You are so right on the mark. If we only got everything we wanted it would be a very boring life. That’s how I view heaven and why I would never want to go there. I relate life to the song, “The Bear Went Over the Mountain”, and what do you think he saw? If there were no more mountains to climb there would be no more lessons to learn. Our life is one big cause and effect. 100%. We can’t pick and choose what we want to be caused by us and not be responsible for the effect, anymore than we can choose not to be effected by gravity. We often, though, don’t understand the causes we made to get the effects in our life that we have, but that doesn’t mean the cause wasn’t there. We just don’t understand because the cause was too far back. I want to give you an example:
About a month ago someone paid me back some money I gave them when they were in a desperate situation with no one to turn to with promises of immediate payback. He was sending me a check through Fedex. He had even taken a picture of the check with his phone and sent the picture to me in a text so I could see there really was a check. He was on the phone with me when he said he was dropping it in the box. I was very grateful to get the money back because I live on disability. Promise, promise, promise. I waited and waited and waited and the check never came. I don’t think he was trying to scam me. He was just having trouble holding on to his promise because his life was a mess. In the meantime he was calling me, frantically asking if I got the check yet. He was upset that I hadn’t. He said he keeps his promises. I trusted him. I told him that. He then said he would call Fedex and have it tracked, but he lost the receipt. He not only lost it, but it was supposed left in a rental car that someone had rented for him. ( Remember this point.)
True? False? I told him to call the rental company because I was sure they would keep things for awhile. He gave me a long list of all the other stuff that was also left in the rental car. Hmmm. It started sounding fishy. When I asked why things would be left in a rental car I got all kinds of other excuses I won’t go into here. Then I got real reason. A person who paid him for electrical work he had done stopped payment on a check they gave him. The check to me had a stop payment on it.
I was livid, upset beyond rational thinking, pissed at myself for allowing him to affect my life in a negative way when all I wanted to do was to sincerely help him out of a jam. I hadn’t done anything to him to deserve this!! He knew it was part of my disability check! I was feeling stupid for trusting him. I thought of all the things I could have used that money for, even though at the time the money crucial for his survival. No matter how hard I tried to stop thinking about it I couldn’t. It was like a reel in my head playing it over and over and over. Angry, Angry, Angry. I couldn’t get it out of my head. How could he do this to me? I told myself to let it go. I needed to. The money was gone. Will he pay it back someday? Who knows. He’s avoiding my calls now, so the friend that I had enjoyed so many hours of wonderful conversations with won’t call me or answer my calls. Probably because he feels bad about it and doesn’t know what to say to me. What did I need to learn from this? Never trust or help anyone again because most people turn around and kick you in the teeth? No, that wasn’t it. I spent a lot of time thinking about this.
(Part 2 for some readers)
Fast forward to today. Honestly, about 2 hours ago ( 3 now lol) as I was chanting and focusing on my life and the things I needed learn and to change about myself that gets in the way of my being successful in certain areas, a thought popped into my head from out of nowhere. Stopped my chanting. 28 years ago, a friend helped me and my soon to be husband (now x) rent a car so we could drive to his family to tell them we wanted to get married. This marriage resulted in two kids ages 38 and 34 now and 7 grandchildren who are the legacy of my life. We didn’t have the money and he offered to put the car on his credit card and we wrote him a check we said he could cash the next week. We meant it. We weren’t scamming. We fully intended to pay him back. But financial circumstances got in the way and I stopped payment on the check and ended up never paying him back. Renting that car for three days in 1975 probably equals today the value of check that was stopped on me.
Why remember that now, after all these years? This was my lesson. I’m 60 now. It seems like yesterday. I can see it all in my head. My anger now is gone. I understand. I am no longer the victim that got taken advantage of. Here was the effect of my cause. My anguish and anxiety and being pissed off is gone. Keeping that anger inside me didn’t hurt the person who stopped payment on the check. It hurt me. Years ago I never thought what the loss of not being paid back might have done to that person, who at that time, I also called a friend.
Here’s one more (short) cause and effect from that time period. It was right then, through drugs, that I got Hep C from this boy I married. I didn’t know it for a long time. I just started to get sick and no one knew why. It was finally diagnosed in 1998. Treatment didn’t work. It turned to cirrhosis, ascites, liver cancer and finally a liver transplant 2 years ago. My doctor told me I came as close to death without dying. But I didn’t. I’m still alive, still kickin’ still learning from my causes and hopefully making better ones. The cause I made back then isn’t done with me. I may have a working liver, but the hep C has played havoc on my life. Why did I want to do drugs so easily? Where did the desire come from? My x has hep C, too. Youth feel invincible and think bad things don’t happen to them.
Whatever happens in your life, every single, solitary thing is the effect of something you thought, said or did at some point, even beyond your ability to recollect. Whether you learn from them is your responsibility. Nothing “out there” teaches you lessons or does things to you. We get exactly what we dish out. What goes around comes around, or you get back what you dish out or you reap what you sow. Whatever you want to call it. Every time you actually learn the lesson you change a bit of your karma, or your destiny, or God’s plan if you want to call that, too. If we don’t learn the lesson, we will repeat it. Plain and simple. Now the man who stopped payment on me has his own karma to deal with.
Some people want to put that responsibility onto a father figure that alternately loves us and hates us and needs adoration or he’ll reign hell fire on those of us he doesn’t like. Whew! Kinda scary I think. I’m glad it’s not my thinking. ( hoping not to offend you – these are my beliefs). I’m a Nichiren Buddhist – not Tibetan, not Zen or Shinto, but actual common sense Buddhism for daily life based in reality and not in the clouds
somewhere. If you want to see for yourself and decide if I’m making sense, even if it’s I just for the knowledge and the affirmation that you are in control of who you are, go to: http://www.sgi-usa.org.
and then we can talk.