Both people who believe in karma and those who reject it often have a very childish understanding of the way that karma supposedly works. In this simplified view, good people get rewarded with a good life, and bad people get punished through a bad life. Concepts of guilt and judgement are at the core of this understanding. The other thing that is at the core of this understanding is the belief in duality. Seeing people as separate entities. Believing that there is a you that is separate from a me, that is separate from creation, that is separate from the world.
If you look at the world from a perspective of unity and embrace the idea that the same awareness that resides in me manifests its diversity and creativity through everything and everyone around me, your view of karma changes.
You start seeing that you are both the perpetrator and the victim. That you are both the rebel and the judge. You are on a journey during which you seek to gain a more profound understanding of yourself. You do so by creating the illusion of duality.
In this duality there are human being who are at different levels of understanding in their cycle of unconsciousness. Some are closer to waking up. Others are oblivious to their true nature.
It is often the people who are ready to wake up from this illusion of duality, but haven’t woken up quite yet that are going through the most challenging experiences. They have been experimenting in the illusion of time long enough to have developed depth, and perspective and a profound ability to love. They feel pain very acutely, but adversity does not break them. On the contrary it brings out their strength and their compassion.
These beings are tired of suffering. They are looking for a way to no longer be overcome with sorrow. A peaceful way, for attacking someone or something is against their nature. They are looking for an experience of “enlightenment”. But their search is not purely intellectual or egoistic. It comes from a need as strong and natural as the need to breathe.
Every person at almost every point in time is building karma. But not everyone is ready to start letting go of their karma and to start swimming out from under its waters. Some beings are too young, they have lived out too few desires and fears to want to start understanding the ramifications of their actions.
Karma exists. Just like consequences exist. But it is quite a deductive leap to say that because karma exists, everyone who is living a happier life is a better, more enlightened human being than everyone who is not. Happiness comes in different shapes. Ignorance and unconsciousness also use happiness as a learning tool.