thoughts on KarmaOctober 5, 2007
From another discussion…
Karma is a word that has a lot of noise attached to it. There is nothing to believe about karma. It simply means action. And as we all know for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction. So its all about balance of energy.
The principles of action are very simple but the dynamics get very complex very quickly. Everything that “happens” interplays with everything else. Hence it is described as ‘unfathomable’. You can’t figure it out. But if you follow the basic principles, it will help make things smoother.
The function of our mind is to discriminate, to decide. So the mind will naturally, automatically categorize everything. It will judge things black or white, right or wrong, good or bad. Sometimes we let the mind get carried away. We judge things excessively. This is the source of ideas like “bad” karma or “bad” energy. Energy (the ability to do action) and action itself have no good or bad qualities. They simply are.
To take a bigger picture, we live in a sea of energy and motion. What we perceive is the side effects and consequences of that play and flow. The mind likes to explain everything, so we find excuses for our experiences and again sometimes get carried away. The issue with that is simply that once we “explain” something, the mind tends to filter out anything that doesn’t agree with its assessment. We become as thy say “closed minded”.
What we commonly describe as “karma” in the west is more the consequences of our actions, not the actions themselves. If you explore the subject, you quickly discover that we really have no control over what happens “out there”. Even our best intentions can sometimes run amok. What we can control however is how we RESPOND to what happens.
The mind is a habit machine. It learns the “right” way to do things. Then when a similar thing comes along, it will then tend to re-run ‘tapes’ or habits. This allows us to drive a car, walk, speak, and many other talents. However, if we are not careful, we can run our whole life like that, on automatic pilot. Like ‘zombies’.
We then discover our whole life is this pattern of relationships, of job experiences, of certain types of bosses, and so forth. We are running tapes unconsciously and they are playing out over and over. This is known as the “wheel of karma”. It doesn’t take past lives to explain that.
There is a subtle difference between good habits and unconscious behavior though. Unconscious behavior originates in a resistance. An unwillingness to accept something. To allow some experience. We may be afraid of pain or hurt, be afraid of fear. But it comes down to very basic emotions. Ironically, this resistance causes far more pain than what we’re trying to avoid, often carried forward for decades. At its root it is the source of all suffering. Not events, not karma, just our response. Our allowing.
The solution is quite simple. It can take a little time, like peeling an onion. But the benefits are well worth it. The first thing to do is pay attention to how you feel. Now. And here and there during the day. It may not be something you’ve done in awhile. If you have a strong feeling about something thats out of proportion to the experience, ask yourself why. And then just allow the answer to come up. It may take a little time. When you get to the nub of it, the simple experiencing of the feeling, just allowing for a few seconds, will be enough to resolve it. (if not, its not the source) Sometimes you may later find a huge weight has been lifted off your shoulders. All for some small resistance, some not allowing of some experience many years ago.
Another thing to pay attention to is how you feel at the time something is playing out. This gets easier with attention. What that does is break the automatic pilot and allows you to stop for a moment (like counting to 10) and check in. Then rather than responding automatically, you will be responding with sense. With awareness.
And that is the key to stepping off the wheel of karma. Breaking the age old patterns we condemn ourselves to repeat.
So where do you find your karma? In your blind spots. In your feelings. In your life.
3 kinds of karma? Well, there are many ways to look at this. There is action that is “unsprouted”, not playing out at the moment. A backlog if you will. There is “sprouted” action that is underway and may be cycling in your life. Some of it you will have let go of and moved beyond. And there is actions you are creating now.
The key again is that when you are true to who you are and act in the flow (when you see all the “coincidences” in your life), then you are producing actions but not residual junk that starts to repeat on you. And the key to that is how you respond to events as they come up. Including how you feel about them.
So from your list, Intention is essentially mental action. And it is how everything is. Its all intended, one way or another. Feelings are emotional action. And of course there is physical action, which always results from mental and emotional action. Reflection? Another form of mental action. Less focused intention.
Your review of the three scenarios is followed by your judgment of them. Thats natural but meaningless from the standpoint of action itself. We cannot judge the consequences of action with our perception as it depends on how all involved were thinking and feeling and their response to the circumstances. We can only know how we feel and respond, not how others do. That is for them to learn. And its never so tidy and black and white.
Certainly we should follow the golden rule and all that. We should do our best.
But see how your judgment is your response to the scenario. How you feel about that. That is the difference between just experiencing what is (As Tolle would say) and suffering. And here is the magic in all this. Believe it or not, when you clear away your stale luggage, what remains is happiness. Happiness not dependent on circumstances. For action, in its essence is happiness.