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Karma is as karma does (aka An ode to the guy who hit my car)

April 9, 2013

My poor car

Yesterday, someone hit my car in the parking garage and drove off without a note. We’re not talking love tap here. This person hit my car so hard that it ripped a hole in my back bumper, then he (or she) drove off without a word.

I was so mad that I ran out of expletives. I yelled, “I hope karma gets that bastard!”

But then I thought, what if this was MY karma coming back to me? Then my mind turned to my day wondering what I could have done to deserve this… I’m pretty sure I wasn’t a jerk wad to anyone today but maybe I wasn’t as nice as I could have been… And so on and so forth in a downward spiral. My mind stuck on this idea that I deserved to get my bumper hit and forced to pay the painful deductible. And, honestly, I felt crappy about it. I felt crappy about myself.

This is why I struggle with karma.

According to Merriem-Webster, karma is “the force generated by a person’s actions held in Hinduism and Buddhism to perpetuate transmigration and in its ethical consequences to determine the nature of the person’s next existence.” Some simply define it as “you reap what you sow.” But karma isn’t that simple. Your life is affected not just by the things you think or do in this lifetime – it could be from a past life! Additionally, karma isn’t restricted to actions. Good behavior motivated by less than perfectly altruistic intentions will still generate bad karma. That is, you can’t do good things for the sole purpose of generating good karma (because that’s self-serving). The good or bad seeds that you plant in one lifetime could manifest itself in the same lifetime or in the next. Karma works in mysterious ways!

Maybe nice is not the first adjective you would assign to me (kind or sweet probably aren’t either). But I go through my day inflicting as little pain as I can to others. I keep to myself. I do what needs to be done. I don’t cheat or commit fraud. I play by the rules. If I can help, I do. If I didn’t make someone’s day, then at least I didn’t make it worse.

Nevertheless, bad stuff happen to good people. Good people like me.

I would like to think that good deeds are rewarded and that bad deeds are punished. But I struggle with the idea that I (or others) did something to deserve the bad things/events in our lives. And that I won’t ever know whether it was this action or another one. I wouldn’t even know if it was in this lifetime or a previous one! I don’t need to walk on the moon myself to believe that it isn’t made of cheese but the fact that you can’t prove the existence of karma or predict how it works makes it hard to swallow. It’s all a little too convenient – like whether God hears your prayers or not. If what you want doesn’t happen, then God must have an alternate plan for you. (<~Yup, I’m going straight to hell for that one. Sorry, Mom!)

Karma tells you to live a life where doing something good is its own reward but how do you escape the idea that if I do good, I will reap good things? Sounds more like true altruism doesn’t exist – not even for Mother Theresa.

I don’t think that life is meaningless or purposeless. I’m not denying that I can’t see patterns or causality in my life because I do but I also feel like sometimes things just happen and we can’t do a damn thing about it. Other than come up with a rationalization that helps us sleep at night… The Indigo Girls expressed it best when they sang in “Galileo:”

And then you had to bring up reincarnation
Over a couple of beers the other night
And now I’m serving time for mistakes
Made by another in another lifetime
How long till my soul gets it right?
Can any human being ever reach that kind of light?

I am not a karma expert. What little I know about it is a shallow understanding at best. But as of now there is no place for it in my life. Reality is hard enough as it is without feeling ambiguously bad about myself. Maybe the person who hit my car will get his just desserts or maybe he won’t. I will never know and I am okay with that.

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From → Mind

9 Comments
  1. Conveying tone in a comment is tough – so here goes nothing … moving forward after this unfortunate incident, one that totally stinks, you are afforded the opportunity to pay forward your amazing kindness and spirit. We can talk about how this will happen but that takes the fun out of it 🙂
    Take care today and be well.

    • Well, I’m trying not to walk about all doom and gloom or give anyone the death glare. 🙂 Writing about it helped. Also, I made myself a root beer float last night to ease the pain. Living in a crowded city, it was only a matter of time. Deep breath in then a looooong exhale.

      • Well, a root beer float definitely has some intrinsic healing properties 🙂 And the best part is always the last few sips.

  2. The way I see it, you have excellent CARma. You weren’t in the vehicle. You weren’t hurt. It’s still operable. You have insurance even if the deductible sucks. The same thing happened to my car, which was parked in front of my house, on Super Bowl Sunday. They hit the door and now it doesn’t open.

    • CARma? I love that! Now that sanity has been regained I am thankful that it wasn’t worse. Not only that, the scratch from my back bumper that has always annoyed me will be gone as well once repairs are made! 🙂

  3. HammerOfJustice permalink

    What if you’re just… not as good a person as you think you are? Maybe it’s not karma as much as… justice?

    • I thought that, too. And I suppose that’s possible. And if it is, then I’d hate to see the karma of other people I’ve run into.

  4. That’s horrible that someone just drove off!! I’m sorry that happened to you and now have to deal with it.

    I’m not sure how I feel about karma. I’m usually a believe that yea, what goes around comes around. You put positive energy out into the world, you will receive that back. But sometimes awful things happen to good people that truly did not deserve it. I say, it’s just jerks being jerks and unfortunately sometimes we are the recipients of their jerkness. I know, that sounds so profound.

    All we can hope is that this guy/gal who hit your car gets what’s coming to him/her.

    • It still hurts when I see the damage to my car but it’s getting less and less painful. But I’ll be glad once she’s all fixed.

      I feel like we’re all connected and that one person’s action creates a ripple effect out into the world and we feel that effect as well but there’s no predicting in what form (good or bad). I think we like to believe that doing/being good guarantees us something but it doesn’t.

      On the other hand, maybe it’s okay to believe what we want because we all benefit from everyone being good to one another. Right? 🙂 (P.S. Glad to hear your wrist is better!)

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