Driving home I realize that I need gas.  I have to go to work in the morning and what I have left in the tank will not get me there, it will barely get me home.  It has been a long day and the last thing that I want to do is divert out of my well tread path and into a crowded gas station to breathe noxious fumes.   I would rather go home, put my feet up, relax for a bit.  However, I know that if I do not get gas now, I am shifting that need to in the morning.  Doing this will throw off my morning routine causing me to need to get up earlier or rush to get the fuel I need to make it to work.  On an oversimplified, micro-scale, this is how I think karma works.

An early Asher gas station.
An early Asher gas station. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The need for gas will not go away.  There is a certain debt that has to be paid and it can be paid totally under my control.  I can choose to pay that burden now and be free of it, or I can wait and pay it when I can absolutely wait no longer to pay it.  The decision of when to pay it makes no difference to the burden itself.  However, by putting it under my own control, it does make a difference to me.  I can relieve myself of the mental burden of the tasks that I need to lay out to get gas in the morning by choosing to accept the burden now.

This same thought process can be applied to others.  I see that my kitchen is in a bit of disarray from papers and dishes accumulated over the past couple of days.  I can wait for my wife to clean, or I can choose to clean myself knowing that it doesn’t matter who cleans it since the job needs to be done.  The burden of cleaning is on someone and I can accept that for myself.  Again, I draw parallel lines to karmic burden here.  The debt must be paid, but it doesn’t matter who pays it.

In the end, maybe it is just the illusion of control over the situation that gives me a good feeling.  Maybe the only burden is the one that we construct and destroy in our head.  In an existential sense, the car doesn’t care when you fill it with gas.  The kitchen doesn’t care if it gets clean.  These are all artificial constructs and rules that we have made personally and as a society.  Without personal and societal identification, would karma exist?

I have a love/hate relationship with covers, but this one is quite awesome!