Open Question: Do You Believe in Karma?

never-ending-cycle

Karma is every moralist’s favorite belief — the idea that whatever you do, good or bad, comes back to you; sometimes manifold. Karma becomes a way for people to understand what happens to them, positive or negative. You get what you’ve given, you get what you deserve.

But does karma actually play out in our daily lives and how does it work? It seems that whether you consciously or unconsciously acknowledge the law of karma largely depends on how strongly you believe in kindness and justice. That is, if you believe that the world should be fair and that people should treat each other with decency.

In my mind, karma takes on a slightly different form. I don’t so much believe that every word or action is repaid with a word or action of its kind, but I think that the totality of a person’s actions will be reflected in the responses they receive from others. Most people who do what would be seen as considerate and kind tend to do these things more often than not, and those who does what would be seen as unkind and evil tend to do so more often than not. (That may sound like I’m falling prey to the Halo Effect, yet it seems to hold true of my experiences.) So what may seem like karma is simply others responding to their actions with an appropriate reaction.

How does karma work for you? Do you believe in karma, and why or why not?

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21 thoughts on “Open Question: Do You Believe in Karma?

  1. Don’t believe in karma but I do believe that it’s important to treat people kindly. Karma doesn’t really take in to account that there are an awful lot of very successful people in the world who got there by nefarious means.
    Being a kind gentle loving person doesn’t guarantee anything other than being able to sleep with a clear conscience.

  2. Firstly, I believe Karma is not a belief, it’s an inevitable law(whether you believe it or not…..It’s natural law. Before there was Order, there was Chaos…

    I don’t like how the law of Karma has been Westernized. Karma is not an action of good and bad(this is the basic concept), it’s more of Cause and Reaction ….

    Believe me there is a difference. Karma is not about bad or good, but that’s how we perceive it(Karma) …

  3. Hi Billy,

    “Don’t believe in karma but I do believe that it’s important to treat people kindly.”

    Why? I believe so as well, but there really isn’t any real incentive to treat people kindly (if you don’t believe in karma :)).

    “Karma doesn’t really take in to account that there are an awful lot of very successful people in the world who got there by nefarious means.”

    True, true — I was thinking of including this since it kind of flies in the face of the idea of karma. But a person can be successful financially and be unsuccessful in other areas and be overall not so happy.

  4. mkhululie,

    “Firstly, I believe Karma is not a belief, it’s an inevitable law(whether you believe it or not…..It’s natural law.”

    Hmmm, but you would have to believe it’s a law in order for it be one right? I mean, it’s not like the law of conservation of mass, more like the law of attraction. 😛

    “I don’t like how the law of Karma has been Westernized. Karma is not an action of good and bad(this is the basic concept), it’s more of Cause and Reaction ….”

    Yeah, I’m talking more of it’s Western form. I read a lot about its origins when I was studying religion in college, and it has been changed from its original form. But I guess it somewhat still resembles itself, at least in one aspect. Good begets good (or evil begets evil) is one type of action and reaction.

  5. Whenever I have good fortune, I feel that if I don’t share it with others I won’t get any more. I haven’t tried to test my feeling yet; I just feel it so strongly I keep to it!

  6. Sherry, that’s nice of you. Karma sure has a way of scaring people into being more kind and thoughtful. Lol. 😉

  7. This is a very interesting topic….. 🙂

    @ Alee “Hmmm, but you would have to believe it’s a law in order for it be one right? I mean, it’s not like the law of conservation of mass, more like the law of attraction.”

    What I meant is, when we are brought up in this world—-we are guided by a system, we may/may not believe in that system but it’s there..eg The Law(Justice), The justice system is there to reduce crime and punish unlawful actions…..Do you have have to believe in it? Somewhat, yes and no. You just have to have faith that the government is there to protect you, and sometimes the same people who are in the government or justice can be your oppressors or the ones who brake the law….

    My point here is that Law of nature is not a choice, it is there….Whether you notice it or not. It’s a fact…..It’s not a religious belief where you have an option to be Cristian, Jewish, Rastafarian etc…. and you cannot run away from the Laws of Nature….

    “But I guess it somewhat still resembles itself, at least in one aspect. Good begets good (or evil begets evil) is one type of action and reaction.”

    Karma is not a law of good and evil, let me explain….

    What you perceive as good and what I perceive as good may not necessarily be the same. You might do something out of your heart thinking that it’s for good but little did you know that Unintentionally you did something bad….

    Do you know what I mean? We do things in our lives(Good things) but sometimes there might be purely good things in our eyes but that somehow may unintentionally hurt someone…..or visa versa….

    Sometimes in good there’s bad and in bad sometimes there’s good. Eg, some people may view as Confrontation as a bad thing(sometimes), we all know it’s uncomfortable and unwanted, but once you confront someone. You understand where you both stand and there is clarity and may be respect and you grow as a human and your values or what you believe is tested…… Is confrontation a bad thing after all?

    Now back to my point about Karma, Karma is not good nor bad…..But just an action and reaction…

    Let me clarify, you may do something good but something bad may happen to you……why? There are people in this world that, always do good but bad things happen to them……

    As I said earlier on we are connected and one, you do something good but for sometime it may be good to someone else but it may come back in a different shape(bad), not because you did something wrong…..it’s just that the universe thought you need to learn that lesson…….

  8. @Billy, “Karma doesn’t really take in to account that there are an awful lot of very successful people in the world who got there by nefarious means”

    I take it that you don’t believe in Reincarnation as well, I know it sounds/seems far fetched but I do believe that the answers about life are right in front of us….. You plant a seed, then it grows and then it blooms and then it dies…..that’s the circle of life.

    That circle is on going….

    Like Alee said “But a person can be successful financially and be unsuccessful in other areas and be overall not so happy.”

    My point to you is that those people will pay for their actions, maybe in the next life time or maybe in this lifetime, either something is got to give…..

    Another way of looking at it, everyone plays a role in our lives, You have a villein, an oppressor, a Saint and an Angel etc….All those people play roles in your life, to make you stronger and to grow and they test you and your morals….and some people experience too much of misery(but life is unfair to be fair…)

    I personally believe the best wealth you can ever gain in this world, is enlightenment and wisdom and inner peace(happiness within), or spirituality…

  9. I personally don’t believe in karma. Like an above poster said, too many successful people got there through treacherous means and too many decent people suffer deprivation and paucity.
    I think the universe is random and chaotic and human beings are unable to deal with that fact so we construct ideas like karma, religion, ethics, etc, in order to rightfully impose some sort of structure and order in our lives, both on an individual and communal/societal basis.

  10. Reincarnation?????????
    Tosh!!!!!!!!
    People are selfish by nature.
    It takes a conscious effort for us to be altruistic.
    It’s a jungle out there.

  11. mkhululie,

    “My point here is that Law of nature is not a choice, it is there….Whether you notice it or not. It’s a fact…..It’s not a religious belief where you have an option to be Cristian, Jewish, Rastafarian etc…. and you cannot run away from the Laws of Nature….”

    I guess what I’m saying is, you’d have to believe it is there. 🙂 It is not like man-made laws where if you disobey the law, you face physical, tangible consequences. With karma, even if we do take it as fact, how can we know that an action taken previously is the cause for something happening in the present?

    “What you perceive as good and what I perceive as good may not necessarily be the same…Do you know what I mean? We do things in our lives(Good things) but sometimes there might be purely good things in our eyes but that somehow may unintentionally hurt someone…..or visa versa.”

    Yes, I know exactly what you mean. “Good” is subjective, for sure. I’ve always said that. What one person sees as being a justifiably good action another might see as terrible. Often what we perceive as doing good satisfies our ego, in some way.

    “Eg, some people may view as Confrontation as a bad thing(sometimes), we all know it’s uncomfortable and unwanted, but once you confront someone. You understand where you both stand and there is clarity and may be respect and you grow as a human and your values or what you believe is tested”

    I’m okay with confrontation, for some of the reasons you listed. I’d certainly prefer it to backstabbing and passive aggression.

    “Now back to my point about Karma, Karma is not good nor bad…..But just an action and reaction…

    Let me clarify, you may do something good but something bad may happen to you……why? There are people in this world that, always do good but bad things happen to them…”

    So how then is someone supposed to go about their lives, since they could really be doing “bad” all along, and thus get negative reactions? That sounds like a really awful system. 🙂

  12. Sophia,

    “I personally don’t believe in karma. Like an above poster said, too many successful people got there through treacherous means and too many decent people suffer deprivation and paucity.”

    But it seems so many of these people have other issues. Just because they don’t have money trouble, doesn’t mean they don’t have other kinds of issues. It doesn’t even seem to be a sometimes thing either — many of the financially successful people I’ve known have other issues. Issues that money couldn’t and wouldn’t solve for them.

    “I think the universe is random and chaotic and human beings are unable to deal with that fact so we construct ideas like karma, religion, ethics, etc, in order to rightfully impose some sort of structure and order in our lives, both on an individual and communal/societal basis.”

    Interesting viewpoint. I think life has some randomness to it, but it’s not all completely random. There is something there, but I’m not sure it resembles anything we currently know or believe about life and its meaning.

  13. Billy,

    “Reincarnation?????????
    Tosh!!!!!!!!”

    Lol.

    I can’t say that I do believe in reincarnation. I think it’s one of those things you have to take on faith. Because there certainly isn’t going to be any way we can truly “prove” it.

    I’d like to think people are a blend of selfish and altruistic. Just that some are more skewed to one side than the other. 😉

  14. Hi Alee!

    You posed a great question. I’m inclined to agree with you. I don’t think that karma actually exists, perse, except that when bad stuff happens to you people probably won’t be sympathetic if you are generally known as being a mean person.

    Aside from that, I think you described exactly what is happening. Nobody is perfect all the time, but in my experience most of the people who decide to act like big assholes aren’t intending on doing it “just this once.” They have specific parts of their personality that are unlikely to change that make them want to act like an asshole. If they are reasonably intelligent and have some modicum of self-control, they’ll try to get their jollies without getting in too much trouble. Eventually they act out at the wrong time, and then they get what’s coming to them. So I feel like at the core of karma is that if you have bad habits or tend to treat people badly, eventually you’re gonna either get your reputation ruined or treat someone badly who is going to have a reaction that is costly to you.

  15. Hi BleuGrau, welcome. 🙂

    “Nobody is perfect all the time, but in my experience most of the people who decide to act like big assholes aren’t intending on doing it “just this once.” They have specific parts of their personality that are unlikely to change that make them want to act like an asshole.”

    Yup, great way to put it. Majority of the time it’s not a one-time thing; people are inconsistent but their actions tend to be consistent at least in kind.

    “So I feel like at the core of karma is that if you have bad habits or tend to treat people badly, eventually you’re gonna either get your reputation ruined or treat someone badly who is going to have a reaction that is costly to you.”

    Right. It’s not a matter of if, but a matter of when and how, your actions will come back to haunt you.

  16. I just find that the more I give of myself in a positive way, the more good things happen to me. I feel better about myself and the world if I’m volunteering for a cause I believe in. I don’t expect anything in return. I don’t know about Karma, but I do know that we live by the choices we make in life both good and bad. The outcome of those choices determine the quality of how we live.

  17. I’m not sure if I believe in Karma per se, but I admit I’ve noticed a pattern. Sometimes, when someone did something really bad to me, the same thing happened to them afterwards. And I don’t think about small things. Some horrible stuff. Like a high school teacher who hated me and my family and mocked my dead father and the way he died and my family and myself, and caused a great deal of depression and anxiety I experienced when I was 15 and the one who forced me to change schools (I couldn’t deal with it anymore), her own husband died a few years later. Some say in the same way my father did, though I’m not sure about it.

    Or, less drastic, I dated a guy who created on me and caused me to completely shut down when it comes to relationships for three years, the girl he cheated me with later cheated on him and dumped him more or less the same way he did to me.

  18. In my mind, karma takes on a slightly different form. I don’t so much believe that every word or action is repaid with a word or action of its kind, but I think that the totality of a person’s actions will be reflected in the responses they receive from others. Most people who do what would be seen as considerate and kind tend to do these things more often than not, and those who does what would be seen as unkind and evil tend to do so more often than……

    Don’t agree completely as I’ve witnessed those kind people being taken advantage of and the evil ones being given carte blanche over others. I do believe in Karma as I also see it as rectifying such situations, otherwise, methinks more good people would off themselves and the evil ones would be ruling our earth!.

  19. madamesiamese,

    “I just find that the more I give of myself in a positive way, the more good things happen to me. I feel better about myself and the world if I’m volunteering for a cause I believe in. I don’t expect anything in return.”

    That’s great. Some would say that it’s not a truly unselfish act because you get something out of it (feeling better), but in the end everything works out well in my opinion.

  20. Mira,

    I must say your anecdotes of karma make me happy!
    Not that I like people to suffer, but I think when a person later on goes through the same thing as a person they’ve taunted, it helps them to truly understand why what they did was hurtful. They may try to understand it from an outsider’s perspective and even be sorry at some point, but it’s only when they’ve been through it that they understand.

    I’m the same way — karma and I seem to be besties, we have a well-developed relationship. 😉

    foosrock,

    “Don’t agree completely as I’ve witnessed those kind people being taken advantage of and the evil ones being given carte blanche over others.”

    It definitely seems that way on the surface. Kind people are taken advantage of, and mean people tend to be feared so people stay out of their way. But IME, if a person makes a true habit of making life miserable for other people, it’s only a matter of time before the people snap back.

  21. I must also add this never happens when I’m angry at someone or when I feel like I want a revenge. Only after I stop caring and when I calm down, then it strikes. And then I don’t really care anymore.

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