The term Karma, with origins in Sanskrit, means action, work or deed. It is also used in a spiritual context to denote cause and effect; that your deeds affect you sometime in the future. Good deeds help create future happiness, and evil deeds create sorrow. For the sake of this conversation, I will accept the possibility of this cause and effect. However, let us focus our grey matter on the question of how much? Is everything that happens to me an outcome of cause and effect – my past affecting my present?
If everything is an outcome of the past, I could become fatalistic about my life. Everything is an outcome of actions already performed maybe even in previous births with no scope to undo. I would, for example, have no reason to look after my health because my inevitable disease was merely an outcome of my past deeds, wasn’t it? Surely, it was my evil deeds in a previous birth that is now causing certain death at a premature age? Too often we rationalize our problems as caused by Karma.
Karma is no excuse. You carry the responsibility to prepare yourself for life. This responsibility includes preparing yourself mentally, physically and emotionally. It includes the responsibility to build the capacity to face challenges and headwinds. It includes the responsibility to develop the knowledge and understanding and the ability to act regardless of what has been thrown at you. It includes the need to have the grit to do everything in your power to have the life that you want. You cannot neglect to train your body and then complain when you are compelled to climb a mountain to save your life. It isn’t Karma posing problems, but the choices you made of how you lived your life. Only once you have done everything you possibly can should you ascribe the events in your life to Karma. Prior, it is merely your lack of action.