People do not fear death
How can they be threatened with death?
If people are made to constantly fear death
Then those who act unlawfully
I can capture and kill them
Who would dare?
There exists a master executioner that kills
If we substitute for the master executioner to kill
It is like substituting for the great carpenter to cut
Those who substitute for the great carpenter to cut
It is rare that they do not hurt their own hands
Chapter 74, Tao Te Ching
In any given moment, we plant the seeds of our destiny. Inner intentions drive the choices you make, so it is important to be aware of these moments. By reflecting on your past, you can gain insight into how you arrived in this now.
The simplest perspective of Karma is to view it as a law of cause and effect where the actions that you take will have a result. The two most important perspectives for cause and effect are the spiritual view and the physics theory. In Taoism and Buddhism, it is a spiritual principle. In Taoism, it is both spiritual and philosophical.
The name they both have for it is Karma. In Physics, causality is the relationship between cause and effect. Results are always preceded by an action that produced it. In Taoism, both play a significant role in understanding how the Tao is the spiritual and physical realm. An even simpler way to put it is common saying of “what comes around goes around.” Alternatively, you may have heard “what you put out into the world comes back to you stronger or bigger.”
Choice and Destiny.
“If you want to know your past,
look at your present conditions.
If you want to know your future,
look at your actions today.”
Chinese Proverb- Unknown
Choosing is an action, and the result or effect is destiny. In any given moment, you plant the seeds of your future. Inner intentions drive the choices you make, so it is important to be aware of these moments. By reflecting on your past, you can gain insight into the circumstances you realize in the present. These conditions whether right or bad is the result of earlier choice. The results may have been created by choices that you made earlier, or they may be the result of someone else’s choice. So you can see how important the action of choosing is. Not only it is guaranteed to affect your future, but it may and often does influence the future of others.
It is essential that you understand the following points:
- The Tao (karma) does not play favorites
- No one can escape its influence or the destiny they create
- Seeds are planted to grow a garden.
- What you plant now is what you will reap later. (the garden is a metaphor for your life.)
- Choices create destiny. What you choose now creates the circumstances of your future (or someone else).The results maybe sooner or later
All of this is karma.
A crucial insight is to realize and accept your responsibility for the circumstances of your life right now. In some ways, it does not matter if the current situation is a result of your choice or caused by something or someone else. Right here, right now you are experiencing the results.
Things happen to us, expected and unexpected, self-caused or not. Be aware of how you react to the things you experience, whether you caused them or not. When something happens, it is typical to react. This reaction becomes a choice with a future result. So even if you did not cause you this problem, be mindful of how your response will create even more karma results. If you did make a bad choice, be careful to understand what went wrong and not repeat the results.
The choices you make while reacting will create your future circumstances. Since you cannot always prevent the unexpected from happening, you must expect the unexpected, accept that it is a part of life, and learn to take the next step or the next choice, very carefully.
How Do You Do This?
So, instead of automatically reacting when something happens, you can in a moment of self-awareness, consider what the wise choice should be. Being able to stop and think what the smart choice may require a degree of mindfulness. Mindfulness is something you cultivate as an extension of meditation.1
Now that you are present and mindful of choice, how do you know what to choose? That is where the wisdom of the Tao Te Ching (the way of virtue) can play a decisive role. Free of automatically reacting, you can let the wise insights and strategies of the Tao Te Ching guide you. Good intentions are not enough.
You must consult experience and wisdom to know what the right action is. It can be the wisdom of the Tao, and it can be your wisdom cultivator over a lifetime of experience. You may have heard the saying “the road to hell is paved with good intentions.” Be patient and make a wise choice for the action that seems best.
Try to consider this three step process:
- Be mindful of reaction.
- Be patient and don’t automatically react.
- Stop and look at what is going on in your
- Ask if an immediate response is even necessary.
- What is your immediate reaction?
- What is the deeper intention?
- Are you blaming someone or something else?
- Can you take ownership of your bad choices in the past?
- What are you doing and why are you doing it?
- What will the outcome be?
- What seeds am I planting?
- Is Ego at work?
- Is this virtuous?
- What might be the cause and effect of my actions?
- Let wisdom guide you.
- What outcome would be best for everyone?
- What are some virtuous-choices?
- What would your spiritual teacher or role model tell you to do?
- Consider the wisdom of the Tao. What are some Tao strategies that are relevant?
- Consider your wisdom from what you have learned from your
Change. Look at the complementary relationship between change and cause and effect. Change is inevitable, but how you react is a matter of choice. Choice creates your destiny. As the Tao cultivator, be consciously aware of these two laws of change (impermanence) and karma (cause and effect). Pay attention to your choices as if your life depended on it.
How Sovereignty Helps With Karma
Cultivating Sovereignty is learning to rule your inner kingdom so that when you experience problems or obstacles, you will act wisely. The wise ruler can be aware of the inevitable changes that each day brings. Rather than resist this reality of impermanence, the sovereign cultivator integrates with the corresponding relationship change, creation, and karma. Sovereignty will allow you to unify with the Tao and navigate your life through wise choices. In this way, you create your true destiny.
In ancient times Karma was referred to as “The Great Executioner.” It is a good idea to have a healthy respect for karma; Inevitably you will reap what you sow. Are you familiar with the saying “what goes around comes around”? What you send out, the actions you take will work
its way back around gaining strength. When it fulfills its cycle and arrives back, it will be bigger. So it is with great care that you create the moments of your life. This Tao principle in unavoidable, inescapable and guaranteed. This convergence of karma with the present moment can be catastrophic; hence the saying “the great executioner.” Like nature, the Tao does not play favorites. No one escapes the effect of karma. When and where the convergence happens is unknown and unpredictable. It may return very soon, or it may not catch up to you until another life time. You can run, but you cannot hide.
As you read this, in this now, is the moment of truth where you take control of your life. At this moment you have a choice. Will you choose to continue as a victim of your distracted ego choices? Are will decide to become the sovereign? This decision is the one where you will most certainly begin to create your destiny consciously.
Take charge of your mind by practicing meditation. As you wake up and become self-aware, you can mindfully take part in your destiny through wise choices. There will always be changes in life. Many you will not see coming. You will be the victim of someone else’ poor choice. You will make mistakes. However, the more you practice, the more your skill will improve. With practice and cultivation, you will get better and better. People will notice and ask you how you were able to change for the better. Be the sovereign and let the wisdom of the Tao be your compass as you navigate your life path and you will stay true to your true self.