Flavor #3: Nothing Happens by Accident. Mahamudra claims that nothing that happens in our lives is an accident. Say I stop for petrol in a quiet Himalayan town and bump into a pal I haven’t seen since high school — well, that’s not an accident — my friend was brought there by certain karmic energies, and so was I.
This is a particularly important view to cultivate when we encounter tragedy — because it’s when the shit hits the fan that we really go nuts. Accepting that a horrid experience is the result of our own past karma, and that we are in effect creating our own experience of reality by how we think, speak and act — can make all the difference to how we transcend the negative effects of hard times.
Let’s consider the specific feelings the first three flavors of samsara work with: impermanence works with the (wrong) feeling that things are going to last; the lack of ownership works on the (wrong) feeling that I own these things; no accident works on the (wrong) feeling of: why does bad stuff always happen to me? Why did I lose my job? Why did my lover get pancreatic cancer? Practiced with understanding, all three flavors can help us ground ourselves in the reality of what is.
Flavor #4: Our Judgments are Mere Constructs. Who decides a scallion should be called a scallion? We do. The problem is that humans are prone to think that the labels we give to things belong to them by divine right, forgetting that a label is merely a mutually accepted construct.
Say a professor you admired as a fiery young student stated that communism is the ideal state of government for everybody — and you went and believed him! Years later, the momentous failure of communism-in-practice forced you to accept that his statement was a personal construct that does not universally apply. The truth is that whether we perceive an anorexic supermodel as the most beautiful creature on the planet, or as aesthetically repellent, is, in the end, merely a personal construct.
Mahamudra slowly begins to strip away our justifications for seeing as we do: first, we stop thinking that things last forever; second, we stop thinking that we control the destinies of our assets or our relationships; third, we stop thinking of things as accidents. And fourth, we stop thinking that our judgments are right – because judgments too are just the way we are seeing something in the present moment.
If everyone practiced these four flavors, the conflict that flares up not just in our personal lives, but between castes, classes, races and nations, would dissolve into thin air. And wouldn’t that be cool?