To embrace spirituality is to be responsible for our own actions or non-actions. We must realise that we are the ‘doer’ and ‘receiver’. In other words, we are able to ‘respond’ and therefore, we can ‘receive’. In the context of Karma, the word ‘doer’ has another connotation: it also refers to a person who is a ‘non-doer’, i.e., someone who chooses not to respond. There are practitioners who believe that only by ‘doing nothing’ will Karma be defeated. Unfortunately, this is not based on the right understanding of Karma - the mechanics of which are more complex than just ‘cause and effect’. The concept of ‘no cause’ and hence, ‘nil effect’ is flawed because Karma is also created or inflamed by our indifference or failures to act. To be precise, Karma is never defeated by a countermeasure - for example, by our ignorance or by us forsaking our roles and responsibilities. It can only be defeated by noble engagements in humility and repentance over a sufficient period of time. In short, the resolution of Karma depends on the nobility and duration of the ‘act’ by the ‘doer’ (or ‘non-doer’). Choosing a path less noble or shorter will only aggravate Karma, as do prolonged indifference or failures to act, which may be perceived by others as irresponsible behaviours.
While Karma is ubiquitous, it does not mean that its origin is in the present; it’s most likely from a past life. The accumulated feelings and emotions give rise to our behaviours and habits in this life. So, by patronising or ignoring our estranged relationships will not neutralise the negative feelings and emotions (i.e., Karma), it is through noble acts of communication, love, sacrifice and service in the relationships that will remove the negativities. By not doing anything about the emotions in us, we indulge in hurtful behaviours that further alienate the relationships and therefore, more Karmic discords are registered. The intention of noble engagements must not be to change others, it is to reflect on our spiritualness; to incessantly cultivate within us the perspectives of the Divine while overcoming Karma, which is to free us from our bonds in this mortal life!
Karma embodies ‘independence’ and ‘interdependence’. To overcome Karma, we must face the challenges ‘within ourselves’ (independent) and eventually ‘with others’ (interdependent). We can move to live on an isolated island far away from others, but we will still need to face our own feelings and emotions (i.e., Karma). In interdependent relationships, we often have to struggle morally with decisions that we may not fully agree, be it at home or in the office. We cringe to go with the ‘flow’ and forever keep our peace as a silent majority. Doubts gradually set in and we question our identity or ability to differentiate between right and wrong. We adapt our behaviours based on the settings and reluctantly, we learn to pledge our dignity as surety for the next paycheck or truce. It is unfortunate that any of us should live this way. We must want to move up to a higher level of realisation if ever we were to overcome Karma!
Like it or not, Karma is intricately woven into the fabric of society. It is always there, we just need to pay attention to see it. In an interconnected world, it is very easy for us to seek solace in others, with whom we can hide our inadequacies, than to face our Karmic relationships. We spend much time ‘at play with others’, as they - whom we know so little about - seek solace in us. These are not noble engagements, but choices of engagements that do not help improve our Karmic relationships at all. But we choose to indulge in these distractions anyway.
To sum it up, we have to realise that we need to exercise our wisdom in order to overcome Karma. We need to constantly assess our intentions; act nobly and timely; and to reflect on our understandings, behaviours and practices if we were to resolve our Karma in this lifetime. Accomplishing this very important task seems daunting, but it is not impossible. After all, we shouldn’t be concerned about failing; we should be worried that we fail to act because this tends to be the path of least resistance for most of us!
In the end, all of this could be in vain; or not.
One thing is for sure, only you can make this lifetime your last!