Maxim Gorky wrote:
“Happiness always looks small while you hold it in your hands, but let it go, and you learn at once how big and precious it is.”
When I look back at my life, at my pre-Canada days, I realize with a sad heart that somehow I had it all. I had a full time job, a family, a home, a decent life desirable to most. But I turned my back to it all. I was constantly in search of a better place to live due to the political instability of the region, the Middle East.
Ever since I settled in Montreal, bad luck has been following me like my own shadow. I have had one misfortune after another, the biggest of them being the passing of my husband ten months ago. Sometimes I thinks perhaps it is karma. There must be something I have done sometime, somewhere in my life to deserve this.
According to The New Lexicon Webster’s Encyclopedia Dictionary of the English Language, Karma is ‘the sum total of the acts done in one stage of a person’s existence, which determines his destiny in the next stage.’
While the Concise Oxford Dictionary defines it as the ‘sum of a person’s actions in one of his successive states of existence, viewed as deciding his fate for the next destiny.’
The most comprehensive definition perhaps can be found on Wikipedia, ‘Karma is destiny or fate, following as effect from cause. It is a Sanskrit word that means “action”. Karma has commonly been considered a punishment for past bad actions, but karma is neither judge nor jury. Rather it is simply the universal law of cause and effect that says every thought, word and act carries energy into the world and affects our present reality.’
I cannot help but wonder what thought, or word, or act I have committed in my previous pre-Montreal life. What am I guilty of? Why all this negative energy? Was it because when I had it all I turned my back to it? I had it all and yet wanted more?
I remember how scared I was to make the move. How uncertain the future looked for me for us. But we were together. Never had it crossed my mind that halfway through our journey I would lose my husband. I try to think, I try hard to remember what could I have done and missed.
I remember on the last day of school in Dubai, during my conversation with a parent, I told her how frightened I was, how uncertain my future looked. I was afraid I wouldn’t find a job, I was afraid of not being able to cope with a temperature of double digits below zero versus Dubai’s warm and hot weather. All very trivial compared to my loss.
I remember the parent’s exact words when she told me, “With all the good you have done to all these kids all these years I am sure you’ll have a good life.” I wish I could see her again and tell her that what I had done apparently was not good enough.
But then James Clavell wrote:
“Leave the problems of God to God and karma to karma. Today you’re here and nothing you do will change that. Today you are alive and here and honored and blessed with good fortune. Look at this sunset, it’s beautiful, neh? This sunset exists. Tomorrow does not exist. There is only now. Please look. It is so beautiful and it will never happen ever again, never, not this sunset, never in all infinity. Lose yourself in it, make yourself one with nature and do not worry about karma, yours, mine, or that of the village.”