“Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose”, this was Coach Taylor’s message to his football players in one of my favorite TV shows of all time, “Friday Night Lights”. He’s essentially saying that if you play the game with integrity and give it your 100%, you can never lose - irrespective of the outcome. What an incredible message when pivoted to everything in life. If you give everything you do in life your 100% and perform those actions with a clean heart and mind, you are always a winner, you are always comfortable with yourself, you are always doing the “right” thing.
Today’s article is about what constitutes the “right” karma. Two points from the prior article on Law of Karma are important here contextually:
Every intention, word and physical action are governed by the law of cause and effect, i.e. the Law of Karma.
The past in not in our control and neither is the “present” that has arrived at our doorstep, our focus is the manner in which we respond to the "present" or the current situation that has presented itself.
Behaviors and attitudes that create good karma:
Equanimity – Embrace challenging situations in life with grace and poise, i.e. treat gain-loss, life-death, victory-defeat, etc. in a calm manner and with equanimity. In the same vein, temper our likes and dislikes, since they can lead to a loss of equanimity.
Sense of duty – Stay focused on our duty and adjust our intentions and actions accordingly. When we perform our duty with integrity and without hesitation, we are doing the right thing karmically.
Surrender – Embrace whatever life throws our way as a gift from the universe (God) and accept it with a positive attitude. This attitude could also be looked upon as surrendering to the universe with the perspective that the situation, whatever it may be, is for our benefit even if we don’t quite understand its value at that moment.
Attitude of gratitude – Appreciate whatever you have been given and treat them for what they are…a blessing. In the same vein, show your appreciation for the gifts you’ve been given, by giving every activity your 100%. The best way we can thank God for the gifts we’ve been given is to use them to their fullest and with the best intentions. Additionally, negativity towards anybody doesn’t affect the other person, but it does create a ton of bad karma for us.
Expectations management – We are only entitled to performing our actions to the best of our ability and not to the outcome. This doesn’t mean we need to perform actions without expectations, which isn’t reasonable or logical. This is about not being attached to the outcome but rather being focused on our actions and passionate about performing those actions to the best of our abilities. Attachment to outcomes creates expectations that if not met creates disappointment and negativity. Remember “clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose”.
Compassion – Be compassionate towards others especially those less fortunate than you. There are a statistically significant number of people who have had a near death experience who state that the first question they were asked as a part of a “life review” was “what did you do to improve the lives of others”. Compassion as a combination of intention and action creates good karma. Don’t perform charity as a check-the-box activity.
Be like a turtle – This will seem like a weird one to you...especially since this article is accompanied by the picture of a turtle as well. When a turtle senses it is in danger of being harmed, it collapses its head and legs into its shell until the danger has passed. Similarly, when we are under attack from dangerous feelings like anger, hatred, dishonesty, greed, negativity, etc., we should seek refuge in our safe zone which is our inherent goodness and shun those feelings. We need to do everything possible to protect ourselves from these feelings since they do nothing besides creating bad energy and bad karma.
I feel it necessary to reiterate here that intentions are as if not more important than actions in a lot of cases. Two very similar actions can have two completely different intentions and as a result create very different karmic outcomes. An example here that always resonates with me in this era of gun violence is this – let’s say there is an assassin who is shooting his target(s) and a cop arrives at the scene and shoots the assassin. Both the cop and the assassin shot somebody, so the action was similar but the intentions were very different…one negative and the other positive.
Needless to say, karma can be as complicated or simplistic as we make it out to be. If we do everything to our best possible extent, with the right intentions and integrity, and in an equanimous fashion, it is likely we are doing things right karmically.