Karma: A Driving Force for Better or Worse - Ashley Brothers
Just like the Akashic Records and Soul Contracts that I mentioned in a previous blog, Karma has a massive impact on a person’s life. The concept of karma finds its roots in the ancient Indian scriptures, particularly in the Vedas and Upanishads. The term "karma" is derived from the Sanskrit word meaning "action" or "deed." Early interpretations viewed karma as a cosmic law of cause and effect, suggesting that actions have consequences that reverberate through multiple lifetimes. This laid the foundation for the belief in reincarnation, where one's words, intentions, behaviors, and actions in this life determined their destiny and the events, circumstances, and relationships they would encounter in their next life.
Karma, in its spiritual context, extends beyond mere cause and effect. It encompasses the notion of moral accountability and personal responsibility. Many Eastern religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Jainism, incorporate karma as a core tenet. It's believed that the accumulation of positive or negative karma influences an individual's trajectory across lifetimes. By adhering to virtuous deeds, individuals aim to attain spiritual growth, liberation (moksha), or enlightenment (nirvana).
Here, we delve into the positive and negative ways people accumulate karma.
GENERAL PATHWAYS OF KARMA:
Physical Actions: Positive or negative karma can accumulate through actions such as helping others, harming living beings, or engaging in acts of generosity or greed.
Verbal Expressions: Words can also generate karma, whether through truthful speech, deceit, kind words, or hurtful language.
Thoughts and Intentions: The intentions behind actions and words play a significant role. Positive intentions towards self and others lead to positive karma, while negative intentions accrue negative karma.
Emotional States: Emotions influence karma as well. Cultivating compassion, love, and empathy generates positive energy while harboring anger, jealousy, and hatred contributes to negative karma.
SPECIFIC WAYS ONE ACCUMULATES KARMA
1. Positive Ways to Accumulate Karma:
Acts of Kindness: Engaging in selfless acts of kindness, such as helping a stranger, volunteering, or assisting someone in need, generates positive karma. These actions promote a sense of interconnectedness and compassion, leading to a more positive and harmonious life.
Generosity: Sharing resources, be it material possessions, time, or knowledge, contributes to positive karma. By willingly giving without expecting anything in return, individuals foster a sense of abundance and create a cycle of positive energy.
Honoring Commitments: Upholding promises and fulfilling responsibilities demonstrates integrity. Positive karma is earned when individuals show reliability and respect for their commitments, strengthening their character.
Forgiveness: Letting go of grudges and forgiving others liberates both parties from negative energy. Forgiveness releases emotional burdens, fostering personal growth and enabling positive karma to accumulate.
Self-Improvement: Striving for personal growth and self-awareness contributes to positive karma. Engaging in practices that enhance physical, mental, and emotional well-being aligns one with positivity.
2. Negative Ways to Accumulate Karma:
Harming Others: Actions that cause harm, be it physical, emotional, or psychological, lead to negative karma. Engaging in violence, deceit, or manipulation disrupts harmony and generates negative consequences.
Dishonesty: Being untruthful or deceitful erodes trust and integrity, accumulating negative karma. Lies and manipulation lead to discord and hinder personal and spiritual growth.
Selfishness: Prioritizing personal gain at the expense of others generates negative karma. Self-centered actions create a disconnect from others, perpetuating negative cycles.
Holding Grudges: Clinging to resentment and anger generates negative karma, poisoning one's emotional and mental well-being. Holding grudges perpetuates negativity and hinders personal development.
Ignorance: Ignoring the consequences of one's actions or failing to learn from mistakes accumulates negative karma. Ignorance hinders growth and perpetuates negative patterns.
What Are the Positive Aspects Of Karma?:
Moral Framework: Karma provides a moral framework that encourages individuals to act ethically and compassionately, fostering a harmonious society.
Personal Growth: The belief in karma motivates individuals to work on self-improvement and cultivate positive traits, contributing to personal growth and character development.
Hope and Justice: Karma offers the prospect of cosmic justice, giving solace to those who believe in eventual retribution for wrongdoers.
Empowerment: The concept empowers individuals by emphasizing that their actions have a direct impact on their future circumstances.
What Are The Negative Aspects Of Karma?:
Fatalism: In some interpretations, karma can lead to fatalism, where individuals resign themselves to their fate, believing that their present circumstances are solely determined by past actions.
Blame and Judgment: Misunderstanding karma may lead to unwarranted blame and judgment of individuals facing hardships, perpetuating social inequalities.
Lack of Empathy: Misinterpretation can lead to a lack of empathy for those suffering, as their struggles are seen as a result of their past actions rather than external factors.
Impact on Individuals and Society - Karma’s impact is profound, shaping both individual lives and societal norms:
Personal Choices: Individuals make decisions based on their understanding of karma, which influences their actions, relationships, and moral compass.
Societal Ethics: Karma contributes to shaping societal ethics, emphasizing kindness, empathy, and justice as fundamental values.
Collective Responsibility: Societies influenced by karma may foster a sense of collective responsibility, promoting altruism and community welfare.
Institutional Practices: Karma's influence can be seen in various cultural practices, rituals, and traditions, which are guided by its principles.
Now that I have exhausted all the ways we can accumulate karma and how it can affect us as individuals and as a society, here are some ways to clean it up. Note that karma has varying degrees of severity and impact. This will influence the strength, power, type, and duration of an act (or acts) one must perform in order to offset the balance. Think of weights on a scale. If you have a 100-pound karmic debt on one side, you either need a single item of equal or greater weight to offset it or multiple mini weights that equate to the single one. An example might be choosing between a 100-pound weight or 100 lbs of feathers.
Countless tiny acts, while still good, will take forever to accomplish and may feel tedious, pointless, and exhausting. However, larger acts that affect more people over a broader area for a greater length of time will have a greater impact than tiny acts of kindness that may or may not be felt, acknowledged, appreciated, etc. That is not to say that you always have to go for the gusto or that the small things don’t count …..because they do…. but if you feel like you have some major stuff to clean up, it may be a catalyst to do something larger with your life, even if it makes you uncomfortable or nervous.
Not all karma is a punishment. Sometimes it’s a lesson, a catalyst, a motivator, or a passion for something greater than we could have ever imagined. It might just make you stronger, braver, more inspired, or more willing to follow your heart than you would have been without it. Sometimes karma is a blessing disguised as a curse because pain and hardship often lead to healing, enlightenment, evolution, and life's purpose.
Lastly, depending on the act that accrued negative karma to begin with, how many people were involved, and how severely it impacted them, karma may last lifetimes or be passed down through multiple generations in one family. Do not let the fear of that concept deter you from doing what you can to clean up your side of the street, so to speak, and from doing your best to have a good life. Adopt an attitude of gratitude, kindness, and service, and see what miracles can unfold when you surrender to the Divine. Miracles happen every day. So, be open to possibilities rather than attached to outcomes.
Karma Clearing Methods:
While some are willing to accept their fate, others are more inclined to actively try to change their karma either to improve their circumstances in this lifetime or the next time around. Here are some ideas for clearing negative karma.
Self-Awareness: Recognizing one's actions, thoughts, and emotions is the first step. By understanding the motivations behind actions, individuals can consciously redirect their behavior toward positive intentions.
Mindfulness: Practicing mindfulness helps in monitoring and controlling thoughts and emotions, reducing negative reactions and impulses.
Acts of Kindness: Engaging in acts of selflessness, generosity, and compassion can help counteract negative karma and accumulate positive energy.
Forgiveness: Letting go of grudges and forgiving oneself and others releases negative emotional baggage and helps in clearing accumulated karma.
Meditation: Regular meditation cultivates inner peace, self-awareness, and positive emotions, contributing to overall karma purification.
Good Deeds and Charity: Volunteering, helping others, and charitable acts contribute to positive karma and balance out negative energy.
Learning from Mistakes: Reflecting on past actions and their consequences allows individuals to learn and grow, making more informed choices in the future.
Challenges in Clearing Karma:
Deep-Seated Patterns: Certain karmic patterns may be deeply ingrained, requiring sustained effort and time to change.
Unintentional Actions: Sometimes negative karma accrues unknowingly due to actions or words said in haste or without awareness.
Attachment: Attachment to the outcomes of actions can lead to disappointment, potentially generating negative karma.
Karma, as a concept, offers a comprehensive perspective on the interconnectedness of actions, intentions, and consequences. It underscores the importance of personal responsibility, growth, and ethical behavior. By understanding the diverse ways karma accrues and implementing methods to clear it, individuals can navigate their paths with a greater sense of awareness, empathy, and intentionality. Ultimately, the journey of understanding and managing karma can lead to a life of balance, positivity, and spiritual growth. It starts with what you think, what you say, how you act, and how you feel. Everything creates a ripple in the pond.
Ashley Brothers - Institute of Conscious Evolution LLC, Bend OR
Author of A Living Prayer Blog, public speaker, holistic practitioner, and teacher of energy medicine, shamanic healing, and psychic channeling