A SHORT STORY AND ESSAY ON PRINCIPLES OF KARMA
There was once a man who got lost in the desert. The water in his canteen ran out two days ago, and he was on his last legs. He knew that if he didn't get some water soon, he would surely perish. The man saw a shack ahead of him. He thought it might be a mirage or hallucination, but having no other option, he moved toward it. As he got closer he realized it was quite real, so he dragged his weary body to the door with the last of his strength.
The shack was not occupied and seemed like it had been abandoned for quite some time. The man gained entrance, hoping against hope that he might find water inside.
His heart skipped a beat when he saw what was in the shack: a water pump..It had a pipe going down through the floor, perhaps tapping a source of water deep under-ground.
He began working the pump, but no water came out. He kept at it and still nothing happened. Finally he gave up from exhaustion and frustration. He threw up his hands in despair. It looked as if he was going to die after all.
Then the man noticed a bottle in one corner of the shack. It was filled with water and corked up to prevent evaporation.
He uncorked the bottle and was about to gulp down the sweet life-giving water when he noticed a piece of paper attached to it. Handwriting on the paper read: "Use this water to start the pump. Don't forget to fill the bottle when you're done."
He had a dilemma. He could follow the instruction and pour the water into the pump, or he could ignore it and just drink the water.
What to do? If he let the water go into the pump, what assurance did he have that it would work? What if the pump malfunctioned? What if the pipe had a leak?
What if the underground reservoir had long dried up?
But then... maybe the instruction was correct. Should he risk it? If it turned out to be false, he would be throwing away the last water he would ever see.
Hands trembling, he poured the water into the pump. Then he closed his eyes, said a prayer, and started working the pump.
He heard a gurgling sound, and then water came gushing out, more than he could possibly use. He luxuriated in the cool and refreshing stream. He was going to live!
After drinking his fill and feeling much better, he looked around the shack. He found a pencil and a map of the region. The map showed that he was still far away from civilization, but at least now he knew where he was and which direction to go.
He filled his canteen for the journey ahead. He also filled the bottle and put the cork back in. Before leaving the shack, he added his own writing below the instruction: "Believe me, it works!"
This story is all about life. It teaches us that we must give before we can receive abundantly. More importantly, it also teaches that faith plays an important role in giving. The man did not know if his action would be rewarded, but he proceeded regardless. Without knowing what to expect, he made a leap of faith.
Water in this story represents the good things in life. Think of it as positive energy, or something that brings a smile to your face. It can be material objects or intangible qualities. It can represent love, money,
friendship, happiness, respect, or any number of other things you value. Whatever it is that you would like to get out of life, that's water.
The water pump represents the workings of the karmic mechanism. Give it some water to work with, and it will return far more than you put in. This mechanism traces a great circle, an unbroken path that eventually comes back to its point of origin. The energy of this circulation gathers power as it moves along, so that when it finally returns, it is greatly amplified.
Perhaps you have done a good deed that no one knows about, so you assume there will not be an effect associated with this particular cause. In reality, you have but initiated the karmic mechanism in the spiritual realm. You cannot see it, but it is there all the same, and it begins gathering energy and seeking its way back to you immediately.
As we have already noted from the story, the man filled the pump without knowing if his effort would be rewarded. In the same way, when we emulate and nurture others, we also act without expecting rewards of any sort.
This principle applies to everything, not just money. For instance, in order to win the respect of others, one must start by giving others the appropriate respect without quibbles or qualms.
Would you like more recognition for the work that you do? If so, then start by recognizing the achievements of everyone around you. When you truly accept that others are deserving of recognition, their esteem for you will increase as if by magic.
Would you like to have more friendship in your life? If so, then start by being friendly. Do not expect anything in return, and you'll be pleasantly surprised by the flood of goodwill and friendliness that comes your way.
Would you like people to see beauty in you? If so, then start noticing beauty in others. It's easy to see when you pay attention. Everyone around you has an intrinsic beauty that goes well beyond the physical. When you can see this and start to appreciate it and marvel at it, a transformation takes place: You become truly beautiful yourself.
In general, whatever goodness you want from life, give it to others first. Give it cheerfully and willingly, without calculating your gain versus loss as if you are working a balance sheet. Initiate the circular exchange and relax in the certain knowledge that no one ever gets shortchanged.
Think of planting flower seeds in a garden as a metaphor for the karmic mechanism. Each seed you plant is a process you have set into motion. You understand the principles that govern the growth of plants and you know the soil is fertile, so you know that you will see results in the fullness of time. You do not know exactly when or how the flowers will bloom, and that's perfectly fine.
The only thing we need is the courage to take charge and jump start the water.
Believe me, it works