My thoughts on Karma and the Threefold Law.
Throughout all of my years of studying, Karma and the Threefold Law (or Law of Three, whichever) are always mentioned separately, yet I haven't been able to actually figure out what the distinction is supposed to be. It seems in many cases, the terms are used interchangeably, and in others, the dividing lines are blurry at best.
So, here's my take on it.
I don't usually refer to the Threefold Law at all, and simply use the term Karma. It may not be technical, but it works for me.
So what is Karma? To me it's the idea of "what goes around comes around", or, what you dish out will come back to haunt you.
If you're basically a good person, you don't really have much to worry about. If you're not, well, maybe you should think about changing your ways.
If you are consistently polite and considerate, you will find that others return that to you. But, if you are consistently selfish and mean, you'll notice that others around you are that way too. Maybe it's coincidence, and you just notice others who are like yourself; maybe not. Either way, there's something to be said about polite, pleasant people being nicer to be around.
I think that while the little things matter, it's more of a "big picture" thing. Just because you yell at your kid, doesn't mean someone is going to yell at you (unless your kid is yelling back, of course). In other words, the little things add up, and that's what you'll see when it comes back to you.
I also feel there are different levels to how Karma comes back to us. There is the physical level, which means in happens in this world, in this life, and is usually easily recognizable. Then, it can also be reflected in the astral level, which is not so easily recognizable. And last, there is the possibility that certain actions may follow us into future existences, or that our actions in a past life are affecting us in this life. This may be the form of lessons we are meant to learn, that will follow us until we master them.
The word "Karma" often has a negative connotation when used in conversation. While it's true Karma often seems to kick us in the butt, it's usually something we deserved, and should have seen coming if we had been paying attention. But, it is also important to note that many of the good things we experience may also be a result of Karma. They simply are not recognized as such, because Karma tends to be seen as a cosmic punishment. However, it should more accurately been viewed as justice, as Karma is a reward as often as a punishment.