Almost everyone has heard of karma. Most people think that karma is destiny, or something closely related to it. They think it’s a sort of invisible coin. If you do the right thing, good things will come back to you as a reward. If you do something wrong, bad things will come back to you as punishment. There are even others who go further and assert that it is a kind of divine justice. But none of this is karma. There is a widespread misunderstanding about what karma really is.
What is karma?
A simple and clear explanation is that the word “karma” means “action”, not “destiny”. In Buddhism, karma is an energy created by deliberate action, through thoughts, words, and deeds. We are all creating karma every minute, and the karma we create affects us every moment. It is common to think of “karma” as something you did in your last life and affects in this life, but this is not the Buddhist understanding. Karma is an action, not a result. The future is not written, you can change the course of your life right now by changing your voluntary (intentional) acts and self-destructive patterns.
While karma does not literally mean that if you do something good, then good things come back to you, as if some invisible system that links to bad people with punishment and good with rewards, the reality is that means “do the right thing ” in any situation, so that those around us are conditional peace and happiness in a very real and concrete sense. In the same way, negative actions could end up conditioning you, as well as those around you, for the suffering of the moment and the future. Knowing this, we can see why karma could be easily misunderstood.
An erroneous view of karma
For this reason, karma is the origin of many debates. Some experts in the field believe that our misperceptions about what will bring us peace and happiness affect everything we do. If we think we need “external things” beyond ourselves in order to be happy then we are wrong.
Proponents of this idea say that this false view is that we want to transform the karma into a kind of “ATM” based on the ethical and spiritual behavior. But if we understand that everything we really need to live and discover our true nature is to find peace and joy, then we can let go of this “false vision.”
But leaving aside the theories and beliefs of each, the reality is that karma is simply an energy. It is our own intentional thoughts and actions. It is the energy we generate with these actions that affect us now and in the future in a very real sense. It is not a system of reward and punishment that condemns us based on past mistakes. Karma is impartial and does not control or judge us.
That said, we think of karma as an energy being created at all times.Every intentional action generates energy and thought “karmic”, and this energy is felt by us every minute of every day. We should not see or think of it as a reward or punishment for the future. But it is also important to know that if we do the wrong, we condition the mind by anger, discontent, dissatisfaction or frustration. And by doing the right thing, you condition the mind by peace, joy, or harmony. These qualities, typically called “mental formations” in Buddhism are like flowers and seeds sprouting. When we are born, anger, discontent, dissatisfaction, peace, joy, harmony, as well as dozens of other mental formations are born in us. These mental formations as emotions, feelings and future qualities are considered as seeds.
Now imagine that these seeds are in the garden of your mind, your consciousness, being constantly watered or neglected based on your thoughts and intentional actions. Depending on what we think, say or do the seeds will be watered with ” bad or good water”. Eventually, these shoots grow shoots. And every time you water one of these buds will bloom into a flower, a powerful positive or negative force in your life. But it also works the opposite way. If you neglect or do not want to water the garden, then the flower will wither. And as long as you do not water the bud will not grow.
If we can understand all this, we can see that the karmic energy that has conditioned our minds over the years will change along with our way of acting and reacting in our daily lives. So, in order to use karma as a force for our own personal and spiritual development, we need only to shine the light of our lives in order to identify the karmic energy and so “cure” any negative element that will follow us From our most distant past.
In other words, the karmic energy that can negatively affect us may be due to false vision, limits on negative beliefs and emotions deeply rooted in our being. Any negative force you are creating through your intentional activity is creating negative karmic energy and needs to be corrected to find peace and happiness.
Past lives and karma
There are many who believe that there is a close relationship between reincarnation and the Law of Karma. This theory tells us that our present life has been created by a past life. So, you are here to balance this karma. This means that you could be making the same mistakes over and over again.
The effects of karmic past life are felt because of the memories of the soul. As we discussed earlier, your life experiences so far have been mostly predetermined by your past lives. In fact, what is not complete in this life is transferred to the next life experience until you can balance it or release it.
If you made a negative choice in a past life, it will reappear again and again in your current life. If you are faced with an unpleasant situation you could have karmic consequences in the next life, and so on. But the karma of past lives also has its positive side. Your past karmic life recognizes the role that each person plays in your life. They are here to teach you something important that will help you understand and overcome your karma. In addition, you could be playing an important role in their lives helping them to better understand who they are and their purpose in life.
We can change our destiny
It is necessary to understand that, f there is karma, but you should not control our lives. You have the ability to change your own life. Of course, there are external factors of karma, which go beyond our own actions affecting our lives. But if you deepen your understanding of what is true peace and happiness, you will discover that no matter what is happening around you, you have the ability to experience a full life. Karma shows us that we have the freedom to decide what happens to us. Karma is not this force that always presents punishing our wrong actions and rewarding our good deeds with earthly pleasures.
And the truth, no matter what happened to us in the past, or what we are going through right now, you can change your life if you choose to. You are free to experience the best things in life. But it is up to you to make that decision. Be free.