DLW is an occasional blog about how people spend the time of their lives (every moment) to enable health, balance, meaning and fulfillment. As a blogspot about doing, it draws from personal stories and from studies of everyday living. It's main idea is that to be well, people must be involved fully in what they do. The activities that occupy our days help to connect us to the world, define who we are, and keep us healthy.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Post on Karma as "Doing"

This post is different than recent offerings. For one thing, it is (slightly) shorter. Another difference is that it pertains not to traditional "Western" ways of living, but the culture of Asia. A third difference concerns its topic area, which pertains to spirituality.

Note that on this blogsite, being spiritual does not necessarily equate with being religious. When we are spiritual, we contemplate ideas that are beyond this world, such as "Why do I exist?" or "What happens when people die?" Often, we contemplate these ideas within the context of formal religions. A religion can be described as a formal, organized way for thinking about spiritual matters. But many spiritual people don't adopt or govern their lives according to the "rules" of organized religions. In other words, according to this view, it is possible to be spiritual without being religious.

Karma, a word from Sanscrit associated with Buddhism, can be translated into English as "doing." In Buddhism, and Hinduism, there is a belief that the sum total of one's "doings" in the physical life (or previous lives) determines their destiny, or what happens to them in future lives.

Without getting into a discussion about religion, the notion of how our acts today determine our fate or destiny tomorrow (or in the future) seems common to many formal religions in cultures around the world. The late Joseph Campbell observed this in his writings on myth contained in "The Hero with a Thousand Faces."

But when you think about it, there is another point of view that deserves mention here. That is, we can create the lives we want (and thereby influence our futures) by acting in certain ways now that may not have anything to do with spiritual or religious teachings. Some people "seize the day" and create their opportunities. They believe they can influence what happens to them by organizing and directing their actions in purposeful ways. To me, there seems to be a certain logic to this. Perhaps this is what the sports apparel maker Nike suggests when it uses the advertising slogan "Just do it!"

So, the fact that the word Karma translates into "doing" invites many interesting thoughts from this blogger. I'd be interested in reading yours also!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for your insightful post... it is one of my favorites. You bring up many relevant points regarding the importance of both spirituality and perhaps "doing what we are called to do". ... There are many relevant studies associating spirituality and/or religiousity with life satisfaction, an example is a full text article available at: http://www.springerlink.com/content/y590387qr7204445/fulltext.pdf

    Personally I do find my own spirituality/ faith as a grounding force no matter the external events and my mood (happy or sad). Perhaps the faith and spirituality bring an underlying joy that is permanent no matter the temporal mood or events.

    I too enjoyed your discussion of "just do it". ... I have much enjoyed the book, "Bliss: Writing to find your true self". Within the book author Katherine Ramsland speaks of intuition, mindfulness and reflection in the context of doing. For some such mindfulness may occur in advance of the doing, and for others during and after. She too speaks of Mihály Csíkszentmihályu's concept of flow and seeking engagement in experience.

    Personally I believe spirituality, meaning, and flow though not always synonymous and connected, are often related as we find meaning in doing that which is important and engaging.

    Thanks again for your insightful post
    blessings
    Kringle

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About Me

I am a writer, lifelong student, former academic and new blogger. My passion continues to be everyday living. I am interested in what people do, how, when and why they do it, and what it means for their their understanding of the world and hence, their well being.