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July 15, 2020

Everything Happens For a Reason

Everything happens for a reason.

The trope that nearly everyone says, and most people hate.  It implies that what we are going through, regardless of how terrible it might be, has something good coming out of it.

Most people mean well.  We should look on the bright side, because things could be much worse.  Sure, things could be worse, but they could also be a whole lot better.

It also can imply that some of the things we go through are our fault, and that surely isn’t true. Losing a job or a loved one may have nothing to do with us at all.

There is one thing that we are forgetting with this phrase, and that’s karma.  In my yoga teacher training, we spoke at length about karma.  In the west, we have a tendency to oversimplify things that are foreign to us, so our idea of karma is that it’s a form of balance.  If we do good things, good things will come to us.  If we do bad things, bad things will come to us.

Some people also believe this transcends our current life to past lives and future lives, part of the idea of reincarnation.  This can mean that past life deeds can affect our current lives.

However, there is more to the story.  Karma isn’t just about one person, but many people.  Sometimes we are affected by other people’s karma.  While we might be doing as much good as possible, sometimes we intersect with other people’s bad karma. That intersection means sometimes bad things happen to us, through no fault of our own.  We get in a car accident, or our boss is in a foul mood and lashes out.

It has nothing to do with us, it’s not our fault.  Things happen for a reason, but sometimes it’s someone else’s reason.

Regardless of the reason, how we react is all on us.  Just because something bad happens in our lives doesn’t mean that we have to react poorly.  We can take the time to come to terms with the situation and move forward in the best way we know how.  We can find support in others, and when we offer support, we can try not to say, “everything happens for a reason.”

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