Karma, good vs. evil, what does it all mean?
By Alane Cunningham – Contemporary Retirement
When I first heard John Lennon sing about “Instant Karma”, I am not sure I understood the concept. And all these years later, I’m still not sure about it, but there are many of us who believe that the way we behave will be rewarded or punished!
The first time I really thought that perhaps, life didn’t really reward someone for kindness was when I was on Bourbon Street in New Orleans celebrating a Mardis Gras Parade. Spectators were begging people on floats to throw them the ubiquitous colored beads. The women in front of me caught some and graciously handed them to a child standing next to her. Just as she stood back up another strand of beads was thrown, and hit her right in the eye. She wasn’t seriously injured, but that didn’t seem like the way her kindness should be rewarded!
I recently had an encounter with what I thought was good cosmic energy going out into the Universe. A friend asked for a small donation to support her during a walk for a friend with cancer. Actually, she was walking for two people and she valiantly walked for many hours throughout the night. I sent my donation and told my friend that I admired her. That was easy. What was hard was when i learned that one of the people died and the other had was not expected to last the month. I didn’t expect this. I expected when good people did good things for good people that good things would happen. I know there are no guarantees, but I just assumed they would get better because so many people wanted them to.
Perhaps, that explains the long running success of Rabbi Harold Kushner’s book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People “. People want to understand why there seems to be unfortunate circumstances or evil that can’t be explained. I will never be able to understand why a friend who volunteered and went to Haiti to help victims of the earthquake earlier this year later found he had inoperable brain cancer and is not expected to last the year.
This winter a dear friend had a tragic ski accident and couldn’t get medical attention due to a blizzard. She was taken to ski lodge medical facility, which was not equipped to handle her injury. Fortunately, they were able to start a morphine drip. As my friend was drifting off, she said she remembered that she wanted to be really nice to the people taking care of her, so they would be nice to her and help her. I found this funny because my friend is always gracious and I am sure the medical staff would have treated her kindly regardless of what she said, but I found it interesting that her mind was working that way, even in her drug induced state.
We all have examples of karma, good vs. evil. So, what does it all mean? To me it means there are no guarantees, but it is always best to err on the side of putting positive energy out to others. Even if you don’t believe in Instant Karma, it may be coming around again. Besides, the good energy we try to give to others always affects our psyche positively, and this good energy undoubtedly makes us feel better and isn’t this the real point of doing good things for others?
About Alane Cunningham
Alane is a graduate of Eastern Michigan University. She retired from the University of Michigan after 27 years. She currently lives in Florida in a small beachside community with her husband. She navigates retirement with human nature observations realizing everyone must find their own way to happiness through this passage of life.