The True Meaning of Karma

The True Meaning of Karma

Beyond "what goes around comes around."


I have never been a huge fan of physics, but I do strongly believe that physicist Isaac Newton completely changed our understanding of the Universe. Out of all of the incredible contributions that Newton made to the world of physics, the scientific finding that has always fascinated me the most is Newton’s Third Law of Motion: “For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.” To be completely honest, it is not the scientific application of this law that piques my interest but rather the social application of the law of cause and effect.

When we as humans think, speak or act, we are triggering a force that will inevitably result in some sort of a reaction from society. The returning force may be altered, manipulated or postponed in some way, but it is nearly impossible to eliminate the returning force altogether. In other words, a person is unable to escape the consequences of his or her actions, whether these consequences are good or bad.

Many of us would classify this social law of cause and effect as karma, but very few of us actually understand the true meaning of the ancient Sanskrit word. Karma is a key component of various religions including Hinduism, Buddhism, Taoism, Sikhism and Jainism. Karma means action and intent. A good action with good intentions creates good karma while a bad action with bad intentions creates bad karma.

Beyond the law of cause and effect, karma is somewhat of an abstract concept to many of us. Most of us understand karma in its simplest form: what goes around comes around. But just as Newton’s Third Law of Motion is accompanied by two other laws of motion, the law of cause and effect is only one of the many karmic laws. There are a total of 12 laws of karma, each of which inspires us to hold a more positive outlook on life and the pursuit of happiness.

Understanding the 12 karmic laws has helped me put my life into perspective and learn to live in the moment, for the moment. I hope that this brief breakdown on the karmic laws will inspire you to lead a more satisfying and fulfilled life as well.

1. The Great Law: “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

The Great Law, otherwise known as the Law of Cause and Effect, is the most famous karmic law. Put simply, each thought or action that we put out into the world has a consequence, be it good or bad.

2. The Law of Creation: “What we desire comes through participation.”

Life doesn’t just happen, it requires our participation. The life that we experience is created by our own intentions. The people and the environment that we surround ourselves with will become a part of us, so we must choose to be ourselves and to surround ourselves with what we want in life.

3. The Law of Humility: “Refusal to accept what is will still be what is.”

We cannot change that which we refuse to accept. By accepting and recognizing that negativity exists in our lives, we can begin to make changes to address the negativity.

4. The Law of Growth: “Our own growth is above any circumstance.”

The only thing we have control over in our lives is ourselves. If we wish to make true change to our lives, we must first make a commitment to change what is in our heart.

5. The Law of Responsibility: “Our lives are of our own doing, nothing else.”

We have the ability to change the way we view our own lives. If we want to change some aspect of our life, we must first change our frame of mind. As the old Mary Engelbreit saying goes, “If you don’t like something, change it. If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.”

6. The Law of Connection: “Everything in the Universe is connected, both large and small.”

Our past, present and future are all connected. No step—the first, the intermediate or the last—is more important than the other steps in the accomplishment of a task. All are equally necessary, required and significant.

7. The Law of Focus: “One cannot direct attention beyond a single task.”

We cannot hold on to negative thoughts or actions and expect to achieve personal or emotional growth. We need to direct our full attention to any desired task that we hope to achieve.

8. The Law of Hospitality and Giving: “Demonstrating our selflessness shows true intentions.”

You can’t just talk the talk, you must walk the walk. If you claim to value a certain belief, you must live your life in accordance with that belief. True personal growth is only attainable by living life with a selfless nature.

9. The Law of Change: “History repeats itself unless changed.”

History will continue to repeat itself until we learn the necessary lessons to right the wrongs and change our path.

10. The Law of Here and Now: “The Present is all we have.”

Looking back on the past regretfully or spending our time worrying about the future prevents us from being present in the here and now. To advance ourselves, we must focus on the life that surrounds us in the present.

11. The Law of Patience and Reward: “Nothing of value is created without a patient mindset.”

Patience and persistence are required to claim rewards of lasting value. True joy comes from doing what needs to be done with the knowledge that the reward for a job well-done will come in its own time.

12. The Law of Significance and Inspiration: “The best reward is one that contributes to the Whole.”

As human beings, it is impossible for any on us to physically live forever. But during our time here on Earth, we can work to make the world a better place for all future generations.

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This article has not been reviewed by Odyssey HQ and solely reflects the ideas and opinions of the creator.

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