What is Karma Anyway?
“Karma is the eternal assertion of human freedom…Our thoughts, our words, and deeds are the threads of the net which we throw around ourselves.” ~Swami Vivekananda
Saturday I turned 42 years old. In 42 years I have had a lot of different experiences. I grew up in Cleveland in your typical dysfunctional family (I mean that very lovingly for family members who are reading this!), went to college like I was “supposed to,” got married at 20, had both of my daughters by the time I was 23, experienced being a stay at home Mom for a few years, moved to Baltimore, went back to work, ended up with a chronic illness at 32 and almost died, started my own business at 33, got divorced at 38, and just recently moved again to Arizona. Of course, there are many things I have left out but overall my life has been amazing!
As we look back on our lives, remembering the happy times is easy but when the memories of painful times arise, times where maybe we were not “our best,” it is not easy to look in the mirror. Did you ever wonder why certain things in your life happened? I mean, really wondered? Not wondered from a victim place of “why is this happening to me?” but from a place of “what the heck is going on here?”
As I write this, I am sitting in the kitchen of my old house which is now my ex-husband’s house. No, that is not weird. It is possible to get divorced and still get along with your ex. Last night after flying all day, my daughter picked me up at the airport late; I got back to this house and plopped into the bed in the spare room. As I laid there trying to fall asleep I remembered the last time I had slept in that bed. It was my last night in this house before I left my husband. It made me stop and think about karma and choices I have made in my life up until this point.
I define karma as action and consequence. I don’t believe karma is a tablet with all of our deeds kept in the hands of the Gods for them to decide how we should be punished for what we did wrong. I believe karma is just the word to describe the consequences for the actions we choose. We all have heard the expression, “what you sow is what you reap.” Karma, in essence, is simply the Universe’s way of making you responsible and accountable for the choices you have made thus far.
Here is the rub; some of the choices we make are unconscious. Over 90% of our behaviors come from our subconscious minds and in that part of the mind sits all of our past conditioning which we received from parents, teachers, experiences and even past lives (if you believe in that). The question becomes, if we want to make the best and highest choices going forward so we no longer accumulate “KARMA,” what can we do?
K = Keep heart centered
Many of us make our choices only after we have run the scenario through our minds countless times, done a pie chart and asked 80,000 different people their opinions. Learn to make your choices using your heart, not your head. When you have to make a choice, listen to your body and your feelings. How does the choice feel? Where does the feeling show up in your body? Does the choice feel comfortable or does it make you uncomfortable?
A = Always learn from your past experiences
Unfortunately, there is such a thing as “karmic debt.” With every action, there is a reaction and yes, you do have to balance (not “pay for”) any misdeeds you have done. Going forward, when something unfortunate happens or you make a poor choice ask yourself, “What can I learn from this experience?” “What is the message the Universe is trying to tell me?” and “How can I use this experience to help others?”
R = Remember to be present
Being present means being aware of what is going on at this moment. Be an observer of your life and witness what is going on around you. Be here, now. Your future is created in the present moment and the choices you are making right now. Be present so you can make the best choices possible.
M = Make peace with yourself and others
Every choice you make not only affects you but it affects those around you and sometimes in ways in which you may not even be aware. No debt in the Universe ever goes unpaid – that is just law. If you have done harm to someone in the past you don’t necessarily have to hunt them down and beg for forgiveness. Do your own work. Bring that person up in your mind, send them light and love, apologize and let them go. Use that experience as a lesson to make higher choices in the future.
A = Ask yourself questions constantly
Every time you are about to make a choice ask yourself, “What are the consequences of this choice I am making and will it benefit me and others involved?” Answer from your heart. Always, always question your thoughts. When you find yourself judging yourself or someone else ask yourself, “Is that true?” “Can I be certain it is true?” “Who would I be if that thought didn’t exist?” Always do your best in choosing the higher road.
Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc. You can learn more about her at www.ChrisSopa.com. Find her at Facebook.com/ChrisSopaInternational, Twitter @ChrisSopa, LinkedIn, and Google+.