What does “Karma” mean to you? Here’s what changed my perspective on Karma

Image of a man working in iron factory

Today we will doubt the most classic definition of Karma “What goes around comes around”. In the past couple of months when was locked up in my home just like everybody else in the world, I have had a lot of time to re-think my spiritual grounds and dig deep within them. I have been so busy the past few years that I stopped questioning my beliefs. If we stop questioning our beliefs, we are slowing down our growth process. During these past months when I had a lot of time by myself, I got back to what I love doing the most; channeling my curiosity to a point that it helps me analyze and sometimes over-analyze certain situations. During the lockdown, my curiosity and anxiety were shaken like never before, as I was stuck at the home I had left a couple of years ago.

I cannot express how much I had missed being at home during all those years I was away and how excited I was to be back. My initial plan was to have a month’s rest for myself before I restarted my hustles in Australia. A day before my scheduled return flight, international borders closed and I had to stay here for another couple of months, and this is when I realized that so much had changed since I left for another country. With the lockdown continuing for a lot more than I initially anticipated, I made some time for my old friends who I grew up with. This process turned out to be one of the most awakening moments for me and also very hard for me to contemplate on, with all my sanity intact.

Living in a country that has people from all around the world gives you, if nothing else, an open perspective about life. It had given me a desire to forever make efforts for growth and progress in life. I realized how different I and my friends grew up to be. Very few of my friends had an interest in talking about career growth and fresh ideas from around the world; many of them wanted to talk about the relationship or parental issues. To me, it seemed like their lives revolved around societal drama; exactly what we used to loathe when we got together while growing up. This got me thinking about how we had taken different paths in life in the past and how we ended up where we were right now.

One of my friends was reading a lot of spiritual books and practicing meditation, but she seemed lost. The author’s anecdotes were unreachable to her: she couldn’t resonate with the book she was reading because she didn’t choose a life that offered freedom of expression and letting herself be who she was deep within. That is when I realized how important having independence and freedom were in my life: especially when I was growing up as a young adult and constructing the base of my value and belief system. I was glad I made a decision to pursue my dream life in the past. Almost all of my girlfriends were soaked in self-pity and/or ego because they now wanted to fit in as the ‘ideals’ of the society. I do not mean that staying back in the country you were born in is a sin but trying hard to live an independent life, learning more about the world, and putting more effort into individual growth was very important to me and I am glad I made decisions that aligned with my inner values.

You might be wondering why I told a story which made me look like a hero but aren’t we all heroes in our own stories? This experience made me redefine what Karma meant for me. Karma isn’t “If you steal, there will be a robbery in your house.”  That is trying to simplify one of the most complex beliefs that exist in the spiritual world. Karma shows a relation between the cause and the effect of anything and everything that exists in the universe.

The way I understand it, karma is the conscious decision you make today that affects your tomorrow. It is about being aware of every step you take; knowing where this shall lead you. For example, if you cook, you have a meal on your plate. However, if you stay in bed and just fancy about the food you will end up with a lot of yummy imagination but an empty plate. It is and will always remain the truth that, in the long run, luck favors the person who tried.  Karma is the way you mindfully mold your present so that it leads you to your desired future. Karma is hard work, karma is dedication and most importantly, karma is consciousness.

Sonam Dolma Sherpa