Paying off Karmic Debts

None of us like things going wrong in our life, who would honestly want to suffer, face hardships and misfortune? I’ve always been a person that enjoys taking responsibility for my life and actions. When things go wrong I’ve always had the tendency to think about what I could’ve done to have avoided it. When dealing with difficult people I’ve always reflected on how I could improve next time in being more patient or non reactive.

So what has all that got to do with karma or karmic debts? If you have similar views, not playing a victim in life but rather changing what you can control and accepting or managing what you can’t, then congratulations you are in the path of building good karmic merit while depleting bad karmic debts.

According to Buddhism, Karma means action. As long as we are alive it’s impossible not to perform actions, even lying still on a bed is still an action. So if it’s impossible not to perform actions then what are we to do and what are the consequences of those actions? In all Eastern Spiritual Traditions, they view all seemingly separate things as coming from the one source or self, with no beginning, end, cause or effect. The self you feel inside you is the self in me and in all others living beings.

This whole reality is interconnected through time and space. Every action is a cause that produces an effect, if we feel we are a separate self, cut off and not connected to anyone or anything else we feel our actions don’t matter or affect us but according to the East they certainly do.

If every action produces good karma or bad karma for ourselves in this life or the next then how should we live? And how should we view misfortune? According to Buddhism, to be born human is to roughly have an equal amount of good and bad karma from previous lives, they also state to be born human is a gift and chance for self realisation or enlightenment.

When we understand the concept of karma and how it operates we can then view our life and actions very differently. When we experience misfortune we can take comfort in the fact that we are paying off bad karma that we accumulated in the past. When we experience success we can understand that it was due to good karmic actions in the past.

The danger comes when paying off karmic debts, reacting and making decisions or performing actions that lead to further karmic debts. Which is why things such as feelings of hate or getting revenge, as hard as it is to hear, will only reinforce bad karma if it’s acted on. Hurting others whether justified or not is only hurting ourselves again eventually. This doesn’t mean being passive or a pushover, threats need to be stopped but if we are honest so many things that we say or do that’s negative never have to be acted on because most of the time all that’s really hurt is our ego which is an illusion anyway…

Intention is all that matters. As long as we view others as ourselves because according to enlightened sages they are ourselves, all we need to do is realign our actions to that understanding. If our intent is to help others, or at the least not make their life worse that’s all that’s needed.

Feelings or urges to take advantage of others for personal gain, feelings of jealousy, hate, resentment etc only serve to reinforce our ego, our sense of separation and thus perform actions that further hurt ourselves from that viewpoint.

Nobody is perfect, Spirituality is a daily practice and effort but when we view the law of karma like the law of gravity we will be aware and mindful of the fact that every action and intention only serves to help or harm ourselves in the long run and then can adjust our action accordingly but if we aren’t aware of this we are bound to keep repeating the same bad karmic mistakes.

In conclusion, if we view life as a dream with every seemingly separate person and object as coming from the one source, that we are only ever interacting with ourself, which is the identical self in all, then we will eventually extinguish all bad karmic debts without creating more to pay off in the future.

Thanks for reading and stay safe in these difficult times.

– Simon

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