We have all heard the phrase “Life is short,” the truth is life is very long. A “lifetime” may last 5 years or 105 years but what we do within those years may stay with our karmic debt load for thousands of years. If the Christian view of the afterlife is correct then one would just need to burn off the tarnish accumulated within one lifetime then entrance into a stress free heaven will be acquired. Or one can go straight to heaven or straight to hell for the rest of the eternity of their souls. This is not exactly what happens.
Typically, the karmic build up must be rebalanced with positive corrective action before it is removed. It is an active not passive process. Karmic debt is not considered sin; it is merely lost opportunities to learn. When we do something mindless that is not in our highest good or that of others, then we did not learn the lesson we were given the opportunity to learn by being presented with the situation.
An external life’s existence is not a game of baseball where you get 3 strikes and you’re out. Instead you are thrown as many pitches as necessary for you to learn how to adjust your aim and hit the ball squarely on the sweet spot. The number of swings one needs to take is directly related to the degree of compassionate mindfulness, the batter is engaged in, at the precise moment of each swing.
So the answer is simple. If you want to hit the home runner sooner (learn the lesson sooner) then bring full compassionate concentration to every moment in your life.
For when you are fully aware of what you are saying and doing, it is much less likely that you will unintentionally do or say something that causes harm to you or others.
Karmic debt is accumulated through intentional actions not random accidents. However, it is intentional if you refuse to look at what the impact of your words and actions are on others. By choosing to get lost in your own ego view – that is intentional and therefore contributory to the karmic debt load you carry into your next physical lifetime. Instead it is much wiser to pay attention to every moment and make those choices that reduce the load instead of contributing to it. The amount of energy needed to ignore is the same as that needed to pay attention so there is really no excuse to be lazy.
Be brave and be willing to honestly examine your patterns. Make your adjustments now so you do not have to keep swinging at the same lesson for many lifetimes. Hit your home run and then rest before the next game.