What’s up? How are you getting along with the Laws? Getting your head around them?
Well, taking your silence for affirmation I will progress to the next Law, the Law of Cause and Effect.
If you take a moment and cast your mind back a few years you may well remember that there were occasions we discussed actions you had decided to take and I would tell you to think through the consequences of those actions. Like so many people you needed to take a second and look at the probable outcomes of your plans. You now do and I wish more people would consider the consequences. But, what ever….
So, simply put this Law states that for every effect in your life there has to have been a cause. This is a foundational teaching of Buddhism which believes:
Having read the four previous posts on the Laws you now understand that nothing in life simply happens, rather, everything happens for a reason although I can totally accept the reason may be hard to see at times.
Now you and I, accepting this, can use it to our advantage (and why wouldn’t we, dwellers on the threshold that we are?). We can improve our situation or even create a new or better situation. Firstly it would be a good thing to do an inventory on our lives as is. Can we stand a little improvement, a little streamlining, a modicum more ‘feel good’? Say we know that we could do better in the mornings. We start slow. Nothing fires right. We just can’t do peopling for the first two hours. It could be we need to get more sleep or, it could be we need to stop drinking on a week night. We take an action (and the action may be difficult at first, accept that. Old habits die hard, but you are modelling a better future so persist). You get up in the morning and it’s not a whole lot better but a week later it’s starting to roll. You took action, you caused an effect, you got a result. Hi -five that 👋
Or we take an action by deliberately leaving our credit card at home when we go shopping. Why? Well, experience has taught us that if we take it we use it. Our will power disintegrates in the face of that fashion item which went from ‘I never knew it existed’ to ‘I must have that’ in about half a second. Then we incur debt and I’ve spent next weeks salary and it’s only Monday! I create a cause through my choice to leave the card behind and receive a good effect.
Whatever a man sows that is what the man will reap.Galatians 6:7
Here we have looked at a reoccurring effect and reflect back, creating a cause that will change it going forward. There are a long list of things you can do to cause the effect you desire. Just think. You could, change your reading and read to feed your desired outcome. You may need to alter your social circle or alter your media habits. Perhaps there is an action to take in your diet. The list goes on but the thing is, once you know what you want to achieve ideas about the actions you need to cause to happen will start to appear. Whether you take them or not…well the ball’s in your court on that one.
Each and every thought we action results in an effect. Many are predictable but not all. Occasionally my actions may be a leap into the unknown but I consider that before ever I take action and if I’m half way sensible I make a decision as to whether I’m am willing to commit to a possibly unknown outcome. I think that one depends on how the adrenaline’s running today. That said, it is reasonable to say that knowing the outcome that we desire we can plan and action the causes that we believe will bring it about. The greater we desire the outcome the more we need to focus and practice the actions that will deliver the outcome (or, alternatively, stop practicing the actions that are preventing the outcome).
Don’t blame a clown for being a clown. Ask yourself why you keep going to the circus.Anon
Some writers want me to believe that there are no accidents in the universe. That everything is an effect of a cause. Whilst that may be true I am currently out on whether there are so called accidents. Try this.
I am walking down the street on the way to my favourite coffee house. Cause and effect at work. I had a thought that I wanted good coffee and I took action based on that thought by grabbing my wallet and heading out. The current effect is me walking down the street. The desired effect remains a hot macchiato or two (well actually, always two). Then, BANG, a car leaves the road and I am injured and end up in hospital. This has NOTHING to do with my actions or cause. It was caused by a mechanic failing to replace a bolt at yesterday’s service. Someone else caused what I am experiencing.
So, my current thoughts are that you can be in the wrong place at the wrong time and, conversely, you could be in the right place at the right time with no intention of being there. I am still thinking life can get hijacked and I know some will disagree.
This aside, the main point is that you need to take responsibility for the life that you want. As you know, everything starts with a thought and if you are happy with that thought you progress to actions that align. So getting your thoughts right before you take action is the key. Avoid impulsive actions wherever possible. Expand and refine your thoughts until you have the scenario you most want to come into being. If everything begins with a thought get it right at source. As Ralph Waldo Emerson famously said:
You become what you think about all day long.
The Law of Cause and Effect helps us understand how we can and do create our lives through the thoughts we have and the actions we take. I’ve said before ‘there’s always a choice’ and I hope you are understanding how important your choices are.
Yours, thinking perfect outcomes,