The Enemy Within

We live in a world where some members of our species thrive at the very top of the food chain while others crawl through the very lowest levels of nightmarish realities.  Why is it that having been given so much we are the only species which actively tortures, maims, slaughters and oppresses its fellow members?

The entire history of our civilization is not based on the good which we have done nor the wonder of our capacity to love nor our limitless courage and resilience and definitely not our unbounded creativity.  It is largely based on our vices: greed, avarice, jealousy, laziness, gluttony, arrogance, cruelty, selfishness and above all fear.

On the macro level, members of the human race have always felt the need to identify and measure themselves against others.  And with this comparison comes the desire to be the lord of all they survey.  However, to gain more of the finite resources of Earth, they have to take it from others.  In the process of taking, mankind has created slavery, genocide, war, torture, rape, famine and the destruction of the planet.  Even in the case of ideologies, we find ourselves fighting to “free” others because our truth is the only truth.  We fear being wrong, being left behind, and losing our power. So we strive to impose on ourselves and others what the majority has defined as desirous.  We who have no natural enemies have been, are and will always be our own greatest enemies.

But the destruction does not stop there.  On the micro level, we are the greatest hindrance to our own development and growth.  With every new year, we are all encouraged to create resolutions which we hope to achieve within the coming year. But for some reason or the other, they never seem to get done.  Why can’t we lose those extra five pounds? why can’t we seem to complete a small project, let alone a big one?  why are our relationships still a mess? why do we feel the world is against us and karma is taking a bite out of us?  It’s simple: we are the reason.

We always have an excuse for not exercising, trying a little harder, or making those not too easy decisions to be the human being of our dreams.  We take the short cuts, easy way outs and justify all our vices, inaction and lack of motivation with the most imaginative and ridiculous excuses.  We convince ourselves that we are not the problem, someone or something else is responsible for the mess we are in and so that someone or something is responsible for getting us out.  When we do blame ourselves, we brush it off as something we cannot change; or it is something in the system which we are unable to change on our own. But because we seek to take from others, we are unable to trust others to fix that which we cannot on our own; and because we fear being sidelined, rejected, humiliated and cast out of the social circle, we dare not breathe a word of our distress and need for assistance. It becomes easier to accept that that’s just the way it is and so we should just let sleeping dogs lie and work with the system, not against it.  

In the end, it isn’t Karma, ‘the man’, the system, or the universe which we are fighting.  We are fighting ourselves.  When we learn to live in harmony with ourselves, our fellowman and the planet, we will find that karma can be an ally.  We need to stop blaming others and ourselves, stop making excuses, learn to go the extra mile for the good of ourselves and others and learn to live in a state of sufficiency (you don’t need to be a billionaire with 10 mansions and boats to be happy).

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