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The Mechanics of Karma: Do “bad” acts go unpunished? And “good” ones unrewarded?

karma, mechanics of karma, how does karma work, is karma real

Bad things happen, right? Does it not also seem like, sometimes, the bad people get away with their actions (or worse, are even rewarded for them)? And what about the good people—why are good people everywhere not rewarded for being good?

Do bad acts go unpunished, and good acts go unrewarded?

The answer is no. But, there’s a “but…”

No, deeds do not go unpunished or unrewarded, but it may seem like they do—because of the amount of time that sometimes passes between the action and its reaction.

What does it mean that a lot of time might pass between the time of the action and the time of the consequence? And what exactly is a “punishment” and a “reward”?

What these are is karma. And the timing issue relates to how karma works, and what its purpose is.

So let’s understand what is karma and the mechanics of karma. And then we will have a framework into which we may insert people and events, and then not only evaluate them clearly but also respond to them effectively.


What Is “Karma”?
Karma is a term usually associated with spiritual teachings, and is defined as: “the sum of a person’s actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences” (source: Google).

Karma is, essentially, the consequences of our actions. There can be positive consequences for positive acts; and there can be negative consequences for negative acts.

At its most basic level, “karma” is this: A flow of energy. First, we create an energy that flows outward from us, and then, we receive that energy back. And the return of that energy impacts as well as creates our life.

Examine again those statements:

Karma is a flow of energy.
We created it.
It first moves outward from us.
Then it returns to us.
That energy in turn creates our life.

Now, recall the traditional definition of “karma” and it will help us to further understand “why bad acts [seem to] go unpunished” and “why good acts [seem to] go unrewarded”: Karma is the sum of the energies that we have created throughout the history of our soul.

This means that:

Karmic energy is balanced over numerous lifetimes.

Karma is balanced actually across millions of years (or even much longer).

Therefore, karmic consequences are not necessarily felt in this lifetime.

Therefore, bad deeds might go “unpunished” in this life; but they will be dealt with in a future life.

Therefore, good deeds might go “unrewarded” in this life; but they will be celebrated in a future life.

The Cosmos takes the long view in terms of balancing our karmic accounts. But eventually, every single account is brought into balance.

Does this make sense?

If so, then let’s move on to understanding how this game is played: who are the players; what are the rules; what is the goal; and how can we win?

But first…


Making Judgments About “Good” And “Bad”
Before going further, let us note that to declare one thing “good” or “positive” and another thing “bad” or “negative” is to make a subjective judgement about those things. Who are we to judge an action and label it? What criteria are we using? Are we all using the same criteria?

If we were Source Itself, looking down upon this planet and noticing all of the actions being taken, then probably Source would not have a label for any of it. Source would just see a flow of energy…flowing outward from an action and then returning to its originator at some point in the future.

And so that is what karma is: Energy flowing outward from our actions, and then the same or similar type of energy flowing back to us…eventually.

In this article, the terms “good/positive/loving” and “bad/negative/unloving” are admittedly subjective and are used only for the sake of explanation.


The Game
Energy is currency.

As Nikola Tesla and many scientists, masters, and wisdom teachers have told us, “all matter is energy.” Everything throughout Creation is, at its basic level, energy. Even that which we consider to be solid, physical matter is actually energy. And so in the Cosmos, energy is the true currency. Not only how much energy you have matters; what also matters is the quality of that energy.

Karma is the accumulation of energy that we have created.

And so the “game” of karma (I find it easier to explain karma in this framework) is the generation of energy and the management of energy—by us and others.


The Players
As defined here, “Source” is “the one ultimate source of absolutely everything and therefore that from which we all came.” Source is the highest, largest form of energy in existence, and Source therefore knows everything. We all came from Source; we all are pieces of Source.

Each Individual Soul
As just mentioned, we all are Source—at some point, we were Source Itself. But then, Source broke off a piece of itself, and made a unique bundle of energy; Source labelled this bundle “soul.” Source then did this many times, and now we have an entire Cosmos filled with “souls.” These souls are you, me, and everyone and everything with an identity.

There are numerous reasons why Source created mini replicas of itself. Most relevant here is just one reason: to have experiences, for the sake of evolution.

Therefore, each individual soul is seeking to have experiences—a wide variety of them, both positive and negative—for the sake of evolving itself.

The Balance Keepers
While Source indeed watches over all of us, there is a group of souls specifically tasked with keeping track of karmic accounts and making sure they are balanced. I call this group, very simply, the Balance Keepers.

They help us to plan lives that manage our karmic accounts according to what our soul wishes to do. They also keep track of our “savings”—the positive energy that we have generated and which will return to us at the right time, in the form of blessings, rewards, and “luck.”

The Enforcers
When a soul refuses to repay its karmic debt, when a soul is generating too much karma for itself too quickly, or when a soul (or group of souls) is disrupting the overall balance in the Cosmos too significantly, then what is needed are forces that will step into the situation in order to uphold the Karmic Laws. I call this group the Enforcers. I believe they are also involved with carrying out Divine Justice.

There is a spectrum of activity that the Enforcers carry out, depending on a given situation. This ranges from intervention to complete removal of a soul from its lifetime.

Intervention is used often when a soul is generating for itself a lot of negative karma and seems to be doing so both unconsciously as well as automatically. The soul is incapable of stopping itself from incurring further debt. Rather than allowing the soul to spiral downward into a debt that it will have difficulty getting out of, the Enforcers intervene. They will, for example, meet with the soul to speak clearly about what is happening, and perhaps ask if the soul would like some help to course correct its life. If the soul is unable to understand such a discussion, then the Enforcers might simply insert into this soul’s life a variety of corrective measures, in hopes that the soul will align with the new path.

Removal is used, for example, when a soul is about to do something that it cannot be allowed to do. The action, if it is carried out, would violate either Cosmic Law or the will of the collective. A person who is about to launch nuclear weapons, for example, might find themselves either being interfered with to stop the action or being removed from the planet altogether (by virtue of pulling the soul out of the body). In my experience, removal is used only once the action has already begun; the finger is on the button and pressure has been applied.

If necessary, or if the soul chooses, Enforcers will take the soul back to Source itself to be reabsorbed, rather than begin a new life.

The Loan Officers
In our monetary banking system, if we need to make a purchase but lack the cash with which to do so, we may ask our bank to loan us that money. In the same way, if we wish to progress in life or to enjoy rewards without having first earned them, then it is possible to ask Karmic Loan Officers to loan us those rewards.

Also like our financial system, there are many sources from which to get a loan. There are the more loving Loan Officers, who will lend Karmic rewards only after they have informed us of the terms, made sure that we are capable of repaying the debt, and made sure that this loan will be used rightly.

There are also less loving Loan Officers, who enjoy the opportunity to have power over the debt-holder; these types of Loan Officers do not necessarily ensure that we have the capacity to repay the debt, do not necessarily care that we might in turn be signing ourselves up for lifetimes of slavery for the sake of repayment, and do not necessarily explain to us the “fine print” of the loan and its terms. These less-loving Officers also tend to grant loan requests immediately, and this explains some of the instances where people on Earth who are “bad” and even “do bad things” are financially wealthy, powerful, and prestigious. Where someone’s power has not been earned, it typically has been loaned to them.

I have personally witnessed this type of unloving loan being collected from an indebted soul: This soul had just transitioned out of the body (“died”) and was therefore floating freely in the spirit world. Immediately upon its transition, it became surrounded by entities who were, essentially, eating it alive. (As mentioned, in the spirit world, energy is currency, and a soul is made of energy.) When I arrived, I paused the scene and called forth the Loan Officer. I asked to renegotiate the terms of the repayment. The Loan Officer agreed to new terms, and the soul accepted that it indeed had many lessons left to learn. It felt like there were several more lifetimes ahead in which this soul would be working off its negative karma—and in doing so, being offered the opportunity to learn and evolve. So, rather than going “into the Light,” this soul re-entered the cycle of reincarnation.


The Rules
Balance Is Always Restored
The first rule of karma is to know that balance will always be restored. It may take eons of time before energy that we sent out gets returned to us, but it will indeed be returned.

The idea of “it may take eons of time” is useful to note, because it means that we may go unpunished—or unrewarded—in this lifetime. And so may others. And therefore, it may look in any given moment that a “bad person” is “getting away” with their actions; and that a “good person” is not being rewarded in the way that they seem to have earned. It is easy to justify these beliefs—until we take the long-term perspective.

Similarly, it can be easy to feel that a “good person” is unfairly facing difficulties and struggles that they have not earned. Yet, perhaps they have earned them…lifetimes ago. As well, as will be discussed below, note that their soul may have chosen to have these experiences in order to learn and evolve.

Delaying Payment Incurs Interest
When we have karmic debt (either from outstanding “loans” of energy or because we have generated much negative karma), we will be given opportunities to repay it. As examples of this, we may encounter someone who needs our help, or we may be faced with a lesson to learn and therefore a behavior to change.

If at these times we choose not to act on the opportunity, then we may actually add to our debt. The reason for this is two-fold. First, we actively chose not to accept something that our soul needed to do for the sake of its evolution, which is an act that on its own can generate negative karma. And second, we have chosen to prolong the repayment of our debt, which warrants an interest charge.

Repayment Can Be Fast-Tracked
It is possible to repay all negative karma as quickly as possible: A soul might decide that it wishes to have a zero balance sooner rather than later. It may then choose, for example, to devote an entire lifetime (or several lifetimes) to taking whatever actions are necessary in order to be debt free.

Debt Forgiveness
Karmic debt can also be “forgiven,” either in part or in whole. Usually, this occurs when forgiving debt is in the best interests of the greater good.

For example, if the collective is trying to make worldwide changes, but those changes are being held back by the accumulation of negative karma by a certain actor or group of actors, then the Balance Keepers may decide that this accumulation needs to lessened. They have at least two options: they may grant clemency, to clear enough of the debt to enable the changes; or they may forgive the entire debt, bringing the soul’s balance to zero (in this situation, they will often place caveats and limitations on that soul’s future movements).

A Loophole: Can Karma Be Hacked?

Yes.  Karma can be hacked.

Karma is a stream of energy.  That energy can be intercepted (usually maliciously) and diverted.  What this means is that the flow of someone’s positive karma may not reach them; meanwhile, someone may be enjoying rewards that they did not earn.  And on the other side of this idea, someone’s life may be filled with negative karma that is not their own.  No matter how much they try to overcome all obstacles placed in their way, they have trouble making progress–because they are faced with a continuous stream of someone else’s negative karma.

Will the balance in this situation be restored?  Yes, eventually.  Why do I mention it?  Because it happens, and it is one of the advanced-level issues that energy healers need to know about.


The Goal
To Be Creators
As mentioned above, karma is just energy. It is energy that we send out, and that returns to us. When it returns, it helps to create and shape our life.

Therefore, and generally speaking, our life is created by us—based on the energy that we send out.

If we wish to create a pleasant life for ourselves, then we will take actions that generate pleasant energies. If, however, we wish to create a challenging life for ourselves, then we will take actions that generate challenging energies.

We have created our own life. And this is what karma—the flow of energy—is: Our ability to create.

To Learn/To Have Experiences
Part of the process of creating involves experimenting with different experiences, and giving ourselves opportunities to learn and evolve. The life of a soul is akin to being a student: we choose the courses we wish to take, the campus we wish to live on.

Each soul’s “lesson plan” is unique to what it wants for itself. Some souls just want an easy, pleasant experience. They might choose simple lives, in which they enjoy every experience but do not face too many difficulties. Other souls might want to test how strong they are—by having very challenging lives. Other souls only want “light-filled” lives, while still others only want to experience “dark-filled” lives. And some souls will choose to be as well-rounded as possible: experiencing ease, struggle, dark, light, and much more throughout the course of their existence.

To Teach Others/To Help Others Have Experiences
It would be difficult to learn if we did not have people around to teach us. Therefore, the other souls around us play that role—they are our teachers.

They are also our students. In the same way that they enable us to learn, so too do we enable others to learn and have the experiences that they seek. Our behavior, actions, and choices enable other people to learn and grow.


The Mindset
Two Important Questions
We know that we are here to learn and to have experiences. We know that, far in our soul’s past, we have sent out energy that has recently been returned to us and created this life that we are now living. And we know that the others around us have done the same.

So, as we encounter any situation (pleasant or unpleasant), we might ask two questions:

Did I earn this?
How can I learn from this?

The first answer may bring understanding and peace. The second answer may bring growth—as well as graduation from any lesson being presented.

Casting Stones
As well, since we know that we have probably “behaved badly” at some point in our soul’s history, we might acknowledge that we lack the grounds on which to judge others who are behaving badly.

Compassion Heals
A useful approach might be to have compassion. Compassion means, “sympathetic pity and concern for the suffering of others.” Per UC Berkeley, compassion is “the feeling that arises when you are confronted with another’s suffering and feel motivated to relieve that suffering.” It is a feeling motivated by kindness and love.

First, we have compassion for our own self: Compassion for whatever we are faced with. We may have chosen to partake in a situation for the sake of growth, or we may have earned it, but that does not mean it will be enjoyable. Self-compassion is important.

Second, we have compassion for the other. We came from the same place, and so the other is a part of our own soul. If it is behaving badly, then perhaps it is suffering, or perhaps it is in significant debt, or perhaps it is trying to teach us something.

On the latter idea—that a soul causing harm might be trying to teach us something: a soul in the role of teacher has often committed to staying in that role until its students (us) have learned the lesson and graduated. So, someone who is causing harm might want (at some level) to stop their behavior but will not do so because they are waiting for us to learn the lesson. Learning is our choice. It helps the teacher to step down from their role.


The Winning Strategy
Balancing Our Karmic Account
Our personal “winning strategy” will depend on what we want for ourselves. We may want to experience a highly imbalanced karmic account. We may also want to experience a fast-tracked repayment. So the strategy below is simply one example of how to play the game of karma, and it presumes that the goal is to balance the karmic account. If this is the case, then:

Generate no new negative karma. This aligns with a well-known quote from Wayne Dyer: “How people treat you is their karma. How you react is yours.”
Repay outstanding karmic debt. Take every opportunity that is offered to repay outstanding debts, make peace with people and situations, and learn the lesson that is being presented.
Generate new karmic currency. Do good.  Make decisions that are “right.”

All three of these steps require us to consciously participate in our life. They need us to become ever-more mindful of our actions and the consequences (positive and negative) of each action. But they are also this: freeing. Following through with these three steps means that we are taking control of our life—right now. And we are actively and consciously choosing for ourselves a new life of our design.

In The Face Of Injustice
No matter what we know about karma, the fact remains that in this moment we are human. And it can be challenging to be compassionate and understanding in every situation.

As well, even though a soul that is causing harm is, indeed, part of ourselves, they may not know it. They may not be capable of considering that “we are one.” They may have no interest in this idea at all. So how do we deal with that?

Step one is to take care of our own self. Whatever that entails. Ideally, we will ask the two questions above—did I earn this and how may I learn from it?

Next, we can choose to see the harmful soul as a piece of Source, and find compassion for it, and maybe even give thanks for how it helped us to grow.

Then, we can hand the situation over to the Balance Keepers, and move on.


We are here in these lives to learn and to have experiences, and to do so at a pace that is right for our own soul. Along the way, we may be asked to repay karmic debt, including by encountering experiences that are not so pleasant. But we may also be gifted with karmic currency, in the form of what we would call blessings, miracles, or luck.

Everyone else is doing the same, and everyone else plays a part in our journey.

When we feel that injustice is occurring, it might be useful to recall that balance is always restored. And should we need assistance, then we are welcome to call upon the Balance Keepers or the Enforcers or even the Source from which we came.

In any given situation, two questions may be asked: Did I earn this? How may I learn from this? The first answer may bring understanding. The second will help us to evolve.

We are all in this Cosmos together. When in doubt, let us have compassion.


A Personal Note: How Writing This Article Shifted My Soul
The genesis of this article was a conversation that a former colleague and I have been having for several years. We were both subject to the negative consequences of another colleague’s actions, and the two of us had long asked each other why this person had not only gone unpunished but had also been rewarded—with positions of power and prestige, and a paycheque well into the six figures. Typically, my response has been simply, “I have to believe in Divine Justice, and so I have to believe that they will be held accountable for their actions.” It was a lame response. Even I did not fully believe it.

And then recently the words came to me to explain better how I feel, and why I try to take actions that generate positive karma rather than negative karma. I said that my strategy of trying to be good (despite that “bad” actions seem to be more profitable) was based on a long-term outlook. I said,

“Their rewards are borrowed, and they have debt. They will eventually need to pay it back—and often there is interest.

“Our rewards are earned, and we may even have a balance owing to us. We will eventually be paid.

“It’s a matter of time. But karmic accounts are always brought into balance. And owing debt to dark forces is not something I’d want to incur. It’s like borrowing money from an organized crime boss. They will always collect.”

I wrote those words in July, and decided that I would write an article that expanded on those points. I felt that understanding not only karma but also what it is like to be indebted to unloving forces would help people understand this world, as well as find some peace with it.

And then, in mid-August, the need for this article was fortified when a report was published in the US state of Pennsylvania: A grand jury had investigated decades worth of wrong-doing by Catholic priests and its conclusions were not easy to read.

But, as I tried to explain all that I knew about karma, three things happened. First, I looked at my words and saw judgement. I was writing about “us versus them” and “good versus bad,” and saying that “justice will always be served.” The more that I really wrote about karma, the less ground I had to write such things. We are all One. There is only one true energy. The restoration of balance involves no punishment; only learning and evolution. And who was I to judge—when in the full history of my soul, I have surely done countless things that would be classified as “bad.”

Second, my own soul shifted… I would write some of the article, and then days would pass before I came back to it. In the spaces between writing, I was adjusting to the clarity of what karma really is, and how I had to now perceive it. I felt myself becoming less judgmental, more neutral. In my daily meditations, where I do energy healing on the planet itself, I was viewing the work that needed to be done in a new light: The Dark energies that I had spent years battling were nothing more than other parts of me—we came from the same Source, and back when we were in Source together, we knew each other and we loved each other and we were each other. In meditation, I approached the Darkness with a neutral energy and asked for forgiveness. “I love you. I’m sorry. Please, forgive me.” I felt both of our energies shift, as we saw each other as we really were: old friends; One Soul. My anger dissolved.

Third, I acknowledged that I could not write about karma in anything but a neutral tone. And so it took weeks to figure out the right structure for the information—one that would be informative and easy to understand, as well as fair to all involved. At last, I began simply to list all of the key points: the players; the rules; the goals; and a way to win. It may be an unusual way to write about karma, but it is the only way I know of at the moment to write it.


To Those Who Are Suffering
I do not find it useful to tell someone who is in pain, “You need to forgive the person who harmed you.” Or any such thing.

When we are in deep suffering, our highest priority is our own self. We just need to find a way to feel better. Whatever that looks like. We are not worried about the person who caused us this harm.

And so it does sometimes make us feel better to seek vengeance or to wish harm on that other person; and I think this can be a valid response. We are humans, after all.

If you yourself are in pain somehow, then the idea of karma as outlined above may not resonate with you right now—and that is okay. One day, far in the future, perhaps come back and review the information. It may help bring a deeper level of peace. But for now, take care of you.


Was this information useful?  I’m so glad!  It took me weeks to write.  I’d be grateful for a gift of thanks.

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  • Reply
    September 2, 2018 at 8:40 pm

    Jenn thank you for this wonderful article! My soul has been asking this perennial question for a long time and recently, it came back again with the findings of the Catholic priests in Pennsylvania….your logical, non-judgemental, and wise analysis and explanation soothed my soul and calmed my distraught mind over these issues.

    • Reply
      Put The Light Here
      September 2, 2018 at 8:45 pm

      Thank you for your kind words. I had hoped to indeed offer peace to distraught souls, so it warms my heart to know that the article helped. ?

      ~ Jen

  • Reply
    The Mechanics of Karma: Do “bad” acts go unpunished? And “good” ones unrewarded? – Put The Light Here
    August 4, 2019 at 10:03 am

    […] is a re-post of an article that was published in August […]

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