“Does karma exist? How does it work? And if karma is real, and ‘god’ exists, why am I being punished?” I don’t think I can count how often I have been asked that, and how often I would ask myself the very same question.
I’m not an expert, nor am I some kind of minister or religious scholar. I am, however, pretty good at observing people and situations. Over the years I simply came up with my own conclusions of how “karma” or “god” works. So before I continue, I want to make it clear that these are my opinions, view points and truths.
I finally started seeing that most of the sadness and disappointment in my life was brought on by my own choices. Based on who I am, I tended to attract certain individuals. It’s very similar to animal instincts. Just like a wolf recognizes others from his pack, so I would recognize those who would continue to fulfill my expectations of disappointment and betrayal. I would seek out people with very specific behavioral patterns, even though I knew on some level that it would end in heartbreak and disaster. I was raised to never say “no,” and to think of my own needs and wants as unimportant and unworthy. Actually, it rather astonishes me how keen my senses were when it came to selecting people who were toxic for me on numerous occasions.
Some of the things I’ve experienced were not my fault. Especially things I’ve endured when I was a child. Children are generally innocent. It isn’t their fault when they are being abused, molested, abandoned or mistreated. No god came down to punish them, and they sure as hell are not experiencing bad karma from a life they lived a few hundred years ago. To suggest such a thing is not only ridiculous to me, but a crime.
The damaging thing of most religions is the guilt that is being put on us. We are eager to take responsibility for things that simply were not our fault, and things we had absolutely no control over. When my mother died I was 19. Given who she was at times, I had often wished her dead. Naturally, after she died I felt responsible. Almost every single person I know, who has lost someone to death, felt in some way responsible. Maybe we didn’t love them enough? Maybe we should have done something, even though we don’t know what that could have been. We get angry at “god” and karma; because why would a god with so much power and love for us allow us to suffer so?
Well, I’m not going to argue if god does or does not exist. But we keep forgetting free will, and free will accounts for a lot of stuff. My mother chose to live the way she did. She chose to eat crappy food, to not really take care of her health, to not go to the doctor until it was too late, because sometimes being sick afforded her the only type of power in her life. And so her list of diseases and issues kept growing. My best friend’s mother smoked at least a pack a day, and so did my brother-in-law. While we always hoped for the best, it wasn’t a shocker that both ended up with lung cancer. Sadly, my friend’s mom died. Luckily my brother-in-law survived and, apparently, is doing fine. I don’t think one was more “loved by god,” or had better karma than the other!
Sometimes, for whatever reason, there is just bad luck. Sometimes good things happen to good people, and tools get away with murder. The reason that we are so affected by the bad things happening to good people is that these are often big things; like losing a parent, child or other family member. One of those experiences can scar us for life, and often make up for 10 betrayals or crappy relationships. I believe that in 99% of cases, a person isn’t to blame when they lose a loved one. Sadly, I also don’t believe that “god works in mysterious ways,” and that ”he” loves one person more than another.
I think the reason that many don’t look at life and situations this way is simple. There is, or at least for me there was, a certain hopelessness in knowing that my life is up to me, and that I have to take responsibility for each and every word and action. It’s also not particularly inspiring to know that, no matter how “good” I am, bad things still might and will happen to me. All I can do and have control over is how I treat myself and others. Finally, just imagine what it would do to someone if they could truly grasp the full repercussions of their actions, without a higher power forgiving them, or making it all better. How sucky would it be if all the religious extremists did not have their god to blame anymore for their appalling actions, discrimination and bigotry? Take god away, and a lot of righteous folks turn into crazy, mean-spirited bullies.
I believe in cause and effect. I believe that being dishonest, mean, rude, selfish and unkind, or otherwise a tool will backfire eventually. Not because you got punished, but because sooner or later you’ll have to pay the price for your own choices. It’s not karma or god; it’s simply life, cause and effect, nature or law of the fittest. Understanding how my choices affect my quality of life and getting away from the victim mentality at least no longer makes me feel like someone who is unloved by a higher power, or punished by something I am not even aware of. Interestingly enough, I still believe in “something.” I am just no longer expecting this power to shape the outcome of my life.