On January 3, 2018

Happiness, karma, and the Golden Rule

By Marguerite Jill Dye

The past year has been an exercise in striving for balance in a turbulent sea. The wear and tear has been quite extreme, often exhausting and terribly frustrating. Many people, including me, have fought depression and lacked motivation. How is it possible, in such tumultuous times, to stay above water and sustain a perspective?

The Tao of Dana says that karma is caused by the principle of cause and effect.

It is said that we create our own good fortune, present and future, through our actions, words, and thoughts. If we seek balance, we need to act from a place of balance. If we want more kindness and respect in our lives, we must treat others with kindness and respect. If we desire peace, we need to react with an attitude of peace. How better to understand karma than through the Golden Rule? Seeing the similarity of religions opens our minds to the oneness of our world

My mother taught me the Golden Rule when I was a little girl. It teaches us to take responsibility for our actions and reactions to make the world a better place.

But what if we are treated badly? How can we stop a negative cycle of passing on an unwanted behavior, action, or reaction? Forgiveness and mercy are what we’re taught, but we live in a society where blame, confrontation, and aggression are commonplace.

Yet some people hold their feelings in out of humiliation, fear, or shame.

This can lead to a feeling of powerlessness and victimization. But instead of remaining in a victim role, we have the power to let go of a victim mentality which, otherwise, can become a way of life.

Being a victim means losing one’s power to another person or entity (company, state, situation), which very well may be the case at the time of the abuse, attack, or relationship.

However, sometimes we continue to wear the victim cloak long after the event has taken place, which allows us to remain in a powerless state of being. It can become part of one’s identity and can be used to justify isolation, stunted growth, or a negative attitude.

Happiness is a choice. Individuals who choose to maintain a positive attitude in spite of great hardship and suffering are some of our greatest heroes. Their courageous spirits have uplifted humanity throughout the centuries.

No matter what trivial or significant trials we may face, we have the power to replace a feeling of negativity, defeat, or victimization​ by changing our attitude and perspective. I believe that we are in control of our own state of mind more often than we realize, and our thoughts pave the way for our reality. “Whether you think you can, or you think you can’t—you’re right.” Henry Ford said.

Shouldn’t we choose to live by that example?

Marguerite Jill Dye is an artist and writer who divides her time between the Green Mountains of Vermont and Florida’s Gulf Coast.

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