The best explanation of ‘karma’ I have found is that karma is the universal law of cause and effect in action. This means that when your cause is ‘good’, when what you are doing is the right thing ~ good will come to you.
Now, as this is an universal law, the way the good things come back to you is not always straightforward. As it turns out, it may come back to you in totally surprising ways, at an unexpected time and place ~ without any obvious relation to your original actions.
The same is true when your actions have been less than honorable. In the short term, you may have received an advantage because of your actions, or the manner in which you have conducted yourself. In the long term, the law of cause and effect may present you with opportunities to correct your actions or behavior ~ often in ways we experience as unpleasant.
This perspective on karma implies that karma is not just active form one life experience to the next, but is also at play within the life experience, or incarnation you are in at the moment.
Going back to the universal law of cause and effect, which says that every cause has its effect, every effect has its cause ~ it seems to add up to a fairly simple guideline for our lives.
What goes around, comes around...
So if we are honest, fair, and trustworthy ~ intent on doing ‘the right thing’, then good things will come to us. While if we push the moral envelope and get ahead to the detriment of others ~ retribution will knock on our door before long. Right?
However, from our human perspective, it may still seem that it pays to push the moral envelop. Sometimes those who are truly honorable, seem to be viewed as ‘suckers’ that are easily taken advantage of.
When that happens, from a universal perspective, the most ‘good’ it may have to offer is for the honorable person to learn to stand up for themselves in an ethical manner ~ which in turn means that we don’t have to overly concern ourselves with the person we felt was taking advantage of us in the first place.
The law of cause and effect will eventually catch up with them.
So if we do choose to use the law of cause and effect as a guide in our lives ~ and if we aim to become ever more honorable, ethical people; the ‘good’ in our lives may not come as riches. It may come in the realization that we are at the right place a the right time, as a feeling of happiness, a sense of peace...
The universe is wiser than we are, and karma is perfect.