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Believing in Karma

It seems for as long as I can remember, I have never had any trouble getting a parking space wherever I go. In fact as an adult it became a big joke amongst my friends and family. Everyone wanted to be in a car with me because they knew that somehow I would get the best parking spot available. I mean literally, I will drive up to a location and someone will be pulling away from the closest parking spot to the place I am going. Eventually I came to regard this as having great “parking karma” and started to wonder what I did to deserve it. Was it something I did in this life or another? Generally I think I am good person, always trying to be forthright and honest, empathetic, fair and a concerned citizen. There is certainly a lot more I could do to solidify a more splendid karmic fate, but it seems that getting good parking is my golden egg and it follows me everywhere, even across the country and abroad.

There I was at a party and the topic of karma arose. I shared with the group that I had excellent parking karma. A lively conversation ensued and some exclaimed they had great contest winning karma or great karma when it comes to finding a place to live. Some expressed the negative side of karma, like getting caught at every red light or always spilling on themselves whenever they wear white. It occurred to me that maybe there is a deeper truth to the idea of karma and how it affects our everyday lives.

From a Buddhist perspective, one can understand karma to be a cause and effect relationship, where the motivation behind our past, current and future actions, whether good or bad, will bear fruit to consequences of a similar vein on our path to enlightenment. Hinduism maintains a similar viewpoint; however it is believed that not only actions, but words, thoughts and even deeds carried out under our directive are subject to karmic scrutiny. Some believers of karma, depending upon your religious affiliation, adhere to the notion of free will and believe that fate is not solely predetermined by a higher power. Ultimately, karma is thought to be the vehicle that can either accelerate or slow down our spiritual growth.

When I look at my life, I often ponder the lessons I have learned and have yet to learn and think of karma as a barometer. Am I making good choices? Am I living in this world at my highest potential? Am I being present and conscious? Am I being the best person I can be? Sometimes karma has a way of letting me know if I am veering in the wrong direction, as does my intuition.

The concept of karma is as old as time itself. Whether or not one chooses to consider the idea as a way of integrating a more mindful approach to life, karma offers a perspective that can be a valuable guide.