Thoughts about karma and its practicality in today’s life
Karma. When people hear this word they automatically associate it with reincarnation and I should say their arising skepticism associated with the possibility of inheriting something from previous lives is very well justified.
I don’t remember if I already actually died and reincarnated so I am not the most competent person to talk about this aspect of the concept of karma. My objective is to share with you the way I define Karma in order to extract the maximum practicality out of it.
Karma from Sanskrit means action, work or deed. Of course, all actions have an initial intent but the intent alone is harmless if it stays as an intent. It is only when it transforms into action it starts to affect your life and lives around you. The potential energy hidden within becomes kinetic.
Any action becomes a cause of the events that will follow — the effects, and they in their turn become the causes for something else again.
This understanding translates into a very simple formulation of Karma without any flavors of esoterism and religiousness.
Karma is a Law of Causality.
Our thoughts define our actions. All of our actions define who we are bringing up new thoughts that entrench and become our mindsets causing new actions. It’s a loop. The Ouroborous.
The importance of the Law of Causality aka the Law of Cause and Effect lies in the understanding of the concept of freedom. If we do not choose and observe our thoughts carefully constantly eradicating the mental rubbish and watering the seeds of the fruitful mindsets, if we lack mindfulness about our daily actions and reactions, we let the system define us.
“They are the way the world allows them to be” — is that the formulation you would want to apply to yourself? Not me. And this is why I studied karma and learned that the Law of Causality is emotionless, relentless and inexorable.
It’s like gravity. You can’t defy gravity. It just exists. I never heard that anyone succeeded in breaking the law of gravity by jumping from the building. Neither I heard of people who defied karma and didn’t get a reminder of its existence regardless of the popular beliefs. Sometimes the reminder comes in a form of a gentle nudge, sometimes it comes as a fat jingly bitch-slap. One thing I know for sure — it always comes.
Vikarma is a Bad karma. Those are the actions that destroy your life. Sometimes it happens instantly, sometimes the negative effect is accumulating over the years and could lead to one breakage point.
It can be illustrated with a simple example. A cigarette 🚬. A minute of delusional joy and “stress-relieving” relaxation, one simple action that doesn’t seem to bring much harm appears to be a killer in disguise. A killer of your time.
I was a smoker for 6 years. I can see now that, that one first little cigarette was a step into the abyss. Those little bastards enslaved me for years that I lived weak, sick and depressed. I crawled my way out of this smoking hell but not all of the people find a way to forge their willpower. My Dad is a smoker with 35+ years of smoking record. That one little seemingly harmless action repeated several hundreds of thousands of times determined the course of his life.
In English people say “Today’s seed — Tomorrow’s harvest”. In Russian, this proverb is presented in its unfolded version: “You seed a thought — you’ll harvest a deed. You seed a deed — you’ll harvest a habit. You seed a habit — you’ll harvest principles. You seed principles — you’ll harvest your destiny”.
Akarma is a Good karma. Those are the actions that nurture good qualities and virtues.
Akarma can be best illustrated by the old Vedic parable.
Once upon a time, there lived two brothers — two farmers. They built two houses and two barns next to each other. The older brother was married, he had wife and kids and the younger brother was single. They both worked hard day and night in the field to make a living and shared the grain 50/50.
But during the dinner, they were always arguing about it.
The younger brother had always said: “Brother, you have such a big family, you have kids to take care of. I live alone, I live frugally and I don’t need that much. You need to take more grain than me.”
The older brother always replied: “Brother, you don’t have a family, you don’t have kids. My kids will grow up and take care of me and you — you need to think about your future. Take more grain than me, sell it and make savings.”
In this argument, they never could come to an agreement.
In the night, the older brother would lie in his bed hugging his wife and staring at the ceiling. The idea that his younger brother had less grain than he needs didn’t let him sleep. So he was getting up, going to his barn, filling up the sack of grain and bringing it to his younger brother’s barn and pouring it out there. After that, he came back to his bed and slept with a smile on his face.
The younger brother couldn’t fall asleep too. The idea that his brother had so many kids but took the same share of grain didn’t let him sleep. So he was also getting up, going to his barn, filling the sack with grain and carrying it to his older brother’s barn.
And this is how they were sneaking into each other’s barns until one night they bumped into each other with the sacks of grain behind their backs.
So what is the moral of this story?
The total amount of grain didn’t change. But the Love grew. This is Akarma.
The Balance of the Forces.
The concept of balance of forces was taken by me from the theory of Transurfing of reality.
The idea is simple.
There are some forces in the world that are designed to keep the balance, they follow certain rules. If you think about something in a “wrong” way — the way that doesn’t correspond the objective reality, the Universe will make an adjustment, a correction to your model of the world. The balance can be broken with a negative or low intent fueled by your mental energy.
A little personal story as an example. I got a new shiny new phone and I really liked it. My attachment to it caused what happened next. I was at a private party. There were about 40 people drinking hard, and I was the only one sober guy there. I left my phone on the bar and left for 1 minute to go to the toilet. When I came back my phone was on the same place but there was a long crack along that beautiful infinity display on it. Someone dropped my phone and put it back. Ouch! I hope you agree with me, that was fairly unpleasant. I was disappointed but because I taught my brain to seek for the signs of the Universe I instantly made a correlation. The Universe sent me a reminder — “don’t get attached to material things!” Lesson learned. And it also taught me a karmic lesson — “you are an idiot if you leave your phone with a room full of drunks”.
Bear with me, the karmic sequence was not finished yet. The lesson was ahead.
I showed my phone to two people and instead of showing some compassion they laughed at me and my poker face as I was trying to hide the feeling of disappointment. The following week one of them shattered her new phone and another one got hit destroying the door of her expensive car. Voila! The balancing forces in action.
There are people who believe in coincidences and there are people who will just laugh at my way of interpretation of things. But that is just a single situation among many when I was reassured once again — all events are interconnected. As I toss my phone on the bed as a good old Nokia 3310 I remind myself that a phone is just a tool and the attachment to anything is a direct request to balancing forces to put me down.
Have you been watching these instant karma videos on Youtube? I must confess I did and some of them I found very satisfying. I have many examples of instant karma too.
My friend Sasha is a researcher from Vladivostok. He comes to South Korea to do some research for one of the marine science labs in GIST. The amount of alcohol that he can consume shatters my understanding of human’s physiology and anatomy. It is a good tradition for him to drink like a fish on the last day of his business trip.
In one of such farewell parties, he was so drunk that his big Russian soul unfolded in its all-embracing powerful love and he was almost crying by firmly stating out loud multiple times: “I don’t want to leave, Korea!”.
The Universe was listening and executing accordingly.
He called me from the Incheon airport on the other day.
“I lost my passport.”
He had to stay in the airport for a night. He wasn’t smiling when I explained to him my karmic interpretation of his tribulation.
The lesson he got that day lives with him up to date. Every time he comes back to Korea he knows that he should be careful with alcohol and twice as careful with his words.
Sometimes karma is instant, but sometimes it takes days and even months for the Wheels of the Universe to make a circulation. Let me tell you another story.
I met a Korean guy in 2015. He lives near GIST and he happened to live in Moscow for over 5 years so he speaks Russian. I don’t remember his Korean name and it is irrelevant, his Russian name was Petr, like Petr the First — the founder of Saint Petersburg.
We were hanging out a bit. He joined our group of friends. One time we went for a lunch together. After the lunch, we were walking around and suddenly he disappeared in the crowd. I was looking for him for 20 minutes. When I found him it appeared that he ran to pick up a girl. I lost my temper. I was mad. I scolded him for ditching me like that without saying a word, at that time I considered it as a disrespect. He didn’t even say sorry. I stopped contacting him.
After 7 months I was shopping and suddenly I received a message from him: “Where are you? Let’s meet.”
“What’s the matter?” I replied.
“I want to do boxing with you,” he texted in Russian.
I thought: “Oh, ok. He wants to meet to suggest to enroll in a boxing club or something.” It has been 7 months, I completely forgot about how we stopped talking.
When I met him I laughed my ass off. The guy actually wanted to box for real. He wanted to fight!😆
At first, I didn’t know how to react. I was positive and tried to mitigate the conflict. To be honest, I thought he was mentally sick judging his inadequate and not so timely desire to avenge his damaged pride. I was wondering if it actually took him 7 months to process my insult, or he is experiencing a nervous breakdown triggered by something else and using my harsh words as an excuse.
After 30 minutes of my ineffective attempts to appeal to the reason I gave up and wanted to walk away. He grabbed my jacket so I turned around and yelled right into his face: “You want to fight?! Come on. Punch me! See what happens!” He froze. I walked away. I am convinced that the best war is the war that never happened. I did my best to prevent the conflict. But Petr didn’t give up.
After that situation, he started chasing me. He sent me the insults on the phone. He came to my office when I wasn’t there leaving me post-it notes threatening my life: “I will kill you.” So childish.
I talked to my friend E. and he said he will spot me next time Petr shows up.
Petr showed up. He came to the front door of my department building. As he was talking he became more and more aggressive. He grabbed my t-shirt but I was standing right in front of the cameras so he hesitated to throw a punch.
You see, in Korea it is weird. It doesn’t matter who starts the fight. If two guys are fighting both are guilty and both get punished. A fight is a serious crime in Korea. As an international student, I could have been deported if I had responded to the provocation. In Kazakhstan, Petya would go down in seconds.
My friend E. showed up. When he saw Petr grabbing my t-shirt near the neck he didn’t hesitate for a second and intervened. Petr snapped. He threw a punch at E. face. Ladies from the department office saw the bustle and called the police.
When police arrived they forced him to apologize. He left and promised to never contact me again.
That’s funny but this is not how the story ends. After many months again I talked with my friend E. And he revealed me the truth. He said: “I have to confess. I was so mad at him because of that punch that he landed. I decided not to leave it like that. I went to the undergraduate dorm and punched a bag for a couple of weeks recalling my skills (he got trained in hand-to-hand combat) and then I called Petr, I set up a huddle and fucked him up well. Recently, I went to Ansan with my sister and accidentally bumped up into him. You know, he was so nice to us. Ha-ha!”
I guess it is a happy ending. Petr got his fight. I avoided it. My friend E. got his duel satisfaction.
What I learned back then is a precious life lesson. I learned, that the words you throw thoughtlessly may become a “boomerang” that will hit you back many months later.
I don’t have any intentions to fall into mysticism with this.
Karma heritage can be explained this way.
Have you watched “Departed” with Leonardo DiCaprio? If not, I recommend it. There is a recruitment scene when Sergeant Dignam and Captain Queenan put the main hero Billy Costigan under the pressure to understand why he wants to be a cop.
The recruit replies: “Families are always rising and falling in America.”
This famous saying by Nathaniel Hawthorne perfectly illustrates what exactly is the karma heritage. The principles that you foster in yourself will be instilled in the family you create. Your kids will naturally adopt all of your values and virtues — they will inherit your karma.
This is why it is so important to always excel. I ask myself a thought-provoking question: “How can one give birth to a child if he can’t raise him as a creator?” This always motivates me to self-improve because I know that one day I will be passing on my knowledge. How will I look in the eyes of my child if I have no stories to tell and no wisdom to pass on? I refuse to be one of those parents that struggle with their kids because they failed to understand one simple thing — if you don’t want your son to be Bart Simpson you shouldn’t be a Homer Simpson.
All of the ideas described above bring me to one point. Revenge is futile. When people wrong you, you can be sure that the Universe will put them down. But also keep in mind that your own actions can bring a harvest in absolutely unpredictable shape and forms. Let’s be mindful of our thoughts and deeds.
Take care and do something good today for your karma.