Wednesday, February 29, 2012

karmic bank

Although there were some wonderful films celebrated at the Oscars this year, one of the categories of film that I am drawn to are documentaries.  When I go to a film festival, I usually attend the screenings of films that are unlikely to get major international distribution...put together with very little money, but a lot of passion and a powerful story to tell.  The audience gets to experience and discover raw and interesting talent that hasn't been influenced by a major Hollywood studio or big budget marketing campaigns.

One of my favourite authors is Margaret Atwood.  Her ability to write stories with such layers and depth has been an inspiration to me both as a writer, and previously as a film maker, (her stories are beautifully descriptive and cinematic in nature).


One of her non-fiction books, Payback: Debt and the Shadow Side of Wealth; (Anansi Press, 2008) a visionary book of essays about systems of wealth, justice, and reparation, was used as a narrative for a documentary that was previewed at this year's Sundance Film Festival.  

In her book, Atwood explores the history and meaning of debt, which is an especially poignant topic particularly for this moment in time where the economic world is in turmoil.  Her book delves into, what she considers, "the other meaning of debt, the debt of the the human spirit".  In an interview promoting her latest film collaboration, Atwood states that debt is not just financial debt, but a karmic bank...that we are indebted to those who have influenced us in the past (influenced with their help, their teachings or an emotional effect, positive or negative)

I like this idea of a karmic bank.  As much as we often feel grateful to those who have helped or taught us, sometimes we forget that we also hold on to the negative feelings inflicted on us which also influenced or shaped how we view ourselves today.  I often witness people who fixate on the negative, on the "revenge" of being done wrong...when bad karma goes around and around, it almost becomes never ending.  

But instead of allowing negative karma to continue, I like the idea that the act of forgiveness can help alleviate psychological debt or burden in that "karmic bank", and make one feel truly (debt) free.  And as difficult it is to forgive, it's like that feeling of trying something new for the first time.  You might be apprehensive at first but when once you take that leap, you'll feel the burden off your shoulders, and just might enjoy it.

Just let it go.

That's an idea that we can all bank on.

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