This just in: let’s pretend that science has proven that karma is a thing. Your words and actions will influence what happens to you in the future. How (if at all) will you change your ways?
From dictionary.com, karma is defined as:
- Hinduism, Buddhism the principle of retributive justice determining a person’s state of life and the state of his reincarnations as the effect of his past deeds
- theosophy the doctrine of inevitable consequence
- destiny or fate
The definitions vary somewhat in meaning, because the first, in particular, takes us into our subsequent lives. I’m not sure I believe in my after-life as a series of do-overs, so I’ll have to focus on the definition of “inevitable consequence” or “destiny or fate”.
Do we “reap what we sow”? While I don’t know, I think for the most part we do. I find this a psychological as well as a religious “thing”, for I think that my attitude has a considerable effect on the outcome of my efforts. How life’s events are perceived is crucial to empowerment. If I perceive an event to be inevitable, then I give up my control over it. If if perceive the same event as a challenge, a problem to be solved, I may be able to effect change.
Thus, if karma is a “thing”, which I take to mean a real phenomenon, then I’m shifting my relationship with the world I live in, and how I operate within it. My will power becomes less important than predetermined forces. What point is there in having free will, which of course is the basis a tenet of Christian doctrine, if the outcome is a given? I think people believe they have free will, can make choices, and their decisions will have repercussions, good or bad.
Karma, if we’re saying it’s real, can only mean an inevitable consequence. When I make a decision I do so based on what I know or believe to be true. However, I never know everything and may be unaware of other forces at work. Lack of experience can also produce false reasoning, and that can effect the outcome of my choices. So my ideas may fail, may be out of my control. Does that mean karma exists? In a way, yes; if I were all-knowing, I would be able to see what the inevitable outcome would be, but I’m not, so there’s an element of chance in ever decision I make.
Does everything happen for a reason? Sometimes I’m quite sure that’s true; but this could also mean that I have accepted the “verdict” of “fate”, and move on from that point. I have learned something; hopefully I won’t make that mistake again, or I will know what works and what doesn’t.