Most people associate with the Indian religious concept karma some kind of revenge-mechanism that – more or less instantly – punishes you for every bad deed. That is, if they believe in karma at all and have taken some time to ponder about it. But mostly, one only hears about karma when it’s referred to in a joking manner.
While most know that karma is treated in the Buddhist religion they do not know that similar concepts have also spread in Western culture, only under different names. And obviously, “karma” is just a label, a name for a concept that goes by different names, such as “destiny”, “fate”, “cause and effect”, “you reap what you sow”, “what goes around comes around” and probably many more.
Karma is – more often than not – regarded in a very negative way as some concept of punishment. This perspective, however, is biased as it only takes one aspect into consideration and prevents one to discover the whole truth about it. Karma – or however one wants to call this universal mechanism – is not designed to punish. It is there to balance.
Karma – A mechanic system to balance
Karma is a universal mechanism if you will, whose only job it is to maintain the balance. Astonishingly, as soon as one regards karma not as an evil punishment but a balance mechanism your whole perspective starts to shift by 360 degrees. Karma is not your enemy but more like an overseer that makes sure that you do not drift off into an imbalanced direction. And if you do drift off in one direction it will make sure that you experience the other direction of polarity as well.
Imagine what your life would be like if you had only experienced only positive things up to this moment. Imagine what it would be like if you couldn’t help but experience positivity in your life. Admittedly, that is incredibly exciting to think about and sounds phenomenal at first sight. I’m pretty sure that this is the life many strive to live and I’m writing this without being judgmental as I can relate to this wish and often dreamed about a life without negativity, obstacles and problems as well. With that being said, I’m convinced that such a life could be lived for years to come without a single problem.
However, the real problem develops under the surface and might not even be noticed by the individual at all. It lies therein that your perspective of life would become compromised and imbalanced. Experiencing positivity would become the norm for you and so it becomes a normal, regular thing that is not appreciated or valued but taken for granted.
Digression: There is an episode of the “Twilight Zone” called “A nice place to visit”, which perfectly describes what I just wrote. It involves an outlaw called “Rocky” who dies only to find himself in the company of a friendly fellow called “Pip”, whose only job it is to grant Rocky every wish he desires. Naturally, Rocky concludes that he is in Heaven and starts to bring all his wildest dreams to fruition, assisted by Pip. He hits the jackpot in the slot machine easily, wins every card game followed by many more incredible wishes that come true right in front of his eyes. However, after a while his euphoria slowly but surely turns into boredom which eventually leads him to ask Pip to send him back to “the other place” (hell) where he truly belongs. A question to which Pip only responds: “What made you think you were in heaven?”
Secondly, as you could only refer to positive events in your past you simply couldn’t understand what it means to a person to go through a rough time in life and how painful it can be. You wouldn’t be able to empathize with this person. Even more important, there would be no opportunity for you to grow as an individual. Positive events can only bring you so far, but when you go through a rough period and have to come up with a solution to your problem, that’s when you begin to learn and grow as a person.
Karma is there to establish this exact balance between the positive and the negative. If you have experienced negativity in your life, you will value the moments of positivity a lot more. In fact, I believe that you can only truly appreciate the positive things in your life when you were forced to experience the unpleasant aspects of life as well.
“Its fundamental aspect is its balancing role in nature. It is believed that imbalance exists between the individual and the world until all karmic consequences are met. Karma can then be seen as the harmonizer that restores balance. The karmic law is thus more organic than deterministic.”
By Prabhath P in Understanding the workings of Karma
What can we conclude? Karma is not a judgmental system that assesses the rightness or wrongness of your actions to reward or punish you accordingly to what you did (either in this life, the next life or the after-life). Furthermore, it also does not pressure you to experience certain events based on your actions. Karma is all about balance. If you start something it will have a cause and effect which will eventually lead to its natural implication. Karma makes sure that the balance is restored after a given period of time. Simple as that, no judgment involved. No judging about “good” and “bad”. Just balance.
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Photo by: myself.