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Understanding karma

The concept of karma is quite poplar and has many interpretations. However, all the interpretations have one thing in common. And that is the effect of past actions on our future selves.

Some people interpret the timelines for past, present and future as entire lifetimes where the past is a past life, the present is the current life and the future is the future life. These are primarily perpetuating the idea of living a good life now so that our next life can be better.

Other people interpret the timelines as all being in one single lifetime. These are perpetuating the idea that if we have done something bad in our past, that will catch up to us in our future and if we have done something good in our past, that will catch up to us in our future as well.

But the interpretation I like the most is one that doesn't involve any book-keeping of this sort. And it doesn't place the emphasis on actions alone, but shifts a lot of the emphasis to intent.

As per this interpretation, what intent we approach any action with is a determinant of what our intent is likely to be in the future. Here too, there is no centralised 'good intent' that leads to future good and 'bad intent' that leads to future bad.

It is simply an understanding that the intent that we bring to any action is the intent we begin to internalize and the outcomes they lead to will shape what intent we bring to future actions.

For instance, if we perform an act with an intent of revenge and we feel good about it, that tendency might be positively reinforced and we are likely to have such intent again in the future under similar circumstances.

In that sense, our karma is essentially a culmination of all our learning experiences. There is no good or bad karma.

Understanding someone's karma is essentially understanding their cumulative learning experiences in life until that point.

If you want to have good karma (and I don't see why anyone wouldn't want to), all you need to do is shape your environment to expose you disproportionately more to positive learning experiences.

Easier said than done.

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