Karma is the law of cause and effect: as you sow, so you reap. Simply stated, what you put out, you get back.
People usually use the word karma to refer to something that is difficult or upsetting, but there is also good karma. For now, though, I will talk about karma as an imbalance from one time that still needs to be cleared or balanced.
There is often a comparatively large time gap between the instigation of an action and its result, between the cause and the effect.
This is one reason it is difficult for people to recognize the relationship between the cause and the effect. If you steal a car and go joy-riding when you are sixteen, and twenty years later a bunch of kids steal your brand-new Cadillac and wreck it, it may be difficult for you to see the connection. But it is there. It is just your action being returned to you.
This also applies from one existence to another existence.
When you consider that your Soul has probably had many, many physical and nonphysical existences prior to this one, you can probably imagine that there would be quite a bit of karma that would need to be cleared and that the time lag between the cause and the effect may be lost in the mists of time.
But it is safe for you to assume that almost everything you have in this lifetime is connected in some way to your experiences in past existences.
Sometimes the connection is big and obvious, and other times, it is subtle. But it really does not matter a whole lot if something is “karmic” or not because you still need to handle the situation in this life.
Karma can be created in several ways and through seemingly infinite situations.
Basically, karma is accrued by transgressing your own consciousness or the divine consciousness in another person.
Any action, emotion, thought, or word that is put forth in an out-of-balance way may cause karma.
For example, if you become angry and strike your child, that may very well create a karmic situation. Later you may apologize, which clears the karmic action.
But if the child has done something it should not do and with love you discipline the child… you have created no karma, nor will you feel it necessary to apologize.
You are merely helping the child to learn. Attitude, as this example shows, can make a big difference in whether or not you create karma.
You can bring many karmic situations to yourself through misuse of your emotional nature.
If you feel anger, if you feel hate, if you desire revenge, if you feel guilt or any of the other negative emotions, you bring karma to yourself. If you bring it in and hold on to it, you will be held accountable for it.
The Soul is perfect; the personality is imperfect.
But since the Soul has contracted to experience the physical realm with a particular personality and consciousness, it will re-embody to fulfill the karmic situations accrued by the personality.
When you get so angry that you are out of control, when you continually get so emotionally upset that you cannot control your tears and your sobs, when you get so drunk that you cannot remember or control what you do, when you get so “spaced out” on drugs that you are not in control–these situations bring karma to you.
And, probably more than any other single thing, the guilt you feel after these overindulgences will bring karma to you.
If you have a child and give that child up for adoption, that may be a clear action, and you may accrue no karma from doing it.
But if you feel that you should not have done it–if you feel guilty–you can make it a karmic situation. If you become pregnant and decide to have an abortion, that decision and situation may be free of karma.
But if you feel guilt and remorse and beat yourself up emotionally and mentally because of the action, you can produce a karmic situation. It is very much a question of attitude.
There are many, many experiences on this realm.
Most of them are not inherently “good” or “bad,” but the attitude with which they are carried out may very well create a value judgment, which, if the judgment is “bad,” may create guilt, and that, in turn, will create karma.
In fact, the biggest thing that builds karma is guilt. If we do something and we have a second thought–“I wonder if I should have done that”–we have karma. It is important to watch the attitude and keep it as neutral as possible.