Heirs of our own actions
You don't have to be a Buddhist or a New Age acolyte to understand the principle embodied in the concept of karma. The theme runs through most religions, has been hitched to Newton's third law of motion and has been reduced, in Biblical terms, to the concept of sowing and reaping.
But some would argue that the Buddha, who lived half a millennium before Christ, said it most succinctly when he explained, "We are the heirs of our own actions."
If that's true, than the following tale, pieced together from letters to the editor, is absolute evidence of karma.
The story begins, according to a letter from Index-Tribune reader Jane Finaly, in May 2009 when Finaly discovered that some jewelry she had stashed in a book safe inadvertently ended up - in the accidentally donated book - as part of the Sonoma Valley Library's quarterly book sale.
That book, with its jewel-laden, hollowed-out interior, was purchased by another Index-Tribune reader named Mickie Hale. Hale can no longer remember the title of the book - "It must have been something I wanted to read," - but she'll never forget the bonanza she found inside. The book was stuffed with valuables including, Mickie told us, "some beautiful pearls, I just couldn't resist trying on."
Someone else might have considered the treasure trove a lucky windfall that no one could ever trace, and sold it for thousands. Not Mickie Hale. She promptly contacted the library, turned in the jewels, and library staff ran a notice in their next newsletter, which Jane Finaly read. She gratefully retrieved her valuables and wrote Mickie a warm letter in which she said, "Goodness begets goodness, what goes around comes around."
Fast forward three years and Mickie Hale, shopping for groceries, left her purse in a shopping basket at Sonoma Market. As she explained in a July 26 letter to the Index-Tribune, she got home, unloaded her groceries and, to her horror, discovered her purse - with credit cards, checkbook, cash - was missing. Panicked, she called the market and discovered that "some kind soul" had retrieved it and turned it in to one of the checkers. No one got the name of the good Samaritan but Mickey hopes she or he read her letter to the editor.
One person who did read her letter was Jane Finaly who then wrote her own letter to the editor.
So the wheel of karma turns, goodness begets goodness and, as both Mickie Hale and Jane Finaly affirm, "Sonoma is special, with caring citizens."