The home of karma is in Sanskrit, Hinduism, and the idea of rebirth. Humans like fairness and justice, so the Hindus figured that if things weren’t fair in this life, then in the next one, the balance of the universal energy would be restored. If you behave well in this life, you get to be reborn to a “higher level” (not a mouse, but a high-caste human, for example), but if you don’t behave well, then it might be mouse time the next life.
There’s a fatalism to this original version of karma, though. It fed into the caste system, which said that you were stuck with the social status you were born into; no point in trying to change society to make it more fair or more loving, just put up with your life as best you can and hope for better results in the next life (which, in ancient times was sometimes blessedly part of a short cycle, since life spans tended to terminate in one’s 30s or 40s at best).
In the West, too, we’ve had our frustrations with finding fairness and justice in our current lifetimes and have religions like Christianity that promise to right all wrongs in the next life or at the end of the cosmic Age, whenever that’s supposed to be.
The New Age movement has taken the idea of karma and given it a serious makeover, though. Divorcing it from its job of correcting society’s unfairnesses, and allowing for “karmic payback” on an individual level inside of one’s lifetime, even. And beyond the basic moral cause and effect balance, I’ve seen a belief that the actual purpose of karma is to teach us lessons and improve our lives and our souls by making us deal with the consequences of our fears or “unenlightened” behaviors.
Still, there’s a human judgment involved, that karma is an energetic balancing thing (like the Force in Star Wars), that will still “right wrongs” and somehow punish those (even for the sake of their own growth) who don’t comply with whatever behaviors the New Age movement defines as “enlightened.”
For me, though, karma is about personal creation of my reality through the decisions and actions (karma’s original meaning was “action” or “deed”) I take based on my beliefs about myself and my reality. I can create my own karmic consequences if I believe that those consequences will apply (like, if I feel guilty about doing something I consider wrong), but if I have no regret, not even a subconscious sense that what I do is wrong, I don’t think karma will apply. I don’t think anyone else, including society as a whole, can assume that their rules will cause karmic consequences for me unless I believe those rules apply to me.
What follows is that we are in charge of what’s right or wrong in our world, not the cosmos or gods. We can adopt some or all of the right/wrong judgments of the individual humans or collectives around us, or not. These things are all relative to context and based on subjective judgments, although they can be considered universal if everyone buys in.
And there’s the cool part; we can change the world, even make it a “better,” more compassionate place if we all so choose, or if enough of us choose that the outliers decide it’s in their interest to participate as well. So, start your own movement. You will likely find some folks who already believe as you do. And from there, you can inspire a new version of humanity, and karma will no longer have a purpose. 🙂
Design Inspirations from the Virtual Cosmos
Along the lines of creating your own reality, cosmic information from The Group, my favorite channeler Steve Rother’s guides to empowerment. Check out the latest monthly message here.
And on a more grounded note, Melissa Camara Wilkins on shame vs. love and all those “shoulds” in your head. More here.