By The Spiritual Explorer | Published 9 March, 2016
Dear Spiritual Explorer: Is karma real? Loren P., Selma, AL
Autobiography of a Yogi
Dear Loren: A time ago I asked the question “Is reincarnation real?” In that article I relied upon a man whom I considered to be a truly holy man, Paramahansa Yogananda. It was my feeling that if such an eminent saint believed in karma, that it was a wagon I conceivably could jump on. In fact, in his famed Autobiography of a Yogi, he gives succinct evidence that karma is indeed real as he relates intimate stories of various saints.
Likewise, in my query of Is karma real? I have again called upon my pantheon of spiritual masters whom I respect to also weigh in on that question. I find the question to be particularly salient these days since the whole concept of karma has begun to seep into our very western culture. In fact, even those admittedly not of a not too spiritual bent will call upon the concepts of good and bad karma as if they are in fact very true assumptions to be made.
How westerners have taken to the concept of Is karma real?
I find it interesting that aside from looking at karma as an old esoteric assumption in eastern philosophy that we as westerners have adopted the concept as our very own, easily ascribing “good” karma to those who act favorably (at least to us) and bad karma to those who perhaps do not act in good faith with us in some way, through dishonesty, ignorance or unkindness. Perhaps in ancient times, it was the province of older and wiser pundits who would speak of and perhaps even judge those who deserved the mantles of good and bad karma.
Asking Is karma real? becomes deeper inquiry into soul
Asking the question of “Is karma real?” rather than being satisfied with flinging the definition around to include these dispensations of good and bad karma when suited, the actual asking of the question from a truly deep place seems to reflect a deeper exploration into one’s spiritual practice. Asked from a deeply sincere and profound place, in the hopes of perhaps wishing to acquire a deeper understanding seems to indicate a desire to awaken to one’s behavior and understand how one ends up in this life with certain behavioral consequences.
Accepting and believing Is karma real?
On a more personal level, I have a friend who feels that she is suddenly walking through another door in her life. However, before she steps through this door, she wishes to have more awareness of the past doors she has opened and change her “karma” as she calls it. She has in a very short time through some meditation practices she now performs begun to accept and believe the consequences of the question of “Is karma real?” This is one of the purposes of asking the question of “Is karma real?”
Along with her desire to perhaps not make the same mistakes, she tells me that there has also arisen a desire to be totally responsible for the reactions she has given in the past to particular situations that were thrust upon her. What she discovered was that it was more her reactions to these situations that produced long lasting deleterious effects rather than the situations themselves. Thus, in journeying through her past, she has come to see how she must take responsibility for those choices as fueled by her reactions.
Along with this she tells me she has become more conscious of bringing what the Buddhists call “merit” into her life and perhaps changing an inevitable karma that she has accrued in an attempt to “survive” what she considered bad karma. Her hope is that she might in the future have a lighter footprint upon this earth, perhaps becoming more trenchantly aware of the consequences of her behaviors.
The consequences of believing Is karma real?
Wanting to become more aware by asking “Is karma real?” is suddenly tantamount to wanting to be kinder, more conscious and aware and hence not be so egotistically driven by our survival needs.
So much of our behavior is driven by attempting to maintain what we have constructed around us in an attempt to feel safe in this very changeable and impermanent world. Unfortunately, driven by these needs has produced in many cases actions that we ordinarily might not indulge in. And the inevitable consequence of that has been to create bad karma for the satisfaction of those ego-driven needs. I think that all of us are driven in some ways by that. Fortunately, there are those whom we have called saints who did not have those same ego-driven needs and were called upon to serve a higher purpose no matter the unfortunate circumstances that they faced.
The opportunity in believing Is karma real?
From what I have read about the idea of karma, I have heard that free will has always been inextricably linked to the idea of karma. Therefore, if one accepts that, it seems to me that one might see the opportunity to change or modify any bad karma they might have accrued. When faced with that possibility, it must bring hope to one’s life. So, “Is karma real?” I would have to say that even if it weren’t, it offers great possibilities and hope to being able to change or modify one’s life.
If you have a question “Is Karma Real,” or anything else, you can write me at Ask The Spiritual Explorer.
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