Theory of Karma
• Sutras IV:7 - IV:9 (pg. 195-198)
• Goal: Karma is action. 4 kinds of actions (karmas)
Everyone wants good karma, but few really understand how powerfully useful a concept it can be for creating the life we seek. Most people understand that karma is something like “what goes around comes around”. The word literally means “action” and in the theory of karma it is understood that every action has a reaction. If we throw a rock in the water, it creates ripples. If we water a seed, it grows.
I have found it comforting to know that we will inevitably have “bad” karma—it is a part of being human. If you believe in past lives, you might determine that some of your suffering (or joy) in this life is a ripple created from past lives. If you don’t believe in reincarnation, you might still recognize that the decisions or thoughts you’ve cultivated in your past have “come around again” later.
This is what I find most useful about the theory of karma: we get a choice about the ripples we create and the seeds we grow. We need to utilize our highly developed Yoga awareness to notice when our thoughts are not the sort we’d like to see more of! Sometimes we may need some help with this process—journaling, talking to a friend or counselor, or taking a walk can help release the old and welcome a new healing perspective. Having an intention like “presence” or “kindness” helps many yoga students stay anchored in the new seeds they’d like to plant and cultivate.
What ripples would you like to stop creating?
What new seeds would you like to plant?
We look forward to seeing you in class this week to share insights and bring the learning into our bodies, breath, minds and spirit.
Mothers are perhaps the ultimate Karma Yoginis. Karma Yoga is the path in which we bring the peace and centeredness we feel in a yoga class or meditation to our everyday actions. In the routine tasks of life, whether changing diapers or doing dishes, we transform the action into a prayer or meditation, thereby achieving the same enlightened effects. If one is doing the dishes, they can feel the soothing sensation of the water and cloth. They can feel appreciation for having food to eat and a home to live in. If one is waking in the night to change diapers, tired from lack of sleep, one can rest assured that serving the baby is akin to serving God or Love itself.
There is no more powerful or beautiful thing to do other than serve the person or task before you. By accepting the task, focusing on it, performing it to the best of our ability, and surrendering the results, we have just completed the most successful meditation practice! Give it a try and notice that every action is a chance to practice our Yoga. The attitude we bring to an action is a gift we give out to the world, and receive back into our hearts.