Many of us believe that Karma is a predetermined fate or destiny. To some degree that is true. But we actually have a lot more power over the state of our lives by every choice that we make. The Law of Karma (Cause and Effect) acknowledges that there are reactions to our actions and consequences to our choices.
Whether we like it or not, everything that is happening at this moment is a result of the choices we’ve made in the past. Unfortunately, many of us make choices unconsciously. We are creatures of habit with conditioned reflexes that are constantly being triggered by people and circumstances that result in a predictable behavior by or outcome for us.
For many years, I lived on auto-pilot. My life was shaped by the condition of what was expected of me or by modern society's definition of “success”. Going to college, getting married, buying a house, taking a promotion, having children, buying a bigger house, dragging myself to the gym, starving myself to stay thin, eating when stressed, keeping a perfect house, dressing in uncomfortable clothes/shoes, compromising my needs for my family. On the most part some of these choices worked out, but I was not happy nor was I healthy.
The Law of Karma says that out of infinity of choices there is the one perfect choice that will create happiness for yourself and all of those around you. How do you know what the perfect choice is? You get present and listen to your inner guidance.
Your body is like an antenna which will send you feelings of comfort and discomfort. For some it comes from the belly and others will feel it in the heart. The best question to ask when making a decision - whether it be something you are about to eat, an event you are going to, a new relationship which you might begin, a decision in your job, or even leaving or taking on a new job - is “Will this choice nourish me?” If you just pause and ask yourself that question, you will be guided to the answer either by a feeling in your body, your inner voice, or a symbolic object that is right in front of you.
It takes time and mental energy to re-program your habitual responses and conditioned reflexes. Mine are continually under construction. Mindfulness practices like yoga and meditation are great disrupters of your automatic choices. I value both of these practices and know they totally can change the circumstances of your life by changing how you make choices.
How to further live this law:
- Forgiveness. Forgive someone or something you feel has harmed you. Ask for forgiveness from someone you feel you have harmed. Offer yourself forgiveness.
- Awareness. Be aware of everything you think, say, do today. Be conscious of your choices and the consequences. Ask yourself, "will this choice nourish me?"
For you Yogis, how to practice this law on your mat:
- Be fully present with each body movement.
- Listen attentively to your body's signals of comfort or strain and respond lovingly.