Karma. Let’s talk about it shall we?
I think its important that we take concepts like ‘Karma’ and bring them back down to earth and explain them in a logical way, mainly just because of the way its referred to.
When I hear people talking about Karma, it always seems as though there is some mystical side to it, like its out there watching you and waiting for you to do something to either reward you or ‘get you back’, well that is the way most people refer to it anyway (a bit like how people refer to God, something out there watching you, ready to punish or reward).
This is why I wanted to address it, really. Just look at the pics below to see what I mean:
For this post, I just want to focus on the popularised ‘getting you back’ side of it as the pictures above suggest.
This does indeed make it seem like there is something watching you and judging you and will serve up exactly what you put out. There is no true basis to the idea of exactly what you do you will get back, BUT (I feel some of you shouting at the screen right now), there is a basis to why Karma is true, and it may be a surprise to some people, but it is already known.
Firstly, the meaning of the term ‘Karma’ is actually action. That’s it, action.
That is why in the traditions where the word comes from, which is Sanskrit the ancient Indian language, you have such a thing as ‘Karma Yoga’. This is the yoga of action. That you can reach the ultimate state through your actions. That by being in full conscious control of them, you can liberate yourself.
This is because Karma is actually something we know in science called ‘Cause and Effect’. This is Karma.
For every action, there is a reaction. This doesn’t mean something is going to come around and get you in the way many people see it. Lets take a concrete, easy to understand example of Karma (and please, do let me know in the comments if you agree with this example). For the purpose of this example, you are a human being with fully functioning limbs and faculties:
Karma Example Number 1:
You have two working legs. You can run, skip, hop, leap, walk, jump…
You put yourself in a dangerous position one day (knowingly or unknowingly) and lose one of your legs… << nothing mystical here, maybe you did not assess the situation properly, or maybe you knew it was dangerous, and did it anyway (could be a number of reasons).
Now, because you have lost a leg, you are now limited in the future going forward to being able to only hop and maybe leap… (your past action has changed your present situation).
This can now effect further future decisions, or limit future decisions, of what you can and cannot do in the world. For example, you may have wanted to play football, or indeed played for a football team, which you now cannot do and your life begins to go down a different path…
This now leads into other things, maybe new opportunities comes that you never thought of before that are really good for you, or maybe it doesn’t, regardless, this process continues on as you take further and further actions in your life and it becomes a snowball effect…
Cause and effect, where that effect now leads into more cause’s with more effect’s and it continues on and on…
Now, obviously this is a very simple, straight forward black and white example, one that may not play out in everyday life. So lets take one more to do with the mind (one where people would say ‘karma’s come and got you’):
Karma Example Number 2:
You start a new job, you are really excited and want to do everything you can to climb the ladder and reach to the top…
Because of this, you consciously start to cut corners to get ahead and you realise nobody else is saying anything and you can get away with it, so you continue to do it…
This has worked well for you for the last year, so you consciously step it up a level and start to take advantage a bit more to further move up the ladder, and that is working too!… A few years later, you are sooo close to being at the top, just a few more steps and you will be CEO.
Now, over the years you have formed a habit of cutting corners and taking advantage of certain situations, so why would you stop now? More over, its much harder to stop now as you have formed a habit of doing it. You are used to it, so you continue…
BUT one day, because you got so comfortable doing this, you get sloppy, and you are caught out in a situation by the CEO. He gets suspicious and looks into you a bit more, and allll of the corners you cut and things you took advantage of along the way come out of the woodwork and you lose your job…
Now, you have a bad reputation, nobody wants to hire you… or even trusts you… and your career is ruined! Its over in this industry for you.
So, no mystical happenings
From the example above you can see there were a number of events that led up to this, there was no mystical force in play here. A number of causes with their effects that continued to snowball into what it became. Not ‘good’ or ‘bad’, just a string of events.
It wasn’t that you were a ‘bad person’ to start with and this mystical force came around to get you. No, there were a number of things that happened that led up to you becoming this person who cut corners and took advantage. At any point, you probably could have stopped this from happening, but because you did it over and over again, it become a habit so it was harder for you to stop.
So, if you hurt someone and they have the idea ‘Karma will get them back’ this is not always true or how it works. If you took actions to change this after the events took place, you probably wouldn’t continue to hurt people in the same way (one would hope) which then would lead to a different set of causes and effects, not necessarily the ones that the other person you hurt was hoping for, you know?
The Big Takeaway
The reason I say this is because you really are creating your reality as you go, in every second, in every moment, in every karma (remember it just means action), you are creating your future. It is not set in stone that ‘you did this, so now this has to happen to you’. No.
How this links to Spiritual Development and Spiritual Growth
This goes back to the first post called ‘How To Grow Spiritually… Everyday! | Spiritual Development and Spiritual Growth’ where we talk about creating an internal space. This is because being in control of how you react to the world will also mean you are in control of your ‘Karma’ too, the actions you take. Instead of reacting to people and events which over time can take you down a road you may not want to travel, you can consciously choose to create what you want in this world.
Also important to note, the ‘Karma’ is in the intention. We could have gone into plenty more examples to explain this, but I didn’t want to take up your whole day!
But essentially, you have to think something and want to do something, before you take the action to do it, so its in the thought that it is created. << Just an important thing to remember.
In ‘Karma Example 2’, this person was excited with all good intentions and saw something working in the direction he wanted to go, so continued to do it and fell into the cycle which led to him messing it all up. His intentions started off good.
Karma is Bondage
In the ancient Indian traditions, and still in India today, they call Karma ‘bondage’ for this reason. Because the more and more actions you take, especially unconsciously, the more it binds you into this never ending cycle of cause and effect.
So, I hope this has helped bring Karma back down to earth in a way that we don’t just see it as some mystical force that does things in your life? Please let me know in the comments what you think?
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Thanks for reading guys!