You know those days? The ones where one thing after another goes some kind of wrong or just not the way you want it to (usually in a really annoying and frustrating way)? Unless you’ve led an amazingly blessed life or are a bhodisattva, I’m sure you know what I mean. Do you notice that they ‘those days’ don’t even have a concrete name? You can say to a perfect stranger that you’re having ‘one of those days,’ and they’ll know exactly what you’re talking about – you need not elaborate. And typically (or at least in my experience), when you share with the stranger the kind of day you’re having in those very simplistic terms, a knowing expression usually lights upon their face and they may nod, head slightly inclined, sympathetically.
I am happy and enormously grateful to report that today is NOT one of those days for me. However, about a month ago, I had two of those days. In a row. Has that ever happened to you? According to those of us who are me, I think this should be against Universal law. It’s usually bad enough when they happen just all by themselves, but twice in a row? No, thank you. On my drive home from work that second night, I was pondering the experience of having two of these in quick succession. And as I sat in that space, feeling completely run-down to the point where I had nothing left to even say, an idea came to me. Karmic debt.
If you’re walking on the planet, you have karmic debt. You may never have had a credit card, never have had bills that you didn’t immediately pay, have always paid for things in cash or maybe a debit card, never have had student or any other kind of loans, etc. Karmic debt is a different story. It is impossible to not accrue. I’m convinced that even the Dalai Lama has karmic debt. I also think there are different kinds of karmic debt. Some times, you have karmic debt with specific people – people you’ve wronged in some way in this or another life time. Other times, karmic debt is more general. And because karmic debt exists on the metaphysical level, it’s not like dealing with a collection agency with whom you could set up payment plans. Nope. Nor can you screen your phone calls when earthly collection agencies harass you or ignore and just shred your mail. I have concluded that the Universe takes its karmic debt payments via the form of, among other things, ‘those days.’ Thus, I have named ‘those days’ karmic debt collection days, or KDC days for short.
Here’s the up side: when you have a KDC day, you’ve just paid off some of your debt. That specific debt is then done. Your balance in that area has just moved to (or at least closer to) zero. Yeah for you!!! Congratulations!! You won’t (more than likely) ever have to have exactly that experience again. That’s not to say that you won’t ever have another KDC day – you probably will – but not one exactly like that with those people and those circumstances. That is certainly something to celebrate.
With all this talk of karmic debt, it’s important, I think, to remember that there is another side to the story. The Universe is built on balance, and if you’re walking around on the planet right now, then there’s a really solid chance that you’ve got a bank of good/happy karma as well. Have you ever had a day where everything just went ‘right’ – whatever that looked like for you? Where a bunch of things that were happy at you happened? Maybe you found a kick ass pair of boots on sale or received an unexpected compliment or found money in a parking lot or were running late to something and got all green lights on your drive there so you were still on time or you had an aha! moment out of nowhere about some issue you’d been struggling with that lifted a huge burden off your shoulders, etc. Those days, which I don’t think get near as much press as the KDC days, are like a big squishy hug from the Universe. A metaphysical bravo! well done! Yeah for you!
So is there a way to ensure more of those happy karma days than the KDC days? I think so. And I think that the heart of that answer lies in service to others. Not just when it’s convenient or easy for or to you – that doesn’t take a whole lot from us so there won’t be much return in our direction – but perhaps especially when it’s not. When it’s not expected or requested, but just because. When we work to do something for others or give something to others just because it would be happy at/for them. The ‘at/for them’ part is important. It’s pretty easy to imagine what would be happy for/at us and then to do or be that for someone else, but more challenging to empathize to the point of totally stepping out of our own space and completely taking the perspective of another. And then following through.
In closing, I wish you all many happy karma days and remind you to take comfort in the middle and at the end of those KDC days and to simply breathe through them and ride them out!