“Not only have individuals their own Karma, but families, races, nations and worlds have their collective Karma. In the case of races, if the race Karma generated in the past be favorable on the whole, the race flourishes and its influence widens. If on the contrary its collective Karma be bad, the race gradually disappears from the face of the earth, …” ~William Walker Atkinson

woman defending herself with her hands from the boomerang

Karma works a lot like a boomerang.

What a lot of people don’t seem to understand about karma is that it exists at several levels. Most people think of personal karma and realize that what they do, what they think, and what they fear has a great effect on their lives, then something happens to them and they don’t understand why. Still others will say that karma isn’t real because they know of people who may be suffering from a disease, or have been robed, or live in severe poverty, yet have done nothing to deserve this. In places like India, this is explained by reincarnation and they say the person is facing those difficulties because of something they did in a past life. While that seems to make sense, I question whether it is really right for someone to suffer for the deeds of a past life she doesn’t even remember (I also question the whole idea of reincarnation). There is another explanation, and this one is also accepted by man in the East: different levels of karma.

What I mean by levels of karma is that your life is not only affected by your acts, but also by the acts of others. There is family karma, geographical karma (town, state, nation), group karma for any groups you belong to, and racial karma. There may be other levels, but those are the main ones. Let’s look at them individually.

Personal Karma. I have covered this before and much has been written or said about it, so I won’t go into this too much. This is what the prophets and saints are talking about when they say we reap what we sow or that we should treat others as we wish to be treated.

Family Karma. This is the situation where you may feel the consequences of acts performed by other members of your family. This may vary greatly depending on how much you supported or contributed to the family members bad behavior. It can also be reduced or eliminated by the good deeds of yourself or other family members. So if the family members of a serial murderer were unaware of his activities and certainly didn’t support them, their karma will be minimal and they can eliminate it easily with good deeds. On the other hand, if you were aware that this family member was a killer, you face a greater karmic debt. If you not only knew of the murders, but helped hide evidence, bought the guy a gun knowing he was unstable, or otherwise actively helped, then your karma is almost as great as if you assisted in the actual murders. On the other hand, the good deeds of a family member can also help bring you good karma, so it isn’t unfair at all.

Geographical Karma. This is the karma that is associated with a place. That place can be a town, a state, a nation, a continent, or even just a single home. Some of what are called haunted houses may just be a place full of bad karma. The types of things that affect personal and family karma can also be at play on this level, but there are other things found only here. Lets look at a few examples. Say a small town has a monastery in it with very real, very spiritual monks. But religion has fallen on difficult times and the monks are having difficulties paying their bills. The people in the town help them out so they won’t have to shut down the monastery. That will bring all the people of that town some good karma, though the amount will vary depending on how much they actually participated in saving the monastery. On the negative side, suppose a factory in the town is dumping hazardous waste into a river that passes through the town (many did that before laws were passed to stop it). Other people in the town see this and, instead of complaining to the management at the factory, or the town mayor, they decide they will dump their trash their as well. Soon, the river has piles of trash in it and begins harboring diseases and many of the people in the town get sick and some die. That’s bad karma at work.

Group and Racial Karma. Karma can effect people based on the race they are part of or groups they belong to. When most members of a race suffer from a particular problem, it is a safe bet that karma is at the bottom of it. Group karma is more associated with groups we belong to voluntarily. A terrorist group like ISIL is building up great bad karma for everyone in that group, even of they haven’t personally been involved in the murders, rapes, beheadings and so on, as part of the group they share is the karma the group earns. This is also true on other scales such as a neighborhood gang you belong to. The other side is that when you belong to groups that seek to help people, animals, or the environment, you receive some good karma just by belonging to the group. On a spiritual level, a group or race that suppresses the rights of others to practice their own religious or spiritual beliefs will find their members ability to grow spiritually being limited, while the group who supports the rights of all will see their spiritual rights growing and their spiritual progress great.

One might ask at this point, “If karma comes from all these levels, why should I do good as an individual?” The reason is that doing good is always the right thing to do, but also, most of our karma does come from our own behavior. Probably 80 or 85 percent of our karma is the result of our personal actions, so it does help for us to behave in a manner that brings us good karma. And in any groups we belong to including family, nationality, and so on, our good behavior also give good karma to the group.

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