|Photo by Eileen Milner|
I am not a Buddhist but I do believe in karma. Building up good karma in the great big 'ole universe of spirituality reminds me of what Catholics think of as corporal and spiritual works of mercy. Karma is the universal law of cause and effect. Most people try to do good deeds because it makes them feel they have helped someone else and also because it's the right thing to do. When it comes to doing bad things, we all try our best to minimize the bad karma we put out there. It sounds so simple yet it's not. I think about my reactions to those who annoy me and to those who fray my patience. No bad karma out there, riggghhhttt? (I'm breathing and thinking peaceful thoughts).
Buddhists believe that karma is the result of our own past actions and our own present doings. We ourselves are responsible for our own happiness and misery. We create our own Heaven. We create our own Hell. We are the architects of our own fate. That's a lot of responsibility, right?
His Holiness, the 14th Dalai Lama, says there are 20 things that you can do to get good karma and build a happier and more fulfilling life. Here you go:
1. Take into account that great love and great achievements involve great risk.
2. When you lose, don't lose the lesson.
3. Follow the three R's: Respect for self, Respect for others and Responsibility for all your actions.
4. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a wonderful stroke of luck.
5. Learn the rules so you know how to break them.
6. Don't let a little dispute injure a great relationship.
7. When you realize you've made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
8. Spend some time alone every day.
9. Open your arms to change, but don't let go of your values.
10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
11. Live a good honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you'll be able to enjoy it a second time.
12. A loving atmosphere in your home is the foundation for your life.
13. In disagreements with loved ones, deal only with the current situation. Don't bring up the past.
14. Share your knowledge. It is a way to achieve immortality.
15. Be gentle with the earth.
16. Once a year, go someplace you've never been before.
17. Remember that the best relationship is one in which your love for each other exceeds your need for each other.
18. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
19. If you want others to be happy, practice compassion.
20. If you want to be happy, practice compassion.