It’s trendy to say “I’m spiritual but I’m not religious.” Lots of douches say that very thing, usually while drinking a PBR and wearing a fedora. I’m guilty of two of those three; however, no matter how cool PBR becomes I’ll never voluntarily swallow that swill. Anyway…on occasion I’ve made that very statement, and examining it now it strikes me as pretentious because I’m not really spiritual, either. My dad says that the difference between religion and spirituality is that religion is outside, spirituality is inside. I like that definition because I happen to agree with it, but I now realize that I’m not even that spiritual. I try to live a good life and do right by others, and I don’t need much outside help with that. After almost 41 years, my moral compass is finely-tuned and I have a solid idea of right and wrong, and what to do in most situations.
Part of that is my belief in (eventual) karma, which upon further examination doesn’t make much sense if I don’t believe in religion. Well, I strive for consistency, if not logic. Belief in karma implies belief in some sort of greater power which fulfills karma. Or, as in my case, it doesn’t. I do believe in karma but I’m holding out on what causes it, which makes me spiritual as well as thirsty for a cheap, horrible beer. There is “proof” of karma all around us, just as there is proof that karma either doesn’t exist or takes a long damn time to come through. I think of karma as like a civil service worker. Some days it is more motivated than others; some days it’s just to lazy to give a damn and lets the universe unspool as it will.
Today’s personal example: at the end of our accounting class each student had to tell one thing they’d learned from the class. A bit of honesty here – this class was pretty hard for me and my learning team saved my ass a few times, so I was hard-pressed to come up with something to use, especially when I was one of the last to go and all of the good (read: easy) answers were used up. I thought about how I want to finish my BA in English but I’m still enough of a whore to enjoy the GI Bill money while working on something I plan to abandon later, so I decided to use that, but with prettier words. It worked fairly well, and even better when I realized it was the truth: I want to get back into writing, and I’ve missed even doing this blog the last month or so when it’s been sporadic at best. I was rewarded with this minor epiphany when my teammate Elvin pimped out this blog in class and a few people were interested in checking it out. That felt good; like karma. I don’t care if people like this or hate it, I just enjoy knowing people are reading it.
To make sure the karma lesson was drilled into my head, when I checked the mail when I got home, there was an envelope from my dental plan. Wasn’t expecting anything from them, and it turned out to be a refund check for $42.52 for overpayment when I enrolled. I usually check the mail before class but I didn’t have time today. My slight desire for some sort of supernatural-but-non-religious reward for doing the right thing has led me to the only obvious conclusion: this check, which would have been in there even if in class I’d just gone with my back-up answer and said “I learned how to understand financial statements a lot better” (always have a back-up answer) was my reward for realizing what I truly want to do, and taking the smallest possible step in that direction.
Yay, karma! Believe.