Mirror of Zen Blog

Energy Moves

For the life of me, it’s hard to understand how people can somehow think that “karma“ (mind habit) is some deep mystery. It simply means cause-and-effect, played out in the mind. Thats all. When that cause-and-effect mechanism is not seen, then it operates as a silent software, directing things to negative ends from a vague control tower somewhere. As we begin to trust awareness of this cause-and-effect, it might disappear as a morning vapor is burned through by the rising sun of a day.

Of course, there is the deeper matter of “trauma“, which is an enduringly affective cause-and-effect suffering — literally baked into the formation of neural pathways in the brain (or, in my own case, a shrunken amygdala from a decade of childhood abuse) — caused by some specific event or set of events. Even 30+ years of hard practice in the mountains did not fully relieve me of the nastiest effects of this kind of truly pernicious injury. Practice certainly relieved me of some of the grosser sequelae from these events of my childhood but it was never a total prophylactic against the effects of this.

Energy moves. Mean or sadistic words and actions transfer their devilish power throughout the entire nervous system. Without practice, these experiences literally affect the electrical signaling of the brain and the entire neurochemical support that buffets us from the suffering of day-to-day life. The dribbled basketball eventually loses its energy if we do not “prick“ the unexamined forces of karma, but rather gain insight into their arising, maintenance, and return to emptiness through ongoing, constant awareness, sometimes called “meditation”.

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