If you see karma as only “What goes around comes around” you miss out. In fact, the 12 Laws of Karma are guidelines for a better life.
You have surely heard the phrases “you reap what you sow” or “what goes around comes around” before. These proverbs describe the idea behind what Karma means pretty well.
Megan Fox, Neil Patrick Harris, and even Curt Cobain are just a few prominent examples of people who believe in Karma, but what exactly does Karma stand for?
In this article, we’ll explain what Karma is, what it means to you and what effects it has on your life. Then we’ll explain the 12 laws of Karma in a simple and practical way.
Since Karma is a rather religious-spiritual topic, we at HHC, reflected the topic from an alternative perspective, driven by mindfulness.
Since there are many different perspectives on this matter, we would first like to explain to you what Karma is not. Often misrepresented in the media, Karma has nothing to do with either fate, universal justice, or punishment.
Above all, we think it’s misleading to say that Karma has something to do with fate because quite the opposite is true. People who believe in fate, think that their future is already written and inevitable, while people who believe in Karma have their future in their hands and are completely responsible for their actions.
Karma is, depending on how you interpret it (spiritual or religious), a concept that is based on the cause-effect principle and consists of 12 rules.
Simply put, every action, whether taken by yourself or by others around you, has consequences. These can revert to you either directly or indirectly.
We see Karma more as a set of ethical rules that shouldn’t be interpreted too strictly. It has a guideline character and can be seen as a guide to morality and ethics.
Seeing and using Karma in this context can have a positive impact on your life and personal development.
We at HHC usually don’t address religious topics. Therefore, we won’t elaborate further on the connection between Karma and religion. Karma, in the religious context, stands for universal memory and the personal energy that is associated with it, stretching over several lives in the process of rebirth.
The Meaning of Karma
Should you be asking yourself “What does Karma mean?”
Here’s the answer: Karma is Sanskrit and means translated “activity” or “action”.
In the spiritual context, Karma can be seen as the energy that comes from your actions, deeds, or even thoughts.
At HHC we don’t give Karma a spiritual meaning, but see the concept of Karma as a guideline for ethics and morals.
What Is Bad Karma?
In order for you to understand what good and bad Karma is, we need to explain a few basics first.
Bad karma is a common term that has established itself in the everyday language. In colloquial terms, bad karma means that if you do something bad to someone, something bad will happen to you. For example, if you laugh at your friend because his phone drops out of his hand but then you drop your phone yourself.
In a spiritual sense, karma is the energy that comes from your thoughts and actions and can be both good and bad. Simply put, if your thoughts and actions are bad, you will produce bad karma, if your actions are good, you will produce good karma.
However, there is no bad karma in this colloquial sense if you see karma as a set of rules. Colloquial karma is often confused with the first karmic law, the law of cause and effect.
The colloquial term has established itself because people have always longed for justice, especially when they feel unjustly treated. The danger of such a way of thinking, however, is the lack of objectivity. People are subjective creatures and quickly become emotional. Karma is then often portrayed as the judge who restores balance in life.
If we look at our example again with the phones, the friend you laughed at will give your “bad karma” the role of judge and think that your phone fell out of your hand because you laughed at him before. In his opinion, karma has restored “balance” by punishing you for laughing at him.
At HHC, we don’t think that Karma can be good or bad. From our point of view, Karma is just a set of rules, as described above. In our eyes, people who follow these rules don’t collect any plus or minus points. This becomes even clearer as soon as you become aware of the 12 karmic laws, which we’ll explain in the next chapter.
The 12 Laws of Karma
As we have already mentioned in the introduction, Karma consists of 12 laws. These are not laws in the true sense of the word, but rather guidelines and should therefore not be understood as such.
Here is a list of the 12 karmic laws:
- Law: The Great Law
- Law: The Law of Creation
- Law: The Law of Humility
- Law: The Law of Growth
- Law: The Law of Responsibility
- Law: The Law of Connection
- Law: The Law of Focus
- Law: The Law of Giving and Hospitality
- Law: The Law of Here and Now
- Law: The Law of Change
- Law: The Law of Patience and Reward
- Law: The Law of Significance and Inspiration
We compiled an overview of the core statement of each karmic law here for all readers that are in a hurry:
- The Great Law – Your actions and thoughts have consequences.
- The Law of Creation – You can only change your life by taking action.
- The Law of Humility – You have to accept things in order to change them.
- The Law of Growth – You need to change yourself before you can change your environment.
- The Law of Responsibility – Take responsibility for the things that you have created, good and bad.
- The Law of Connection – Past, present, and future are connected closely.
- The Law of Focus – Focus completely on the task at hand in order to accomplish it in the best possible way.
- The Law of Giving and Hospitality – Your behavior should match your thoughts and actions.
- The Law of Here and Now – You can’t be present when you look back.
- The Law of Change – The past repeats itself until you learn from it and take a new direction.
- The Law of Patience and Reward – Long-term rewards require patience and constant work.
- The Law of Significance and Inspiration – The reward is the result of the energy and love you have invested in something.
1. Law: The Great Law
The first and probably best-known rule is the law of cause and effect, also known as the great law.
This law is often seen as “Karma” in a broader sense.
Put simply, this law says that your thoughts and actions will have consequences. How these consequences look like and when they will come into effect, depends on the actions themselves.
Good actions will have good consequences and bad actions will have bad consequences.
Here is a small example: if you are friendly and accommodating to the people around you, you will make friends in return. Similar to the law of attraction, this law also says: like attracts like.
In order to achieve peace, harmony, and prosperity, you must be prepared to act accordingly and do good.
In other words, what you give is also what you will receive. If you want love in your life, love your fellow people. If you want to have honest and open friends, meet them with honesty and openness.
2. Law: The Law of Creation
The second law, the law of creation, also overlaps with the law of attraction. The law says that you must actively invest time and effort into the things you want. You can’t go through life and hope that everything comes by itself.
Work actively towards your goals and create an environment in which you feel comfortable.
The environment is particularly important in this context, as it has a significant influence on you and your well-being. It becomes a part of you and influences you in many things. That’s why it’s your responsibility to act and to adjust the environment according to your wishes.
If you are dissatisfied with the way things are going in your life right now, look at your environment, decide what needs to be changed and then change it.
3. Law: The Law of Humility
The law of humility says you have to accept things before you can change them.
You must be humble in your thinking so that you can understand and accept your own mistakes and weaknesses before you can start working on them in the next step.
You can only change your direction when you are ready to deal with uncomfortable truths about your behavior.
For example, if you constantly blame others for your actions or mistakes, you aren’t in line with reality. Denying your own mistakes leads to you not working on them and as a result, you won’t improve your abilities.
Consistent self-reflection can help you make the most of the law of humility.
4. Law: The Law of Growth
The fourth karmic law is about personal growth and how you can achieve it.
The key to growth is in your hands because every change begins with you. If you want to change something in your life, you must first begin with yourself.
The law of growth says that you have to change yourself to change the things around you.
There are things you can change and there are things you have to accept. In the end, you can only control yourself completely. The way you deal with this control determines how your environment will change.
Focus on your own development before trying to control or change others.
5. Law: The Law of Responsibility
The people and places you surround yourself with are your choice and decision alone. If something doesn’t suit you, it is your own responsibility to change it.
Take responsibility for the things you created.
You are responsible for your own environment because you can always decide with which people you want to surround yourself with and where you want to be.
No matter if the outcome is positive or negative: you are responsible for everything that happens in your life. Mistakes in your life are just as important as the successes you celebrate. In fact, you learn the most from mistakes.
What happens around you is a reflection of what is going on inside you.
6. Law: The Law of Connection
The law of connection, like the great law, says that everything in your life is connected. Every action of yours, no matter how unimportant it may seem to you, has an effect on yourself and your environment.
Simply put, you have to take care of even the smallest tasks so that other things can enter your life. You have to keep in mind that no task, whether first, middle or last, is more important in achieving your goals.
It also says that your past, present, and future are closely connected. To gain control over your present and future, you must remove the bad energy (or bad Karma, if you like) from the past.
7. Law: The Law of Focus
People can’t think of two things at the same time.
You can only concentrate on one thing at a time. This is important because a divided mind is more susceptible to negative thoughts – and therefore to negative energy. Mindfulness and meditation are good tools to improve your focus.
You can find our complete guide to meditation here.
Karma doesn’t say that you can’t or shouldn’t multitask. Instead, it tells you that you can’t realize your full potential as long as you are negative or unfocused. As mentioned in the article, it’s more of a guideline than a strict law you have to follow.
That is why the law of focus says: direct your full attention to one task in order to accomplish it in the best possible way.
You will have a better life if you can follow a single overarching goal and omit everything else. Your mind is not able to give equal attention to several things.
If you have several goals that need to be accomplished at the same time, try to work through them step by step. You can do so, by, for example, devoting your full attention to the first step for 30 minutes, and then starting the next task (which you give 30 minutes again and so on).
8. Law: The Law of Giving and Hospitality
The law of giving and hospitality says that if you believe in something at some point in your life, you will be asked to prove your faith in it. This rule focuses on the connection between your faith and your practice. It underlines the importance of your actions reflecting your deeper beliefs.
Your behavior should represent your thinking. Therefore, you should be giving and sharing out of inner conviction and not because of external factors.
What helps is to find intrinsic motivation in the things you do. Intrinsic means that the motivation comes from within and not from external factors. For example, if you donate money because you want to help people and not because you want to earn other people’s appreciation.
9. Law: The Law of Here and Now
This law advises against looking back or into the future. It encourages you to exist in the present moment and to appreciate it.
As soon as you concentrate on the present moment, you will be able to decide which way you want to take. Although the law of connection says that the past is connected to the present and the future, it’s not advisable to plan the future by looking into the past. Old habits also stop you from creating new routines and regularities.
You can’t be present when you look back.
Old thoughts, memories, habits, and dreams prevent you from being present in the here and now and from taking a new direction in life.
Following this law will also help you reducing triggers that cause stress.
10. Law: The Law of Change
The definition of madness is: “to do the same thing over and over again and expect different results.“
This statement fits the meaning of the tenth karmic law pretty well. It says:
The past repeats itself until you learn from it and take a new direction.
If you are not happy with your past, you must learn from it to take a new path. Only then will you be able to create a better future for yourself. Nothing will turn out to be different without the necessary changes.
You have to draw the right conclusions from your past to change the future for good. If you have the feeling to be “in the loop”, then you may not have gained these insights yet and have to continue searching.
If your environment changes in a profound way, it’s an indication that you are on the right path towards personal growth.
11. Law: The Law of Patience and Reward
The law of patience and reward states that any reward requires work and patience.
If you apply this rule to everyday life, it will be more than plausible. Imagine you have two goals. One is long-term and lasts for several months, while the other is short-term. Let’s say your long-term goal is to get a raise and your short-term goal is to read 50 pages in one week.
Let’s also assume that you achieve both goals.
The joy you will feel for getting a raise is greater than the joy you will feel for reaching your short-term goal. This is only logical as you have worked longer and harder for the raise. The sacrifice you have made is greater and therefore you are more happy about the reward.
The reward is perceived as greater because you have invested more time and effort.
Put simply, this karmic law says:
Long-term rewards require patience and constant work.
12. Law: The Law of Significance and Inspiration
The twelfth karmic law is similar to the law of patience and reward.
You get what you deserve. By this, the rule means that the key to success lies in the energy and love you put into something. Moreover, every personal contribution and effort is an investment in “the big picture.” Depending on how large this personal contribution is, the impact on “the big picture” changes.
By “the big picture” we mean your environment.
The law of significance and inspiration is ideal for people who need a motivational boost or feel like their work is meaningless and doesn’t make a difference.
This particular aspect of Karma emphasizes that any contribution you make will affect your environment, no matter how small or large it is. Whenever you help and show loving commitment to the world, your actions might inspire similar positive behavior from others and draw more positive energy into your life.
Note: The reward is the result of the energy and love you have invested in something.
Karma is a spiritual-religious concept based on 12 rules. It has nothing to do with fate, universal justice or punishment, but stands for a mindful and thoughtful lifestyle.
Mindfulness has a high value in the karmic set of rules because basically every rule has a mindful aspect.
We see Karma as an ethical set of rules that should not be interpreted too strictly. It has more of a guideline character and can be seen as a manual for morality and ethics.
Self-reflection, motivation, responsibility, and ambition are just a few examples of the values Karma teaches us.
Breaking the rules doesn’t lead to punishment, as often assumed.