I’m not condemning any spiritual methodology. I respect that everyone has their own experiences and from those experiences beautifully unique theories and mentalities surrounding the mystery of human life. In that vein of respect and acknowledgement, I would like to point out the misunderstandings surroundings Karma. Karma has been equated to a system, where you ‘get what you put in’ or ‘reap what you sow’. This is true to an extent, but the ‘pay off’ or ‘reaping’ happens in another life time. There is also a system of intertwining energies and intentions.
‘Karma in Buddhism is action. Action in the form of the thinking. Thinking is acting. Speaking is acting. And doing things is acting. And every act has a result. That is Karma. And nothing can be lost. It continues always. The shameful action continues and if you perform positive Karma, it will continue very well if you help other people.’ Thich Nhat Hahn on Tibetan styled Karma.
The important distinction is that your actions be selfless. You cannot perform kindnesses and compassionate acts with the expectation of expecting anything in return. SELFLESS. You cannot trick the system. If you do something ‘good’ to get ‘good’ back, this is an inherently selfish action, and in the end unproductive. As we move forward in this discussion, I would like to take some of the emotional content out of this subject. Good and bad are highly charged words, this gives them too much ‘weight’ outside of their very subjective meanings. The more emotion and energy we poor into words and concepts, they change from their original context into personalized behemoths of our mind. Let’s not fight any giants today.
Chopping the scales from ‘good’ and ‘bad’ I offer the terms ‘productive’ and ‘unproductive’. The wheel of Samsara (suffering) is always spinning. Nothing can or should ever even attempt to stop it. We encounter suffering and have two options. Turn it into a productive or unproductive experience. Learn from the mistakes we make, or continue to repeat them; lamenting our station in life. Forgive those who have hurt you or keep the cycle of unnecessary pain going.
As you go through your current life and form, you are blessed with a multitude of experiences that you can be productive or unproductive with. How you choose to live your life will dictate your next. A person, who has spread pain and violence, has spent his or her energy and potential unproductively. They have limited their experiences and closed their mind. Their next life will not be a punishment; there is already enough suffering in the world. It will be another chance, from a different perspective that will encourage that entity to open their minds and hearts.
According to Karma, we should stop trying to control everything in life. Deal with what you are handed and help your neighbor when you can. The eventual sums of your actions are beyond what you can understand in your mortal form. Don’t limit your future by mixing in your fears and desires. As an infinite being in the ever expanding universe, you have so many more options and avenues of influence than I’d dare try to name. Be careful of you respond to suffering and remember that the more you operate out of the idea of ‘you’ the better you will feel.