GOOD OR BAD?
How do we decide what’s “good” and “bad”?
Many of us have heard about karma and karmic energy. It’s a concept we use to justify other people’s behavior when they’ve been rude, dishonest, or hurtful to us. We tend to say, “They’ll get theirs!”, meaning that any wrongdoing done to us will be done to them as well.
Karma is a mindset that’s been used as an equalizer and a way to bring balance to the world. We have a hard time accepting that bad people who do bad things can go unpunished. So whenever we feel that someone deserves to be punished we call on karmic energy to make them pay. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s immediate, in a few years, or in another lifetime.
We might never come across the person again, so we’ll never know how or if they’ve paid for their mistakes. But as long as we feel vindicated then all is right with the world. This karmic concept, which brings us reassurance, all stems from the assumption that we’re good and they’re bad.
Who determines “good” and “bad”? When we say that a meal, a movie, or a date was good, it usually means that it was tasty, enjoyable, or a success. It was a positive experience. Yet to a different person -or even the same person at a different time- the food, movie, or date is considered bad. Maybe they prefer another type of cuisine, a different movie genre, or a specific sense of humor.
What we say is “good” is based on our own experiences. Since we’re all unique individuals, “good” can easily be someone else’s “bad”. As a society there are things we’ve generally accepted as “good” -like pizza and respect- or “bad” -like cilantro and stealing. Yet these definitions can easily change depending on where we live in the world.
There just isn’t a definitive way to say if something is truly “good” or “bad”. We either trust our judgment or agree with the opinion of the majority. But what happens when we interact with other people? We only have our own judgments to rely on during social encounters. So if we judge someone and their actions as “bad”, what are we trying to achieve? How does criticizing them benefit us?
In practically everyone’s minds, we are the “good” one -never the “bad” one. Even people that most of us would agree are evil think that they’re in the right. We all see ourselves as the hero of our own stories. When anything happens to us -good or bad- we justify why it was done in order to support our narrative. So if the same action can be both “good” and “bad” depending on the perspective, then how can karma exist?
It can’t. There’s no all-knowing judge alive to tell us if we’re “good” or if we’re making “good” decisions. Yet the energy that we put into our blame and judgment of others does exist. Every time we deem someone or their actions to be “bad” we become the judge and the jury. We’re assuming what the person’s life lessons are, who they should be, and how they should act. By using our energy to judge others we become the ones holding onto negativity -not them.
So instead of judging, we should try to label the experiences in our lives as positive or negative. This then creates a different reaction to a situation that would normally cause us to hold onto hatred -an energy drain. When we say that “something”, not someone, was positive or negative it eliminates the personal judgment. We’re simply interpreting the energy of the situation instead of judging the person and their actions.
Everyone can experience things in their own way and have their own reactions without needing to call it “good” or ”bad”. We should aim to acknowledge other’s point of view, because their reality is just as valid as our own. Once there’s mutual understanding we’ll see that it’s not up to us to declare what’s good or bad in the world –it’s all relative. The only thing that truly exists is the energy of our experiences. So we can choose to let the rest not affect us.
Practices & Motivations