What Creates Karma ?
Before we can answer what creates karma we need to first define the types of karma. There are basically three different types of karma:
- Good karma
- Bad or negative karma
- Repeating experiential karma
Note these definitions of “good” or “bad” are accepted “labels” and are not personal judgments. It may be better to define “good” as those actions which lead to less suffering and more happiness, unity and greater spiritual awareness. “Bad” can be defined as that which leads to less happiness and more isolation, pain and suffering. We must remember “bad” action ultimately leads to understanding through pain and suffering, so all karma, whether “good” or “bad” ultimately leads to greater awareness. This is karma’s purpose, to teach and bring the soul to a greater awareness and understanding.
Selflessness is what creates karma of a good or positive nature
Good karma results from all our good deeds we do for others. These can be gifts, physical help, empathy, sympathy and sometimes just an understanding ear to listen. In all cases of doing for others there can be no expectations of reciprocation otherwise it is just a transaction. Here is where intention comes into play. There is no fooling what is written into the Akashic record based upon our intentions and what is in our heart. Whatever we think or intend is the real litmus test for whether an act is loving and compassionate. Remember that thoughts and intentions come before any deed is performed. Even sincere wishes, prayers and intentions for another person’s well being counts as good karma. This is what loving kindness meditation is all about.
There cannot be any judgment associated with our good deed. We cannot do something nice for someone and then place a judgment on them. If we give someone money, we cannot place a condition on it, in other words we can’t say or think there is some proper way they should use the money. It is either a gift or it is not. This would be like putting a condition on our good deed, in other words if we give and have an expectation of them we do not incur good karma. If we give someone something we must detach from it at that moment. You will know this is the case when you forget all the gifts and good deeds you have done for others, if your remember them then most likely you have remained attached to them.
Bad intentions or wanting to alter another persons free will is what creates karma of a negative nature
We are most familiar with bad karma. We also tend to feel the effects of this bad karma immediately as guilt when we have done something to harm another. Bad karma gets recorded any time we intentionally hurt another person. It also occurs when we try to force our will onto another. Again we must remember intentions and thoughts proceed any act. If we are wishing, fantasizing or intending harm to others, we are accumulating bad karma. (See post “Are You Having Happy Thoughts.” If we are wishing, fantasizing or intending to force our will on another, we are also accumulating bad karma.
Our overriding thoughts, habits, interest, mental patterns, fears and attachments are what creates karma of an experiential nature
Experiential karma insures we will face our attachments and aversions in proceeding lifetimes. If we have a deathly fear of something, we can be assured it will show up again in another lifetime. The fact that we have a deathly fear in this lifetime is surely an indication of an incident in a previous lifetime and the associated meaning we gave to it. For instance, we may be scared of knives due to being killed by one in a previous lifetime. We then objectify the knife as a deadly object that in and of itself causes harm; we give an object meaning beyond its physical reality. In other words, when someone kills, the cause is the hateful intention, not the knife itself. In this way we will eventually learn not to objectify any physical object.
The same concept applies with our attachments. When we give meaning to something we consider good, we are idolizing a false god. People do this with money, gold, jewelry, status, authority, fame and any other material object or experience. As the Buddha stated attachment is the source of all suffering. Our attachment to anything in the physical realm ensures our continued suffering into subsequent lives.
We can also create attachment based on our sex. Our strong identification to either male or female traits will bind us to more lives of the same. What does it mean to be androgynous? it is the blending of masculine and feminine together into one being, all higher souls are androgynous. The perspectives we have in life as male or female predispose us to take on certain bias’s, tendencies and perspectives. If we are male we are afraid to show feminine traits and if we are female we are afraid to show our masculine traits. Yet the melding of the two is what our soul eventually develops into.
What creates karma?
Karma is created through thoughts, judgments, likes (attachments,) dislikes (aversions,) intentions and actions
This is the most obvious and physical aspect of accruing karma. When we alter another persons free will by imposing our own, we incur negative karma. Perhaps this could best be described by the phrase “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” We must remember thoughts and intentions proceed any action. There are few if any actions that are not proceeded by thoughts and intentions. What creates karma if there is no intention behind an action? If there are no thoughts or intention behind an action then ignorance is the source. The karma incurred through ignorance is much less than an intention to harm. The present day example of this is the same as “manslaughter,” “second degree murder” and “first degree murder.”
What creates karma as it pertains to intention? If one performs a deed with the intent of receiving something in return then regardless of what good the deed may be it does nothing to increase one’s good karma. Indeed the whole notion of doing good for the purpose of receiving something in return negates a good deed altogether. this becomes a transaction in which both parties benefit. Intention is what is in a persons heart. Intention originates in thought and moves to the heart, intentions that are harmful to others weakens the heart. intentions which originate from love start in the heart and strengthen it.
Any action can be seen as bad but if there was no bad intention behind it, there is no karma. In these cases we may simply be an instrument in balancing someone else’s karma. Karma starts with ones thoughts and intentions before anything physical occurs. Intention therefor is as real as any physical action. Wishing harm to another or the thought or intention of wishing to force your will on another sets up karma. We may even appear to do something good for someone but if in our heart our intention is not good, then we accumulate bad karma.
Thoughts or judgments
It is not just our words that shape our life, it is one’s thoughts and judgments that are putting forth very real causes. Each thought must be met through experiencing the effects of such thoughts.
Everything we judge as bad will be shown to us over and over again until we learn love and compassion. For example If we despise rain then perhaps we will live a life as a farmer who’s livelihood depends on rain. If we judge a homeless person as someone who doesn’t try or is lazy then we will need to experience being homeless to understand what it is like. Only then will we stop our judgment and begin to have love and compassion for homeless people. Everything in our life which we judge good or bad sets up a karmic reaction of its opposite.
Our judgment of others is what creates negative karma for many people. Judging is one of the most destructive things we do in life. We judge others as not being good enough or smart enough or handsome enough. We judge others by thinking they should somehow be different or they should do things our way. This is a clear case of wishing to alter another persons free will. We judge others through our own selfish point of view. Karma is so exacting that what we judge in others will also be judged in us. The process of judging is a process of divisiveness and isolation. (See post “Unity Or isolation.”) Love and compassion do not judge and are inclusive, bringing all things into the realm of oneness.
Judgment tends to incur immediate karma or immediate cause and effect into a lifetime. As we interact with others our judgments against them will eventually destroy those relationships. This cause and effect is evident by every failed relationship. Judgment also becomes a self-fulfilling reality. As we judge someone for being selfish, we will eventually start to see only selfishness in them. We start ignoring their good qualities interpreting all their actions through the lens of our judgment.
Rarely are we judging people as good. We don’t tend to see the good aspects in people rather we focus our judgment on the “perceived” negative aspects. If we have reached a spiritual level of perceiving the good in others then we are no longer focusing on physical attributes instead we are perceiving them on a spiritual level. On this level we do not judge at all, as love and compassion transcends judgment altogether. In all our personal interactions with others it is important not to leave with feelings of resentment, jealousy, anger or bitterness. These are seeds we plant that will surely produce a bitter fruit.
Every physical action is perceived differently by each person experiencing an event. Those that are filled with hatred, anger and judgment will see just that. Each person interprets an event based on their own state of mind or consciousness. We may interpret an action of another soul in a negative way when it was not the intention of that soul. The very act of judging with negative thoughts sets up karma.
Any material attachments will bind us to the material world. This ensures we will receive more of the same in the future as we idolize “things.” Our likes or attachment to all things spiritual will ensure we continue moving towards a path of liberation from the physical world. When the parents of a twelve year old child asked Edgar Cayce for a reading, Cayce went on to describe the boys talents. When the parents asked the question of whether all his talents would be developed, Cayce answered: “All his talents will either be developed or run to seed and be drained off.”
Everything we hate or have strong judgments against sets up karmic consequences and we will need to experience the opposites of our strong judgement. The very act of hating something is what binds it to us into the future. Dislikes or aversions are a form of negative judgment. “There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so.” ~ William Shakespeare
How quickly does karma occur?
Each moment of our life dies and we are born into the next moment. The actions in the current moment affect the birth of the next moment. Suppose you are at the grocery store and the person in front of you has a problem with their credit card and eventually has to write a check for their purchase. The whole process takes five or so minutes. Surely we do not anticipate these circumstances but how we interpret or judge the situation determines what is born into the next several minutes, hours or perhaps even days. How we behave and respond to life in each moment is cause and the following moment is born with the effects of the proceeding moment.
Where our causes show no immediate effects, they are taken with us into our future lives. Karma is incurred immediately but may take many lifetimes to balance. Edgar Cayce described it as such: “cause and effect to many are the same as karma. Karma is that brought over, while cause and effect may exist in the one material experience only. From Edgar Cayce reading (2981-21)
Edgar Cayce sited the reason for many illnesses and afflictions as karmic in nature. In fact in a overwhelming majority of readings involving a physical affliction or disease, it was almost always karmic related. This can be very difficult to accept especially when it involves a young child or baby. In some cases it also involves absolving the karma of the parents. No one wants to think of that type of predetermined destiny, but we must remember we ourselves have picked the basic circumstances of our life. In many cases Cayce offered hope if all those involved aligned themselves to spiritual principles.
Applying the idea:
- When you do something nice for someone, are you able to do so without any expectations?
- What were 7 nice things you have done in the last week? Did you do any of them with some expectation of receiving something in return?
- Do you make it a point to remember all the nice things you have done for others or do you forget them?
- Do you “keep score” with your relationships measuring what is given in comparison to what is received?
- If you categorized each of your thoughts during the day, how many would you be willing to share with others and how many would you keep private? (Those private thoughts are probably creating unwanted karma…)
- How many of your current habits would you want to bring with you into another life?
- Which continuing thought patterns would you be comfortable taking with you into another life?
- How much of your day is spent judging people,situations or things as good, bad, right, wrong, too much, too little, etc..
To continue with part 3 the final installment on karma click here “Our Karma – Karma Part 3”
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