Sunday, February 8, 2015

Reverse Karma

Call it justice, blessings, karma, cosmic fairness, or simply the laws of causality, but I believe in positive reactions to the good we do. I believe in a sort of benevolent chain reaction to the goodness we place around us, the kindness we show and the positivity we portray. I believe in  constant adherence to the Golden Rule. How else am I expected to be treated well, when I mistreat others? How will I hope to remain safe if I am reckless, be it in a car or in a relationship. I think the Golden Rule is a kind of implicit contract we sign upon deciding to be decent human beings.

So regardless of the dogma you adhere to, I think we can agree that the universe seems to have an almost magnetic energy to it. Bad attitudes yield poor results, happy people seem to make others happy, and those who are always helping others tend to always have things work out for them. Of course their are exceptions; terrible people that have endless riches, and evil humans that from a visual standpoint appear downright blessed. And there are the most wonderful and selfless people that can't seem to catch a break in life. There are those that live most generously, but will struggle until their dying breath.

I am not saying that divine blessings, or good karma always makes sense, or even that it follows certain immutable laws, all I am saying is that it exists. And with that belief, we can start to benefit from its power. But recently I have started to develop a new idea of what karma is, at least for me. The concept of karma states that intents and actions of an individual influence the future of that individual. In other words, if you do good, good will come your way. If you do bad, bad will come your way. But that is about as specific as it gets. Karma does not mean by doing some great thing you are deserving and guaranteed some prize. It is more ambiguous. And I think that is the point. We should do good, knowing good will come our way, in some form at some point, not so we will gain an immediate reward.

This is all good and lovely, but I would like to posit an alternative way in which karma, blessings from the Lord, or cosmic justice occurs. I think that sometimes a great thing will come our way before we have necessarily "done good." But God, or the universe, or whatever karmic force you believe in understands the intent of our heart, and knows that we are soon to do good, soon to retroactively deserve our karmic recompense, and so we are blessed before the deed.

Maybe this is silliness, but the other night I couldn't help but feel a sort of reverse karma. I had had a wonderful encounter with an estranged acquaintance. We shared a delicious meal and connected on some very important topics. It was a small thing perhaps, but to me it felt like a huge blessing, an unexpected one at that. On the way home, smiling from what I considered good fortune, I saw a lady with her car broken down, and instinctively stopped. Turns out I know nothing about cars, but I was able to drive her home and out of the cold. It seemed reversed to me. I was blessed, and then I did good. But maybe God knew I would do good, He knew my intent, so he blessed me beforehand.

Maybe you don't believe in God. Maybe you just believe in solipsism. Or perhaps you are unsure, and just bank on their being some sort of order to things, some sort of karmic justice to it all. Whatever you believe, I don't think it is always so clear cut. Sometimes we will do good, and will not notice a return of goodness for years to come. Sometimes we will receive greatness in our lives, before we have really done anything to deserve it, but just know that goodness begets goodness. Kindness creates more kindness, and love equates to more love. The order and timing might be confusing. But as the very definition of karma states, it is not only our acts, but our intents that influence our future.