More and more of us are becoming aware of how "karma" is universal; not connected to any one spiritual tradition. I can see that from the stats on my blog. 33% of visitors on my site are interested in my blog post on how to break karmic patterns. Clearly, we are realizing that karma is active in our lives and we want to do something about it. We want to get rid of karma.
One of the reasons we want to do that is because somehow the word has spread, especially in Western countries, that Karma = results of our bad actions in the past or in a past life. Karma then creates fear. Are we then subject to the unknown bad actions of our past life? Are the bad actions of our current life irreparable and we are destined to suffer from its consequences? This is not fully descriptive because it is incomplete and as a result this way of looking at karma is inaccurate. It just creates fear and anxiety and is not really productive.
So then what is Karma? And how can one get rid of it? First, I've got to say that we cannot get rid of karma. Why? Because karma is an inherent part of how life works and we cannot get 'rid' of it. It's like saying, "I keep falling when riding a bicycle. I want to get rid of gravity". Ridiculous, right? In the same way, it would be like saying, "I fell into a karmic trap. I want to get rid of karma."
Once we realize what karma is, then we will understand how silly it is to want to get rid of karma. Karma, in short, is a cycle of cause and effect. What you sow, you shall reap. If you plant a seed for a mango tree, you will get a mango tree (all other conditions for its growth sufficing), not an apple tree. This essentially is karma. It is like gravity. It is part of the structural nature of life.
So then, instead of getting rid of karma, we can work towards understanding how karma works and how to use it for our spiritual progress. There are ways to lessen the effect of past karma and create a better future for us in this very life and also in the next life. These ways have been identified in many, varied ancient spiritual traditions and written about by many well-known authors of our current time. Deepak Chopra is one of the most read authors and if you like to go deeper on his approach you can read my in-depth blog post where I detail the many aspects of the Law of Karma and how to break karmic patterns.
How does karma work?
How does karma really work? And how can we use our understanding of it to reduce the negative impact of old bad karma?
Simply said, karma just describes the process of cause and effect in our lives. We think good thoughts and take good actions and it results in the appreciation of good actions and thoughts in our lives. (Appreciation, in this context, means expansion of or an increase in). Similarly, when we take on bad actions, we get bad results.
Good thoughts + good actions = good results
Bad thoughts + bad actions = bad results
So the equation is easy to understand, isn't it? And so, to create good conditions for us in the future, we have to sow good seeds of good thoughts and good actions. This is not just about giving a donation or helping out a friend, although those are wonderful things to do. What this also means is how we respond to a certain situation, how we dissolve negative emotion through present moment awareness, how we practice forgiveness, detachment and equanimity and kindness to ourselves and others.
This is about how we think, how we handle stress and how we deal with disappointments. It is about creating a way of life that is wholesome, beneficial to our well-being and of the people, animals and environment we effect. This is not something we learn in school, although some schools in India I have heard are teaching secular values. If we are lucky, this would be something we absorb from our parents, teachers and religious institutions. It's a skill, like a muscle, that can be trained and developed.
When we learn to practice sowing the good seeds, we find that things in our lives develop more harmoniously. Relationships get better, our health improves. And problems get less intense. But problems and challenges are a part of life and they do sprout from time to time. However, because of the good seeds we are sowing, we find it easier to deal with those new problems. So for instance, if we are dealing with a crisis or a challenge, we find that we have more mental and emotional energy and inner-resilience to deal with it. We don't become distraught, overwhelmed or feel helpless like we may have felt before. We find a deep inner-strength and mental focus and resilience that helps us to handle that new situation more positively and constructively.
Reducing old bad karma
Alright, that seems like a recipe for creating good karma. But how about reducing the impact of bad karma from current life or of those from other lives? There are times in our lives when we realize that there is challenge that we are finding hard to overcome. For instance, it could be a health situation that you are facing. Or it may be that you find yourself in an unending cycle of similar situations over and over again. A good example of this is finding a 'perfect' partner but then breaking up, finding a 'perfect' partner and then breaking up. After a while you realize, "hey, this is clearly a pattern", and you begin to research ways to get out of it. This karmic pattern can also take the form of a series of similar emotional challenges. I've in the past, for instance, found myself in the cycle of worry, especially, around my cats. Clearly, my cats and my relationship with them is part of a karmic cycle and I've worked hard on breaking that old pattern I kept falling into.
Dealing with unknown roots of karma
And what if we don't know what bad karma we did or are continuing to do unknowingly which is causing us to fall in to the same patterns. Is there a way to break this old karmic pattern or are we destined to 'suffer the consequences'?
Thankfully, from my experience, and from my studies of Buddhist thought and great thinkers and writers, the answer is: yes. Yes, we can influence the effect of our bad karma; both in reducing it's negative effect on us and in making us more capable of handling them.
Before I give you some processes and inspiration on how you can approach this, I want you to consider some people out there in the world who you would not have imagined to be cheerful and happy. I've seen inspirational talks by people who have no arms and legs doing wonderful things to encourage and inspire young people with their stories. And they seem so content with their situation. I can hardly imagine the physical let alone emotional challenges one might face dealing with such a life circumstance. But instead of feeling hopeless and helpless, these inspiring leaders have walked through the tunnel and come out on to the other side. They have made peace with their reality and taken massive steps to make the best of their situation to help and inspire others. They are the shining examples of how we can overcome negative karma and thrive in our lives.
Here's an approach towards healing the effects of bad karma and breaking old karmic patterns. How do you know you are in a karmic pattern? There are two ways to find that out. One: You keep falling into the same problem over and over again. And two: You've been facing the same problem for a very long time.
To break this bad karma, you need to:
1. Recognize the pattern:
Identify what exactly is going on and notice if you keep running into a similar problem. Do you always find yourself broke? Do you keep falling for the same type of guy and it ends up not working out? Do you constantly get overlooked for a promotion at work? Does your business always seem to be running out of clients?
2. Take responsibility for it:
Once you identify the problem, take responsibility for it. Remember this is not about blaming or criticizing yourself. But it is about recognizing that there were certain knowable or unknowable thoughts/actions you took in your past that is resulting into this situation. Be very kind to yourself in this stage, especially, when it comes to ill-health or other things that we experience, we often fall into guilt, thinking we are the cause of it. No, this is not about making you guilty for it. But it is about helping you see that you can take positive actions to create a more harmonious life for you in the future.
3. Reflect on possible counter-actions:
Now you can take some time to reflect on what counter-actions you can take to turn around the pattern you keep falling in to. So for instance, if you constantly feel broke, brainstorm what actions you can take to break that feeling. One hint in coming up with some counter-actions is the golden rule. Begin by thinking, what could I do for somebody else in a similar situation? So in this example, you might come up with: help my friend who is also dealing with feeling broke to come up with some income-generating ideas, or learn about budgeting and share it on a blog. I'll get really person here and share that I kept falling into a deep negative thought pattern of sad thoughts and depression. So I started this blog you are reading, to help others dealing with a similar situation get out of negative thoughts and cultivate more healthy, mental habits. Thinking about what you can do for someone in your shoes, is a great inspiration for new action.
One example of this are very inspiring: Denise Duffield Thomas who created the Money Mindset Bootcamp, wanted to create financial abundance for herself and her family. So she started teaching other women how to do so and she broke out of her old pattern of being broke.
4. Take positive action:
Now that you have reflected on what good actions you can sow, you can begin to schedule specific days and times in your calendar to actively take those actions. This is really key because we all have very busy lives and if things are not carefully planned, often they don't get done, especially, things like taking new positive action. Get a friend or partner to be your accountability partner if you need it. But get going on this as soon as you can.
5. Cultivate present moment awareness:
This may be the most powerful of them all along with step no. 3-4. Cultivating present moment awareness is all about learning to be in the present moment. When you are doing something, bring your complete attention to what you are doing. Fully listen to the other person instead of planning the next sentence you want to say. Practicing meditation is great way to learn how to do this because you learn to calm your mind, learn to be aware of your breath and to be an observer of what is.
So this is a good starting point on how to begin breaking your negative karma and build good karma. Remember that karma is not your enemy and you don't need to be afraid of it, just like you don't need to be afraid of gravity, or the sun. Once you understand how it can be used positively in your life, you realize that karma is actually your friend.
In the comments, share with us what repeating pattern are you noticing in your life? And if you've figured out ways to break it?
Create Your Masterplan of Action
To help you find out how you can identify your karmic patterns and then create your custom plan of action to break out of those patterns and build better patterns, I'm starting a new one-to-one offering called the Inner-Peace Chats.
In this session, I offer you my presence and guide you on how identifying what you are stuck at, what the karmic pattern you've found yourself in and how to break out of it. This is one of the key foundations for cultivating deeper inner-peace and sense of resilience.
The Inner-Peace Chat is a comforting conversation during moments where you feel weak, distraught or simply in need of an uplifting boost. And according to what you need in the moment, I will guide you through a process and a meditation to help you deal with the impact of the Karmic pattern and help you move through it.
It will be an hour-long process and you will receive in your inbox a customized plan of action that will help you ground your new realization and create new karmic seeds for greater harmony and resilience in your life.
This new offering, the Inner Peace Chat is in a beta-phase which will be an investment of $149 down the road, after I've done a few chats and refined my process.
One-to-One Guidance for Breaking Karmic Patterns
Right now, you can be part of the founding group with an investment of $45. I invite you to take this opportunity, which at the moment, is the only way to get one-to-one time with me.
So are you in? Go here to see a bit more detail and reserve your spot. Much peace to you my friend,