Reaping What You Sow

It’s been hard to keep up with my RSS reader over the Christmas break, we spent much of it away from computers and while I had my little fix of Facebook for mobile and caught up on a couple of my favourite blogs via the web browser on my blackberry, the service where I was staying was average at best so it was just all a bit too much effort.

So I was just about to go and “mark all as read” on my RSS reader because I can’t stand that little (1000+) sitting in the tab telling me how slack I have been, when the most recent post on A Buddhist Perspective caught my eye.

Cause and effect is a natural, universal law; as natural as a leaf floating down from a tree, as universal as night following day. Since causality is a natural law, there is no judge or ruling body that determines our consequences. Neither is there blame or anger.

Simply put, we reap what we sow. The seeds we sowed with our past thoughts, speech, and actions determined our lives today. And just as our lives today were caused by those seeds, what we think, say, and do today will shape our future.

I spent much of my holiday giving thought to a situation I find myself in right now that I never ever dreamed I would be.  I’ve questions the causes, the seeds I have sowed – my thoughts, words and actions – over and over and over in my head and also contemplated them with a couple of close friends.  And this passage just reminded me that no matter how crap I feel about it, at least I don’t feel anger or blame – towards myself or anyone else. 

Knowing we too have planted the seeds for hardship and suffering what can we do?

We can look around and decide what we want to continue and what we hope to never see again, and then determine the seeds for both. And we can understand that while we may not be able to change everything we wish; it is the right thing to do. We can then work to plant the good seeds as we create the conditions that enable those seeds to flourish and our bad to lie dormant.

By understanding that everything, even a careless word or unkind look, is subject to causality, we can ensure that all our thoughts and actions arise from the wish to behave virtuously and live compassionately.

And as I continued to read the post, I realised that this is exactly what I was doing this holidays – making some really, excruciatingly tough decisions that kept me awake at night and had me reaching for a box of tissues on more than a handful of occassions – but in doing so I was planting good seeds for the future and trying to look for the virtuous intentions behind the actions of both myself and others.

In 2008 I planted many seeds that delivered me incredible rewards and results.  My 101 Things in 1001 Days has been a positive and driving force in this, as has the therapy I have sought for both myself and my relationship.  Approaching life with an attitude of gratitude has opened my eyes to so many new possibilities and had a positive impact on the expectations I have previously placed on some of my closest relationships.  I’ve found new ways to feel empathy for people that I have struggled to understand for years, in particular my father.

One of the things that really warmed my heart over the new year was to see the number of visits to my blog from people seeking to write their own 101 in 1001, and to the 2nd most visited post on my site after this, those seeking to write a letter of gratitude to someone dear to them.

Here’s to everyone that is sowing positive seeds for 2009.  May you reap what you sow, and then some.


1 Comment

  1. An optimistic and forward-looking post, thank you. And yes, it’s so much more helpful to let go of anger and blame, and to instead empathize with others and see their suffering as clearly as we see our own.


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