What is karma, really?

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What goes around, comes around

In our western culture when we think of karma one phrase comes to mind:
“What goes around, comes around”

A phrase which instantly creates connotations of our bad deeds coming back to bite us. But this rather negative interpretation of karma doesn’t quite capture what it’s really about.

You see, my ongoing exploration of mindfulness has triggered a new interest of late… Buddhism. Until recently all I knew about Buddhism was that it’s a religion that’s not-so-much-a-religion-but-more-a-philosophy-of-life, and that mindfulness is rooted within it. So I’ve been intrigued to know more.

After a little searching I came across the perfect book to satisfy this intrigue - ‘A little bit of Buddha’.

This beautiful book is full of thought provoking teachings, one of them being... karma.

So what is karma then?

Well karma, in its original meaning, is all about our thoughts and intentions. Buddha - who unbeknownst to me was a real man - taught that our thoughts directly influence our actions. Indeed the word karma means ‘action’.

But not in the sense that something somewhere is totting up all our bad actions to later punish us. Instead karma puts the intention in focus, and sees our actions as a result of our intentions.

Need a metaphor? Karma is something that is sown like a seed. As such, you can cultivate good karma with kind, helpful and conscientious intentions.

Still not quite following me? Well I received a bit of life advice from a friendly taxi driver last week, which I think helps sum karma up nicely. It went something like this:

"If you think good things, everything will be OK. 
Do you have a partner?
If you think "I don't like this and I don't like that" about your partner then you will have a very unhappy relationship. You've got to think good things and then everything will be OK."

As Buddha put it:
“It is intention that I call karma; having formed the intention, one performs acts by body, speech and mind”

What ways do you cultivate good karma?


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2 comments:

  1. Great post! I agree with the taxi driver and it's a life lesson that I've learnt too. If you're always looking for the negative things in life then you will be very unhappy ;)

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    1. Thanks Natalie! Exactly - that sums it up nicely! X

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