People talk a lot about karma. And when they talk about karma, often they use the concept in a way that could be more complete.
Most times, when you hear the word karma, the person is talking about results that flow back to you from an action you’re taking, something you’re saying or even a thought you’re having. Certainly, there’s plenty of truth to this. If you consistently put out negative actions or messages to the universe, there is a very good chance that negative results will flow to you. If you consistently put out positive messages or actions, there’s an excellent chance positive results will return. Often they return to you instantly.
You can compare this observable fact to the idea that there’s a perfect accounting system at work in the universe, rewarding good behavior and punishing bad behavior. It’s as if you throw a giant boomerang, then it circles around, comes back and hits you with the exact type of energy you sent out, often multiplied in force.
It would be wonderful if this were always true. But the boomerang doesn’t always find its mark. The accounting system is somewhat flawed. I’m sure we can all think of people who have hurt others, either in our own lives or in history, who somehow escaped the payback they seem to have richly deserved.
So what’s another way to think about karma that might be more complete and more useful?
Karma is like the ripples on a lake, after you throw in a stone. The results of your actions ripple out in every direction, through time and space. Some of those ripples come back to you on the shore. But many of them radiate away from you, affecting people and events for a long time afterwards.
As a result, we have immense power, in our daily lives, to create positive ripples that radiate outwards, sparking even more positive ripples. We can be good karma machines.
A kind word, a moment of deep listening and empathy, some little generosity, all of these things are good karma. Indeed, they are Messages of Love. If we’re mindful, if we stop, get clear and Have a Moment, we see that opportunities to send these Messages arise all the time. It costs us nothing (or almost nothing), but it can make another person’s day. And the person who gets a Message of Love from us, might well turn around and send one to someone else.
Perhaps more powerfully, our good karma sets an example for others to follow. People (especially our children) witness our actions. Our generosity sends them a message that it is good to give, that we live in abundance, that there is plenty for everybody. Our willingness to listen tells them that people are important. Our good deeds show them that there is a wider world we must care for.
At first blush, these might seem like small things, but small things can and do become big things. Do these types of actions create good results for us? You bet they do. But they do even more – they help create the kind of world we want to live in.
The ripples of karma, good or bad, have a way of becoming gigantic waves.