– The better half of Karma
The reason I say it’s the better half of karma is I am not sure if it actually works both ways. Karma, loosely defined is the concept of the entire cycle of cause and effect. You do good and you beget good things and vice versa. But looking at all the happenings around the world it makes you think otherwise. But I am not here to debate about the concept if it’s true or not.
It was an unusually cold winter morning, a day I would have spent in bed had I not had an important task to finish in college. Before I proceed I think a little backdrop of this incident will go a long way in appreciating this story.
Being a college student I always ride the bus to reach my college. I, invariably have to deal with long waits, especially when I miss my bus by whiskers. And there happened to be this particular driver whom I hated. He was a bane to many commuters on a daily basis. In short he was one of those starred words of a person, never stopped for those extra few seconds even if he saw people hustling towards the bus to catch it, never greeted the passengers well, was never really helpful to confused travelers. There were a couple of other incidents which put him into my bad books. I hated him to my heart’s content! So, now my heart was content, filled with hatred of course. The pros and cons weren’t too exacting though, partly because he was just a person whom I saw for that fleeting moment when I get onto the bus. A year had passed with this hidden hatred in me.
Now we jump back to the present. So, on this unusually cold winter morning I was showing around new college friends the college and we happened to get onto the bus with this person as the driver. And something amazing had happened. I started narrating all the bad experiences I had with him and how discourteous the person was on a few occasion to people. I was infiltrating the mind of my friends and passing on my hatred towards the driver to my friends. And then, “we see what we want to see” – Rorschach situation takes over. My innocent friends oblivious to the nature of the driver actually started noticing the driver and agreed that the driver indeed was rude. I could have perfectly abstained myself from this conversation and let all my friends start off on a clean slate but unfortunately my heart was so full of hatred that I had to spill it over to my friends.
After the incident I realized what I had done and it was a revelation to me. I actually took time and passed on my worthless frustrations about the bus driver to my friends, which was a completely avoidable scenario. I didn’t gain anything out of it, isn’t it? It was a scenario where there was nothing to be spoken about and I felt the need to break that silence with my friends. And when you have nothing to speak that’s when our mind starts digging deep, to talk something even minutely related to the subjects in picture and that minutely related topic my mind could think about was my hatred towards the driver. I was engulfed in a feeling of embarrassment to say the least.
I thought about the entire scenario and the way it panned out. Why did I have to proclaim things to my friends about a person who wasn’t directly rude to me or directly had any impact on me? I started thinking how many more people could be in my bad book? I wanted to do something about this, because I knew this was not the kind of burden I wanted to be carrying around.
So I decided to make amends. The next day I got onto the same bus and wished the driver a good morning with a cheerful smile and with all the positive intentions in mind. I did this without expecting him to smile or reciprocate my salutations. I even didn’t expect the driver to smile back at me and I was right. He didn’t flinch an eye but took notice of my warm wishes. I went my way after that and he went on his.
Couple of days later I was running late to the bus stop and I could see the bus moving away and I knew I wouldn’t make it. The bus moved a couple of yards and I felt as if everyone on the bus mocked at me for running without a reason. I stopped in my tracks with my eyes fixed on the bus and disappointment written all over my face. But then something amazing happened, the bus stopped and from the window the driver actually was egging me on to run and get onto the bus. I was truly amazed because this was a man who was rude and who never really cared for his passengers.
I was thinking about the turn of events and started analyzing the reason behind the driver’s gesture. Was it because I was nice to him and he noticed it? Was it because he changed? Or was it because he was just having a good day? I wouldn’t know ever.
I started doing some little experiments in real life with real people. I started being nice and good to people consciously and I noticed that each individual had a unique goodness detection level. If you felt you were being good to someone and they actually noticed it, doesn’t mean every other person who received that good would regard that as good. So the lesson I learnt from this was you got to get yourself to that level of goodness at which the person on the receiving end understands it. It’s about giving the other person the security that you are actually being good to him and then in return they most definitely are to you. And further rumination on this and it started becoming much clearer that it’s all about communicating and different people understood according to their different mental faculties. I realized if I wanted someone to hear me I had to speak in their language. Simple!
Thinking back I should have probably gone back to the driver and asked him the reason why he stopped the bus for me which he never did before. But the point is he was good to me because he felt good about something, something which had not happened before. So, I would say it was something good which manifested for him and he reciprocated it. And then it struck me that the concept of Karma might be a debatable one but the positive half of it is always true. That’s when I had my eureka moment! Some people might say that I am taking a leap of faith there but I would say – UNREQUITED GOODNESS IS A FALLACY!
P.S:- One of my friends asked me what exactly is goodness and to that I would say it means different things to different people