Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Taco Bell and Karma

The other night I had a pretty fun experience that has reminded me that karma is real and that it truly pays off to be nice and help other people.

At about 2 am I felt the need to get my fourth meal on at good old Taco Bell. Before you judge me for that, let's be honest, what's better than a double-decker taco with lava sauce and a baja blast mnt. dew after a long night of partying? Right, nothing.

So as I was saying, I went to Taco Bell with my friend and as we pulled up there were 2 kids sitting on the grass by the drive-thru who immediately jumped up when they saw us approach. I was a little wary at first of having drunk people approach my car at such a late hour, but I soon discovered that all the guys wanted was some Taco Bell and without a car that would be impossible for them. I hesitated at first, but as I thought about the situation I realized I couldn't deny them Taco Bell. First, I shouldn't punish these guys for being responsible and smart enough to walk rather than drive to Taco Bell in their drunken state. Second, I understood their desperate need for Taco Bell and I just wouldn't have felt good about myself if I were the jerk to deny them that blessing.

So I ordered food for the 4 of us which came to almost $20, one of the guys handed me a $20 bill and I told them we'd figure out money at the other end of the drive-thru. Once we got our food we divided it into bags and I handed them their change, but they wouldn't take the money. They said it was payment for helping them receive the blessing of fourth meal. I awkwardly bowed in gratitude and we parted our separate ways, never to meet again.

Deciding to have fourth meal that night may have been the best decision I had made in months, not only did I get Taco Bell, but I got it for free. Why? Because I was nice enough to help a couple strangers out and because karma is real.

Simply put, karma is a theory of how actions bring about (cause) consequences (effect). Karma is not a negative idea, but for some reason it has developed into a negative idea which is evidenced by the common saying that "karma is a bitch." This saying is more than just a little deceiving since karma can bring us good as well as bad consequences. If we wanted to accurately describe karma then the saying should be that "karma is a bitch if you are an jerk" or "karma is a saint if you are a gentleman."

My experience at Taco Bell is just one example of many experiences in my life where karma was kind to me as a result of my decision to be kind. On the flip side I have many experiences where karma wasn't kind to me as a result of my decision to be a jerk. Sometimes we don't see the effects of karma right away (usually because we don't see the connection between the two events) but I stand as a witness that karma is real and by being a gentleman/woman and by doing good to others we will be blessed by karma and our lives will be filled with joyness and happiness. I promise.

So next time someone says that "karma is a bitch" remind them that they should stop being a jerk.

Saturday, September 1, 2012

The Best 3 Friends That Anyone Could Ever Have

This past weekend I went backpacking, hiking, and camping in Tahoe for the 2nd Annual "Near Labor Day Weekend Backpacking/Camping/Hiking Mancation." Only three of us (Joe, Zach, and myself) could make it this year, but it was still awesome.

The best 3 friends that anyone could ever have.

I don't know how many of you have had the opportunity to spend some time in and around South Lake Tahoe, but it is easily one of the most beautiful places on the earth. Last year we found a beautiful little lake called Dardanelle with a perfect camping site in the woods about 100 yards from the lake and we liked it so much that we decided to do it again this year. Besides the stupid, lazy fish that wouldn't let us catch and eat them it was nearly a perfect camping weekend. The scenery was beautiful, the hiking was fun and easy, the weather wasn't too hot or too cold, and our phones didn't die (allowing me to take crap-tons of pictures).

 The hike

Lake Dardanelle

With that said, the highlight of this year was something I had never experienced: reading a book aloud around the campfire. Reading is one of my favorite things, but when Joe threw out the idea I have to admit that I was a bit skeptical about reading a book aloud with 2 other dudes. We decided to read read one of my favorites and an American classic, "Fahrenheit 451" by  Ray Bradbury. We each took turns reading about 15 pages and it turns out that we were able to finish the entire book in only 2 nights of reading. It was an awesome experience and one that I hope to repeat in the future.

Joe reading by the campfire with the aid of a headlamp

The book was written in the '50's and is a bit odd, but in a lot of ways it is very fitting for our time and reading it gave me time to reflect on my own life and the relationships that I have. One of the main themes of the book is that people are so consumed with TV and other forms of media that they don't have time for people anymore. This is something I see more and more in our society today. For example, have you ever gone to dinner with a bunch of friends and at some point during the dinner noticed that instead of talking everyone is on their phones?

The whole experience of the weekend reminded me of something that has become very apparent to me over the past few years, that enjoyment in life is a direct result of the relationships in our lives.

There honestly isn't anything in life that makes me happier than spending time with friends and family. Taking the time to care about other people and build relationships are the most important investments we can make in this life to be happy. Sure, we might be disappointed by people from time to time, but investing our selves and our time in other people is worth it. Getting to know someone, becoming friends with someone, confiding and trusting in someone, caring about someone, and being a part of someone's life are the most gratifying things we can experience in life. I dare you to think of something that brings you more long-lasting joy and happiness.What? You can't think of any? That's cause there aren't any.

Therefore, I propose that we spend more time with people. When we go to dinner with our friends let's put the smartphones down and talk with each other. Let's enjoy the people we are with.

Invest your time in people and you will invest in happiness.