Meditation is important to k.d. not only in her own life, but also in her efforts to make it more accessible to others worldwide. For many, it is a difficult habit to begin and maintain. If you are lucky and already happen to be ultra self-disciplined, this article may not help you much. Yet, if you are like so many others, sometimes there needs to be an incentive. So I was thinking: “What better incentive than to listen to k.d. as a way to “prepare” for the Stop, Breathe, Think “Cause and Effect Meditation” led by Jaime Price? If you do not already have the app, you can download it for iOS, Android, or use it on the web, all at the link above.
Cause and Effect: An Overview in Buddhist Thought
One of the key ideas of the Tibetan Buddhist lineages (of which there are several) is the idea of cause and effect. In our modern world we tend to think of this as the old platitude “For each action, there is a reaction”. The basic idea in Buddhism (and I get that this is just a cursory overview) is that bad actions yield bad results, good actions bring good results and our own actions bring our own results. Also, there are neutral actions that do”nothing” one way or the other. None of us want to get in the habit of doing too many neutral things either.
There is a saying in the Buddhist tradition that goes:
If you want to know the causes in your past life,
The way you live at present is the effect of your past life.
If you want to know what your future life will be,
What you do at present is the cause of your future life.
Using k.d’s Song Simple as a Preparation for the Cause and Effect Meditation
Most religions have the idea of cause and effect. Sadly, I think many tend to place the responsibility less on ourselves than Buddhism may. But the idea is that doing things that cause more suffering to you or others (any living being) generates “bad” karma. Unless negative karma is accounted for in some way, via good acts, meditation, or the accumulation of merit, it will affect what happens to you between life and death (the state of Bardo) and influence your next reincarnation; which may or may not be human. One of the big ideas of Buddhism is that being in a human incarnation is rare, and does not happen often. Humans are able to meditate, to try to calm the mind, and work towards enlightenment that other beings are not able to do. Wasting a human life by not contemplating things like love, impermanence, compassion etc is considered a tremendous waste.
The Tools For Peace App Stop, Breathe, Think works to help make thinking about these issues more accessible to busy modern people. I mean let’s face it, most of us cannot wear an orange robe and walk around with a bowl!
So, to prepare for the cause and effect meditation, You can use k.d.’s Simple. I have set out the lyrics and then a brief interpretation underneath to help you get some of the ideas started in your head. Of course, you will create your own too. And you likely have already gotten the meaning about this anyway from previous interactions!
love will not elude you love is simple
love will not elude us
be sure to know that
and love, as a philosophy
love will not elude me
love is simple
be sure to know that
all in love
and love, as philosophy
Meaning of Lyrics With Respect to Cause and Effect
Light is the universal symbol for Truth
Its main tenet: Love abounds.
Love is simple in idea, perhaps not so in day to
living. Hence, the “beautiful struggle” is to
understand this simple Truth of existence.
All is love. It cannot be escaped. Love is simple
Love is all inclusive holding meaning, Truth, light
and the meaning of all living things.
Knowing I do not exist as an individual (my Ego
will be obliterated) I am calm because I am love Itself .
The effect of being in love with another is the realization that You and I are only love itself.
Okay, now that you have heard the song, you can go ahead and let Jaime Price guide you from here. Think about the things you do each day. But try to think about them in a way that is not judgmental. The point is not to scare people to death about their Karma, but to make them aware each moment of the actions they are doing. Living like this, in this kind of awareness, is part of the Dharma we are all supposed to be doing.
The smallest change is all the universe asks. To give you an example from my own meditative experience with Cause and Effect, I really focused on “letting things go” that truly were trivial. For example: when my partner loads the dishwasher and the dishes are all unevenly placed, wasting space and not efficient it is really worth arguing about it? Do I want to insult her by rearranging the top and bottom rack after she did her best to be helpful? Not really. No. This is someone I theoretically love. So, just press “start” on the dishwasher. Move on. Amazingly, the dishes still get clean, really.
So, there is how you can use k.d.’s profoundly gorgeous song as a way to get in the zone for the Cause and Effect Meditation.
Photo used with editorial permission from Getty images.