The Power Of Karma
We need self-compassion for our concerns about karma. For such a small word, karma carries a lot of power for most people, and not good power. People fear bad karma. They believe that karma loosely translates to what will be done to you, and bad karma means that bad things are going to happen to you.
I think people understand it this way because most people fear punishment, and wish the world was a just place with checks and balances carried out by an invisible, and impartial force. They also assume that all ideas, including karma, are designed to govern the individual. There are flaws to this way of thinking. First, fear and pain occupy too much of the brain’s survival responses to have the resources necessary to learn. Second, karma is a principle based on the well-being of all people, so its principles are based on the effects and experience of the greater whole. Finally, karma is a Buddhist thought, and the Buddhist tradition believes that pain is something that we endure to pursue what is most meaningful in life. Its directives are about deepening our sense of compassion and love for all people. Punishment places too much focus on one person, and obscures the rest of the world.
The Real Meaning Of Karma
In reality, karma is a concept that asserts that your actions have an effect on your environment, and the people in it. Do something kind, and there is a little more kindness available in the world. Do something unkind, and there is a little more of that in the world. If there is more kindness in the world, the world will likely be more understanding of your troubles and needs and the troubles and needs of those you know. If the inverse is true, then the world will be less patient and understanding to you and others.
Personal Effects Of Karma
Here is where it affects you personally. When you are kind, you tend to attract kind people because they want to be where their behaviors and values are accepted and appreciated. When you are unkind, you tend to attract unkind people for the same reasons. Moreover, unkind people try not to surround themselves with too many kind people because they feel badly about themselves by comparison. All this to say that being kind or unkind will have an affect on your more immediate environment and the greater world, but not because there is a secret group of vengeful ninjas awaiting your misdeeds.
Self-Compassion And Karma
So, how does self-compassion factor into karma? Simple. If you work on self-compassion, you will notice that no one is perfect. We all do things that cause ourselves and others suffering, and we all do things to make our lives and the lives of others better. If we wish to not worry about our karma, we will accept and forgive ourselves for our mistakes, and give ourselves permission to do kind things for others. We will not base our self-worth on an accounting of our good deeds versus our misdeeds. Lastly, we will choose kindness to ourselves and others, when we can, because we want to live in a world where love and meaningful living are the most accessible.
The idea of bad karma or awaiting punishment is just a distraction from deciding how we can contribute to the world in a positive way. It also prevents us from seeing how we can accept and support ourselves amongst waves of passion, indifference, failure, success, love, and hate. Reallocate the energy you would normally use for fear of bad karma to kindness and acceptance, and see if you do not start to feel better about the world, your place in it, and your current contributions.
365 Days Of Self-Compassion. Day 247. In The Books.