrent. In aligning more closely with the rhythm and frequency of the Universe, my Heart moves away from being part of the pervasive discord.
Whether you are one who delves into the public fray, or one who diligently supplies power to others from within, perhaps foster this intention: For all your personal opinions, for all your vehement stances, try to remember that those who seem in opposition are operating from a similar level of belief and purpose. When one can recognize ardent integrity in another—despite the seemingly opposite mindset—the slightest inroad toward mutual respect has begun.
With all of the above thoughts spilling forth over the course of the last few days, I also began to think about the idea of a Collective Karma. Might this concept be the explanation for why “history repeats itself?” If we as a nation—or any group as a culture or sovereignty, or family or organization—are connected eternally by dint of a massive karmic obligation, would that not explain how we can keep making the same mistakes, unleashing the same challenges?
But then what of the personal vibration to which I referred to earlier? Is it a fool’s errand to think that my or any one person’s solo, solitary efforts have value or effect?
My sense of an answer to that lies in one of the key features with which each human being is graced: Free Will.
Free Will here on Earth may be hindered by personal or geopolitical circumstances, or even by lack of self-confidence. But it is there, lying at the ready, for any moment when personal discernment and courage, in accord with the Timing of the Universe, allow for its release.
Thus, with regard to Collective Karma, I offer the following from an article in Tricycle: The Buddhist Review: In “Karma is Individual,” Theravada monk Thanissaro Bhikkhu reminds us that “the Buddha’s teachings treat people as responsible individuals, rather than lumping them into groups. …Evaluate [yourself] by [your] own current actions, rather than by the actions of other members of the group into which [you’re] currently reborn.
“That’s how we find ourselves born into particular groups of people. …Through your own individual intentions, you develop a karmic profile. Then you’re born with people who have similar profiles in their individual backgrounds.
“[Ultimately,] spark a desire to get out of the karmic network altogether. The interim reaction, though, should be empathy: We’ve all been in this together for far too long.”
With regard to the current Roe v. Wade upheaval—bringing fury for some, joy for others—a feeling of empathy can be hard to muster. I am finding, however, that in the midst of the oppositional strife for which human beings seem custom-designed, the more I allow myself to venture into the outlooks of those with whom I disagree, the more relief I feel from frustration and helplessness.
Having said that, I feel the need to reiterate my personal belief in Choice as the Chosen Mode—after all, each of us were born with Free Will, i.e, an innate ability to determine our own earthly actions. To remove an avenue of Choice seems to fly in the face of that which is divinely decreed.
Finally, what of the second of my opening questions: “To what end?”
I return to that which I always do: Faith that the workings of God and the Universe occur, shift, and repeat in a way that have eternal significance. My single goal with regard to such Faith is to safeguard and, when possible, elevate my Soul in this earthly existence: recognize and explore my personal vibration; discern if and when and how I may need to alter it in accordance with karmic evolution and Higher Purpose; and tend to that task.