Here is one way of trying not to get caught up:
to experience things more clearly, to see objects more clearly, to not identify with those objects
(though there is still a fundamental separation – and, if you investigate it, a groundless denial – between the subject you take yourself to be and the object you think you aren’t).
Here is a more fundamental way:
not to experience things at all,
so that experiencing –
that is, of an isolated self attending to objects separate from itself –
There’s something that isn’t bravado,
that’s strangely open and vulnerable,
yet not at all afraid,
at your core.
Sometimes what’s most skillful
is not to do anything.
But it’s not possible
to center all forces and phenomena
into a posture or movement
containing not the least iota
of self-driven intent
if you try.
What does the theory of karma – as empirically derived truth, or, alternatively, simply as a window into human behavior – tell us?
Karmic fruit is the result of karma, of self-centered, intentional acts. In a world of causes and conditions yielding effects, intentional acts keep the balls of self-centered relations rolling.
Self is the pool cue of intent striking the white ball (any first self-centered act), an embodied force striking the arrangement of what is, sending the balls flying and ricocheting off one another. Karmic fruit is the patterning of selfishness endlessly forming from karma, I-driven intentions initiating action, initiating the movement of the white ball careening into others, a cascade resulting from, and of, selfishness.
More, most people try to get rid of some uncomfortable condition, some bad karmic fruit, some divisiveness, some suffering, by a further intentional act, by another act of self-centeredness – ‘I’ controlling, forcing, fixing, or even fighting to accept the situation. For instance, you may try to get rid of anger by repressing it, acting out to relieve it, or grinning and bearing it in the hopes it will go away. But if it’s really about ‘me’ and ‘mine’ – even about your well-intended but limited view of what’s ‘good’ or ‘right’ for others – in each case it’s just another pool cue of intent slamming the white ball of your initiating actions into what already is happening, scattering existing divisiveness into new patterns, creating more karmic fruit, more mess, more division between self and other.
Similarly, some try to produce their own ‘good’ karmic situation by ‘acting right’, ‘doing good’, and ‘being better’. But since the way forward, even if well-intended, is still based on self-centered and divisive standpoints, still more karmic fruit is produced: unintended consequences come out of limited, self-centered perspectives, resulting in more fragmentation.
Self-centered notions of ‘doing good’ for oneself and for others are, unfortunately then, rooted in the partiality of the splintering ‘I’ and result in further suffering and conflict.
So, any intentional act, even a well intentioned one, produces more karmic fruit.
A way through karma: without initiating a new selfish intention/action, instead, just see through the selfish patterning as it is. It’s matter of not ‘doing’ at all. Without that pool cue of self-based intent continuing to initiate things, what happens?
The balls come to rest.
And in this way no new karmic fruit – no new selfishness – is created, and the karmic fruit that has already been produced simply exhausts itself,
‘I’ nowhere found.
The aggrandizing self
is a display of voracious power
blind to its own falsity.
Absent the aggrandizing self,