I'm not a big proponent of karma. I do believe in providence, however, I don't believe God has an economy of give and take based on our day to day actions.
I do believe in a sort of social karma. If you behave admirably within your community that positive energy is going to come back at some point to benefit you. As the proverbial butterfly wing in Hong Kong, a simple wave, smile or generous act can reverberate through a community and come back to its originator disguised as a similar positive act.
Enough of these acts can change the mood of a community.
Alternately, negative energy can pulsate through a community as well. We must be careful how we affect the social climate of our communities.
I say this because recently I have noticed (and benefited from) a trend in motorists allowing me as a cyclist to go first through a four-way stop.
More often than not motorists will wave me through an intersection even though it is not my turn. I appreciate these gestures, no matter what their motivation. Many times the generous act allows me to maintain my momentum, or at least not to have to come to a complete stop and I can continue down the road without expending inordinate amounts of energy.
Occasionally I think it may be because motorists don't understand how to deal with a four way intersection and in lieu of creating a traffic incident they choose to allow the cyclist (or other vehicle) through. That's ok I guess. At least they're thinking and not just driving zombie-like down the road, oblivious to everything but the bluetooth device in their ear.
Anyway, it has made me think long and hard about my own behaviors and I see that putting positive energy into the system is the best way to behave and promote a strong, cohesive community.