Karma – Definition and Spiritual Meaning

Karma is an ancient concept that traces its lineage back to Eastern religions like Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism.

In simple terms, it refers to the law of cause and effect, whereby the actions we take in this lifetime will determine our future destiny.

According to this law of karma, every thought and action we take in our lives will come back to us, either for good or for bad.

The concept of karma has become increasingly popular in the West as people seek spiritual guidance and understanding in these uncertain times.

In this post, we will deep dive into the spiritual aspects of karma and understand its various perspectives.

What is Karma?

The theory of karma is a fundamental belief in many Eastern spiritual traditions, asserting that each individual’s thoughts, words, and deeds ultimately return to them in one form or another.

The idea of karma postulates that our current circumstances and future possibilities are dependent on the collective outcomes of all of our previous interactions with the world.

As such, the law of karma serves as a reminder that our actions have tangible consequences on our lives and the lives of others.

Karma thus serves to promote self-awareness and responsibility, encouraging individuals to pursue compassionate and virtuous paths in order to engender positive outcomes.

Karma, an ancient concept found in many Eastern religions and spiritual philosophies, is a notion that our deeds and thoughts are closely intertwined with the Universe, creating a cycle of balance that transcends lifetimes.

It suggests that, in order to achieve spiritual harmony and emotional healing, we must pay the karmic debt for our past wrongdoings and commit ourselves to live with greater awareness and intention.

By doing so, we can have the opportunity to restore balance and justice to any unresolved issues we may have had with people in our past.

Belief in the concept of Karma

Those who embrace the concept of reincarnation understand that one’s destiny is in their own hands, as each soul that is reborn is capable of exercising its own volition and power of choice to determine the course of its existence.

As such, it is of paramount importance to attune oneself to one’s divine essence and be guided by the voice of the conscience (or Higher Self) in order to discover one’s true path and purpose in life.

Connecting with one’s own soul allows individuals to become more aware of their innate wisdom, allowing them to make decisions that are in alignment with their inherent truth as well as the collective higher good.

How does Karma Work?

Karma outlines the cosmic law of cause and effect—that our actions have consequences that will eventually be felt in the present lifetime or possibly in a future lifetime.

This powerful spiritual law emphasizes the importance of exercising kindness, compassion, and understanding towards those around us, as the energy that we put out will come back to us in due time.

Different cultures and religions may interpret this concept differently, but all recognize that one’s actions have spiritual implications that can transcend the bounds of time.

Our soul’s journey through incarnations is an incredibly complex process, and one of the most influential components is the familial relationships that we come to inhabit in each life.

Through our parents, we are presented with an opportunity to learn and grow, to understand our karma, and to resolve any karmic energies that exist between us.

These familial relationships are often highly charged, representing a mixture of both positive and negative forces that drive us toward our ultimate purpose in this lifetime.

By embracing both the positive qualities of our parents as well as seeking to overcome their negative attributes, we can use the meaningful lessons and experiences that come from them to develop both spiritually and emotionally.

It is the soul that ultimately has the power to choose and decide its own destiny; the personality might present us with options and decisions, but it is the soul that decides which path to take.

As spiritual beings inhabiting a physical form, we have incarnated on this plane of existence for the purpose of learning lessons about emotions, relationships, sexuality, money, and other topics that our souls have chosen to explore.

Through the process of trial and error, our spirit uses the experiences presented by the Universe through people and situations in order to learn and evolve.

Testing times are like exams—they are designed to challenge us and help us progress in our spiritual journey and uncover the truth of our soul’s purpose.

Karmic Perspective on Good Luck vs. Bad Luck

“Bad luck” is a concept that is deeply rooted in the idea of karma. It is believed that negative outcomes that arise as a result of certain behaviors are manifestations of karmic consequences, where one’s own actions are the primary determinants of success or failure.

On the other hand, “good luck” can be seen as a product of positive karma, or karmic credit, where luck and success are perceived as a reward for righteous behavior.

In essence, “bad luck” and “good luck” can be seen as two sides of the same coin, each connected to the concept of karma and how one’s actions can shape their destiny.

Christian Beliefs of Karma

In the early days of Christianity, people believed in the concepts of rebirth and the karmic laws. By erasing the concept of reincarnation from the Bible, the Church sought to extinguish any spiritual understanding of the consequences of one’s actions, as karma dictates that our current life experiences are an accumulation of deeds performed in past existences.

Early Christians who embraced this philosophy had a sense of personal responsibility for their lives and believed in living a life-enriching spiritual journey.

Without this knowledge, the Church could more easily maintain control over its flock by preaching half-truths and resorting to fear tactics, such as threats of hellfire and damnation, as a last resort to keep their devotees in line.

Hinduism and the Concept of Karma

According to Hinduism, samsara is an eternal cycle of rebirth in which every living being is reincarnated into a new form through the process of transmigration of souls.

This intricate cycle of birth, death, and rebirth is regulated by the laws of karma, whereby each individual’s actions (whether positive or negative) will determine when and in what form they are reincarnated.

As such, Samsara serves as an integral part of Hindu cosmology, with no clear beginning or end; providing a continuously revolving cycle of perpetual serial attachments and releasing life forms from one plane or level to another.

Driven by a deep-seated desire for gratification and satiation, human actions are intrinsically linked to a cycle of repeated births and deaths. The interconnected nature of these transactions leads to the mutual exchange of positive and negative karma, the results of which will endure beyond any single life.

From this perspective, attaining liberation from samsara (the cycle of birth and death) is of utmost importance; as such, the ultimate aim is to achieve enlightenment and reconnect with Brahman—the One, Divine Principle—which stands in stark contrast to the temporal nature of physical being and reality.

Buddhism’s Meaning of Karma

According to Buddhism, all beings are responsible for their own actions and the consequences that follow. This is an integral element of Buddhist teachings, as it is an expression of the principle of paṭicca-samuppāda, or dependent arising.

Under this doctrine, a cause always results in an effect according to certain conditions, so that rather than being subject to divine judgment, events are simply an expression of natural law in motion. In this way, Buddhists understand the law of karma to be a basic truth of our shared reality.

A cornerstone of traditional Buddhism, the concept of karmic consequences reflects the belief that one’s actions will have an effect on their immediate and future existence.

Good actions are thought to accumulate positive karma, while evil actions accumulate negative karma, leading the individual to either ascend or descend through the cycle of birth and rebirth.

Through understanding the consequences of their deeds, Buddhists strive to maintain a balance between their physical and spiritual selves, with good deeds earning them a better chance at rebirth in a favorable environment and evil deeds leading to undesired conditions.


In other words, if we are kind and generous with our energies, we can expect the same kindness and generosity to be returned to us. If, on the other hand, we put out negative energy, we can expect that same energy to come back to us.

Ultimately, the Law of Karma is a reminder to be mindful of our actions and their consequences, and that what we give out into the world has power.