I love this line. It reminds me that life is about surfing the waves of our karma. Sometimes our world is easy and filled with opportunity and new beginnings, we jet effortlessly along. At other times, it feels dead and lifeless, we are bored and directionless. Or maybe we experience turbulence, we move into a mighty storm and it feels like we're going to drown. Nothing is going right, everything is going wrong.
Buddha explains that everything that happens to us is simply karma ripening. Everything is an effect of previous actions. If turbulence comes, big crashing waves, it's because somewhere in the past (maybe the far, distant past of previous lives) we performed turbulent actions. And like a big landslide that slumps into the ocean and causes a wave, as time passes and all the conditions come together, that wave hits us. It's the same with good things, we performed helpful actions, and this left a subtle imprint on our mind - the potentiality for good things to appear. We plant seeds with our actions, and they later ripen as experiences.
Everything that happens to us is an effect.
I knew about teachings on karma, but did I believe in them? I was still really resisting what was happening to me. Why can't everything go smoothly? Why aren't things slotting into place easily? We resist and fight, and get annoyed. But what is actually the best thing to do in such a situation? What would my teachers tell me to do?
They would say: relax. Accept. Stop fighting. Do the best that you can - send out your resume, do the things you need to do, and then relax, let it go. This is just an effect. This is just your karma ripening. If you fight what is happening, if you resist and allow negative minds to take a hold, then you are just creating more problems for the future. But if you accept patiently and openly what is happening, while calmly doing what you need to do, then you are purifying your karma - and creating good effects, calm waters in the future.
So, I tried to follow that advice. And you know what happened? Last Friday, everything changed.
I went for tea with a friend who owns a wonderful educational and business consulting firm called Fox Intercultural Consulting, which works between New England and China. We realized that there is great capacity for me to help her with her business. A part-time job suddenly appeared. Then, new freelance projects started lining up in my inbox. I even came home and looked out the kitchen window, and my neighbors had planted a whole slew of flowers in my view. Everything was shifting.
It's like I had surfed straight out of the storm and into the most beautiful seas. How did I get there? Was it just random? "It is just good luck", we may say. And that's exactly the point. Good luck is good karma. What allows good karma to arise more easily? Positive, peaceful states of mind (which not only create the causes for happiness, but also help shift our karma). If you want your good luck to appear in your life, create good conditions in your mind.
So I'll take this surfing analogy a little further: By staying on the board, practicing patience and keeping my balance; by not falling off and believing that the oceans are my fate, but by accepting that I created the causes for all of this, and if I can just ride out this patch of karma, and keep my mind as peaceful as possible along the way, then I will make it through. This is the posture. This is the balance. This is the belief in karma. And you know what? It works. That shift of mind helps the clouds move away, it helps bring back the sun.
Adriana is right. We are in the ocean, and the waves are ever-changing, and our job is not to control the ocean, but to learn how to ride it. To sustain balance. To become karma surfers.
Further reading on where all these ideas came from (ie. not from me): click here
(Photo credits: Top - Wikimedia Commons, Below, Wikimedia Commons/Loveobx23)