May 7, 2024   the path

Karma is not punishment

People in the West tend to misunderstand karma due to the influence of Christianity. Karma literally just means cause and effect. It’s not punishment. Christianity is really into punishment and retribution, but the Universe does not actually work like that.

The way the Universe teaches us is through the natural consequences to our actions.

If you treat someone like crap, and they stop wanting to be around you, you learn to stop treating people like crap. That’s it, that’s the whole lesson. You don’t need to be punished on top of that.

Punishment comes from a good/bad, right/wrong paradigm. But it’s not wrong to need to learn things by making mistakes. It’s just not. We all come here to learn.

When you do something, there is a result, and you learn from that result. That’s all karma really means. It means our actions have consequences, and through experiencing those consequences, we learn to choose better actions in the future.

Punishment is the idea that if you make someone suffer more on top of natural consequences, they will somehow learn more. But that’s not how learning works. So it’s just a dumb idea.

You weren’t wrong in the first place for making a mistake, so punishment will not purify you. It will just harm you by creating shame and confusion. Retribution or punishment doesn’t accomplish anything and it’s harmful.

So you don’t need to punish yourself either. It has no purpose–it’s just self-harm.

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