Karma and Moving Forward
Original Date: Dec 4, 2017
Note: The following words are the musings and opinions of a spiritual aspirant. I am a non-expert and non-scholar of Indian Philosophy and humbly offer these thoughts.
It is easy for anyone on the spiritual path to feel caught up in thinking that our current life state is due to past karma. The perception may be that we have a great deal of positive or negative karma, either way the attachment is the same. Something we did before is now affecting us, and we rest in the state of that guilt. It may very well be true that we did something awful or even wonderful in the past (current life or past lives) that is affecting our time here and now. But that line of thinking doesn’t really help one to move forward, rather can have the affect of us obsessing over the past. I find this to be a problem with the concept of karma. What happened before is done and over. What really matters is what you do now and how you react now. How can you navigate your daily life so that you reduce the affects of further accumulating karma? What thought patterns are running through your mind, and how can you bring them to a more self honoring state?
How can we honor the sacred space of self and other? How do we reduce negative effects of the ego self and strive to grow a more sattvic way of living? A beloved teacher of mine instructs that the path should consist of monitoring your thoughts, noticing what arises without guilt or blame, and honoring your daily living. The actions are so simple. Are you being mindful when you eat, with each bite? Can you notice the food as you eat it, without the mind wandering or judging? Are you being mindful with your relationships? Can you be present with someone and truly listen, without judging or imposing your thoughts and beliefs onto them? Do you need to interject with an opinion? Are you taking care of your self and making time for a sacred practice (Asana, breathwork, meditation, or any other special practice)? Do you honor your living space and home? Do you tend and care for it? Are you honoring your obligations, and if you have too many, are you able to express good boundaries and limitations on your time?
These are just a few ways that we move forward, no matter what our past ‘karma’ might have been. It is daily work, and when carefully tended to reduces the likelihood that we will accrue more karma, especially negative karma.
If in doubt, tend to the simple acts of daily life with honor and care.