Living in Karma

December 17, 2010 by  
Filed under blog, Chapter 12

While visiting various people in Nepal and Bhutan we were told repeatedly by both Hindu and Buddhist how they strongly believed in Karma—the concept that there is a fundamental law of nature that rewards or punishes a person because of their “thoughts, words and actions” in this life and sometimes in the next life. In my opinion, this belief system is more sensible than the common Western religious focus on a reward or punishment you’ll receive in the hereafter. With Karma, the focus is on what you can do to make your life, and the lives of those around you, better now, in the life you’re presently living.

We saw the results of this belief many times through the wonderful actions of the people in both Nepal and Bhutan. We actually ended up in a light-hearted disagreement with our very friendly and funny cab driver, Mr. Pandey, while he drove us around in Kathmandu. The issue was how much we would pay him for driving us around all day. We were trying to pay him more and he was demanding less–bet that doesn’t ever happen in New York City!

I think Mr. Pandey truly understood the value of karma and how what he did now would come back to him in this life. I’m sure that thought was what motivated him. What he probably didn’t know, was that his generosity also encouraged the creation of the brain chemicals dopamine and serotonin which gives a major boost to our sense of well-being and fulfillment. (I talk a lot about this in chapter 12 of “How to Ignite Your Passion for Living”. See on page 145 in particular). I’d guess Buddha was a bit of a scientist way back in the 5th century BC, even if he didn’t know exactly what the ‘energy’ that flowed through a good and generous person was.

Can you imagine what the world would be like if everyone believed in, and acted on, the concept of Karma? I believe we all need to think more about Kama so our thoughts, words and actions help the world and ourselves now and maybe not think so much about our rewards in the next life. Because if there is an afterlife, there would be no better measure of a person than how well they lived each and every day of this one.