Our concern for karma is rooted in our fear of death. It is a primal fear, that of the unknown. Our actions in this life are for the most part driven by the desire to be in a better place after death or the fear not to be in a worse place after death. This fear of leaving the body and mind has existed through the ages.
There is a nice story in Mahabharata, the great Indian epic:
There was once a king by the name of Yayati. He lived extremely well for hundred years, enjoying his kingdom and all the physical and mental comforts of life. At the end of hundred years, Yama, the lord of death, came to take him away as it was time for him to leave the earth. The king was shocked to see Yama and started crying, ‘Why have you come so fast and that too suddenly without any notice? I have not lived my life fully yet. Please give me some more time to live.’
Yama replied that there is no extension possible to one’s life. But Yayati pleaded with him and begged for more time. Yama finally agreed that if any one of his sons was ready to give up his life for Yayati, then the king could live for that much more time.
Yayati called one of his sons. The son agreed, ‘I will give up my life, let my father live.’ He gave up his life. Yama extended Yayati’s life by a hundred years.
Yayati continued to enjoy all the material comforts in the same way as before and lived another hundred years. At the end of this period Yama returned to take him. This time too Yayati was shocked to see Yama again so soon. He felt he had hardly lived his life and begged Yama saying that he was not prepared to die and wanted some more time.
Yama gave him another chance. Another of Yayati’s sons gave up his life for his father, and Yayati got a lease of another hundred years of life.
Yayati enjoyed another hundred years and again Yama came back to take him. Again as before, Yayati asked for more time but this time Yama refused to play the same game again.
Instead of agreeing to the king’s plea, this time Yama asked Yayati compassionately, ‘O king! Do you think you can put a fire out by pouring oil into it? Do you think that you can fulfill your desires by living them out more and more?’ In just a few beautiful words Yama explained the whole purpose life to Yayati. Yayati finally realized the Truth, followed Yama and rested at the feet of the Divine.
You cannot feel fulfilled by offering sense pleasures to the senses. You cannot feel that you are ready for death if you never lived intensely. Trying to satisfy the senses, pouring pleasures into your senses, or living as you want does not mean living intensely. When you really live intensely, automatically you will be liberated.
source: Living Enlightenment