Karma has been a big theme in my life and I truly believe in the saying “if you do good, good will come to you”. And I for one am a big spender of karma points:).
But what is karma exactly? What comes to your mind when you think of karma? Is it luck, destiny, or a concept that every action has a positive or negative reaction?
In this article, I will dive headfirst into the intriguing world of karma. Learn all about the meaning of karma, the various interpretations, and the 12 laws of karma to invite more positivity and good into your life!
The Meaning of Karma
Let’s start by having a look at the meaning of karma. I used this word quite often when I joked about my destiny and good or bad luck. But I figured out that this doesn’t cover its meaning at all, because it implies victimhood.
Guess what: karma is anything but victimhood.
Though its specifics are different depending on the religion, generally speaking, karma describes the concept of getting back whatever you put forth, good or bad, into the universe.
In Eastern religions like Hinduism and Buddhism, karma is a central concept and both religions share common beliefs about karma and how the concept works. At the same time, they also fundamentally have different points of view.
So let’s have quick look at karma in Hinduism and Buddhism.
The Meaning of Karma in Hinduism
In Hinduism, Karma is the universal principle that for every action there is a reaction.
The Hindu Vedas state that if you provide and donate goodness, you will receive goodness in return. This also works the other way around.
But not immediately: according to Hindu beliefs, all painful and pleasurable feelings that you experience in your current life are from events that happened in a past life.
In other words, your current state of life is defined by the effects of the actions in your previous life cycle(s). So in order to live a good life after re-birth, it is important to live a moral life in your current existence.
The Meaning of Karma in Buddhism
In Buddhism, karma is the theory that all actions are done with an intention. This will lead to certain reactions or consequences, both positive and negative.
The Buddhist Master Pene Chodron described Karma in Buddhism by saying:
In Buddhism, karma is an energy created by willful action, through thoughts, words, and deeds. Karma is an action, not a result. The future’s not set in stone. You can change the course of your life right now by changing your volitional acts and self-destructive patterns.Pene Chodron
Just like Hindus, Buddhists believe that karma has implications beyond this life. Actions in a previous life can follow a person into their next life.
Therefore, Buddhists try to cultivate good karma and avoid bad.
However, the purpose of Buddhism is to escape the cycle of rebirth, the so-called Samsara, altogether, instead of just acquiring good karma to be born into a better life.
The 12 Laws of Karma
Even if you’re not a Hindu or Buddhist, karma exists in your life. That’s because there are 12 laws of karma constantly at play, whether you realize it or not.
When you follow the 12 laws of karma, you create good karma in your life, theoretically increasing the possibility for good things to happen. So let’s have a look at these 12 laws of karma.
One tip before we start: as we explore the 12 laws of karma, think about how you’ve previously seen these laws come into effect in your own life.
Also, think about how you can use these laws to create good karma. This can help you to realize your dreams and goals. You can even make your own karma affirmation, in case you feel you need it.
1. The Law of Cause & Effect
The first karmic law is the Law of Cause and Effect, also known as the ‘Great Law’. The meaning behind this karmic law is that whatever you give, you shall receive.
Your positive or negative actions will be reciprocated by the universe. For example, if you desire peace, harmony, love, prosperity, etc. you have to act accordingly.
2. The Law of Creation
The Law of Creation says that you need to be an active participant in your life if you want to realize your dreams.
Standing around and doing nothing will get you nowhere. And although the journey might be full of obstacles, you will be rewarded in the end.
If you’re struggling with purpose or if you don’t know what you need in life, ask the universe for answers. This will give you insight into who you truly are and what makes you happy in life. You must discover and be yourself.
3. The Law of Humility
In Buddhism, the Law of Humility is highly recognized. This karmic law states that in order to fully understand and change something you must first accept the true reality of it.
Consistent self-reflection is an important part of this law. If you refuse to admit that you are wrong in certain situations, you will never be able to change.
You need to realize your own negative traits. Especially if they have been brought to light by others. This will make you a more accepting person in the long run and allows you to change your ways for the better.
For example, if you’re always blaming others for situations that you’ve created, you’re out of touch with reality. You’ll, therefore, have a hard time to make the shifts you need.
4. The Law of Growth
The Law of Growth signifies your growth and development as a human being. It tells you that you must change as a person before expecting people and the world around you to change.
All we are given is ourselves, that is the only thing we have control over.
You cannot control or change others. Instead, focus on your own development and changing yourself. Let others come to their own conclusions about what they need to change.
5. The Law of Responsibility
According to the Law of Responsibility, you must never blame others for the way your life is going. This law is very important when it comes to understanding karma.
A well-known phrase explaining this law is “we mirror what surrounds us, and what surrounds us mirrors us”.
Like the Law of Growth, this law teaches us that you must take responsibility for your own life and your actions, rather than constantly looking outside yourself to find excuses.
So, if something is going wrong in your life then you must reflect on how you have been acting or if there is something you must change.
6. The Law of Connection
The Law of Connection reminds us (as the name already suggests) that everything in the universe is connected.
It emphasizes the interconnected nature of the past, present, and future, and serves as a reminder that by controlling your present and future lives, you can get rid of bad karma or energy of the past (from both your current or previous life).
Although you cannot change the past, you can address the wrongs you’ve done to achieve a more positive future. “Each step leads to the next step and so forth and so on”.
7. The Law of Focus
The karmic Law of Focus shows you that if you want to achieve something in life, you must set your mind to it.
Focus is an essential part of success. Do not try to accomplish multiple tasks at once, as overloading your brain with thoughts and goals is unhealthy. You will be much more successful and productive in life by directing your focus on one task at a time.
There is a Buddhist saying that “if our focus is on spiritual values, it is impossible to have lower thoughts such as greed or anger”. According to this quote, you will not focus on your lower emotions, such as anger or jealousy if you focus on your higher values in life.
8. The Law of Giving and Hospitality
The Law of Giving and Hospitality teaches that what you claim to believe must manifest into your actions.
In other words, if you believe a certain thing, then you will be called upon at some point to demonstrate your commitment to that truth.
This encourages you to make sure that your actions are in line with your deeper beliefs.
Being kind, generous, and thoughtful are all good traits you must live by to achieve good karma. By believing in these traits, you will experience situations where you will have to demonstrate them.
9. The Law of Here and Now
The Law of Here and Now is all about truly living in the present. If you’re constantly reflecting on “what happened” or thinking about “what’s coming next”, you’ll always have one foot in the past or the future.
This will prevent you from enjoying your current life and whatever is happening to you right now.
Therefore, the Law of Here and Now is here to remind you that the present is all you really have. You will only rob yourself from opportunities when you’re looking back regretfully and forward pointlessly. So let go of these thoughts and live now!
10. The Law of Change
According to the Law of Change, history will continue itself until you’ve shown that you’ve learned what you needed to, in order to manifest a different future.
In other words, you must learn from your past experiences. If not, they will come back over and over again, until you know how to deal with them.
So if you feel that you’re stuck in a negative cycle, have a good look at your life and yourself and decide what you need to change to break this.
11. The Law of Patience and Reward
The Law of Patience and Reward tells you that success can only be achieved through dedication, patience, and persistence, nothing else.
Don’t expect instant results, because all you will receive is a disappointment. Instead, try to find your true purpose and commit yourself to achieve that purpose.
Knowing that you are working towards your true purpose in life, will give you lasting joy and in time the associated success.
There is a quote that states “all goals require initial toil”, meaning that you will encounter obstacles and there will be times that it won’t be easy.
But remember that if you preserve and stay committed, you will be rewarded and achieve your dreams. All good things come to those who wait.
12. The Law of Significance and Inspiration
Finally, the Law of Significance and Inspiration teaches us that every action, thought, and intention will contribute to the whole.
This means that every effort, no matter how small, will have an impact. It will trigger a positive reaction and maybe even inspire others.
So if you ever feel insignificant, think of this law and remember that all changes must start somewhere.
Good and Bad Karma in Your Life
There are many ways of defining good and bad karma, but in general, it all comes down to cause and effect.
Good karma is simply the result of good actions. If your intentions are good, then your actions will reflect on that.
By giving out positive energy you should receive positive energy from those around you. You can create good karma just by having positive thoughts, being selfless, honest, kind, generous, and compassionate.
Good karma is not only helping others but also helping yourself. Strive to be the best person you can be, work hard, have goals in life, and surround yourself with good and loving people.
Through accumulating positive energy through your actions, you will eradicate all negative energies in your life.
As you can imagine, bad karma is the opposite of good karma. You will receive negative energy because of negative thoughts, harmful deeds, and words.
Bad karma is generated by doing something morally ambiguous. Based on the perspective of each individual, bad karma can be anything.
However, generally speaking, bad karma is an action done out of anger, jealousy, greed, or any other immoral traits.
What is Karma for You?
I hope this article gave you more insights into the concept of karma and how it can help you to bring more positivity and joy into your life.
Now decide for yourself what karma means to you and how you want to give meaning to this concept. Maybe you want to be a more active participant by using the karmic law of cause and effect or work on some karmic healing by incorporating karmic symbols in your life.
For me, karma works as a reminder of what kind of person I want to be and directs me down the right path.
You and only you have control over your own life, therefore it is up to you to decide which path you shall take.
Remember to be kind, generous, and caring towards others if you want to be treated the same. Work hard and be patient if you want to achieve your goals. And learn from your past experiences in order to manifest a different future.
“How people treat you is their karma; how you react is yours” – Wayne Dyer