Calmer karma?

philbirchbw-e1297112991794I have come across many definitions and uses for the term’ karma’. From those that include a very specific past life context to those that define it in more simple terms, such as it meaning simply ‘action’.

The article below is from day 88 of my 18 month odyssey following Dr Deepak Chopra’s ‘The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success’.

Day 88 Comes round, goes round
Embarking on my next leg, so to speak, I test myself. Not for resolve, but in my general research on karma, the topic of Law 3, I find a ‘karma test’ online. (I am surprised that karma can be tested this way and even more surprised that the test is so easy to complete). Mmmm, this karma thing may be easier than I anticipated!

I have spent hours and hours not only considering whether karma exists, but also whether I can understand my karmic debt and even more importantly, if I do have a debt, how do I know if I have paid it off! It’s not like you get a monthly statement through the post and a summary of charges!

So what is karma anyway? Some definitions will help I suppose. I like these three in addition to Dr Chopra’s;

Karma moves in two directions. If we act virtuously, the seed we plant
will result in happiness. If we act non-virtuously, suffering results.
– Sakyong Mipham

‘Contrary to popular misconception, karma has nothing to do with
punishment and reward. It exists as part of our holographic universe’s
binary or dualistic operating system only to teach us responsibility
for our creations—and all things we experience are our creations.’
– Sol Luckman

‘Watch your thoughts, for they become words.
Watch your words, for they become actions.
Watch your actions, for they become habits.
Watch your habits, for they become character.
Watch your character, for it becomes your destiny.’
– Unknown

Karma is about actions and the consequences of those actions. The law of cause and effect. Every action creates a force of energy that returns to us in like kind’ (Dr Chopra) or put even more simply, ‘we reap what we sow’.

It is effectively the law of ‘comes round, goes round’
Dr Chopra personalises the topic and adds that it is concerned with our conscious choice making, as we are infinite makers of choice. He espouses that we become consciously aware of the choices that we make in every moment, which seems like a hell of a lot of work to me! If I have to stand back and consciously assess EVERY decision that I make, whether to be upset if I am offended or flattered if I am complimented, it seems that I will never actually get around to doing anything! If karma is the law that balances our actions, then where will I find time to actually act especially if I am concentrating on how I react to every comment that comes my way?

As usual, he offers me a lifeline, a blade of grass to grasp as I fall off the cliff top. He continues his introduction by explaining that we have all become ‘bundles of conditioned reflexes that are constantly triggered by people and circumstance into predictable patterns of behaviour’ Oh, I get it now. We react in familiar and predictable ways to outside stimuli without really considering our responses. We feel sub-consciously ‘duty-bound’ to defend our views and to offer our entrenched opinions. If I am insulted by someone I immediately feel upset and offended. If I receive a compliment, I get slightly embarrassed and flattered. These are conditioned reactions and responses no matter how justified we feel in displaying them. His point, I think, is to be aware of our initial response and to stay our hand or tongue as it were; to introduce karma into even the most mundane of actions. To count to ten (or less, I hope, or I run the risk of looking irresponsive, deaf or dull!) before we add to our karmic debt without consciously knowing what we are doing.

Mmmm, be aware of every action? This is going to be a challenge to me as a ‘heart on my sleeve’ chap, a stereotypical defender of the faith; even though most of the time I am not certain what my faith is.
Stay tuned, this could be a rip-snorter of a chapter! (Well, mildly interesting, at least, I hope!)
‘Score: 22. You have a direct perception of truth. You are very keen and don’t use it to take advantage. When you commit to positive deeds, you don’t do them to get ahead; you do positive deeds simply because it makes you feel good. Your intentions are almost always meant well and all this positive karmic energy is bound to come back to you in a great way!’

I am not sure what score I would achieve today but I do see karma as something both simpler and more complex than the simple ‘what comes round, goes round’ that proliferates under many guises in many Western cultures.

Do you believe in karma? If so, what frame of reference and relevance do you attach to it? If not, why not?
I would love to hear your own interpretations.

More excerpts next month in the3rdimagazine.
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