Koszalin, 2015-09-20 13:32:27 +0200 I went to a Buddhist lecture a few days ago, and it made me think about a few things. This post is going to be about cause and effect and the freedom of thought. In the text, I will be using loose quotes from the lecture, and they will be marked with italics.
I once had, in the first apartment I rented in Poznań, a flatmate by the name of Agnieszka. She bore a pretty common Polish name, not to say, rather ordinary, but she herself was probably the only one of her kind. We shared the apartment for a bit less than two months at the turn of 2012 and 2013. She had the body build of an obese lumberjack, swore like a trooper and kind of never really understood the meaning of a healthy lifestyle or eating habits. She had the most peculiar daily ritual: every morning she would get up early, walk to the kitchen (which was the central point of our flat,) look at the dark morning sky and say, pardon my French: Ja pierdolę, ale dzisiaj chujowa pogoda. (Fuck, the weather today is so shit.) I always found it funny that she chose to be unhappy and share it with the rest of her world, but I guess for her it was the best of choices.
Many people tend to blame others or outside circumstances for their failures or bad mood. Seriously, don’t do it. It just doesn’t work. If you think that your happiness depends on another person, on something, on the government’s decision, or whatever, you will never be satisfied. Happiness is a decision, and even if it seems that the causes for your current situation are somewhere outside, they are still most probably somewhere within. For instance, if you can hardly read and write in your own language upon leaving high school because you preferred to play football and LoL with your friends; if your English is limited to computer vocabulary and the F words; if you chose to study Social Science or European Studies in Koszalin or Nowy Sącz because your drinking buddies were all there, is it really the government’s fault that you cannot find a well-paid job in Poland? If you hate people and all the world, do you think the world is going to be kind to you?
In July, I went to a house party with my friend. I only knew one girl there, and the rest of the group were her friends or acquaintances. We were greeted by a skinny blonde with a radiant smile. As soon as I saw her, I thought: She’s skinny and blond. My friend will definitely like her very much. My friend spent the whole evening talking to her. It soon turned out that she was engaged. Later that evening, at about three o’clock, the four of us (my male friend, the blonde, and the original female friend) ended up at a bar with the ominous sign saying in English: No wifi–talk to each other and get drunk. That was more or less what we had already been doing throughout the night, first with Gin Lubuski and blackcurrant juice, and with beer afterwards.
I told the blonde that I preferred talking to good friends to chasing girls that I didn’t like and that didn’t give a damn about me anyway. I believe that if I’m destined to meet someone on my way, I will meet them, no matter what. Then the blonde said something I didn’t quite agree with. She said that what I said was really just an excuse and that she knew that what I really wanted was just to have good sex. Oh, really? Is that really what my life is all about? So all these long, lone travels, all the foreign languages I tried to master, the hundreds of hours I spent on the meditation cushion trying to get free from the worldly concerns, were they all in vain? Did I come to this world, grow up, try to be a good human being and all that stuff… just to have sex? Really?
The bar closed down, and I went to my friend’s place, where I was staying. He and the blonde set off on a long and perilous journey to the girl’s place. My friend then came back home at eight in the morning. He said that he had walked the girl home and that they had been joyfully talking for several hours. He also said that he hadn’t been so much in love with somebody in ages. Whatever. He’s still in love with her, and they are staying in touch.
My friend told me a few times that it was my fault that he fell in love with that girl. If I hadn’t taken him to that party, he said, he would never have met that girl. Wrong. I believe life doesn’t work this way. If you meet someone and have a strong connection with that person, it means that this is not the first time you meet. If you are to meet that person, you will meet them, whether you want it or not. I have also met on my way people I didn’t want to meet. It always seemed so serious and stuff, but then again–the heck with it. After some time, whatever connection we had faded away and then it was all just a beautiful misunderstanding.
Most people think that in order to be happy they need someone or something. This just doesn’t work out in the long run. If you think someone can make you happy or miserable, you’re just imposing a restraint on yourself. You cannot be happy if your mind isn’t free. The more freedom there is in your mind, the more possibilities you have, and karma is just what happened. And you cannot get free if your mind is full of negative impressions and karma. And the only way you can purify your bad karma is through positive actions, accumulating merit and wisdom. This is the only way out. You can ignore cause and effect, or try not to purify your own mind, but then the results of your negative actions will catch up with you and lead to a genuine disaster.
Karma is not like fate in Greek tragedies. It’s not that you are meant to kill your father and sleep with your mother because of your karma. Rather than that, it is freedom of choice. You can influence your future life by sowing the seeds of happiness, if you want to. Some people are afraid that once they are free, they will have to make choices. So what? Avoiding difficult decisions is a form of cowardice. Your reality will catch up with you anyway. If you face difficult choices, you’d better make them ASAP.