“Just try to do the right thing, and that's immediate karma: 'I feel good about myself.'”
Karma is a Hindu/Buddhist term meaning “the sum of a person's actions in this and previous states of existence, viewed as deciding their fate in future existences.” There is immediate karma, as Linda Thompson says. For instance, when we act or speak in violation of our own code of ethics, we may initially feel vindicated but later, we feel remorse. Or we may do something kind and decent, and go away feeling good about ourselves.
Sometimes, the karmic result of our hateful words or actions is to lose a friend, or a job, or a relationship. In our world, however, it sometimes seems that people who do bad and underhanded things are rewarded—they win, so to speak. We can all be duplicitous; we can be kind to those who have the capacity to benefit us, and mean, or indifferent, to those who do not. Often, such actions will come back to bite us—when conditions change, we may be on the receiving, rather than the giving end of bad behavior. In other words, we may pay for our deeds by having the same thing done to us.
Karma is not personal. It's a law of the universe, like gravity or motion. We put out a certain energy—positive or negative—and it comes back to us. Karma works the same for individuals as it does for groups of individuals, or nations. We see other groups, or nations, commit atrocious acts, or we, ourselves, commit atrocious acts, and we may not experience the karmic consequence of those acts right away. But rest assured, it will come around.
The best way to avoid piling up bad karma is to be kind. To treat everyone the same. To be conscious enough to recognize your own capacity for duplicity, and even evil. To hold back that hate-filled word or deed—not so much for the sake of others, but for the sake of your own soul.
In the Spirit,