Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Using Karma to Our Advantage


I used to have this concept of karma as a divine retribution system, where things we did selfishly came back to haunt us. Then I read a fantastic book called The Essential Dalai Lama: a compilation of essays and speeches on Buddhism, including a chapter on karma. That’s when I learned that we can use the law of causality to create luck for ourselves and for others. 

Before we talk about karma, let's begin with Cause and Effect: The idea is that everything we experience is brought about by an action of ours. This includes job opportunities, relationships, coincidences, etc. It has been said that  success is the result of  hard work and luck. Well, we can use the  karma to manifest all sorts of good luck for ourselves. It isn't magic, where you focus on a specific outcome. Instead, we are led to the right place at the right time. By now I'm sure you are wondering how we generate good karma (and hopefully lots of it). 

Our karmic balance is determined by:

  • MOTIVATION: The first is our motivation and our intention. Most of our actions are driven by an emotion, whether its ambition, love, compassion, self-preservation or fear. What do we want to accomplish and how badly do we want it. The stronger the motivation, the stronger the karmic load. 
  • ACTION: How do we accomplish that goal, and what are the consequences? Are they positive, negative or neutral?  For example, if we are motivated by fear or competition, and we do something to push someone out of the way (metaphorically), that has a negative impact on their life. It has negative consequences for them, immediately, and for us on a karmic level. Actions with positive consequences will generate good karma. Then there are neutral actions, there are no real consequences for better or worse. Ideally we would think about this before we take action. 
  • COMPLETION: How do you feel when you are done? This is where the Dalai Lama includes the potential for remorse as a mitigating factor: we might feel bad if our good intentions had unexpected consequences and it didn’t turn out so well. Ideally we will have strong motivations to do good, positive consequences and a sense of completion when it is all done. There may be times when our motivation is not that strong at the outset, and we can use this last step to tilt the balance in our favour (positive karma). 

The book also mentions that the good karma we create can come to us, or to someone else in the community, and vice versa. I like to think of good karma as a shower of light that rains down on us, it builds when we act on our selfless intentions. Communities flourish when it rains; they dry out when we experience a drought. To make it rain, all we have to do is inject a bit of kindness at the intention stage. Let that influence our actions. Self awareness and presence can also help us generate good karma, let's take a moment to think before we act. 



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Reiki hugs, Regina


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