Don’t panic! Everything is not under control, but keep calm and defend your mind from delusions and your courage will bring victory!
Hmmm, that was meant to be encouraging; not sure if it worked. It can sometimes be hard to see how the law of karma provides encouragement: it can seem pretty heavy, to accept that we have the responsibility for creating all our suffering. So in this post I want to look at how believing in karma does give us the ability to ‘keep calm and carry on’, because accepting responsibility gives us hope that we can take control.
If you’re anything like me, you try to keep things under control as much as you can; but it doesn’t work. Maybe you can arrange a picnic, maintain control of all the people and pets and pickles; but then it rains on you. The reason we cannot maintain control of our external conditions is because we cannot control our own mind; it is as changeable as the weather. But it is most empowering to realize that if we just learned to control our mind, everything else would look after itself. In Transform Your Life, Geshe-la says:
Once we have purified our mind of self-grasping and all other delusions, all our actions will naturally be pure. As a result of our pure actions or pure karma, everything we experience will be pure. We shall abide in a pure world, with a pure body, enjoying pure enjoyments and surrounded by pure beings. There will no longer be the slightest trace of suffering, impurity, or problems. This is how to find true happiness from within our mind.
Like all spiritual practices, this will take some time to work: we can’t just start being good today and expect to live in a pure world by tomorrow. But if we keep being good – holding only pure minds – then gradually all our negative karma will be exhausted and that perfect world will appear.