Karma — A logic of being

In India, whenever a person is suffering something which one cannot cope with, the finger is pointed at an unknown entity called Karma. Accordingly Karma is the end all; the cause and effect of suffering. Traditionally Karma means “that which ripples as a consequence of action”. There is no way to outrun karma. Both Action and Inactivity can manifest karma. When a person is not taking appropriate action, he or she neglects what is important, and this results in dangerous unexpected outcome. In the ancient Vedic sciences, Karma was introduced as part of solution, not the problem. Lost in translation over layers of ignorance, arrogance, sentiments and sufferings; Karma lost the positive references.

The moment we start to look at karma, as part of the problem, any future possibilities to improvise on ourself is taken off the table. Quite often, a lot of people have difficulty in making decision or choices. Lack of decision or choices, are self induced suffering. Constantly finding ourselves in situations of helplessness is not a virtue. Self induced suffering due to not making decision, is definitely bad karma!

The personal responsibility or resourcefulness, that we are potentially capable of has not been exercised effectively. Every choice has four outcomes. Let me break this down with an example. Consider, I need to buy a pen. This is a choice of awareness and necessities. The moment I act on the choice, I buy the pen. The moment I do not act on the choice, I do not buy the pen. Now the for most people these are two different outcomes of choice; having and not having the pen. When we analyse Karma we talk of four outcomes of a single choice.

1)The advantages of taking the pen.
2) The disadvantages of taking the pen.
3)The advantages of not taking the pen.
4)And the disadvantages of not taking the pen.

Advantages of taking the pen could be, I have a pen to write. Advantages could also mean that I can proudly display the pen.
The disadvantage of taking the pen could be, the pen is not functional and it was waste of my money. My friends and family are upset with the colour of the pen and it is serious social disadvantage.
Advantages of not taking the choice or not taking the pen, could be: I still have the money with me, and I can choose to buy another pen on a later date.
Disadvantages of not taking the pen could be the pen was important, and I missed an opportunity that could have been accomplished by with the pen.

Like in above analysis the four outcomes of a single choice must be worked on a paper. Once, we can see it on paper, we have a complete picture of all the possible outcomes that can happen because of our decision. And these four outcomes will give us a clear picture of possibilities of the decision that we make. We can now choose the best outcome which has less burden. We can choose the one which has potentially less guilt. We can also create room to maximise the advantages in the four outcomes, so that we have less burden to live with. Every decision that we indulge must be analysed on a paper, because this gives us much more clarity against thinking in our minds. Our thoughts tend to loop around continuously, and we often miss certain intricate outcomes. We could also talk to our family members, with much more clarity, since we have analysed all the outcomes. I hope this will give you a little more clarity on how to make better decision.

There is no good decision. There is no bad decision. However, there is a decision that you can live with, which has less burden on your tomorrow. Always think of outcomes not just from personal perspective, but also from the perspective of people near and dear. Kindly sit with your family when you make decisions and talk to them regarding the potential outcomes. Discuss the worst case scenario, discuss the best possibility, discuss different pathways, different interventions that you can indulge in, so that you can improve the quality of life. Any decision is going to result in initial discomfort. Often times, making the decision or not making the decision can be painful. Choose the pain that has less impact. Choose the pain that you can live with.

Karma is like a ripple that follows in the placid waters depending on the causative agent. This also means that with active intervention we can guide our Karma. The process of knowing the patterns begin with observing the patterns. We are causing the effect with our thoughts and actions. Observe what are your thoughts that is causing reactions in your own mind and body. Start there. Analyse the four outcomes of a single decision on paper.

All the best.

Article by -Dr.A