Sunday, September 21, 2014

12 Ways To Practice Reflective Karma

When we hear the word karma, we often hear it in the context of having done something “bad” and its consequence of justice served, well-deserved. This is a rather small vision of what karma actually is.

A clearer short explanation is that the word karma in Sanskrit principally means action…and as we know, because we don't live in a vacuum, every action has its resulting reaction hence creating a circle of cause and effect. And this can be both positive and negative alike. It is because of this never-ending cycle of the ups and downs of pain and happiness, that the sages and mystics have looked for the relief of suffering, in seclusion, away from society and its karmic ties and distractions.

For those of us for whom it is not possible to escape into retreat for years to a Himalayan cave, we too can cleanse and reset our karma to be a more positive cycle of cause and effect, while still remaining active in society.

12 ways to practice reflective Karma:

1. Make a list of all the things you have to be grateful for right now. Write them down and put it where you can see it easily to remind you when the going gets tough.

2. Write a letter of forgiveness to someone who has hurt you. It's not necessary to send it. The act of forgiveness takes a massive load off of your chest and allows you live without resentment which only makes you bitter. It also helps break karmic ties because both anger and love are energies that bind.)

3. Write a letter asking for forgiveness to someone you have hurt. (Also not necessary to send.)

4. Practice random acts of kindness without re-compensation…this lets your ego have a much needed break from the suffering of expectation.

5. Check the INTENT behind your actions. Are you seeking some kind of reward and or boost for your ego? Is it really just all about you and what you want or need? Narcissism just hurts the narcissist in the end. Be truthful with yourself and others.

6. Self study and reflection, daily moments of non-action and meditation.

7. Add beauty and or joy in some way, wherever you go, without needing recognition. Live joy, passionately. Also lets your hard-working ego/mind have a deserved break 

8. Don’t worry about what other people think or say about you…it doesn't have much to do with you anyway. Impress yourself, not others.

9. Always try to put yourself in someone else’s shoes and see things from another angle. This develops empathy and compassion but not pity.

10. Don’t judge others unless you have walked a while in those shoes of theirs and even then don’t judge, because we will never know someone else’s entire story.

11. If someone is hurting you, let them know in a neutral (as best as you can) manner. Explain how they are causing you distress. Open channels of communication without harming, for both sides.

If they don´t care to or are not able to stop, walk away…they are just acting out the pain they have inside because they need a way to release it. You are not obligated to continue the cycle of pain and you have every right to protect yourself from toxic behavior or situations. Sometimes the best response is to just remove yourself from the situation, do not feed into negative energy exchanges and the cycle therefore is broken. If you manage to cultivate a truly neutral yet compassionate state of mind and feeling towards this person or situation, the karmic link can also be annulled this way.

12. And finally…don´t hurt anyone or anything, this includes the creatures who also share this planet with us…we are all one family here on our planet, our great mother, who provides for us so generously and what one does to another, one does to themselves in the end. Our action is what we experience. We are all tiny reflections of the One, offering and contributing from our small selves to the whole and truly divine picture. It's doesn't take much intelligence to squash a cockroach, but it takes wisdom and self-refection to understand that everything has a purpose on this planet, and that when we inflict harm or suffering onto another, we also inflict harm and suffering to ourselves.

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