Understanding Karma: a practical guide

Karma definition

The word karma is used regularly by many people and I suspect a good number of us don’t fully understand the meaning as intended in its origins in Buddhist and Hindu traditions. Regardless, there is a lot of Good we can extract for ourselves in taking even the most loosely-applied definition if we consider it carefully in the context of our own lives.

I recently found a conversation on YouTube between Gary Zukav (author of Seat of the Soul, among others) and Kenn Gordon – spiritual leader of the Centers for Spiritual Living. In this discussion Mr. Zukav shares an explanation of karma that’s one of the best and most useful definitions I have heard in modern parlance.

He describes karma as being created by our consciousness, or who we are when no one is watching and at our deepest levels.

“Karma as a reality: what we choose and create with our energy comes back to us in the form of someone else treating us in the same way. You have to act to create karma – if you ACT on anger, you will experience at some time, someone being angry at you.”  ~ Gary Zukav, paraphrased

In the United States, yesterday marked the most vicious shopping day of the year – Black Friday. In addition to travel challenges, a weekend filled with family and the great frenzy to grab the most holiday goodies for the least amount of money can challenge even the most spiritual person.

It can be difficult to stop in the midst of all the holiday flurry and think clearly about obnoxious Uncle Fred, whose complaints, barbs and political rantings make us seethe. Similarly it’s easy to smugly judge the hordes of people clawing for position to grab a $25 discount on something we don’t value.

If we can respond with patience, love, understanding and compassion as Mr. Zukav suggests, we can infuse a different energy into the situation and therefore create what may be a new karmic experience for ourselves.

We can give ourselves the gift of better karma this holiday season if we make a choice to act in love; respond in compassion and react with patience and with understanding hearts.

If it’s hard to think about being nice to Uncle Fred, look at it from a different perspective: it’s not about being nice to Uncle Fred – it’s about seeding a better experience in the world, for you.

Start small – you’ll be surprised and delighted by the results, and who knows? World peace might move a little closer to becoming a reality!

3 thoughts on “Understanding Karma: a practical guide

  1. Pingback: The Perfect 29 Days | A Practitioner's Path

  2. Pingback: Dreading Monday | A Practitioner's Path

  3. Pingback: Biblical Karma | A Practitioner's Path

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