Saturday, October 13, 2007

My name is, I mean, My name is Beth

I'm not sure when I became such a believer in karma, but I've written about it before. Karma is a Hindu term (From the Koran: "Have you considered what you sow? [The Event 56.63]), but you can find the same concept in many societies. The Greeks called it Hubris and Nemesis (That's more of "pride goeth before a fall," but I think it applies here.), and the Bible talks about it in both the Old Testament ("...they that plow iniquity, and sow wickedness, reap the same." [Job 4:8]) and the New Testament ("...whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." [Galatians 6:7]), and the Roman statesman Marcus T. Cicero wrote, "As you have sown, so shall you reap," about 50 years before the birth of Christ.

In other words, it's not a new concept. It exists today in sayings such as "Like begets like," and "He who lives by the sword shall die by the sword." Around these parts, we mostly say, "What goes around comes around." Even Oprah is getting in on the act by endorsing The Secret, which talks about how our thoughts are magnetic, and whatever types of thoughts we have, we attract that type of behavior. That's simplistic, because there's no denying that sometimes bad things just happen. There's a certain element of chaos in life, and there's nothing you can do to control that.

However, I do believe that to a large extent, we affect our own lives by our behavior and attitudes. If we think positively, work hard, and make every effort to improve ourselves, whether it's through education or exercise or making wise choices, we significantly improve our chances of success. The opposite holds true, as well: if we let our anger and vindictiveness get the better of us, if we don't strive to be the best we can be (to borrow a phrase from the Army), and if we repeat these same patterns over and over, we sabotage our own lives. To use another cliche, that's called shooting yourself in the foot.

It's a choice, folks. There's always a choice. God gave us a brain and every ability necessary to make informed, wise decisions. It's like the guy who smokes two packs a day for 50 years, and as he's lying there dying of lung cancer, cries out, "Why me, God? Why me?" I bet God would like to say, "Why do you think, you ijit?" But, being God and all, He has to forgive, even if we don't use the brains He gave us. It's time our society stopped tolerating the Perpetual Victim. We bear so much responsibility for own happiness--or unhappiness, as the case may be. Make the right choice. I choose happiness every time.

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