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7th Feb 2022

What is Karma & How Does it Impact Your Life?

One of the most popular thoughts associated with the word karma is ‘what goes around, comes back around’. What people often overlook is that the implication of karma extends to far more than just a few rough patches or bad luck. So, what is this “karma” that our seniors constantly remind us of? In this blog, we will talk about the meaning of karma, how it affects us, the different types of karma, and how you can change your karma, all based on ancient Indian knowledge. Let’s begin!

What is Karma? 

The word ‘karma’ is derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Karman’, which translates to ‘act’. Per the principles of Indian philosophy, it is said to be defined as the fundamental law of causation through which good or bad actions or their intent determine the future implications of a person’s life.

India’s religious texts and traditions use Karma to denote the moral aspect of the process of samsara (rebirth) method. In essence, karma is said to apply to all the actions of an individual, as well as the consequences that lead to the ascension of the soul and enlightenment.

How Does Karma Work? 

The most common misconception people have is that karma and fate are the same things. However, that is simply not true. Karma is not just a way to bring balance by rewarding or punishing an individual, it is not fate decided by an other-worldly being. Just because we have done something bad does not mean something bad will happen to us to maintain a balance.

Karma can instead be defined as the driving force that governs the spiritual realm. Karma affects our lives by making us accountable for any action or reaction, in addition to our intention while taking that action. It is said to be guiding energy which is the end product of deliberate action and intention. Our lives will be affected by the energy we give off right now and in the future. Karma scarcely has anything to do with punishing or rewarding people, and we can not have complete control over it.

What is Good or Bad Karma? 

It is believed by many that the karmic structure is only either good or bad, however, like most things in life, there is a lot of grey area in between. There might be instances where we may think we have generated bad karma, even though the action was carried out with the purest of intentions. The type of karma we manifest is determined by the purpose of the action we carry out. Keeping this in mind, let’s take a look at the binary types of karma:

Good Karma 

Good karma can be summarized as the energy we manifest as a result of positive past intentions and actions. The purpose of our actions determines the outcome of our intentions. That being said, good deeds do not go unrewarded, they are rewarded at some point in an individual’s various existences and play a huge role in determining the individual’s karmic cycle.

Bad Karma 

Bad karma can be defined as the exact opposite of good karma, as it is manifested through negative actions, intentions, emotions, etc. This is so because bad intentions often lead to negative behaviour, which in turn leads to negative outcomes. Just like good karma, bad karma can present itself in our current lifetime even due to negative actions in the previous.

How do Good and Bad Karma Work? 

Karma can manifest itself in a positive or negative form at any given moment in our life. Let’s take a look at an example to understand the concept of bad karma: assume that a person cheats on their spouse without experiencing any guilt or remorse, resulting in their separation. Much later in life, the person who cheated struggles with mental health issues like loneliness and depression, and faces a host of other problems ranging from commitment issues to estranged children etc. It can be considered bad karma because the person suffered the consequences of their negative actions.

However, there are also situations where you must make a negative decision backed with good intentions. For instance, lack of access to proper healthcare may force someone to steal insulin for their highly diabetic grandfather. Although stealing falls under the umbrella of negative karma, the outcome of stealing was positive, this leads to a sort of karmic integration.

How Can I Change my Karma? 

Even though the Karmic Cycle can not be entirely manipulated by an individual in the large scheme of life, there are some ways to increase the manifestation of good karma, regardless of the actions and intentions of a previous lifetime:

Accept and Forgive 

One of the best ways to do this is by being present. Forgiveness and acceptance of past occurrences are how one can be present at any given moment. This is so because past traumas have an uncanny way of projecting onto present life. Acknowledging and letting go of incidents in the past will help us get over emotional trauma and resolve previous grievances that have been affecting our current life.

Call to Action 

One of the simplest and underestimated ways to manifest good karma for ourselves is to conform to the principles of karma at all times. This can be done by positive actions, even when they are not expected of us. A thumb rule for doing so is to treat people just as well as we would have them treat us.

Be More Mindful 

Being more mindful of every being surrounding us and their limitations or plight can go a long way in impacting our own karma. The main purpose of being mindful is to live in the present moment with awareness and curb impulsive actions, thoughts and feelings. If we each work towards mindful, thoughtful actions in contrast to spontaneous and self-centered acts, we should be able to generate some good karma. Instead of being a slave to our impulses, we should focus on reiterating that they too are thoughts of our own making, and so can be controlled in pursuit of a positive outcome. One of the best ways to be more mindful is to focus on breathing, which results in experiencing a higher sense of existence in the present moment.

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) 

Can I change my karma?

Even though we cannot get rid of the karmic cycle in our lives, it most certainly can be influenced. To do so, you should be clear about what kind of karma you want to manifest in the future and be open to the idea of enlightenment on a spiritual level.

How long can a karmic cycle last? 

Karma is nothing more than the energy that a person’s action produces. This may manifest multiple times in a year or even lifetimes later. It is widely believed to flow in a cycle throughout our lifetimes and generally lasts for about 12 years. It can be largely divided into sections on based on age.

What is the English word for “karma”? 

The word karma can be roughly translated in English as a deed or action.