Karma as Balm?
In a totally different context, I recently read a very wonderful essay by Angie Yingst about suffering. In her grief, she returned to a Buddhist therapist whom she had worked with in the past, and she found his words and perspective very helpful. With her words in my mind, I met yesterday with two women who wondered aloud about the possibility of karma and their diagnoses with cancer. They each mused about the possible impact of prior lives and actions and recognized that they were primarily looking for a reason. If we only knew why we had cancer, we could fight it better.
Here is a quote from Angie's essay that I found most provocative and helpful. I hope that you do, too.
After I had met with him for a few sessions, we had begun reincorporating the Four Reminders into our sessions, which had been a bit revelatory to me in my earlier therapy.
1 :: the preciousness of human birth (It is a gift you are here)
2 :: the truth of impermanence (You are gonna die)
3 :: the reality of suffering (Life's gonna hurt)
4 :: the inescapability of karma (You better do it right, or you are doing it again.)