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Karma: The Great Cosmic Boomerang January 6, 2012

Posted by nrhatch in Life Balance, Magick & Mystery.

Trying to unravel the laws of karmic cause and effect can be confusing, especially to those of us who remain “in the dark,” unable to see its invisible threads weaving back and forth from “karmic debt” to “karmic payback.”

In that sense, we’re much like  blind men examining an elephant:

Wikipedia ~ Blind Men & An Elephant (in Public Domain)

* The blind man touching the elephant’s tail confidently cries, “It’s a snake.”
* The blind man who grabbed hold of its massive leg yells, “No!  It’s a tree.”
* The blind man holding onto the trunk laughs at them, “It’s a water spout!”
* The fourth blind man, standing by its ear, argues that the elephant is a fan.

Although none of them has sufficient perspective to correctly describe the elephant, each insists that the limited perspective they hold is correct.

Karma’s like that elephant.  Its complexity, as it accompanies us through life, and even from one lifetime to the next, makes it difficult to grasp.

It’s an Etch-A-Sketch recording our actions, omissions, and reactions . . . without allowing us to see the screen (except on rare occasions).

It’s a balance sheet in perpetual motion.

It’s a dutiful and persistent shadow that marks and mirrors our every move.

Karma is an invisible cosmic boomerang hurling through space, powered by our thoughts, words, and deeds.

Whatever we toss out there, returns to us . . . often when we least expect it.

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. frizztext - January 6, 2012

I’m amused by
* The blind man touching the elephant’s tail confidently cries, “It’s a snake.”
* The blind man who grabbed hold of its massive leg yells, “No! It’s a tree.”

nrhatch - January 6, 2012

It’s a fantastic parable . . . especially since the blind lead the blind around with great regularity. 😉

2. Three Well Beings - January 6, 2012

There are just some laws of the universe that show up whether we “believe” or not! But you have to be alert and pay attention to notice. It is perhaps one of my greatest interpersonal challenges when I note that someone I love continues to live in negativity and just can’t seem to understand why they in turn are attracting the same! Elephants are metaphors for so many things…love this reminder as my day is just getting started, Nancy! Debra

nrhatch - January 6, 2012

Glad that it resonated with you this morning, Debra.

I’ve been reading an interesting (and confusing) book about Karma and Reincarnation. Every time I’ve grasped an essential concept . . . the elephant’s tail morphs into its ear.

Whatever our beliefs, we benefit ourselves and others if we exhibit loving kindness and gratitude for all . . . even if THIS is our last moment here. _/!\_

3. Maggie - January 6, 2012

That’s why I always try to be kind to others so that kind actions may come back to me!

nrhatch - January 6, 2012

Being kind is key. If we all put a bit more kindness into our actions, what a wonderful world it would be. 😀

4. Andra Watkins - January 6, 2012

To be ever cognizant that what I fling out there comes back to me is one of my constant, unswerving challenges. It’s so hard to keep that in mind sometimes. Thanks for giving me the elephant as a visual.

nrhatch - January 6, 2012

As monkeys learn at a young age . . . it’s hard to fling poo at others without getting smeared with it themselves.

Ewww . . . poo! 😆

Likewise, cowboys learn never to spit into the wind. 😛

The older I get, the kinder I get. The kinder I get, the happier I feel. Here’s to living long enough to get it right.

5. suzicate - January 6, 2012

Another reason why it’s important to live within the confines of love…which really isn’t being confined at all, just requires a new look at some people or some things; like the blind men describing the elephant we choose what we want to see.

nrhatch - January 6, 2012

The more we exhibit “loving kindness” to all . . . the happier we become and others quickly follow suit.

Here’s to becoming the Queen of Hearts!

6. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - January 6, 2012

I always love your musical selections!

nrhatch - January 6, 2012

This one seemed a particularly good fit . . .

7. Rufus' Food and Spirits Guide - January 6, 2012

Wait is Yoko knitting blindfold? Wow…shine on!

nrhatch - January 6, 2012

. . . especially since Yoko is blindfolded!

How apropos of the blind men and the elephant parable. 🙂

8. Tori Nelson - January 6, 2012

The elephant analogy is brilliant and just simple enough to make perfect sense to me! Love this post 🙂

nrhatch - January 6, 2012

Thanks, Tori. It’s a wonderful parable standing on its own.

Few of us have sufficient perspective to take in “the whole elephant” . . . or the “whole forest.” Caught up in the midst of life, the trees obscure our view.

9. sufilight - January 6, 2012

Nancy, Wonderful parable and nice touch with the Youtube addition. I see karma as a natural, impersonal law of cause and effect, what we give out comes back and balances things out. I have a deep respect for the law of karma, have experienced instant karma so I am kinder and becoming more aware/conscious as I get older.

nrhatch - January 6, 2012

The general idea of karma is pretty straightforward . . . we get what we give . . . we reap what we sow . . . etc.

When the authors began exploring how to balance our karmic register (including deeds and misdeeds from past lives), the complexity became rather befuddling because “not everything is the result of karma.”

Sometimes we are just in the wrong place at the wrong time and get caught in the crossfire of life.

When we see suffering . . . “We never know whether someone is an innocent victim, the victimizer from a previous life who is receiving back his karma, or a soul who is making a sacrifice on someone’s behalf.”

Our perspective is too limited. So, best to act with loving compassion toward all.

10. Jackie L. Robinson - January 6, 2012

The piece about the elephant and the blind man relates to something I read in a couple of different places yesterday: people hear what you say from the place they are. It was shared more eloquently than that – but you get the idea. After writing my post yesterday, this really resonated. Love the story…thank you.

As for karma….you know what they say. Karma’s a *****. What goes around comes around…..so think, act and speak carefully. 😉


nrhatch - January 6, 2012

Good thoughts, Jackie. Two quotes that resonate with me:

* We don’t see things as THEY are . . . we see things as WE are.
* We see the world behind our eyes.

The more we look at ourselves and others with loving kindness and compassion, the better off we are.

11. Pocket Perspectives - January 6, 2012

Sometimes I think I have a bit more understanding of karma and then realize there is even deeper complexity… seems like a great big ball of tangled yarn at times. The simple aspects…what we give out will return in some form, that we are projecting our own values/qualities/thoughts/ feelings onto others (those were the house of 1000 mirrors ideas)… but, like you write….as long as we try as much as we can to live this life with our thoughts, words and actions grounded in loving kindness and compassion, that’s important…not just because it will come back to us, but because it feels like the vitally important thing to do.

nrhatch - January 6, 2012

Well put, Kathy. Acting with positive intentions feels “right” to me.

12. Tammy - January 6, 2012

“It’s gonna knock you right on the head” I shall be singing this for the rest of the night 😉

nrhatch - January 6, 2012

Great song! Amazing musician.

13. Paula Tohline Calhoun - January 6, 2012

I never think about karma without remembering a funny incident that happened to me shortly after Ashley and I were married. We had the pleasure of meeting a spiritualist/medium one day. She and her husband both were wonderful people – both were from England. Anyway, I was in a small class she taught and she remarked to me at one point that Ashley and I had a comic marriage. I remember saying that,”well, we do laugh a lot together.”

It wasn’t until quite a bit later that it dawned on me that she was saying we had a KARMIC marriage. It was the accent that tripped me up. When I shared that story with the class, well, needless to say we had a karmic comic moment. . .

nrhatch - January 7, 2012

Ha ha! That’s priceless, Paula. I expect that you’ve had more than your fair share of comic karmic moments. Laughter is the BEST medicine. 😆

14. Sandra Bell Kirchman - January 7, 2012

Love the blind men/elephant story. And it’s so true how “the truth” can seem so different for some people. It’s all a matter of tuning into the big picture.

As for karma, it’s easily explained…”What goes around comes around.” 🙂 Okay, it’s more than that, and I don’t believe that people are punished for “transgressions” in past lives. I do believe that they choose certain situations so as to learn about what doing a particular transgression feels like. Then they can avoid it in future incarnations. So it just seems that we are being punished. Actually, we are choosing to learn.

nrhatch - January 7, 2012

Good thoughts, Sandra. I think you’re right . . . it’s a tool for learning that “what goes around comes around.”

Sandra Bell Kirchman - January 7, 2012

I think it’s important for people to understand that, if X kills Y, X is not necessarily going to be killed by Y in another lifetime. We are not punished, unless we feel so guilty about killing Y that we goad Y into killing us. Guilt’s not the lesson learned either.

If X learns about the disadvantages of killing someone and how unbeneficial it is to HIM, then there is no need to have the scenario in my first paragraph play out. That may be why karma can seem confusing. It doesn’t always seem constant. But actually, in the bigger picture, it is.

nrhatch - January 7, 2012

That makes sense. If we’ve “learned the lesson” . . . there’s no need to experience a “karmic reprisal.”

15. bluebee - January 8, 2012

And often all at once! Although, there are many who seem to get away with every transgression (well, in this life, anyway…;-))

This post is a reminder to regularly examine the consequences of our actions on others (very different from navel-gazing)

nrhatch - January 8, 2012

The authors of the book I just finished claim that karma is divvied out, in small portions, arriving at our doorstep EACH morning. And that “good” and “bad” are balanced and intermingled so we don’t get “swamped” all at once, crippled by the weight of past offenses.

I wonder who handles that massive sorting project each day? Santa and his elves? 😉

Same authors say that when we feel “great” and “joyous” and “happy,” it’s because we are having a day filled with “good karma” . . . and when we feel “awful” and “weighed down” and “depressed,” we’re having a day loaded with “bad karma.”

I’m not sure I buy their explanations. Too neat and pat.

16. Perfecting Motherhood - January 8, 2012

I always tell my kids about karma and it’s taking a while to sink in. But sometimes they do see the consequences to their actions pretty quickly. It’s actually interesting to see karma in action. It really does happen.

nrhatch - January 8, 2012

I’m not sure I believe everything I just read in the Karma and Reincarnation book . . . but I do believe that we are all tied together. We cannot hurt others without hurting ourselves. We cannot help others without helping ourselves.

The more love we give . . . the more love we feel. Our spiritual energy benefits from every choice we make to share loving kindness with others.

Sandra Bell Kirchman - January 8, 2012

I don’t buy it either. That’s tapping into the (erroneous IMO) theory that we are being punished for our past sins. The whole purpose of life is to learn and grow and raise our states of consciousness. We do this most effectively by helping ourselves and by helping others.

Yes, if we did something in a past life that is continually throwing us off course (through guilt or continued anger, etc.), then it would be good for us to regroup that experience and find out what we learned about it.

The big picture of the universe is not the same as the small picture we are so often taught. See? We’re right back at that poor old elephant again.

nrhatch - January 8, 2012

The authors agree with you ~ Karma is not “punishment” . . . it’s a love-based device to teach us what we need to know to elevate us to higher states of consciousness.

But their explanations of “HOW” it works on a day to day (and life to life) basis are rather “far-fetched.”

It’s as if they traveled around the elephant . . . describing each of its parts . . . and then put them together in the WRONG order. 😆

17. eof737 - January 8, 2012

Mysterious are the ways of karma, a great teacher of mine used to say… so true! 🙂

nrhatch - January 8, 2012

I expect that we each have a spiritual “bank account” of sorts. We add “positive” energy to our bank when we act with loving kindness and compassion . . . we deplete our spiritual energy when we act less altruistically.

If our reserves get too low . . . “DANGER. DANGER.” 😀

18. The Law Karma Defined « Bliss Returned - January 27, 2012

[…] Karma: The Great Cosmic Boomerang (nrhatch.wordpress.com) […]

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