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Manuscript Excerpt #1 – Karma

Like it or not, karma’s a thing. Karma simply translates as “action” but it also implies “reaction.” Newton’s Third Law of Motion says that for every action, there’s an equal but opposite reaction. Paul’s letter to the Galatians says that as you sow, so shall you reap. What goes around comes around. Boomerang. Echo. Ripples.

Karma and math share curious parallels, as both embody the concept of cause and effect. Math serves as a metaphor for karma because our present circumstances are the sum total of our past actions. Just as a math equation depends on its values and variables, our lives are shaped by the various decisions we, and others, have made. Past equations can only be calculated one way, as they were; we can’t go back and change the input.

Like it or not, this moment is an exact, precise, and perfect reflection of our past actions and choices, individually and collectively, no matter how trivial or significant, sometimes including the karma of others that has splashed onto us.

On the one hand, it’s important to keep in mind that the concept of karma includes action and reaction, cause and effect, sowing and reaping, and choice and consequence. You can’t have one without the other. We love our free will, making our own personal choices, the action side of the equation, but not so much the reaction side because things don’t always turn out the way we planned, if we planned at all. It’s in both the actions and the reactions that our fate is sealed.

On the other hand, karma is not a system of rewards and punishments. Judgment is explicitly denied. There aren’t positive and negative effects of our actions as much as like generating like. The laws of nature, including karma, are neutral. The injustices we see in the world are illusions. That’s because nobody really gets away with anything. What a relief to know that we’re not needed to impart justice. It unfolds perfectly without our participation or interference.

That being said, we long to see others get their due, preferably in a court of law or by tripping off a curb. Like on a big movie screen, we want to watch karma in action, no pun intended, right before our very own eyes. There’s gratification in seeing bad actors pay for their sins, proving that justice prevails and order is restored so that the rest of us good folks can sleep at night.

It’s maddening to think that someone got away with something, when in truth, there’s no such thing. Just because we don’t get a front row seat to the outcome doesn’t mean there isn’t one. Karmic outcomes may be instant or delayed, visible or invisible. One thing’s for sure, we can’t stop them if we tried. Life is fair after all.