Karma… it’s not necessarily a concept that many of us think of every day. More than likely, that word pops into our heads when we’ve caught ourselves acting like a bitch to someone who definitely didn’t observe it. “Just wait till karma catches up with you…!”
Others, myself included, have had some serious introspective moments when faced with our own mortality… or the death of someone close to us. I remember taking a long hard look at the afterlife and karma when I was first diagnosed with cancer, then again when my mother died.
Media and popular culture may only point to karma when something bad happens, but at it’s original core, what IS it?
At its base, karma can be simply defined as cause and effect. But that doesn’t mean that it is a simple concept.
When my mom died, I remember feeling super guilty about all of the negative interactions and unkind attitudes I threw at her, especially when I was an adult. I harbored a lot of resentment because I had been abused growing up, and I certainly wasn’t proud of the way I treated her.
After the way I acted toward my mom… would anything bad happen to me? What happened to all that negative energy that existed between us for so long?
Needless to say, karma definitely came up as a recurring thought.
So then… What is karma? It isn’t every single action and reaction that exists or happens in the Universe. It is the result of how we act. and it all starts with our MIND.
If we investigate our minds and look at the patterns in our own consciousness, we begin to see that those patterns determine how the world responds to us.
Think of karma as planting seeds. If you plant the seed of a maple tree, you are going to grow a maple. You won’t end up with a pine or oak.
So what seeds are WE planting? And even further down the link… which ones are we watering?
Another key part of understanding karma is intention. Skidding on wet or icy roads and hitting another car is quite different than plowing into another car because you hate them and INTEND to hurt them, right? And the way the victim acts will definitely change depending on those intentions!
And there are long and short-term intentions.
Jack Kornfield described long-term intention as characterized, in some way, by the direction that we set our heart. While we may not see the fruits or results of that intention, it will guide us in a certain direction.
Short-term intention can be related to the Power of the Pause, which I talked about in episode 44. Go back to that situation you imagined last week. That moment you remembered where you were triggered, and you were moments away from a very reactionary response.
To set a short-term intention, ask yourself these three questions:
>> What does my best intention want to respond?
>> What would honor my deepest values?
>> How do I want to show up in the world?
Now, through your pause, and with those best intentions in mind, you can respond more creatively. And you can see that immediate impact of karma.
Cause and effect.
Intentions are the way our lives come to be – they energize us to be what we can be.
To manifest everything that is possible for us.
But this doesn’t come naturally. It’s actually a totally rebellious act to do this.
So today, I want to invite you to do what I ask of my Freedom School students: set an intention (or intentions) for your day – one that you say regularly as your long-term heart intention.
Ask, “What is the most important thing I can do today, or one thing I can do today, or the most important way I can BE today, that will help me move towards my highest intention?”
Whatever that thing is, karma or no karma… afterlives or not… What matters is how we show up here and now. That, more than anything, shapes how we experience this life.
Topics in this week’s podcast:
// What IS karma? And how does it affect our lives?
// Short-term vs long-term intention
// 3 days to check in with the authenticity of an intention
// One thing you can do every day to move you toward your highest intention
// Check out this related episode: Episode 44: The Power of the Pause
// If you’re new to the squad, grab the starter kit I created at RebelBuddhist.com. It has all you need to start creating a life of more freedom, adventure, and purpose. You’ll get access to the private Facebook group where you can ask me questions! Once you join, there’s also a weekly FB live called Wake the F*ck Up Wednesday, where you can ask questions that come up as you do this work – in all parts of your life.
// If you’re interested in a really awesome way to make the next year your best one yet, join Freedom School. Enrollment is open! And there are some sweet bonuses for you. It will set you up to live the best version of you in the year to come. This is an amazing group of rebel women committed to creating lives of freedom, adventure and purpose. You can even gift a Freedom School membership to someone that you know could use the boost and come together! You’ll dive into getting clear about: what you want, how to clear your life of the things you don’t, skills for living an authentic life so you are out there being YOU and not what other people want you to be, and more.