” I have bad relationship karma”, ” you are a generous person, I bet you have really good karma”.People often throw around the term ” Karma” when things are going very well or terribly bad in their lives.Usually, when people refer to karma they are talking about the universe’s reward and punishment system. But is that what karma really is? Since, Karma is such a confusing topic for most spiritual seekers, I wanted to share my understanding of this universal law.
Two misconceptions I must break about Karma ( because they are pet peeves of mine) are that:
Karma is something that only affects you in the next lifetime. In other words, if you do bad things in this life, you will pay in the next life. Or that Karma is something you have no control over. You did something in the past or a past live and you must pay the cost as long as the universe says so.
Karma has nothing to do with sin and punishment; good and bad; right and wrong. Karma means ” Action”.Karma is the law of cause and effect . Karma says that every action you take has an affect on your life.Your actions affect you mentally and create thought patterns & habits. Your actions affect how you view the world and how the world views you. Karma is every action and every result.Therefore, Karma plays a part in this life and the next ( if there is a next).
Here is an example of creating karma:
You have always considered yourself to be an honest person. But on one rare occasion you are pushed against the wall and forced to lie. Then, you continue to lie over and over again to cover that original lie. At first, you don’t get caught. In fact, you benefit from your lie. So,you decide that it’s not a bad idea to lie in the future if you are in a jam. You start lying more and more. Then, you start believing that everyone in your life is being deceitful ( after all, if you are lying, everyone else must be) Finally, you get caught in a few lies and now people in your life see you as a untrustworthy liar. Does this make any sense to you? Do you see how one action can change your thought pattern ( it’s ok to lie), change how you see the world ( everyone lies), and finally change how the world views you ( friends/family see you as a lier)?
Now, I could come up with examples where an action leads togood results. But it’s important that you don’t think of Karma as good or bad. A good person can have a bad things happen to them especially if they have thought patterns that create a crappy reality. Remember our Karma is created from past events therefore, even if your actions are all good, youmight be holding on to troubling thought patterns ( somecreated by others like your family, friends and so fourth).Besides, Karma does not necessarily determined whether good or bad things happen to you but how you perceivewhat happens inyour life.
So, ” Good” people are not immune from nasty Karmic patterns.On the other hand, a Bad person can have good things happen to them. But does that mean they are happy? Do happy and secure people commit hurtful actions on purpose? Doubtful…
In Buddhism and Yoga, the only ” Good Karma” is no Karma. Buddhists and Yogis are not working to build up great Karma but to be released from it. This is because as long as you have Karma,you a driven by the past and are notliving completely in the now. Also, if you believe in reincarnation, it is Karma that keeps us on the wheel of birth and death.
This is my very simplistic view of Karma. Of course, Karma is very complex and differs between cultures. If you want to delve farther into the study of Karma, you can research Karma in Buddhism and Yoga ( Both have a variety of names for different types of Karma).
In my next post, I’ll compare the three-fold law of Paganism with The law of Karma.