Posted by: joha5 | April 4, 2010

Karmic Retribution

Do you ever do something just because you think it will give you good karma?  I sure do.  In fact, I do it all the time.  I also find that these good deeds multiply exponentially for a short time while I am riding this ‘karmic high’.  But when I fail to see a semi-immediate return on my karmic investment, I revert to my natural Darwinist state completely void of any notion of spirituality or retribution.  Eat or be eaten.  Kill or be killed.  Pick up the pace or get left behind.

Whether there is such a thing as a complete and genuine selfless act is debateable and an interesting thing to think about considering it is Easter Sunday.  But contemplating if such a thing exists does not dissuade me from expecting (well, at least hoping) for an equal reaction in my favor somewhere down the line.  Now I know this may sound incredibly selfish that I harbor these secret hopes and no doubt anybody I know who may read this will possibly second guess my intentions in the future.  Fortunately, karma is so unreliable that, more often than not, I can very easily take the ‘consolation’ prize: just feeling really good for doing something good.    

Recently, I have had a spate of doing some pretty excellent deeds.  Donating money to charity in spite of me not having much to give.  Providing food and drink to a couple of homeless people that I have passed by.  Even smaller and more trivial things like giving a few extra dollars in a tip for good service and picking friends up from the airport to save them an exorbitant cab fare.  After I do these things I get this great feeling that all is right in the world and I am somehow repaying the world for all that I have been afforded and given in my life.  That, in and of itself, is always worth my time, money, and effort. 

But when you are unemployed and have been for as long as I have and just feel the weight of the world constantly on your shoulders and the consistent pressure of feeling like a failure, you can’t help but hope that karmic justice will come back to you ten-fold for all of the good things that you have done.  Obviously, karma is not a barter system and, if karma exists, you can’t choose how you would like to be repaid (although this would make my life a lot easier), but this never stops me from hoping and attributing good things happening to me to my excellent karma. 

In a way it is all so ridiculous.  Good and bad things will happen to me continuously throughout the rest of my natural life so keeping score with karma often seems like a moot point beyond doing just that: keeping score.  I have always adhered to the overly romantic notion of  ‘Life isn’t about the destination but rather it is about the journey’ and doing good things definitely has enriched my journey.  I will keep trying to do good deeds and I will keep trying to enrich other people’s lives when I am given the opportunity to do so…but I still  just can’t help but hope that one day somebody will take a chance on me and enrich their life by enriching mine by giving me the job of my dreams.



  1. I think Pope Benedict just called the council together to plan ahead for the canonizing of Saint Jon the Benevolent 😉

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