Feeling anxious and tired? Can't lift your head off the pillow? Are you afraid your past lives are catching up to you? Well, now there's new and improved karma! It lifts and separates, it dices, it slices, it julienne fries. It does everything that old karma did, but better, faster and without those embarrassing underarm stains! Let's step back into the lab and see how karma really works...
Take a look at this example. This apple seed here is karma. You plant the appleseed today, but it may take seven years for the tree to bear fruit. When the tree does blossom and fruit does grow, it will certainly produce an apple—not a pumpkin or a potato or a cumquat.
Karma acts in much the same way, but karma is not a tangible object. Karma is action—good, bad or indifferent. All conscious activity generates karma. And Karma is cause and effect. If we act in a manner that causes someone pain and suffering, then we create a karmic imprint of pain and suffering on our mindstreams. If we make the people around us feel loved and valued, we are creating positive imprints. It's that easy!
So, how can I get more good karma in my life, you ask?
Good question! And to answer, here's the Venerable Thubten Chodron with some thoughts on karma in your everyday life:
Whatever we're doing, whatever situation we are in, we recognize that we are creating karma. When you go to work, you create karma. When you are with your family, you create karma. When we have this awareness, we are careful about what we say or do. We are mindful of what we think and feel. If we are aware that we have a negative emotion, a malicious attitude, or a greedy thought, we take time out to correct our way of thinking...This process of being aware and monitoring our mind, applying the antidote to negative emotions, enhancing our beneficial emotions and realistic attitudes - this is the practice of Dharma....If that's your thought - "I'm going to work to get money" - then those hours you spend at work are under the control of the self-centered attitude. All the hard work you do is done only for the happiness of this life - just to get money for yourself and your dear ones. It's done with greed. That doesn't mean you should not go to work. Rather, you should change your motivation for going to work. Instead of going to work with a greedy attitude that makes your work become negative karma, you change the way you think. You think, "True, I need to go to work because I need to make a living and survive in society and support my family. But I'm also going to work to offer service to others. I want my work to benefit society and the individuals whose lives are made better through my efforts at work." If you work in a factory, think, "We make things that are of use to people. I wish these people well. I'm working so that their lives will be happier." If you work in a service profession, think, "My work benefits other people. I want to contribute to society and the well being of the planet and that's why I'm going to work." Also think, "I'm going to work to benefit the people at my work place. I want my colleagues, boss or employees to be happy. By being cheerful, cooperative, and responsible, I will make their lives easier and more pleasant." If you expand the scope of your motivation, then the time you spend at work becomes Dharma practice.**
You see, you too can get more good karma in your life! Ready to get started? Try new and improved karma today!
Disclaimer: Karma carries a lifetime guarantee to follow you from this life into the next.
Postscript: For all you good Christians out there who are scratching your heads and thinking this concept sounds vaguely familiar—ie:"You shall reap what you sow."—but you just can't place it, let me help you out. Paul (the Apostle, not the Beatle) talks about karma in Galatians (6:7-8)—and yes, I googled it. The Biblical passage reads: Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. For the record, I'm not so keen on this passage because it implies that sing-song sentiment, "What goes around comes around," which tends to mean if you do something shitty to someone, something equally shitty will happen to you— the Golden Rule played backwards, at 45 RPM. And it's usually evoked as a hope that something shitty happens to the person who did something shitty to you. And that type of thinking could generate some bad karma right there.