As the blazing fire reduces wood to ashes, similarly, the fire of Self-knowledge reduces all Karma to ashes. ~Bhagavad-Gita
Isn’t that how we most want to live? The way we want to approach the world without any real limitations on ourselves? I don’t mean lawlessness or unchecked anarchy. I mean living a real life without limitations on your person, being able to be who you truly are?
Liberating thought, isn’t it?
We live in a world that both celebrates and stifles creativity and personal freedom. All too often we find that we’ve ‘sold out’ our truer selves in order to meet the cause of going concern, or that the nagging doubts of conscience over actions taken, or not taken, affect the bedrock of who we thought we were.
At point does the ‘who-we-thought-we-were’ merge and come into alignment with who we really are? And, at the point, how do you handle the Karmic debt you’ve acquired by being the person you didn’t think you were?
By most standards, Karma isn’t easy to define. The best way for me to describe my interpretation of it is this… Karma isn’t about punishment. It is the process of cause and effect. Karma is about your experience and the subsequent fulfillment of that purpose. If you do A, B will happen. It is important to note, though, that most scholars feel Karma works both in the immediate and the long term (and by long term, I mean the course of your reincarnation cycle, sometimes hundreds of lifetimes). There are occasions where your actions yield an immediate and noticeable Karmic return, and other times where decades may pass before you reap the Karmic bounty for a past action, whether you consider it positive or negative.
My actions are my only true belongings. I cannot escape the consequences of my actions. My actions are the ground upon which I stand. ~Thich Nhat Hanh
Universe/Spirit/Goddess/God doesn’t see it as a positive or negative occurrence. It is merely viewed, and delivered, as the result of your previous action.
The results delivered to you as the end Karmic product of your actions should make you think. Are the results your receiving more of what you would consider to be positive or negative? If you feel you are receiving negative Karmic returns from Universe/Spirit/Goddess/God, how do you address that? In the turning of those negatives into positives and making the boundaries you’ve created for yourself into stepping stones that we find true growth and manifestational potential. Even if you may, momentarily, see something as a negative return, how do you turn that into a positive?
In order to help me get a grasp on my own Karmic debt, I had to section it off into Karma sub-categories. Taking from the old adage that it’s easier to eat an elephant a bite at a time, rather than the whole thing at one time, I decided that I needed to address significant sections of my life, and the associated Karma, and slowly start working towards the karmic theme of this particular incarnation.
One of the first sub-categories I had to address was relationships. I mean all relationships: children, friends, family, and lovers. By not being the best person I could be to all these people, they in turn, were not giving me the best of themselves. Why should they? If I was short-tempered, callous, dismissive or inattentive to them, why the hell would they bother to give me the time of day?
If you want to have better relationships with those in your life, it pays to take a true accounting of your part in the relationship dynamic and/or dysfunction.
Give more of what you want to get back. If you’ve caused a hurt, rectify it.
Another sub-category I created was work. Yes, I felt I had negative work Karma. I was working so far below my potential, and at the same time allowing others to treat me in a demeaning manner. I found that the more I ‘bought’ into that ridiculousness, the more power I gave it and the longer that mindset was going to hang around. I did ‘A’, and I got ‘B’.
If you practice sub-par, you get sub-par. If you give others permission to give you less than what you deserve, they certainly will.
When you manage to stay connected to your Energy stream, you always win. And you know what; somebody else doesn't have to lose for you to win. There is always enough. ~ Abraham
Financial was the last Karmic sub-category I used to assist my Karmic debt sorting. Most of us have had the pleasure of making sometimes rash, and oftentimes negative financial decisions. Have you ever stopped to think about the long term ramifications of those decisions, past the overdraft fee or late charge or increased interest rate? Looking back over my financial life, I can (now) clearly pinpoint major mistakes that either hurt me or other people and how those mistakes are kicking me in the butt today.
What I learned about myself after my self-inventory was not what I wanted to see. I was not the person I thought I was. I was embarrassed at some of my actions (whether others knew of them or not) and hurt by the pain I had knowingly caused myself and others.
Through a lot of study, self-study and meditation, I’ve found my key for honoring (and subsequently negating) my karmic debt. The formula was the same for each of my sub-categories, and was deceptively simple. Actual patterns of approach and execution may differ, but the formula is the same.
FACE UP TO IT.
Sounds simple, doesn’t it? For me, it really wasn’t.
It took years of agonizing fights with myself to even begin the process, much less the horrifying idea of facing up to all my faults. Even before I really had a firm intellectual grasp of what Karma was, I knew that something was off kilter in my life. I knew, in my most primal instincts, that I wasn’t living to ‘my’ highest best potential. Not anyone else’s idea of my potential, but my own.
When you start making changes to live towards your highest best self, it isn’t easy, or at least it wasn’t for me. To successfully do so, I had to embrace the wrongs I’d done myself and others, the hard lessons I had learned, and my ownership in all those scenarios. At the same time, I had to fully accept the future I wanted to create for myself, the ideal of the person I most wanted to be.
In looking at the past, and my place and actions in the past, I had to really study not only the negatives, but the underlying meaning and motivations behind the negatives. I needed to understand the ‘why’s’ behind the things I did, or didn’t do.
Facing up to these things, finding out the my ‘why’s’ helped me to change the underlying manifestational intentions so as to not make the same mistakes again, was valuable pain. If you don’t change the intentions… if the actions continue in a manner you’re subconsciously unhappy with, the results will remain the same. Until you learn the lessons, Karma will continue to deliver the expected ‘B’ results of your ‘A’ actions.
As she has planted, so does she harvest; such is the field of karma. ~Sri Guru Granth Sahib
Sometimes the growth (read: pain) comes whether you are consciously ready for it or not. I think the pain feeds the growth. I believe that Universe/Spirit/Goddess/God works under the premise that the path of least resistance is the best way to deliver what you need to you. This manifestational gift works (relatively) painlessly if you are flowing with the Karmic intent for this incarnation. If you aren’t already flowing in conjunction with your Karmic theme for this life, the Universal path of least resistance can get pretty bumpy.
Clearing your Karmic debt isn’t easy… but once you start down that path, it makes your living your life easier. Clearing your Karmic debt can also help the longer term of you reincarnation cycle by clearing something out for your next life. There is likelihood that a recurring problem you address now may positively affect your Karma in the next life. The boundaries you may have encountered before simply do not exist any longer. Things somehow ‘fall into place’ just when you need them to do so.
People pay for what they do, and still more, for what they have allowed themselves to become. And they pay for it simply: by the lives they lead. ~Edith Wharton