Almost everyone has heard of karma. People say things like, “Karma’s a bitch”, “I can’t wait for karma to catch up with them”, and “Karma will take care of her.” The truth is, we have it all wrong. As Lachlan Brown says, “When you truly understand what karma means, it can be used as a powerful tool for personal development and spiritual growth.”
The term “karma” is often used casually. We incorrectly believe that if you do the right thing, good things will come back to you as rewards. If you do the wrong thing, bad things will come back to you as punishments. Wrong.
Karma originated in Buddhist teachings. As a general rule, Buddhism only speaks in positives, not in negatives. Karma is a positive tool. It means that “by seeking to do the right thing in any given situation you as well as those around will become conditioned for peace and happiness in a very real and concrete sense.”
“Karma has nothing to do with ‘fate’. If you do something negative, it doesn’t mean that something negative must happen to you to ‘even things out.’” Karma is about positive actions, not fate.
According to Barbara O’Brien of Buddhism.about.com, karma is created by “willful action, through thoughts, words and deeds. We are all creating karma every minute, and the karma we create affects us every minute… The future is not set in stone. You can change the course of your life right now by changing your volitional (intentional) actions and self-destructive patterns.” We ourselves are responsible for our own happiness and misery. We are responsible for our fate.
Karma has become a pop culture term in recent years, but you can see that we have been using it all wrong. “Karma in pop culture often means that people get what they deserve.” However, if we can change this thought we can better understand happiness and positive actions. “We can see that all we really need is to live deeply in the present moment with mindfulness and discover our true nature”, to be kind to ourselves and those around us.
Matt Valentine suggests that in order to “use karma as a force for our own personal and spiritual development, a force for great good, you need only shine the light of mindfulness on your life in order to identify your karmic energy and work to heal any karmic energy holding you back.” This Suburban Goddess Mom is striving to do this each and every day. I personally use the saying, “keeping my side of the street clean.” I worry only about my actions and doing the right thing in my eyes and for me!