Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Karma

I was brought up as a Christian, and specifically a Lutheran by my folks, who were both Lutheran.  I would not call myself a model religious person by any means, and I've had periods of time where I did or did not go to church and such.  Still, I consider myself to be a good person, and I do try to be tolerant and open-minded about my fellow human beings, and generally try to treat others the way I'd like to be treated.

In fact, it's a fair statement that I naively expect decent and humane behavior from those around me.  The Christian in me naturally looks for the good in all of my fellow people.  The software engineer in me, who deals all day with facts and data, naively expects truth and goodness.  It is only when someone acts inappropriately or treats me badly that I would then be on guard about such a person.

Naturally, this being a world populated with all sorts of people, I have encountered people from time to time who have wronged me or those I care about in varying degrees.  As a Christian, we're taught to turn the other cheek.  The realist in me, however, loathes to naively do so once wronged.  My sense of justice, in fact, tells me that what goes around comes around, and whoever does intentionally bad or evil things will at some point reap their return.  This is where the concept of karma comes in.  When you bring bad and do bad, you'll get bad back, and not in the "cool" sense of the word bad.

The irony for someone like me, who is inherently good and tries to be a good person, is that when someone wrongs me, I don't wish to see them intentionally wronged or harmed.  I don't take pleasure in the needless suffering of others.  I'm a live and let live kind of guy, and if we don't get along, I'd rather that you go your way in peace and I'll go mine.

What really blows my mind about karma, though, is that for folks that have truly wronged me in evil ways, through either deliberate intentions or blatant disregard for anyone's position but their own, I've seen karma come and cut the legs out from them and give them a strong taste of their own medicine.  I won't go into details because I don't believe in airing others' dirty laundry so blatantly, but suffice it to say the volume of bad karma was definitely proportional to what I experienced.

By contrast, I've been on the good side of karma.  I've experienced having someone pay for my toll at the bridge, or pay for my meal at the drive-through before.  Talk about your rush of good feelings!  Invariably I would end up doing something nice for someone else, passing the good vibes around, just because.

Now, one _could_ say that doing something nice for someone is trying to collect some good karma for yourself.  But you see, that's not the way karma works.  If you do something good because you think you're going to get something good in return, that's not so virtuous, is it.  Truly good works are done just because they're good, and not because you're expecting payment or favors or privileges in return.  Good deeds truly can be their own reward.  And truth be told, the more often you do something good for someone without expecting anything in return, the more often good karma does genuinely come to smile on you.  True story.


  1. I've never thought about 'banking' good karma at all, by doing nice things for other people. that never once crossed my mind! It does amaze me how instant karma does come back and bite people in the butt.

  2. I've had my down moments in life, but I did not consider them as karma. In fact, I treated them as life challenges. Observing others in my close knit family circle back home, I've seen how karma worked its way. I've seen how people didn't realize that they needed to learn something from it, instead of blaming others. But people never learned. This is why they kept asking why they're either in the same deep shit or going in a much deeper shit. They never accepted their mistakes and never blamed themselves. I was advised that I should pity them since they're getting old. Duh. Who cares if they don't care?

  3. I think when we do nice things, nice things tend to happen to us. Perhaps it is karma, perhaps it is because people see us as nice enough to have something nice done for us. Who knows?!? But being nice is really great! (As cheesy as that sounds)