I believe in karma. Maybe it’s hopelessly naïve of me to think that some kind of reckoning happens somewhere, sometime, based on how we live our life and whether we’re good to our fellow man. Some believe it happens in the afterlife, but I believe it happens right here on earth during our natural lives.
This notion is hard to reconcile when we see a**holes who are successful, enjoying the fine life, while many good-hearted people struggle to pay the bills.
We know that money does buy happiness, but only up to the point where our basic needs are met. Above that, happiness depends on our personal characteristics rather than our external circumstances. Therefore, being materially successful is no guarantee for happiness or a sense of wellbeing. In other words, material wealth is not a good surrogate measure for success if defined in terms of emotional, psychological or spiritual abundance.
If we view success from an emotional perspective in terms of whether we have love, friendship, meaning and purpose, or a sense of peace and satisfaction with our lives, the karmic balance sheet makes more sense. If I wrong someone, even if I don’t acknowledge it to myself, I sense this injustice on some level. The Arbinger Institute says I will tend to create conflict to justify my actions, and negative emotion results.
Carrying negative emotion and creating conflict creates further problems that manifest in my own life. For example, I know when I’m grumpy, especially if I don’t acknowledge it, things tend to go wrong, people tend to resist me, and I tend to get more frustrated and angry. Though I may have gotten that sale, job or promotion and thus the sweet new BMW at the expense of someone else, I will in some manner pay the karmic price.
Disconnecting our definition of success from material wealth provides a currency that balances justice in the world. Good prevails. Doing the right thing pays off. Good people “win” because they sleep with a clear conscience and enjoy a sense of peace, meaning and purpose. Changing our definition of success means that we value what is most important, including recognizing the unsung heroes that actually help make the world a better place.