Karma Unfolding

(Photo above shared with permission from Jennifer Arlin, 2016)

Beings are the owners of their karma, heir to their karma, born of their karma,

related through their karma, and have their karma as their arbitrator.

Karma is what creates distinctions among beings.


My late husband, Chris, was an extraordinary man, a modern day Renaissance man.  Not only was his intellect in the genius realm, but he was spiritually centered at a level most of us mere mortals can only imagine.  Although Chris was active in a local Unitarian Universalist church, he was really a Buddhist and practiced meditation in the Theravada tradition.  In the decade prior to his death, he wrote a novel that included elements of mysticism, philosophy, and spirituality.  It was largely complete but not entirely finished when he died in 2008 from leukemia.  Chris was a complex and private individual and he refused to share the manuscript with anyone, other than his mother.  It wasn’t until after his death that I read the manuscript and was startled to realize the potential his modern-day fable has for transforming lives.  And oh, by the way, the story is incredibly entertaining and creative!

Ever since I first read the unfinished manuscript, eight years ago, I’ve wanted to get it finished and published.  But the task seemed daunting and life’s trials and tribulations got in the way.  Now, recently retired, I have the time to pursue the fate of Chris’ amazing manuscript.  And my thinking has changed about the path to pursue.  I now think his story is better suited for cable TV or film, not as a novel.

So, with this lengthy preface, I am charging ahead to publish and share Chris’ work.  A friend referred me to a TV producer, who is willing to read the manuscript and give me his professional opinion.  I am now knee-deep in pulling the manuscript together.  This requires compiling material that is only half in electronic form and typing or scanning the remaining chapters.  It’s a laborious task.

Now, here’s where the exciting part happens!  As I’ve been reading, typing, editing, and organizing the manuscript chapters, I’ve had the growing sense that something really important was happening.  The first sensation was Chris putting his hand on my shoulder.  The more I typed, the more I felt his presence.  It’s as if he is guiding me in a purposeful direction.  There is much in his manuscript (I don’t want to reveal the story here!) that is spiritually powerful and I am beginning to feel “chosen” to put it “out there.”   I feel that the universe has my back as I allow karma to move this forward.

As this sense of karma took hold of me, I took a break from the work and called Judy, Chris’s sister.  Not only did she support my experience, she reaffirmed my role of being “chosen.”  She shared with me the story of how Vincent Van Gogh’s sister-in-law was responsible for introducing Van Gogh’s art to the world after his tragic death.  Only his closest friends and colleagues knew about his paintings until Johanna Van Gogh, who was from an art-loving family herself, created an exhibition.  The rest is history.

Now, I know what you’re thinking.  You’re thinking that I’m exaggerating Chris’ talent and the potential of his manuscript.  Well, maybe, but I don’t think so.  My husband, Jim, has gently reminded me that the TV producer may not like the story and that I need to prepare myself for that possibility.  Judy and I talked about that and she said something that reassures me.  She said, “Even if this TV producer doesn’t like Chris’ work, you have played your role in the universe.  Maybe the manuscript will sit on his desk and someone else will see it.  Or maybe the producer will mention the story at a party and someone else will take it on.  Whatever happens, you have carried out your karma.”

What is karma, anyway?  In western culture, I think we tend to use the word a bit too flippantly.  Alan Watts, one of my favorite writers, described karma with a story:

The Story of the Chinese Farmer

This farmer had only one horse, and one day the horse ran away. The neighbors came to console the farmer over his terrible loss. “So sorry that your horse has run away.  That’s too bad.”  The farmer said, “Maybe.”

A month later, the horse came home–this time bringing with him a herd of wild horses. The neighbors became excited at the farmer’s good fortune. “Oh, isn’t that lucky!  What a great turn of events.  You’ve now got eight wonderful horses.”  The farmer said, “Maybe.”

In trying to tame one of the horses, the farmer’s son was thrown and broke his leg. All the neighbors were very distressed, saying:   “Oh dear.  That’s too bad.”   The farmer said, “Maybe.”

A war came, and every able-bodied man was conscripted and sent into battle. Only the farmer’s son, because he had a broken leg, remained. The neighbors came around and said, “That’s great.  Aren’t you lucky!”  The farmer said, “Maybe.”


Karma is a Buddhist term which comes from Sanskrit and has to do with our actions and intentions.  Only we are responsible for our actions.  Whatever we do, feel or think will create our future.   So therefore our past actions, feelings or thoughts have brought us to where we are today.  We can learn from our past and change our karma for the future.  I’ll talk more about this chain reaction more specifically in future posts, but for now, I believe that putting Chris’ story into the universe is good karma!

What do you think about karma?


    1. Yes, I agree. Sometimes, even across lives from the past! Have you experienced any karma lately? I’m finding that my commitment to mindfulness is helping me to recognize karma when it occurs.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s