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Thursday, August 16, 2012

The gift of Good Karma

A good friend of mine - I call him my "brother" - has recently started a new project: "Project Good Karma." The first time he mentioned it to me I was a bit skeptical. Logical actually, if you reside in a heavily commercially grafted country as America and someone tells you that he plans to persuade affluent individuals to give 1% of their property to a charitable cause, preferably in their own area, so that they can instantly see the result of their good deed. Noble idea, for sure! But how many people would really seriously think about this? Well, as I gave it some deeper thought, I became increasingly convinced, just like my brother, that there are indeed plenty of people living on spaceship earth, who would like to do something good, but simply lack confidence in the many ads they see on television about sending donations to poor children in remote areas. It is, after all, equally well-known that from all these donations only a tiny part really benefit these needy children. The lion share of the donations is spent on salaries, travel and hotel costs and other expenses of the organization members: albeit for the purpose, yet not the way it was intended by the donors. Good Karma Project appeals to me because of its all-volunteer based structure, and its local focus. So, no support for remote projects of which you cannot find out whether they really materialize.

Karma is, in itself, not an unknown concept, but for those still wondering: it stems from Hinduism and Buddhism, and is literally translated as 'act', 'action' or 'deed'. It means that a good deed results in good consequences, and a bad deed in bad consequences. According to the Buddhist teachings greed, hatred and ignorance are the three main causes of evil deeds, while the opposite of these three phenomena, generosity, loving-kindness, and understanding, are the foundation for good deeds. According to this principle, one’s actions are more important than his or her faith. In other words, if you engage in good deeds, it does not matter what you believe. You can probably recall that warm feeling inside when you performed a good deed to someone who did not expect it. It is very much in line with the old adage: "A bit of fragrance sticks to the hand that gives flowers."

 So how does Project Good Karma work? Well, the basic goal is to get people interested in it by elevating their awareness. We all grumble about the inequality in the world and the unjust suffering of so many, but we often think it will carry too far to actually do something about it. That is actually just a smart way to appease our conscience, because we can perform good deeds all around us. The Good Karma Project is looking for volunteers who are interested to become Good Karma Ambassadors in their area. There is little time and no money required for this commitment: only good will and decisiveness. Good Karma Ambassadors will encourage others in their area who might also want to engage in this noble purpose. The Good Karma group in a particular neighborhood, city, or district, then determines who or what is in their environment needs help, brings this in the larger group, and together we look at how we can make a difference.No hidden agendas and nothing else to be gained than the realization that we’re doing something good for our fellow beings.
Participating in the Good Karma Project also means that you help other people around you aware of needs that they can help alleviate. And the more we mitigate needs, the more confidence we gain in our own abilities. If we can create small groups that work on raising awareness and improving local situations in different places on earth, we can extensively and collaboratively do something about the suffering of others. The Good Karma project is not tied to any organization, but consists entirely of volunteers. If you are on Facebook, you can read more about it in the group "Project Good Karma (PGK)." I think it's a wonderful idea and am certainly participating.How about you?

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