Karma is Not Ours to Wield

Karma: noun

(In Hinduism and Buddhism) the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.

informal
destiny or fate as effect from cause.

political uses
a mechanism of social control.

It may be true that everyone will eventually pay for their own stupidity, rudeness, and betrayal, but I think it’s important to state that you and I are not karma and karma is not us. Nor are we Fate. Therefore, warning others that karma is coming to get them is really just a way standing in judgement of them. The real achievement of old age is when we notice that the trespasses of others don’t haunt us as much as our own trespasses. And I speak from experience here.

While I’m on the subject I’ll mention a related idea concerning religion that I will try to address: ‘God helps those who help themselves’. Or stated another way, ‘God meets you half way’. I would agree that success in the world requires hard work, but that’s not religion. It’s a self-help mantra. Unfortunately, it’s a common belief about religion, which may explain why so many people think they can get by without it.

The main problem I have with this assertion is it assumes we know where we need to go, religiously speaking. Sorry, but that’s a delusion. If we go through life charting our course first and then asking God to help us get there we’ll always be limited to our own understanding of the world, and of ourselves.

If you think I seem to know more about what-religion-is-not than what-religion-is, you may be right, so I’ll end this article within my area of expertise.

Religion is not your run-of-the-mill self-help-y psychotherapeutic treatment plan, and God is not your career counselor, your weight-loss advisor, your talent scout, or your letter of recommendation to the cool group at school, church, or work.

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