The Endless Knot

Energy workers often talk about clearing karma. What is karma? I wouldn’t dream of trying to answer that question 🙂 but here’s some reflections based on my studies and experience, for your further reflection.

The word “karma” in Sanskrit literally means “volitional action;” in other words, action that is intended and comes from choice. Many people have the idea that karma is kind of like fate or even cosmic punishment: because one does something bad in one lifetime one is fated in a later lifetime to experience suffering. However, karma is not only limitation and obstruction. The literal meaning of the word implies choice and choice implies the possibility of transformation.

Also, according to early Buddhist teachings, karma is only one of the 5 niyamas, or causal mechanisms, at work in the universe. The recent earthquake in Japan, for example, would be due to uti niyama, or the laws governing the physical order of the universe, rather than to karma. Dhamma nimaya is the spiritual or transcendent order, the spiritual laws governing ultimate reality. And khamma nimaya is karma: “..the activity of transforming energy through intention, speech and action.”

I mention this because the term “karma” is often used blithely these days to explain everything. In fact, as the early Buddhist view suggests, it seems we live in a vast web of interacting causes and effects, forces, energies, actions and information. Karma is one of these causative factors but not the only one. We can’t control whether natural disasters happen or not through our virtuous or non-virtuous actions. What we can do is attend to our own actions.

Karma is awareness in action, choosing and creating. Karma is how we choose to interact with whatever experiences we have, how we respond to situations we encounter. The great Tibetan Buddhist master Padmasambhava said, “If you want to know your past life, look into your present conditions. If you want to know your future life, look into your present actions.” From this perspective, “clearing karma” depends on the choices we make in the present.

So when we find ourselves in a particular situation, asking, “What is my karma here?” we need to remember, this means: “What are my choices, what is the appropriate action?” As we begin to ask this we begin to transform the pattern of our experience. Karma from this perspective is our blessed human birthright to choose, to experience a different story: to weave a new pattern.

And when we begin to speak of karmic “patterns” we come to the exploration of karma and SourcePoint Therapy. To be continued!

©2011 Donna Thomson and Bob Schrei