Karma is the concept of “action” or “deed” understood as denoting the entire cycle of cause and effect described in Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist philosophies. Karma is about responsibility. It is a link between two or more souls from one or more lifetimes. A karmic debt is something you supposedly owe another person, or they owe you form another time line.
Karma is the ancient Hindu word for the consequences of a person’s actions in this life and the next. As someone who can hear the voices of those who’ve passed over, I’m not sure how I feel about reincarnation, but I do know the karmic law that what you do comes back to you. Christianity has the Golden Rule: Do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. Karma says that if you don’t do this, you shouldn’t be surprised when you suffer the consequences of your actions in some way.
The explanation of karma can differ per tradition. Usually it is believed to be the sum of all that an individual has done, is currently doing and will do. Karma is not about vengeance or reward—karma simply deals with what is. The effects of all deeds actively create past, present and future experiences, thus making one responsible for one’s own life, and the pain and joy it brings to others. In religions that incorporate reincarnation, karma extends through one’s present life and all past and future lives as well. It is cumulative.
The tenet of karma is essentially, “If you do good things, good things will happen to you—if you do bad things, bad things will happen to you.”
Karma is not punishment or retribution, but simply an extended expression or consequence of natural acts. The effects experienced can be mitigated by actions and are not necessarily fated. That is to say, a particular action now is not binding to some particular, pre-determined future experience or reaction—it is not a simple, one-to-one correspondence of reward or punishment.
Edgar Cayce defined Karma as “meeting your self.” I believe he meant that quite literally, that when we encounter positive and negative consequences of our past actions, we are meeting our Higher Self, the part of us that knows what we need to learn for our highest good and greatest joy.