WHAT IS KARMA?
We have all heard the term KARMA thrown around regularly. Most of us have some idea of what it means, or at least partially understand it from different angles. The concept of Karma, as most of us are aware, is a very intricate system. There are many layers, many sides, many ins and outs to karma and what it entails.
The actual word KARMA comes from the Sanskrit word for action or deed. There are many explanations of the word; including the scientific “law of cause and effect”, the layperson’s “what goes around, comes around”, “the principle of retributive justice” and of course, “do unto others”. In essence, these all have a similar underlying theme: what we do is sure to come back to us.
Karma is a foremost precept of spirituality. Buddhist, Hindu and Spiritualist alike all motivate to live their lives according to this principle. It is an integral theme in the Hindu text THE BAGHAVAD GITA (which I strongly recommend that everyone read!). Karma, in its truest sense, illuminates our strengths as well as the areas that we need improve upon. Karma happens when we cause an event to occur which in turn causes a consequence. Whether the event we cause is out of love of otherwise, the unconscious and conscious energies come back to us.
In addition to the action-reaction foundation of karma, there is an explanation and foundation that is bigger still. The nature of the retribution factor of karma extends beyond one single lifetime. It extends deep from within our Akashic records (the records of all of our previous lifetimes). It is fair to say that an event that we may have caused hundreds, or thousands of years ago can be karmically imprinted into our belief systems and behaviour patterns. This is to say that if we were an aggressor in a marriage three hundred years ago, perhaps abused a loved one, this pattern of abuse, if left untreated, can be wired into our karmic patterning. This would result in lifetimes of abusing or being abused until we recognize and heal that karma. It means that if we are prone to addictive behaviour, perhaps alcoholism, and it is left untreated; perhaps we died of alcoholism before we could beat the addiction, we will be born with the same predisposition to alcoholism repeatedly, life after life until we choose to heal that karma. This carry-over is called karmic debt.
Perhaps lesser known is that humankind is born with four different types of karma. We have our personal karma, as explained above. We have genetic karma, which is the karma that we incur from our biological family that can be passed down for generations and can imprint itself in our physical cell memory. We have the karma that we incurred on our own in this lifetime- this is the karma that is neither from a past life nor from our genetics; it is the karma that is derived from the choices we have made in this particular lifetime. And lastly, we have gender karma. Gender karma is rising to the forefront most recently, as women are becoming recognized for their strengths and are lesser made to feel like second class humans. There is a positive emphasis being placed on gender equality and acceptance of people for whom they are, instead of which gender they identify with. The household roles are adapting to these social changes; men are not made to feel that they must be the sole providers, or that the man is the head of the household. Ideally, there is greater focus on an equal partnership and gender karma is being healed slowly and surely.
And greater still, we can shift our awareness to the biggest picture of the nature of karma: Why is karma present in the first place? When we look at this question from an even higher spiritual awareness, the answer becomes clear. In the grandest scheme of things, the goal of the spiritual soul is to stop creating karma. In order to do this, we are faced with an infinite number of challenges from the time our souls first walked the Earth until our last breath in our last body. In every life we live, we find ourselves in situations that create karma. Marriages, courtships, workplaces, parenthood, neighborhoods, you name it. Whenever we so much as speak with another person, there is potential for us to create more karma. Even our thoughts become karma. This is because thoughts have energy. When our thought patterns are negative, self-depreciating, angry or hurtful, they send out a vibration into the collective energy field and most assuredly return to us as such in one form or another.
With these ideas in mind, it is our goal as spiritual people to seek out and heal all karma that needs healing. It is our goal as spiritual people to become conscious of our thoughts and actions so that they are in alignment with our souls’ desire to be fully Divine; fully enlightened. This is the purpose of karma. The purpose of karma is to teach us how to be fully Divine, to be fully pure-hearted and pure-thoughted, in the highest and greatest good of all creation.
According to Hindu, Buddhist and other spiritual practices, the goal and purpose of karma is to stop creating it in order to stop incarnating into the physical human body. This ideology takes hundreds of lifetimes to perfect—but to what end? What is the purpose of stopping to incarnate into the human body? Most devout spiritualists believe that the purpose of all of these trials and truths is that when we stop incarnating, we are by that point completely and fully beings of love; to a degree that is unfathomable to most. We are of service to the creator and are of such a high vibration that we live out our destiny in servitude, and that is a choice we make because we understand and abide by its applications. It is not a punishment, not a sentence, but a free will choice.
Karma exists in every form on every level. It takes significant courage, determination and discipline to surrender to it, and work with it. Integrating our own mindfulness of karma can give us the tools we need to heal ourselves, our pasts, genetic and gender karma as well as healing the planetary karma at a time when it needs us the most. By practicing empathy, kindness and compassion toward all living beings—including ourselves, we are allowing ourselves to walk in Divine alignment. We are allowing ourselves to be an active part of the oneness of all that is.
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