by Karina Guthrie.
Karma: it’s a big concept with a big lesson; that our actions have consequences. Each of us is free to create our own destiny but our choices have repercussions and there are qualifications to our ability to create.
What are these qualifications? Well, the first is that our destiny is created within the field of time. Who we are today is the result of the choices we made yesterday. Who we are tomorrow is being shaped, right now, by the choices we make today.
The second qualification is that karma operates within the field of dharma or natural law. We’re free to put our hand into a fire but we’re not free to put our hand into the fire and not get burnt. We have the freedom to choose but our choices set in motion certain universal laws that, try as we might, we can’t control.
Now, although we can’t always control the ultimate outcome of our actions, we can ensure the intention underlying each action is pure. How? By offering our actions in service to something bigger; a higher cause, some greater purpose, to family or community or God. If we can let go of the ego’s desire for our actions to yield the kind of results that make it feel satisfied, we can dedicate our actions to whatever our own ‘something bigger’ is. Actually, this is the guiding principle of Karma Yoga.
Swami Vivekananda once said that karma operates in the same way as the tuning of instruments. Instruments, as vibrational entities, play harmoniously when tuned together. Humans, as vibrational entities, function in exactly the same way. Our actions draw towards us people and experiences that are of similar vibrational frequency. In this way, our actions, whether good or bad, are reinforced. If we act in service to our ego, we’ll draw towards us people and experiences that reinforce our ego. If we act in service to something bigger, we’ll draw towards us people and experiences that reinforce our connection to something more universal and more profound.
Ultimately, Yoga teaches that while we cannot move beyond karma in the external world, we can move beyond it in the internal one. Consciousness – a realm of awareness beyond the changing nature of our circumstance – has no karma. When our actions come from this place – from that part of us that is always connected to Source – we’re able to witness our karma in the external world, while also holding to a deeper truth.
In this place, we become free.