posted on May 3rd, 2015 | in News, Travel

Karma Karma Karma Chameleon



Meh… another April day of chilly winds and rain, I am thinking to myself. Then my husband takes umbrage because I said he bought the wrong Coconut water.


“Read the ingredients”, I say to him with a sigh. How many times have I said this? So he sits there in a curmudgeonly mood and I suddenly find myself saying “What have you got to be feeling so bad about? No one is lambasting you. You are not left sitting under a tarpaulin with only the clothes on your back because your home has been swept away. So suck it up that you got the wrong thing… it’s no big deal!” (Sometimes you have to be dramatic.)


Actually, he had just sent a donation to help those in the Kathmandu disaster, so that got the message home. Perspective is so important don’t you think?


Cassandra Struthers


Cassandra Struthers


Received this card the other day from a client.

Then as I was thinking about how it must feel to have no home but only a piece of cloth to keep off the rain water and how these people at this point are still glad just to be alive along with their families, I then wondered what it must be like to be born in those parts of the world where you are very poor. This then led me to thinking about why one person is born in whatever place they are. For a fleeting moment, I gave space to a rather primitive part of my thinking and thought of puffed up overly rich types being reborn in the poorest areas of India. I recalled looking over the walls at Neemrana Fort in Rajasthan, India and looking down at the villagers in their homes below where you could see the piles of dried cow dung which they use for their fires. What would it be like to be born into such a circumstance having had so much wealth in a previous life? Would this be karma? But then I shrugged off this fantasy. No, I believe karma is not a judgment but rather a responding energy to whatever you are expressing. I truly believe in a benign format of universal energy which responds to us from a greater perspective (that word again) to bring us into our true balance. So, for example in a very ordinary example, if you overwork, you become physically ill as a way of making you slow down. In that rest period, you might get the message and change your life in some way so that you feel more fulfilled. That’s karma.


This does make me think though about the message of disasters. It is quite a shake up (I apologise for the pun) to a way of life.  After all the Tsunami did have some positive outcomes where people pulled together and rebuilt even better homes, for instance.


We have been to Kathmandu, for example, on one of our many trips to India. Having wanted to visit Kathmandu for many years I was unprepared for the experience I had. We stayed at the Yak and Yeti, the same hotel my husband had stayed at in 1976. There he had the great pleasure of meeting Boris Lissanevitch, a Russian aristocrat who had led an extremely interesting life after departing Russia after the second world war.  A book called Tiger for Breakfast has been written about his colourful exploits. He had started tourism in Nepal due to his connections with the king of Nepal and set up the Yak and Yeti hotel. I remember the huge copper fire chimney in the middle of the room which happily was still in place when I visited. Apparently, husband and Boris had spent convivial hours imbibing a never ending supply of brandy by the fire, whilst Boris regaled him with stories of his many escapades. The common theme of these tales seems to be of a free minded soul who had great flamboyance and no fear about possessing no money. It seemed to flow through his fingers as freely as air.


My visit was less colourful; in fact it turned out that I really didn’t enjoy my visit.


cassandra struthers


Here I am looking a bit doleful at a cafe in the famous Freak Street; the hippy street of the  ’60s.


Guides showed us around and seemed to be very constrained in what they said. I in turn felt a great tension everywhere and this was only added to when I saw a big black van slowly trawling along a street and then men jumping out and seizing some Nepalese citizens and bundling them into the van. There were a lot of plain clothes police around as Maoist activity was high. Also, just after our return home, the regicide took place with nine members of the royal family being killed by the heir to the throne, who then shot himself and later died. Yes, the atmosphere was indeed strange at that time in K.


So here we are in the present with more disaster in this very beautiful land. I do find myself still wondering why this area has seemed to be blighted. I wonder what lesson there is for these people; only they will know. I just can’t shake the uncomfortable feeling that I felt  at that time  of a certain harshness in the air, even with the high presence of Buddhism and the many temples.


But I know I can trust in nature and that universal balance to pierce the chameleon quality of mankind; that chameleon quality which tries its best not to stand out and instead tries to fit in to some sort of group identity. Like a membrane, it needs to be pricked to allow the pure air of truth to flow and make connection.


“The very reason for nature’s existence is for the education of the soul.”
Swami Vivekananda, Karma Yoga; the yoga of action.


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