When i taught people techniques of meditation. i also coached them in self-awareness and raising their inner energy, a question that young people often raised went something like this.
‘I cheated on my boyfriend/girlfriend and he/she does not know. Will my karma affect me?’ or
‘I sneaked on my colleague to our common boss so that i get promoted instead of him. Will my karma affect me?’
Somehow, older people never seem to have such concerns. They have been too used to doing these things and seeing these things done so often that they do not bother them anymore. Nor does the thought of karma. As you get older, you get friendly with your karma.
It is different with people who are young, who are in their mid twenties. They still have ideals. They would like to do the right things, most of the time. It bothers them when they do things that conflict with their ideals.
Telling them that their actions would have consequences does not help them much. They are intelligent enough to know that. What they really want is an assurance that their guilt at not feeling good about what they have done would protect them from bad karma.
Perhaps that would happen if they really regretted what they did and instead of merely feeling guilty about it resolved never to do such a thing again and where possible repair the damage. Karma is about one’s mindset. If one changes one’s mindset, one can change one’s actions and the consequences.
What i used to do was different.
I used to ask them why they did what they did. It was necessary for them to understand and be aware of the sources of their actions. If a girl cheated on her boyfriend and despite the temporary guilt may continue to do so because of incompatibility, the relationship has no chance. It was important for her to know that. It was important for her to change her own internal wiring either to work on a relationship with someone she was comfortable with or not be uncomfortable about having unstable relationships.
Karma has nothing to do with morality. Ten commandments do not apply.
In fact, Krishna’s advice to Arjuna is to kill his elders and relatives. Why?