I know it will appear to many people like I’m disagreeing with ideas I’m actually not disagreeing with, but I’ll risk that because I also want to clear up some confusion I hear regularly shared between people. I’ll often hear people guilelessly using Christianity to warp an Eastern philosophical concept into something it’s not.
It is best not to think of Karma as being “what comes around goes around.” It is not about retribution. Nor is it about someone getting a reward. I know some say it’s about a soul stepping up in consciousness and I don’t completely disagree with that description, but that definition inadvertently encourages a sense of a separate you, and that kind of definition has that separate you going somewhere either good or bad in terms of your spiritual development.
That idea of separateness, and a goal that you would have to get to is still a very ego-based humanistic view of the universe. Karma is a principle that carries out its effect in the energy-state that exists as the foundation for the human state. At that foundational level there is no distinction between this person and that person. There is simply negative energy or positive energy and each requires the opposite to exist.
Karma exists within the tradition of oneness, so there aren’t separate parts to feel the pain of retribution, nor the pleasure of reward. It’s not like Dalai Lama #14 was all of the exact same atoms or particles that Dalai Lama 13 was. If that seems like a paradox then there’s your lesson. The dreamer is the same—the universe. The dream is the same—the Dalai Lama. But this is not the same dream as the previous dream. Do you see? That is reincarnation.
We are all One. If one gets hurt, everyone hurts. Okay, so if “what comes around goes around,” doesn’t represent Karma, then what does?
Simply put, Karma is more like, “we’re all in a swimming pool together. Please don’t pee.” It’s not that the negative energy will impact the person who sent it out—that might be the case. Clearly there’ll be more pee near the person peeing. But it’s no guarantee they’ll be affected most. And no matter what, the pee is out there for all of us now.
How does this manifest in real life? It’s this easy: A jealous man accuses his wife of cheating just before she leaves for work. They fight, and she arrives at work where she takes out her frustrations on a junior employee for a minor mistake. Because he respects his boss so much, he’s crushed by her anger and on his way to lunch he is thinking too much about that and not enough about driving and he ends up in an accident. This is the cause and effect chain. So don’t pee in the pool if you don’t have to. That’s how a butterfly starts a hurricane.
The nice thing is, this God/Universe pool naturally cleans itself, so the individual souls/consciousnesses just have to pee the least amount possible and the pool will be as clean as it’s able to be. But remember, it can never be completely clean because people just need to pee sometimes. And if we can accept that, that’s just fine. Because Yin will always need Yang to exist.
Enjoy your swim.
pees. s 😉
Scott McPherson is an Edmonton-based writer, public speaker, and mindfulness facilitator who works with individuals, companies and non-profit organisations locally and around the world.