By Ian Faulkner, Staff Writer
Friday, January 3, 2013 —
The group Gnarls Barkley, on the album “St. Else-where,” has a song called “Feng Shui.”
Feng shui, in a nut shell, is the Chinese belief in spatial orientation, often associated with Daosim and other Chinese religions. With the proper feng shui, arrangemnet of furniture or east/west spatial orientation for the home, you gain a sort of proper spiritual alignment.
For the most part, I believe Americans understand this concept and find some amount of comfort from having their homes properly ordered, whether it follows traditional feng shui or not isn’t important as long as the person engaged in it feels comforted (that is feng shui, by the way).
However, another foreign religious concept used in modern America that I don’t think most of us have a good grasp on is the Indian idea of “karma.”
As it was explained to me, karma is the belief in the accrued merits and demerits that one has in a given lifetime. Depending on how it balances out depends on your particular station in the afterlife.
Most of us will remember a TV show that was quite popular a while back featuring the theme of karma, “My Name is Earl.”
Earl believed he had so much bad karma that it caused him to get hit by a car right after he’d won the lottery. And though the idea did get the character to shape up, I’m not quite sure karma works like that.
Aside from Earl, I’ve heard similar ideas expressed by those around me.
“Why did that happen to me? Must be bad karma.”
If anything, I think the expression Earl and others are trying to go for is “I’m not doing my dharma.”
Dharma is the Indian religious belief of what one is supposed to do in a given lifetime, a destiny or path, if you will.
If one were not following their dharma, then I would expect some “bad things” to occur.
It’s like taking the wrong road home; sometimes unforseen complications arise.
In any case, dharma aside, karma isn’t something to affect you while you’re alive. While still living, you have the chance to gain good karma to balance out the bad. It’s only tallied once you’re dead.
To me, this speaks of an inherant idea of forgiveness. When I think of forgiveness and religion the first person I think of is Jesus of Nazareth.
Within Christianity there is always the chance of forgiveness, no matter the sin. That was the purpose of Jesus’ sacrifice.
That’s why I don’t think of sin as being able to dominate us while we’re alive: there is always the chance for it to be washed away. That’s the beautiful part of Christianity.
Don’t get me wrong, perceived sins and immoralities have a way of weighing on the soul, but I don’t think it’s impossible to bounce back.
One of my friends said it quite eloquently: “There is no deadline for redemption.”
Sin and karma are similar in this regard; there is always the chance to improve.
Though, perhaps, if you achieve the proper feng shui, it will help you avoid any of the nastier aspects of either sin or “bad” karma.
At the least, a clean house won’t hurt anything.