The Paradox of Karma

I wonder if many people have really ever thought about the idea of Karma. The way that I have always understood it, when you did something selfish, insensitive, rude, cruel, mean, or otherwise unkind you will accumulate “bad Karma.” On the other hand, when you do things that are kind, considerate, selfless, caring, loving or otherwise “good” you will earn “good Karma.”

My guess is that this is the understanding that most people have with regards to Karma. As I have learned, however, this is not actually an entirely accurate way to understand Karma. You see, according to the Hindu belief, Karma is intrinsically associated with reincarnation. Reincarnation is the belief that one will continue to be “reborn” over and over again into a different type of living organism. The type of organism you are reborn into is dependent upon something referred to as your “Karmic debt.”

That’s a fairly abbreviated description, but hopefully you get the idea. So, whatever life you are currently living, if you have bad circumstances (low standard of living, chronic illness, etc.) it’s because you built up Karmic debt in a previous life. Ultimately, the goal is to “pay off” your Karmic debt and transcend this world to become “one” with the divine being. There are different ways of understanding what that is, but that is irrelevant for this topic.

The point is this…the entire enterprise of Karma will ultimately lead to a much worse world than many people may realize. If you follow this through to its conclusion, what you must realize is that this system completely turns morality on its ear. What most people would interpret as “good” from a moral standpoint would actually be bad in the Karmic system. You see, if unpleasant circumstances were necessary to pay of Karmic debt, then it would be immoral to do anything to alleviate such circumstances on behalf of that individual. So, by helping people you would, by definition, be accruing Karmic debt.

The whole system is counter-intuitive. So, if you are into the whole Karma thing, be sure not to help anyone less fortunate than yourself. After all, their circumstances are their way of paying off their Karmic debt. You are denying them the opportunity to improve their station in their next life. What could be more cruel than that?

How does this idea affect your understanding of Karma?

Grace, love and peace.

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