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Karma has many different names, such as fate, destiny, the law of attraction, what goes around comes around, you reap what you sow, everything comes full circle, likes attract likes, the ebb and flow, and balance in the universe. Basically, karma is an automatic effect or consequence. Most people think that when something bad happens to them, it's because some "other" person or thing "caused" it to happen.

Say a person was hit by a car; the average person would say that it was caused by the driver of the car who wasn't paying attention. But with karma, that person was hit by a car because of something that he himself did in the past, or maybe even in a previous physical life. If a person has their house broken into and robbed, it's because of that person's OWN previous actions, choices, perceptions, views, attitudes, feelings, intentions, opinions, beliefs, ideas, concepts, and thought processes. This is why "bad" things happen to "good" people. It's because of something that person did in a past physical life.

So karma means that there is no such thing as a co-incidence, accident, random event, fluke, luck, or chaos. Everything is happening exactly as it needs to according to what we make ourselves to be. Absolutely every little thing, good and bad, eventually catches up to us. There is no outside "cause" of anything. Everything is happening spontaneously on its own, all by itself, as an automatic consequence. What you make yourself to be is a choice. What happens to you as a result of what you are, is not.

If a person likes to eat lots of unhealthy foods on a regular basis, over time that will contribute to disease and illness, but this illness wasn't "caused" by any outside thing. It was just an automatic consequence of eating unhealthy foods (or stressful negative emotions). It was an effect of one's own choices, thought processes, and actions. It was one's own karma.

But karma isn't just of the negative kind. It's total balance in the universe. So if a person loves others, in one way or another that love will also come back to that person, from others. You make love happen to yourself by being it yourself. That which supports life, is automatically supported.

Even our thoughts, opinions, and beliefs create karma for oneself. Our thoughts are not just in our heads, but they are literally creating one's "outside" life as well. What you allow to happen inside of you (in your mind and heart) will happen in your outside world. The outer is a perfect reflection of the inner. The inner and outer are one and the same. They are not separate, they are not different. They are the exact same thing. Your individual world is exactly what you believe it to be. If you believe that other people hate you, they will, and they will treat you that way. If you believe that other people are kind and caring, they will be to you. Every one of us creates our own individual reality with our thoughts and beliefs. Everything you believe, is the truth, but only to you, and only because you believe it's the truth.

If a person continuously focuses on being financially poor, or on not having enough money, that will be exactly what continues to happen to that person. But if that person were to suddenly change their way of thinking and instead started focusing solely on abundance, plentitude, and having lots of money, that will become their reality. If you think like a poor man, you will be poor. If you think like a rich man, you will be rich. Poor people focus on not having enough, and wealthy people focus on having plenty.

When a person is caught in a hurricane or natural disaster, that's their karma. When a person is murdered by somebody, that's their karma. When a person's body is disfigured or injured, that's their karma coming back to them. When a person receives a helping hand from somebody, that's their karma coming back to them. When a person is bitten by a dog, that's their karma. When a plane crashes, that's all of those individual people's karma. When a young child seems to have an amazing gift in playing a musical instrument, or in doing mathematics, that's their karma from their previous life, and the life before that, and the life before that. What every individual sees in the mirror is their karma. One's genetics are pre-determined by one's karma. One is born into the exact life situation that suits their karma. Absolutely everything, all of the time, is karma.

"Whatever you may be, you are being 'lived'. You are not travelling, as you think: you are being 'travelled.'" - Wei Wu Wei

Something (positive or negative) is ONLY going to happen to a person if their karma calls for it to happen. In other words, the world is PERFECTLY SAFE and there is nothing to worry about because everything is self-created and brought about by oneself. What's going to happen, will happen, and there is no avoiding it. One way or another, karma must be worked out. So live happily by choosing to be happy despite life's circumstances, be kind to "others" at all times, and work on changing yourself inwardly instead of constantly reacting negatively to outside circumstances about which you attracted to yourself in the first place. Self improvement is the answer to everything.

Recommended reading:
The Dhammapada
Translated by Eknath Easwaran