You’ve likely heard of the word karma and know it is used when referencing something that appears to be either good or bad coming across your path. Perhaps you’ve heard that those with ‘good karma’ have an easier life and those with ‘bad karma’ suffer more. The saying “I must have done something awful in a past life” when referencing a tough situation is common.
I’d like to suggest that our understanding of karma shift to a more day to day focus. Understanding karma can influence the way our lives play out. There are plenty of opportunities right now to attend to your karmas.
What are Karmas? Karmas are those things that cross our path that cause a reaction. Instead of acting, we react. Our reactions are drawn from a whole history of experiences. An experience you had as a child, teenager or adult in the past can influence your REaction to an experience you have today.
This REaction is the karma. Karmas are learning opportunities that come along, via experience. Karmas are the keys to liberating ourselves from pain. Go karmas! By observing our karmas (our reactions) to particular experiences, we can consciously shift from living in the past into the present moment, avoiding re-experiencing yesterday’s pain/lessons AGAIN. So instead of wanting them to go away, be grateful for the lessons, and be committed to learning and moving on.
How to observe your karmas and move on: In each moment, check in on how you feel.
When that person who pushes your buttons approaches you at work and you get that ‘oh no, here we go, I know what’s coming…’ feeling, instead of trying to avoid an interaction, allow it to happen. In fact, invite it in! And while it’s happening, feel into what is going on physically and emotionally for you in that moment. What’s happening in your body? Is there tension? Do you feel angry, anxious, wary, fearful, shut down? You don’t need to know why you’re having a reaction, just know that you are having a reaction and let it be there.
The reaction you’re having is real in this moment; in fact it’s the ONLY thing real in this moment. This is not a repeat of an experience you have had in the past, even though it may stimulate a memory (conscious or subconscious) of a past experience. Here is the key; if you attempt to avoid re-experiencing a past moment, by avoiding an uncomfortable sensation going on in this moment, you are having a reaction that will not free you from pain, only ensure more pain in the future. The reaction drawn from past experiences is the karma and the karma will keep coming back until you move out of your past and into the present.
By bringing yourself into THIS PRESENT moment through the observation of what’s happening physically and emotionally, you are no longer experiencing the past, only this moment. No wrong or right, just be here now. The practice of being present to what is actually happening IN THIS MOMENT will move you from the past into the present. Simply put – shift the consciousness from reaction to observation.
In meditation we approach an emotion and/or physical reaction from a place of observation, a neutral state. Observing and allowing emotion to be there. Not fighting it. With no fight left in it, we find that the emotion fades and no longer dominates. By doing this, you can create real and lasting positive change in your life.
With practice, we can approach each moment from a neutral state, or perhaps a clean slate (or at least practice trying to do this!). Coming from this place when you are relating to another will shift the energy from the re-experience of ‘your stuff’ to a new experience. The relating will shift to a better place alongside that. One karma down, moving on! You get to experience something new. From here, the possibilities are wide open.
The move into Dharma
Dharma is action without reaction. It is action from a neutral space. A space without judgement that draws life from a place of peace. It is described as action aligned with our soul and destiny, an action without attachment to outcomes; the intention is for the benefit of all. Move towards Dharma by attending to your Karma. Wahe Guru.