by Guest Author Jacqueline Gum
I’m going to assume that at least some of you have seen the bumper sticker “My Karma Ran Over My Dogma.” I saw one the other day and my inner voice bellowed, “I don’t get it!”
Again, that annoying voice, summoning another call to action: Research, figure it out, allow opposite views, distill, refine, and finally define. One of these days, I’ll learn to ignore that voice and embrace the adage, “Ignorance is bliss.” Is there peace in a pasture of ignorance? I think I’d sleep better.
So I read a bunch of stuff about both. Dogma is most commonly associated with a set of beliefs that are predominantly religious. Most Western faith based religions believe that faith in Jesus Christ will absolve them of the consequences of sin. But dogmatic teaching not tempered with wisdom can misguide a person to ignore real life experiences, including any social structure. There is a “you reap what you sow” component, and you could end up burning in hell for the really bad stuff, but in the end… it’s all good. You’ll be forgiven.
Eastern philosophy suggests that each person is responsible for their own actions, and that one accumulates good or bad karma according to their own desires and actions. Payback can happen in this lifetime or the next, but the point is to evolve, knowing that if you don’t, some version of bad will get you.
“My karma ran over my dogma” could suggest that the eastern philosophy is superior, so much so that it “runs over” the philosophy of dogma. Then again, maybe the person sporting this bumper sticker just abandoned the Catholic church and became a Buddhist. Or maybe (and most likely), the “It’s okay, I’ll be forgiven” attitude got run over by a little karmic payback…?
So my inner voice, always seeking balance and justice started stuttering. Wh-wh-wh-what? Is karma giving dogma the middle finger? As in, “Do good now, jerk, or else.” Get yourself to the point where there is no need to ask for forgiveness.
A dogmatic Christian might argue that there is no man without sin, and that’s plain. I’ve sinned…this I know. Somewhere along the line I was taught to believe that I’d meet my maker. But somehow I also surmised that I don’t want to have to make an inordinate number of apologies on that day. So I tried to atone for those sins.
But as I got older and explored more spiritual doctrines, I also came to believe that it’s incumbent upon us to evolve into better beings… to learn the hard lessons and apply them every day. It feels comfortable to believe that there is some reward at the end.
In pondering all this, my twisted mind conjured a vision. I was talking to a big ball of light trying to justify my screw-ups and a big booming voice interrupted. “Uh no…there’s no big platter of forgiveness here. You were supposed to be good and do good back on earth. No, no, no… instead of forgiveness we offer evolution, depending on how much you learned and applied. You had a shot! You could have gone back as a wise, judicious leader of all people, but you blew it because you assumed you’d be forgiven. In the end, yours was a selfish life so you have to go back and really learn the lessons this time. That’s the GOOD news. The BAD news is that I’m sending you back as an amoeba ‘cuz you got a whole lot of evolving to do.” Hmmm…..
I jumped the line and ran through a force field. I found myself standing on a cloud, talking to a cool looking guy dressed in a robe and sandals. After hearing my story, he said, “Just a little time in the fire, pretty lady. No worries, I’ll have you back up here soon.” Hmmm….
Both seem valid and I see justice in either. In the end I found this quote from Gandhi and decided that it made the most sense to me:
“If we only had a handful of words to speak in one lifetime, we’d be far more judicious in how we used them. Carefully watch your thoughts, for they become your words. Manage and watch your words, for they become your actions. Consider and judge your actions, for they have become your habits. Acknowledge and watch your habits, for they become your values. Understand and embrace your values, for they become your destiny.”
For a little guy, he sure had a lot of big ideas.
Midwestern-raised Jacqueline Gum is the author of Confessions of a Corporate Slut, a novel about a woman who successfully navigates a male-dominated corporate world. Jacqueline’s familiarity with this type of corporate world and the challenges a woman faces in it stem from her own business successes in a male-dominated industry. She also blogs regularly on her website at http://www.jacquelinegum.com/blog about all types of everyday injustices we all suffer and asks the question, “Where’s the Justice?”
Her second novel, The Accuser’s Burden, is about a successful career woman grappling with questions of loyalty, love, corporate intrigue, and social justice when her husband commits an unspeakable crime against her best friend and mentor. It has been short listed for the William Faulkner Words & Wisdom 2012 Competition in the novel category, and she is currently seeking representation for it. (Read Chapter 1) In the meantime, she continues to actively write, working on her third novel, The Flame Dame Chronicles.
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Confessions of a Corporate Slut is the wry retelling of the tale of a corporate wife—YES, it is a career. The title is metaphorical…tongue in cheek for smart women who give away their intellectual property for free…to benefit a spouse. Its publication preceded the very public stories of Silva Spitzer, Elizabeth Edwards, et. al. Midwestern Review gave it a 5 star rating.