I think many of us believe things like, “whatever you do comes back to you” or “he/she will get theirs in the end,” and yet I wonder if there’s truth in this. I don’t want to sound cynical, but sometimes I do wonder – do evil actions get karmically punished? And if so, what kind of punishment can truly suffice for really evil acts?
I do believe in a higher power, and I do believe it is good and loving. I have no problem with it being either all-knowing or all-accepting or even all-forgiving, because I don’t see any reason why those of us on this earth would be able to have a reasonable understanding of it. It seems like human arrogance to say, “If I can’t define how it exists, then it must not exist,” but that’s just my belief, and I won’t judge you yours.
I also believe in a combination of free will, and of fate. My beliefs are mine because of years of reading and studying religious and spiritual topics. I could never define exactly what I believe in to another person and feel no reason to. I also wouldn’t expect anyone else to do so either. Religion and spirituality, in my opinion, is personal, and those who try to sway you or scare you into their point of view are simply arrogant.
But karma…. I think I’ve decided that if karma exists, it’s an impossible game, with zero odds of winning. Merely by being alive and human, we are imperfect. There are few actions that we can ever take in our lifetimes that are 100% perfect and without flaw. I hope it doesn’t offend anyone, but I don’t believe Mother Teresa or Gandhi never did anything bad, or hurt anyone emotionally, even if it was accidentally, or just when they were children. They were human too, and being human, I don’t think there’s any way they cannot have lived a life without at least a little bit of negative karma. (But I also don’t think that takes away from them being truly remarkable people.)
Karma bothers me because I can’t see there ever being an end to it, at least as human beings. I think we do and should strive to be the best people we can be, defined on our own individual opinions on what that is, but I don’t think we can expect to be god’s on this earth. I’ve read of holy Indian people who have supposedly transcended the circle of karma. Being as how I’ve never met them personally, I’d hate to give an opinion on this, but I still have a hard time believing that any human creature can have lived a completely flawless life.
On the other hand, maybe acts of kindness do come back. I do believe that when you do something kind for someone that there is a ripple-effect, and good deeds spur good deeds. I don’t know if I believe the good deed you do will come back to you right away, but eventually, good things happen for everyone. Is this karma?
It’s comforting to think evildoers and those who hurt us will be punished somehow, but that also seems to be a limiting thought. The more I think about it, I’m starting to believe that maybe people do evil things in order to be appreciated and to be recognized, whether to be seen as a being more powerful than others, or as more special than others. The only way to combat this, is to not give them that recognition. By giving a response, we are only giving them what they were trying to get by doing the evil act in the first place.
Finally, instead of saying, “What you do will come back to you,” I think the other old saying, “Treat others as you would wish to be treated,” has more merit. It has no expectations of reciprocal behavior from another person, and is just generally good advice on being or becoming a person of quality.
And isn’t being a quality person better advice than worrying about being rewarded or punished by some invisible system or game that we can’t ever hope to win?
Your thoughts, as always, are appreciated.
Need Advice? Email me from the Contact Page!