“Life gravity, karma is so basic we often don’t even notice it.” Sakyoung Mipham
The thing I love most about gravity is that it’s dependable.
I’m clumsy so I fall down. A lot. Gravity keeps me from sailing off into the stratosphere like a balloon. As a fundamental law of nature, gravity does what it does all day. No exceptions and no days off. Gravity isn’t a matter of opinion, and it doesn’t care how you feel about it – gravity doesn’t need you to believe in it for it to be real.
The same is true for a host of other physical laws – from electromagnetism to thermodynamics, the universe is consistent. Scientist take those consistencies and define them as law and explain them with equations, which leads to new scientific advances.
But, there is an important relationship to keep in mind: these equations are shaped by the universe, not the other way around.
In other words, gravity was doing its thing long before scientists began to try to define it. Gravity pulls me down to earth when I fall, not the equations that attempt to define it.
So, when I was recently asked if I believe in “karma” I said the same thing I would about gravity. Karma is not something you choose to believe in, and like gravity, it doesn’t matter whether you do or not, karma happens to each of us without prejudice. Karma knows no gender, no name, and no exceptions.
Karma is a Sanskrit word that means actions, work or deed. Although some people mistake it for fate, karma is different. It has nothing to do with destiny or luck. Karma simply means that for every action, there is a consequence. In other words, lets imagine a jerk, an arrogant, dishonest, troll who cheats on his wife. This jerk is walking down the street just as some workers are trying to move a large piano into a window of a high rise. The cables snap hurling the piano several stories down on top of Mr. Jerk, flattening him. Some might say, “karma.” The jerk deserved it. But actually no. Most of us have a long-standing belief that bad things happen to bad people and good things happen to good people, and we mistakenly call that belief, “karma.”
But, karma doesn’t work that way. The piano falling on the head of the jerk is just a coincidence.
To say that everything is our karma is to commandeer this vast spectrum of causality into a singular, self-centered mind. When we realize the complexity we’re dealing with, we no longer see piano falling as a result of karma, but rather as the product of certain physical causes and conditions. We also no longer fall prey to magical thinking, believing, for example, that by giving away money and being nice, we will get money in return and be showered with niceness. Instead, we realize that when we replace hatred with compassion, or greed with generosity, those intentions will shape the type of being we become, whether rich or poor.
Although the concept of karma is an imperative law of Buddhism, it’s also a universal truth that we can spot in our own lives. Regardless of our religion or principals, if we look back on our own past we can recognize that karma exists. This recognition helps us to be responsible for the words we speak, our actions and even our thoughts.
In order to live in harmony with the concept of karma, simply live mindfully. Before each decision ask yourself if this action will lead you directly to a positive connection or lead you away from that fulfillment. The law of karma and the law of gravity are easy to understand and both are predictable. All you need to do is try not to trip yourself up.