A Yogic Perspective on Karma

Karma is a term that tends to get thrown around fairly loosely by those of us in the West. We lean towards a belief that Karma is some sort of entity floating around, keeping track of when we’ve been naughty and when we’ve been nice, kind of like Santa Claus. And if our good deeds are adding up to be greater than our bad deeds, the resulting calculation is “good Karma”; but if we’ve been naughty more often than nice, watch out! As John Lennon said, “Instant Karma’s gonna get ya”, and might even knock you right off your feet! And unlike Santa Claus, (you better get yourself together) this Karma could bring us its “gifts” at any time, not just on Christmas day!

Believing Karma to be some sort of Universal justice system which is doling out consequences for good and bad behavior accordingly, is a common misunderstanding of the Laws of Karma. In fact, the Laws of Karma have more to do with Sir Isaac Newton than with Kris Kringle. Newton’s third law states that for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction, or, “As you sow, so shall you reap.”

In Yogic terms, Karma literally translates as action. It’s a scientific law of the Universe, just like gravity, it’s not out to get you! Cause and effect, who I am is the result of who I’ve been. And we have to know how it works – not good or bad – but helpful or unhelpful.

My mentor, Kamini Desai, taught us that Karma is the experience of unresolved, incomplete experiences of the past, returning again and again in the present, giving us new opportunities to encounter it consciously and resolve it. The action we perform is called karma and the reaction to the action that we experience is also the result of karma.

Understanding how Karma actually works is an empowering, transformational tool. It gives us the opportunity to recognize what actions and behaviors cause conflict in our lives, and how we can skillfully course correct the direction our lives are taking in order to lead a more purposeful and meaningful existence.

We don’t need to watch out for Karma or even wait for Santa Claus; instead, we begin to understand ourselves better, and with this greater understanding, fulfill our potential and become the person we’re meant to be. <3

Much Love, Kristine

P.S. If you’re interested in taking a Karma deep dive, join me on May 14th at 1pm 🙂