Is there any topic which is "understood" in so many different ways by so many different people? My goodness, there are endless versions of just what this thing we call karma must be! And some of them are just plain whacky . . .
If I kill an insect, I might return as an insect . . . Karma or not karma? Not karma . . .
If I cheat on my partner, I will be cheated on by a partner at some point . . . Not karma . . .
If I do good works, bad things will never happen to me . . . Not karma . . .
The list of what karma ISN'T could go on and on . . . but we don't usually define something by what it isn't . . .
What then, is karma? How might we explain the concept in simple terms? Well, to begin, we need to say that all the aspects of karma that impact any one of our lives are probably unknowable, given the complexity of karma. However, we CAN take something complex and reduce it to understandable terms . . .
Karma is about what grows in our lives as a result of the seeds we plant . . . And the seeds we plant are those of our thoughts, words, actions, and intentions! That's it in a nutshell . . .
I'm not a Buddhist . . . I'm more of a non-Buddhist Buddhist! What I mean is, I'm not labelling myself as anything, because that can be limiting and I don't want to limit myself. However, I do very much like the practicality of Buddhism, as it provides a beautiful roadmap as to how to lead a simpler, happier life in which suffering is minimized . . . In this sense, suffering is anything that stands in the way of true happiness, as happiness is related to ONENESS with all things . . . Anything that retards my progress toward ONENESS creates suffering.
Back to those seeds that we plant . . . All of our thoughts, words, actions and intentions create circumstances which won't exist if we don't have those thoughts, words, actions and intentions! For example, if I am distrustful of people generally, I will behave in different ways toward others than I would if I was more trusting . . . Because of my behaviour, I am automatically setting myself up to be perceived in a certain way, and the perception of others toward me will play a large part in how THEY behave toward me . . . And quite likely, their behaviour toward me is going to increase my suffering, just as my mistrust creates suffering . . . If however, I behave in a compassionate, generous way, and think compassionate, generous thoughts, my behaviour and thoughts will engender similar behaviours in others, which will tend to reduce my suffering, and their's as well . . . We plant seeds, and those seeds grow into circumstances . . .
Will we be rewarded or punished in future lifetimes for our good deeds or misdeeds? Not directly in the way that many believe . . . For example, will Adolf Hitler come back in his next life and be killed in war, or die of typhus in a concentration camp? Probably not, but the flaws in his consciousness that he carried out of this life in 1945 will still be there as he enters his next, as will the associated suffering . . . He created great suffering for himself and for others because of his thoughts and beliefs, which drove his behaviours. He planted seeds which grew in a certain way, and will continue to do so . . . As much as we might like to see an AH suffer endlessly, there is always the chance that he will work though the negative aspects of his consciousness and arrive at a more enlightened state of being! It is no less possible for him than anyone else, but it may take him a few more lifetimes to reach this higher state, being closer to ONENESS . . . Who knows . . . AH may already be among us, living as a sixteen year old Jewish school girl in Hebron . . . Anything is possible!
And if we are loving and compassionate and on a path to ONENESS, then we will carry that aspect of our consciousness into the next lifetime, where we will learn more lessons which will take us closer to the goal . . . The seeds we've planted of love and compassion will grow, and reduce our suffering and the suffering of others . . .
So that, Dear Reader, is the basis of karma . . . The seeds we plant with our thoughts, words, actions, and intentions will grow into circumstances which will affect us and others! And then eventually, we reap what we sow . . . Or what we put out to the Universe comes back to us threefold . . . Those expressions we hear over and over are offshoots of the concept of karma, expressed in simple terms that anyone can understand . . .
It all comes back to our thoughts, and the beliefs chiseled into our consciousness! So, if we are what we think, lets think BEAUTIFUL thoughts . . . Our karma will thank us!!
Until next time . . . Ciao!!