No matter what part of the world you’re from there is a pretty good chance you’ve heard of karma: this concept is present in most religions and societies and is roughly defined as describing a person’s luck (good or bad) as resulting from his/her actions in the past.
This blog does not cover religious topics and this post is no exception: I don’t mean to dig into the depths of what we were in previous lives and how our clogged up 3rd chakra is stopping us from living a happy life. I decided to touch on this topic as a means of bringing attention back to how we view things; how we tend to cling to negative stuff more often than on positive and how we sometimes conveniently mask that as “karma”.
By saying this I don’t mean to say I don’t believe karma as a concept. I know that probably the majority of us have witnessed what we like to refer to as instant karma when the driver that nearly ran you over on the crossing ends up with a flat tire half a block down: I think that’s a part of the beauty of life to trust in balance, no? As a matter of fact it is my belief in karma as a concept and my many observances of it in action that led me to write this post.
What I see often enough though, is also how some of us tend to forget the more subtle principles that lie behind this big idea of karma which ultimately leads them to be unhappy. In its roots karma is basically a way the human mind links cause and effect together. That being said, we should probably be paying more attention to how and what we think on a daily basis, and not quite so much in squinting at the person in front of us in the elevator who just spilled our coffee and proclaiming that karma will spill his in return. What I mean by this is that our “knowledge” of cause and effect tends to be much more oriented at others than at ourselves; which is generally where everything should start. Trying to be the best that we possibly can will sometimes be a nuisance, I know, but that’s no reason to stop.
Which is what led me to get the message out that we should start thinking whether we are on the right side of karma, instead of pointing fingers towards everyone else that’s slipped up in some way. Here’s a couple suggestions how to start:
Learn and let go. I have confessed countless times my belief that the past is no place to dwell: our past experience is our main source of learning but it should be just that. When you feel you’ve taken everything from your past wins or losses, just pack up and move on. Don’t get trapped in the negative parts of the past: they can be particularly tough to shake off. Maintaining a positive and here-and-now attitude is the best way to start treating everyone as you should be, starting with yourself.
Forget judgement. We often tend to think karma is a reward vs. punishment system and it’s really not: karma is Sanskrit for “action” and simply illustrates the cause and effect bond. It has nothing to do with revenge or judgement, in fact, it is considered to be mostly neutral altogether. Therefore, when we constantly judge others’ actions we don’t really invite karma to kick in for them; in a way, we actually open ourselves to it instead, because our thoughts are mostly what determines our outcome. Think about that next time you weigh someone’s actions by your own standards of good and bad.
Accept responsibility. Don’t use the word “karma” as a shield to hide behind: we should all take responsibility for our own actions and notice that whatever consequences they have are not put in place by some invisible cosmic energy but rather, are brought about by us. Controlling our life and happiness comes from keeping an eye on our thoughts and actions and thinking about the possible outcomes of our decisions in advance; this is how we start to live consciously here an now.