Karma: for every action there is a reaction. My question for today is do we have any control over the reaction, and should we? When one believes as I do that there is no divine plan for every action and event, and sometimes shit just happens because of poor choices people make, is there any recourse for the reactions left in their wake?
There are people that blow through your life like a tornado, wreaking havoc and destruction in their path, yet never seeming to be harmed themselves. While they create destruction every place they touch down, they themselves seem to be virtually indestructible. We have all encountered these people in our lives. At first we are infatuated by their power and unstoppable force. As with a tornado, we can’t help but watch as the destruction begins. We stand in the distance and watch the debris, feeling confident that it is not headed in our direction. But once we convince ourselves that we are not in the direct path of harm, we let our guards down. We stop watching for a few seconds, and when we look up, we realize the tornado has changed course. We are now in the path for a direct hit.
There are alert systems in place to protect people from these fierce storms. It’s reported on the news, strangers blink their lights and blow their horns, neighbors and family members call each other to take cover. Sometimes there is plenty of notice, but other times there will only be a few minutes or seconds to prepare. But people have to acknowledge these warnings for them to be effective. When we ignore the warning signs and continue to be mesmerized by the debris, we become part of the destruction.
Tornadoes form quickly and continue to grow in power until the conditions that created them (or allowed them to be created) subside and weaken. The power begins to decrease, the winds slow, and almost as quickly as it appeared, the tornado dissipates as if it never existed. All that remains is the destruction left behind, but oddly with a blue sky and bright sunshine in which to view it.
There is no one person responsible for the clean up after the storm. It takes the entire community to clean up the aftermath of destruction. Some things will never be the same in the end. Some things and some people may disappear for a short time or forever. The only option for many will be to start over, often with nothing to start with. At that point we can try to find refuge in the Buddhist teachings of non-attachment.
To answer my original question, no, we don’t always have control over the reaction. We cannot always stop or lessen the destruction that others may create in our lives. We can however be prepared when we hear the warning signals. We can alert our neighbors and our loved ones to take cover. We can go to a safe place, and cover our own asses. But most importantly, we can be there for each other, as a community and a family, acting in love, to recover what we can, rebuild what we can’t, and prepare for the next storm.