The Debt Ceiling And The Law Of Karma

(This article originally appeared on the Huffington Post 7/28/11)

In Buddhism, the law of karma describes how causes and effects interact in our world. The point of understanding how karma works is to see the nature of things as they are, beyond any kind of delusion or wishful thinking.

What does the law of karma have to do with the current economic crisis? Maybe our national economic policy could use a good healthy dose of seeing “things as they are.”

In our individual meditation practice, there is no magic bullet, no fantasy transformation, no gimmicks — we have to work through our karma, brick by brick — it is manual labor.

With meditation practice, we can see how our mind works — what creates positive karma (compassion and wisdom), and what creates negative karma (aggression, attachment and ignorance). That is how we get clarity about how certain causes create certain conditions — how did we get where we are and what we can do about it.

With the same approach, with real scrutiny, perhaps our current debt ceiling crisis can be seen to be nothing other than our national money karma coming to fruition. There are some basic principles at work here, immune from any kind of fancy talk or manipulation. Certain basic causes and conditions have created the current situation:

1. We have borrowed too much money.

Just as many of us have done as individuals, as a nation we have simply borrowed too much money, and now our creditors are knocking at the door. I don’t think you need an advanced degree in economics to figure this out. Sometimes common sense is more valuable than intricate theories. It’s time to pay some of this debt down, just as we would (and as some of us have) if this were our individual problem only.

2. We have been too greedy.

As a nation (and many of us as individuals) we have been willing to sacrifice long-term prosperity for short-term gain, over and over again. Many of us are addicted to a hyper-extended materialistic lifestyle (certainly by global standards) and have been willing to go deeply into debt to maintain it. Additionally, a tiny percentage of extremely wealthy people are now in a position to manipulate our entire economy to further their own self-centered, limited agenda, which they are now doing on a global level.

3. Our national political arena has become overrun with personalized agendas and bad manners.

We seem to have a chasmic divide amongst our so-called “leadership.” Creative friction can sometimes be very effective in flushing out different points of view and perhaps reaching a higher fusion. But we seem to have gone well beyond that kind of creative friction in our national politics to the level of some kind of permanently feuding mentality.

Like the Hatfields and the McCoys, we now see our two “parties” immersed in an ongoing tit for tat, with nobody being very clear about the origin or the point of it all. There seems to be a crescendo of personalized agendas in the public sector. Temporal leaders, just like good spiritual teachers, could be invited to check their ego at the door. Wouldn’t that be refreshing?

The solution? We need bigger vision.

Let’s think about what would be good for ourselves and others. Are these really two completely different things? Perhaps we bring out the best in each of us and are also happier individuals when we have a feeling of contributing to a common cause beyond self-aggrandizement. If we are arguing about what would be the best outcome for the larger good, that could be a healthy argument to have. If we’re going to keep playing the “me, me, me” game, we might be spinning on this particular wheel of karma forever — like a giant Ferris Wheel with all of us on it.

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3 Responses to “The Debt Ceiling And The Law Of Karma”

  1. Ron says:

    We need to transcend blaming and take responsibility. We are all participants in the current situation: Banks, Congress, the White house, Liberals, Conservatives, Corporations, Religions, Educators, Environmentalists, Europe, China, Terrorists, Blue Collar, White Collar, people who live beyond their means, people who do not parent their children, ,the uninformed, etc., etc. etc.

    Singling out one or more of the ‘other’ participants separates us, relieves us of personal responsibility and does not move us toward resolution. Each of the various institutions is comprised of individuals. Ask yourself what can I do?
    - Change your party affiliation to Independent.
    - Live within your means.
    - Write your congressional representatives.
    - Help someone else.
    - Change the conversation from blame to suggestions.
    - Pay attention.
    - ???

  2. Dee says:

    This article is not helpfull. Before posting about who has overindulged, you first have to understand how the Federal Reserve Note System works. Our Fiat money system is not backed by precious metals (as it is suppose to be according the the Constitution), It is based on DEBT. The private Bankers ,Federal REserve (Not Federal) creates money everytime a loan is made. They add new money to the system, the banks never lend their own money or depositors money. The interest due on every loan in the country is not in circulation, so they have to keep on creating more debt or the PONZI scheme will collapse. So when the banks decide to stop lending there is not enough money to pay the interest on all the loans and that is how defaults occur. The Congress back in 1913 commited Treason, by allowing a Banking cartel, The Federal Reserve Bank to control US money which in turn controls our country, congress etc. The dollar has lost 97% of its value since the creation of the Federal Reserve. This constant inflation created by more and more money creation, is a hidden tax on the people.

    Haven’t you noticed back in the 50.s and 60′s Men would have a job, without a college education, make a good enough wage to raise a family with the wife at home.
    College educated kids today can hardly afford to live away from their parents home, this is without supporting any wife or kids.
    Blaming people for living beyond their means is not helping anyone, people are losing everything when a sudden severe illness hits a family, or a job loss. Most people are a crisis away from losing everything they worked hard for all their lives.

    The banks have created this nightmare ;people losing thier homes, children homeless, etc
    How can you even believe there is Karma within the general population. This article makes people feel guilty, most are ignorant of how they are being robbed. These are the people who worked hard, are productive to the economy, make less and less wages every year(because of inflation,) and then blame themselves for being a failure. Meanwhile the banks suck all the life out of the good people of this country.
    I disagree with you most people in this country are slaves to the system this Banking Cartel has created. They have no way out of this whirlpool of Debt, which is drowning us all.
    I have spent years studying how this Banking system operates and believe me the people are not to blame. We need to LEARN, to support each other and build a better system that will benefit everyone, not the Elite.
    I would say you have created negative karma for yourself for being ignorant of how the money changers manipulate everyone of us, every day. I just hope you have not made someone who has lost their home, with the family living on the street, feel worse than they already do.

    • Tom H. says:


      I dont think David’s article contradicts anything you put out here… seems like he’d agree with you on many points (and you brought up some good ones).

      I think the article is helpful because it doesn’t point any fingers directly and alludes to the fact that we all have had a part to play in the mess we’re in.

      David, thanks for your even tempered article in a discourse that often gets really ugly really fast.


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