The Sticky Web of Life – Samsara’s Seven Flavors #10/12

web-designerSay you’re a crack software designer with your eye on a dream posting in California’s exciting Bay Area. The job dangles before you like a luscious red apple. Everyone knows you’re the best candidate. You’re so sure the job is yours that you start preparing to split India.

Then you get a call from a pal in Human Resources — sorry, she says, but they’ve given the project to Bipin Ghatge. I know, it sucks, but what to do? He’s our Chairman’s nephew — didn’t you know?”

Foiled again! This time by that smug toady Bipin! You want to eviscerate him and shriek with wicked laughter as his guts slither out of his belly, but you don’t relish the idea of spending the next 50 years in prison. You think about that new pub where you could get rip-roaring drunk — but that road to oblivion will make it impossible for you to endure Ghatge’s snide looks tomorrow. Continue reading

No Accident & No Judgment – Samsara’s Seven Flavors #7/12

no_accidentsFlavor #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. Continue reading

You Don’t Own A Damned Thing – Samsara’s Seven Flavors #6/12

no-attachmentsFlavor #2: No ownership. Most of us live with the feeling that we call the shots in our personal lives, that we own our lives. But what does ownership really mean? In essence, it indicates that you control the destiny of a thing.

Let’s talk about how I came to “own” my spectacular home in the hills…say I inherited a nice chunk from my doting grandma, hunted high and low until I found my dream home, negotiated with a real estate shark to buy it, moved my family in, and threw the grandest housewarming party ever. This is my home, right?

But if I truly owned it, how come I lost it? If I accept that ownership implies control of destiny, the corollary is that I own nothing, not even my body or mind. If I did, I’d probably maintain my body in peak condition and suffuse my mind with constant blasts of ecstasy —  instead of getting old and sick and being victim to a range of unpleasant moods. Continue reading