Karma: Fact or Fiction?
People Who Create Their Own Drama~Deserve Their Own Karma!
Many of us may have heard the word ‘karma’ but have only a basic idea of what it means. We know that we want ‘good karma’ but are unsure of how to get it. So what is karma at its very core, and does it mean that we have no control over our destiny?
What is karma?
Karma works on the basis that all of our actions have a natural consequence. In other words, every action we take has a similar reaction. If our actions are positive, than we will get a positive reaction. If they are negative then there will be a negative reaction.
What is the Law of Karma?
The word ‘karma’ actually comes from Sanskrit and started out as a term used in Buddhism. In Buddhist theory, the word ‘karma’ relates to your actions and the responsibility that comes with them. In the Western world, this is often described as ‘cause and effect’. The way you behave with others will ultimately be the way others behave with you. If you treat people well, then you will also be treated well. If you cause misery, then misery will also find you.
One of the most important aspects to understand about karma is that our present is informed by our past. This means that the way we behaved in the past informs our present. Karma is constantly holding us to account for our actions in the past, so our life path in the present is the result of the Law of Karma.
What is good karma?
In its simplest form good karma is like a merit from the universe. If we behave well, then we get a merit for this behavior. Another way to look at it is to look at the proverb ‘you reap what you sow’. If you are kind to others, then you are actually being kind to yourself, as you will reap the rewards of this behavior. This means that if you are kind to someone, you yourself will receive kindness back at some point as a result of the law of karma. This is why it is so important to treat others as you would want to be treated.
What is bad karma?
Bad karma can sound really ominous, almost as if this is some kind of curse. This is not correct, however, and actually bad karma is here to teach you an important lesson and to help you grow. In that way, bad karma is not a negative concept. Bad karma can be looked at as a ‘sin’ or a ‘demerit’ which needs to be paid back to the universe, but in doing so we will learn not to make the same mistake again, and we will usually gain a valuable lesson at the same time. If we hurt someone, we will suffer ourselves too, and this will teach us the consequences of hurting others. We definitely should not fear bad karma however, as all of us will experience it at some time or other in our life journey.
How does karma work throughout our lives?
Many people think that karma is a length of time that moves from the past to the present, but this is a false notion. Actually, karma is not linear and good and bad karma can pop up at any time. This means that if we behave negatively, we may not immediately see the result of this karma. It may come much later, even after we have also enjoyed good karma for a good deed that we did.
Karma is essentially here to help us make sense of our mistakes. It will show us what we did wrong and also how we can correct it if we so choose. It will also allow us to walk a mile in someone else’s shoes so that we can understand the things that others are going through. This will also show us how our actions affect others. By seeing the world through someone else’s eyes, we can learn how to treat people in a kinder way.
Can I change my karma?
Many people worry that they will be stuck in a karmic cycle and will never be able to escape from bad karma. This is not true however. We can’t prevent karma from happening, but we can certainly change our karma for the future as a result of our actions. If you behaved in a negative way in the past, then this can be counter balanced by doing positive actions in the present. This is a result of our own free will. We may have made mistakes, but all of these can be undone if we wish. In this sense, our destiny is not fixed and there is always time for us to turn things around if we want to.
In order to change our karma, we need to first take responsibility for our actions and also feel regret for any hurt or pain that we caused on purpose with intent. Without intent being a factor in the first place, there is no worry. Once we have done this, we can set about putting right our negative actions, such as apologizing for blaming someone unfairly. This will then lead to forgiveness, both from ourselves and from the universe.
Some essential learning points of karma:
In order to deal with karma effectively, there are some essential truths that will make your understanding clearer and your life journey easier.
1) Acceptance: According to the Law of Karma we need to learn to accept others around us. We do not know the life truth of another person, of the karmic path that they are walking along. Acceptance of the individuals around us is very important and we should not judge others. If we do, karma dictates that others will also (unfairly) judge us in return.
2) Gratitude: Karma relies on us practicing gratitude. It is easy to take many things for granted, but we should take the time to remember all the things we are also grateful for. This could be something as small as being stuck in a traffic jam and remembering to be grateful that you left the house as you had somewhere to go.
3) Reflection: We often don’t realize that when we are judging others we are actually critiquing ourselves. This means that when we notice ‘good’ or ‘bad’ traits in others we are simply reflecting our own thoughts and feelings on to the person. For this reasonit is important to try and see the positive attributes in people over the negative.
4) Forgiveness: Holding on to hurt and anger is no way to live and will only cause you great pain. Forgiveness may be hard but it will also release you from pain and bitterness. Learning to forgive is one of the most important principles of good karma.
5) Positive energy: Put simply, if we love others and put out positive energy then this energy and love will find its way back to us. This is the Law of Karma. This can be seen in the smallest of ways, such as when you are in a good mood and your energy radiates to others who feel happier when you are around. As such try to send out positive energy whenever you can.
6) Response: If someone is in need then help them. If you are able & in a position to. In these situations, if we help and are kind to others, we are ensuring that we will also be treated in kind when we are struggling.
Karma and the Law of Karma are real concepts that have a long history in Buddhist theory. In our own lives, we can probably identify many times when things have happened to us that we couldn’t explain at the time, but according to karma there are no coincidences in life and nothing happens by chance. If our luck suddenly changes from either positive to negative or the other way round, this is a sign that karma is at work and we are getting our karmic payback.
Whatever our situation, one of the most important things to remember is that karma is never fixed. We all have free will, in addition to our own destiny, and we can always change our karma and our life path.
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