“What goes around comes around.” This saying gets to the heart of karma – the belief that our actions, good and bad, come back to us. But where does the concept of karma come from, and how can you ensure that you’re creating good karma for yourself?
Karma in Hinduism
Karma is a central tenet of Indian religions like Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism, and Hinduism. In Hinduism, karma acts as a source of justice that can work in your favor or against it. Good words, thoughts, and actions will return to you in beneficial ways. But saying, doing, and thinking harmful things will have detrimental effects on you. These consequences may come to you immediately, or they might not show up until a later life in which you are reincarnated. (1)
For Hindus who worship a god or gods, karma is carried out by a deity. But there are nontheistic Hindus who see karma purely as a form of cause and effect. And the secular view of karma simplifies things even more. It says that good actions are good because they have positive consequences. And bad actions are bad because they have negative consequences. (1, 2)
5 Ways to Create Good Karma
So how do you make sure that you’re generating good karma and avoiding bad karma? Here are five ways to bring more good karma into your life.
1. Go Out of Your Way to Help Others
One way to create good karma is to keep an eye out for people who need help. Doing little things can make a huge difference in someone’s day. Hold the door open for a mother or father juggling a stroller and shopping bags. Knock on your elderly neighbor’s door and ask them to chat so that they don’t spend the day alone. Offer to make dinner for an acquaintance whose family member is in the hospital.
Beyond the creation of good karma, these actions will likely make you feel great. Paying attention and responding to the needs of others brings our attention outside of ourselves and reminds us of the world around us.
2. Donate to Causes You Care About
If a certain issue has been weighing on your heart, donate to an organization that is responding to it. Even if you don’t have a lot to give, the money you donate will make a difference. It will fund experts working on the crises you care about but may not otherwise have the opportunity to impact. It is the simple act of putting forth effort and energy towards change you wish to see in the world that makes a difference.
3. Tell the Truth
Lying is one of the quickest ways to create bad karma. Hiding things from other people is nerve-wracking. You have to keep track of the lies you’ve told. And you may have to continue to be deceitful in order to cover your tracks.
If someone finds out that you’ve lied to them, regaining their trust can be difficult, and they might not ever fully trust you again. And when you’re lying to others, it’s a reminder that people may not always be truthful with you. This can put a strain on your relationships and a pit in your stomach.
On the other hand, practicing honesty encourages people to be truthful with you. The more you tell the truth, the more you can trust that others are doing the same.
4. Consider Your Words Carefully
Although it’s important to be honest, you can do so with tact. Don’t use straightforwardness as an excuse to be rude or unkind.
This is especially important when you’re in a disagreement with someone else. It can be easy to say whatever first comes to your mind during an argument, but you can’t take back hurtful words or the bad karma they create. When you’re upset with another person, take your time and carefully consider each thing you say to them. You’ll get your point across better, and you won’t further damage your relationship by saying something mean.
5. Practice Self-Care
I have a yoga teacher who ends her classes by thanking her students for doing something nice for themselves by coming to yoga. She says, “I believe that people who do nice things for themselves will also do nice things for others, creating a nicer world.”
This belief fits well with the concept of karma and the idea that good thoughts, words, and actions create more of the same. Caring for yourself will give you more energy to do kind things for others. So take a moment to consider what would make you feel really good today. Maybe it’s a walk, time reading, or a solo trip to an art museum. Indulging in self-care is anything but selfish because it will extend your bandwidth to care for others and create good karma.
No matter what you believe about karma, there’s no harm in bringing more kindness and thoughtfulness to the world. Compassionate thoughts, words, and actions create a ripple effect, making our world a better place to live in.