Clearing the Karma

People in the West tend to think of Karma as simply "what goes around comes around."

Ha ha, yeah. Don't we all?

But that is actually a simplistic view of what is actually a very large, complex idea. Karma, simply translated, means "action, work or deed." Karma Yoga is the yoga of selfless work; action with no attachment or desire to the outcome. It is work done in devotion (however one defines that).

Every action, good or bad, has a long-lasting effect and determines not only our immediate future but in some beliefs also future lives.
More complex indeed. This is the Wheel of Life, where karma determines where you'll end up in the next one.

The thing is, Karma is not set in stone. It is not this thing where once you do something, that's it. You can fix things. Clear the karma, if you will. Positive action births positive action. Have you done/said something hurtful? Apologize. Take responsibility for your actions and do what you can to rectify the situation. Karma takes into account the lessons learned and the steps taken.

A Karmic lesson can be immediate or long-reaching. For example, last month there was a scheduling snafu at work while I was receptioning. I thought I handled it pretty well, but then the exact same scheduling snafu happened to me when I scheduled a massage for myself three days later. I mean, it was eerie, and pretty obvious that Karma was telling me I could have handled it better. If you pay attention, you find that karma gives you opportunities to clear the negative out and move forward.

In any situation, we have a choice. Sometimes, we react in the moment and then regret those actions later on (sometimes hindsight comes immediately, sometimes it comes at 3am a week later). It is never too late to take positive action. Never. In AA (or any of the Anonymous groups) one of the steps is to make a list of all of the people you've hurt in the course of your addiction and apologize. This is clearing the karma. Whether they accept the apology or not is their own karma.

We can only be responsible for our role in any situation. Clearing your own karma also means accepting the fact that others may not be ready or able to do the same. That has nothing to do with you, and not having attachment to the outcomes of actions helps. Do what you can, accept what is, and let go.

And yeah... all of this is coming out of the fact I've been doing a lot of apologizing lately. Which makes me think I should walk around with duct tape over my mouth so I'll finally start to think before I speak.


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