Extraordinarily, one of my strongest and unforgettable childhood memories is when I called my brother stupid and after a while I got stumble with my feet crossed. Loll! My brother told me that I God punished me for being mean-that seemed to make sense in the Catholic framework in which I was raised. Perhaps if I was raised as a Buddhist or Spiritist, my brother would have told me it was “Karma”, or a spiritual theory of moral causation that teaches the power of good action or deed. Karma can be demonstrated by the phrase “What goes around comes around” and “You reap what you sow”. And this is a fairly common belief adopted by many cultures that has real effects on our behavior and on society.
Many spiritual teachers claim that karma is like debts owed. Sometimes there are positive debts, “Good Karma,” and sometimes there are negative debts, “Bad Karma.”
An example of “Good Karma” is when we do good deeds with the expectation, implied or explicit, of some kind of reward. This is like the pay-in-advance principle. By having the expectation of repayment, we’re setting ourselves up for the debt to be paid back later, either in the future of this life, or in a future life. The snare then becomes when the expectation remains unfulfilled. It becomes our own prospects that tie us to people, places or events lifetime after lifetime.
I’ll sometimes have clients that feel that their children owe them for all that they’ve done and the sacrifices that they’ve made. As a result, the parent is left sad and unfulfilled when their efforts go unrecognized.
Again, it’s the “expectation” that creates the karma. And it’s these same unfulfilled expectations that lead to unhappiness. For one person it may be a child and for another it may be a spouse, lover, business partner, etc. The answer, of course, is when doing good deeds (such as acts of charity) to do so without expectations. This attitude leads to no karmic affects.
So even “Good Karma” isn’t something to be desired in life. The enlightened view is always to neutralize all karma.
Contrary to common misunderstanding, Bad Karma isn’t when you do something bad to someone then they will do something bad to you. Bad Karma is when you do some action to someone and you then feel guilty or responsible for committing that action.
The important point here is that it becomes your own guilt, blame, shame or other emotions that keep you indebted to repay for the actions that you’ve committed, even when those actions are from a previous lifetime.
So if you do something “bad” to someone, and if you feel responsible for what you’ve done, you’ve now incurred “Bad Karma”. If that person whom you did something “bad” to feels the need for revenge, the two of you might even plan a life together where he has the opportunity of taking his revenge and for you to be released from your guilt.
Should one believe in Karma? I certainly don’t think so. First, because evidence clearly does not support such a phenomenon (that should be reason enough) and second, because it is imperative that we don’t blame victims and make those who have good fortune into gods. We live in a world that is not always fair, and not always just. What goes around does not always come around, and many times people reap more than then they sow. It is up to us to help and offer sympathy those who need it and not expect “Karma” to pay us back, and do good simply for goodness sake.