The Truth About Karma

Karma is a term that we throw around a lot. Someone does something crappy. These days, a typical response to this might be, “Well, karma’s a bitch!”

We’ve come to believe that karma is some kind of divine punishment for our actions. This is simply not true. The divine doesn’t punish us for anything. That would require God to take the things that we do personally. We live in an unconditionally loving, yet impersonal Universe. Only egos take things personally and seek justice for those actions.

So if we want to look at Karma from a Godly perspective, it is this: Karma is simply the experience of cause and effect. Nothing more. If I say a kind word to someone, that will have consequences. If I spit in someone’s face, that will have consequences. If I think negative, fearful thoughts, there will be consequences. If I treat my body with healthy reverence, there will be consequences.

In fact, when we stop personalizing our and others actions, things become a lot clearer to us. When we begin to observe ourselves from a place of loving detachment we begin to see, with great clarity, how our actions are affecting us and others. I’ll give you an example of this.

Despite having had a chronic condition for many years, I got it into my head that I didn’t want to have to change my lifestyle in any way. I wanted to be able to do all of the things that everyone else did. In truth, I didn’t want to see myself as handicapped on any level. This always made me feel inferior and weak. So for years, I ate whatever I wanted; drank whatever I wanted; smoked whatever I wanted. My sleep was often compromised because, well, that’s what young people do! They push and push themselves and who cares if they lose a little sleep in the process. Right?

I slowly began to see that I could most certainly continue to live this way…no one was stopping me. But there were always consequences. Most recently, my husband and daughter and I went to beautiful Jamaica. In typical island fashion, the alcohol runs freely all day and all night and everyone seems to be smoking (and this definition widens considerably in the land of Bob Marley). People lay out in the baking sun and typically stay up until the wee hours celebrating.

Since I’ve always had a little bit of the “party girl” in my blood, this hedonistic lifestyle has always held a certain appeal to me. My “free as a bird” attitude has, at times, compelled me to behave in careless ways. And when I say careless, I am referring to the fact that it’s been careless for me. For some, partying in colourful ways on occasion isn’t careless. It might set that person back a day, given a really rocking evening, but otherwise, life goes on.

Here’s where karma, as it relates to each and every one of us individually, comes into play. The simple truth is that I had severe Crohn’s Disease for 20 years. I lost my entire colon and portions of my small bowel because of the severity of the disease. Although I have been free of symptoms for over 12 years, I have to be very, very careful…If I want to feel good, alive and vital. And there’s the kicker. There’s the karma. My body is a sensitive and reactive specimen. It just is. That is my “choiceless choice” in this lifetime. We all have one. Or two. Or ten. Point is, we all have them. Those things in our worlds that we simply can not change. Some people have a parent who is abusive. That is a choiceless choice. It is what it is.

The karma is not about what we’ve been given in this life. Karma comes into play with how choose to walk down that path. With age, we (hopefully) become wise. We become aware. I know damn well that if I smoke cigarettes in an evening I’m going to pay for it the next day. I know that if I have more than one glass of wine, I will feel like hell. Karma for me, at least in this area of my life, tells me that I could party like it’s 1999 but my body will suffer. The learning for me is that my body has suffered enough.

What is your choiceless choice? How are you walking that path? What have the consequences been? Is it working for you?

Karma is not meant to punish us. It’s meant to enlighten us. It’s our friend. It’s the angel on our shoulder. It’s God whispering in our ear to be alive and to thrive.

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