There is an old story I used to tell my Yoga kids. I don’t remember where I heard it first or what it’s origins are but it explains so much about Karma and how life works:
There was once an old farmer. He didn‘t have much, but he lived well enough, growing food and selling vegetables at the market. He had a son who helped him with the daily work and a horse which he used to plough the field and ride out to forage. He was happy enough. But one night there was a storm. The wind howled and there was thunder and lightning. The horse, alone in it’s stable, reared up out of fear and broke open the door. It galloped away.
The next morning, the neighbours came over to see if there had been any damage and when they realised that the farmer lost his only horse, they said to him:
„You poor man, you have such bad luck! You must have very bad Karma.“
But the farmer replied:
„Whether it is good luck or bad I don‘t know. Whether it is good or bad Karma is yet to be seen.“
During the next few days the farmer and his son worked the fields as best as they could without their horse. It was hard work and they couldn’t keep up enough to know that they would survive the coming winter. The neighbours shook their head but the farmer smiled.
After about two weeks, the farmer and his son were digging up potatoes, they heard a thundering sound in the distance. It was a herd of wild horses, led by their own, lost horse.
„Quick, open the gate to the field.“ said the farmer and the son did. The horse, who had joined the wild herd and become their leader, now brought them a hundred horses.
The neighbours, who had heard and seen what had happened came and said:
„You are a blessed man, how lucky you are! You must have very good Karma!“
But the farmer said: „Whether it is good luck or bad, I don‘t know. Whether it is good or bad Karma is yet to be seen.“
Over the coming weeks, they both worked hard to break in the wild horses.
One by one, they trained them and taught them to work. Some of them were easy to manage but others weren’t. One day, the son was riding a particularly wild stallion. The stallion galloped wildly across the field, reared up and jumped the fence. The son was thrown off and hit his leg badly off the fence. When he came to, he couldn’t move. The farmer called for a doctor but the doctor said that the young man’s leg was so badly broken that he would loose it’s use.
So the young man had to stay in bed for a long time and after that he could only walk on crutches with a bad limp.
The neighbours came over again, bringing food and gifts and they said to the farmer:
„You poor man, now you have no one to help you with he hard work. You are truly unlucky. You must have very bad Karma.“
But the farmer replied:
„Whether it is good luck or bad, I don‘t know. Whether it is good or bad Karma is yet to be seen.“
They lived like this for some time – the farmer doing the hard work and the son helping as best as he could. They soon got used to their new ways and although they brought in less money than before, they still lived well enough and when the winter came, their store room was full enough to stop them from worrying.
At the time, the country they lived in was in turmoil. A war had broken out and all of the young men were called to fight. Soon, after the first snow, soldiers came to the farmers house to see if he had any sons who should be fighting with them. But when they saw the limping young man they shook their heads and turned away.
This story could possibly be continued forever. What any event will eventually lead to, knowbody knows.
What we do know though is that for any change to happen in this world, there first has to be a need for change. And who needs change if they have everything? If we are comfortable and cosy, trapped in our own comfort zone, then we will not have the motivation to leave it, to change anything, even if it was for the better.
We knew for a long time that a change is needed in the world but we were too comfortable and cosy to really make it happen. We needed some kind of motivation. We needed to feel uncomfortable. We needed to feel pain, suffering, fear. Because only then do we get up and make a change. Only when the price food goes up will we become more mindful consumers. Only when water becomes scarce will we begin to appreciate it’s value. The trick is to listen to life’s callings. To see these events as what they are – a call to action. A call to awaken, to rise up and listen and change the course of our action. To change our karma.
Karma means action. Every action we take creates new karma – both individually as well as collectively.
We are not individual, separate beings. We take on each other’s karma too. We are all one consciousness. None of us is better than the other – we are all divine expressions of the universe.
And we are all being called to action. Our world is changing too. We are slowly being pushed out of our comfort zone. Will it be for the better?
We will see.
According to the Vedic teachings, we are indeed heading for better times. Our consciousness is expanding, our minds are beginning to be more capable of grasping different realities, but in order to do so, we have to search for those realities. We have to leave our comfort zone and go on our hero‘s journey. This is the eternal story of humanity – the hero‘s quest. The masculine force – our awareness – leaves it’s comfort zone in order to experience the world, in order to search for it’s missing part, its feminine, sensual, physical counterpart. It leaves its comfort zone in order to become whole. Shiva in search of his Shakti.
We all leave our comfort zone in search of something that was missing before. On the way, we encounter suffering, we have to slay our own inner demons – our fear, our delusions, our greed. And only then will we be able to unearth the treasures in form of new, released energy. When we’ve removed the blockages from our unconscious mind, brought our inner shadows into the light, then we have released this energy, the trapped Shakti energy that will now rise like the Kundalini.
We will have more knowledge, more wisdom, more love for one another. But first we have to be brave enough to complete our challenges. To follow the call to action. And then we can bring home the treasures, let the masculine and feminine energies marry, merge the dualities of life to become whole again.
It is the eternal journey of counsciousness in the world. Purusha and Prakriti. Shiva and Shakti.
So, whenever we feel pain, whenever we feel discomfort, we just have to know that it is the necessary call to action in order to continue our evolution. The evolution of consiousness.