A Short Story about Karma

October 2, 2009 · 4 comments

“In the order of nature we cannot render benefits to those from whom we receive them, or only seldom. But the benefit we receive must be rendered again, line for line, deed for deed, cent for cent, to somebody.”

- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I read this today, and good timing too because I have my  own karmic story that happened recently…

Last month I received a very generous gift from my friend, Kay:  two large boxes brimming with crystal, semi-precious, Ghanaian, vintage and antique beads in a dizzying array of colours, along with a fine selection of clasps and other jewellery findings for my jewellery design business.

My eyes fell out of my head, and I was speechless for a good ten minutes – something of a personal record!  As I slowly unwrapped each little package inside, it was apparent to me that the selection presented to me had been based on my materials and colour preferences – a lot of thought had gone into this incredible gift.  And when I say I had to literally rearrange my tiny studio to accommodate a veritable Aladdin’s cave of treasures, I am not exaggerating!

Kay told that someone had done something similar for her once.  And now, like the movie, it was her turn to ‘pay it forward’.

Of course, I thanked Kay and sent her a small token of my deep appreciation.  I didn’t know how else to thank her, except to vow that I would recognise any future opportunity where I could do a little paying forward of my own.

Interestingly, the following week Kay was the beneficiary of someone else’s paying it forward.  And she, too, was initially dumb-founded by the kindness she’d received.  That Kay should help me out and then be helped by another must be karma… (And that her dog was the primary beneficiary warms the cockles of my dog-lovin’ heart!)

I’m a firm believer in people doing what they can, when they can – but I do not believe in karma in the direct cause and effect way that most people seem to think of it – e.g. if I do something good/ bad, something good/bad will happen to me.

Instead, I think of karma as beautiful concept which aptly describes an almost magical sequence of unrelated events, like a domino effect.  We are individuals, yet we are all connected by our actions.

I’ve always thought that people who set out to change the world are scary.  But if each of us, regardless of our differences, tried to better our communities, that would change the world.  We’re not always going to succeed at being kind to others, especially strangers, but we can damn well try, can’t we?

I think karma in this sense is what Emerson meant when he wrote the lines that open this blog post:  simply, pay it forward.

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