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Does Karma Exist?

February 23, 2013

karma image my name is earl

This is one of the central concepts to many spiritual approaches to the world. The notion of Karma. Is it just a convenient way to ease people’s sense of injustice? Someone wrongs them, they are angry but unable to get their own back, so they comfort themselves with the thought that this someone will get what is coming to them at some future time. Or is it an existent thing. Are people pointing towards something that is really there? A process that puts things to right.

I think there is something out there that the concept of Karma points towards. But I don’t think it is as simple as always giving people their just deserts. It works away on our conscience. But, of course, not everyone has a conscience about the things they do. And none of us has a conscience about absolutely everything we do. For we all take some things for granted in our lives. Though we certainly may strive to not take as much for granted as we do.

For those of us with a conscience, and in the areas we strive to be conscientious, I think something outside of us as individuals comes to connect us. You may call it morality, you may call it synchronicity, you may call it Karma. But under whatever name we use what we are pointing towards is something not reducible to the individual members of a community or society. An emergent or spiritual phenomena. And it is in this sense that I think Karma can be said to exist.

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8 Comments
  1. I was a believer in karma but I think it is just as irrational a belief as believing in a divine power. You make an excellent point about conscientious people and then I believe, they spread good and good comes of it. However, the big picture does not indicate the presence of karma. As an aside, I have always been fascinated with the fact that this facet of Hinduism has gotten such a universal following. Anyway, nice post.

    • Thanks Mike, I am still undecided on karma. In the big picture yes, outside the human world, we are dealing with natural forces that have little interest, all the evidence seems to suggest, in human morality and justice. But on the level of a human community, and given now that all of humanity is connected via the internet, media, globalisation, etc. there is some scope here for karma that could be influential in our lives.

  2. Donald Miller permalink

    A truly interesting article. I do agree with Mike Knoche, though, “the big picture does not indicate the presence of karma.”

    I don’t believe in Karma as someting that actually exists. I do however think that people who are jerks tend to bring trouble upon themselves, thus forming a sort of artificial karma.

    • Sometimes it seems like if you do a good turn for someone, you get something back yourself, not necessarily from the same person, but from someone else or something that happens later on. I think it probably comes mainly from just being well centered mentally at that time, and so things tend to come together for you. For instance, not getting frustrated so easily often opens up opportunities. Whether it actually exists is a difficult question given we really only have a very vague sense of what it may be, so we can’t really pin it down very well. But little things that have happened in my life interacting with others have made me think, something is going on here that is not in my head, or in their head, but is somehow in the medium between us bringing things together. Just a feeling really, but hard to place it in order to be able to say that it exists as such.

      • Donald Miller permalink

        I think it mostly has to do with us being pattern-seeking animals. (I’m not ruling out things in the spiritual dimension that might be reflected in our physical one.) Still, things appear to be as Mark Twain alluded to in “Huck Finn” or “Tom Sawyer”. It seems that Huck noticed a man walk underneath a ladder, which meant bad luck. Sure enough, five years latter, the guy fell off his roof and broke his arm.

  3. yourothermotherhere permalink

    Balance.

  4. HeartSpace permalink

    I believe in karma, but not necessarily in the sense that revenge will be doled out (as many people tend to view it). I think that there is a much bigger picture than what we can see in the way that karma plays out. I do think that we have past lives and those can affect our present lives if we haven’t dealt with our past issues. I think that karma is a good thing in that it’s purpose is to help us grow spiritually. Thanks for writing, I enjoyed your post!

    • Thanks, yes I agree. It can be very helpful for spiritual growth to become more aware of the karma in your life and how it is effecting you. As in the post I just wrote, I think for some who lead a normal life in the way I described it there, they have never stopped to consider and think these things through. But for those of us who do think it through I think the presence of karma is hard to deny.

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