What is karma?
Question: I’ve been told by a metaphysical teacher that there is no karma, though I’ve read about it in many books. Could you clarify?
Answer: You aren’t alone in your confusion. I think that the problem has come about by people in western societies misunderstanding what karma is all about. The west tends to be more literal than the east. In eastern societies, they understand the metaphorical nature of this concept. Karma isn’t about an “eye for an eye,” in other words, whatever we’ve done unto others in a previous life, they’ll do unto us in the present or future one. According to this idea, we can’t escape our punishment. That idea is very old testament.
But karma is simply the consequences of our actions. “What goes around, comes around.” It is a concept to explain that our actions set in motion energy that then returns to us in a similar way. And wisdom erases karma. If we’ve been acting in a negative way, but then learn to be more compassionate and positive, then we’ve learned the lesson that the karma was to teach us. We don’t need the consequences because they would be superfluous.
Many times, I’ll work with clients that think they’re being punished because of some awful thing they did in a past life. As we explore the situation, we discover that they’ve more than made up for the original “sin,” but they’re still punishing themselves for it. They haven’t let go of the guilt or sadness, and that emotion (and what it attracts to them) is what is hurting them now.
To me, karma is simply emotional energy. We set karma in motion in this life, and reap its consequences, when we don’t exercise and eat right. Or when we accept a negative message in childhood that we’ll “never amount to anything,” and that energy keeps replaying in our lives by becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.
Karma isn’t some force to punish or reward us. It’s simply the metaphysical law of cause and effect. When you set an emotionalized thought or belief in motion, when you take an action, that energy flows out into the Universe to return to you in like kind.
Copyright 2003, 2012 Linda Ann Stewart
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