Karma is simply this: as you sow so shall you reap. To put it another way, what goes around comes around.
It is the natural law of cause and effect. We’re all part of one organic whole in which everything is interrelated and everything affects everything else.
Buddhists believe that the karmic effect of our thoughts and deeds actively shape our future experiences. It would stand to reason, then, that we would all want to create as much positive karma for ourselves as we possibly can. The question then becomes: what type of thoughts and actions generate positive karma?
This post offers some practical ideas for creating positive karma in your life.
Ahimsa – Do No Harm
Ahimsa basically means the avoidance of harm, or the principle of nonviolence. Since acts of violence entail negative karmic consequences, the practice of ahimsa will help you to generate positive, instead of negative, karma.
Gandhi had the following to say about ahimsa:
“Ahimsa is not the crude thing it has been made to appear. Not to hurt any living thing is no doubt a part of ahimsa. But it is its least expression. The principle of ahimsa is hurt by every evil thought, by undue haste, by lying, by hatred, by wishing ill to anybody. It is also violated by our holding on to what the world needs.”
Some ways to practice ahimsa are the following:
- Send everyone you come into contact with a silent blessing.
- Donate time or money to those in need.
- Spend three minutes each day visualizing a world in which everyone practices ahimsa toward others.
- Be kind to yourself.
- Consider vegetarianism. (I’m on the very early stages of consideration for this one. )
- Be considerate of others. Consider what you say, how you say it, and how it could affect others.
- Release the thought of competition. Create what you want instead of trying to take it away from others.
- Whether you own a business that sells goods or services or you hold a job, your intent should be to create value for others.
- Treat your body as a valuable temple.
- Buy fair trade products.
- Try to find common ground with others, even those you dislike. Here’s a quote from Abraham Lincoln: “I don’t like that man. I must get to know him better.”
- Don’t steal. This means more than just refraining from taking something from another. It also means not overspending, overindulging, or otherwise taking more resources from the earth than what you need.
- Work on releasing—that is, letting go of–stress and anxiety, instead of transmitting it to others by being rude and impatient.
- Practice the Golden Rule.
Examples of How to Generate Positive Karma
In the book “Karma 101″, Joshua Mack offers the following examples of how to generate positive karma:
- Chag Pregracke, a 25 year old, has been personally cleaning up the Mississippi River for four years. He’s cleaned up 1500 miles of shoreline and collected 400,ooo pounds of trash. He explains that he got tired of seeing all of the trash laying around and just complaining about it, so he decided to do something about it.
- Rebecca Yenawine is an artist who bought a house in a rundown section of Baltimore. She noticed a group of teenage girls painting graffiti in the area, so she took them home with her and gave them an art lesson. Ever since then she’s been giving inner-city kids free art lessons and she started a non-profit organization, “Kids on the Hill”.
- Elliot Fiks is a restaurant owner who noticed all of the food that was being thrown away in the process of cooking. He started saving the leftovers and using them to make soup which he gives away to local soup kitchens.
Karma is simply the natural consequences that arise from our thoughts and actions. If you want to create positive karma, practicing ahimsa and following the examples offered by Mack in “Karma 101″ is a very good place to start.