Understanding the 12 laws of karma

The purpose of this article is to explain the 12 laws of karma in a simple, but effective way. But first…

What is karma?

Karma is the concept of getting back whatever you put out into the universe, whether it be good or bad. It’s like a boomerang. If you are putting love into the world, that is what will be returned to you. If you are putting hate out, that too will be returned to you. Florence Scovel Shinn says it eloquently:

...whatever man sends out in word or deed, will return to him; what he gives, he will receive. If he gives hate, he will receive hate; if he gives love, he will receive love; if he gives criticism, he will receive criticism; if he lies he will be lied to; if he cheats he will be cheated.

Karma, (as explained by the universal law of cause and effect), is neutral—it doesn’t care if you are rich or poor, black or white.

The universe does not carry debts. It always returns back to you what you gave it.

Karma is a Buddhist and Hindu concept which explains that things happen in your life, whether they be good or bad, based on your previous actions. But regardless of what belief system you adhere to (or do not adhere to), the concept of karma plays a role in your life.

And so the question begs…

Is karma real?

That depends on who you ask. Some non-believers say it’s made-up mumbo jumbo to try to get us to live moral lives. Others (myself included) believe very much in karma—I see evidence of it every day. For example, I regularly send clothes and supplies to families in South Africa. Without asking, friends and neighbors give us stuff all the time! Last summer, our neighbor bought toys for her kids, but two sets were delivered. Amazon said she didn’t need to return it, so she gave it to us. Things like that are happening to us often! But you can decide for yourself by simply being cognizant of what is going on in your life. 

Whether you realize it or not, the 12 laws of karma are at work all the time. Below is a breakdown of what each of the laws means, as well as advice on how to use the power.

what is karma
the law of karma

The 12 laws of karma & what it really means

1. The Great Law

The great law, also known as the law of cause and effect, is what many people think of when they think of karma. It states that whatever thoughts, actions, or energy we put out; we get back. It’s like sowing and reaping. This is really a simple concept—if you sow love and kindness, that’s what you will reap.

2. The Law of Creation

The law of creation is simply about creating things in your life. You don’t sit around waiting for good things to happen in your life; you have to actively go out and make things happen; not just for your own benefit, but also for the benefit of others. As a result, you can design your ideal life.

3. The law of humility

The premise of the law of humility is that to change something in your life, you must first accept what currently exists. No matter where you begin, if you can own your story and the aspects of it that are completely beyond your control, you can also own the path for what comes next. You can have a happy, healthy, and prosperous future.

12 laws of karma

4. The law of growth

The universal law of growth, as the name implies, is about expansion, specifically within ourselves. Our external reality will change and grow as we grow, change, and evolve internally. Personal development and reading self-help and spiritual books are often very helpful. But learning, shifting, and healing never stop because there is always something new to learn. 

5. The law of responsibility

The law of responsibility requires us to accept responsibility for everything that happens in our lives, including the bad. Nobody else is responsible for how we choose to live our lives. We are accountable for how we present ourselves in the world, how we allow others to treat us, and how we treat others. Take responsibility for your role in every situation in order to put this law into action.

6. The law of connection

According to the law of connection, everything and everyone is connected. Although the past you, present you, and future you may appear to be completely different, they are all still you. Everything you’ve gone through has led to the next thing, which has led to the next thing.

According to the law of divine oneness, we’re also linked to other people. We help, teach, love, honor, and respect ourselves by helping, teaching, loving, honoring, and respecting others. The link is always present. All we have to do is pay attention and tune in. 

no karmic debt remains unpaid
meaning of karma

7. The law of focus

Although some of us may claim to be masters of multitasking, our tendency to do everything at once often slows us down. The law of focus states you cannot devote your energy to two tasks at the same time. When you concentrate on one task at a time, you accomplish much more and achieve much better results.

8. The law of giving and hospitality

This karmic law is all about selflessness, giving to others, and living what you preach. It’s about making sure that you’re not just saying and thinking positive things, but that you’re also walking the walk and acting on those beliefs. Assume, for example, that you believe in charitable giving. According to the law of giving and hospitality, when the opportunity to donate presents itself, act on it rather than simply advocating for it to happen.

9. The law of presence (the law of here and now)

The law of the here and now is all about being present in the moment. Most of us spend our days thinking about the past and what we did wrong, replaying the same old tape in our heads. If we live in the present moment and are aware of what we are doing, seeing, tasting, smelling, and feeling, we will be less disconnected when we interact with others, eat a meal, watch a movie, or simply spend time alone. The energy will be different, and the experience will be more engaging and rewarding.

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karma quotes

10. The law of change

Nothing changes unless you change. If you’ve found yourself in the same situation over and over (for example, attracting the same type of undesirable partner), that’s the law of change in action. It’s the universe nudging you to learn a lesson. Unless you do something different and grow into a better version of yourself, the pattern will repeat itself until you learn from the experience. First, you need to break the vicious cycle. 

11. The law of patience and reward

This karmic law basically means that hard, consistent work pays off. It’s about showing up, doing the work, and not giving up on your big goals, even if you don’t see any immediate progress toward them. Living under this karmic law entails understanding that great things take time and persistence, not giving up, celebrating yourself, and savoring every little milestone you achieve along the way.

12. The law of significance and inspiration

According to the law of significance and inspiration, we all have something valuable to offer. Our one-of-a-kind gifts are shared with the world and have a positive impact. No matter how small our contribution to the world appears to be, it is significant. Use this karmic law whenever you need a motivational boost.

12 laws of karma