Do You Believe In Karma?
GUEST POST BY REBECCA DETTMAN.
Last week a friend of mine had a psychic reading and was told, “You’ve resolved all your karma from previous lifetimes. From now on, you are living in a state of instant karma.” Now that’s an interesting concept! Of course, the Westernised / Americanised definition of ‘karma’ (i.e. our highly simplistic view of ‘you hurt me then, I hurt you now’) would leave most self-respecting Buddhists in fits of laughter. Apparently it’s all a bit more complicated than that. And then still other schools of thought (think Neale Donald Walsch) will tell you that there’s no such thing as karma anyway, there’s only Oneness and soul lessons (there’s no bearded old man up in the sky keeping track of everything in the Great Book of Justice). Which, sigh, is probably true.
But the concept of karma is a fascinating one. It twinges your conscience every time you do something your gut feeling knows ain’t right, and it makes you feel better in a surly kind of way every time someone steals your car park / boyfriend (“hmpf, they’ll get their own back one day”). But will they? And does it really matter if they don’t? Is revenge necessary? Is keeping a tally of other people’s shitty behaviour an “enlightened” thing to do? Personally I think the bottom line is — to paraphrase Byron Katie — there are only three types of business. Other people’s business (their choice in jobs, boyfriends, actions etc), God’s business (wars, famines, natural disasters), and your business. The only one that should concern you is the latter, because it’s within your control. Stay out of the other two — they’re out of your control, so worrying or sniping about them will only bring you suffering.
It’s a real Facebook / New Age / Western thing to observe a particularly vitriolic act and just nod wisely and point the finger, saying, “Karma.” But what does that even mean anyway? An eye for an eye? This concept of karma implies that we must be ‘punished’ for being bad – by having the same thing done back to us, until we ‘get’ it and move on – but if you ask me, that’s a bit like punishing a toddler for hitting someone in the sandpit. Toddlers don’t know a whole lot better. Sure, they can be gently guided, but you wouldn’t actually condemn them – they’re simply at a younger point of development. Similarly, human beings make mistakes ALL THE TIME – we hurt other people without realising it, we hurt other people intentionally and later feel bad about it, and most of all we hurt ourselves. We don’t necessarily need to get ‘karma’ later to ‘balance it all out’ – we did those things at a younger point of soul development. Later, when we evolved a bit, we healed stuff and moved on.
I do think it’s a worthy and valid point, however, to mention that occasionally I come across past lives that really do seem to offer a ‘balance’ in a karmic-style way… eg. someone who was abused as a child realises that in a previous incarnation, they themselves were a child abuser. Shoe on the other foot, etc. You can call that karma if you like… Who knows? Maybe it’s just a fantastic way to truly understand life from the totally opposite perspective. In a nutshell: don’t get hung up on karma (whether it be the Eastern version or the Hollywood version). Just be yourself, quest for goodness and never punish yourself for past bad acts… When you know better, you do better!
What are your thoughts on karma?
Positive affirmation for the day: I see the innocence in everyone in my life.
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