Reading international news these days can make anyone anxious or upset: a war in Iraq that’s dragging on for years, a new war between Russia and Georgia that could get even worse, a war in Afghanistan no one’s talking about, hunger in Darfur… even the Olympic games, which should be happy, bring to light an oppressive regime.
Excuse me while I crawl back into bed…

Here in the US, among my own circle of friends in New York and across the country, a certain pall of bad luck seems to be in the air: Over the past two months, I’ve seen friends lose their jobs, lose their biggest clients, go through long periods of unemployment, go through crappy breakups, get dumped by text message, get injured in freak accidents (scooter, horse, bicycle), get kicked out of hospitals before they should be because they lack insurance, see their parents get divorced or sick or both, get eaten by bedbugs, get horribly depressed, or just spend their summer really, really broke. Is there something going here?
None of the suffering I’ve described ranks very high compared to war or famine or authoritarianism, and all the friends I’m talking about here, myself included, know how lucky they are to be safe, well-fed, and surrounded by people who care. But. From my subjective standpoint, it seems like there’s been a lot more bad luck than good luck going around these days, and I’m starting to wonder if the suffering in the rest of the world — and our country’s responsibility for some of it — isn’t increasing the suffering over here. Is it possible we’re all inheriting the bad karma that a few awful people in our government created?
We’re all suffering some of the economic consequences: high gas prices, rising unemployment, inflation — no argument there. But can their be karmic consequences as well? This is partly magical thinking: the very rational Buddhist in me says that karma is habit, a way to explain neural pathways in our brains and the consequence of our actions. OK. But the part of me that decorates with crystals… well… there’s something going on here!
Here’s a great article from Beliefnet — “Abu Ghraib and bad karma” — that gets into this.
None of my friends voted for Bush, and I don’t think any of them supported the war, but maybe just by virtue of the fact that we’re Americans, or that we didn’t do everything in our power to stop every bad thing that Bush & Co have done — maybe we’re all responsible? And paying for it? Or maybe I’m drawing false conclusions after a few too many rainy days…
Another rainy day... *sigh*
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