Many people associate the word karma with fear because karma is a generally thought of as something bad. Karma means action.
Karma through your mind is thought. What exactly is a thought? Where do thoughts come from? Does a thought enter your mind, or does your mind create a thought? Or does your mind capture a thought… Do you entertain it, savor it, and then act on it? What is really going on? The mind is invisible. Everybody has one. No one has ever seen one. Sometimes you say. “I have something on my mind”. Some people say. “I can’t get this song out of my mind”. You sing a song in your mind and it won’t go away. Sometimes your mind is absolutely blank. The mind is such a strange thing yet it is the seed of so much. Whatever is going on in your mind turns into a karma.
A thought is a form of energy. How do thoughts come? They come sometimes as words. Sometimes they are visual; they may come as feelings or a hunch, perhaps a fantasy. If you want to create something, it has to start in the mind. They say wars begin in the minds of men. That is an emotion that is directed against someone.
Peace and love, harmony, beauty, creativity, and the magic of harmonious relationships between people also begin in the mind. Those who practice Raja Yoga are working with the power of thought to create pure karma.
It is very useful to know about Karma. Then you can apply that knowledge to make things happen the way you want. You may sometimes feel powerless to get anything to happen. How can you become so powerful that a thought becomes a reality? What kind of power? What kind of thought? If a negative thought comes in your mind a war will begin inside. One side says “I want to do this or that harm,” and the other one says: “That is not a good idea. Don’t do that because there are consequences.” the other one says: “well, I don’t care. I am going to do this because I feel strongly about it.”
Deep silence in the mind is the seed of extraordinary creation. A piece of beautiful sculpture starts in the mind then became a reality. Beauty and originality begin in stillness, in silence.
When you meditate you bring something into your mind. Your mind is an extraordinary faculty of your soul. Everyone is actively consciousness. When consciousness moves, that movement is called the mind. In that sense the mind is not really a thing; it’s the movement of consciousness. It is subtle and invisible.
This movement of consciousness carries the essential qualities of a human soul and their opposites. The mind can be beautiful, positive and perfect. It can also do the most damaging, harmful and devastating things. We have choice.
Feelings are the reaction of consciousness to experience. You experience through your sense perceptions. You see and hear. You feel that input through your eyes and your ears. Your sense organs immediately impact the mind, and the mind reacts depending on its strength and quality. The mind also responds to internal impulses that arise from your sub-conscious, memories and moods. Past associations connect with external perceptions and trigger ancient feelings that crowd into the mind creating turbulence. These emerge as words, or different actions. Everything you say, think and do creates waves that go out and come back to you. The law of karma states that whatever goes out, comes back.
There is a very interesting piece of sculpture in Singapore that I saw recently. It depicted a man with a hand so long it made a huge circle and touched his shoulder from behind. That is a very good depiction of karma. Whatever goes around comes around. The hand indicates; this is the consequence of what you did. Karma is the law that governs action. We act and impact each other mentally, verbally, and circumstantially.
At this time people find it hard to be in harmony, to understand and empathize with each other. We react against each other, fearing what someone might think or what might happen; we are very worried about our security. People are afraid for their economic security, the security of their shelter, food and their health. People are concerned for the safety of their relatives as they go and come from home, and in many homes people feel it is dangerous even there.
Where does this fear come from? Negative karma. That means actions that arise out of negative emotions and are expressed in the mind, words, and actions. Negative emotions like anger, violence and envy inspire such thoughts as: “I want to make sure that I look better than you, so I’m going to make you look bad.” Negative emotion leads to negative karma that returns to touch us on the shoulder. But we are afraid of that touch. We don’t know how much pure karma we have done, or how much negative karma we have done.
There are some secrets: If you concede defeat in an argument there will be harmony. But we fear it is bad if we don’t win. When we refuse to concede defeat, our relationships get broken; often simply because of some minor point we want to prove.
Another secret is: if something is true, it will prove itself. You don’t have to prove it. It proves itself in its own time frame, not in yours. We have to be patient, and wait knowing that whatever is true will be revealed. The stillness, the silence of waiting for what is right to present itself, is a form of trust that everything will ultimately turn out well. This causes our fear to subside.
When you doubt you say: what if? Yes, but. It means you don’t understand the laws that are operating. The most important thing is harmonious relationships. Forgiveness and conceding defeat are useful in that. The point you want to prove is less important than the relationship. When you triumph against someone, they will try to triumph against you later on. When you concede defeat, they will know you have really won and will not try to win against you. This is a secret. You can triumph over someone by force, but you never prevail. When you pressure somebody using force or anger, that karma goes around comes back and they will apply pressure on you. You can’t conquer someone’s heart by pressuring them, but by love and truth. Any truth spoken in anger becomes false, creates negative karma and comes back to you.
Tell the truth without emotion. Have enough patience to wait until your heart is quiet and cool, and you feel neutral, then you can tell the truth as it is. Speak without expectation or emotion, then you will be heard and be able to convey what you have to say. There will be communication and communion between the parties. The outcome of that truth will be a relationship.
When you create something very beautiful and valuable, and someone takes that from you. They mess it up a bit, put their name on it, and make a lot of money from it, you do feel cheated. But there’s a law operating here – a very secret law. You do the work and someone else takes the credit, but you get the power.
When you do the work and you receive due credit, it’s a small power that is equal to the value of what you did. But when someone else takes your work, and takes credit for your work, if you feel resentment, anger and desire to take revenge. But you can’t do anything, You remain in loss and you feel bad for a long time. But if you apply this law and let it be, that special kind of power comes to you. It brings you to a higher level of being, and causes circumstances to favor you. This is worth so much more than the actual value of what you did. Knowing this, you refrain from the negative karma of taking revenge.
Negative karma also cuts you off from the Higher Source, which we may call God, the Supreme Being or Supreme Power. When you do good karma in the face of adversity, it demands courage and sacrifice, as well as faith and trust. Such wise action gives you easy access to the Supreme Being. Keeping God close, you face fearsome conditions with courage and increase your self-respect. When self-respect is lacking you become prey to fear. When you stay close to the Divine Unseen you change circumstances, conditions and the atmosphere. You subtly alter the state of the world.
The power of Nature is clearly beginning to react to human karma. If you get into an argument with the Pacific Ocean, who is going to win? Not you. We should ensure that our relationship with the ocean is good. Otherwise it can send one big wave and that’s it. We must keep a good relationship with the air; otherwise if it’s full of volcanic ash and we can’t breathe, that’s it. Our karma with matter or nature is the way we use water, the earth. If we do not respect the bounty of nature and do not care for it, there is good reason to fear. Nature responds by ceasing to provide conditions for successful agriculture. The weather becomes completely unpredictable. This is the return of the karma of unthinking people, tapping them on the shoulder. What should be done? Very simply, make sure that every thought, word and action is correct according to the laws of karma. When I do correct action I get the results I like. When I do incorrect action, I pay proportionately.
Another secret: if you want to do the right thing, it’s expensive. And if you want to do the wrong thing, it is no less expensive. What’s the difference? When you do the wrong karma it will cost you and you will be left with nothing. However, when you do right karma it will cost you, but you will retain something even more valuable than what it cost you to acquire, therefore you’re enriched. When you do a good karma, which costs you a great deal, part of what you get in return is the power to do even greater good karma. It is a very valuable investment.
The photograph above was taken in Colombia, July, 2010. The indigenous people’s tradition is to carve their stories onto the mud banks by the side of the road. This is on the mountain road leading to the huge statue of Christ on the outskirts of Bogota.