Karma is Your Teacher

One of my spiritual teachers used to project prana into his students’ energy fields as he worked on our karmas. “Some of them I can alleviate,” he would say as he went at it, snapping his fingers all around us. After each session, we all invariably felt as if a weight had been lifted off our shoulders.

Karmas are energetic and emotional patterns embedded in our subtle bodies. You either create them or inherit them from a previous lifetime. Once you have them, they follow you around like loyal puppies. As your karmas ripen, they come into fruition through the circumstances of your life.

Here is the deal: If you want to set yourself free, you will have to shed each and every one of them.

Karma, in Sanskrit, means “work.” Indeed, our lives as apparently self-standing individuals are the work of manifestation, which we bring to fruition through our soul’s desires: attachments and aversions in the first place. The work of karma is incessant, because such are our wishes to attain or avoid certain things, circumstances, and experiences. When our bodies die, we set some tasks aside for the next incarnation; only after we are done with it all will we be able to finally move into a more rarefied sphere of existence.     

Yet not all karmas take such long time to unfold. Once our spiritual practices start mobilizing a critical mass of prana, we often develop what I call “instant karma.” This is a peculiar state in which, for better or worse, at least some of our aversions and attachments manifest quickly. Given the amount of clutter we often carry in our psyche, our repulsions tend to come afloat first. Here is a typical instant karma sequence:

You are in the kitchen chopping vegetables when you suddenly cut your finger; the pain is sharp. You feel irritated. You are busy looking for a band-aid, and inadvertently spill a bottle of oil on the floor; you still can’t find the band-aid and now you have a mess on your hands. You are annoyed. You look for a rag to clean up the floor, but you slip on the oil and crush a carton of eggs as you fall. Now you are positively mad!

Many of us may have been through a sequence like this, or at least know somebody who routinely does. As you may have already noticed, the cycle stops when you calm down. From an energetic perspective, what is happening is a fascinating process of instantaneous manifestation during which our upsets bring about a series of mishaps. The more irritated you become, the longer the cycle of unpleasant events is going to last. By showing you the role of emotions in shaping the circumstances of your life, instant karma is your teacher.

If you relinquish awareness of your emotional dynamics, karmic vortices will become well established in your subtle body; this is when the same unpleasant situations will start manifesting time and again. For some of us this will be just a matter of broken egg cartons; for others, instead, it may be the abusive bosses or the unfaithful lovers—we all have our specialties. In order to break the pattern, you will need to do the right thing. This will consist of letting go of both aversions and attachments, thus responding to the situation at hand in a balanced and compassionate fashion.

On the other hand, if you take charge of your emotional reactions, the cycle of painful events will relent. As you begin to release your karmas, your responses will become less sanguine, too. The challenging pattern may still manifest; however, this time around it will bring about a peal of laughter rather than a bout of anger.

Which of the two would you rather have?

Image by Nick Fewings via Unsplash