What is karma and how do you check it? We know we are caught in our karma when life repeats itself: this pattern has happened before. The pattern that repeats itself is the Victim Pattern. You feel the victim of either unseen forces but most likely someone, some institution, the government, or this Other, which is a fill in the blank for you.
Our Karma is like the return of a comet that shapes our world with its gravitational pull. Suddenly, my experiential world is taking a familiar shape, and I hurt, again. We can identify our Karma Comet when we hurt and we blame something or someone. But the circumstance is always new, so we don’t suspect that it is our old Karma Comet returning for another round of pain. Facts have a Fault when our Karma Comet flies through our galaxy.
The key to unlocking the trap of the Karma Comet is to see just facts instead of faults. When we are caught in the pull of the Karma Comet it is the pattern that is to blame, not the space stuff caught up in its gravitational pull. And who is the pattern?
Here’s where we need the Logic of Ambiguity. You are both the pattern and you are not the pattern. The pattern is impersonal. A pattern is just a habit, a blind habit. But you are personally experiencing the impersonal pattern. When we see our Karma Comet as personal, blaming this or that, we reinvest in the pattern, ensuring that the comet will return with the same strength.
What we want to do is weaken the Karma Comet. We cannot choose to kill it, but we can practice not investing in it because the comet receives its strength through our identification with the pattern. We identify with the Comet through our fault-finding; we either find fault and blame the suspected cause of the pain or ourselves. When Facts become Faults, we are caught in our Karma Comet.
Again, we need to awaken the Logic of Ambiguity and see the pattern as both personal and impersonal simultaneously. When we do that, we laugh at the faults instead of blaming them. The Perfect Trap is released when we can laugh at our dilemma. With each laugh, we disinvest in our comet, and it will lose strength until it never returns.
“The only hope, or else despair
Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre—
To be redeemed from fire by fire.” (TS Eliot)
We name comets because they return. If one appears and never returns it is not a comet because it has no pattern. When something has no pattern, we cannot name it, and it has no known definition. It is terrifying or stimulating. The black obelisk that appears in Space Odyssey: 2001 was not a pattern to the characters in the movie, but it was a pattern to the movie viewer.
The pattern gives meaning. The pattern makes something known. No object stands fixed and alone, Every form has a pattern. We know a cat because it fits the cat pattern. Our pet cat is personal, but the cat pattern is impersonal. So the cat is both personal/impersonal.
As the electron in Quantum, the cat is both a particle (known personal thing) and a waver (unknown impersonal wave or pattern).
So you are both a pattern and a personal thing that has no pattern. You, me, are both determined (by pattern (karma) and undetermined, or a unique thing that has. never existed before this moment.
We need a Logic of Ambiguity in order to see that everything is both personal/impersonal (a particle and a wave) at the same time. Which one depends upon our viewpoint. Liberation is seeing both personal and impersonal simultaneously, and that seeing is laughter or creative action.
The point here is the Still Point…when you discover the Logic of Ambiguity everything is sum zero. Everything is ONE that is Two. This is the great Liberation from sickness, old age, and death, which is what the Buddha’s teaching does. With the conventional Logic of Identity, everything is what it is. In Buddhism, this logic is the cause of our suffering because everything if fragmented into this and that. But in the Still Point, the Logic of Ambiguity kicks in and everything is its opposite, the ONE that is Two.
My wife was sorting socks on the dining room table and as I passed I picked up one on the floor. My wife said, “I’m missing a sock.”…..”I just picked it up,” I said. “I restore balance.” (Ding with the Zen Fit).
And that’s what I’m working on here with you. How dod we restore balance in our life. When we are hurt by the world, that is a clue we are out of balance with the world, but we cannot restore balance through good effort, or even bad effort, for that matter. The more effort we apply to the imbalance, the more wobbles we have.
So we need the Logic of Ambiguity. When you are in ambiguity, you cannot do anything because when you apply effort to one face of the ambiguity, you change the other face in unintended ways. When you are inbalance, your actions maintain balance. When you are out of balance, your actions maintain out-of-balance.
When you see the Situation Ambiguous, you don’t do anything. When you don’t do anything you don’t contribute to the imbalance. But does that mean you just sit on your hands? No…When there is ambiguity, with is the two faces of the One, there is the ONE that is in balance, but it is transcendent of the Two…You have to create the ONE. You have to create balance through creative spontaneous action that has no intention of restoring balance.
When you are out of balance, you hurt. You want to get rid of the hurt by some action. But you see when you are in a Situation Ambiguous, you see that no action will restore balance. You Pause. You look. You are curious about what’s going on because you don’t know. You don’t know what’s real when the Situation is ambiguous. But the ambiguous cannot be sustained because reality is ONE. So you wait for the ONE to speak, to act through you as you. You cannot take credit for restoring balance because which face of you restored balance?
What are the two faces of you? One face is the one that hurts; the other face is the one you image won’t hurt if you fix the world. That is ambiguous. If you act from one or the other face, all you do is kick the hurt down the road. And that is Karma.