Has Karma become the New God?
So, like you (probably) I was massively overwhelmed and disappointed by the whole Christianity thing. Growing up in a Christian (Mormon no less) house I felt, especially as a teenager, like every natural thing I wanted to do was wrong. I did however aspire to the ideals of perfection and at one point I thought, if I just tried harder to be this perfect saintly being, that the doors of heaven would be open for me and God would bestow all the blessings of the universe on me. Then one day, I started testing this theory and doing all kinds of bad things, and… nothing happened. I was no happier, no more or less blessed, and who knows if the doors of heaven will or won’t be opened for me after I die? but I didn’t think living my life in shame and guilt and striving for unattainable perfection was necessarily a great way to live.
And so I abandoned religion, only to replace it years later with another one. Yoga. Except, instead of God judging me from above, there was Karma. The first steps on the yogic path have us guess what? Not killing, stealing, lying, cheating, etc etc Kind of like a repackaging of the 10 commandments.
At the time it felt good and right and still fed my rebellious nature because it was some kind of moral code I could follow without thinking too much for myself and still be free of the old fashioned, negative and quite frankly terrifying religious ideals.
Today, now that I am older and wiser (or maybe just older), I like to think that picking out some kick ass values like not lying, stealing, not killing things just for the mere sake of it is a kind of heaven!
In other words, treating other people around me not as a means to any kind of end, but simply for the sake of the value itself. No prize. No Heaven. No pat on the back. There is such incredible freedom in not basing our lives on any kind of transactional thinking. If I do this for you, you’ll do this for me. Instead, I just do this because it’s my value to do so. It’s freeing because you are not available to be transacted (Is this a word?) with in this way either. Imagine if everyone just did good things not because of a fear of hell, or karma coming to get them, but because the value in and of itself is the happiness.
That doesn’t mean you need to take on the values of religions, your parents, or Daenerys Targaryen (Too soon? J) But rather spend a bit of time figuring out what you value, how you want to live, regardless of the consequence. Ps, this won’t necessarily make you a more likable person, because people will still want to make their love for you conditional on something, but if you can let that go, show them how you’re willing to love them unconditionally – meaning not contingent on what they can do for you, then you have a chance at something amazing.