In my last blog, I was discussing what the book Outliers brought up for me about the interplay between one’s karma — which is responsible for one’s current life, choice of parents, general conditions and many things that come up — and what I am calling “dharma” that consists of the choices and actions that one makes in this lifetime. His book demonstrated that even though we credit the talent and hard work of the most successful among us, the karmic aspects responsible for being born at the right time and growing up in the right place are HUGE factor.
The book influenced me to practice more the art of unconditional Acceptance — for the conditions and limitations that I find myself and others coming up against.
I really enjoyed the responses to that blog, which brought up a couple interesting points.
As I said in my last blog, “Unfortunately, you can’t change your current karma, because it is based on choices you made in the past. You have to play the hand you are dealt. But you can make better choices going forward and improve your lot in the future …” Somebody replied that one is not just stuck with the karma of past choices and actions, karma can be changed or “expiated” in this very lifetime.
Actually, I am of the same belief. I think that when I practice virtues (like patience, which is a hard one for me), I am canceling the need for some small portion of karmic “lessons” I was somehow scheduled for. (I know this is pretty vague, but I won’t pretend to have ’secret’ proof.) Interestingly, the Catholics believe in a space they call “purgatory” where one goes to be somehow purified before being let into the pearly gates of heaven, so maybe my belief was influenced by my Catholic upbringing (although I now consider myself “spiritual, not religious”).
Whether it’s true or not, whether it can ever be proved or not, this is a belief that I find constructive — because it promotes virtuous behavior, which I am convinced produces good karma (i.e. positive results). I also believe that we choose our beliefs and can change them whenever we feel the evidence warrants a change. To be unable to change one’s mind — to take one’s beliefs as absolute “convictions” — is nothing less than a learning disability, in my opinion.