I find opportunity to shore up my own understanding of what I stand for in some of the oddest places. Often it is in my interactions with people, and making mental note of who I most identified with while observing a disagreement. Even something as banal as a LIKE on Facebook tells me a lot about my personality. Just last week it was just such a situation where I discovered a bit of what I considered to be a potential “contradiction in my worldview” as I reported to a friend. It sort of upset me. Let me break it down for you.
I’ve come to take it for granted that for all misfortune that befalls me, I need look no further than myself as to the cause. That may sound drastic and a little too simplistic, but I mean it in a “grand scale” kind of way. Karma, transmigration, and all that, you know. Often with the quotes of various gurus and philosophers that I post onto Facebook, I try to gently make others aware of this possibility, a possibility which I take as fact but understanding that others don’t. I do so because I honestly believe that it is an outlook that can vastly improve a person’s quality of life. The idea that I can improve myself, improve my future, improve my world even, by my actions NOW. That no one but me can do so. And that every one else can do the same, for themselves. One day last week I had just finished posting at least a couple of things which pointed to this Cosmic Truth, one of which was a quote from Teddy Roosevelt to the effect that if you spent your life kicking the people responsible for your woes you’d end up with a mighty sore backside. Then I saw another post from a Conservative family member which kind of threw me a curve ball. And I recognized it fairly quickly. It read thusly:
“Why is our government so willing to help illegal minors when so many of our own children are homeless and need help?”
Never mind the “our own” nonsense, if you would. My knee-jerk Liberal response was something like:
“Because according to some people, it is their fault that they are homeless.”
I said “something like” this because I don’t know what I actually typed. Because I later took it down. Because it went in direct opposition, seemingly with my other posts on my own timeline. Surely one can re-post a “quote” without it being his own point of view. It could merely be a conversation starter. I rarely do that unless I make it obvious by attaching a snide comment of my own. I did not do this with the quotes about personal responsibility because I meant them. There is too much complaining and blaming in the world, I think.
I took some time to consider it. Some may say “rationalizing” the contradiction. But I felt there must have been a reason it happened. And I honestly came to believe that both could be true. Because one mentions fault, the other mentions responsibility, you’ll note. I said I hold reincarnation and karma as fact, but I am reasonable enough to know you can’t prove them, and certainly not the details of a past life which led to this one. Therefore, going back to the post from my Conservative cousin, though some people are indeed homeless due to very poor decisions in this life, not all homeless people can be said to be at “fault”, even if it is karmic reflux. In this life, that is not their “fault”. I am well aware that there are societal forces at work against many people in this world. But I am not going to get political here.
No matter what, our current circumstances are ALWAYS our own “responsibility”, hence the Roosevelt quote. I like to take “responsible” to literally means “able to respond” and that is what I try to do. Respond to my circumstances in the most reasonable way I am “able” to. Not react. Respond. It is not my “fault” I am a paraplegic, but it is my responsibility to do with this life what I am able, for example.
Too simplistic? Convoluted reasoning? Rationalization for contradictory spirituality vs. politics? We may never know.
Aum Shankaranarayanaya Namaha
Jai Hari Aum