If you hurt someone else you give them permission to hurt you back because you make hurting people OK. This is quite tricky to understand. It’s one of the ways that karma works. Karma just means “actio”, like Newton’s law:

For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction

What a lot of people don’t realise is that this is true for everything. This is what the Buddha discovered two and a half thousand years ago. Think about what this means in Iraq and other places. Normalising terror and so on. I look at the world around me and worry where the self-righteous crap people are peddling will take us all, without most of us even realising it.

I am trying to stop giving people the finger when they try and drive me off the road and also not rise to their bad driving. This means that I must be much calmer. Returning their aggression gives them permission to carry on being and behaving the way they do. Everything involves you giving someone else permission in some way. That’s why I’d rather be kind any time.

Change is odd, as well. It gives permission to think about things differently and it also turns things on their head. The fear of change is one of the things that you need to learn to do without. It’ll happen anyway – start thinking differently now, be ready. None of the things you hold dear need be true, even slightly; more worryingly they may be true in the senses that you can’t conceive of.

The phenomenal world we live in is constructed in your mind by processes we don’t understand. We agree with each other on the labels for things and not much else. For example in the Buddhist canon there is the following example around a glass of water:

  • A god would see it as ambrosia
  • A human would see it as water
  • A hell-being would see it as something burining and nasty to drink

Even a human being would see different things, depending upon how thirsty they were, or even if they had contracted a disease where they have hydrophobia.

Now look what you made me do

I once lived with someone whose entire life revolved around these words. The only thing that she was responsible for was having a dim view of everyone else.  You can’t win with someone who uses this as their mantra, so don’t even try. If you live your life like this expect to be unhappy. Unhappiness starts to go when you manage to take responsibility for things and stop assuming that the world revolves around you. It never did. Get over it.