Karma means “action,” but action with a dualistic edge. Action that is good or bad, right or wrong, up or down, black or white. It doesn’t mean that, when you do a good deed, a good deed of equal measure will return to you in kind. I hope that my previous post didn’t lead anyone to believe that to be the case; my tone was more facetious than anything. Karma is more like a storage house in which positive and negative seeds are stored, and so long as we buy in to the whole dualistic view of existence, we are destined to watch those karmic seeds come to fruition. Our present moment actions have a lot to do with how they come to fruition, though. If your actions are fundamentally virtuous, you can expect positive karmic seeds to be more likely to manifest, and negative karma to be relatively minimized. The opposite is also said to be true. So this is a story about karma as it manifested in my life today.
My wife came home around 11:00 a.m. unannounced, and with the dog in her carrier. She said she “misplaced the leash” at the “other house,” so she had to keep the dog in the carrier. The dog seemed very relieved to be home again, and I don’t blame her. She had that barnyard funk that she picks up on these weekends. It’s actually not so much barnyard as a mixture of chicken coop and cat litter. Somewhat bizarrely, my wife had an even stronger tinge of that barnyard funk about her. It was really weird: she smelled worse than the dog, and the aroma pervaded the entire room.
She didn’t stay long, maybe just 20 minutes or so. Then she told me she was going to leave for her rehearsal. It was not yet noon, and the rehearsal began at 3:00. I offered to give her a ride, as it’s quite a distance, and takes over an hour by bus to reach that destination. She declined. Before she left, I offered her a lunchbox I’d made for her, and she declined that too, telling me that her bag was too heavy. She asked me to leave it in the fridge, as she might come home and eat it later. She never did, but maybe she will do so tomorrow. She looked very tired, and seemed quite unhappy.
After she left, I decided to go out and run some errands. I had it in my mind to do a bit of decorating in the house; nothing major, but it just seemed to me that the bedroom needed a bit more abundance and magnetizing energy. So I thought I’d get some flowers, and find a couple of vases for them, since we didn’t seem to have any extra vases. I went on line to look for consignment stores, and discovered that there is one not too far away. I went over to check out their inventory, and found a couple of nice vases, and spent about $15 or so for them. Then I went on a hunt for a flower shop, and in the process ended up visiting a tiny curio shop that sells Tibetan goods. Many of the things they have are spiritual/ritual/devotional objects; I think I had been there once with my wife many years back. She had been there a few times in the past, and bought me Chögyam Trungpa’s Shambhala: Sacred Path of the Warrior there on the recommendation of the owner. Somehow I knew I’d be in good hands if I went there again.
I entered the tiny shop and the owner was conversing in Tibetan with his wife and high-school age daughter. He greeted me, and offered his assistance. He asked me if I was looking for prayer flags or something like that, but I told him I was looking for something for my bedroom, but aside from that had no agenda; I was just using my inspiration. I did ask him to show me what he had. He went straight to a shelf with tapestries — not prayer flags, per se, nor thangka paintings, but rather something one would more or less have to call tapestries. Not large ones either, mostly just cloths that were about 2 feet square. He took one off the shelf, a green one with Tibetan prayers written all over it, and an image of Green Tara in the middle. He said, “this is the 21 Praises to Tara, you know.”
I was astonished. I have done Green Tara practice for about a year now, and have found it completely transformative. I often lead the practice on Sundays. I’ve been also reciting the 21 Praises to Tara since about the beginning of the year, and recently have made it a daily practice. I told him about this, and he said, “isn’t that interesting that this is the first thing I found for you.” We also looked at a couple of thangka paintings, plus some calligraphy he had done, but in the end I bought the tapestry. I just trusted my intuition on this one. That’s how karma works. You walk into a shop and this connection suddenly happens. Not only that, but the tapestry is green, and that is the color of karma energy. He said it would be appropriate for the bedroom. Somehow he had the sense that my bedroom needed karma energy. I felt that it needed something, as the energy was just stale in there. I felt so immensely grateful.
I never did find that flower shop, by the way, so I ended up getting some flowers at a grocery store that evening. I came home to discover that my wife had not returned during the day at all. I imagine she’ll be by tomorrow at some point. I plan to ask her for advice as to where to hang the tapestry. She’ll likely say that she doesn’t care, since she doesn’t feel it to be her bedroom anymore. But, she will get to experience Tara’s karma energy face to face.